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Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Silvanus, Solitary of Sinai

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Silvanus (12) , solitary of Sinai, a native of Palestine. "He founded at Geraris near the great torrent a very extensive establishment for holy men, over which the excellent Zachariah subsequently presided" (Soz. H. E. vi. 32). He trained his followers to industrial pursuits. A wandering ascetic seeing all the brethren working very diligently said to them, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth; Mary chose the better part." Silvanus over-hearing this said, "Give a book to the brother and lead him to an empty cell." When the ninth hour came, no one came to call the stranger to eat. At last, wearied and hungry, he sought Silvanus, and said, "Father, the brethren have not eaten to-day." "Oh yes," replied the abbat, "they have eaten." "And why," said the other, "did you not send for me?" "Because," responded Silvanus, "thou art a spiritual man, and dost not require food; but we are carnal and wish to eat, and therefore are compelled to work. Thou, however, hast chosen the better part and continuest in study the whole day, nor art willing to consume carnal food." The stranger confessed his fault and was forgiven, Silvanus playfully saying, "Martha is evidently necessary to Mary." Cotelerius tells stories of his prolonged trances. On one occasion he awoke very sad because he had been in the eternal world and seen many monks going to hell and many secular persons to heaven ( Monument , t. i. p. 679).


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Silvanus, Solitary of Sinai'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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