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Abouna Yostos

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by

Marina Andrawis

on 29 December 2012

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Transcript of Abouna Yostos

Early Years Abouna Yostos El Antony
What Time is it? A life of Poverty and Simplicity Words of Wisdom the only clothes he owned was a worn out tunic, a cap that became colourless over time and an old shoe that he rarely used
During the cold winter months he covered his shoulders with a blanket which a poor man would hesitate to keep in his house. Abouna Yostos was born about 1910 in the village of Zarabee, in the province of Assiut. He was given the name Naguib at his birth. His father Shah-hat was a tailor, and this was the trade Naguib was trained in his early years. In his childhood he learned to
read both Arabic and Coptic. He was chosen to be a reader in the church, and thus he assisted in the liturgy. About the year 1939 he answered the desert call and stayed as a novice in the Monastery
of Saint Paul the hermit. In 1941 he moved to the neighboring Monastery of Saint Antony where he became a monk. Abouna Yostos' cell reflected his character.
It consisted of two rooms built of clay and roofed with palm branches with no windows.
Anyone could look through or go inside because it had no door.
There was nothing in it but the bare floor, a small old mat and a pitcher for water.
There was no bed, no mattress or pillow, no chair, nor even a plate or a cup.
Everything there was placed on the floor the
hard bread, the dry tomatoes, dates and onions. In fact Father Yostos did not consider that the cell was his. He used to wander in the monastery, day and night.
When he needed rest, he sat under a tree or next to a wall.
He ate his meals mostly sitting under a tree in the garden of the monastery.
He used to fast for long hours after which he ate the bread fallen from the common table, which
the monks used to throw away to the sheep. Many visitors who came to the Monastery, would seek him to ask for words of spiritual benefit, and Abouna Yostos would respond by giving them verses from the Bible.
The other response that Abouna Yostos was known for are his few words: "What time is
it?"
By saying these simple words, Abouna Yostos was attempting to attract their attention to the fact that time is passing quickly and very shortly we will see our Saviour face to face, and so we must be
ready. Interesting Stories One night while I was asleep in my cell, I heard a very strong knock on my door. So immediately I woke up and called out, "Who is it?" I was surprised when I heard Abouna
Yostos' voice asking, "What time is it?" I felt so annoyed that I was woken up from sleep
to be asked about the time and I told Abouna Yostos so. And then he left quietly. As I
turned to switch the light off, I noticed a large scorpion on my pillow. It was at this moment that I understood Abouna Yostos' coming to me in the middle of the night and waking me from my sleep, was to save me from danger. "A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul
every bitter thing is sweet" (Book of Proverbs 27:7) For Abouna Yostos Scripture was his constant companion. He could recite long portions of the Epistles of Saint Paul. His answers to questions were mostly by verses from Scripture. He loved the Church, its liturgy, its saints, even its building. He used to be seen kneeling in prayer in front of the church during the night. When the bell called the monks for the Daily Office, he was the first to enter the church. When time came for departure he did not like to leave; many times the brethren had to use force to get him out of the church. He approached the Holy Mysteries in reverence and fear. When he served in the altar during feast days he used to be dressed in the splendid tunic of the deacon, something totally in contrast to his usually poor clothing. The Virtue The virtue I learned from Abouna Yostos was humility. He was always humble in everything he did and never wanted to attract attention to himself but always directed the attention to God. http://www.stshenoudamonastery.org.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/pimonakhos-vol-3-issue-12-booklet.pdf
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