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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume III: March. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

March 21

St. Serapion, Abbot of Arsinoe

HE was abbot of Arsinoe, in Upper Egypt. He governed ten thousand monks dispersed in the deserts and monasteries near that town. These religious men hired themselves to the farmers of the country to till their lands and reap their corn; joining assiduous prayer and other exercises of their state with their labour. Each man received for his wages twelve artabes, or about forty Roman bushels or modii, says Palladius: all which they put into the hands of their holy abbot. He gave to every one a sufficient allowance for his subsistence during the ensuing year, according to their abstemious manner of living. The remainder was all distributed among the poor. By this economy, all the necessities of the indigent in that country were supplied, and several barges loaded with corn were sent yearly by the river to Alexandria, for the relief of the poor of that great city. Saint Serapion was honoured with the priesthood, and with admirable sanctity applied himself to the sacred functions of the ministry: yet found time to join his brethren in their penitential labour, not to lose his share in their charity. His name is inserted by Canisius in his Germanic Martyrology on this day, from certain copies of the Greek Menæa. See Palladius, c. 76. p. 760. Rufin. Vit. Patr. l. 2. c. 18. Sozomen, l. 6. c. 28.  1