Saint Alexios the man of God
Celebration date: 17/03
Saint Alexios was born in Rome during the times of the emperors Arcadius (395 – 408 AD) and Honorius (395 – 423 AD) to pious and wealthy parents. His father Euphimianos was a senator, philanthropic and sympathetic, so that every day he provided three banks in his house for orphans, widows and foreigners who were poor. His wife’s name was Aglais and she was childless. In her prayer to have a child, God heard her. And he gave them a son. After the child grew up and received a proper education, he became wise and a teacher of God. When he came of legal age, he was crowned with a daughter of royal and noble lineage. In the evening, however, in the marital room, Osios, after taking the gold ring and the belt, returned them to his wife and left the dormitory. Taking enough money from his riches he left by ship, scorning the vanity of earthly glory. It reaches Laodicea in Syria and from there to Edessa in Mesopotamia. There Saint Alexius distributed the money to the poor, even his clothes, and, after dressing himself in ragged and tattered clothes, he sat in the narthex of the temple of the Most Holy Theotokos, as one of the poor. He thus preferred to live in fasting throughout the week and partake of the Immaculate Mysteries every Sunday, while only then he ate a little bread and drank a little water.
But his parents were looking for him everywhere and sent their servants to find him. In their search they reached the temple of Edessa, but without recognizing him. The slaves returned idle to Rome, while the mother of Alexius in agony, wearing poor clothes, sat at a door of the house mourning night and day. So did the bride, who wore a fur sack and remained close to her mother-in-law.
Saint Alexios for seventeen years remained in the narthex of the temple of Theotokos, pleasing God. And one night the Mother of God appeared to the priest of the temple in a dream and asked him to bring the man of God into the temple. Then the parsonary, after he came out of the temple and found no one but Alexios, begged the Mother of God to point out the man to him, as it happened. Then he took Saint Alexios by the hand and introduced him into the temple with all honor and magnificence.
As soon as Osios realized that he became known there, he left secretly and thought to go to Tarsus, to the church of Saint Paul the Apostle, where he would be unknown there. But Divine Providence planned. For a violent wind seized the ship and carried it to Rome. Leaving the ship, he understood that the Lord wanted Alexios to return to his home.
When he met his father, who did not recognize his son, he asked him to have mercy on him and let him eat from the leftovers of his bank. With great willingness his father accepted to have mercy on him and even gave him a servant to help him. Some servants from the house teased and made fun of him, but he didn’t care. He gave his food to others, remaining the whole week without food and water, and only after the Communion of the Holy and Immaculate Mysteries did he receive a little bread and water.
So he stayed for seventeen years in his father’s house without anyone knowing him. When it was time for him to sleep, he sat down and wrote on paper his whole life, the places he spent, but also some of the secrets that only his parents knew. One Sunday, when Archbishop Innocentios was celebrating the Divine Liturgy, a voice was heard from the Holy Altar, inviting the participants to seek the man of God. On Friday, Saint Alexios surrendered his spirit into the hands of God, while in the afternoon of the same day the faithful kings and the Archbishop came to the temple to pray to God to reveal to them the holy man of God. Then a voice directed them to Euphimiano’s house. A little later the kings together with the Archbishop arrived at the house of Euphimianos, in fact provoking the question of his wife and daughter-in-law about their presence there, and they asked Euphimianos. But he, after first asking the servants, said he knew nothing. Then the servant who took care of Saint Alexios, motivated by divine power, mentioned the lifestyle of the poor man, whom he served. Then Euphimianos, not knowing that the Blessed One is already dead, revealed his face, which shone like the face of an angel. He even saw a piece of paper in Osios’s hand, which he couldn’t tear away. He then reported to his visitors that the man of God had been found. The kings and the Archbishop then asked Osios to allow them to see the paper he had in his hand. As soon as the archivist took the paper in his hand, Euphimianos realized that it was his son, whom he had been looking for for years, and great mourning fell on his family. Great lamentation from his wife and daughter-in-law as well.