Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume I: January. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
St. Nilammon, Hermit, near Pelusium, in Egypt
ST. NILAMMON, who being chosen bishop of Geres, and finding the patriarch Theophilus deaf to his tears and excuses, prayed that God would rather take him out of the world than permit him to be consecrated bishop of the place, for which he was intended. His prayer was heard, for he died before he had finished it.1 His name occurs in the modern Roman Martyrology on this day. See Sozomen, Hist. L. 8. c. 19.
Note 1. A like example is recorded in the life of brother Columban, published in Italian and French, in 1755, and abridged in the Relation de la Mort de quelques religieux de la Trappe, T. 4. p. 334. 342. The life of this holy man from his childhood at Abbeville, the place of his birth, and afterwards at Marseilles, was a model of innocence, alms-deeds, and devotion. In 1710 he took the Cistercian habit, according to the reformation of la Trappe, at Buon Solazzo in Tuscany, the only filiation of that institute. In this most rigorous penitential institute his whole comportment inspired with humility and devotion all who beheld him. He bore an holy envy to those whom he ever saw rebuked by the abbot, and his compunction, charity, wonderful humility, and spirit of prayer, had long been the admiration of that fervent house, when he was ordered to prepare himself to receive holy orders, a thing not usually done in that penitential institute. The abbot had herein a private view of advancing him to the coadjutorship in the abbacy, for the easing of his own shoulders in bearing the burden of the government of the house. Columban, who, to all the orders of his superior, had never before made any reply, on this occasion made use of the strongest remonstrances and entreaties, and would have had recourse to flight, had not his vow of stability cut off all possibility. Being by compulsion promoted gradually to the orders of deacon, he most earnestly prayed that God would by some means prevent his being advanced to the priesthood; soon after he was seized with a lameness in his hands in 1714, and some time after taken happily out of this world. These examples are most edifying in such persons who were called to a retired penitential life. In the clergy, all promotion to ecclesiastical honours ought to be dreaded, and generally only submitted to by compulsion; which Stephen, the learned bishop of Tournay, in 1179, observes to be the spirit and rule of the primitive church of Christ. (ser. 2.) Yet too obstinate a resistance may become a disobedience, and an infraction of order and peace, a criminal pusillanimity, according to the just remark of St. Basil, Reg. disput. c. 21. Innocent III. ep. ad Episc. Calarit. Decret. l. 2. tit. 9. de Renunciatione. [back]