Holy Hermit – Euthymius the Great

Saint Euthymius was born in Armenia, in a pious and noble family. Christian tradition says his parents, Paul and Dionysia, prayed for a son at the church of Saint Polyeuctus in Melitene When the child was born, they named him Euthymius, meaning “good cheer”.

Euthymius was educated by Bishop Otreius of Melitene, who ordained him and placed him in charge of all the monasteries in the diocese.  When he was 30, he secretly set out on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  He stayed there living in a cave near a group of monks.  

In 411, Euthymius withdrew into the wilderness with a fellow-hermit, Saint Theoctistus, living in a rough cavern on the banks of a torrent. When people gathered around them, they turned the cavern into a church and built a monastery.  St. Theoctistus was put in charge, while Euthymius, tried to remain solitary, he gave spiritual direction to others.

Terebon, the son of the Saracen chief Aspebetus became ill.  It was believed that Eurhymius cured him.  This made the hermit famous,  Large crowds came to visit him.  He moved further into the wilderness near the Dead Sea.  For a time he lived on a remote mountain.  Large crowds followed him there too.  He decided to return to the neighborhood of the monastery of Theoctistus, where he chose to live in a cavern.  Every Sunday he came to the monastery to participate in Mass. Many people wanted Euthymius as their spiritual guide.  In 420, on the road between Jerusalem and Jerico, he created a monastery, of a group of cells and caves with a connecting church for hermits.  The church connected the cells was dedicated in 428 by Juvenal, the first Patriarch of Jerusalem

When the Fourth Ecumenical Synod in 451 condemned the errors of Eutyches and Dioscorus, it was because of Euthymius that most of the Eastern hermits accepted its decrees. Empress Eudoxia was converted to Orthodoxy from his efforts.

He died January 20, 473.