By Arrian’s order, they began to torture the saint cruelly, they suspended him and raked him with iron instruments, so that pieces of his flesh fell to the ground. Saint Asclas quietly endured the torments. When one of those present said, “Look, he is already unconscious and near to death,” the holy martyr answered, “I have not lost consciousness, and unceasingly do I glorify my God and Savior.”
The governor Arrian gave orders to to resume the martyr’s tortures in the city of Antinoe, on the opposite bank of the Nile, where he himself soon intended to go. But the martyr prayed to God, beseeching Him to hold back Arrian’s boat until he confessed the Lord Jesus Christ before all the people.
The boat suddenly halted in the middle of the river, and not even oars could move it from the spot. Arrian ascribed the miracle to sorcery. In drawing up the sentence of the saint, the governor happened to say something about the one true God, and then the boat sailed on to shore. Going into the city, Arrian again gave orders to suspend Saint Asclas and scorch him with fire.
Finally, the saint was sentenced to be drowned in the river. The martyr said to the Christians accompanying him, “Strive, brethren, to receive the rewards of the Lord God. My children, come to the north part of the city in three days and find my body. Bury it with the stone that will be tied to it.”
The martyrdom of Saint Asclas occurred around the year 287, not far from the city of Antinoe. On the third day, Christians found the body of the martyr and buried it with the stone.
St. Thalassios the Libyan
Inner Light Productions (icon from here)
St. Thalassios the Libyan was abbot of a monastery in Libya in the late sixth and early seventy centuries. There is little information in his biography beyond saying that he was a contemporary and friend of St. Maximos the Confessor (580 - 662). St. Maximos wrote his largest work as a theological treatise addressed to St. Thalassios.
- by St. Thalassios the Libyan
-- The truly physician-like intellect is one that first heals itself and then heals others of the diseases of which it has been cured.
-- Our Lord Jesus has given light to all men, but those who do not trust in Him bring darkness upon themselves.
-- Do not think that the loss of virtue is a minor matter, for it was through such a loss that death came into the world.
-- He who has put his passions to death and overcome ignorance goes from life to life.
-- Search the Scriptures and you will find the commandments; do what they say and you will be freed from your passions.
-- Obedience to a commandment purifies the soul, and purification of the soul leads to its participation in light.
-- The tree of life is the knowledge of God; when, being purified, you share in that knowledge you attain immortality.
-- The first step in the practice of the virtues is faith in Christ; its consummation, the love of Christ.
-- Jesus is the Christ, our Lord and our God, who grants us faith in Him so that we may live.
-- Let us acquire faith so that we may attain love; for love gives birth to the illumination of spiritual knowledge.
-- The acquisition of faith leads successively to fear of God, restraint from sensual pleasure, the patient endurance of suffering, hope in God, dispassion and love.
-- Genuine love gives birth to the spiritual knowledge of the created world. This is succeeded by the desire of all desires: the grace of theology.
-- When you have been given faith, self-control is demanded from you; when self-control has become habitual, it gives birth to patient endurance, a disposition that gladly accepts suffering.
-- The sign of patient endurance is delight in suffering; and the intellect, trusting in this patient endurance, hopes to attain what is promised and to escape what is threatened.
-- He who has tasted the things for which he hopes will spurn the things of this world: all his longing will be spent on what he hopes for.
-- It is God who has promised the blessings held in store; and the self-disciplined person who has faith in God longs for what is held in store as though it were present.
-- The sign that the intellect dwells among the blessings for which it hopes is its total oblivion to worldly things and the growth in its knowledge of what is held in store.
-- The dispassion taught by the God of truth is a noble quality; through it He fulfils the aspirations of the devout soul.
-- According to the degree to which the intellect is stripped of the passions, the Holy Spirit initiates the intellect into the mysteries of the age to be.
-- The more the intellect is purified, the more the soul is granted spiritual knowledge of divine principles.
-- He who has disciplined his body and dwells in a state of spiritual knowledge finds that through this knowledge he is purified still further.
-- Initially our search for wisdom is prompted by fear; but as we attain our goal we are led forward by love.
-- The intellect that begins its search for divine wisdom with simple faith will eventually attain a theology that transcends the intellect and that is characterized by unremitting faith of the highest type and the contemplation of the invisible. END
from G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Kallistos Ware, trans., The Philokalia -- vol. II, (London: Faber and Faber, 1981), pp. 328 - 330.
A PRAYER -- St. Thalassios
Christ, Master of all, free us from all these destructive passions and the thoughts born of them.
For Thy sake we came into being, so that we might delight in the paradise which Thou hast planted and in which Thou hast placed us.
We brought our present disgrace upon ourselves, preferring destruction to the delights of blessedness.
We have paid for this, for we have exchanged eternal life for death.
O Master, as once Thou hast looked on us, look on us now; as Thou becamest man, save all of us.
For Thou camest to save us who were lost. Do not exclude us from the company of those who are being saved.
Raise up our souls and save our bodies, cleansing us from all impurity.
Break the fetters of the passions that constrain us, as once Thou hast broken the ranks of the impure demons.
Free us from their tyranny, so that we may worship Thee alone, the eternal light,
Having risen from the dead and dancing with the angels in the blessed, eternal and indissoluble dance. Amen.
More about st Thalassios here.
Other Saints on May 20
Apprivoiser les passions