St. Moses the Black, Patron Saint of Ass Whooppin’

Also known as St. Moses the Ethiopian, St. Moses the Black is a saint in Catholic religion but most especially Orthodox Christianity.  Born in 330AD, he lived in Egypt as an early Christian monk and priest.  Before he lived a Godly life, St. Moses was outlaw, robber, bandit, and no good dirty rotten scoundrel.  When his nefarious life caught up with him he was forced to take sanctuary in a Christian monastery.  St. Moses grew to admire the simple, peaceful, and contented lives of the monks.  At first he was reluctant to join the monastery, believing that he was too sinful for such a life, but St. Isidore , abbot of the Monastery took him to the roof one morning to watch the rising sun.   Isidore told Moses, “Only slowly do the rays of the sun drive away the night and usher in a new day, and thus, only slowly does one become a perfect contemplative.”

St. Moses was known as an especially wise monk.  In one incident, St. Moses was called to attend a meeting to decide the punishment of a fellow monk who had broken a monastery rule.  St. Moses refused to attend.  Again the monks called upon him, and once again he refused.  Finally, when called upon a third time, he arrived at the meeting carrying a massive, heavy jug full of water behind his back.  When asked what he was doing, he responded, “I carry behind me the burden of my sins where I cannot see them, and I come to judge the sins of my brother”.  Catching the hint behind St. Moses’ actions, the other monks forgave the man.

While St. Moses was known as a wise and faithful monk, he was also known as a fearless adventurer who knew how to handle himself in the face of danger.  He was especially known for conducting missions to exceptionally dangerous places.  On his first mission, he was ambushed by a gang of ruthless and bloodthirsty bandits.  Unarmed, St. Moses beat the snot out of the bandits, tied them up, and dragged them back to his monastery.  He convinced the bandits to repent and reform their lives, and the former bandits became his first converts.

In 405 AD St. Moses was an old man (75 years), impressive considering most people were lucky to live past 30.  The monastery received word that a band of Berber raiders were on their way to raid and destroy the monastery.  The other monks wanted to take up arms and defend themselves, but St. Moses told them to flee instead.  St. Moses stayed behind with eight other monks, welcoming the raiders with open arms.  They were all martyred, but their sacrifice bought the other  monks time to escape to safety.