Saint Vitalius, a monk of the Monastery of Saint Seridus, arrived in Alexandria when Saint John the Merciful (November 12) was Patriarch of Alexandria. When he was sixty years old, he took on an extraordinary task: he wrote down by heart the names of all the prostitutes of Alexandria and began to pray for them. He worked from morning to night, earning twelve copper coins every day. In the evening, the saint bought a single bean, which he ate after sunset. Then he gave the rest of the money to one of the whores he visited at night and said, “I beg you, take this money and sin with no one tonight.” Then he stayed with the whore in her room. While she slept, the elder spent the whole night in prayer, reading the Psalms, and walking in silence in the morning.
He did this every day, visiting all the whores one by one and taking away their promise to keep the purpose of his visit secret. The people of Alexandria, who did not know the truth, were outraged by the monk’s behavior and insulted him. However, he humbly endured her contempt and only asked her not to condemn others. The holy prayers of Saint Vitalius saved many fallen women. Some of them went to a monastery, others married and still others found a decent job. But they were forbidden to tell anyone the reason why they had changed their lives, and thus to stop the abuse that was piled up on Saint Vitalius. They were bound by an oath they had taken to the saint. When one of the women began to break her oath and stood up to defend the saint, she fell into demonic madness. After that, the people of Alexandria had no doubt about the sinfulness of the monk.