Traditions & NameDays


Name day of everyone named Gerasim.

This well-known saint lived in the 5th c. He first learned asceticism in the Egyptian Thebaid, then went to the Jordan and founded a community there of about seventy monks which exists to this day. He formulated particular code for his monastery - the monks should spent five days a week in their cells weaving baskets and mats; they were allowed no heat in their cells; five days they ate only a little dry bread and a few dates; the monks had to leavethe doors of their cells open, even when not in, so that anyone could, in case they needed something, to take it from any of the cells.

St. Gerasimus established a strict monastic Rule. He spent five days of the week in solitude, occupying himself with handicrafts and prayer. On these days the wilderness dwellers did not eat cooked food, nor did they kindle a fire, but ate only dry bread, roots and water.

On Saturdays and Sundays the monks gathered in the monastery church, ate boiled vegetables together with a little wine in God's praise. Then each monk was supposed to bring and place in the feet of the abbot’s the work he had done in the preceeding five days. Each monk had only one single garment to wear. St Gerasimus was an example to all. In the Great Fast he ate nothing but what he received in Holy Communion.

St Gerasimus once saw a lion which was roaring with pain, having a thorn in its paw. Gerasimus came near to it, crossed himself and pulled the thorn out. The lion was so tame that it followed the elder to the monastery and remained there until the latter's death. When St Gerasimus died in 475, the lion also succumbed to illness after him and soon died. Therefore the lion is depicted on icons of the saint, at his feet.