The relationship of men towards animals perhaps should be presented under the prism of the creation of the world. We specifically read in Genesis, "and God created the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the animals after their kind and all that creep on the earth after their kind and God saw that it was good (Gen 1:25).
2.The time of Christ
Our Lord coming to this world receives the affection of the dumb animals:"..... and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger..." (Luke 2:7).
3. Early Christian Times
After Apostle Paul was shipwrecked at Meliti, when the barbarians saw that he was bit by a viper, they shouted "..... no doubt this man is a murderer......... yet justice has not allowed him to live"(Acts 28:4).
Impressive is the case of Saint Hypatius who killed in a spectacular way a huge snake that had entered in the castle of the emperor Constans. He placed his rod in the mouth of the beast and it followed him to the marketplace where he burnt it in a huge pyre.
4. The animals serve the Saints.
Further to the cases of protection of the martyrs from being hurt by the wild animals -which were described above- our collections describe many cases where the animals served the Saints in different ways.
5. The Saints heal or send away the animals.
As Isaac the Syrian said: "a merciful heart is the fuel of all the creation.....and of the fowl and of the animals......for this to the benefit of the dumb animals..... blesses tearfully every hour.
6. The animals show gratitude and contrition to the Saints.
The animals which received benefits from the saint - within the framework of communication that develops - express their gratitude with different ways to their benefactor, such that the biographer of Saint Martinus wrote: ".....for this we sigh that the beasts feel the kindness and the people do not revere it".
7. The mourning of the animal for the death of a saint.
The lion that served Saint Gerasimus the Jordanian in its customary visit to worship the elder, was informed by the attending monk of his demise and when it was led there (to the grave) "it roared greatly and then expired".
8. The animals talk about God
Between the other wonderful signs that we find in the collections, noteworthy are those where the animals appear to be talking with God or the Saint.
According to this explanation by Saint Chrysostom it is not this animal but God Himself who gives us the message or the devil, as was with Eve and the snake.
9. Contemporary Saints and Elders.
Because the lives of the earlier saints may seem somehow distant from the contemporary world, it would have been an oversight not to mention more recent saints and elders of our days.
Another characteristic with the elder Paisius that reminds us of the prophet Elijah, is the following: "On the Sunday of the blind, being sick, exhausted and hungry he went out to the garden somewhat unhappy because he had nothing to eat. He looked at the sea and saw a large bird rising to the sky, such as a hawk or an eagle that held in its talons a large fish. As it arrived over his cell, it let go of the fish which then dropped in front of his feet. The elder prayed, cooked it and then ate it".
10. A pre-fall picture.
As a crowning over all the wonderful cases in the relations of the Saints with animals, it is perhaps worth mentioning the description from the "Thebaid of the North". Someone visited Saint Paul of Obnaras who lived in a remote area of the Russian forests. When he saw him he became witness to the following: "A great number of birds surrounded the Saint. The smaller ones even climbed in his shoulders and head and he would feed them with his hands. Close to him was a bear that waited to be fed. Foxes, hares and other animals would mingle without any aggression between them. It was a wonderful picture of the first created innocent Adam in the garden of Eden.
11. The protectors of the animals: Modesto and Mamas.
Our Church expressing her love for the dumb animals made - in view of their specific miracles- the Saints Modesto and Mama their protectors. "Miracles brighten all the earth, from disease and danger you save every soul and your visit soon stops the pernicious infections of the nurslings (=animals).
12. Church's blessings on the animals.
The Church with her blessings on all the creation - it is not possible not to pray for the animals as well - as for all the creation. This is concluded by the different blessings in the Book of Blessings (Efgologion): blessing against the transmission of animal diseases and of drought.
13. The animals and the people today.