Venerable Arsenius of Latros

St Arsenius of Latros, the son of rich, illustrious and pious parents, was born at Constantinople. He was made Patrician and General of the Cibyrra military Theme (the Byzantine Empire was divided into 29 Themes, or districts). Once, when he was traveling by sea with his soldiers, a storm arose and the ships sank. Of all the soldiers only St Arsenius was saved. After this he became a monk, and he mortified his flesh by fasting, vigil and hardships.

Later, he came to a certain place on Mount Latros, in Asia Minor. There he killed a poisonous viper by his prayer and the Sign of the Cross, and then he settled in the nearby Kelliboria monastery on the north side of the mountain, where he was chosen igumen. From the monastery St Arsenius went to a cave, where he repelled wild beasts by prayer. The brethren of the monastery asked him to return to them. He did go back, but did not live with the other monks. He lived alone in a small cell, and for six days of the week he neither ate any food, nor would he converse with anyone.

Finally, St Arsenius attained such perfection that he was fed by an angel. He was also granted the grace to perform miracles. He could stir bitter water with his staff and change it into sweet water. After performing many other miracles, he called the brethren to him and gave them his final instructions.

After advising them to put aside all worldly cares and vanities, St Arsenius surrendered his soul to God. The saint continued to work miracles even after his death.