Ayios Yerasimos of Jordan

In the desert of Jordan is the old monastery built by Ayios Yerasimos in about 455AD.His Lavra and monastery is located a little over one kilometre from the Jordan.The Lavra was for about seventy hermits and was built around the communal monastery where the new monks trained,before they could have a cell in the Lavra. The ruins can be seen near the Jericho road.

There is a story that the Virgin Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus stayed at the site of the Monastery one night as they fled from Herod to Egypt.

Ayios Yerasimos was born in Mira of Likia.

Many other Saints have lived in the desert of Jordan - St Efthimios, Saint Theoktistos, Saint Theodosios, Saint Kiriakos, Saint Savvas, Saint Zosima,Mary the Egyptian, and the Holy Fathers George and John the Holevites.Mary the Egyptian, lived for 47 years in the desert. The Lord allowed her to walk on the Jordan. She was a prime example of repentence.

There is not much known about Ayios Yerasimos. No one knows where he is buried or where his remains are. He shunned the world when he was alive with his humility.Many believe he wanted to hide away in death too.

It is said that Ayios Gerasimos was so virtuous and good that God gave him authority over wild beasts. A lion would attend upon the Saint. The lion used to graze a donkey which carried water for the Saint.One day some merchants passed by where the donkey was grazing and they stole it. The lion was asleep and did not see anything. When the lion returned to the Saint that night alone, it was believed that the lion had eaten the donkey. The lion was thus condemned to carry the water for the Saint, in place of the donkey. One day, the same merchants passed by the place where they had stolen the donkey, and they had the animal with them. The lion chased them off , and returned home with the donkey,as well as the camels that were tied to him. He knocked on the Saints door as if offering them to him as a prize.The Lion was freed from his tasks, and he returned to the wilderness, coming back once a week to bow to the Saint. When the Saint died, the lion returned as usual to bow before him. When he did not find him he seemed angry. The Saints disciple tried to show the lion that the Saint had died. He led him to Ayios Gerasimos grave. The lion let out a load roar and died there with the Saint he loved.

The 4th March is the day dedicated to Ayios Gerasimos. His icon always has a lion on it. He had cured the lion when it was sick,and the animal never left him.Ayios Gerasimos took part in the Fourth Ecumenical Synod at Chalcedon in 451 AD.

He died in 475.


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Last Published: 3/7/05