Saturday, December 13, 2008

The History of the Blessed Man Pambo

Melha tells Palladius a story of her meeting with Pambo, of a time when she brought a great deal of silver as a gift for the monasteries. Pambo distributed the wealth without treating Melha with any special regard, and she inquired as to whether he knew how much silver she had just given-- three hundred pounds. Pambo replied,

"He unto whom thou hast offered thy money hath no need [to know] the weight. For He who weighed the mountains in a balance knoweth how much is the weight of thy silver. If thou hadst given the money unto me thou wouldst have done well to have informed me concerning the weight thereof; but since thou hast given it to God, Who did not despise the two mites of the widow, [what need hast thou to tell Him?] Hold thy peace." (103)

Shortly after Palladius arrives in Nitria Pambo dies, leaving him a woven palm mat that he had just finished making. Palladius treasures this mat as a sacred relic. The final story he tells is of "the blessed man Pior" coming to Pambo's cell with some bread,

and Pambo made a complaint, saying unto him, "Why hast thou done this?" Then Abba Pior made answer, saying, "Let [this thing] be not grievous unto thee"; but Pambo was silent and sent him away. And after some time Rabba Pambo went to the cell of Abba Pior, and he took with him bread which had been dipped in water; and being asked, "Why hast thou done this?" the blessed man Pambo said unto him, "Let it not be grievous unto thee that I have also dipped the bread in water." (104)

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