[St. Pachomius Library]


Translated by Sir E.A. Wallis Budge

[Pisentius of Qift was a celebrated Coptic bishop and spiritual writer who lived in Egypt before the Arab invasion. This is how is life was later remembered by the Christians of Ethiopia:]

On the thirteenth day of month Hamle died the holy man Beba Besendyos, Bishop of the City of Keft. This holy man was a monk from his youth up, and he adopted the ascetic life, and he contended strenuously and fought with great zeal the fight of the monk. And he learned thoroughly and understood many Books [of Scripture], and among their number were the Psalms of David, and the Twelve Minor Prophets. And it came to pass that when he was reciting one of the Prophets, the Prophet whose Book he was reciting would come to him [and stand by his side] until he had finished reciting the Prophecy. And it is related concerning him, that when he was praying and lifting up his hands, his [ten] fingers became filled with light, even like unto ten bright lamps. And God wrought through him great and mighty miracles and wonders. He never at any time looked upon the face of a woman, but always kept his head bowed to the ground.

And there was a certain woman who was afflicted with sore disease in her belly. And she lay in wait for him one day near his cell, and she came upon him when he was unprepared, and he ran away, and the woman ran after him. And when she was unable to overtake him, she took a handful of the dust whereon his foot had trodden, and in faith swallowed it; and she was healed of her sickness immediately.

And one day he saw three shining men, and they gave unto him keys, saying, `It is for thee to administer the Church of God.' Then God chose him, and appointed him Bishop of the City of Keft.

And it came to pass that [on a certain day] he was consecrating the Holy Offering, and he looked and saw our Lord on the altar, and with Him were His angels. And on a certain day a priest was reciting the words of the consecration of the Holy Offering before him, and when this priest was half-way through the Office, he spat out some spittle from his mouth as he was standing before the altar. And when the priest had finished the Office of Consecration, this Father Besendyos rebuked him, saying, `Hast thou no fear of God when thou art standing at this altar? Dost thou not know that the spittle which thou didst spit out of thy mouth fell upon the wing of the Cherub who was standing before the altar?' And great fear and trembling fell upon that priest, and they carried him away to his house, and he fell sick of a fever and died.

And this holy man possessed a fine voice, and he read beauti- fully, and no man was ever offended through his rebuke and admonition. And when the time had drawn nigh wherein he was to die, he had knowledge of this a few days before. And he summoned the congregation of monks, and he taught them, and rebuked them, and confirmed them in the Right Faith, and he gave unto them many commandments, and he committed his soul to the hand of God. And God made manifest many miracles through his body. And his servant carried off a little piece of the cloth wherein he was buried, and with it he used to heal every person who was sick, and who came to him in faith. May his prayer and blessing be with our king John!

Salutation of Besendyos, who saw the Prophets [standing by him]
Until he finished reading the Prophecies written [by them];
And there was a report about him that he worked miracles.
A woman was healed of her sickness, and recovered thoroughly
By swallowing the dust from the print of his holy foot.


The St. Pachomius Orthodox Library, 1 August, 1996

Have mercy, O Lord, upon Thy servants, the translator, Ernest, and the 
scribe, Simrete Selassie!  


               THE END, AND TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

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