Saint Gerasimos the Righteous of Jordan lived in the fifth century and was the abbot of a monastery near the Jordan River. The monastery is still active today. One day Saint Gerasimos met close to the monastery a lion (there were such animals at that time in the Jordan desert) who was in great pain because there was of a large splinter in the animal’s paw. Saint Gerasimos, full of love for the entire nature and moved by the Holy Spirit, did not hesitate a second. He put all human fear away and he removed the splinter and cleaned the lion’s wound. The lion felt such gratefulness that followed him back to the monastery and became his devoted pet! All the monks were amazed at the animal’s conversion to a peaceful pet living only on bread and vegetables. The lion was also given the task to do which was to guard the monastery’s donkey. However, one day the donkey was stolen while the lion was sleeping. The monks thought that the lion had eaten the donkey and as punishment they gave the lion the job of the donkey; to carry water from the river to the monastery. However, several months later the thief was passing through Jordan with the stolen donkey and three camels. The lion recognized the donkey and chased the thief away. Then the lion brought the donkey back to the monastery along with the thief’s camels! The monks realized their mistake and understood that the lion was fully devoted to Saint Gerasimos and their monastery. After five years, when the saint fell asleep in the Lord and was buried, the lion lay down on his grave and died. The icon of St. Gerasimos always depicts him with the lion on his side.
Translated by Dr. Nick Stergiou from the Synaxarion