Thursday, October 17, 2013

Guess Whose Feast Day It Is?

St. John the Dwarf, one of the Desert Fathers.

When I was confirmed a Catholic I picked John as my confirmation name, but I didn't have John the Dwarf in mind, but John Boanerges, the Apostle, brother of James. Wish I'd known of John the Dwarf back then. The old saint names were a lot more amusing than the more common Francis, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Imagine picking St. Pambo for your confirmation name. Or St. Pishoy, or St. Pachomius.

John the Dwarf's attribute, according to Wikipedia: "Short Monk watering a stick." That comes from the most famous story of John:

John the Dwarf is best known for his obedience. The most famous story about his obedience is that one day Saint Pambo gave him a piece of dry wood and ordered him to plant and water it. John obeyed and went on watering it twice a day even though the water was about 12 miles from where they lived. After three years, the piece of wood sprouted and grew into a fruitful tree. Pambo took some of this tree's fruits and went around to all the elder monks, saying "take, eat from the fruit of obedience." The tree of Saint John the Dwarf, known as the Tree of Obedience, still exists today in the deserted Monastery of Saint John the Dwarf in the Nitrian Desert.

His old monastery is deserted, you might notice. Not a safe place though, given the hostility that the Muslim Brotherhood is currently displaying toward Christians in Egypt. Still - - going to the old monastery and perhaps living there as a hermit has a lot of appeal.

Update: Yale University conducted archaelogical digs at the site several years ago. The monastery is in ruins and is often covered by desert sands.

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

Interesting story, not one I remember. Thanks!!!