Saint Poemen’s feast day is August 27. He was from Egypt and although there are some difficulties determining his identity he most likely lived in Scete in the fourth century. His sayings make up one seventh of the entire Sayings of the Desert Fathers. He was renowned for his discretion. Many of his sayings and deeds are also preserved in the Paradise of the Fathers.
Some Sayings of Abba Poemen
Poemen said, “Do not give your heart to that which does not satisfy your heart.”
He also said, “If you are silent, you will have peace wherever you live.”
Abba Poemen heard of someone who had gone all week without eating and then had lost his temper. The old man said, “He could do without food for six days, but he could not cast out anger.”
Abba Isaac came to see Abba Poemen and found him washing his feet. As he enjoyed freedom of speech with him he said, “How is it that others practice austerity and treat their bodies hardly?” Abba Poemen said to him, “We have not been taught to kill our bodies, but to kill our passions.”
Some old men came to Abba Poemen and said to him, “When we see brothers who are dozing at the synaxis (services), shall we rouse them so they will be watchful?” He said to them, “For my part when I see a brother dozing, I put his head on my knees and let him rest.”
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit a hundred-fold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O Poemen, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.