St Doulas the Passion-Bearer of Egypt

Saint Doulas the Passion-Bearer was a monk at one of the Egyptian monasteries. He distinguished himself by his meekness, humility and obedience. For twenty years he endured the mockery, abuse and contempt of several of the monastic brethren. At first it was difficult for him to bear up and humbly endure the insult, but eventually he reached such a degree of passionlessness (apatheia), that he pitied his detractors and prayed for them with all his heart.

At the end of his life St Doulas underwent temptation. A certain monk stole some church vessels and hid them. When the Igumen and elders of the monastery started to investigate the theft, they accused St Doulas of this sin, because on that day he had not appeared at the Vigil service. St Doulas had always come to church before this, but he had been ill that day, and was unable to attend the service. They led St Doulas to the elders, to whom he protested his innocence, but his enemies slandered him, saying that they were witnesses of his sin. When he saw that they did not believe his words, St Doulas did not argue but said, “Forgive me, holy Fathers, I am a sinner.” The Igumen ordered that the innocent Doulas be stripped of his monastic garb and dressed in secular clothes. Sobbing bitterly, St Doulas prayed, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, because of Thy Holy Name I clothed myself in monastic garb, but now, through my sins, it is stripped from me.”

St Doulas was placed in chains, and the steward demanded to know where the church vessels were hidden, but the innocent passion-bearer only repeated, “Forgive me, I have sinned.”

Then they turned him over to the civil authorities for trial and subjected him to torture, but the saint repeated, “I have neither silver, nor the lost vessels.” The city eparch asked the monks what to do with him, since they had delivered him over to the secular court. They answered, “Do with him as the laws prescribe.” The saint was sentenced to have both his hands cut off. Before the execution of the sentence the governor said, “Tell us where the vessels are and you shall go free.” The saint answered, “Governor, do you want me to confess something that I did not do? I do not want to tell lies about myself, since every lie is from the devil.” They took the saint to the place of execution. Finally, the perpetrator of the theft experienced remorse and went to the Igumen to confess that he had committed the crime.

After twenty years of exile and humiliation, St Doulas was allowed to return to the monastery. The monks began to ask forgiveness of the saint. Not only did he not bear them malice, but he was even grateful that they had given him the opportunity to wipe out his sins by enduring guiltless suffering. The saint asked the Lord to pardon his accusers.

After three days they found the saint had departed to the Lord while kneeling at prayer. His body was locked in the cathedral, and burial was delayed until the arrival of the Igumen and brethren of a nearby monastery. When everyone had gathered and gone into the church, the body of the innocent passion-bearer was not in the cathedral. Only his clothes and sandals remained.

Thus, those who had accused St Doulas of sin, were shown to be unworthy of burying his holy body.