Isidore of Pelusium
d. approx. 436
Isodore of Pelusium in English
Isidore of Pelusium (d. approx. 436) "If you have a mind to know
what punishment the wicked Jews underwent, who ill-treated the Christ,
read the history of their destruction, writ by Josephus, a Jew indeed,
but a lover or truth, that you may see the wonderful story, such as no
time ever saw before since the beginning of the world, nor ever shall
be." (1965's Nostra Aetate document removed Jewish Guilt from Catholic
"If you have a mind to know what punishment the
wicked Jews underwent, who ill-treated the Christ, read the history of
their destruction, writ by Josephus, a Jew indeed, but a lover or truth,
that you may see the wonderful story, such as no time ever saw before
since the beginning of the world, nor ever shall be.
For that none might refuse to give credit to the history of their
incredible and unparalleled sufferings, truth found out not a stranger,
but a native, and a man fond of their institutions, to relate them in a
doleful strain." (Lib. 3. ep. 75. Vid. et ep. 74.)
Isidore of Pelusium
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Our venerable and God-bearing Father
Isidore of Pelusium was a monastic in the deserts of Egypt, making his
Mount Pelusium his home and the primary locus of his ascetical efforts.
He died about the year 436, and his feast day in the Church is February
Isidore was Egyptian by birth and from a prominent Alexandrian family,
which included Alexandrian Patriarchs Theophilos and Cyril. He studied
all the secular disciplines, but as a youth withdrew from the world,
renouncing his riches and earthly glory, so that he might devote himself
entirely to the spiritual life. For a short time he taught rhetoric in
Pelusium in Egypt; but soon his love for the things of God led him to
flee to the desert as a solitary. After a year of ascetical life, he
returned to Pelusium, where he was ordained to the priesthood. After a
few years he retired to a monastery where he spent the rest of his life,
eventually becoming abbot. From the monastery he wrote thousands of
epistles full of divine grace and wisdom; of these more than two
thousand still survive.
During his lifetime, he came to be a great and energetic defender of the
Orthodox Christian faith, writing (according to the historian Nicephorus)
more than ten thousand letters to numerous individuals, giving reproach,
counsel, encouragement, comfort, and instruction.
At the time of the persecution of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of
Constantinople, while the populace was split into two factions, one for
Chrysostom and the other against, Abba Isidore sided with the
golden-tongued saint. He wrote to Patriarch Theophilus that St. John was
a great light of the Church, and he begged him to avoid rancor against
the exiled archbishop.
In some of his many letters, St. Isidore is quoted as saying the
"It is more important to teach by a life of doing good than to preach in
"If one desires that his virtues appear great, let him consider them
small, and they will surely manifest themselves as great."
"First do and then teach, according to the example of our Lord Jesus."
"To live without speaking is better than to speak without living. For
the former who lives rightly does good even by his silence, but the
latter does no good even when he speaks. When words and life correspond
to one another they are together the whole of divine philosophy."
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