Commemorated on February 28
Saint John, called Barsanuphius, was a native of Palestine. He was
baptized when he was eighteen years old, and later became a monk.
Because of his ascetic life, St John was consecrated Archbishop of
Damascus. Because of his love for the solitary life, St John gave up his
position as hierarch and secretly withdrew to Alexandria, calling
himself Barsanuphius. Then he went into the Nitrian desert, arrived at a
monastery, and begged the igumen to accept him into the monastery to
serve the Elders. He conscientiously fulfilled this obedience by day,
and spent his nights in prayer.
Theodore of Nitria saw the monk,
and knew that he was a bishop. St John concealed himself again and
withdrew into Egypt, where he lived in asceticism until the end of his
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