Twelve golden coins

Saint Gregory the Theologian writes in his book `The lives of the unknown hermits` about a pious man called Bonifatius who was a bishop in the city of Florence. He did not receive his rank of bishop for nothing and by his habits he proved to be worthy of it.

Bishop Bonifatius had a nephew who was presbyter and was called Constantius and this one had sold his horse on twelve golden coins. He put the money in his treasury chest and went out for a certain business.

At the episcopate came some poor men who asked saint Bonifatius very insistently to give them some money to ease their poverty. But the man of God because he didn`t have what to give them thought what to do so that the poor would not leave with bare hands. He remembered the money his nephew had. He used force for a noble aim and broke the locks of the treasury chest. He took the twelve golden coins and gave them to the poor as he thought it was due.

When Constantius the presbyter turned from his affairs he found his chest broken and the money he had taken on the horse and had put there were not there anymore. Then he became awfully furious and started to cry loudly:

`All the people who are here live only I can`t live in this house.`

At his cries the bishop and all the other people who were in the episcopate ran there. And when the man of God tried to calm him down with gentle words that one began to say on a quarrelsome tone:

`All those who live with you live well only I can`t live here` Give me back my golden coins!

The bishop being upset by his cries went into the church of the Holy Mother of God and Forever Virgin Maria and raised his hands to the skies having the omophorion over them and he began to ask God to give him something to calm the folly of the infuriated priest. All of a sudden when he looked at his omophorion which was over his arms found there twelve golden coins which shone so much as if they were new. Then he ran out of the church and threw the money in the arms of the furious priest saying: `Take back the twelve golden coins you asked!`

Excerpt from the Paterikon of the Holy Mother of God – archimandrite  Teophilact Marinakis,  Evanghelismos.