Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saint Euphrosynos the Cook

Commemorated September 11

Euphrosynos was raised by devout parents, but given no advanced education. They were quite old when he was born, so they committed him to the care of the monks on Mt. Athos while yet a lad. They died not long after. This was at a time when Mt. Athos was known as quite an intellectual center. Euphrosynos was relegated to the kitchen. He preferred the solitude of a cave for his prayers to the chapel, or scholarly discussions. He grew to be an elder in the community.

One evening, there was a profound theological lecture delivered in the monastery. As one of the elders, Euphrosynos was called upon to comment on it. He had comprehended very little of it and offered few words. He retired in embarrassment to the mountainside. That night the abbot had a dream, in which he saw the most beautiful garden. The only one in this garden was Euphrosynos the Cook. Euphrosynos explained to the abbot that he was seeing the Kingdom of Heaven and he handed him a branch with apples on it. The abbot awoke to find a real branch of apples in his hand. (It was not the season for apples.) He awoke the other monks and sent for Euphrosynos. Euphrosynos acknowledged that that was the branch of apples he had given the abbot. The monks were all amazed and gave Euphrosynos great honor. He simply asked to be excused from the kitchen and the monastery to live out the rest of his days as a hermit in his cave. The abbot excused him. The apples were found to have miraculous healing powers.

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