Coptic Synaxarium


                                       
1. The Martyrdom of St. Apoli, Son of Justus.
2. The Departure of St. Kyrillos V (Cyril), 112th Pope of Alexandria.
1. On this day, St. Apoli (Aboli), son of Justus, son of Emperor Nomarius, was
martyred. This Saint was the crown prince of the Roman empire. He was away in war,
and when he returned to Antioch, he found Diocletian had already established the
pagan worship of idols. Although Apoli was capable of killing him and taking the
empire over from him, he preferred the heavenly everlasting kingdom. St. Apoli came
forward, and confessed Christ before Diocletian. In the beginning, Diocletian handled
him gently, but when he failed to attract him to the worship of the idols, he banished
him along with his father, Justus, and his mother, Theoclia to the city of Alexandria.
He wrote to Armanius, its governor, to persuade them to offer sacrifice to the gods,
and if they refuse, to separate them from each other.
Armanius, knowing their royal positions, sent Justus (the father) to Ansena (Antinoe),
his wife to the city of Sa, and Apoli, their son, to Basta. He also left to each of them
one of their servants to minister unto them. When Apoli arrived in the city of Basta,
he confessed Christ before its governor who tortured him severely. He beat him,
burned him, and dismembered him. When the governor saw that many became
Christians because of what they saw from the steadfastness of the Saint to the
tortures, and that the Lord was healing him from his wounds, he ordered to cut off his
holy head, and thus received the crown of martyrdom.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, of the year 1643 A.M. (August 7, 1927 A.D.) the righteous and
honorable father Pope Kyrillos V, 112th Pope of Alexandria, departed. This father was
born in the city of Tezment, governorate of Beni-Swaif in 1831 A.D. His pious parents
named him John, brought him up well, and raised him up in the Christian morals. He
had a strong desire to study the Holy Bible and the biography of the saints.
When he was 12 years old, in 1843 A.D., he was ordained a deacon and carried the
deaconate duties ardently. Because he was inclined at a young age to the life of
asceticism, and solitary life, he left the world, and went to St. Mary's monastery
(Known by El-Sourian) in Wadi El-Natrun. There he became a disciple to the spiritual
elder, the hegumen, Fr. Girgis El-Far, the father of confession of the monks. When
John's father discovered where he was, he came to the monastery and brought him
back, but because of his love for the ascetic life, he did not stay long. He returned to
the wilderness, and became a monk at El-Baramous monastery in the year 1850 A.D.
He excelled in his monastic duties and became known for his asceticism, purity, and
gentleness, and became a good paragon to the other monks. He was ordained a priest
in 1851 A.D., then promoted to Hegumen (Archpriest) in 1852 A.D. The number of
monks in the monastery then was small and its income was very little. This Father
worked hard in transcribing and selling books to churches. The income was used to buy
the necessities of the monks, such as food and clothing.
His virtues of knowledge, righteousness, and gentleness became well known. He was
ordained a Patriarch, in the 23rd of Babah, 1591 A.M. (November 1st, 1874 A.D.) in a
venerable celebration. He directed his attention to building churches, renovating
monasteries, being merciful to the poor, and caring for the affairs of the monks. In
1892 A.D., he chose to be exiled, rather than to squander the properties of the
monasteries. Anba Youanis, Metropolitan of El-Behara, Menoufia, and then the deputy
of the See of St. Mark, was also exiled with him. Afterwards, both returned from their
exile with much respect and honor.
During his papacy the church was adorned by knowledgeable and holy men: among
them was the great father, the man of purity, meekness, and charity, Anba Abraam,
Bishop of El-Fayoum virtues had spread vastly, and his almsgiving to the poor had
reached a point where he did not save any money. All the donations he received from
the benevolent, he gave to the poor and needy. He also performed many wonders such
as healing the sick and casting out evil spirits. Another was the well learned, great
theologian and skillful orator, the Hegumen (Archpriest) Philotheos Ibrahim
El-Tantawy, rector of the great St. Mark Church. Also, the well learned father the
honorable and the ascetic monk the Hegumen Fr. Abdel Messih Saleeb El-Baramousy,
who was well educated in Coptic, Ethiopian, Greek, and Syrian languages. He also
knew some French and English. He was characterized with immeasurable patience in
research and examining religious books. In return, he left valuable publications which
speak of his prominence.
Pope Kyrillos appointed the late Habib Girgis, who was the dean of the theological
seminary, to be his deacon. He dedicated his life to the seminary and its
improvement. Mr. Girgis assisted the Pope in expanding its buildings in Mahmasha.
Pope Kyrillos often visited the seminary and blessed its students. This deacon was a
skillful speaker. He accompanied the Pope in his pastoral visits to Upper Egypt and
Sudan. He translated many religious books from foreign languages to Arabic and
published El-Karma periodical, to spread the facts of the faith in a positive way. He
published many books, among them were: The Seven Sacraments of the Church, The
Consoler of the Faithful, The Mystery of Piety, and many others. He taught and
nurtured many generations of clerical men who flourished in the church and filled it
with their sermons and religious publications.
The Pope gave the utmost of his efforts to lift his flock to the highest spiritual level,
as he was prudent in printing the church books. He departed in peace, after spending
fifty-two years, nine months and six days on the Patriarchal chair.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Second Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
The Departure of St. Pa'esa (Athanasia)
On this day, St. Pa'esa, departed. She was born in Menouf, to pious and rich parents.
When her parents died, she turned her house into a shelter for the poor and the
sojourner. She accepted everyone that came to her fulfilling their every need until she
ran out of money. Evil people gathered around her, and turned her mind to the ungodly
way. She turned her home into a house of prostitution. When this news reached the
elders of Shiheet, they sorrowed for her with great sorrow. The elders called upon St.
John, the Short, and asked him to go to her, as an act of mercy, and to aid her in
saving her soul, in turn for the good that she had done for them.
The saint obeyed the elders and asked them to support him with their prayers. When
St. John came to where she lived, he asked her maid to announce his presence. When
the maid informed her, Pa'esa adorned herself, and called him in. As he was walking,
he was saying, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear
no evil. For thou art with me." (Ps. 23:4) When he sat down, he looked to her and
said, "Why did you belittle the Lord Christ, and do this evil deed?" She trembled, and
her heart was melting from the words of the Saint who bent his head and started
weeping. She asked him, "Why do you weep?" He answered, "Because I see the devils
playing on your face, and therefore I weep for you." She asked him, "Is there any
repentance for me?" He replied, "Yes, but not in this place." She said to him, "Take me
wherever you wish."
Then he took her to one of the convents close by the wilderness of Shiheet. On their
way it became dark. St. John told her to sleep in one place, while he slept far away
from her. When he stood up to pray the midnight prayer, he saw a pillar of light
coming down from heaven to earth, and the angels of God were carrying the Soul of
Pa'esa. When he approached her, he found that she had departed. Then he knelt down
and prayed fervently, with tears, asking God to reveal to him concerning her fate. He
heard a voice saying, "Her repentance was accepted in the moment that she
repented." After the saint had buried her, he returned to the Elders and told them
what had happened. They all glorified the Lord who accepts the repentants and forgive
their sins.
May her prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Third Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Relocation of the Body of St. Simon (Simeon) the Stylite to the city of Antioch.
2. The Departure of Pope Abriamus (Primus), Fifth Patriarch of Alexandria.
1. On this day, St. Simeon (Simon) the Stylite, departed. He was from Syria and he
had shepherded his father's flocks since he was young. He regularly attended the
church. The Grace of God moved him and he came to one of the monasteries, where he
stayed and worshiped God in great asceticism. He exerted himself with much fasting
and excessive thirst. Then he tied a rope around his loins until it pierced his flesh, and
a repulsive smell came out of him. When the other monks were offended by his smell,
he left the monastery and came to a pit where he dwelt for a short time. The abbot of
the monastery saw in a vision, as someone was telling him, "Why did you send away
My servant Simon? Seek him, and bring him back," as if the voice was rebuking them
for his dismissal from the monastery. The abbot informed the brethren of this vision
and they became troubled and they began to look for St. Simeon until they found him
in the pit, without food or water. They confessed to him their transgression, asked for
his forgiveness, and brought him back to the monastery. When they started to exalt
him, he felt that he was unworthy, so he left the monastery secretly, and came to a
certain rock, where he lived for sixty days without sleeping. Afterwards, the Angel of
the Lord came to him, comforted him, and told him that God had called him for the
salvation of many souls. Then he dwelt over a pillar, thirty cubits in height, for fifteen
years. He performed many signs and great wonders, and preached to all those who
came to him.
His father sought him, but did not find him and he died without seeing him. His
mother, after a long time, found out about him, so she came to him where he was
staying on that pillar. There she wept greatly, then she slept under that pillar. The
Saint asked the Lord Christ to have mercy on her. His mother died while she was
sleeping, and they buried her under the pillar.
Satan became envious of the saint for all his good deeds, and moved against him. He
smote him in one of his legs with ulcerations which forced him to use the other leg for
many years, until the diseased leg rotted, and worms dropped from it under the pillar.
