Saint Epiphanius

May 23, 2022

Dear Children of God, Greetings to you and gratitude to Almighty God!

Children, how are you? We hope you are well and good!

Today we are going to tell you the story about Saint Epiphanius. So be with us!

The Holy man Saint Epiphanius was born in a village near Beth Gabriel and his parents were Jews and his was father a slave so his family was poor, but they were righteous. His father died at early age and left his son with and one daughter with their mother poor mother.

Saint Epiphanius was brought up in the Law of Moses. He had a donkey that his father left him.  His mother then advised Him to sell his donkey and with the price thereof to obtain some rest and relief in his wretched life.

As the Saint was journeying along with the donkey, he met a certain man who was a Christian, whose name was Philotheus. He stopped and talked with Epiphanius and wanted to buy that donkey from him.  At that moment the donkey kicked Epiphanius in his stomach, and he fell down on the ground. He almost died, but Saint Philotheus made the sign of the Cross over the stomach of Saint Epiphanius, saying, “In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost,” and Saint Epiphanius was cured of his pain forthwith, and he rose up as if he hand never suffered any pain whatsoever. Then Saint Philotheus cried out over that donkey, saying, “In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ Who was crucified thou shall die”; and the donkey fell down and died.

When Saint Epiphanius saw these two miracles, he said to Saint Philotheus, “Who was this Jesus Who was crucified and in Whose Name you did perform this miracle?”  Philotheus answered and said to him, “This Jesus was the Son of God, Whom the Jews crucified in Jerusalem”; and this word remained in the heart of Saint Epiphanius.  In those days there was a certain rich Jew who took Saint Epiphanius into his house, and brought him up and taught him the Law of Moses.  When the Jew was going to die, he had no heirs (children) so he made Saint Epiphanius heir (gave all his belongings) of all his possessions. He learned all the Jewish doctrine and the Law of Moses.

One day he met a certain righteous monk whose name was Lucianus.  He was a teacher, and the grace of God was upon him. He walked with Epiphanius on the road.  As they were journeying together on the road, a certain poor man met them and he asked the monk to give him alms. Whilst the monk had no money with him to give him, he took off the hair cloak (cape), which he was wearing and gave it to him.  When the poor man took it Saint Epiphanius saw that white clothing coming down from heaven upon the monk he wondered at this and he bowed down at the feet of the monk. He asked him saying, “Who are you?  What is your Faith?”  The monk told him that he was a Christian and Saint Epiphanius asked him to make him a Christian.  The monk took Epiphanius and brought him to the bishop, who baptized him with Christian baptism. Then, he taught him the Law of the Christian Faith.  Saint Epiphanius said to him, “I wish to become a monk,” and the bishop said to him, “you have many goods and possessions; it is not necessary for you to become a monk.”

Later, Saint Epiphanius went and brought his sister. The bishop baptized her with Christian baptism.  He gave of his possessions to the poor, the needy, to the widows, the orphans, to the churches and purchased very many books.  Then he became a monk, and his sister became a nun, in the monastery of that monk whose name was Julius. Now at that time he was sixteen years old.  He found Saint Hilarion the Great in that monastery, who although was young in days but was an elder in the spiritual fight. He received Saint Epiphanius and taught him the path of the ascetic life, and the doctrine of Christian Law.  The grace of God dwelt upon him, and Hilarion made him strong in all the Law of the Church, and in the path of the ascetic life in a few days. Then Saint Epiphanius became perfect in the spiritual fight.  He performed great miracles, raised the dead, and cast out demons from men, made fountains of water to appear in dry places where there was no water and on many occasions he made rain to fall.

News about him, his virtues, and his knowledge was spread abroad.  Many men from among the Jews came to him, to quarrel with him but he defeated then with God’s words and showed them their error. So, they believed through him and he baptized them with Christian baptism.   Likewise he converted many philosophers, the Greeks and brought them into the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Saint Hilarion, his teacher, prophesied concerning him and said that he would be made bishop of the city of Cyprus. He commanded him to go to the city of Cyprus, and to dwell there in a certain place where he ordered him to accept.  He said to him, “They will seek thee to make thee bishop, for it is the Will of God.”  Saint Epiphanius went to Cyprus, and he stayed in the place where his teacher Hilarion had ordered him to dwell.

