January 6: St. Nilammon, A Hermit

The very little that is known (or at least reported) about this Egyptian is that he was chosen to be a bishop against his wishes (being a hermit and all), and so, after his entreaties to the patriarch, Theophilus, failed, Nilammon prayed that God would “take him out of the world” instead of allowing him to be consecrated and stationed in the episcopacy. And…before his prayer was even ended, God granted his wish and Nilammon died!

This vignette does seem to send interesting messages! First, that it is just as valid to be a hermit as a bishop (maybe more so). Second, that it’s apparently ok to pray to die. Third, that it might even be better in God’s eyes to be dead than be a church official. Finally, that maybe some people become saints simply by astounding coincidences!



  1. This reminds me of a story about my own sainted mother and father. Mama always got upset because Daddy would sit in the swing and watch storms from the front porch. Mama was terrified of lightning and the metal chains supporting the swing. She prayed that God would “just strike him enough to prove her point, but not kill him.” It never happened so he was never granted sainthood.


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