Saint Sisoes the Great

Today the Church commemorates St. Sisoes the Great (+429) who lived in the Egyptian desert.

Once as influential as his friend Anthony of Egypt, St. Sisoes was an Egyptian who became a solitary at Sketis while a young man. When St. Anthony died, Sisoes left the community to live on St. Anthony’s Mountain, which was then deserted. He was known for his patience with and tenderness toward his disciples. Ill health took him to Clysma on the Red Sea briefly; he died on the mountain c. 429, after having lived there over 60 years. His sayings are included in the apothegmata of the Desert Fathers.

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When St 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 St 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” St 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. St Sisoes told them that he saw the Lord Himself. Then there was a flash like lightning, and a fragrant odor, and Abba Sisoes departed to the Heavenly Kingdom.

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Troparion – Tone 1

Dweller of the desert and angel in the body,
you were shown to be a wonder-worker, our God-bearing Father Sisoes.
You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil, and prayer:
healing the sick and the souls of those drawn to you by faith.
Glory to Him who gave you strength!
Glory to Him who grant-ed you a crown!
Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!

Kontakion – Tone 4

In asceticism you were revealed to be an earthly angel,
continually enlightening the thoughts of the faithful with divine signs.
Therefore we honor you with faith, venerable Sisoes.

Troparion – Tone 5

From your youth you followed the angelic life
And were therefore filled with many godly gifts.
O Sisoes, emulator of the angels,
In the hour of your going forth from this life,
You shone resplendently as the sun
Revealing your glory and illuminating our souls!

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.

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