On Defeat Accompanied by Humility

The Evergetinos

In a certain city there lived a bishop who, by the activity of Satan, fell into fornication. A few days later there was a Liturgy in the church, and, without anyone knowing the bishop’s sin, he made a confession in front of all the people, saying: “I have fallen into fornication.” As soon as he uttered these words, he took off his omophorion and placed it on the Holy Table. “I can no longer be a bishop,” he said. In the wake of this scene of sincere confession, the people were all seized with emotion and cried out in lamentation: “Let this sin be upon us; only remain in the episcopate.” “If you want me to remain with you,” answered the bishop, “do what I tell you.” He immediately ordered all the doors of the church to be shut, fell on his face at a side-door, and said to the people: “Anyone who does not tread on me when he leaves the church is not on the side of God.” All of the people did as the bishop told them; that is to say, they trod on him as they departed. As the last person left, a voice was heard from Heaven saying: “I have forgiven the bishop his sin because of his great humility.” (The Evergetinos, Vol. IV of the First Book: Hypothesis XLIV.6)

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