A chief of a band of thieves came to him and slept under his pillar. The Saint prayed
to Christ on his behalf, and he stayed for a few days, and died. The Saint asked Christ
to supply him with water, and a spring of water sprang up at the foot of the pillar.
Then he moved to a taller pillar, where he stayed on top for thirty years. After he
completed forty-eight years in worshipping, he departed to the Lord. He preached
many people, taught them, and brought many back to the knowledge of Christ.
When the patriarch of Antioch heard about his departure from this world, he came to
him and took his body to Antioch in great veneration.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, in the year 116 A.D., Pope Aprimos (Primus), Fifth Patriarch of
Alexandria, departed. He was baptized by St. Mark the Apostle. He was one of the
three who were ordained priests by St. Mark the Apostle, along with Bishop Anianus,
the Second Patriarch. Pope Aprimos was ascetic, pious, and filled with good deeds. He
was ordained to the apostolic chair on the 22nd of Baounah (June 16th, 106 A.D.).
During his papacy, the church was in peace and tranquility.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Fourth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Departure of Hezekiah the King.
2. The Consecration of the Church of the Great St. Anthony (Antonios).
1. On this day, the righteous King Hezekiah son of Ahaz the King, departed. He was of
the seed of David, of the tribe of Judah. There was no king appointed over the children
of Israel, like this righteous man, after David. The other kings worshipped the idols
and built altars for them. After becoming King, Hezekiah destroyed the idols, and
demolished their altars, therefore God rewarded him for more than what he had done.
In the fourteenth year of his kingdom, Sennacherib, King of Persia, came and besieged
Jerusalem. He was a great and very powerful king, and all the other kings in his time
were afraid of him. Hezekiah also feared him, and sent him large sums of money, but
Sennacherib was not satisfied with them. Instead, he threatened and intimidated
Hezekiah, and he reviled, with his unclean tongue, God, the Glorious and Most High,
saying, "Do not be deceived by your God that you are depending on him saying, 'Do
not deliver Jerusalem to the hands of King of Persia.'" Then Hezekiah wept, rent his
garments, and he put on hair sackcloth, and went into the House of the Lord and
prayed saying, "O LORD God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You
are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and
earth. Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and
hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. Truly,
LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and have cast
their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men's hands; wood
and stone. Therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, I
pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are
the LORD God, You alone." (2 Kings 19:15-19) Then King Hezekiah sent a letter to
Isaiah the Prophet to inform him about what Sennacherib had said and asked him to
pray for him. Isaiah answered and told him that God would strengthen his heart and
God will do to Sennacherib an action, the like of which has never been heard of in all
the earth. That night, the angel of the Lord went forth, and slew one hundred
eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; and when they arose early in the
morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. The rest were conquered and returned to
their countries. When Sennacherib went to worship in the house of his gods, his sons
slew him with the sword and killed him. (2 Kings 19:35-37) Thus Hezekiah escaped his
hands and glorified God.
In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the Prophet, the son of
Amoz, went to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Set your house in order, for
you shall die, and not live.'" Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and
prayed to the LORD. Then it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle
court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "Return and tell Hezekiah ... I
will add to your days fifteen years ... " Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "What is the sign that
the LORD will heal me ... " Then Isaiah said, "This is the sign to you from the LORD,
... the shadow of the sun will be brought ten degrees backward ... " (2 Kings 20:1-11)
All the kings feared him and they brought tribute to him, because they knew that God
was with him. King Hezekiah reigned for twenty-nine years and all the days of his life
were fifty-four years when he departed in peace. His prayer which he uttered through
the Holy Spirit when he was healed of his sickness is written in the book of Isaiah
(38:10-20).
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, was the consecration of the Church of the great St. Anthony
(Antonios).
May his blessing be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.

The Fifth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
The Departure of St. John the Soldier
On this day, the devout St. John the Soldier, departed. He was born to pious Christian
parents. When he grew up, he joined the army of the Infidel Emperor Julian. Julian had
sent him with other soldiers to afflict the Christians where ever they went. He
pretended that he was in agreement with his fellow soldiers in their persecution of the
Christians but in fact he was defending them. He treated the Christians well, fulfilling
their needs. He also used to fast, and pray continually and give alms. He lived a life
like unto the lives of the righteous, until he departed in peace. God manifested many
miracles from his grave.
May his blessing be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Sixth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
The Martyrdom of St. Julietta
On this day, St. Julietta was martyred. She was born in the city of Caesaria, in
Cappadocia, to rich Christian parents. She inherited great wealth from them. An
oppressor defrauded her from her wealth by bribing false witnesses against her. When
that evil man knew that she wished to inform against him, and expose his lies and
extortion, he informed the governor of Cappadocia that she was Christian. She said
within herself that the temporal wealth of this world is nothing to make her lose
herself for, but if she gain the eternal life to come, no one would be able to take it
from her. When she came before the governor, she confessed the name of Christ. The
governor cast her in fire, and she delivered up her pure spirit in the hands of the Lord.
She received instead of her temporal possessions, the eternal life and St. Basil the
Great praised her immensely.
May her prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Seventh Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Annunciation of St. Joachim with the Birth of the Virgin Mary.
2. The Departure of St. Timothy II (Timotheos), 26th Pope of Alexandria.
1. On this day, God sent His honorable angel Gabriel to announce to St. Joachim of
the birth of the Virgin, the mother of the incarnated God. This righteous man and his
wife St. Anna (Hannah) were stricken in years and had no children for Anna was
barren. The children of Israel used to insult him because he had not begotten a son.
Because of this, these two saints were sad, and prayed continually, and entreated God
by day and by night. They vowed that the child they would beget would be made a
steward for the temple.
While St. Joachim was praying over the mountain, he fell into a deep sleep and
Gabriel, the angel of the Lord, appeared to him and announced to him that his wife
Anna would conceive and bear a child, that would delight his eyes and please his
heart; and likewise all the world would rejoice and be glad. When he woke from his
sleep, he came to his house, and told his wife about the vision, which she believed.
Anna conceived forthwith, and brought forth our Lady, the Virgin Mary, and St. Anna
became more honorable than all the women of the world.
May her intercession be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, of the year 193 A.M. (July 31, 477 A.D.) St. Timothy II, the
twenty-sixth Pope of the See of St. Mark, departed. This father was chosen for the
Patriarchate after the departure of the striving father Pope Dioscorus on the third of
Babah, 172 A.M. (October 1, 455 A.D.). He suffered many hardships for the sake of
preserving the Orthodox faith. Emperor Leo, the Great, banished him to the island of
Gagra (Gangra), in Paphlognia (Pavlagonia), where he was detained for seven years
until he was returned by Emperor Leo, the Less, with great honor. He spent the rest of
his days in establishing the faithful in the Orthodox faith. He departed in peace after
he spent twenty-one years and ten months on the throne of St. Mark.
May his blessings be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Eighth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Martyrdom of the Sts. Lazarus, Salomi, His Wife, and Their Children.
2. The Confession of St. Peter, the Apostle, that Christ is the Son of the Living God.
1. On this day, the nine saints: Lazarus the Elder, his wife Salomi, and their children;
Abeem (Animo), Antonius, Hosea, Lazarus, Aniana, Semuna, and Marcolus, were
martyred. Lazarus was one of the teachers of the Jewish Law. His father was one of
the Seventy Elders who translated the Torah by the order of Ptolemy, King of Egypt.
This just man taught his children the Law of Moses.
When Antiochus, King of Rome, reigned over the Syrian land, he besieged Jerusalem
and afflicted the Jewish nation with cruelty. He compelled them to break the Law of
their fathers and to eat what was forbidden them such as pork meat and the like.
Many of them feared his might and obeyed him. Nevertheless, these righteous
persisted on keeping the Law, which had been given to them by God. Antiochus
tortured them severely, by flogging them, crucifying, burning, and plowing their bodies
with metal combs. The righteous woman Salomi, encouraged them until they had
fulfilled their martyrdom. Then, she also cast herself in the fire without waiting for
them to throw her into it. Thus, they received the crown of martyrdom.
May their prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, the church celebrates the confession of St. Peter, the Apostle,
that "Christ is the Son of the living God." When Jesus came into the region of
Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of
Man, am?" So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah and others Jeremiah,
or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Simon
Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus
answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has
not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven, and I also say to you that
you are Peter and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not
prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and
whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth
will be loosed in Heaven." Then He commanded his disciples that they should tell no
one that He was Jesus the Christ. (Matthew 16:13-20)
May the Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Ninth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
The Martyrdom of St. Ari, the Priest of Shatanouf
On this day, St. Ari (Ori), the priest of Shatanouf, was martyred. He was exceedingly
merciful, pure in soul and body, to the extent that he was worthy to foretell future
things by the Divine Inspiration. When the governor of Nakios, heard about him, he
had the Saint brought before him and ordered the Saint to offer incense to the idols.
