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Ladder.jpgAND there was a certain man whose name was Valens, who was by race a Palestinian and by education a Corinthian; now the blessed Paul ascribed to the Corinthians (I Corinthians iv) as a special attribute the passion of pride and inflatedness. And having come to the desert and dwelt with us for many years, at length he arrived at such a degree of vaunting that he was laughed at by the devils; and from this state he went astray, little by little, until he was derided by them, and they became able to make him think that angels were appearing unto him. Now therefore one day, according to what they relate concerning him, as he was working in the dark at the labour of his hands, the needle wherewith he was sewing together the palm leaves fell down [on the ground], and although he searched for it he could not find it; and a devil lit a fire for him until he found it, and because of this thing he became the more proud. And at length he became so proud, and allowed such arrogant thoughts to rise up in his mind that he despised and thought scorn of the Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ. And moreover, it came to pass that certain men of discernment came and brought unto the church some dried fruits as a [means of obtaining a] blessing, and the blessed Macarius, our elder, received [them] and sent [them] to the brethren, that is, some to every man in his cell, and among the brethren he also sent [some] to Valens. And Valens took the man who had been sent to bring the fruit to him, and heaped insults upon him and smote him, saying, “Go and say unto Macarios: ‘I am neither inferior unto thee “ ‘nor am I more of a servant than art thou, that thou shouldst “ ‘send me a blessing.’ “ 

Romanides_TheologianNow Macarios knew that he had been laid hold upon by error, and he rose up and went unto him at the turn of the day that he might persuade him, and he said unto him, “Valens, Valens, thou hast made thyself a laughing-stock, and hast fallen into error; receive then correCtion”; but seeing that he was unwilling to hearken unto his admonition and reproof he left him and departed. And having become more confirmed in his pride, and having reached the summit thereof, that devil, who had completely led him astray, went and made unto himself a form wherein he resembled our Redeemer; and he came unto him by night, together with phantoms of angels in great numbers who marched along bearing lamps and wax· candles, and they advanced with chariots and carriages of fire, as if that devil were Christ Himself. Then one of the angels came forward unto him, and said unto him, “Christ “ loveth greatly thy life and deeds, and thy boldness of speech, “ and He hath come to see thee. Get thee forth from thy cell, “ and do nothing whatsoever except such things as I shall tell “thee. When thou seest Him afar off fall down and worship “ Him, and go back to thy cell.” Now therefore when Valens had gone forth and seen the ranks [of phantoms] bearing lamps of fire, and Antichrist himself sitting upon a chariot of fire — now he was distant from him about a mile — he fell down and worshipped him. And Valens was so much injured in his that at the turn of the day he was sufficiently mad to come into the church and to say before all the brotherhood who were assembled therein, “I have no need to become a “partaker in the offering, for this day I have seen Christ “ Himself.” Then the fathers tied him up and put iron fetters upon him for about the space of one year, and in this way they made him whole; and he was praying continually, and they humbled him and brought him down from the exalted conception which he held concerning himself by means of sundry and divers works of a lovely and humble character, and thus they rooted out from him pride, even as it is written, “Each opposing sickness must be healed by medicines which are contrary and opposite thereto.” 

—The Paradise of the Holy Fathers. Of Valens the Palestinian

Paradise