Deir Mar Jirys - CHOZIBA


It was the custom of the cell-dwellers to go to the coenobium every Sunday. When the old man came in, the monks in charge of the different services would take him around to their respective offices, so that he would bless (their work) and pray for them; some also used to reveal their thoughts to him. One Sunday (George) happened to prolong his conversation with one of the brothers until the second or third hour of the night. The second hour had already gone by when the old man - who had the habit of never passing the night in the coenobium - went out to the gatehouse and asked the gatekeeper to unlock the door and let him out. The gatekeeper tried to stop him, saying: “But the hour is late, reverend father; where will you go now? You had better lie down and sleep, and leave at daybreak.” But the old man answered: “No, my son, let me out now.” The other replied: “Reverend father. I am afraid to be blamed, if something should happen to you on the way.” “There is God who helps. my son” said the Elder so the gatekeeper, after many efforts to detain him, not being able to persuade (the holy man), finally let him out.

The old man went out and began to walk along the narrow path <where only one man can tread at a time> towards his cell. And an evil spirit came. and tried to throw him headlong (in the precipice) in the steep passages (of the path). When he perceived this, (the old man) ordered the spirit: “Stay away from me”. But, after this had happened several times, since (the devil) did not give in, the old man finally said to him: “As in your impudence you refuse to be off, blessed be the Lord! you will carry me and bring me to my cell”. And (the spirit) at once bent down, and, carrying George on his back, took him to his cell. Then the old man said: “Now go and never behave impudently and contend with us, the humble sinners”.

(transl. Leah Di Segni)

George returns safely to his cell in the middle of the night.