When St. Ari refused, the governor tortured him much, then sent him to Alexandria,
where he was also severely tormented with excruciating tortures. Then they cast him
in prison, where God wrought many miracles on his hands. His news spread and many
came to him from everywhere. When the governor heard this, he ordered him
beheaded. Thus he received the crown of martyrdom.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Tenth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Martyrdom of St. Matra.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Pigebs (Bekhebs).
1. On this day, St. Matra was martyred during the papacy of Pope Demetrius, the
twelfth patriarch of Alexandria, and in the days of Emperor Decius. When this Saint
heard the imperial Edict read ordering the worship of idols, he went and took the arm
of the statue of the idol Apollo, which was made of pure gold. He cut it in pieces, and
gave them to the poor. When they searched for the idol's arm, and could not find it,
they seized many because of it. St. Matra came forward and told them, "I am he who
took it." They tortured him much, and then cast him into the fire, but the angel of the
Lord saved him from it. Then they cut off his hands and his feet and crucified him on a
tree, head downwards. A blind man came and took some of the blood that was
dripping from the Saint's mouth and smeared his eyes with it, and he regained his
sight. Afterwards, the Saint was beheaded, and he received the crown of martyrdom.
May his intercession be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, St. Pigebs (Bekhebs) was martyred. He was from the city of
Ashmoun-Tanah. He was a soldier under the command of prince Antiochus. When the
prince knew that he was Christian, he had him brought along with Anba Klog, the
bishop, Anba Nehro, who was from Tersa and Anba Phillip, and asked them about their
faith. They confessed that they were Christian. He tortured them severely.
Later on he bound St. Pigebs and sent him with others to the Baramon. They spent
many days in the ship without eating or drinking. When they arrived to the Baramon,
they tortured St. Pigebs severely, and finally they hacked his body in pieces with a
cleaver, thus he received the crown of martyrdom. A believing man from the Baramon
came and took St. Pigebs body and sent it to his hometown Ashmoun-Tanah.
Ninety-five others received the crown of martyrdom along with the Saint.
May their prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Eleventh Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
The Departure of St. Moisis, Bishop of Ouseem
On this day, the holy father Anba Moisis (Moses), Bishop of Ouseem, departed. He
was pure and chaste from a young age. He learned the church subjects, and was
ordained a deacon. Then he went to the desert of Scetis and became a monk, under
the direction of a righteous man. Anba Moisis served him for eighteen years, devoting
himself to praying and fasting, and was adorned with humility and love. As the report
of his virtues noised throughout, he was ordained a bishop for Ouseem after Anba
Gamoul. He pursued a good, virtuous life, increased in righteousness, and he
shepherded the flock of Christ with the best of care. He was ascetic and did not own
anything all his life. He suffered, along with Pope Michael, 46th Patriarch of
Alexandria, many tribulations. God wrought many signs and miracles on his hands.
Often, Anba Moisis foretold incidents before their occurrences. For example, once he
told Anba Tadros, Bishop of Misr, that the King would not return to his kingdom, and it
was so.
When he completed his strife and was in a good old age, he had a short illness. When
he knew the time of his departure, he called his congregation, blessed them,
commended them, and asked them to pray for him. They all wept and asked him to
remember them before Christ. He stretched out his hand, prayed, bid them farewell
and departed in peace. He remained in his chair for more than twenty years.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Twelfth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Commemoration of the Honorable Archangel Michael.
2. The Reign of the Righteous Emperor Constantine, the Great.
1. On this day, the church celebrates the commemoration of the honorable Archangel
Michael. With his supplications God brings the water of the Nile up to its measure and
blesses the fruits of the earth.
May his intercession be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, is the commemoration of the enthronement of the Righteous
Emperor Constantine the Great, over the city of Rome. When he reigned over
Byzantium, succeeding his father Constantius Chlorus in the year 306 A.D., he
abolished the injustice throughout the kingdom. His fairness and fame spread
throughout the Empire. The nobles of Rome asked him to come and save them from
the injustice of Maximianus. He sorrowed for their misfortune, and he pondered in
what way he could deliver them. The sign of the cross appeared to him, to which he
adhered. Constantine went and fought against Maximianus and defeated him. While
Maximianus was retreating, crossing the bridge over the Tiber River, the bridge broke
and he perished, drowning along with his soldiers. That was in the seventh year of the
reign of Emperor Constantine. When Emperor Constantine entered Rome, all its nobles
and people welcomed him in a grand festival, and with great joy. They celebrated his
victory for seven successive days. The poets of Rome and its orators praised the
Honorable Cross, describing it as the savior of their city and the supporter of their
Emperor.
The account of the appearance of the Cross to Emperor Constantine and his victory
over Maximianus is written under the commemoration of the departure of this
righteous Emperor, which is on the twenty-eighth day of the month of Baramhat.
Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Thirteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
The Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord on Mount Tabor
On this day, the church celebrates the commemoration of the transfiguration of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Mount Tabor. The disciples, Peter, James and John,
were with Him, and about whom the Lord said, " .... there are some standing here who
shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom." (Mt. 16:28)
He fulfilled His promise, for six days later, He took His three disciples, up on a high
mountain, where He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and
His clothes became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them
talking to the Lord.
The Lord wants to teach us that He is the Lord of Moses whom He can raise from the
dead, and that He is the God of Elijah whom He can bring back from heaven. St. Peter
said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here, if you wish, let us make here three
tabernacles: one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." This indicated the
weakness of Peter for he thought that the Lord needed something to cover Him from
the sun. It also indicated his good character, for he did not think of himself or the
other disciples. We should not marvel at the lack of knowledge of the disciples, for
they were not yet perfected. While Peter was still speaking, behold a bright cloud
overshadowed them, so that Peter would know that Jesus was not in need of
tabernacles made by hands. Suddenly a voice came out of the cloud saying, "This is
My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased; listen to Him." (Mt. 17:1-8) When the
disciples heard the voice, they fell on their faces and were exceedingly afraid. Jesus
came and touched them with His blessed hand, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." And
when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but the Lord Jesus alone.
To Him is the Glory forever. Amen.
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The Fourteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
The Commemoration of the Great Sign, the Lord had Manifested During the Papacy of
St. Theophilus
On this day, the church celebrates the commemoration of the great miracle which God
performed during the papacy of St. Theophilus, the twenty-third pope of Alexandria.
There was in the city of Alexandria, a Jewish man whose name was Philexinos. He was
very rich, feared God and practiced the Law of Moses. There was also in the city two
poor Christian men, one of them blasphemed saying, "Why do we worship Christ and
remain poor, while this Jewish man Philexinos is very rich?" The other man answered
him saying, "The possessions of this world are nothing before God, for if it was, He
would not give it to the worshippers of idols, adulterers, thieves, and murderers. The
prophets were poor and persecuted, as also the apostles were, and the Lord said, 'the
least of these my brethren'" (Matthew 25:40). Satan, the enemy of good, would not
permit that man to accept any of the words of his friend. The rebellious friend went to
Philexinos the Jew and asked him to accept him as his servant. Philexinos replied, "It
is not lawful for me to employ anyone unless he believes in my faith, but if you want
alms, I can give some to you." This miserable man replied, "Take me to your house,
and I will adopt your faith and I will do whatsoever you command me."
Philexinos took him to the synagogue and the chief of the Jews asked him before all
the Jewish congregation saying, "Is it true that you have denied your Christ and
become a Jew like us?" He replied, "Yes," and that debased man rejected Christ the
Lord before the Jewish congregation. Thus to poverty in money he added poverty in
Faith. Then the chief of the Jews commanded them to make for him a cross of wood.
They gave him a reed, on the top of which was a sponge full of vinegar, and a spear.
Then they said to him, "Spit upon this cross, offer to him this vinegar, and pierce the
cross with this spear and say, 'I pierce you O Christ.'" That debased man did
everything as they commanded him. When he pierced the honorable cross with his
sinful hand, blood and water flowed forth, and ran down on the ground. Then this
apostate dropped dead instantly, and dried up like a rock.
Great fear fell upon all those who were present, many of them believed and cried,
saying, "One is the Lord God of the Christians, and we believe in Him." Then they took
the blood, and anointed their faces and eyes with it. Philexinos took also some of the
blood and sprinkled it on his daughter who was born blind, and she saw straightway.
He believed as well as his household, and many others of the Jews. Afterwards, they
informed Pope Theophilus about this incident. He took Abba Kyrellos (Pope Kyrellos I),
many of the priests and people, and went to the synagogue of the Jews, where he saw
the cross, the blood and water. The Pope took the blood and water, blessed himself
and also blessed the people. He wiped the blood from the floor, and laid it in a vessel
for blessing. He ordered the wooden cross carried to the church. Afterwards those
present confessed their faith before the Pope who baptized them in the Name of the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and blessed them. Then they went to their homes
giving thanks to the Lord Christ and glorifying his Holy Name.
Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Fifteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
The Commemoration of the Departure of St. Mary Known as Marina, the Ascetic
On this day, the church celebrates the commemoration of the departure of the nun St.
