(Welcome to our Saint of the Day series! Each weekday, we present you with an excerpt from Fr. George Poulos' Orthodox Saints series, published by Holy Cross Orthodox Press. Today we commemorate St. Eulogios, whose account is found in Volume 2 of the series.)
Saint Eulogios the Innkeeper
Swinging a sledgehammer in a stone quarry, his rippling muscles an indication of his prodigious strength, Eulogios gave the appearance of brute force in the manner of a sixth-century Samson. Yet Eulogios the “Innkeeper” matched every stroke of his powerful arms with a benevolent gesture of his generous heart. Hardly a candidate for sainthood by reason of his physical attributes or his high intellect, Eulogios nevertheless possessed those qualities of compassion and concern for the welfare for his fellow man that were ultimately to place him alongside those who have walked with God. Nevertheless, he was to show a weakness which nearly destroyed him in the eyes of God, but a weakness he was able to master.
In spite of the fact that he labored throughout the day in the bowels of the rugged earth, he was called the “Innkeeper” because by evening his house took on the appearance of an inn. Determined to share the fruits of his labor, he welcomed the poor and the dispossessed to his table. Over a period of many years, he toiled solely for the purpose of being able to provide food for the hungry and shelter for the homeless as best he could afford. His self-denial and complete generosity marked him as a man of piety.
Laymen and monks respected him as though he were a man of the cloth. He formed lasting friendships with the poor and humble, the strongest bond being his attachement to the monk Daniel, whose admiration for the mighty stonecutter was boundless. Envisioning a center where the benevolence of Eulogios could be expanded to the greater benefit of mankind, the good monk prevailed upon a number of philanthropists and men of wealth to contribute to a cause which had been acknowledged as most worthy. In due course Eulogios was the recipient of considerable amounts of money.
The newfound wealth, spewing from all the sources the good monk could reach, was a temptation too great for Eulogios to bear. He convinced Daniel that there was a greater benefit to be meted out in the metropolitan areas, thus urging the monk to continue his soliciting.Eulogios moved from Egypt to Constantinople where, instead of establishing a refuge for the needy, he set himself up in a mansion with servants and embarked on a life of ease, if not excesses.
Eulogios totally abandoned the high purpose he had previously served. His religious training had been meager and his spiritual resistance to temptation was in no way enhanced by his physical strength. Consequently, he siphoned all the monies that Daniel had so diligently solicited and squandered them in lavish living. When Daniel discovered the sad turn of events, he hastened to Constantinople to implore his friend to return to his good senses, but to no avail. A dispirited Daniel returned to Egypt, praying for the salvation of his friend.
When news of Eulogios’ misappropriation of funds reached the ears of Emperor Justinian, the injustice to the poor was brought to an immediate end and, stripped of his ill-gotten assets, a chastised Eulogios returned in disgrace to Egypt. It was not long before the kind Daniel sought out his misguided and woebegone friend, Eulogios the “Innkeeper.” Eulogios repented and together they prayed for the Lord to forgive the fallen stoneworker. Having gone from philanthropist to philanderer and back to philanthropist again, Eulogios took heart in the forgiveness of his sin, and with renewed dedication and vigor he once again became the stonecutter by day and the benefactor at his humble home by night.
When the infirmities of old age made his strenuous work in the quarry impossible, Eulogios retired to a life of prayer and meditation in the desert.
Having conquered the evil of selfishness that had once seized him, Eulogios’ final years were devoted to God and he died a peaceful death on April 27, 585.
Text from Fr. George Poulos' Orthodox Saints. Image from Wikipedia.