Onuphrius, St

Onuphrius, St.

(Onofrio, Honofrio, Onuphre), a hermit of the early Christian Church, went out from Thebes and passed sixty, years in the desert, during which time he never uttered a word except in prayer, nor saw a human face. His clothing was of leaves, and his hair and beard were uncut. He was thus seen by Paphnutins, who when he first saw him was filled with fear, believing him to be some strange wild beast; but when he saw that it was a man, he fell at his feet filled with reverence of his sanctity. Then Onuphrius recounted all he had endured in his solitude: how he had been tempted; had suffered from cold, heat, hunger, thirst, and sickness; and how God had sent angels to comfort, strengthen, and minister unto him. Then he begged Paphliutius to remain with him, as he was near to death. It was not long before he died, and Paphnutius covered his remains with one half of his cloak. Then he had a revelation that he should go into the world and make known the wonderful life and merits of him who had died. Many convents where silence and solitude are practiced are placed under the protection of this saint. Tasso died and is buried in the convent of St. Onofrio, in the Trastevere in Rome. He is represented as meagre and old; a stick in his hand, and a branch with leaves twisted about him. In many old pictures he looks more the beast than the man. Sometimes money; is lying at his feet, to signify his scorn of it. He is commemorated June 12. See Mrs. Jameson, Monastic Legends; Mrs. Clement, Handbook of Mythology, etc., s.v.

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