Deir Mar Jirys - CHOZIBA


From that day I scarcely did anything without the old man’s advice. When I was put in charge of lighting the candles, I used to stay night and day at his side on Sunday, when he came (into the coenobium) and passed his time in the church. As I suffered many. struggles, fits of weakness, trials and hours of distress, the old man would lighten my burden and cure my soul and body. When the Persians surrounded the City of God, I disclosed my thoughts to him: “Behold,” I said. “the hegumen is fleeing to Arabia and has asked me to go with him, together with other brothers who want to do the same. And he answered me: “My son, it is best for us to stay, for life or for death, in the place where we renounced the world, and rather to die in this country (than to escape). For even if the Lord reprimands us for our sins as a merciful and loving father, He will not forsake His holy city, and His eyes will forever watch over this city and this land, the promised land, until the end of time, as He promised”. I listened to him and decided to stay, and we went out (of the coenobium) with the brothers (to hide) in the caves. Often I was in danger, meeting Saracens and Jews face to face, but I was never caught, protected as I was by the old man’s prayers, because of my listening to his words.

(transl. Leah Di Segni)

George and other monks remain in the monastery during the Persian invasion.