Saints and Animals
“Saint Tryphon the Martyr. Tryphon was born of poor parents in the village of Lampsacus in Phrygia. In his childhood he tended geese. Also from his childhood he was able to cure illnesses that afflicted people and livestock and was able to expel evil spirits.” (February 1)
“The Priestly-Martyr Blaise. When the city of Sebastea was completely depleted of Christians – some were slain, and others fled – the Elder Blaise withdrew to Mt. Argeos and settled there in a cave. Wild beasts recognized the holy man, gathered around him and he tenderly caressed them. But the persecutors found the saint in this remote place and brought him to trial. Along the way, Blaise cured a young boy who had a bone caught in his throat. To the plea of the poor widow whose pig had been snatched by a wolf, the saint, by the power of his prayer, commanded the wolf to return it… People pray to St. Blaise for the welfare of their domestic livestock and for protection against wild beasts. However, in the West, he is also invoked for diseases of the throat.” (February 12)
“Venerable Mark the Ascetic. Mark was an ascetic and miracle-worker… He was very merciful and kind. He wept much for the misfortunes which had befallen all of God’s creation. On one occasion, while crying, he prayed to God for a blind puppy of a hyena and the puppy received its sight. In thanksgiving the mother of the hyena brought him a sheepskin. The saint forbade the hyena in the future to kill any more sheep of poor people. He received Communion at the hands of the angels…” (March 5)
“The Venerable Gerasimus… On one occasion, he saw a lion roaring from pain because there was a thorn in his paw. Gerasimus drew near to the lion, crossed himself, and removed the thorn in the animal’s paw. The lion became so tame that he returned with Gerasimus to the monastery and remained there until the elder’s death. When Gerasimus died, the lion succumbed from sorrow for him.” (March 4)
“Often, the Saints shared their meager food (mainly bread) with wild beasts (as was the case with St. Seraphim of Sarov and many others). Often the prayers of the saints before the caves or huts involved wild beasts. St. Seraphim of Sarov zaticali the visitors several times to pray in front of the cabin in the woods, and bears and foxes with a look of respect would form a circle around him. Lives of Christian hermits are full of examples of friendly relations between them and wild beasts, and it is not possible to mention them all individually.”
However, despite these humorous stories, The Lives present accounts far more damaging that reveal the serious negative consequences brought by unbiblical theology and religious practice in the Eastern Orthodox Church for centuries.