Saint Malchus of Chalcis, Syria

Saint Malchus was the only son of a farmer, and lived near Antioch, Syria. Upon his attaining the age of maturity, his parents had arranged a marriage for him, but Malchus secretly left home and received monastic tonsure in one of the monasteries, where he fulfilled various obediences for many years.

Upon learning of the death of his father, he wished to visit his mother. The igumen of the monastery would not bless him to go, but Malchus disobeyed him. He joined a group of pilgrims, and set out for his native district.

Along the way, Saracens attacked them, and enslaved them. Malchus’ s master compelled him to marry one of his slaves. With the consent of his wife, Saint Malchus kept his vow of chastity, and eventually converted her to Christianity.

One day, Saint Malchus and his wife ran away. The master pursued them, but they hid in a cave, which proved to be the den of a lioness. The lioness did not harm the fugitives, but killed one of the pursuers who tried to enter the cave and capture them.

Saint Malchus sent his wife to a women’s monastery as she requested, while he returned to his own monastery. By then the igumen was no longer alive, and Saint Malchus never left the monastery again. For the edification of monks he often recounted his trials, which were the result of his disobedience. Saint Malchus labored in asceticism in the monastery until the end of his life. He died in peace in the fourth century.