"Saint abba Pambo of Nitria, “If you have a heart, you can be saved.”
Saint abba Pambo of Nitria, His Life & Wisdom
Saint Pambo (also known as Pemwah and Bemwah - Όσιος Παμβώ in Greek) is an Egyptian Desert Father of the fourth century. Saint Pambo is venerated by Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Veneration day is 18 July.
Pambo was a disciple of Saint Anthony the Great. He lived in the Nitrian Desert where he founded many monasteries. He was renowned for his wisdom, and was consulted by many, including Saint Athanasius, Saint Melania the Elder, and Saint Rufinus. He was also the spiritual father of many saints, including Saint Pishoy and Saint John the Dwarf.
A founder of the Nitrian Desert monastery in Egypt and a famed disciple of St. Anthony. Having served and studied under Anthony in his youth, Pambo later became a pioneer in establishing the eremitical life in the Nitrian Desert and was much respected for his wisdom. According to tradition, he was regularly visited by some of the most powerful and prominent figures of the time, including Sts. Athanasius, Melania the Elder, and Rufinus. St. Melania was with him when he died.
As a youngster, Saint Pambo once asked Saint Anthony "My Father, teach me to live well." To which the great Saint Anthony answered "My son, to live well, one must have a great distrust of oneself, with every effort watch over one's heart and mind, and in all things seek God alone."
He rested in the Lord in the year 386 A.D.
– Abba Pambo said, “If you have a heart, you can be saved.”
– There was a monk named Pambo and they said of him that he spent three years saying to God, “Do not glorify me on earth.” But God glorified him so that one could not gaze steadfastly at him because of the glory of his countenance.
– They said of Abba Pambo that he was like Moses, who received the image of the glory of Adam when his face shone. His face shone like lightning and he was like a king sitting on his throne. It was the same with Abba Silvanus and Abba Sisoes.
The Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria once visited the monks in Nitria. The monks begged Pambo saying: “Tell the pope a constructive word, which would be beneficial to him.” The quiet Pambo replied: “If he does not benefit by my silence he will not even benefit by my word.” At one time, St. Pambo with his monks traveled throughout Egypt. When they came upon a group of men who remained seated as the monks passed by, St. Pambo addressed them and said: “Arise and greet the monks so that you may receive a blessing from them for they continually converse with God and their lips are holy.” This glorious saint was able to discern clearly the fate of both the living and the dead.
Prophesy of Abba Pambo regarding the state of the world in the end times
…And I’ll tell you this, my child, that the days will come when the Christians will add to and will take away from, and will alter the books of the Holy Evangelists, and of the Holy Apostles, and of the Divine Prophets, and of the Holy Fathers. They’ll tone down the Holy Scriptures and will compose troparia, hymns, and writings technologically. Their nous will be spilled out among them, and will become alienated from it’s Heavenly Prototype. For this reason the Holy Fathers had previously encouraged the monks of the desert to write down the lives of the Fathers not onto parchment, but onto paper, because the coming generation will change them to suit their own personal tastes. So you see, the evil that comes will be horrible.
Then the disciple asked: “What sayest thou, o Abba, that the traditions and practices among the Christians will be altered? Perhaps there will be a dearth of priests in the Church when these unfortunate times come?”
Pambo continued: “In those times, the love for God in most souls will grow cold and a great sadness will fall upon the world. One nation shall face off against another. Peoples will move away from their own places. Rulers will be confused.
The clergy will be thrown into anarchy, and the monks will be inclined more to negligence. Church leaders will consider useless anything concerned with the salvation of souls, as much for their own souls as for the souls of their flocks: indeed, they will despise any such concern. All will show eagerness and energy for every matter regarding their dining table and their appetites. They will be lazy in their prayers and casual in their criticisms. As for the lives and teachings of the Holy Fathers, they will not have any interest to hear them, much less to emulate them, but rather they will complain and say that ‘if we had lived in those times, then we would have conducted ourselves similarly.’ And the Bishops shall give way to the powerful of the world, giving answers on different matters only after taking gifts from everywhere and consulting the rational logic of the academics. The poor man’s rights will not be defended. They will afflict widows. They will harass orphans. Debauchery will permeate these people. Most will not believe in God. They will hate each other, and devour one another like beasts. The one will steal from the other. They will be drunk and will walk about as ones blind.”
The disciple again asked: “What shall we do in such a state?”
Elder Pambo answered, “My child, in these times, whoever will save his soul and prompt others to be saved will be called great in the Kingdom of the Heavens.”