Venerable Theophanes of Antioch

Saint Theophanes of Antioch was the son of pagans. At a youthful age he entered into marriage, but after three years his wife died. St Theophanes then came to believe in Christ and accepted Baptism. He gave up everything and began to live beyond the city in a manner of self-denial. He zealously taught the keeping of the commandments of God to everyone who came to him. He exhorted people to lead a pure and chaste life, and he condemned the debauchery of the people of Antioch. When St Theophanes learned about a certain profligate woman, Pansemne, who was caught up in the snares of the devil, he wanted to save her. Knowing how difficult it would be to fulfill such an intention, and conscious of his own infirmity, St Theophanes prayed and he besought the Lord to help him save the sinful woman.

Finally, the saint dressed up in fine clothing, took along much gold and then went to Pansemne. The monk gave her the gold and he asked her to forsake the dissolute life to marry him. Pansemne happily consented and gave him her word to become his wife. The sole condition which St Theophanes set for Pansemne was that she should accept Baptism. Because of the attractive marriage offer, Pansemne consented. In preparing her to accept Baptism, St Theophanes instructed her in the Christian Faith. He explained that the truth of God does not tolerate sin and corruption, but that the love of God is gracious to those that repent.

Having accepted Baptism, St Pansemne by the grace of God was completely reborn as a person. She distributed all the riches that she had acquired through profligacy, and she settled into a hut beside the cell of the monk and began to live the life of an ascetic. After 22 months she died on the very same day as the monk (+ 369).