Marina, who was the daughter of a very rich Christian man. Her name was Mariam, and
her mother died when she was a little girl. Her father raised her, and brought her up
well. When he wanted to give her in marriage, and to go himself and become a monk
in one of the monasteries, she told him, "O my Father, why would you save your own
soul, and destroy mine?" He answered saying, "What shall I do with you? You are a
woman." She told him, "I will take off my woman's dress and will put on the garb of a
man." She rose up straightway, shaved off the hair on her head and put on the garb of
a man. When her father saw her strong determination and persistent desire, he gave
all his possessions to the poor, keeping only a very little for himself, and he called her
Marina instead of Mariam (Mary).
Then he went to one of the monasteries, and lived in one of the cells with his
daughter, for ten years, fighting the spiritual fight. Then her father, who was an old
man, died. St. Marina was left by herself, and she doubled her fasting, prayers and
increased her asceticism. No one knew that she was a woman, and they attributed her
soft voice to her intense asceticism and vigilant prayers.
Once the abbot of the monastery sent her, together with three monks, to the city on
certain business of the monastery, and they lodged in an inn. That same night, one of
the king's soldiers lodged in that inn, and he saw the daughter of the owner of the
inn, and he defiled her virginity. He instructed her to tell her father, "that the young
monk, Father Marina, did that to me." When she had conceived, and her father knew
that, he asked her and she answered saying, "that it was the young monk, abba
Marina, who did that to me." Her father then became angry, went to the monastery
and began to curse and insult the monks. The Abbot met with him, comforted and
calmed him down and then sent him away. The Abbot then called this saint and
rebuked her much. When she knew what had happened, she wept and bowed down
and said, "I am young, I have sinned, forgive me O my Father." The Abbot was furious
with her, and cast her out of the monastery. She dwelt outside of the monastery for a
long time. When the daughter of the inn keeper had the baby, her father took him to
St. Marina, set him down before her and left. She took the child, moved among the
surrounding shepherds and nursed him with milk. She increased her fasting and
prayers for the three years, that she was expelled from the monastery. The monks felt
pity upon her and asked the Abbot to readmit her. The Abbot consented to their
request and readmitted her to the monastery after he had laid heavy penalties and
severe rules upon the Saint. She performed very hard labors, such as cooking,
cleaning, and watering, as well as her regular monastic duties.
When the child grew, he became a monk. After St. Marina had completed forty years,
she fell ill for three days then departed in peace. The Abbot ordered to take off her old
ragged clothes and dress her with new ones prior to carrying her to the place of
praying. When they removed her clothing, and found that she was a woman, they all
shouted out saying, "God have mercy." They informed the Abbot who came, marvelled,
and wept because of what he had done to her. The Abbot then called the inn keeper
and told him that the monk Marina was a woman not a man. The inn keeper went to
where her body was and wept much. After they prayed over her body, they came
forward to be blessed from her body. One of the monks had sight only in one eye, he
put his face close to her body and immediately he gained sight in his blind eye. After
she was buried, God allowed a devil to torment the inn keeper's daughter and the
soldier, her friend, and brought them to where the Saint was buried and both
confessed their iniquity in front of everyone. God manifested innumerable miracles
through her blessed body.
May her prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Sixteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Assumption of the Body of the Pure Virgin St. Mary.
2. The Departure of St. Mattias IV (Mattheos), 102nd Patriarch of Alexandria.
1. On this day, was the assumption of the body of our pure Lady St. Mary, the Mother
of God. While she was keeping vigil, praying in the Holy Sepulchre, and waiting for the
happy minute of her liberation from the bonds of the flesh, the Holy Spirit informed
her of her forthcoming departure from this vain world. When the time drew near, the
disciples and the virgins of the Mt. of Olives (Zeiton) came and the Lady was lying on
her bed. Our Lord, surrounded by thousands and thousands of angels, came to Her. He
consoled her, and announced her with the everlasting joy which was prepared for Her.
She was happy, and she stretched out her hands, blessed the Disciples, and the
Virgins. Then, she delivered up her pure soul in the hand of her Son and God, Jesus
Christ, Who ascended her to the higher habitations. As of the pure body, they
shrouded it and carried it to Gethsemane.
On their way, some of the Jews blocked the way in the face of the disciples to prevent
the burial. One of them seized the coffin. His hands were separated from his body,
and remained hanging until he believed and repented for his mischievous deed. With
the prayers of the holy disciples, his hands were reattached to his body as they had
been before.
St. Thomas was absent at the time of St. Mary's departure, but he came after the
burial. On his way back to Jerusalem, St. Thomas saw angels carrying St. Mary's pure
body and ascending with it to heaven, and one of the angels said to him, "Hurry and
kiss the pure body of St. Mary." When he arrived to the disciples, they informed him
about St. Mary's departure. He told them, "I will not believe, unless I see her body, as
you all know how I did doubt the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ before." They
took him to the tomb, to uncover the body but they did not find it, and they were
perplexed and amazed. St. Thomas told them how he saw the pure body ascending to
heaven, carried by angels.
The Holy Spirit then told them, "The Lord did not Will to leave Her Holy body on
earth." The Lord had promised his pure apostles that they would see her in flesh
another time. They were waiting for the fulfillment of this truthful promise, until the
sixteenth day of the month of Misra, when the promise of seeing her was fulfilled.
They saw her sitting on the right hand of her Son and her Lord, surrounded by the
angelic Host, as David prophesied and said, "At your right hand stands the queen."
(Psalm 45:9) St. Mary's life on earth was sixty years. She spent twelve years of them
in the temple, thirty years in the house of the righteous St. Joseph, and fourteen
years in the care of St. John the Evangelist, as the Lord commanded her saying,
"Woman behold your Son," and to St. John, "Behold your Mother."
May Her intercession be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, of the year 1391 A.M. (August 15, 1675 A.D.) Pope Mattias IV
(Mattheos), 102nd Patriarch, departed. He was known as Matta El-Meeri. This father
was born to pious Christian parents, who were righteous, merciful and benevolent.
They were of the rich people of the city of Meer, Ashmonain district, the diocese of
Qousqam, which is known as El-Mouharaq. They had vast farm land and live-stock.
They had three boys, one of them was this righteous Father. He was the closest to his
parents, and his name was Guirguis. They raised him with prudence, and brought him
up with good manners and decency. They never asked him, as they did his brothers, to
work on the farm, or attend to the live-stock. Instead he dedicated himself to reading
and learning until he became more informed about the Holy books than his
contemporaries. He was able to explain and interpret their meanings to those who had
difficulties with them.
When he grew up, he renounced this vain world and went to the monastery of St. Mary
known as "El-Baramos" in the wilderness of Sheahat (Scetis), where he stayed for six
years. He saw in a dream that his parents were grieved over him for they thought that
he was dead, since they had not found him. Immediately he informed his brothers in
the monastery who advised him to go to his home-town to see his parents. He went
to Meer and greeted his parents who became exceedingly happy when they saw him
alive. Afterwards, they wished to wed him, but when the Saint learned from a friend
what his parents intended to do, he escaped and returned again to the monastery.
The monks welcomed him back with great joy. He lived with these holy men in love
and faithful service, so they nominated him to the monastic rank. Then he was
ordained a priest for the monastery, and after a short time, he wore the Eskeem. He
exhausted himself with vigilance, prayers, worships, and kneeling more than was
required from the other monks. He fasted from sunset to the sunset of the next day
and in the winter he fasted two days at a time. He kept this manner all the days of
his life until he realized the favor of God, because of his good deeds, acceptable
worship, and asceticism.
When Pope Marcos VI, 101St Patriarch, departed, the bishops, priests, and the lay
leaders sought a new righteous shepherd to ordain in his place. They asked the monks
of the wilderness and the monasteries to guide them to one fit for this position. The
monks guided them to this father. When they asked him to come to Misr (Cairo), he
refused to comply with their request. So they were forced to send a soldier from the
government, who seized him, and brought him to Misr.
Meanwhile the people of Misr (Cairo) seized another righteous priest called John, and
wanted to ordain him Patriarch, and as a result of that a conflict developed. The
governor apprehended the two candidates and imprisoned them for forty days. When
the matter prolonged, the bishops met and decided to cast an altar lot which was
done before all the congregation. The soldiers also cast among them another lot in the
government building. Each time they drew the lot it fell on Guirguis. One night the
soldiers of the governor saw a burning candle hovering over Father Guirguis' head
while he was in prison. Finally they nominated this father after the considerable
contention, and all the congregation was pleased. He was ordained on Sunday, 30th of
Hatour, 1377 A.M. (Dec. 6th, 1660 A.D.) during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan,
Mohammed IV.
