Saint Barsanuphius


Barsanuphius of Palestine (ItalianBarsonofio, Barsanofrio, Barsanorio) (died ca. 540 AD), also known asBarsanuphius of Gaza, was a hermit of the sixth century. Born in Egypt, he lived in absolute seclusion for fifty years, and then near the monastery of Saint Seridon of Gaza in Palestine. He wrote many letters, 800 of which have survived. He corresponded mainly with John the Prophet, abbot of the monastery of Merosala and teacher of Dorotheus of Gaza.[1]

At the old age he convinced the emperor to renew the concordant relationship with the Church of Jerusalem.

His relics arrived in Oria, in Italy, with a Palestinian monk in 850 AD and placed in the present-day church of San Francesco da Paola by Bishop Theodosius. During a Moorish siege and taking of the city, the relics were lost but then later rediscovered and placed in the city's basilica.

At Oria he is considered to have saved the city from destruction wrought by foreign invaders. A legend states that he repelled a Spanish invasion by appearing before the Spanish commander armed with a sword. During World War II, he is said to have spread his blue cape across the sky, thus causing a rainstorm, and preventing an air bombing by Allied Forces.