Deir el-Muqalik - THEOCTISTUS

7-8, 12-16, 28

(7-8) <In Stephen’s time, in the second half of the eighth century. Theoctistus’ monastery was in ruins. An Egyptian monk called Christophorus lived in Theoctistus’ cave, completely alone: Stephen used to come to him every Saturday to offer the holy Sacrifice, for he was a priest.>

(12-16) <The cave where Christophorus lived was accessible only by means of a rope-ladder: Stephen would throw a stone from below, to advise Christophorus of his arrival. and the latter would let down the ladder. Once Christophorus, wishing to detain Stephen, bolted the door of the cave and hid the rope-ladder; but Stephen miraculously opened the door and found the ladder in a hollow in the-upper floor of the cave.>

(28) <The grave of Theoctistus and the holiest monks of his monastery was known only to a few hermits and to the wandering Arabs of the area. It was not in the inaccessible cave up on the cliff (where the burial place of the monks is located), but below. Stephen led his disciple there, took him down, opened the grave and showed him the remains of Theoctistus and of other holy men, buried in the same grave.>

In the 8th cent. the monastery is in ruin, the grave of the elders is concealed, and the monk Christophorus lives alone in Theoctistus’ cave.