LATSON, APA (feast day: 17 Ba’unah). There is reference to this saint in the SYNAXARION of the Copts at 17 Ba’unah and in the notice devoted to Saint PALAMON at 30 Tubah. W. E. Crum (1926, Vol. 1, p. 114) thinks that the two names refer to the same person, although he is called Talasun in the Life of Saint Palamon at 30 Tubah. His Life, written by his disciple PHILOTHEUS, is preserved in a manuscript in the Coptic Museum, Cairo (History 469, fol. 314). Arabic fragments of the Life are preserved in the British Library (Or. 5650, 69, 70).
Latson was a native of al-Bahnasa (OXYRHYNCHUS). While still a child, he one day heard the passage from Matthew (16:25-26), "Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." He withdrew to the mountain of SCETIS, where an angel appeared to him, enjoining him to go and find Saint ISIDORUS, who would give him the monastic habit. If we are to believe Crum's hypothesis, he left Scetis and was the confidant and friend of Saint Palamon.
One of the manuscripts of the Synaxarion recounts that, having received from the dying abbot of a monastery the confession of his sins, he wished to apply the Gospel text, "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Jn. 15:13). He therefore attempted several times to kill himself, but each time was brought back to life by Christ or an angel. Finally, Christ announced to him that the soul of the abbot had been reduced to nothing, since it could neither be retained in hell because of the penances of Saint Latson, nor admitted into heaven because of its own sins.
The mention of Saint Isidorus at Scetis at the beginning of this notice seems to indicate that Saint Latson lived at the end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth centuries.
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