Hieromartyr Hierotheos, Bishop of Athens (1st c.)
He was probably the first Bishop of Athens, ordained by the Holy Apostle Paul himself. St Dionysius (see October 3) describes St Hierotheos as his teacher and friend “after Paul.” With St Dionysius, St Hierotheos was miraculously brought by the power of the Holy Spirit to be present with the Apostles at the Dormition of the Theotokos. He reposed in peace.
Our Holy Father Ammon of Egypt (4th c)
“Our holy Father Ammon’s parents died in his childhood. He was brought up by an uncle, who made him marry when he was still very young. On the night of his wedding, as soon as he and his wife retired to the bridal chamber, Ammon took up the holy Scriptures and read the passage in the Epistle to the Corinthians where the Apostle speaks of the disadvantages of marriage because of all the troubles and cares that come with it, while virgins consecrated to the Lord can devote themselves without distraction to prayer and to spiritual labour. Both spouses took the following words literally: From now on, let those who have wives be as though they had none… and those who deal with the world, as though they had no dealings with it (1 Cor. 7:29,31). They decided to remain in their virginity and to retire together to a desert place where they could give themselves over to prayer and fasting. They set out for the mountain of Nitria, some way from Alexandria, and settled in a little hut there. But, living together as man and woman, they soon realized the inexpedience of tempting nature head-on and of provoking the attacks of demons. They parted company, therefore, each to live separately in ascesis. Ammon never used wine or oil but lived only on dry bread that he ate every two or three days.
“His manner of life was pleasing to the Lord, and a great many brethren who wanted to embrace the monastic life soon came to join him. When a new aspirant arrived, Ammon would immediately let him have his own cell with everything in it, and the other brethren would secretly bring provisions to the newcomer or whatever else might be useful. This showed that fraternal love was first among the laws observed in this ever-growing brotherhood. In a few years, under the direction of Ammon, the desert of Nitria was transformed into a veritable city. Some of the brethren now wanted to build their cells at a distance where they could live in greater solitude, so when one day Saint Antony the Great came to visit him, Abba Ammon asked his advice about the place to choose. At the ninth hour, after taking a scanty meal together, they walked in the desert until sunset, when they set up a cross at the place they had reached, so that those who wanted to could build their cells there with the blessing of the two Elders. ‘In this way,’ Abba Antony said, ‘the brethren coming from Nitria, after a meal at the ninth hour, to see those who are here, will meet them at this moment. And if those who leave here to go to Nitria do the same, they will not lose their hesychia (stillness).’ This was how the desert of Kellia (‘the Cells’) came to be established almost twelve miles from Nitria. More than six hundred monks were soon living there, each in his own cell.
“Saint Ammon and Saint Antony were united in a deep spiritual friendship. When Abba Ammon gave up his soul in peace to the Lord at Nitria, Antony, far away on his mountain, broke off the conversation he was having with some monks and, in ecstasy, saw the soul of Ammon going up to Heaven accompanied by the joyful hymns of a multitude of angels. Among other words inspired by the Holy Spirit, Saint Ammon said, ‘Bear with everyone as God bears with you’.” (Synaxarion)