|"Nice cloak, S. Can I have it?"|
First, let's get square about his bona fides as a holy man. They didn't call him the Sindonite because he came from a place called Sindon. Sindon's a what, not a where. Basically, it is a light linen nightshirt -- it covers enough for modesty, but it wouldn''t keep you warm on a cloudy day in May. Yet the only thing Serapion ever wore, day and night, indoors and outdoors, was his sindon. If you gave him a tunic or a cloak or even a ratty old pair of gallic trousers, he'd find someone less fortunate than himself to give it to. The picture to the right depicts him as way overdressed.
|"Of course. Want a tunic, too?"|
Now for the long con. Let's start with the goal: in Matthew 19:21, Jesus says "If you want to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give your money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Taking the Word literally, Serapion gave away what he owned and then sold himself into slavery for twenty gold pieces. That money was of course also donated to the poor.
|For sale: one pious slave, used.|
He met an old pal walking down the street. His buddy asked him who stripped him of all his clothes. He puts the finger on the Gospel as the culprit so his friend can make the acquaintance. A little later, the book is sold and the a few more people had dinner that night.
He kept the con running until he was too old to be sold as a slave. Then he retired to live as a hermit in the Egyptian desert, confident that his penion account with the First Bank of Heaven was fully funded for all eternity.