Maximus and Domatius

Giving up the Royal Glory

Abba Maximus and his brother Domatius were the sons of Walendianus, a Roman Emperor who feared God and was steadfast in his faith. He had raised these two angelic sons in a holy and Christian manner. They were full of purity and holiness, always praying and reading the holy books. When they realized that this world was only transitional and temporal, they decided to leave and live a monastic life. They asked their father to allow them to travel to the City of Nicea, to pray in the place where the first Universal Council was held in 325 A.D. Their father rejoiced and sent them with an entourage of soldiers and servants as was the custom for the children of kings. When they arrived, they asked the soldiers to go back to their father and tell him that they wanted to stay there for some time. Then they revealed their thoughts to one saintly monk that they wanted to put on the holy garb of the monks. The monk did not agree with them because he feared their father, and he told them to go to Syria where Saint Agabius abided. They went and stayed there for six years until his departure. Before he departed, he told them that he had desired to see Saint Macarius of Scetis in the flesh, but that he has seen him in the spirit; he commanded them to go to Saint Macarius and become his children.

Leading an Active and Holy Life

God granted them the gift of healing. Their report was heard in all the countries, especially among the sea merchants and the travellers. They learned the trade of making ships sails, and they were able to support themselves with money earned by selling their work and they gave the rest to charity. One day, one of their father's stewards saw a sail boat on which it was written, ``Maximus and Domatius''. He tried to get some information from the ship owner who said to him, ``These are the names of two monk brothers which I have written on my ship as a blessing, so that God may prosper my business.'' He described them to him. The steward recognized them and took the man to the Emperor, and when the Emperor verified what he had heard, he sent their mother and the princess, their sister, to meet them. When they met with the two saints and recognized them, they wept. Their mother wanted them to return with her, but they refused. Meanwhile, they soothed the hearts of their mother and their sister.

Escaping from Worldly Glory to the Desert of Scetis

After a while, the Patriarch of Rome departed, and they remembered Maximus, whom they wanted to ordain in his place. His father rejoiced when he heard this. When the news arrived to Maximus and his brother, they remembered the command of their father Saint Agabius. They disguised themselves, and went to the road along the Mediterranean, and when they were thirsty, God transformed the salty water into fresh water. Finally, they reached the wilderness of Scetis, where Saint Macarius was residing. They told him that they wanted to live with him and be his disciples. When Saint Macarius saw that they were rich, he thought that they would not be able to live in the desert because of its harshness. They answered him saying, ``If we are not able to live here, our father, we will return to where we came from.'' He then gave them a shovel and asked them to dig a cave for them in a solid rock. He thought that they would be too tired to complete it and leave. Then he taught them how to plait palm leaves, told them about someone who would take their crafts to sell and left them.

Humility and Silence

They lived in this manner for three full years, never meeting anyone; they only went to Church on Sundays to partake of the Holy Communion silently. Saint Macarius marvelled that they did not go to him all these years to seek his advice. After praying for God to reveal their secret for a whole week, he went to visit them in their cell where he also spent the night. When he woke up at midnight, as was his custom to pray, he saw the two Saints praying and a ray of light like fire, going from their mouths to heaven, and the devils were all around them like flies, and the angel of the Lord standing with a sword of fire protecting them. At dawn, they pretended they were asleep and they all got up. Saint Macarius put on them the holy garb of the monks, and asked them to pray for him. They bowed to the ground before him and they were silent.

A Glorious Departure

When they completed their course, and the Lord wanted to take them away from this sad temporal world, Saint Maximus became sick, and sent to Saint Macarius to come and visit him. When Saint Macarius arrived, he found him ill with a fever. He consoled him, and Saint Macarius saw a crowd of prophets and saints, including Saint John the Baptist, gathered around him until he gave up his pure spirit in dignity and honor.

Saint Domatius, his brother, was weeping bitterly, and asked Saint Macarius to pray to Christ to take him also to be with his brother. After three days, he became sick, and Saint Macarius visited him. On his way, he saw the crowd of saints who have carried his brother before carrying the soul of Saint Domatius up to Heaven. When he arrived at the cave, he found that he had passed away. He put his body with his brother's.

When Saint Macarius was asked about these two Saints not going to consult his wisdom, he replied that they were very wise themselves, perfect and humble; they didn't want to make that be known to the monks for not to be praised for attaining such spiritual levels in their young age.

May their prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.

Conclusion

If royal glory is great, heavenly glory is far greater and everlasting. Silence and humility are the best guards against the devil's wars. Persistence is the key to success.

 

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