The celebration of his ordination was a splendid and grand celebration which was
attended by many of the other Christian denominations. When he was enthroned as
the Patriarch in the Patriarchal cell at Haret-Zewailah, he considered marital and
family matters, and church affairs in stern, just and fair judgements. He was meek and
humble, disliked attention and exaltedness, so he never sat on a chair in the church,
but stood beside it until the end of the service. He visited widows, orphans, and
prisoners, and cared for the monks in the monastery, fulfilling their needs. He
cherished the monasteries and the churches, as he lived a simple life as those monks
lived in the wilderness. During his papacy the church was in peace and tranquility and
the church was enlightened with his grace. In the year 1387 A.M. (1671 A.D.), a
grievous plague befell Egypt, which perished many.
He ordained two successive metropolitans for Ethiopia after the departure of its
Metropolitan Youanis the Thirteenth. The first was Anba Khristozollo II, who remained
on the chair from 1665 to 1672 A.D., during the reign of King Wasilidis. The second
was Anba Shenouda I, who remained on the chair from 1672 to 1694 A.D. during the
time of John I.
Pope Mattias IV, was the last to dwell in the patriarchal cell at Haret-Zewailah for he
moved his residency to Haret-El-Roum in 1660 A.D. just after his ordination.
During his papacy Pope Mattias endured some hardships:
+ The devil entered the heart of a Christian man and motivated him to go to the tax
collector to over tax the Christians, which put a great burden on them. They
complained to the Pope, who sent for the tax collector. The Pope forbade him, but he
did not cease his wicked act. The Pope ex-communicated him, and the man died a
horrible death.
+ Another time, a woman came to the pope complaining that her husband had
divorced her and married another woman. The Pope sent for him and asked him to
come with his second wife. When this man came, the Pope ordered them to be
separated, but the second wife refused saying, "How can that be while I am pregnant
with his child?" Then the Pope said, "The Lord Christ will judge between the two
marriages." Just as the second woman left the Pope's cell, she aborted and the fetus
came out of her womb. A great fear transpired because of this incident. The man
separated from her and returned to his first wife. Pope Mattias became respected,
honored, and revered by his people.
+ Another time, some infidels wanted to demolish St. Marcurius' "of the two swords,"
Church at old Cairo. They went to the governmental office and appointed someone in
charge of this matter. When the Pope heard about their intentions, he grieved much
and spent that night's vigil beseeching God, and interceding with St. Marcurius to
annul their conspiracy and save the church from destruction. While the soldiers were
asleep around the church, a wall fell on them. They all died, and the news spread
around the city. The wicked conspiracy was annulled and everyone glorified God.
During Pope Mattias' days, the enemy of good, stirred up the unbelievers against the
Christians. But Christ, to Whom is the Glory, always vanquished their council and
perished them through the prayers of Pope Mattias, for he shepherded the flock of
Christ faithfully.
When the time of his departure drew near, he went to the tomb of the Patriarchs in
Misr and said to it, "Open and receive me so I can dwell with my righteous brothers."
After he returned to his residence, he fell sick with the illness of death. He called the
bishops and priests and commended them on the flock of Christ. He also called the
Abbess of the convent and gave her all he had, and asked her to hand them to his
successor, as they were the property of the church. Then he departed in peace at a
good old age, after he had remained on the chair of St. Mark for fourteen years, eight
months, and nine days. He was seventy-five years old and was buried in the tomb of
the Patriarchs in the church of St. Marcurius in Old Cairo. The chair remained vacant
after him for seven months.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Seventeenth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
The Martyrdom of St. James the Soldier
On this day, St. James, the soldier, departed. He was born in Mengoug (Manug),
district of Ebso (Psoi), to God fearing Christian parents. God gave them three
daughters before they had this saint. They committed the daughters to a nunnery to
be taught, and brought up, in the fear of God. They learned and read the Holy Bible
and the church teachings. When their father asked them to return, they refused for
they preferred to stay in the nunnery and they dedicated themselves as brides of
Christ. Their parents sorrowed, but God consoled them by giving them this saint. They
rejoiced in him, and when he was six years old, his father sent him to Ebso to learn
reading and writing. After he finished his education his father put him in charge of his
money and possessions.
The father had an old man, who shepherded his sheep. This old man was adorned with
several virtues and James took him as a role model. When the devil provoked
persecution against the Christians, the old man handed over the sheep to the father
of James and left to become a martyr. James asked his father if he could go to bid the
shepherd farewell and then come back, and his father allowed him to do so. When
James went with the shepherd, he found the governor in upper Egypt torturing St.
Justus, son of Emperor Nomarius. The old man told James, "Look O my son, the person
that you see being tortured is the son of an emperor, who has forsaken the world and
its vain glory, and followed Christ, so what the poor like us, would do? Then be
patient, and do not be sorrowful because of your
separation from your parents." They came before the governor and confessed the Lord
Christ. The governor tortured them severely, then beheaded the old man.
The governor tortured St. James severely by beating him with whips. Then he placed a
piece of red-hot iron on his chest. The saint lifted up his eyes and appealed for help to
the Lord Christ, Who saved him and healed him from his afflictions. Then, they put
him in a sack, and cast him in the sea, but the angel of the Lord raised him up from
the sea. Then the saint returned, and stood before the governor who sent him to the
city of El-Farma. There the governor tortured him, by cutting his tongue, tearing out
his eyes, torturing him on the wheel, and combing his flesh. Sourial, the angel of God,
came down and saved him. When the governor was tired of torturing him, he
commanded James' head cut off, along with two other martyrs, whose names were
Abraham and John, who were from Samannoud. They all received the crown of
martyrdom.
May their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Eighteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Departure of St. Alexander, Patriarch of Constantinople.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Eudaemon, of Armant (El-Armanti).
1. On this day, of the year 340 A.D. the saint Abba Alexander, Patriarch of the city of
Constantinople, departed. He was an honorable saint who suffered many hardships
from the followers of Arius. When St. Athanasius the Apostolic, the twentieth Pope of
Alexandria, renewed the excommunication of Arius, he went to Constantinople. Arius
complained to Emperor Constantius, Son of the righteous Emperor Constantine, about
St. Athanasius' conduct against him. When the emperor refused his petition, Arius
asked the emperor to instruct Abba Alexander to accept him in the communion of the
church. The emperor sent to this father saying, "Athanasius had defied us because he
did not accept Arius, and you know that we appointed you to this position, so you
must not transgress our command. Make my heart glad, and reinstate Arius." St.
Alexander replied saying, "The church does not accept him for he does not worship the
Holy Trinity." The Emperor said, "Arius had confessed his faith in the Holy Trinity
before me and that the Son is of one essence with the Father." Then the saint
answered, "If Arius had confessed that, let him write his confession by his own hand."
The emperor brought Arius and he wrote down the faith with his own hand, contrary to
what he had in his heart. Then the emperor made him swear on the Holy Bible that
was his faith, but he swore falsely. The emperor said to Abba Alexander, "What do you
have against him now, since he has written his faith with his own hand, and taken an
oath on the Holy Bible." Abba Alexander replied, "Pope Athanasius renewed the
excommunication of Arius, which was signed by your father, Emperor Constantine
along with the three hundred and eighteen fathers, and expelled him and all his
followers from Alexandria. Wait for one week, and if nothing happens to him during
this week, then his profession of faith is sincere, and his oath is righteous. Then I will
receive him in the communion of the church." The emperor agreed to his request.
When the patriarch went back to his church, he commanded his congregation to fast,
along with him, for seven days and pray to God that He might save His church from
the sin of Arius. After the week ended, and on the eve of Sunday, the heretics took
Arius and started strolling with him in the streets of the city rejoicing that their leader
would be accepted in the church. In the morning, Arius went to the church and sat
down with the priests in front of the altar. Then Abba Alexander entered the church,
being sad, and not knowing what to do. When he started the liturgy, Arius felt a colic
and had to run to the washroom, where his bowels poured out of his body. When Arius
delayed in returning, his followers went to the washroom, found him dead, and they
were ashamed. The faithful glorified the Lord Christ, Who does not forsake His church.
The emperor was amazed at that, and realized that Arius was lying in his writing and
in his oath. He also perceived the holiness of Abba Alexander, the truthfulness of his
faith, and the erroneous belief of Arius. He glorified the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit, and confessed publicly that the Trinity is one in essence. This Father having
completed his life in a good course, and arrived at a good old age, departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, St. Eudaemon (Wadamon), of the city of Armant (El-Armanti), was
martyred. One day, he had visitors in his house, who were heathen, and they were
saying to each other, "We have heard that a lady arrived to the city of Ashmonain
carrying a young Child who resembled the children of Kings." Others asked, "Did this
Child come to the land of Egypt?" and everyone was talking about this Child. After the
guests had left, Eudaemon rose up, rode his donkey and went to the city of
Ashmonain. When he arrived, he saw the Child Jesus with his mother Mariam (Mary),
and he kneeled before Him. As the Child saw what Eudaemon had done, the Child
smiled and said, "Peace be with you Eudaemon, you have labored and come here in
person to assert what you have heard from your guests about Me. Thence I will stay in
your home, which will be a house for Me forever." St. Eudaemon marvelled and said,
"O My Lord I wish that You will come and live in my house and I will be Your servant
forever." The Child replied saying, "Your home will be a house for Me and My mother
forever. When you return home and the heathen hear that you came to Me, they will
be sorry and hurt, and they will shed your blood in your house. Don't be afraid because
I will receive you in My heavenly kingdom forever, the place of perpetual joy, which
has no end. You will be the first martyr in Upper Egypt." Then Eudaemon kneeled down
before the Lord Christ, the Child, Who blessed him, then he returned to his home.
