Friday, March 20, 2009

March 21: St. Serapion

Serapion lived in Egypt in the fourth century. Those were exciting times for the Church and for St. Serapion. As a young man, he received an impressive education in Christian theology and secular subjects. For a while, he directed the famous Christian school that taught the faith in Alexandria. Then Serapion went out into the desert and became a monk. He met the famous hermit, St. Anthony of Egypt. Serapion tried very hard to learn from and imitate him. When he died, Anthony left Serapion one of his cloaks, which he treasured for the rest of his life.

Serapion became bishop of Thmuis, a city in lower Egypt. He went to a very important meeting of bishops in Sardica in 347. Serapion proved to be a very brave bishop. He loved the truths of the faith and tried to protect them from those who wanted to change Christian beliefs. He worked with St. Athanasius, another brave bishop. Both were outstanding for their courage. They combated false teachings or heresies with their homilies and with their writings. Most of St. Serapion's writings were lost. They were letters full of instruction about the faith and an explanation of the Psalms. His most important work, called the "Euchologion," was lost for hundreds of years. It was found and published at the end of the nineteenth century.

Another famous saint of that time, Jerome, said that Emperor Constantius sent Serapion into exile. It seems that Serapion died around the year 370 in the place where he was exiled.

Reflection: Take a moment to be grateful for those persons in your life who have taught you about the faith and have been an example in living it.

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