The Orthodox Church can draw inspiration from many exemplary chaste saints including St. Atticus, St. Barsanuphius, and St. Severinus. These saints struggled with sexuality but persevered in their chastity. Let’s take a closer look at each of them and how they faced temptations in their lives.
The story of St. Severinus is a familiar one. In a brief life span, he was bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia. He was known as the “bee of the Church of Christ.” He was born to a rich and prominent family. His family included his wife, St Macrina, and several brothers. His father was a Christian, but many of his family members were pagan. After completing his studies, he went on pilgrimages and reposed in peace.
Despite the difficulties of maintaining chastity, St. Severinus was an example to the world. He fought against his own sexuality and the temptations of the world. He sought to live a pure life and be a good example for other Christians. He also preached forgiveness and gave alms to the poor. He also taught true Christian living and built a monastery to serve the poor.
Severinus’ life was also a cautionary tale for those struggling with chastity. At age twenty, he was baptized. He then sought refuge in the desert. His friends and family begged him to marry them. The harlot, however, objected to the proposition. She even rebuked the Christian, but Saint Severinus did not hesitate to respond. She was later beheaded.
Theodosius was born in Spain. As an Archbishop of Alexandria, he was an opponent of the heretic Nestorius. He sought to bring Nestorius back to the faith by defending Orthodoxy and the Church. In the Third Ecumenical Council, which was held in 431, St. Cyril presided over the Council, which overthrew the Nestorian error. He lived for thirty-two years before his death and reposed in 444.
The life of St. Atticus exemplifies how orthodox saints have struggled with chastity. He remained faithful to his faith despite the pressures of his time. The young saint was baptized at age twenty, then went to a desert. He refused to engage in adultery, but did so despite pressures from others. He fought against heretics, but also had a conciliatory approach to schismatics. He also worked to restore the name of Saint John Chrysostom to diptychs. He later re-dedicated the Agia Sophia and reposed in peace.