Saint Abraham of Kidunaia (296-366) was born to a wealthy family near Edessa, Syria. He was forced into an arranged marriage at an early age but had no desire to marry. During the wedding festivities, Abraham fled. He walled himself up in a nearby building, leaving a small hole through which his family could send in food and water, and by which he could explain his desire for a religious life. His family relented, the marriage was called off, and he spent the next ten years in his cell.
After a decade of this life, the bishop of Edessa ordered Abraham from his cell. Against Abraham’s wishes, the bishop ordained him, and sent him as a missionary priest to the intransigently pagan village of Beth-Kiduna. He built a church, smashed idols, suffered abuse and violence, set a good example, and succeeded in converting the entire village. After a year, he prayed that God would send the village a better pastor than he, and he returned to his cell. It is from his success in Kiduna that he became known as Kidunaia.
He left the cell only twice more. Once a niece, Saint Mary of Edessa, was living a wild and misspent life. Abraham disguised himself as a soldier, which he knew would get her attention, and went to her home. Over supper he convinced her of the error of her ways; she converted and changed her life, and Abraham returned to his cell. His final trip out was his funeral, attended by a large, loving throng of mourners. His biography was written by his friend the great Saint Ephrem of Syria.