Abba Pambo (Arabic Bemwah) was a contemporary of Saint Anthony and Saint Athanasius. He trained Abba John the dwarf and Abba Pishoy. It was he that ordered Abba John to plant a stick and water it. He said this to one of his disciples about the church in the last times:
Then the disciple said: So then, Abba, the traditions are going to be changed and the practices of the Christians? Maybe there won't exist enough priests in the Church when these unfortunate times come?
And the father continued: In these times the love for God in most souls will grow cold and a great sadness will fall onto the world. One nation shall face-off against another. Peoples will move away from their own places. Rulers will be confused. The clergy will be thrown into anarchy, and the monks will be inclined more to negligence. The church leaders will consider useless anything concerned with salvation, as much for their own souls as for the souls of their flocks, and they will despise any such concern. All will show eagerness and energy for every matter regarding their dining table and their appetites. They'll be lazy in their prayers and casual in their criticisms. As for the lives and teachings of the Holy Fathers, they'll not have any interest to imitate them, nor even to hear them. But rather they will complain and say that "if we had lived in those times, then we'd have behaved like that". And the bishops shall give way to the powerful of the world, giving answers on different matters only after taking gifts from everywhere and consulting the rational logic of the academics. The poor man's rights will not be defended, they'll afflict widows, and harass orphans. Debauchery will permeate these people. Most won't believe in God, they'll hate each other and devour one another like beasts. The one will steal from the other, they'll be drunk and will walk about as blind.
The disciple again asked: What can we do, in such a state?
And Elder Pambo answered: My child, in these times whoever will save his soul and prompt others to be saved will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
>From the book: FOUR DESERT FATHERS: PAMBO, EVAGRIUS, MACARIUS OF EGYPT AND MACARIUS OF ALEXANDRIA. Contains the lives of these saints from the Lausiac History of Palladius - $17.00 St. Nectarios Press Bookstore