Saturday, 23 January 2010

St John the Almoner, Patriarch then of the great see of Alexandria, in Egypt, 22 January

(Journey in a Broken World)

Article by Marc Aupiais

St John the Almoner, Patriarch then of the great see of Alexandria, in Egypt, 22 January

Becoming bishop, when over fifty years of age, St John immediately separated himself from his predecessor by his actions. He saw himself answerable firstly and with special interest to his masters. When asked whom they were- he referred to the poor. He always had an ear to give justice, and spent Wednesdays and Fridays, traditional days of penance, serving the needs of justice in the community, and always sought, via modesty, but also quite directly to bring his Christian subjects to peace with their fellow Christian and fellow man, and to administer justice.

He is credited with ensuring food and resources got to those in need, even outside his see of authority. He had a special dislike of rash judgment and talebearing- that is, of gossip by which we mean, when we refer to talebearing as a sin. For the bible is very clear that we must reveal the deeds of darkness, in the service of truth. Though it is also clear that doing so without just cause, is sinful even with our own inequities against God and man.

Like a true Bishop, he realized, that all he had done, and his life of self mortification and service, was not adequate for the thanks of his subjects. After all, as a Bishop, he was to even spill his very blood for the sake of the faith of his people, and for their well-being, should he be required. He had yet even to fulfill this task, though none had so persecuted the faith that he should be required to witness to it, so as to risk his very skin for the faith.

That he saw the poor as his great masters, and god as greater is certain, as he snubbed the emperor, whom the governor had taken him to meet, on hearing of his impending death from heaven. He seems to have died of natural causes soon afterwards, in obedience to God.

His warning against gossiping is of great note, his reason, many saints refused to justify their name, even when greatly punished, against many a false accusation.

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