God uses humble means

I’m reading Samuel Tadros’ new book Motherland Lost, a history of the church in Egypt. 

He starts at the beginning when the evangelist Mark showed up in Alexandria and tells a wonderful story about Mark’s first convert.

After he wandered all day in the majestic city, the apostle’s sandal strap broke. Mark found a shoemaker who could repair it. His name was Anianus.

While he was working, Anianus gouged his hand. “God is one!” he swore.

Mark was moved with compassion. In a maneuver that calls to mind Jesus’ miraculous healing, he grabbed mud from the ground, applied it to the wound, and healed the man. 

Anianus was undoubtedly stunned and suddenly wide open when Mark shared the gospel with him. The man and his whole family converted, becoming the foundation of the Alexandrian church.

As Tadros says next, Mark “baptized them and in due time ordained Anianus bishop over the city.”

Don’t you just love that? A shoemaker becomes the city’s first bishop. That’s the church for you. A city bursting with scholars and philosophers, and Mark picks a cobbler. 

But that’s how God works. Forget the scribes and Pharisees, he says. I’ll take fishermen. 

About Joel J. Miller

I'm the author of Lifted by Angels, a look at angels through the eyes of the early church. Click here for more about me or subscribe to my RSS here.

  • kevin kirkpatrick

    I was also reading about the Archbishop of a small country in the Caucasus, maybe Georgia, and he embraced this concept. He only rode the bus, and everywhere he went he would take his tools so he could repair the shoes of his priest and bishops! He would also repair their stoles and cassocks if they needed it. Truly an amazing man. The source of this story is “The Orthodox Word” but I can’t remember the Archbishop involved. Very inspiring.

    • Joel J. Miller

      I’d love to hear more about that. The examples of humility among the saints is truly inspiring.

      • kevin kirkpatrick

        I’ll see if I can find it. I believed he just passed away and was mourned by the whole country as a living saint and true Bishop.


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