Ven. Karion (Cyrion) and his son, Ven. Zachariah, of Egypt

Saint Karion lived in Scetis in Egypt during the fourth century. He became a monk and left his wife and two children behind in the world. When a famine struck Egypt, Saint Karion’s wife brought the children to the monastery and complained of their poverty and difficulties. The saint took his son, Zachariah, and the daughter remained with the mother.

He raised his son at the skete, and everyone knew that Zachariah was his son. When the lad grew up, the brethren began to grumble. The father and his son then went into the Thebaid, but complaints about them arose there, too. Then Saint Zachariah went to Lake Nitria, immersing himself in the foul-smelling water up to his nostrils and he stayed there for an hour. His face and his body were covered with welts, and he looked like a leper. Even his own father hardly recognized him.

The next time Saint Zachariah came for Holy Communion, it was revealed to the Saint Isidore the Presbyter what Zachariah had done. The holy priest said to him, “Child, last Sunday you communed as a man, but now you receive as an angel.”

After the death of his father, Saint Zachariah began to struggle together with Saint Moses the Black (August 28). “What must I do, to be saved?” asked Saint Moses. Hearing this, Saint Zachariah fell to his knees and said: “Why do you ask this of me, Father?”

“Believe me, my child, Zachariah,” Saint Moses continued, “I saw the Holy Spirit come down upon you, and that is why I ask you.”

Saint Zachariah then took the koukoulion (cowl) from his head, trampling it under his feet. After putting it on again he said, “If a man is not willing to be treated this way, he cannot be a monk.”

Saint Moses asked Zachariah just before his death, “What do you see, brother?”

“Isn’t it better if I keep silent, Father?” Saint Zachariah replied.

“Yes, child, remain silent”, agreed Saint Moses.

When the soul of Saint Zachariah was leaving his body, Abba Isidore lifted his gaze toward the heavens and said, “Rejoice, Zachariah my child, for the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven are opened to you.”

Saint Zachariah died towards the end of the fourth century and was buried in Skete with the Fathers.