Do Not Disfigure the Divine Image or How a Saint Healed Other Saint’s Mother

Venerable Peter the Hermit of Galatia lived during the IV-V century. He was able to perform miracles, just as Christ did, so that even his garments had miraculous power, just as the Apostle Paul’s handkerchiefs and aprons did.

Once the hermit healed the mother of the historian Bishop Theodoret of Cyrrhus, a devout woman who suffered from an incurable disease in one eye. Hearing about Saint Peter’s gift of working miracles, she hoped that he would heal her of this terrible affliction. Theodoret’s mother was only twenty-three years old when she went to see him. She was very beautiful, and she wore a lot of make-up, an expensive silk dress, and gold bracelets on her arms, as well as gold rings in her ears. When the holy monk looked at her, he discerned some good soil (Matthew 13:8) in her for a word of profitable instruction, but decided that first he would cure her fondness for fine clothing.

He said, “My child, just as a painter who does not paint according to the rules of his art, but as he pleases, insults the art of painting, so do those who cover their faces with red, white, or black paint, offend the Creator; for in this way they seem to accuse Him of imperfection in His creation, but He has the power to do as He wishes. As the Prophet-King David wrote: ‘All that the Lord willed, He created’ (Psalm 134/135:6). He gives to everyone everything that is useful, and nothing which is harmful. Do not disfigure the divine image created by God.”

The monk’s words fell on fertile ground and produced good fruit. The young woman fell at the ascetic’s feet and begged him to pray for her and to heal her. Saint Peter replied, “If you have firm faith in God’s help, you will be cured of your illness; for God is always ready to grant the petitions of a believing soul.”
Then he placed his hand on the afflicted eye and, making the Sign of the Cross, he healed her.

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