Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
Once some philosophers came to saint Makarios, in the desert to see why so many people ran to hear his wise words. Apparently they were somehow envious because people did not ran after them. When they arrived in the desert, they found an elder dressed in shabby clothes, who spoke clearly and wisely. The philosophers were not very glad about that. And started to ask him:
”Makarios, have you read this book?”
”No, I didn’t read it”, Makarios answered.
”But you know what this scholar said about the world and about other things?”
And Makarios answered that he didn’t know that either. But they went on asking him many things, having in mind to embarrass him. Then, Makarios, knowing their thoughts, told them:
”Please let me ask you something.”
”Ask, father”, they said gladly.
”Tell me which one of these was the first: the mind or the book?”
After a while they answered somehow puzzled by the meaning of that question:
”It was the mind of course!”
”So don’t get upset if I have what was first: the mind.”
Then the philosophers understood that any man if he uses the gift of mind given by God may be wise with or without reading many books.