May 25 - Saint Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus

"Brothers, keep God's commandments, and guard your minds from impure thoughts."

Saint Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus

A young Jew lived in Phoenicia in the fourth century. He was well-educated and intelligent. Once he walked by a Christian monk, and saw how easily the monk gave his clothes to a beggar. Epiphanius was amazed by such mercy, and asked the monk Lucian to teach him the Christian faith.

Later they went together to a monastery. Epiphanius' education was very useful in the monastery. Along with prayers and fasting, he had an important obedience: copying sacred books in Greek.

Because of his ascetic struggles, Epiphanius was granted the gift of miracle-working. He wished to hide from the praise of men, and retreated to the far-away Spanidrion desert

After some time, Epiphanius acquired a faithful disciple. He was a former robber whose gang had held Epiphanius captive for three years. During that time he was converted by the saint, and became a sincere and devout ascetic. 

Meanwhile, word of St. Epiphanius' life spread far and wide, and many rushed to save their souls under the direction of such a wise teacher. A monastery rose up because of this. 

St. Epiphanius was being prepared for an important purpose, although it was very different from the solitary life in the desert that he had always dreamed of.

He was ordained the bishop of Salamis on Cyprus. It was in the episcopal see that Epiphanius became famous for his great zeal for the faith, his love and mercy for the poor, the simplicity of his character, and, of course, the many miracles he performed for the benefit of his flock.

While he was returning on a ship from Constantinople, he perceived that it would soon be his time to die. St. Epiphanius called his faithful disciples together and gave them his last instructions:

"Brothers, keep God's commandments, and guard your minds from impure thoughts."

Soon his soul was carried to the Lord in the heavenly habitations.

The Seventh Ecumenical Council called St. Epiphanius a Father and Teacher of the Church, because his many labors, writings, and miracles helped many people find the true, Christian faith.

The twenty-fifth of May is the feast day of St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus.

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