Deir el-Quruntul - DOUKA


(19) <Chariton, disturbed by an unceasing stream of visitors at Pharan, informs his assembled monks of his intention to leave the place, in order to have quiet himself and to bring quiet to them as well.> Having spoken these words, he embraced and blessed everyone, entrusted them to the Lord, and then he left that place. And at the end of one day's march he came upon another cave, situated in the vicinity of Jericho, but in a deserted spot that offered him the greatest quiet, as he desired.

(20) So Chariton spent a long time there too, feeding on the herbs he found and unceasingly performing his devotions to God, as was his wont. Then God, who always governs all matters with the aim of bringing salvation to humankind, drew him back into the light, like a hidden treasure, neither perceptible and inanimate, nor brightly shining with material of colorful appearance, but a spiritual treasure, adorned with the manifold beauties of virtues, and which is not consumed by being shared with others, but on the contrary, giving to others, it remains always whole and in want of naught, for the gift of the Holy Ghost is awarded to the worthy in everlasting form. Indeed, in the other world, the more the owner squanders his wealth, as though draining off stagnant waters, the greater he makes it; and as for this world, the great Chariton cured diseases of both kinds, of the mind as well as of the body, by invoking the name of the Savior Christ. And not only was he successful every time in the practice of this so great a grace, but, always setting to himself additional degrees of ascent in his heart, he even came to partake of this grace in ever-increasing measure, as it happens in the medical art; those who are well versed in it and treat patients even by the tens of thousands gain additional knowledge through their greater experience, rather than suffer a diminution of their professional skill.

(21) Thus, also at that place many people were cured by Chariton, or rather by the divine grace that dwelt in him, and desired to imitate his life of seclusion (“Be imitators of me as I am of Christ” he used to say, after the divine Apostle <1 Cor. 11:1>); and so in this site too he built another school of virtues, which was later enlarged by Elpidius of sainted memory, a man of exceptional ascetic exploits. They called the place Douka, after one Doukas, who took care of the community and repulsed the attacks launched against this chaste monastery by some sinning Jews, who lived as free landowners in the village of Na'aran.

(22) But, not to make a long speech by repeating myself, here too Chariton and his disciples were most seriously disturbed, as in Pharan, by people flocking to him and were prevented from devoting themselves to silence. Therefore Chariton removed himself from that place as well, after having instructed these disciples too as to the best way for cell-dwellers to defeat the devil's tricks, and, having handed over the reins of the direction of the brethren to the man immediately after him, he went off to another deserted spot, fourteen stadia, more or less, from the estate called Thecoa. The Savior of all the universe was pleased to shift him from place to place, so that his servant should become famous everywhere, and those who came to him would be hallowed by his holy prayers and would believe in the Savior Lord (for almost all the population was then pagan) and be freed from the passions that had them in bondage.

(transl. Di Segni)

Bibliografical ref.: 
After leaving Pharan, Chariton settles in a secluded cave near Jericho where the monastery of Douka is founded, later to be enlarged by Elpidius, but when too many people come there, he moves away, ca. AD 340.
Key quotation(s): 
1 Cor. 11:1