Agnaviva, and thrown into prison, where they were daily fed by angels, during thirty years, with heavenly nourishment. Then they were taken forth and thrown to lions, which came and licked their feet. They were cast into a fire, but issued forth unhurt. Next they were stoned and beaten with clubs, but without suffering, and the governor was blinded, whereupon he ordered his officers to carry him away and put him to bed.

In vain does the unfortunate Curvus implore Apollo to restore sight to his eyes. He remains blind, till healed by the saints. Then Curvus has a dropsical man carried into the temple of Apollo, and the God of light invoked to reduce his size, but in vain, whereas when the saints pray, the dropsy disappears. Another attempt is attended with similar results, and the governor, disappointed, orders the bishops to fresh torments with molten lead and stones. Castus and Secundinus pray, and the temple of Apollo crumbles down. Thereupon their heads are struck off with the sword.

There exists no reasonable doubt that on account of the city of Gaeta having possession of some relics of two saints of the name of Castus and Secundinus, of whom nothing was known, some unscrupulous person forged the acts. The church of Capua having also some relics of SS. Castus and Cassius, of whom also nothing was known, cast about for some suitable story, with the elements of popularity in it, which it might appropriate and adapt, and those of Castus and Secundinus were chosen for the purpose. The place where these saints are said to have suffered was Suessa in Campania (Rocca Monfina), but Baronius has altered the site in the Roman Martyrology into Sinuessa (Rocca di Mondragone)-why it is impossible to say; but probably through a mere oversight. The relics, however, are at Gaeta; an arm of S. Castus

was translated to Calvi. The original relics are said to have been brought from Suessa in 969, and the invention of the acts probably took place about the time of the invention of the bones.



[The Bollandists; Greven in his additions to Usuardus, Maurolycus, Felicius, and other Modern Martyrologists. On August 27th Baronius inserted in the Roman Martyrology "S. Paemo, anchorite in the Thebaid." He probably meant S. Pambo, anchorite in the Nitrian desert, as no S. Paemo is known to have existed there, nor indeed anyone of that name. Authority :-Mention in the Lives of the Fathers of the Desert: Palladius, Lib. VIII., c. 10, and Socrates, Lib. IV., c. 23.]

No consecutive life of this venerable hermit exists, but various incidental notices of him occur in the lives of other great saints of the desert.

He was the master of Dioscorus the bishop, Ammon, Eusebius, and Euthymius, the three tall brothers, in the Nitrian desert, of whom mention has been made in the life of S. John Chrysostom (Jan. 27th).

The Blessed Melania told Palladius that she had paid a visit to Pambo in his wilderness, and had presented him with a silver vessel weighing three hundred pounds. The abbot never even looked up from his rush-weaving, but said, "Here! steward Origen, take it and sell it for the good of the brotherhood," and went on with his platting.

Melania stood expecting some thanks, but finding that Pambo took no more notice of her, said, "Do you know, father, what is the value of my present?"

"He to whom it was offered needs not that you should tell Him," answered the abbot drily.

One day the hermit Pior came to visit him, and when the time to eat arrived, drew forth from his wailet a piece

of bread.

"Why have you brought your food with you," "I did not wish to be a charge to your

asked Pambo.

hospitality," answered Pior.

A little while after, Pambo visited Pior, and at dinnertime drew forth his loaf and some water, in which he sopped his bread. "Why have you brought water and bread, my brother?" asked Pior. "I did not wish to be a charge to your hospitality," answered Pambo.

Two Spanish brothers spent their fortune in different ways-one became an anchorite in the desert, the other built hospitals and convents. When both died, the monks of Pambo's monastery disputed about them, and some thought that the anchorite must have been the most perfect. They appealed to Pambo. "Both," said he, "were perfect before God; there are many roads to perfection, besides that which leads through the desert cell."

Not being learned in letters, Pambo sought a man who could read, to teach him the Psalter. His friend began with the first verse of the 39th Psalm, "I said I will take heed to my ways, that I offend not with my tongue." "That will do for to-day," said Pambo, and went his way. He did not return for six months, and was chidden. "It is hard to learn that one verse," answered Pambo; "I have not mastered it yet." Many years after some one asked him about that verse. "It has taken me nineteen years to learn it, and I am not perfect in it yet," he replied.

Some one gave Pambo gold to be distributed in alms. "Count it," said the donor. "God does not ask how much, but how," answered the abbot. "Not the amount,

but the will wherewith it is given."

At the request of S. Athanasius, Pambo came to Alexandria. He there saw an actress. He burst into tears. "Alas!" said he, "how much less do I labour to please God than does this poor girl to delight the eyes of men."

Two brothers came to visit Abbot Pambo one day, and one asked him, 'Father, I fast twice a week and eat only two loaves; shall I save my soul ?"

And the other asked, "I pick two pods of beans and give them in alms daily; shall I save my soul?”

Pambo did not answer; they waited four days, but got no reply. Then they were sad and prepared to go, but before departing visited the abbot once more.

"Are you going?" he asked.

"We are going," they replied.

Then looking them fixedly in the eyes, he stooped and wrote in the dust, "Pambo fasts two days a week and eats only two loaves, and does this make a monk of him? Pambo picks two bean-pods and gives them in alms every day, and does this make a monk of him? By no means.' Then he drew himself up, and said after a pause, "Keep your consciences void of offence to your neighbour, and so shall ye be saved.”

[ocr errors]

A brother said once to Pambo, "How is it that the Divine Spirit never allows me to be charitable ?"

"Don't say the Divine Spirit," said the abbot impatiently; "say, 'I don't want to be charitable.""

He read the vehement, tyrannical bishop Theophilus of Alexandria a lesson when Theophilus visited him. "Speak to the patriarch," said the monks, when Pambo remained silent. "If he will not learn a lesson from my silence, he will learn none from my words," said the abbot, and turned away.

Theodore, abbot of Phermæ, visited him and asked him to give him good advice. "Be merciful to all," answered Pambo. "There, go thy way."

"If you have a heart you will be saved," was another of his pithy sayings. And again, "A monk should only wear such a dress as no one would pick up if cast abroad."

When Pambo lay a-dying, he said: "I thank God that not a day of my life has been spent in idleness, never have I eaten bread that I have not earned with the sweat of my brow!" and then, "I thank God that I do not recall any bitter speech I have made for which I ought to repent now."

Pambo had asked of Antony, at the outset of his monastic career, what he should do, "Never trust in your own merits, never trouble yourself about transitory affairs, keep a check on your stomach, and learn to hold your tongue," was the advice of Antony, and on this he acted through life.



[Gallican Martyrologies. At Rhodez on July 5th. Authority :-The Acts divided into nine lections in the Breviary of Estaing, in Rhodez. These Acts are utterly untrustworthy. The first lesson recites how Pope Pontius summoned all the bishops of Gaul and Aquitain, and especially Floregius, bishop of Auvergne, to consult concerning Arianism and the false, barbaric, baptism usual in Gaul. Now there never was a pope called Pontius; nor does a bishop of the name of Floregius occur among the prelates of Auvergne. According to another account he opposed the Albigenses. This, of course, throws him much later. Altogether he is a saint most difficult to fix in history.]

ACCORDING to the Breviary Lessons of the church of Estaing, "Pontius" the pope summoned all the bishops of Gaul together in council at Rome, to determine measures against the Arians, who baptized improperly. The council met, and the pope ordered all the Gallican prelates to return to their sees and build in each of their cities a church dedicated to S. John Baptist, and set the font therein, and dedicate altars to the Baptist, and forbid all baptisms being performed in any other churches throughout

« VorigeDoorgaan »