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Monday, September 12, 2005

What a Fearsome Mystery

The great and inspired Euthymius returned from Rouba to the laura after two years. One holy Sunday he was offering the bloodless sacrifice to God, while Domitian was standing to the right of the altar and holding the liturgical fan. As he was performing the anaphora, Terebon the Saracen, who was standing near the altar with his hands resting on the sanctuary rails, suddenly beheld fire descend from heaven, which spread out over the altar rather like a veil and concealed the great Euthymius and the blessed Domitian, remaining there from the start of the doxology of the Trisagion till its completion. No one saw this miracle save those within the fire and Terebon and also Chrysippus' Brother Gabrielius, a eunuch from birth, who after twenty-five years had now for the first time advanced forward into the church -- as was related to me by Abba Cyriacus the anchorite, who received an accurate account of this from Terebon and Gabrielius.

Overcome by awe, Terebon fled to the back of the church, and resolved from then on no longer to lean on the sanctuary rails as, brashly and presumptuously, he had been wont to do at the time of the holy oblation, but instead he stood in awe and reverence at the back door of the church at the time of the synaxis. This was in accordance with the commandment that orders the sons of Israel to be pious and not contemptuous.

From Cyril of Scythopolis, Life of St. Euthymius, 29