When his father died, Simon longed to become a Christian. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and commanded him to go to Abba John, Bishop of Jerusalem, who taught him the mystery of the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, he did not dare to baptize him in Jerusalem, for his fear of the Jews, and he was pondering what he should do.
The Virgin St. Mary appeared to Simon and told him to go to the City of Alexandria, to St. Theonas, the 16th Pope of Alexandria. He departed for Alexandria and an angel of the Lord was accompanying him on his journey in the form of a man until he arrived in Alexandria. He went to Pope Theonas, who rejoiced on seeing him, preached to him and baptized him. He then became a monk in El-Zogag Monastery, the monastery of Abba Severus, outside Alexandria.
When Pope Theonas departed and Abba Peter, "the seal of the martyrs" succeeded him, Abba Peter summoned Simon so that he could assist him in the work of the Patriarchate.
When the chair of the City of Nakiyos became vacant, Abba Peter ordained Simon bishop over it. His flock rejoiced greatly in him and the Lord performed many signs and wonders at his hands. There were temples for worshipping the idols close to his city and he pleaded to the Lord Jesus until they were destroyed and were flooded with water. Paganism was eradicated from his diocese. The heresy of Sibellius of Upper Egypt who taught that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one person, was also eradicated.
When Diocletian denied Christ, they told him that Sarabamon the Bishop had hindered the worship of idols with his teachings. Diocletian ordered Abba Sarabamon to be brought to him. When Abba Sarabamon arrived in Alexandria with the messengers, he spent the night in prison where Pope Peter and some clergy came to see him. When they greeted him, they saw his face as though it was that of an angel.
When Abba Sarabamon came before the Emperor,
he tortured him with all kinds of torture, but the Lord helped
him to endure without pain. When the Emperor saw that many people
believed because of him, he sent him to Arianus, the Governor
of Ansena, who tortured him and threatened to cut off his head
if he did not change his mind. It happened that Arianus was in
Alexandria so he took the saint with him in the ship. When they
reached Nakiyos, his home city, the ship stopped and no one was
able to let it move. They took the saint off the ship and to the
northern part of the city, where they cut off his head and he
received the crown of martyrdom. The people took his body to the
church with great honor.
In the midst of the lake -- the island was covered over by dense forest; on it the monk found a small hill and dug out a cave, and after a certain while he built himself an hut, in which he lived for 26 years. Exploits of strict fasting and quietude [ie. hesychia] he accompanied with another and unique effort -- he never lay down to sleep, but permitted himself only a light nap, leaning on a prop set into the wall of the cell.
The pious life of the monk many a time roused the envy of the enemy of mankind, which evidenced itself through the spiteful action of the local inhabitants. One time someone set fire to the woods on the island where stood the hut of the monk, but the flames upon reaching the hill in miraculous manner went out. Another time robbers forced themselves into the hut. The monk said to them: "All my treasure is in the corner of the cell." In this corner stood an icon of the Mother of God, but the robbers began to search there for money and became blinded. Then with tears of repentance they begged the monk for forgiveness.
Many other miracles done by the monk are known of. He was wont to quietly refuse an offering if the conscience of the one offering it to him was impure, or if they were in bodily impurity.
In an awareness of his end, the Monk Nil prepared
for himself a grave. And at the time of his death they came to
him on the island an hegumen from one of the nearby monasteries
and communed him with the Holy Mysteries. Before the departure
of the hegumen, the Monk Nil for a last time made prayer and censed
round the holy icons and the cell, and gave up to the Lord his
immortal soul on 7 December 1554. The glorification of his holy
relics (now venerated at the Znamenie Icon of the Mother of God
church in the city of Ostashkova) was done in the year 1667, with
feastdays established both on the day of his death and on 27 May.
The Monk Antonii of
Siisk, in the world Andrei, was born i nto a family of rich
farmers in the village of Kekhta near the North Dvina river. In
childhood he received a fine education, read much and learned
iconography. Bereaved of his parents, Andrei set off to Novgorod
and for five years worked for a boyar [nobleman] there. He later
married, but his wife died after a year. Then Andrei decided to
dedicate himself to monasticism. He distributed his goods to the
poor and as a wanderer came to the Pakhomiev wilderness-monastery
at the River Kena. The Monk Pakhomii gave him monastic vows with
the name Antonii. Soon they had him ordained to the dignity of
priest-monk, and the monk by himself -- with the blessing of the
hegumen, made the Divine-services. He went out together with the
other monks of the monastery to work for the monastic needs in
common. Out of love for solitude the Monk Antonii eventually left
the Pakhomiev wilderness -- having chosen from the monastic brethren
two companions, and he settled upon Mikhailov island, on the one
side washed by the River Sii, and on the other, by encircling
lakes. In this harsh frontier within the dense thickets a chapel
was built by Antonii in 1520. But to clear the forest required
difficult work, and the companions of Antonii began to grumble
against him. And just then quite unexpectedly an unknown man began
to furnish them the means of subsistence, offering even money
for good measure. The Siisk monastery became reknown, and inhabitants
of surrounding villages often visited it. And again the Monk Antonii,
taking one disciple, withdrew to a still more remote place on
Lake Palun. There, in a solitary cell, he dwelt for three years.
When the hegumen Theoktist refused further to guide the Siisk
monastery, the brethren tried to persuade the Monk Antonii to
return to them. He finally acceded to the request of the monks,
again became hegumen and piously guided the monastery until his
death in the year 1556, when he was 79 years old.
The Holy Martyr
Athenodoros, from Syrian Mesopotamia, led a monastic life
from the time of his youthful years. Reported on, he was arrested
and condemned to fierce tortures by the governor of the land,
Eleusios. Miracles accompanied the martyrdom of the saint, which
brought many of the pagans there present to the Christian faith.
When they decided to behead the saint with a sword, the executioner
died, and his head separated from its shoulders. The saint gave
up his spirit to God in prayer.
The Monk Paul the Obedient
-- when he lived is unknown. There is only a short life which
says that he was the son of well-off parents. He left secular
life upon reaching maturity. The appellation "Obedient"
was bestowed upon the monk for the deep humility peculiar to him
and for the complete renunciation of his own will. One time the
monk moved by hand boiling resin-pitch, and received not the slightest
burn from it. Some of the brethren regarded him as a God-bearing
ascetic, but others became suspicious of him. Through prayers
the monks received an unique vision proving that their brother
-- was a true ascetic. By night they were all transported off
to paradise and they conversed with the Monk Paul, who permitted
them to take with them for the memory a flower or twig. Awakening
from sleep, they detected in their hands the flowers and twigs
from paradise. After this Blessed Paul set off to Jerusalem, and
then to Cyprus. Having led a solitary life, he expired to God
on Mount Paregoros [Mount Solace]. Before his death the voice
of God said to him: "Ascend the mountain, Paul, and accept
the end of life."
The Monk Gregory, born in Serbia, pursued asceticism on Athos. The monastery formed by him, and dedicated by him to Saint Nicholas, was termed in his honour the Gregoryite. In the Athos record-acts was discovered the signature of the monk from about 1405. By tradition, the relics of Saint Gregory were taken from Athos by Serbian monks.