Science of the Saints, 7 July, Our Venerable Fathers Thomas of Maleum and Acacius, mentioned in “The Ladder”

The Monk Thomas of Maleum was a military commander before accepting monasticism. Powerful and brave, he had participated in many a battle, and he brought victory to his countrymen, for which he gained glory and esteem. But, striving with all his heart towards God, Thomas left the world with its honours and he took monastic vows.

With great humility he visited monastic elders, asking of them guidance in the spiritual life. After several years Thomas received the blessing for solitary wilderness life and, strengthened in particular by a revelation through the holy prophet of God, Elias, he settled on Mount Maleum (eastern part of Athos). Dwelling in complete seclusion, Saint Thomas fought with invisible enemies with suchlike a courage as before he had against the visible enemies of his country.

The life and deeds of Saint Thomas were not able to be concealed from the surrounding area. People began to flock to him seeking spiritual guidance, and even those suffering from sickness, since he received from God the blessing to heal infirmities.

Many believers received help through the prayers of the monk and upon his departure to God.

The Monk Acacius of Sinai lived during the sixth century and was a novice at a certain monastery. The humble monk distinguished himself by his patient and unquestioning obedience to his spiritual elder, a man of callous character. He forced the monk to toil excessively, starved him with hunger, and beat him without mercy. Despite such treatment, the Monk Acacius meekly endured the affliction and thanked God for everything. Not long surviving such harsh obedience, Saint Acacius died.

The elder after five days told about the death of his disciple to another elder, who did not believe that the young monk was dead. Then this teacher of Acacius called this other elder over to the grave of Acacius and loudly asked: “Brother Acacius, art thou dead?” From the grave was heard a voice: “No, father, not dead; whosoever beareth an obedience, is not wont to die.” The startled elder fell down with tears before the grave, asking forgiveness of his disciple.

And after this he changed himself morally, he applied himself in his cell near the grave of Saint Acacius, and in prayer and in meekness he finished out his life. The Monk John Climacus offers this tale in his “Ladder” as an example of endurance and obedience, and the rewards for them.

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