28 Jun

“On … 1st July, one of the saints remembered by the wider Christian Church is St Shenoute. He was born around the year 340 in Shenalolet in Egypt. St Shenoute became a monk at the Dair-al-Abiad monastery near Stripe. In 385, after the death of the abbot, St Shenoute was chosen as the new abbot.

He ruled the monastery in a very strict way

He ruled the monastery in a very strict way. A new innovation he brought in was the requirement for every monk and nun to sign an oath to adhere to a strict pattern of life that led to holiness. Any violation to the rule was severely punished. As well as running a strict rule of life in the monastery, St Shenoute saw to it that outside the monastery any vestiges of paganism or heresy were eliminated. Despite this harshness, or because of it, over 2,200 monks and 1,800 nuns joined the religious communities of St Shenoute. He became the head of all the other monastic abbots in the area and became known as one of the outstanding figures of monasticism in Egypt at that time.

Although very strong in certain matters, St Shenoute had a compassionate streak as well. When prisoners and property were taken in a local war, the King promised St Shenoute some property. However, St Shenoute asked instead for the prisoners, whom he released. He provided them with some money to enable them to return to their loved ones. We are told these prisoners went away glorifying God and his saint, St Shenoute.

If we believe the biographer of St Shenoute, he lived to be 118 years old. He is recorded as dying in the year 466. Many suggest that St Shenoute doesn’t come across as positively as some of the ‘nicer’ saints like St Therese or St Francis. But perhaps his personality and harshness shows us that sanctity is possible for people with character flaws and faults. Thus, for those of us who stumble over faults and sins, we can draw encouragement from St Shenoute.”

– Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris/June 2015


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