Venerable Conan, Abbot of the Pethukla Monastery

St Conan was born in Cilicia. While still at an early age he became a monk at the Pethukla monastery near the Jordan River, where he was ordained presbyter. Archbishop Peter of Jerusalem learned about the strict ascetic and sent people to him for Baptism. St Conan baptized those who came and anointed them with holy chrism, but he would not baptize women. St John the Forerunner appeared to him, promising to help him in his struggle with temptations.

A girl came from Persia seeking Baptism. She was so beautiful that St Conan could not anoint her with the holy chrism, since she was naked. For two days the girl remained without being baptized or anointed with the holy chrism. St Conan wanted to find a pious woman to anoint her, but it was difficult to find such a woman, since the area was so remote.

The ascetic decided to leave the monastery, but on the way St John the Forerunner again appeared to him and said, “Return to your monastery, for I shall relieve you of your conflict.” St Conan tried to argue and to refuse, saying that when St John the Forerunner had appeared before, he had promised to free him from temptation.

St John the Baptist then signed the ascetic with the Sign of the Cross and said that he would receive a reward for his struggle with temptations. Then he commanded him to return to the monastery and to have no further doubts.

St Conan obediently fulfilled the advice of St John, and he anointed the Persian maiden with chrism without even noticing that she was a woman. After this the ascetic lived at the monastery for twenty years. Having achieved perfect dispassion, he peacefully fell asleep in the Lord about the year 555.