Now at the time when the Bishop of Cyprus died, Saint Epiphanius came into the city to buy food and he had two monks with him.  There was in that city an aged and a righteous bishop, whom our Lord Jesus Christ spoke to him, saying, “Go to the market and you shall meet a monk with two bunches of grapes in his hand which he is going to buy, and his name is ‘Epiphanius’; make him Bishop of Cyprus, for he is suitable for this office.”  The aged bishop rose and went to the market. He found Saint Epiphanius and there were two bunches of grapes in his hand, and there were two monks with him. He asked him his name, and he answered and said to him, “My name is Epiphanius.”  The aged bishop said to him, “Cast these grapes from your hands.”  Saint Epiphanius knew that the prophecy of Abba Hilarion his teacher was fulfilled. He cast the grapes down and he went with him to the church. The bishop made him a deacon and three days later, he made him a priest; on the seventh day, he made him a bishop.  After this, that aged bishop wished to gladden the heart of Bishop Epiphanius, told the people and made to understand concerning the vision, which he had seen concerning him. They rejoiced in him with great joy.

This Saint Epiphanius followed a right course of action in his diocese, which was well pleasing to God. He wrote many Discourses (Lectures) and many books wherein will be found profitable doctrine.  When he heard of a man in whom there was no mercy, he used to rebuke him and teach him frequently until he changed his nature and became merciful. When this Saint Epiphanius heard that Abba John, Bishop of the city of Jerusalem, was a man without crime, he made an excuse, and borrowed the gold and silver vessels from him which he used at his table and out of which he ate.  Abba John gave them to him, and Saint Epiphanius sold them, and gave [the price of] them to the poor and needy.  When Abba John asked him for them and he would not give back any of them, he seized Saint Epiphanius by the turn-up of his garment, in the Church of the Sepulcher of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Saint Epiphanius prayed to God, and He made blind the eyes of Abba John forthwith.  His eyes being blind, Abba John begged, prayed him with tears to teach him and to open his eyes. Saint Epiphanius prayed and begged God on his behalf and God opened one of them.

Then Epiphanius told Abba John how he had sold the vessels of his table and how he had given (the price of) them to the poor.  The Empress Eudoxia having sent a message to Saint Epiphanius to come to her, to help her to break and to drive out Saint John, the Mouth of God (i.e. Chrysostom). He went to the city of Constantinople wishing to make peace between them; but the empress would not listen to him. She would not submit to Saint Epiphanius in respect of Saint John, the Mouth of Gold.  The empress answered and said to Saint Epiphanius, “If I cannot cast down John, the Mouth of Gold, from his office, I will open the houses of idols and shut the churches”; Saint Epiphanius went forth from her presence sad, sorrowful and wondering what he should do.  The servants of the empress made it known in the city of Constantinople, saying, “Behold, Epiphanius has deposed John, the Mouth of Gold.”

When Saint John heard this news he sent a letter to Saint Epiphanius, saying, “Why have you done this unjust thing against me?  Know  that  you shall  never  reach  the  throne  of  your  diocese?”   Saint Epiphanius sent a reply to his letter, saying, “I have written nothing concerning you, and I am not in agreement with the empress against you, and as for yourself you shall [not] return from exile.”  After this Saint Epiphanius wanted to return to the throne of his diocese. He went forth from the city of Constantinople to depart to the city of Cyprus, and God willed to make him to die on the ship before he reached the throne of his diocese. Even as God had revealed to John, the Mouth of Gold, and John, the Mouth of Gold, also died on his journey, even as He had made Epiphanius to see.  The Saint knew the time of his death, and he rose up and prayed. Then, he gave his disciples commands and informed them that they should become bishops. After that he embraced them, and lay down and died in peace.

Ok, children! We believe you have understood the story and don’t forget to go Holy Church and celebrate it with you family.

Till we meet for our next lesson, have a good week!