September 11th is the commemoration day of Saint Efrosinos, our father or patron saint.
Saint Efrosinos, an illiterate and coarse man, left the secular world and entered a monastery where he was ordained as a monk. Despised by his fellow monks for his simplicity and lack of culture, he followed the humility of Christ and served them as a cook in the kitchen. As he was always soiled from coal and ashes, everyone laughed at him and teased him. Some of the foulest ones took advantage of his silence and goodness by beating him.
He, the blessed one, accepted the humiliations with bravery at times, sweating at other times—breathless but joyful, silently advancing in virtue away from the attention of others.
In that monastery there was a virtuous priest who for three years, through praying and fasting, was begging God to show him the rewards that “He had prepared for the ones who love Him.” (A’ Corinthians 2,9).
One night, while the priest was sleeping, his mind wandered into Paradise. He saw a most beautiful and scented garden filled with every kind of tree, blossoming flowers, crystal clear water, and other wondrous things beyond description.
While trying to find the master of this magnificent paradise, the priest saw the monastery’s cook Efrosinos enjoying these unearthly goods. Full of surprise, he asked Efrosinos how he went there and if this was the place prepared by God for the ones who love Him.
Efrosinos answered, “ Honest Father, as you already know, I do not know how to read. I hear from you what the Apostle says. As we suffer little, we only see a part of what God has prepared for us who love Him, because a human cannot bear to see more.”
The priest asked him if he had come there before. Efrosinos replied, “With the grace of God, I stay here always and I am the garden’s keeper.”
Then the priest showed him three large beautiful apples and asked if Efrosinos had the authority to give them to him. Efrosinos cut them at once and placed them into the priest’s frock.
At that exact moment, the bell rang for the morning sermon. The priest jumped from his bed, thinking he had been dreaming. He was surprised when he found the three heavenly fruits inside his frock. In the church he spotted Efrosinos standing next to his pew as usual. Kneeling in front of him, the priest begged Efrosinos to tell him where he had
been the previous night.
“I was there, Father,” answered Eftrosinos, “where you found me.”
“Tell me, Servant of God, what did you give me?” the priest asked one more time.
“You asked for three apples and I gave them to you,” the cook humbly replied.
The priest asked Efrosinos for his forgiveness and went to his pew. When the sermon was over, the priest brought the three apples from his cell. He showed them to his brothers and explained what had happened during the night. They were stunned and praised God for what had happened. They cut the apples into pieces and put them on a tray. Whoever received the blessing of the heavenly garden and ate the apples was cured of any illness.
While the monks were listening attentively to the priest’s story, Efrosinos the Blessed opened the side door of the church. Leaving behind human glory, he walked away from the monastery and was never seen again.
New Edition of the Orthodox Church
Tome 1, September, Publisher Ormelia 2001