Saturday, April 13, 2024

Eumenius the Wonderworker, Bishop of Gortyna

Saint Eumenius from the time of his youth was noted for his virtuous life. He strove to serve the One God and therefore he shunned worldly temptations. Concerned for the salvation of his soul, he distributed all his substance to the poor.

By the blessing of God Saint Eumenius was chosen as Bishop of Gortyna on the island of Crete. The saint, like a compassionate father, comforted his flock in their sorrows, and cared for the orphaned and indigent. His prayers were so strong before God that once, during a drought, he called forth abundant rain upon the earth.

Saint Eumenius wisely and zealously defended the Orthodox Faith against the Monophysite heresy. For his opposition to the heresy the saint was banished to the Thebaid, where he died in the seventh century. His body was then transferred and buried in Gortyna.

This Saint took up the monastic life from his youth, and later became Bishop of Gortynia in Crete. He travelled to Rome, and to Thebes in Upper Egypt, where through his prayers he ended a drought; there also, after working many miracles, he reposed in deep old age. His holy relics were returned to Gortynia and buried at the place called Raxos.

From his youth, Eumenius wholeheartedly followed Christ, freeing himself of two heavy burdens: the burden of wealth and the burden of the flesh. He freed himself of the first burden by distributing his entire estate to the poor and needy, and the second burden by strict fasting. In this way he first healed himself, and then began to heal others. Passionless and filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Eumenius shone with a light that could not be hidden.

As it is written, A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid (Matthew 5:14), so the holy Eumenius could not be hidden from the world. Witnessing his goodness, the people chose him as Bishop of Gortyna, and he governed the flock of Christ as a good shepherd. He was a father to the poor, wealth to the needy, consolation to the sorrowful, a healer of the sick and a most wonderful miracle-worker. By his prayers, he worked many miracles: he subdued a poisonous serpent, cast out demons and healed many of the sick–and he did this not only in his own town, but also in Rome and in the Thebaid.

In a time of drought in the Thebaid, he obtained rain from God by prayer. There, in the Thebaid, his earthly life ended, and he took up his habitation in the eternal home of his Lord. He lived and labored in the seventh century.

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