Feast Day: August 7th

The Life of Abba Or: And this blessed man had for a very long time lived a life of the utmost austerity at a remote place in the desert, but subsequently he took certain Monasteries in the desert which was near Shaina, and gathered together a brotherhood, and he planted so many wild trees at that spot that they formed a dense wood in the wilderness. For the fathers who lived with him there said that before this man came there from the desert there was not even a shrub in the place; now he planted these trees in order to fill a want, and to prevent the brethren who were gathered together to him from being troubled by searching for wood. And in his Prayer to God he took the same pains and strove that all the needs of the brethren might be supplied, so that they would only have to be anxious about their redemption, and that nothing which they used might be wanting for them, [so that they might have no excuse for negligence]…



Abba Or Pray to God for us.

It was said of Abba Or and Abba Theodore that as they were building a cell out of clay, they said to one another, ‘If God should visit us now, what should we do?’ Then, weeping, they left the clay there and each of them went back into his cell.

It was said of Abba Or and Abba Theodore, that they laid good foundations, and at all times gave thanks to God.

They said of Abba Or that he never lied, nor swore, nor hurt anyone, nor spoke without necessity.

Abba Or said to his disciple Paul, ‘Be careful never to let an irrelevant word come into this cell.’

Paul, Abba Or’s disciple, went to buy some reeds one day. He ascertained that others had been before him and had paid deposits. But Abba Or never paid deposits for anything at all, but paid the full price at the proper time. So his disciple went in search of palm-branches somewhere else. Then a farmer said to him, ‘Someone has given me a deposit, but he has not come. So why don’t you take these palm-branches.’ He took them and he went back to the old man and told him all this. The old man clapped his hands and said, ‘Or is not going to work this year.’ He did not allow the palm-branches to come inside his cell, but waited for them to be taken to where they belonged.


“The crown of the monk is humility.”

Abba Sisoes asked Abba Or, ‘Give me a word,’ and he said to him, ‘Do you trust me?’ He replied that he did. Then he said to him, ‘Go, and what you have seen me do, do also.’ Abba Sisoes said to him, ‘Father, what have I seen you do?’ The old man said. ‘In my own opinion, I put myself below all men.’

“Whenever you want to subdue your high and proud thoughts, examine your conscience carefully: Have you kept all the commandments? Have you loved your enemies and been kind to them in their misfortunes? Have you counted yourself to be an unprofitable servant and the worst of all sinners? If you find you have done all this, do not therefore think well of yourself as if you had done everything well but realize that even the thought of such things is totally destructive.”

“He who is honoured and praised beyond his merits, will suffer much condemnation, but he who is held as of no account among men will receive glory in Heaven.”

“If you are fleeing, flee from men; or the world and the men in it will make you do many foolish things.”

Abba Pistos related that which follows: ‘We were seven anchorities who went to see Abba Sisoes who lived at Clysma, begging him to give us word. He said to us, “Forgive me, for I am a very simple man. But I have been to Abba Or and to Abba Athre. Abba Or was ill for eighteen years. I made a prostration before him and asked him to give me a word. Abba Or said to me, ‘What shall I say to you? Go, and do what you see is right; God comes to him who reproaches himself and does violence to himself in everything.’ Abba Or and Abba Athre did not come from the same part of the country, yet until they left their bodies, there was great peace between them. Abba Athre’s obedience was great, and great was Abba Or’s humility. I spent several days with them, without leaving them for a moment, and I saw a great wonder that Abba Athre did. Someone brought them a little fish and Abba Athre wanted to cook it for the old man. He was holding the knife in the act of cutting up the fish and Abba Or called him. He left the knife in the middle of the fish and did not cut up the rest of it. I admired his great obedience, for he did not say, ‘Wait till I have cut up the fish.’ I said to Abba Athre, ‘Where did you find such obedience?’ He said to me, ‘It is not mine, but the old man’s.’ He took me with him, saying, ‘Come and see his obedience.’ He took the fish, intentionally cooked some of it badly, and offered it to the old man who ate it without saying anything. Then he said to him, ‘Is it good, old man?’ He replied, ‘It is very good.’ Afterwards he brought him a little that was well cooked and said, ‘Old man, I have spoiled it,’ and he replied, ‘Yes, you have spoiled it a little.’ Then Abba Athre said to me, ‘Do you see how obedience is intrinsic to the old man?’ I came away from there and what I have told you, I have tried to practice as far as I could.’

In Abba Or’s neighborhood there was a villager named Longinus, who gave a great deal away in alms. He asked one of the Fathers who came to see him to take him to Abba Or. The monk went to the old man and praised the villager, saying that he was good and gave many alms. The old man thought about this and then said, ‘Yes, he is good.’ Then the monk began to beg him, saying, ‘Abba, let him come and see you. But the old man answered, ‘Truly, there is no need for him to cross this valley in order to see me.


“In all temptation, do not complain about anyone else, but say about yourself, “These things happen to me because of my sins.”

“If you have spoken evil of your brother, and you are stricken with remorse, go and kneel down before him and say: “I have spoken badly of you; let this be my surety that I will not spread this slander any further.” ‘For detraction is death to the Soul.”

“Do not speak in your heart against your brother like this: “I am a man of more sober and austere life than he is,” but put yourself in subjection to the Grace of Christ, in the spirit of poverty and genuine charity, or you will be overcome by the spirit of vainglory and lose all you have gained. For it is written in the Scriptures: “Let him who stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Let your salvation be founded in the Lord.”

“If you see that I am thinking adversely about someone, know that he is thinking in the same way about me.”