St Moses The Strong
St moses was born in about 332 AD and was martyred at the age of seventy-five. In his youth, St Moses was the slave of a high government official. Unable to tolerate Moses’ dishonesty and violence, the official dismissed him. Having a fierce heart and incredible physical aptitude, Moses became the head of a gang of seventy robbers. His murderous, drunkard, dishonest escapades intensified.
Dissatisfied with his lifestyle, Moses used to address the sun saying, ‘If you are god let me know. You, the God whom I do not know, lead me to You.’ Moses heard from someone that the monks in the wilderness of Scetis knew God, so he immediately girded himself with his sword and went to the wilderness to seek the truth.
St Moses was received by St Isidore, an experienced and godly spiritual guide. Under his direction, St Moses met the true God and discovered the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus. At times, the overwhelming awareness of his past immoral lifestyle was too much for the newly converted St. Moses. He would frequently explode into tears, finding solace only in confessing his sins before the Lord Jesus with his guide, St. Isidore.
At the time of St Moses’ baptism, as he confessed his sins, the spiritual father, St. Macarius the Great, saw a tablet carried by an angel that was all black representing St Moses’ sins. An angel was seen wiping off each sin as he continued to confess, until finally the tablet was completely clear.
His baptism marked the beginning of a struggle against his former fleshly passions. St Moses increased his times of prayer and fasting in his fight to conquer his thoughts of lust and the temptations of his past lifestyle. At one point, assaulted by his thoughts when in his cell, St Isidore took St Moses to the roof of his cell, where they could see below them devils on one side, but innumerable angels on the other side. Understanding that the power of God was triumphant over all other powers, St Moses took courage and returned to his cell.
Over time Abba Moses became a great elder to many other desert dwellers, appealing to laymen through his jovial character, exceptionally disciplined in his personal struggle and renowned for his many sayings that have blessed generations. Abba Moses finished his course, bravely leading his fellow monks in martyrdom when his monastery was attacked in 407 AD. For this and much more, he is described as the strong Saint Abba Moses.
St Katherine of Alexandria
St Katherine of Alexandria is the patron saint of teachers, students, philosophers, speech-makers, mechanics and those on trial. Born into the distinguished family of the pagan governor of Alexandria in 282 AD, St Katherine was martyred at the young age of twenty-five.
Having received an exemplary education and being endowed with captivating beauty, Katherine was sought after by the most eminent and reputable young men of her day. Adamant to only marry one who would surpass her in reputation, wealth, beauty and wisdom, Katherine refused all those suitors.
A saintly Christian elder said that he knew of a man, who excelled her in everything, such that ‘His beauty was more radiant than the shining of the sun, His wisdom governed all creation, His riches were spread throughout all the world’. The elder handed Katherine an icon of St Mary holding the Lord Jesus Christ in her arms. The young maiden prayed all night but saw the Lord turn His face away from her saying that He was unable to look upon her because her beauty was tarnished, she was of shabby lineage, beggarly and mindless like every person, not washed with the waters of holy Baptism and not covered with the seal of the Holy Spirit.
Downcast, Katherine sought the elder’s advice. He explained the mystery of Jesus Christ’s love for her and encouraged her to ask Him to cover her with His unrivaled beauty and purity. Following her baptism, Saint Katherine had another vision of the Most Holy Mother of God with our Lord Jesus. Our Lord looked tenderly upon her and gave her a ring, a wondrous gift from the Heavenly Bridegroom.
After becoming Christian, the fearless Katherine presented herself to the pagan Emperor Maximian, eloquently denouncing his worship of idols and persecution of Christians. The wisest men of the empire could not refute her reasoning and in turn, they each chose to be baptised and were soon after martyred for their newfound faith. Steadfastly holding to her belief in her Saviour and Lord Jesus St Katherine was also subsequently was joyfully martyred. A noblewoman among saints, a champion of maidens, a victorious paragon, a bride of Christ, St Katherine continues to inspire and encourage multitudes.