Sainted Epiphanios, Bishop of Cyprus
Commemorated on May 12
Epiphanios, Bishop of Cyprus, lived during the IV Century in Phoenicia. By
descent he was Jewish, and in his youth he received a fine education. He was
converted to the Christian faith after he saw how a certain monk, Lucian by
name, gave away his own clothing to a poor person. Struck by the compassion of
the monk, Epiphanios besought him to instruct him in Christianity. He accepted
Baptism and settled in the monastery, organised by his teacher Lucian. At the
monastery he pursued asceticism under the guidance of the experienced elder
Ilarion, and he occupied himself with the copying of Greek books and
progressing in the monastic life. Saint Epiphanios for his ascetic deeds was
granted the gift of wonderworking, but in order to avoid human glory, he set
out from the monastery into the Spanidrion wilderness. Robbers caught him there
and held him for three months in captivity. By his talk about repentance, the
saint brought one of the gang of robbers to the holy faith in the True God.
When they set free the holy ascetic, with him also went the robber. Saint
Epiphanios took him to his monastery and baptised him with the name John. And
from that time he became a faithful disciple of Saint Epiphanios, and he
carefully recorded in writing about the life and miracles of his preceptor.
Reports about the righteous life of Saint Epiphanios spread far beyond the
bounds of the monastery. The saint set out a second time into the wilderness
with his disciple John. But even in the wilderness disciples started to come to
him. Thus emerged a new monastery. After a certain while Saint Epiphanios
undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for veneration of its holy artifacts and
from there returned to the Spanidrion monastery. The people of the city of
Lycia dispatched the monk Polybios to Saint Epiphanios with a request to occupy
the bishop's throne of their dead archpastor. But the perspicacious ascetic,
having learned of this intention, secretly set out into the Pathysian
wilderness to the great ascetic Ilarion (Comm. 21 October), under whose
guidance he pursued asceticism in his youthful years. The saints spent two
months in mutual prayer, and then Ilarion sent Saint Epiphanios to Salamis.
Bishops were gathered there for the selecting of a new archpastor in place of
one recently died. The Lord revealed to the eldest of them, Bishop Papios, that
the Monk Epiphanios arriving in the city should be chosen bishop. When
Epiphanios arrived, Saint Papios led him into the church, where in obedience to
the will of the participants of the Council, Epiphanios was obliged to give his
consent. Thus occurred the elevation of Saint Epiphanios to the bishop's
cathedra of Salamis in about the year 367.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.