Upon Eudaemon's return to Armant, the heathen heard about his arrival. The news
that Eudaemon had visited the Child Jesus, spread in the city. They came to him in
haste asking, "Is all that they say about you true?" Eudaemon replied saying, "Yes, I
went to the Lord Christ, Who blessed me and said, 'I am coming to dwell in your
house with My mother, forever.'" The heathens shouted out as one person, drew their
swords, and killed him. Thus, Eudaemon received the crown of martyrdom on this day.
When paganism was abolished, and Christianity spread in the land, the Christians
converted the house of St. Eudaemon into a church, and named it after St. Mary and
her Son, to Whom is the everlasting Glory. This church is the one called El-Gishouna,
which means "the church of the living," in the outskirts of Armant, which still exists
now.
May God have mercy on us through the intercession of our Lady the Virgin Mary, the
Mother of God, and the intercession of the martyr Eudaemon, the pure faithful, and
Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Nineteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
The Translocation of the Body of St. Macarius to His Monastery in Scetis
On this day, the church celebrates the return of the body of St. Macarius to his
monastery in the desert of Sheahat (Scetis). After the departure of St. Macarius, some
of the natives of the city of Shanshour (Shabsheer) came and stole his body. They
built a large church for him, and placed the body in it. Later on, his body was moved
to another town where he stayed for four hundred forty years, till the time of Pope
Michael V (Anba Mikhail V), the 71st Pope. When Pope Michael went to the wilderness
to observe the holy fast in the monastery, he sighed and said, "How much I yearn that
God would help us so that the body of our father Anba Macarius be in our midst."
Later on, the abbot of the monastery, the Archpriest (Hegumen) Michael, went with
some of the elders on certain business of the monastery, and they thought of bringing
back the body of the saint to their monastery. They came to where the body was, but
the people of the town and the governor assembled against them with swords and
sticks and prevented them from taking the body. The elders spent the night in great
sorrow. The governor saw that night a vision of St. Macarius telling him, "Let my
children take my body and do not prevent them." The governor was frightened and he
called the elders and gave them the body. The elders took the body with great joy,
and many faithful people followed them to bid the body farewell.
When the ship arrived in Mariot, they spent the night. The next morning they
celebrated the Divine Liturgy and received the Holy Mysteries. Then they loaded the
body on a camel to the wilderness. Midway through the journey, they needed to rest,
but the Abbot said, "As the Lord lives, we do not rest until the Lord shows us the
place where the angel of the Lord held our father's hand." So they kept moving until
the camel knelt down and did not get up. The camel started to turn his head around,
licking the body and bowing his head down to the ground. Then the elders knew that
was the right place, and they glorified God.
As they reached the monastery, all the monks came out holding candles and singing.
Then they carried the body on their shoulders and went into the church in a great
celebration, and God performed many wonders on that day.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Twentieth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
The Martyrdom of the Seven Young Men of Ephesus
On this day, of the year 252 A.D., the seven holy young men of the city of Ephesus:
Maximus, Malchus, Martinianus, Dionysius, John, Serpion and Constantine, were
martyred. They were soldiers of Emperor Decius, who appointed them to guard the
royal treasury. When the emperor established the worship of idols, certain men made
accusation against them. They hid themselves in a cave, lest they become weakened
and deny the Lord Christ. When the emperor knew that, he ordered the blocking of the
cave's entrance, shutting them in. One of the soldiers was a believer in the Lord
Christ. He engraved their life story on a tablet of brass and left it inside the cave.
Thus the seven holy young men delivered up their pure souls.
God wanted to honor them as His faithful servants, so He inspired the bishop of
Ephesus about the place of the cave. The Bishop went and opened the entrance to the
cave, and found their bodies uncorrupted. He knew from the brass tablet that they had
been there for about two hundred years. That was during the reign of the Emperor
Theodosius the Less. As they knew also from the coins, which they found with them
that they were during the time of emperor Decius, because it had his picture on them.
May their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-First Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Commemoration of the Virgin, the Mother of God.
2. The Departure of St. Irene (Eirene).
1. On this day, the church celebrates the commemoration of the All pure St. Mary, the
Mother of God the Word, who intercede for us before her beloved Son.
May her prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, St. Irene (i.e. peace), departed. She was the daughter of a pagan
king, whose name was Lucianus. She was exceedingly beautiful. Her father loved her
very much, therefore he built a fortified mansion for her. He assigned thirteen maids
to serve, guard and protect her from what might defile the name and honor of her
family. St. Irene was then six years old, and her father left some statues for her to
worship. Her father also assigned a wise old teacher to instruct her.
Once St. Irene saw in a vision, a dove with an olive leaf in her mouth, and the dove
came and laid it on a table before her. Then there came an eagle with a crown, which
he laid also on the table. Afterwards, a raven came with a serpent, which he laid on
the table. St. Irene was frightened by this vision, and she revealed this vision to her
teacher. Her father was unaware that the teacher was Christian. The teacher explained
the vision to her saying, "The dove is the teaching of the Law, the olive leaf is
baptism, the eagle is the victory and the crown is the glory of the saints. The raven is
the king and the serpent is the persecution." He concluded his talk by saying that she
had to struggle for the sake of the Faith in the Lord Christ.
One day, her father came to visit her, and proposed that she marry one of the princes.
She asked him for three days in which she might think it over. After her father had
left, she went to the statues, and asked them to advise her on what was right for her,
but they did not answer her. The saint lifted up her eyes to heaven, and said, "O God
of the Christians, guide me to whatever pleases you." The angel of the Lord appeared
to her and said, "Tomorrow one of the disciples of St. Paul will come to you, will teach
you what you need to know, and then will baptize you." The next day, St. Timothy, the
Apostle, came to her, taught her the essentials of Christianity and baptized her.
When her father knew that, he summoned her. When he verified this news from her,
her profession in the Lord Christ, he tied her to the tail of an untamed horse, and then
released it. Nevertheless, God preserved her and she was not harmed. Instead, the
horse itself turned and grasped with his mouth the arm of her father, hurled him on
the ground, and her father fell dead. With the prayers of his daughter, St. Irene, he
was risen alive. The father, his wife and three thousand persons became Christians,
and they all were baptized. God honored this saint with several inspired miracles
which she wrought before governors and kings and many had believed because of her.
When she fulfilled her strife, she departed in peace.
May her prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Second Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Departure of Micah, the Prophet.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Hadid.
1. On this day, the great righteous prophet Micah, departed. He prophesied about
Samaria and Jerusalem during the time of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezkiah, kings of Judeah.
He prophesied about the incarnation of the Lord, to Whom is the Glory, saying, "For
behold, the Lord is coming out of His high place. He will come down and tread on the
high places of the earth." (Micah 1:3) He prophesied about His birth in Bethlehem,
saying, "But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of
Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me. The one to be ruler in Israel. Whose
goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2) He prophesied about
the futility of the Jewish temple and the going forth of the Law of the Gospel from
Zion, saying, " ... For out of Zion the Law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from
Jerusalem." (Micah 4:2) He also prophesied about the perdition of Ahab, king of Israel.
(Micah 5:15,16) When this prophet finished his strife in peace, he departed at a good
old age. He preceded the Lord Christ by about eight hundred years.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, in the year 1103 A.M. (1387 A.D.), St. Hadid, was martyred. He
was from the Giza Governorate.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Third Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Martyrdom of Thirty Thousand Christians in Alexandria.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Damian in Antioch.
1. On this day, is the commemoration of the martyrdom of the thirty thousand
Christians in the city of Alexandria. When Emperor Marcianus banished Pope Dioscorus
to the island of Gagra, he appointed Brotarius, a Patriarch, in his place. The bishops of
Egypt refused to have a fellowship with him. They assembled a council against him,
the Council of Chalcedon, and the tome of Leo Brotarius became raged and with the
aid of the government forces he attacked and plundered the monasteries and
churches. Then he confiscated all their endowments for himself and he became
wealthy. Thieves attacked him during the night, killed him, and plundered what he
had. His friends sent to the Emperor saying, "The followers of Dioscorus were the ones
that killed the Patriarch that was appointed by the Emperor."
The Emperor became furious and sent a number of his soldiers, who killed about thirty
thousand Christians in the city of Alexandria.
Shortly after, Marcianus died and was succeeded by Leo the Great. The bishops of
Egypt seized this opportunity and ordained Fr. Timothy a Patriarch for Alexandria.
