Submitted by Yuri Klitsenko, Russia
It happened in the third century. Near to Caesarea in Cappadocia, on a mountain there lived St. Mammas.
He prayed for people around the clock, asking God for pagans to accept Christ’s words. He ate the milk of wild nanny-goats, as well as making some cheese from it. Sometimes he would climb down the mountain and distributed his cheese among the poor.
The governor of that town abhorred Christians and pursued them severely. He sent warriors to find St. Mammas and bring him to the town. The warriors managed to find the saint’s hut on the mountain quickly.
- Come in, my children, and help yourself, - the elder greeted the warriors tenderly. He offered them some cheese and milk.
Suddenly beasts began to enter the hut. Does and goats were first to come in; they were followed by hyenas and lions. The warriors got frightened.
- Don’t be afraid, they are my friends, - St. Mammas calmed them.
The warriors were surprised at such friendship; they felt sorry for the elder they were to bring to inevitable death. But if they hadn’t executed the order, the governor would have killed them. The elder seemed to have heard their thoughts:
- My children! I do not desire that you will suffer because of me. Bring me to the governor.
And the warriors convoyed him to the town. All the way St. Mammas was accompanied with his biggest friend - a lion.
The governor of Caesarea tried to force the saint to renounce the Christ and start worshiping pagan deities. But the saint never betrayed God and accepted martyrdom.
Yuri Klitsenko is a Russian living in Moscow. He works for the Russian Orthodox Church.