Abbot in Palestine; b. A.D. 377; d. A.D. 473
Euthymius, Saint (styled THE GREAT), abbot in Palestine; b. at Melitene in Lesser Armenia, A.D. 377; d. A.D. 473. He was educated by Bishop Otreius of Melitene, who afterwards ordained him priest and placed him in charge of all the monasteries in the Diocese of Melitene. At the age of twenty-nine he secretly set out on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and remained for some time with a settlement of monks at a laura called Pharan, about six miles east of Jerusalem. In 411 he withdrew, with St. Theoctistus, a fellow-hermit, into the wilderness, and lived for a while in a rough cavern on the banks of a torrent. When many disciples gathered around them they turned the cavern into a church and built a monastery which was placed in charge of St. Theoctistus.
A miraculous cure which Euthymius was believed to have effected for Terebon, the son of the Saracen chief Aspebetus, spread the fame of the holy hermit far beyond the confines of Palestine. Aspebetus was afterwards ordained priest and became bishop over his tribe, in which capacity he attended the Council of Ephesus in 431.
When the report of this miracle had made the name of Euthymius famous throughout Palestine, and large crowds came to visit him in his solitude, he retreated with his disciple Domitian to the wilderness of Ruba, near the Dead Sea. Here he lived for some time on a remote mountain called Marda whence he afterwards withdrew to the desert of Zipho (the ancient Engaddi). When large crowds followed him to this place also, he returned to the neighborhood of the monastery of Theoctistus, where he took up his abode in a cavern. Every Sunday he came to the monastery to take part in the Divine services. At length, because numerous disciples desired him as their spiritual guide, he founded, in 420, on the right side of the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a laura similar to that of Pharan. The church connected with this laura was dedicated in 428 by Juvenal, the first Patriarch of Jerusalem. When the Council of Chalcedon (451) condemned the errors of Eutyches, it was greatly due to the authority of Euthymius that most of the Eastern recluses accepted its decrees. The Empress Eudoxia was converted to Catholic unity through his efforts. The Church celebrates his feast on January 20, the day of his death.