Saint Sisoes the Great (died in 429) was a solitary monk, pursuing asceticism in the Egyptian desert in a cave sanctified by the prayerful labors of his predecessor, Saint Anthony the Great. For his sixty years of labor in the desert, Saint Sisoes attained to sublime spiritual purity and he was granted the gift of wonderworking, so that by his prayers he once restored a dead child back to life.
Extremely strict with himself, Abba Sisoes was very merciful and compassionate to others, and he received everyone with love. To those who visited him, the saint first of all always taught humility. When one of the monks asked how he might attain to a constant remembrance of God, Saint Sisoes remarked, “That is no great thing, my son, but it is a great thing to regard yourself as inferior to everyone else. This leads to the acquisition of humility.” Asked by the monks whether one year is sufficient for repentance if a brother sins, Abba Sisoes said, “I trust in the mercy of God that if such a man repents with all his heart, then God will accept his repentance in three days.”
When Saint Sisoes lay upon his deathbed, the disciples surrounding the Elder saw that his face shone like the sun. They asked the dying man what he saw. Abba Sisoes replied that he saw Saint Anthony, the prophets, and the apostles. His face increased in brightness, and he spoke with someone. The monks asked, “With whom are you speaking, Father?” He said that angels had come for his soul, and he was entreating them to give him a little more time for repentance. The monks said, “You have no need for repentance, Father.” Saint Sisoes said with great humility, “I do not think that I have even begun to repent.”
After these words the face of the holy abba shone so brightly that the brethren were not able to look upon him. Saint Sisoes told them that he saw the Lord Himself. Then there was a flash like lightning, and a fragrant odor, and Abba Sisoes departed to the Heavenly Kingdom.
Dweller of the desert and angel in the body,
you were shown to be a wonder-worker, our God-bearing Father Sisoes.
You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil, and prayer:
healing the sick and the souls of those drawn to you by faith.
Glory to Him Who gave you strength!
Glory to Him Who granted you a crown!
Glory to Him Who through you grants healing to all!
From your youth you followed the angelic life
and were, therefore, filled with many godly gifts.
O Sisoes, emulator of the angels,
in the hour of your going forth from this life,
you shone resplendently as the sun,
revealing your glory and illuminating our souls!
In asceticism you were revealed to be an earthly angel,
continually enlightening the thoughts of the faithful with divine signs.
Therefore, we honor you with faith, O venerable Sisoes.