, , , ,

There were two bishops from neighboring jurisdictions, whom the malicious devil had succeeded in wedging apart with enmity. One of the bishops was rich and socially influential; the other lived with only the basic necessities and was less prominent. Before long, the affluent hierarch began to issue threats to his counterpart. When the lower-ranking bishop heard of this, he called all his clergy and announced to them: “Reverend fathers, with the grace of our Christ, we will defeat him.” “Your Grace,” the priests objected, “it is not easy for anyone to defeat him.” The bishop, however, assured them: “Be patient, and you will see that we will get the better of him.”

What did he devise? He waited until the day when the wealthy bishop’s eparchy was celebrating the memory of certain holy martyrs, at which time he notified his clergymen: “Follow me because the day has come for us to crush him.” On their way to the neighboring diocese, the priests were asking each other: “What does he have in mind? How is he so confident that we will defeat him?” Nevertheless, they followed their shepherd until they reached the cathedral.

When they arrived, the other bishop was leading a procession around the church during the vespers service, followed by a multitude of faithful. In the presence of the large crowds, the visiting bishop approached, fell to the feet of his brother (as did all his clergymen), and declared: “Please forgive us holy master. We are your servants.”

When the celebrant bishop saw that his colleague had fallen down prostrate before him asking for forgiveness, he marveled at his extreme humility and was overcome with compunction. He then also kneeled down and exclaimed: “You are my master, my lord, and my father.” Thus they reconciled with each other, and from then on they had great love and affection amongst themselves.

Subsequently, the bishop would take pleasure in advising his members of the clergy: “Didn’t I tell you that we would defeat him with the grace of God? Whenever you are at odds with anyone, do the same and you will be victorious.”

(Source — from the book Limonarion/The Spiritual Meadow)