- Two Swords
Holy souls read Holy Scripture with great diligence concentrating on every
word and placing themselves before the mirror of the Word of God as before
the Dread Judgment. Their diligence was so great in this that some of the
ascetics undertook distant journeys in order to come to a spiritual sage
who would interpret for them a word or a saying from Holy Scripture.
Whenever it was possible, this was accomplished through correspondence. It
is from this that a complete collection of the letters of the saints
remained [survived] such as those of Saints Basil, Gregory, Chrysostom,
Isidore of Pelusium, Nilus of Sinai and many others. One day St. Cosmas
pondered on the words of the Lord Christ when He, in the Garden of
Gethsemane, asked His disciples whether they had a sword. When His
disciples said to Him: "Lord, behold, here are two swords. And He said to
them, it is enough" (St. Luke 22:38). Being unable to explain these words
himself, St. Cosmas decided to cross over the wilderness to the distant
Lavra called Pirga to the illustrious Abba Theophilus to inquire of him.
With great difficulty did St. Cosmas succeed to reach his goal. Theophilus
explained to him: "The two swords signify the two-fold order of a
god-pleasing life: deeds and visions, i.e., labor and awakening of the mind
to godly thoughts and prayer. Whoever has both of these, he is perfect."
Prologue of Ochrid