Immediately the new Pope assembled a council and excommunicated the Council of
Chalcedon. The heretics informed the Emperor saying, "Those who killed Brotarius
ordained for themselves a Patriarch without permission from the Emperor." The
Emperor was enraged and he exiled Abba Timothy and his brother Anatolius to the
island of Gagra. They remained there for seven years until Emperor Leo the Less
released them. After the return of Pope Timothy, he cooperated with Abba Peter of
Antioch, and assembled a council of five hundred bishops in the capital. This council
judged to refuse the Council of Chalcedon, and also affirmed the teaching of the unity
of the natures of the Lord Christ. They also presented their report to the Emperor who
approved it. The Emperor issued an edict that dictated to abide by this council report
only. As a result, the Sees of Alexandria, Constantinople, Antioch and Jerusalem were
united for a long time.
May the prayers of these fathers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, St. Demian was martyred in the city of Antioch. He suffered many
tortures and endured severe afflictions until he delivered up his soul in the hand of the
Lord.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Fourth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Departure of St. Takla Haymanot, the Ethiopian.
2. The Departure of St. Thomas, Bishop of Mar'ash (Syria).
1. On this day, the great hermit and the blessed St. Takla Haymanot, the Ethiopian,
departed. He was born in a village nearby Jerusalem which was the share of Zadok and
Abia-thar the priests during the reign of King Soliman, son of King David.
Zadok begot Azariah, Azariah begot Zadok, who was named after his grandfather, and
Zadok begot Levi, and so forth till the father of this saint was born. His name was
Tsega Ze-Ab (which means the Grace of the Father) and he married a woman whose
name was Sarah. They were righteous, God fearing and very rich. They always
celebrated the commemoration of the honorable Archangel Michael on the twelfth day
of each Coptic month, and gave alms to the poor and the needy.
Sarah, the mother of this saint, was very beautiful, meek and adorned with many
virtues, hence they called her "Egezi-Hareya" (i.e. God has chosen her). However, She
and her husband were bitter and sad because they did not have any children. She went
daily to the church imploring God to give her a child that would delight her heart. Her
husband also went to the church at the time of the offering of the incense and taught
the congregation the fundamentals of faith. Every time he went to the church he took
from his own money an offering to the house of God. They both agreed to disperse
their money to the poor, the needy, the monasteries and the churches.
Meanwhile the king died, and another king reigned who worshipped the idols. The new
king demolished the churches and built pagan temples. He was unjust and he
plundered and captured women, among them "Egezi-Hareya", the mother of St. Takla.
Later she returned safely to her husband and both glorified God and praised His Holy
Name.
Afterwards, the angel of the Lord appeared to them in a vision at night, and
announced to them the birth of this saint. When the saint was about one and half
years old, a famine befell Ethiopia. When the twelfth day of the blessed month of
Baramhat, the commemoration of the honorable head of the Heavenly hosts, drew
near, Sarah, the mother of the child, was crying because she was not able to celebrate
this occasion. The child wiped away her tears with his little hands and yet he was still
unable. to talk. He pointed to her to carry him to where there was a plate with a little
flour in it. She took him to the plate where he dipped his hand in the flour. The flour
increased until it was pouring onto the floor. She brought baskets and every time she
emptied the plate, it became full again, until she had filled twelve baskets. His
mother then knew that God was with the child. Then she brought to him the empty
container of oil. He placed his hand over it and it was filled with the power of God. In
the same fashion, other containers in the house were filled. When Tsega Ze-Ab, the
father of the child, returned from the church and knew what happened, he glorified
God. They celebrated the commemoration of the archangel Michael, fed the poor and
all the neighbors.
God honored this saint with many miracles that he performed during his life and also
after his departure. When St. Takla Haymanot completed his good strife, he departed
in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, the fighter father, St. Thomas, Bishop of Mar'ash, departed. He
was an ascetic worshipper, who fasted and prayed continually, with many merciful
deeds. Therefore, they ordained him a bishop for the city of Mar'ash. He shepherded
the flock of Christ with the best of care. When the infidel Emperor Diocletian reigned,
he sent one of his representatives to the city of Mar'ash to torture the Christians. He
started with this saint. He ordered the saint to worship the idols. The saint not only
disobeyed him but also rebuked him on his idolatry. He tortured the saint severely by
flogging, and dismemberment, then he cast him in an abandoned prison. From time to
time, he ordered to dismember one of his organs. First they cut his ears, then nose,
lips, his legs, then they smashed his teeth. He was left in this prison for twenty-two
years. His congregation thought that he had died, and they celebrated an annual
commemoration for him. A faithful woman came to him by night, and threw to him
provisions through a small opening.
The saint remained in this condition until the righteous Emperor Constantine reigned
and declared the glory of the Christian faith, and ordered the release of the faithful
from prisons. The woman informed some priests of the whereabouts of this saint. The
priests came to the saint, carried him to the church with songs and hymns. The people
came forward for his blessing and kissed the places where he was dismembered.
When the Emperor assembled the council of Nicea, this saint was one of those
attended. As the Emperor came to the council, he knelt before the fathers and kissed
their hands. When he knew what had happened to this father, he asked for his
blessings. As the council adjourned, he and the other bishops returned to their
dioceses. He gathered his priests and congregation, read to them the creed that was
instituted by the council, and also explained to them what was difficult to understand.
Afterwards the saint lived for a short period then departed in peace, when his
episcopate was about forty years.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Fifth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Departure of St. Bessarion, the Great.
2. The Departure of St. Macarius III, 114th Pope of Alexandria.
1. On this day, the great ascetic father, St. Bessarion, departed. He was born in Misr
(Egypt) to Christian parents. When he grew up, he longed for the monastic life, so he
went to Anba Anthony (Antonius), under whose direction he remained for a while. Then
he went to Anba Macarius, and stayed under his guidance for a while. Later on, he
wandered about in the desert, never lodging in a place with a roof. He possessed
absolutely nothing of this world, and he had only one coarse hairy sack-cloth. He used
to carry the Gospel, and went round the cells of the monks crying. If they asked him
the reason for his weeping, he would reply, "My riches have all been stolen, and I have
escaped from death. My family have fallen from honor into disgrace." His words
referred to the great loss that befell the human race by the fall of the first father
Adam by breaking the first commandment. Those who did not understand what his
words meant would console him saying, "God shall restore what has been stolen from
you."
The fathers had recorded for him many signs:
+ Once he was walking with his two disciples, John and Dulas, by the shore of the Red
Sea (salty water). When they became thirsty, St. Bessarion took some of its water and
prayed over it. The water became sweet and they all drank of it.
+ Another time, they brought to the wilderness of Scetis a mad man, who was
possessed by demons, for the elders to pray over. Because the elders knew that St.
Bessarion despised the glory of men, they did not want to ask him to pray over the
sick man, but rather they put the man in the church where the saint usually stood.
When St. Bessarion came into the church and found the man there asleep, he woke
him up, and the man rose up healed and with a sound mind. God wrought many signs
on his hands. He pleased God and then departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, of the year 1661 A.M. (August 31st, 1945 A.D.), Pope Macarius III,
114th Patriarch of Alexandria, departed.
He was born in the city of El-Mahalla El-Koubra, on February 18th, 1872 A.D., to an
old, respectable family. His family was know by El-Kasees family (The family of the
priest), which was virtuous and godly. He grew up from a young age in a religious and
pious atmosphere. He received his primary and secondary education in El-Mahalla
El-Koubra and Tanta. Even as a young man, he was ascetic, longed for solitary life,
and enthusiastic about memorizing the church hymns. When he was sixteen years old,
he deserted the world and went to the monastery of Anba Bishoy in Wadi El-Natroun,
in the year 1888 A.D., to fulfill his desire for asceticism and worship. His name was
Monk Abdel-Mesieh. He devoted himself to worship and to the study of the Holy Bible,
ecclesiastical books, and Coptic rituals. In a short time his virtues and righteousness
were evident, and his pure life became known to the monks. He was distinguished for
transcribing books, and his Coptic and Arabic penmanship was exquisite. He perfected
the religious Coptic artistic decorations. After he was ordained a priest he spent about
six years in the pure ascetic life.
In the year 1895 A.D., Macarius went to the Baramous monastery, where he was
ordained Archpriest (hegumen) by Pope Kyrillos V, and became his private secretary.
The Pope delegated him to teach the Coptic and French languages in the theological
school for monks. He intended to ordain him a bishop for Misr (Cairo), but two years
after the arrival of Fr. Abdel-Meseih to Cairo, Anba Michael, bishop of Assiut, departed.
A delegation from Assiut came to Cairo, they chose this honorable hegumen and
nominated him to be a metropolitan for Assiut.
