Saint Bishoy or Pishoy (320-417 AD), known in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria as the Star of the Desert and the Beloved of our Good Savior, is an Egyptian desert father.
He is said to have seen our Lord Jesus Christ and whose incorrupt body is preserved to this day at the Coptic Orthodox monastery bearing his name at Wadi El-Natroun, Egypt, was known for his love, meekness, simplicity, and his extremely ascetic and prayerful life.He was born in 320 A.D. of a pious family in a small village called Shensha. An angel appeared to his mother, and announced to her that her son was chosen from among all his brothers to be the servant of God; she obeyed gladly and prepared him for his mission. In 340 A.D. Saint Bishoy went to live in Wadi-El-Natroun and there he became a friend of Saint John; both were disciples of Saint Pambo.
When Saint Pambo died, Saint Pishoy and Saint John prayed for God’s guidance, and an angel appeared to Saint Pishoy, directing him to the site of the present monastery, on which he was to live the life of a hermit. There, Saint Pishoy became the spiritual father to many monks who gathered around him. He grew famous for his love, simplicity and kindness, as well as for his extremely ascetic life.
He was serious, wise and a great recluse, loving seclusion and quietness. Emperor Constantine and Jeremiah the prophet appeared to him in visions, and Saint Ephrem the Syrian visited him.
It is said that because of his love for God and his desire to be with Him always, he used to tie his hair with a rope to the ceiling of his cell in order to resist sleeping during his long night prayers.
The Coptic Church’s tradition tells us that once, an old monk asked him to help him climb a mountain, so Pishoy carried him on his shoulders and climbed, only to discover that the old monk was no one but Jesua. The latter told him that, for the extent of his love, his body will not see corruption. The Copts also believe that Saint Pishoy also saw Jesus when one day of all of the monks in his monastery heard that Jesus was coming so they all went to go see him. But, there was an old man that asked the monks to help him on the way but they ignored him. But, when Saint Pishoy saw the old man he helped him back to his room. He washed the old mans feet (as proper custom in those days). The old man then appeared to him as Jesus.
In 407 AD, as the Berbers invaded the wilderness of Scetes, Pishoy left and dwelt in the mountain of Ansena. At this time he met Saint Paul of Tammah in Antinopolis and the two became very close friends. While at the mountain of Ansena, Pishoy built another monastery, the monastery of Saint Pishoy at Dayr al-Barsha, which exists until today near Mallawi. Pishoy departed on July 15 417 AD.
Saint Bishoy died on July 15, 417 A.D., and was known for his love, meekness, simplicity, and his worship.
He is venerated by the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and is known in the latter under the Greek version of his name, Paisios. Some members of the Coptic church note parallels between the hagiographies of Saint Bishoy and Saint Christopher.