St Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamina
Commemorated on May 12th
St Epiphanius was born around AD 315 in Palestine, to Jewish parents. He received a good education, which developed his zeal for studying the Holy Scriptures. One day he passed by a Christian monk who had taken off his garment to give to a poor man. A brilliant white light from heaven covered the monk, at which Epiphanius fell to his knees begging the monk to baptise him.
Epiphanius became a Christian, left the world behind him and became a disciple of the holy ascetic St Hilarion. He began a life of strict asceticism and continuous study. He took a particular interest in the doctrines of the Church and dedicated much of his life to fighting the heresies that plagued the early Church. After spending four arduous years in the Egyptian desert, Epiphanius established a monastery near his village in Palestine. The miracles God worked through Epiphanius drew many people towards him. Seeking to escape the glory of this attention, Epiphanius, after serving for 30 years as abbot, went to Cyprus where he was joyfully reunited with St Hilarion. Under the pressures of the time, Epiphanius was appointed bishop of Salamina in AD 376, and continued to work miracles of healing and enlightenment. The Saint was known to have been graced with seeing the Holy Spirit whenever he celebrated the Divine Liturgy.
He died while travelling back to Cyprus after addressing the Origen heresy in Constantinople. Prior to his death, he urged his disciples to preserve the purity of the true Faith and to turn away from the corruption of riches. When the ship arrived in Cyprus with the Saint’s body, an enormous crowd bearing candles greeted it and solemnly accompanied him to the church of his diocese.
Source: April– May 2014 Lychnos Edition