Thursday, 14 March 2013

Bidding Farewell - Life of Fr. Benyamin the Hermit

When his health began to improve he insisted on returning to his cave, and the doctors who treated him permitted him to leave the hospital to return to the monastery but not back to his cave. Nevertheless, when he arrived at the monastery he insisted on returning to his cave and he did.

The last time for him to return to the hospital was due to him collapsing and hitting his head on the ground, leaving him unconscious for days. When he began to regain his consciousness little by little he tried to get up and walk to the cave’s door to find someone to help him. God willed that some of the Fathers were making their way to see him; they found him standing in front of his cave as if he was lost and they found out what happened from him. He was standing trying to grab the attention of another hermit far from him, many kilometers away!!!

In the hospital to which he was transferred to immediately, he quickly received the results of the x-rays which showed that he had internal bleeding in his brain, between the membranes. This is what caused his ongoing suffering and severe headaches, the time was too late for any surgical intervention and his gums were injured. He was continuously bleeding until he went into a coma.

In spite of all of this Fr. Benyamin still carried out his spiritual rule, especially the Agpeya prayers and his Bible readings, committed to this even in the remaining days of his life. Even in carrying out what he can from the readings with the help of the Fathers the monks. He also confessed and partook of the Holy Mysteries more than once in that period.

The psalm that he loved and constantly recited was, “Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens.” (Psalm 122). The last book that he was reading was “The Way to the Kingdom”, the doctor who treated him kept and held on to the book after him.

He distributed most of his own personal books as gifts to all those who were around him, as if he felt that he no longer needed them.

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