We know only a few factual details of Modestus’ life in the early 600s. He was a monk who helped to bury Christians and restore churches as temporary leader of the Jerusalem church, whilst the patriarch was in captivity. Late in life, he became patriarch himself. His miracle-working career began only after his death, so the story goes…
Once, there was a poor widow who had five pairs of oxen, they were her only means of support, and had, unfortunately, become gravely ill . The woman was deeply worried, and wept inconsolably. She took refuge in the Church, and entreated all of the Saints to help her in her time of need. Having not found any help, she called upon the Holy Unmercenaries Sts. Kosmas and Damian, to have mercy on her, because her oxen were in danger of being lost. In her sleep these saints appeared to her, and told her that they were not granted the grace to heal animals, for this Grace was granted by God to the great Bishop of Jerusalem Modestus, and if she would go to him, her oxen would be healed. She awoke, and hastened straightaway, seeking St. Modestus, but did not find him, because he lived far from Jerusalem. She prayed with fervent faith for this Wonderworking physician to be revealed…
One night, the woman saw the Saint in a dream, who asked her why she was weeping so, and revealing to her that he was the Modestus that she was seeking, and that he had heard her prayer, and had come to heal her oxen! He advised her to cut off a portion of her iron tools, and to go to a place called “Lagenas”, where there was a Church of the Archangel Michael. There, in front of the Church, there lived a good artist named Eustathios, and with her iron, he would make a cross that she should bring to her home. In the morning, when the priests would be serving liturgy, she should take the cross, dip it in some oil, and anoint her oxen straightaway in the name of Christ, and this supplication would heal them from their sickness.
The woman did as the Saint advised, and her oxen were healed. She was able to work again, while all gave glory to God, who gave such miracle-working power to His servant Modestus.
On this day lift before God:
- all who work with animals and whose livelihood depends upon them.
- all persecuted Christians
- The peoples of Syria, Palestine and Jerusalem.