Saint John the Silent was ordained Bishop of Colonia at the age of 28. After ten years as bishop his brother-in-law was appointed governor of Armenia and began to meddle in church matters. Overwhelmed by problems he was not prepared for, John secretly fled to Jerusalem where he was accepted as a novice at the St. Sabas monastery. After four years at the monastery they told him he was being considered for ordination and he was forced to admit his ecclesial status. The patriarch of Jerusalem allowed him to take a vow of silence and wall himself up in his cell for another 4 years.
He lived as a hermit in the desert for nine years during which time he was protected from brigands by a lion.
Later in life he left his solitude to fight against the Origenists.