Moses the Black, St.

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Monk; b. c. 330; d. c. 405. Ethiopian by race, Moses was one of the most picturesque of the desert fathers.

First a servant or slave of an Egyptian official, he was dismissed for his immoral conduct and continual thefts, and he took to brigandage and soon gathered a gang that terrorized the district. His strength and ferocity became legendary. The details of his conversion are not known. It is thought that he took refuge from the law with some monks and was overwhelmed by their example, for he next appears at the monastery of Petra in the Desert of Scete. He found it hard to control his violence, but he was encouraged by Abbot St. Isidore of Alexandria. Finally, through physical labor, mortification, and prayer, he succeeded in overcoming himself. theophilus of alexan dria heard of his virtue and ordained him a priest. When the Berbers threatened his monastery, he remained with seven companions; all but one perished. He was buried at the monastery of Dair alBaramus, which still stands.

Feast: Aug. 28.

Bibliography: a. butler, The Lives of the Saints (New York 1956) 3:435436. Acta Sanctorum Aug. 6:199212.

[e. d. carter]