Sunday, December 28, 2008

The History of the Blessed Ammonius

Palladius speaks of Ammonius and his siblings, who had all been disciples of Rabba Pambo and founded both a men's and a women's monastery.

A certain city wanted Ammonius to be their bishop, and Timothy the bishop of Alexandria agreed to consecrate him to the episcopacy. To prevent them, Ammonius cut off his left ear and quoted the Levitical law that a man without an ear could not approach the altar. Timothy reminded him that Christians were not under Jewish law, and said he would consecrate Ammonius even "if his nose was split." (105) Ammonius warned that he'd slit his tongue if they tried again, and so the people gave up trying to make him their bishop.

Ammonius' ascetical practice included wounding himself whenever a carnal thought entered his mind, and refraining from any cooked foods. He had both the Old and New Testaments memorized and would also read contemporary theology.

Near the end of his life Ammonius was persuaded to travel to Constantinople to commemmorate the restoration of a martyrium built by the city's prefect Rufinus. Ammonius was received and honored, and upon dying while still in the great city was buried in the martyrium.

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