dimanche 1 janvier 2017

Saint PIERRE d'ATROA, abbé

Saint Pierre d'Atroa

Ermite au monastère Saint-Zacharie, en Bithynie ( 837)

Il devint moine à 18 ans dans la célèbre plaine d'Atroa où se trouvaient plusieurs communautés monastiques. Il y mena une vie ascétique intense. Son monastère dut se disperser durant la persécution iconoclaste de l'empereur Léon V, puis celle de l'empereur Théophile (829). Malgré les coups et les flagellations qu'il connut de la part des soldats, il resta en paix, remettant sa vie entre les mains de Dieu.



Peter of Atroa, Abbot (RM)

Born near Ephesus, Asia Minor, 773; died at Atroa on January 1, 837. Saint Peter, the eldest of three children, was christened Theophylact. Not unexpectedly, he became a monk when he was 18. He said that the Blessed Virgin directed him to join Saint Paul the Hesychast, who named him Peter at Crypta, Phrygia. On the day his was ordained several years later at Zygos and at the door of the very church, he cured a man possessed of an unclean spirit.


Almost immediately thereafter, Peter set out with Paul on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but instead God directed them in a vision to go to Mount Olympus in Bithynia, where Paul was to found a monastery at the chapel of Saint Zachary near Atroa. This they did.

When Paul died in 805, he named the 32-year-old Peter to succeed him as abbot. The monastery flourished but after ten years Peter decided to close the monastery because of the iconoclastic persecution under Emperor Leo the Armenian. Peter went back to Ephesus and on to Crete (or Cyprus), and when he returned found he was a wanted man. He escaped the imperial troops seeking him by miraculous means (by making himself invisible), and wandered with a companion named Brother John from place to place. He visited his own home where his brother Christopher and widowed mother received monastic habits from his hands.

Eventually, Peter settle for several years at Kalonaros near the Hellespont. Unfortunately, his fame as a wonder-worker and reader of souls was so great that he was never left in peace for long. He made several journeys to various points in western Asia Minor and each was punctuated with a miracle. At one point, he was accused of practicing magic and using the devil because of the miracles he performed, but he was completely cleared by Saint Theodore Studites.

Peter again resumed his eremitical life near Atroa, restored Saint Zachary Monastery, and reorganized several other monasteries, but when there was another outbreak of iconoclasm. Because his own bishop was an iconoclast, he again dispersed the monks and sent them into hiding, but stayed nearby for a time. When the persecution became more violent, Peter retired to Saint Porphyry Monastery on the Hellespont. But soon Peter decided to return to Olympus to visit his friend Saint Joannicus at Balea, from where he returned to St. Zachary's.

A few weeks later, Joannicus had a vision. In it he was talking with Peter of Atroa at the foot of a mountain whose crest reached to the heavenly courts. As they talked, two shining figures appeared and each grabbed one of Peter's arms in order to lift him upwards in a halo of glory. At that same moment, while his monks were singing the night office, Peter died at Atro after lovingly addressing his brethren one last time (Delaney, Walsh). 


Saint Peter of Atroa

Also known as
  • Pierre d’Atroa
  • Theophylact
Profile

Eldest of three children. Following a message from the Blessed Virgin, he became the spiritual student of Saint Paul the Hesychast. Monk at age 18 at Crypta, Phrygia (in modern Turkey), taking the name Peter. Ordained at Zygos, Greece. On the day of his ordination he healed a possessed man at the door of the church, which was the beginning of a ministry of healing. Noted confessor, able to read the souls of his parishioners.

He began a pilgrimage with his teacher Saint Paul to Jerusalem, but they did not make it there. A vision from God sent them to Mount Olympus in Bithynia where Paul founded a monastery at the chapel of Saint Zachary near Atroa, and served as its first abbot. When Paul died in 805, 32-year-old Peter succeeded him as abbot. The monastery flourished, but in 815 Peter closed it due to the persecutions of the iconoclastic Emperor Leo the Armenian. Peter moved to Ephesus and then to Crete.
Due to his support of the use of icons, Peter found that he was a wanted man. He escaped imperial troops by miraculously becoming invisible. He briefly returned to his family home where his brother Christopher and widowed mother received monastic habits from his hands. He then settled for several years at Kalonaros near the Hellespont, but his own fame as a healer forced him to move on. His wonder-working caused an accusation of practicing magic and invoking devils, but he was completely cleared by Saint Theodore Studites.

Hermit near Atroa. Restored the Saint Zachary monastery and reorganized several others. However, after a few years of this work there was another outbreak of iconoclasm. This included his own bishop, and for their safety he sent his brother monks into hiding. When the persecutions turned violent, Peter retired to Saint Porphyry monastery on the Hellespont, and except for a brief visit to his friend Saint Joannicus of Mount Olympus at Balea, he never left again.

Born
  • 1 January 837 at Atroa of natural causes while his brother monks were singing the night office