The socially eccentric desires of an Egyptian priest

If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. (Mat. 19:21)

Today I just wanted to share this very endearing story about Fr Pishoy Kamel. Fr Pishoy was a very popular and saintly priest from Alexandria, Egypt who reposed  in 1979. He touched the hearts of tens of thousands of Egyptians – Muslims and Christians alike. He spent two decades of priestly service performing unbelievable acts of love, charity and kindness. His wife still lives to this very day.

Fr Pishoy Kamel dual.PNG

I would say that his life is essential reading material for a servant of the Orthodox Church.

When you read this story, ask yourself, do you have spiritual desires like him? Do you have any at all? Are you ambitious for service, spiritual growth and self-denial to even a little extent of his? Do you desire spiritual perfection as in the above verse?

A person once expressed an absurd phenomena and dilemma about the spiritual life… “I want to want it“. Hopefully this story inspires us all and helps us “want to want it”.

Father Pishoy was not concerned with material things, and he would always say, “If we have our strength and a single garment that is sufficient.

In the beginning of his ordination he lived with his elderly mother as she was ill and required constant care and attention. After that he moved to a different place, and the woman he was renting from was so happy. He then suggested to her to build more flats to accommodate students and this was fulfilled and two flats were built in the same block for students.

The wife of Father Pishoy was called Angel, and she tells this story about him. One day they were sitting together when he suddenly asked her, “Do you think we are serving the poor as we should?”

She said to him, “You continually visit them… and send to them personally whatever they need to their homes… what more can you do for them? “So he said, “No, No, we got to live amongst them. What do you think if we sold all we had and we lived in a small room made of corrugated iron like them? We will take a bed and a table and a few chairs and that’s all we will need. After all did our Lord preach to us from heaven? No he came amongst us and lived like one of us. Therefore we must live amongst the poor.”

However his wife apologised for lacking the ability of fulfilling his desire, and he with great husbandly love respected her wishes.

You can find other short stories about this most amazing priest over here.

Discussion: What are your thoughts on this beautiful story?

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