Deir Mar Jirys - CHOZIBA


(11) <After his brother death, George stayed in Calamon alone in his cell; but when the hegumen of Calamon died and a quarrel broke out among the brothers about the succession, he decided to leave and went back to his former monastery.>

(12) The hegumen was very pleased by the return of the former pupil of his monastery, namely the old man (George), and agreed at once to give him a cell. So George immediately left for the cells of Choziba. During the whole period that he spent in the cell, nobody was able to observe his way of life, except for the fact that he used no wine, no oil, no bread, and had no garment except one sleeveless tunic, the one he wore for the divine office. Instead, he would go about the refuse heaps and collect rags, and, stitching them together, he would make himself a garment. From those rags he also made his bedding. (George) used to ask the men who in turn were in charge of the store-chamber to keep for him, from Sunday to Sunday, the waste wiped off the tables of the fathers and the guests, were it vegetables, pulse or kernels; then he took these scraps, pounded them in a stone mortar, and made them into balls, which he would put in the sun to dry for two or three days, and if he wanted food at all, he would eat in his cell some of those balls, soaked in water: for on Saturday, late in the day, the cell-dwellers used to ascend to the coenobium, to take part in the divine office and in the liturgy of the immaculate mysteries, then to eat with the fathers who lived within the monastery. (George, on the contrary, ate these balls in his cell.) And believe me, honoured fathers and brothers, that, after the Persian invasion, when we came back to the monastery (of Choziba), I myself went to the cells with some brothers and found what was left of such balls, and we all marvelled at him, that he used those (for his food).

(transl. Leah Di Segni)

George returns to the Cells of Choziba and live an extremely ascetic life.