St Isidore of Pelusium, monk (440-449)
He was born to a noble family in Alexandria. For a short time he taught rhetoric in Pelusium in Egypt; but soon his love for the things of God led him to flee to the Desert as a solitary. After a year of ascetical life, he returned to Pelusium, where he was ordained to the priesthood. After a few years he retired to a monastery where he spent the rest of his life, eventually becoming Abbot. From the monastery he wrote thousands of epistles full of divine grace and wisdom; of these more than two thousand still survive.
Saint Isidore was a student and devout disciple of St John Chrysostom, as he knew him through his writings. When St Cyril became Patriarch of Alexandria, he refused to commemorate St John in the diptychs during the Divine Liturgy. Saint Isidore wrote him a strong letter reminding him not to heed the rumors, prejudices or threats of men, and St Cyril was persuaded to restore commemoration of the Archbishop of Constantinople, and later became a strong advocate of the veneration of St John. Isidore, though a monk, was treated as a spiritual father by Patriarch Cyril: around 433, when St Cyril was inclined to deal harshly with some who had been swept up in the Nestorian heresy, St Isidore wrote to him: ‘As your father, since you are pleased to give me this name, or rather as your son, I adjure you to put an end to this dissension lest a permanent breach be made under the pretext of piety.’
With reputation came persecution, and St Isidore suffered much from Imperial and church authorities unhappy with his holy influence. He bore all these troubles impassibly, and in 440 (according to one source) or about 449 (according to another) he joyfully gave up his soul to God.
Venerable Cyril of New Lake (Novoezezrsk) (1532)
When he was only fifteen, St Cyril left home in secret to join the Monastery of St Cornelius of Komel (May 19). Seven years later his father visited the monastery and recognized his son. Instead of persuading Cyril to return to the world, the father was persuaded by his son to enter monastic life; his mother soon joined them, entering a convent nearby. Within the next few years, St Cyril’s mother and father both died, prompting him to exclaim ‘I too am mortal!’ He redoubled his ascetical labors and before long was granted the gift of tears in prayer. Ten years after entering the monastery, St Cyril obtained his abbot’s blessing to live the life of a hermit. He lived in complete reclusion, subsisting on wild greens and mushrooms. After seven years of solitude, he built a hermitage at New Lake and established two churches there. Soon he was ordained to the priesthood. His sanctity attracted a large company of disciples, and he founded a large monastery. There he continued to live in the strictest asceticism and shared in all the common labor of the monks. Once some thieves tried to steal the church bells, but by divine intervention became disoriented and circled the monastery in the dark until morning. When they were apprehended and brought to the Saint, he told them, ‘My children, no one has ever been enriched by stealing, but many have lost even what belonged to them.’ He then ordered that they be given food and released.
During his lifetime the Saint wrought many healings, and was especially known for restoring the sight of the blind. Once his disciple Athanasius saw an unknown deacon serving with St Cyril at the Liturgy. The mysterious deacon disappeared at the end of the service, and St Cyril forbade his disciple to speak of the incident until after his death. In 1532 the Saint reposed in peace: his last words were ‘Glory to God for all things!’