St. Agapius of the Holy Mountain
SAINT AGAPIUS was the novice of a certain virtuous elder who labored in silence in the Kellia of the Holy Trinity in the locality known as Kolitsa, within the boundaries of the Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos. Once, he went down to the sea to wash his clothes and there he happened upon some Moslems. They immediately seized him and taking him away with them, sold him in Magnesia to another Moslem, at whose house the holy one dwelt for twelve years in chains and labored every day with diligence. Day and night with complete faith and warm tears, Agapius besought the Lady Theotokos, the speedy helper of all who flee to her with faith, that she, as she herself knew best, free him from this bitter captivity and heavy labor. Finally, the All-merciful One hearkened to the supplications of her servant. One night, appearing to him in a dream, she commanded him to go without fear to his elder. O marvel! Awakening, Agapius saw that the chains had fallen from him and the doors stood open! Then did the holy one understand that this had been accomplished by the miraculous power of the Theotokos, and therefore immediately and without any hindrance, leaving the house of the Hagarene, he went to his elder on the Holy Mountain.
But on seeing him, his elder was grieved, for he thought that he had escaped secretly from his master and said to him: “You have deceived the Hagarene, but no one at any time can deceive God. You must answer at the hour of the General Judgement for those pieces of silver your master spent in buying you, to have you as a helper in his needs. Therefore, if you truly desire to save yourself, return to your master and serve him. By doing this you will be a true servant of God and His faithful servant; and when God makes prosperous your master he himself will release you.” Agapius, who loved God and was beloved of Him, received these words of his elder as from God, and returned to him who had bought him.
The Moslem, seeing him unexpectedly returned, was amazed. How had he escaped from him and why had he returned, the barbarian asked of Agapius. Then the holy one explained the whole matter to him in great detail. The barbarian was astounded by the virtue of Agapius’ elder and the loftiness of the holy Christian Faith, and at the same time the hardness of his soul was softened by compunction. Taking Agapius and his own two sons with him, he quickly went to the elder on the Holy Mountain and requested of him baptism for himself and his children. Having been established in the Faith in the correct manner, the barbarians were baptized and afterwards received the angelic habit. Dwelling in a God-pleasing manner in virtuous submission, first to Agapius’ elder and after his death to Agapius himself, they departed to the Heavenly Kingdom to rejoice with all the venerable fathers in Christ Jesus, to Whom is due honor and worship for all ages. Amen.
(Translated from the Athonite Patericon, Vol. I, pp. 259-260.)
Taken from Orthodox Life, Volume 27, No. 2, March – April 1977, published by Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, New York.
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