Saint Sisoes the Great (+429 AD) was a solitary monk, pursuing asceticism in the Egyptian desert in a cave sanctified by the prayerful labours of his predecessor, Saint Anthony the Great (commemorated January 17). For his sixty years of labour in the desert, Saint Sisoes attained to sublime spiritual purity and he was granted the gift of wonderworking, so that by his prayers he once restored a dead child back to life.
Extremely strict with himself, Abba Sisoes was very merciful and compassionate to others, and he received everyone with love. To those who visited him, the first of all always taught humility. When one of the monks asked how he might attain to a constant remembrance of God, Saint Sisoes remarked, “That is no great thing, my son, but it is a great thing to regard yourself as inferior to everyone else. This leads to the acquisition of humility”. Asked by the monks whether one year is sufficient for repentance if a brother sins, Abba Sisoes said, “I trust in the mercy of God that if such a man repents with all his heart, then God will accept his repentance in three days”.
When Saint Sisoes lay upon his deathbed, the disciples surrounding the Elder saw that his face shone like the sun. They asked the dying man what he saw. Abba Sisoes replied that he saw Saint Anthony, the prophets, and the apostles. His face increased in brightness, and he spoke with someone. The monks asked, “With whom are you speaking, Father?” He said that angels had come for his soul, and he was entreating them to give him a little more time for repentance. The monks said, “You have no need for repentance, Father”. Saint Sisoes said with great humility, “I do not think that I have even begun to repent”.
After these words the face of the holy abba shone so brightly that the brethren were not able to look upon him. Saint Sisoes told them that he saw the Lord Himself. Then there was a flash like lightning, and a fragrant odour, and Abba Sisoes departed to the Heavenly Kingdom.
Dismissal Hymn (First Tone)
You proved to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Sisoes, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer obtained heavenly gifts, and you healed the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that has given you strength. Glory to him that has crowned you. Glory to Him that works healings for all through you.
Kontakion (Fourth Tone)
In your struggles, you were as an earthly Angel, shining light upon the minds of all the faithful ceaselessly with your divine signs; and for this cause, righteous Sisoes, we honour you faithfully.
We Also Celebrate Today:
Holy Apostles Archippus, Philemon and Onesimus
Loukia the Virgin-martyr, Rixios and the 24 Companion Martyrs
Juliana the Virgin-martyr