Gerasimus left his family wealth and worldly affairs to become a monk. He departed for the region Thebaid in the Egyptian desert, later again returning to his native Lycia. About the middle of the 5th century, Saint Gerasimus went to Palestine and settled in the wilderness near the Jordan River. There he established a monastery and became known for his righteous life of asceticism and prayer.
The story of Gerasimus and the lion, when the saint tamed the animal by removing a thorn from its paw and taught it obedience, became widely known in the Christian world. He is reputed to have attended the Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon in 451.
Saint Gerasimus of the Jordan died in 475 (or, by other accounts 451). His feast day is celebrated on March 4 by the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Monastery of St. Gerasimus
The present-day Orthodox monastery of Deir Hajla near Jericho is dedicated to St. Gerasimus, whose great lavra once stood there. The history of the monastery is also linked to another Christian narrative. The Holy Family was said to have found refuge in a cave here during their flight from Herod the Great. An underground chapel was built on the spot where the Holy Family is believed to have spent the night.
Troparion – Tone 1
Dweller of the desert and angel in the body, / you were shown to be a wonderworker, our God-bearing Father Gerasimus. / You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil, and prayer: / healing the sick and the souls of those drawn to you by faith. / Glory to Him who gave you strength! / Glory to Him who granted you a crown! / Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!Kontakion – Tone 4
Father, you burned with heavenly love, / preferring the harshness of the Jordan desert to all the delights of the world. / Therefore, a wild beast served you until your death; he died in obedience / in grief on your grave. / Thus God has glorified you, / and when you pray to Him / remember us, Father Gerasimus.