Saint Moses the Strong of Sketis

Feast Day: August 28th


The Life of Saint Moses: This robber chief later was overcome by remorse through something which happened to him, joined a Monastery and did penance according to the measure of his crimes…

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Prayers

Akathist Hymn

Apolytikion: You abandoned the Egypt of the passions, O Father, ascending the mount of the virtues with fervent faith, taking the Cross of Christ upon your shoulders; and being glorified in Godly works, you proved to be a model for Monastics, O summit of the Fathers. Pray unceasingly with them that our Souls may find mercy.

Kontakion: Your mind was filled with a Holy inspiration from God, Turning you from the lust and pleasures of the flesh, bringing you to the height of the City of God! O Holy Father Moses, intercede with Christ God that He may grant us great mercy!


One day, Abba Moses was called join his brethren in passing judgement on a fellow Monk. He approached carrying a large sack on his shoulder, with a hole in it, with the dirt falling out behind him. He said to his brethren “I carry behind me my manifold sins where I cannot see them and I come to judge my brother.” Thus illumining all with God’s love, forgiveness and our need to repent for our own sins, the brethren then forgave the Monk and they all left in peace.

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The old man was asked, ‘What should a man do in all the temptations and evil thoughts that come upon him?’ The old man said to him, ‘He should weep and implore the Goodness of God to come to his aid, and he will obtain peace if he Prays with discernment. For it is written, “With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can man do to me?”‘ (Ps. 118:6)

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If a man’s deeds are not in harmony with his Prayer, he labours in vain. The brother said, ‘What is this harmony between practice and Prayer?’ The old man said, ‘We should no longer do those things against which we Pray. For when a man gives up his own will, then God is reconciled with him and accepts his Prayers.’ The brother asked, ‘In all the affliction which the Monk gives himself, what helps him?’ The old man said, ‘It is written, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.'” (Ps.46.1)

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If the Monk does not think in his heart that he is a sinner, God will not hear him. The brother said, ‘What does that mean, to think in his heart that he is a sinner?’ Then the old man said, ‘When someone is occupied with his own faults, he does not see those of his neighbour.’

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“Do no harm to anyone, do not think anything bad in your heart towards anyone, do not scorn the man who does evil, do not put confidence in him who does wrong to his neighbour, do not rejoice with him who injures his neighbour. This is what dying to one’s neighbour means. Do not rail against anyone, but rather say, ‘God knows each one.’ Do not agree with him who slanders, do not rejoice at his slander and do not hate him who slanders his neighbour. This is what it means not to judge. Do not have hostile feelings towards anyone and do not let dislike dominate your heart; do not hate him who hates his neighbour. This is what peace is: Encourage yourself with this thought, affliction lasts but a short time, while peace is for ever, by the Grace of God the Word. Amen.'”

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“Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.”

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It happened that Abba Moses was struggling with the temptation of fornication. Unable to stay any longer in the Cell, he went and told Abba Isidore. The old man exhorted him to return to his Cell. But he refused, saying, ‘Abba, I cannot.’ Then Abba Isidore took Moses out onto the terrace and said to him, ‘Look towards the West.’ He looked and saw hordes of demons flying about and making a noise before launching an attack. Then Abba Isidore said to him, ‘Look towards the East.’ He turned and saw an innumerable multitude of Holy Angels shining with Glory. Abba Isidore said, ‘See, these are sent by the Lord to the Saints to bring them help, while those in the West fight against them. Those who are with us are more in number than they are.’ Then Abba Moses gave thanks to God, plucked up courage, and returned to his cell.

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“One day, when the brethren were sitting beside him, he said to them, ‘Look, the barbarians are coming to Scetis today; get up and flee.’ They said to him, Abba, won’t you flee too?’ He said to them, As for me, I have been waiting for this day for many years, that the Word of the Lord Christ may be fulfilled which says, “All who take the sword will perish by the sword.”‘ (Matt. 26:52) They said to him, ‘We will not flee either, but we will die with you.’ He said to them: ‘That is nothing to do with me; let everyone decide for himself whether he stops or not.’ Now there were seven brothers there and he said to them, ‘Look, the barbarians are drawing near to the door.’ Then they came in and slew them. But one fled and hid under the cover of a pile of rope and he saw seven Crowns descending and crowning them.”

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Quotes by Saint Moses & Stories about his Life

It was said of Abba Moses at Scetis that when he had arranged to go to Petra, he grew tired in the course of the journey and said to himself, ‘How can I find the water I need there?’ Then a voice said to him, ‘Go, and do not be anxious about anything.’ So he went. Some Fathers came to see him and he had only a small bottle of water. He used it all up in cooking lentils for them. The old man was worried, so he went in and came out of his cell, and he Prayed to God, and a cloud of rain came to Petra and filled all the cisterns. After this, the visitors said to the old man, ‘Tell us why you went in and out.’ The old man said to them, ‘I was arguing with God, saying, “You brought me here and now I have no water for your servants.” This is why I was going in and out; I was going on at God till He sent us some water.’

Another day when a council was being held in Scetis, the Fathers treated Moses with contempt in order to test him, saying, ‘Why does this Ethiopian man come among us?’ When he heard this he kept silence. When the council was dismissed, they said to him, ‘Abba, did that not grieve you at all?’ He said to them, ‘I was grieved, but I kept silence.’

The Monk must die to his neighbour and never judge him at all, in any way whatever.

The old man was asked, ‘What is the good of the fasts and watchings which a man imposes on himself?’ and he replied, ‘They make the Soul humble. For it is written, “Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins” (Ps. 25:18). So if the Soul gives itself all this hardship, God will have mercy on it.’

The Monk must die to everything before leaving the body, in order not to harm anyone.