Deir Mar Jirys - CHOZIBA


(23) The old man used to ask the men who in turn were in charge of the store-chamber. never to bake bread without him; for he would say that the reward of this work was especially great in this holy place, as most (of the bread) was used for the guests. He also took upon himself the service of the drinking apparatus (pipingia)that was on the road to Jericho. and he willingly also helped the gardeners and took part in every service, for he strove to display the greatest helpfulness in the duties of the monastery for the sake of the guests, not only on account of the reward, but also because of his wish of serving as incentive and example to the brothers. In the bakery, among his other tasks, he would also light the oven. You all know how trying and oppressive this place is in summer time: for we often find the candles of the chandelier in the presbytery quite melted and drooping from the burning heat of the midsummer climate. And in this same burning heat the old man would endure the work of the bakery, lighting the oven even twice and many times thrice a day; and what many of the brothers tried to do and could not, (George) was unfailingly capable of performing. Hence the brothers used to say: “This old man is made of iron”.

(24) One day after dinner everyone lay down to rest wherever he chose, and the old man leant back a little, aside from the others, not to sleep but to recite psalms. Then suddenly a flame burst out of the oven door, which was open by the devil’s work, and seized the branches of manuthion that lay nearby in a great heap; and the blaze rose as high as the top of the dome. Then (George) saw the holy and blessed Mother of God standing suspended between the ground and the top of the dome and extinguishing the fire with the touch of her hand …

(transl. Leah Di Segni)

George in the bakery of the monastery.