The Badass of the Week.

St. Moses the Black

When most people think, "Orthodox Christian Saint", the first phrase that pops into their heads generally isn't "skull-crushing badass".  Saints are supposed to be skinny bearded dudes in ratty burlap robes who sit around in caves surrounded by lepers.  These poor hermits generally earn the right to carry the mantle of Sainthood for accomplishing some crazy abstract nonsense like philosophizing about the nature of the Trinity, writing a bunch of incomprehensible dogmatic theses about God-knows-what, and/or generally just talking about how awesome the Church is.  That's just the nature of Christianity; you don't get served Holy Bacon Strips at Jesus' breakfast table when you spend your life face-punching jerks unconscious, setting farmhouses on fire, and threatening people with knives.  That is, unless you're Saint Moses the Black.

Moses was a big, jacked Ethiopian hardass who left his Central African home in the middle of the 4th century in search of adventures and excitement in the fascinating and mysterious lands of Medieval Egypt.  While he was probably expecting to discover secret underground tombs in the Valley of the Kings or kick the nose off of the Sphinx with his sandals, what he found instead was a job as a lowly house-servant under the employ of some wealthy douchebasket Egyptian landowner.  Despite being shoehorned into a crappy minimum-wage job (assuming that he actually made any money at all) that he hated, Moses decided to make the best of his somewhat-miserable situation.  He accomplished this by frequently robbing the landowner while the dude was out at work, and then pawning all of his employer's favorite shit in exchange for giant chests full of gold, silver, jewels, and hot babes.  This arrangement was working out pretty well for Moses, until such time as his dumbass boss caught on and fired him.

Since Moses didn't really feel like returning to a life of menial servitude, he decided to pursue his talents in the exceedingly-lucrative field of ripping people off.  He moved to the outskirts of town, gathered up a group of like-minded followers, and his band of surly brigands promptly began terrorizing the countryside in a mad rampage of destruction, cock-punching, and cattle-thievery.  These fearless bandits tore ass up and down the Nile, robbing farmers, ransacking villages, illicitly acquiring giant sacks bursting with gold coins, and generally just making all of Egypt their bitches.

Moses took his new profession pretty seriously.  That's just the kind of guy he was.  This super-intense Abyssinian shit-wrecker never half-assed anything in his entire life, and he wasn't going to make an exception for serious business like being a badass Medieval crime boss.  For instance, one time he was trying to rob this dude's house and the guy's dog started flipping out and barking like crazy at the giant muscular warrior climbing around in the backyard.  I assume this was because Moses was part Terminator, but I really wasn't able to track down any documents that support that theory.  Moses managed to get away before the cops arrived, but the brigand leader swore vengeance at all costs.  The next night, the take-no-bullshit Ethiopian gangster put a giant-ass dagger in his teeth and swam across the fucking Nile River to attack this guy's farmstead from the other side.  He wasn't able to find the dude in his home (the guy probably fled the day before after catching one glimpse of Moses), so Moses satiated his thirst for revenge by slaughtering four of the dudes' prized rams and eating them.  The score appropriately settled, Moses then swam back across the largest river in Africa, and walked 50 miles to meet up with his crew at a pre-appointed rendezvous site.  Like I said, this guy was completely balls-out all of the time.

Unfortunately for our anti-hero, the long arm of the law eventually got around to the serious business of bitch-slapping Moses and his gang of head-cleaving land-pirates.  So with the strangle-happy fingers of the Egyptian police department slowly beginning to close around Moses' neck, he did the one thing that would keep him from prison time and possible execution he ran off to a remote monastery in the middle of the Egyptian desert and became a Coptic Orthodox monk.

Well I guess adopting the holy orders and devoting your life to God is great and all, but when you've spent your entire natural life chokeslamming dillholes spine-first onto the Great Pyramid of Cheops, some times old habits are a little hard to break.  Not long after Moses joined the monastic community, a group of four cutthroat thieves broke into the church and started looting holy artifacts and stealing money from the collection plate.  Well, as we have noted previously, Moses fully dedicated himself to whatever it was he was doing all of the goddamned time.  He may have become a monk to escape prosecution, but he was devoted to his calling - and a dude like Moses sure as shit wasn't going to sit around and let some punk hoodlums disrespect his new home.  He stood up, cracked his knucles, spit, and took two steps towards the assembled, dagger-wielding cabal of robbers and murderers.




The four bandits jumped the monk, but he responded by beating their fucking heads in with his bare hands.  All four dudes ended up getting their faces wrecked as the Ethiopian hardass gave them an epic beatdown of Biblical proportions.  I like to imagine that the main theme from Halo was playing in the background while this was going on.  Moses took the thugs down, tied them up, and dragged all four of their pummeled carcasses to the main altar of the monastery, where he threw them down at the feet of the horrified/astounded monks.  When the senior brother looked up at Moses with his mouth hanging open, Moses responded by basically saying something to the effect of, "I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be very Christian of me to kill these punks, so what do you recommend we do with them?"

When the goons finally came to their senses, they were impressed not only that Moses had caved their faces in with his Holy Strength +5, but also that he didn't just kill them on the spot.  Moses and the monks offered forgiveness to the men, and they actually decided to convert and become monks themselves.

Brother Moses eventually got the hang of the "God doesn't really like it when you punch peoples' heads off" thing, and became a spiritual leader among the brothers of the monastery.  He went on to preach forgiveness, saying that he had once been a giant brain-destroying assbeater, but had changed his ways and learned that it's also badass to be cool to people and not be a total dickhead to everybody all the time.  Basically, he was like the Jules Winnfield of the Orthodox Church.

Moses went on to live a long and prosperous life among the monks of Egypt, though according to one source I found, he "suffered greatly from the constant temptations of fornication". I guess when you're as hardcore as Moses, hot chicks just throw themselves at you all the time.  Our pious hero combated this ongoing onslaught of monk-groupies by directing his energy elsewhere - at any given time, you could find Moses busting his ass working around the monestary, day and night, carrying water from the well and repairing structures.

Saint Moses was killed in the year 405 when his monastery came under attack by a marauding band of Berber warriors.  The 75 year-old Moses managed to evacuate 70 monks from the compound before the attack, and he remained behind with seven others to defend the holy artifacts.  The elderly Ethiopian cleric was slain by the invaders and declared a martyr and a Saint by the Orthodox Church. Nowadays he is considered a patron saint of forgiveness and nonviolence, which is actually kind of impressive considering the fact that he used to work as a face-stabbing brigand leader and once beat the snot out of four dudes at the same time with his bare knuckles.

Personally, I prefer to think of him as the Patron Saint of Mushroom Cloud Layin' Motherfuckers.




Sources:

Butler, Alban, and Burns, Paul. Butler's Lives of the Saints. Continuum, 1995.

O'Leary, De Lacy. The Saints of Egypt. Kessinger, 2005.

O'Malley, Vincent J. Saints of Africa. Our Sunday Visitor, 2001.







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