The Vision of Theophanes

St. John Moschos ca. 550-619

There was an elder residing at the Lavra of Calamon on the holy Jordan whose name was Cyriacos. He was a great elder in the sight of God. A brother came to him, a stranger from the land of Dara, named Theophanes, to ask the elder about lewd thoughts. The elder began to encourage him by talking about self-control and purity. Having benefited greatly, the brother said to the elder: ‘Abba, in my country I am in communion with Nestorians, sir; which means I cannot stay with you, even though I would like to.’ When the elder heard the name of Nestorius he became very concerned about the destruction of the brother. He urged and besought him to seperate himself from that noxious heresy and to go to the catholic, apostolic church. He said to him: ‘There is no other way of salvation than rightly to discern and believe that the holy Virgin Mary is in truth the Mother of God.’ The brother said to the elder: ‘But truly, abba, all the sects speak like that sir: that if you are not in communion with us, you are not being saved. I am a simple person and really do not know what to do. Pray to the Lord that by a deed He will show me which is the true faith.’ The elder was delighted to grant the brother this request. He said to him: ‘Stay in my cell and put your trust in God that His goodness will reveal the truth to you’. He left the brother in the cave and went out to the Dead Sea, praying for him. About the ninth hour of the second day, the brother saw a person of awesome appearance standing before him and saying to him: ‘Come and see the truth.’ He took the brother and brought him to a dark and disagreeable place where there was fire — and showed him Nestorius, Theodore, Eutyches, Appollinarius, Evagrios and Didymus, Dioscorus and Severus, Arius and Origen and some others, there in that fire. The apparition said to the brother: ‘This place is prepared for heretics and for those who blaspheme against the Mother of God and for those who follow their teachings. If you find this place to your liking, then stay with the doctrine you now hold. If you have no wish to enter the pains of this chastisement, proceed to the holy catholic church in which the elder teaches. For I tell you that if a man practice every virtue and yet not glorify God correctly, to this place he will come.’ At that saying the brother returned to his senses. When the elder came back, he told him everything that had happened, exactly as he saw it. Then he went and entered into communion with the holy, catholic and apostolic church. He stayed with the elder at Calamon and, having passed several years in his company, he fell asleep in peace. (The Spiritual Meadow, 26.)

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