Maximos the Hut Burner, lived an austere life, mostly as a recluse in crude shelters, moving from time to time to seek further seclusion. His habit of burning his hut at these times resulted in his nickname “the hutburner.” Before settling at Mt. Athos, Maximos spent one year in Constantinople acting as a “holy fool.”
The stories of his life recount that as a child he was devoted to the Virgin Mary and gave his food and clothing to the poor. When his parents arranged his marriage at age 17 he instead moved to Mount Ganos, where he became the student of an elderly monk. Around this time he began his life of austerity, sleeping on the ground, staying awake for long periods, and fasting. After his spiritual father died, he went to Constantinople, where he pretended to be mad while living in the gateway of a famous church.
A dream led him to an ascent of Mt. Athos, where he spent three days, ending with a vision of the Virgin Mary, who told him to remain on Mt. Athos. Thus began about ten years of wandering, including his frequent hut burning, ending with a permanent and very austere cell. He was held in high repute as a holy man and spiritual adviser, admired for his austerity, and a reputation for clairvoyance, prophecy, healing, and exorcizing demons.
On this day lift before God:
- All who find it hard to settle in one place.
- All who are driven to wipe the slate clean regularly and begin again.
- All who feel unworthy of comforts.
- All who are generous.
- All who are prayerful.
- All who struggle with their mental health.