SAINT ZOTICUS Guardian of Orphants
To many of us an unknown figure
A star of rare
And Evangelical modesty.
This is an exported picture
THE BOLDNESS OF LOVE
At the crack of dawn Zoticus was knocking at the gate of the palace. Immediately he presented himself to the emperor and said:
“Your Majesty and most Royal Highness! I have just heard that a large ship is passing our way. They say that it is laden with rare and precious stones. Such pearls that you have never seen!!! The rarest gems in the world are hidden in its holds. You just cannot imagine how beautiful they are, your Royal Highness!”
“Give me then as much money and gold that you can spare so that I may purchase this treasure. I suggest that we should make provisions now for the public Treasury. You never know what may happen in the future with so many enemies that surround us. One day a misfortune might fall upon this city and then we will be deprived of the bare essentials. We must, therefore, fill our coffers…”
“If we have the treasure hidden away however, we will be able to manage in hard times”, he said in a louder voice. “So we must act now, Your Majesty, we haven’t a moment to lose. We must get hold of this treasure.”
“Let us do as you say, my noble lord”, replied the greedy Constantius whose ears had pricked at the very mention of the pearls.
At these words Zoticus lost no time: Joyfully he collected the emperor’s gold and took it to the soldiers, who had already started rounding up the sick, with the intention of taking them to the sea and drowning them. The carts were full to bursting with lepers of every age and class whom the emperor’s soldiers were about to throw into the deep sea. It was there, right in the middle of the road leading to the shore where the strange bargaining started…
Zoticus went on a spending spree, getting a just reward for his gold: the wretched lepers sentenced to death! The merciful Zoticus spent and spent with all his love until he came to his last coin with which he purchased the least important leper.
At dusk, the soldiers left with their gold and Zoticus with his “pearls”.
Before night fell, kind Zoticus hid the lepers behind a ridge until the next morning. He then transferred them secretly to a high, wooded mountain. It was in this gentle and hospitable place where Zoticus hid his treasure, scores and perhaps thousands of priceless “pearls”. It was for these that Christ shed His most Holy and Precious Blood. Their value therefore was immense. Zoticus understood this well.
This is how the secret community of lepers was established and was provided for with the continuous care by the loving and vigilant Zoticus. He made sure that nothing was lacking for the humble and afflicted brethren of his Lord.