Friday, January 31, 2003

from the desert: another story from Palladius' Historia Lausiaca

Piamoun was a virgin who lived with her mother spinning flax and eating only every other day at evening. She was deemed worthy of the gift of prophecy, a case in point being the time the river overflowed Egypt and one village attacked another about water distribution. This resulted in blows and even murder. A more powerful town attacked her village, and a crowd of men was coming with spears and cudgels to devastate her village.

An angel appeared to her and revealed their attack. So she sent for the elders of the village and said to them, "Go out and talk with those who are coming here from that village, lest you all die with the populace, and tell them to put an end to their hatred."

Now the elders were afraid, and they fell at her feet, begging her, and said, "We cannot come to an agreement with them, for we know their drunkenness and frenzy. But if you have mercy on the whole town and your own home, go out and make peace with them yourself."

She did not agree to this, but she did go to her own abode and she stood all night praying, never bending her knees. She besought the Lord, praying, "Lord, who judges the world, whom nothing unjust pleases, now when this prayer reaches You, may Your power fix them immovable to the place wherever it may find them."

And along about the first hour, when they were about three miles away, they were fixed to the spot and could not budge. It was made known to them that this hindrance was due to her intercession. So they sent to the village, suing for peace, making it clear that this was "because of God and the prayers of Piamoun, for they stopped us."

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