In the beginning, the Pope did not accept their petition, for he kept Macarius in order
to ordain him a bishop for Cairo and as an assistant to His Holiness, in managing the
affairs of the See of St. Mark. But when the delegation persisted in their demand, the
Pope accepted their petition, and ordained Macarius a metropolitan for Assiut on July
11th, 1897 A.D. (Abib 5th, 1613 A.M.). He called him Macarius, and he was twenty-four
years old. He went to his parish as a young man, with no armors but his piety,
asceticism, and knowledge. He embarked, with the wisdom of the elders inspite of his
young age, with his strong will, and with the help of the Lord, on bringing together the
factions of his congregation, and establishing the Faith. So, he maintained the unity of
his people, and the position and reverence of the church, and he was quite successful
in it. He was not content with the program that he placed for the church reform, but he
also held an immense Coptic conference in the city of Assiut in year 1910 A.D., inspite
of all the objections that rose against it. He also submitted along with Anba
Theophilus, then bishop of Manfalot and Abnoup, in early 1920 A.D., a petition to Pope
Kyrillos V. This petition contained the required administrative and financial reforms,
which indicated his great competence. When Pope Kyrillos V, departed in 1928 A.D.,
the people nominated Abba Macarius for the Patriarchal chair to achieve the required
reforms, but the circumstances then prevented that. When Pope Yoannis IXX,
departed, the Divine grace permitted that Anba Macarius be enthroned on the throne
of St. Mark. He was ordained Patriarch for the See of St. Mark on Sunday, February
19th, 1944 A.D.
After his enthronement to the Patriarchal chair, Anba Macarius issued on February
22nd, 1944 A.D., a historical document. Its main objective was to reform the
monasteries, and promote their monks spiritually, and scientifically. He also ordered
that the heads and the administrators of the monasteries be accountable. This lead to
a major contention between the Holy Synod and the General Coptic Community Council
(Maglis El-Milli).
On June 7th, 1944 A.D., the Holy Synod submitted a memorandum to the Pope and to
the minister of Justice. They objected to the draft of the Marital and Personal Law for
the non-Muslim denominations, for it subverted a canon of the Coptic Orthodox
Church, as it affected two of the Holy Sacraments of the church which are the
sacrament of Priesthood and Matrimony. These sacraments are cornerstone of the
Christian religion and worship.
The dispute between the Synod and the Council continued, and all the attempts of
reconciliation failed. The efforts of the Pope to eliminate the misunderstanding failed
also. The council insisted on interfering in what was not its jurisdiction, and in what
was the core jurisdiction of the Holy Synod. As a result, the Pope was compelled to
leave the Capital, and the Papal residence, for seclusion in Helwan, then went to the
Eastern monasteries accompanied by the metropolitans. He remained for a while in St.
Antony's monastery then went to the monastery of Anba Paul. All these painful events
had strong impact in all the circles and distressed every devout in the church.
When the Prime Minister knew about the departure of the Pope to the monastery, he
worked on the return of the Pope in honor to his Chair, and his efforts were successful.
Meanwhile, the Coptic Community Council (Maglis El-Milli) sent a letter to the Pope
asking for his return, to be able to manage the affairs of the church, and promised the
cooperation in the needed reforms. Later, the Pope returned from the monastery, and
the people received him with joy and reverence. The Holy Synod convened, with Anba
Macarius presiding, on January 1st, 1945, and issued many resolutions, which follow:
+ The representation of The Ethiopian church in the Alexandrian Synod.
+ The exchange of delegations between Egypt and Ethiopia, and the establishment of
a seminary in Ethiopia.
+ Restriction of divorce on the grounds of adultery only.
+ Legislation of the Family and Marital Law.
+ Rules for nominating and electing the Patriarch that coincide with the canons of the
church and its tradition.
+ Establishment of a Theological seminary for the monks.
+ Formation of a permanent committee to revue all the ecclesiastical books.
+ The safeguarding of the endowment funds, and improvement of the office
procedures at the administrative offices of the patriarchate.
+ Strict enforcement of the Monastic Law that was issued on June 3rd, 1937 A.D., and
the return of all the monks that were living outside their monasteries.
+ Establishment of a record in each church to register the members of each Coptic
family, and another to register the baptized, the departed, and the deacons.
On June 6th, 1945 A.D., the Russian Patriarch visited Cairo. Pope Macarius sent a
delegation of metropolitans and bishops to be in his reception. Then they exchanged
the cordial visits. Once again a dispute between H.H. the Pope and the General Coptic
Community Council (Maglis El-Milli) took place. This time the dispute was not resolved
before the Pope took the initiative to defend the position and dignity of his nation,
the canons of the churches, and the Family Marital Law for non-Muslims in particular.
On May 30th, 1945 A.D. all the leaders of the non-Muslim denominations in Egypt,
headed by the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, presented a memorandum to
the minister of Justice objecting to the special law that regulated the denominational
family affairs courts.
Also copies were sent to the senate and the house of representatives. The
memorandum focused on the objections, to better suit the Christian rites and
traditions.
The Pope suffered from a severe weakness two weeks before his departure that forced
him to rest in his residence. On Thursday evening, the 24th of Misra, 1661 A.M.
(August 30th, 1945 A.D.), he felt fatigued and he suffered from heart failure. The
doctors rushed to his bedside trying to save him till dawn. At 9:15 Friday morning,
31st of August, 1945 A.D., his pure soul departed to its creator. On Sunday, the
second of September, his pure body was taken to its final resting place in the church
with the signs of grief and sorrow. His coffin was placed beside the bodies of the
patriarchs, his predecessors. He remained on the Patriarchal throne for one year, six
months, and nineteen days. May God accept him in the habitations of the righteous.
Coincidentally, an earthquake was felt in Cairo at 2:45pm at the time of his burial.
Everyone felt it, and the believers were touched, for nature shared their sorrow for the
departure of this pure saint.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Sixth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Martyrdom of St. Moses (Moisees) and his Sister Sarah.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Agabius, the Soldier, and his Sister Thecla.
1. On this day, St. Moses (Moisees) and his righteous sister Sarah, were martyred.
They were born to rich, Christian parents. When their parents departed, St. Moisees
wanted to give his sister in marriage, and to hand over to her all their possessions,
and to go and become a monk. She answered him and said, "If you would get married
first, then I also can get married." He said, "I have committed many sins, and I want
to become a monk to blot out my sins. I can not attend to the marriage and the
salvation of my soul at the same time." She answered him saying, "O my brother, how
can you cast me to the snares of this transitory world, while you seek to save your
own soul?" He said, "Whatever you wish, I will do." She said, "What you do for your
self, I likewise will do for myself."
When he saw her strong determination, he dispersed all their money to the poor and
the needy. He took his sister to a convent for virgins, which was outside Alexandria.
He also entered one of the monasteries for men. They did not see each other for ten
years.
When Emperor Decius incited persecution against the Christians, during the papacy of
Pope Demetrius, the twelfth Patriarch of Alexandria, many were martyred. St. Moses
(Moisees) sent to his sister Sarah to bid her farewell and to inform her that he wished
to shed his blood in the Name of the Lord Christ. She rose up immediately and asked
the abbess to release her. After she took the blessings of her sisters the nuns, she
joined her brother on his way to Alexandria. They confessed the Lord Christ before the
governor. After they had been tortured severely, their heads were cut off, and they
received the crowns of martyrdom.
May their prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, St. Agabius, the Soldier, and his pious sister Thecla, were
martyred. They lived during the time of Julian the Infidel, and they confessed the Lord
Christ before him. He cast them to the lions, and they received the crowns of
martyrdom.
May their prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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The Twenty-Seventh Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Martyrdom of Sts. Benjamin and his Sister Eudexia.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Mary, the Armenian.
1. On this day, St. Benjamin and his sister St. Eudexia, were martyred. Their parents
were pious Christians who loved sojourners. They brought them up in a Christian
manner.
When Benjamin grew up, he longed to be martyred for the sake of the Name of Christ.
He went to "Shatanouf" and confessed the Lord Christ before the governor. The
governor tortured him much then cast him in prison. When his parents and sister knew
about this, they came to him weeping, but he comforted them, and told them about
the vanity of the world and the life of the coming age which has no end. When his
sister heard that, she told him, "God lives, I shall not separate from you until we die
together."
The governor cast them in a dark place for twenty days. Then he took them out and
hung heavy stones on their necks and threw them in the river. The Angel of the Lord
came and loosened the stones. They swam until they arrived at the town of Petra. A
virgin found them and rescued them. They then returned to the governor and again
they confessed The Lord Christ before him. The governor ordered to cut off their heads
and they received the crown of martyrdom. The faithful built a church in their names in
their town "Shanshour."
May their prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, St. Mary the Armenian, was martyred. She was captured by the
Moslems, who asked her to deny her faith in the Lord Christ. She refused, so they
tortured her severely, but she remained steadfast in her faith. They threatened to burn
her alive in a blazing pit, by the gate of Zoweila in Cairo. Many gathered there, and
the crowd tried to frighten her from the suffering and to persuade her to change her
counsel, but she answered saying, "It is good that I deliver up my soul in the hands of
my Master, Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ." Then she quickly threw herself in the fiery
pit. Thus she received the crown of martyrdom.
May her prayers be with us, and Glory be to God forever, Amen.
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The Twenty-Eighth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
The Commemoration of the Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
On this day, the church celebrates the holy Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
1. Our father Abraham:
Who can describe the virtues of he who became father to many nations? He believed
in God, obeyed Him, and did not doubt His promises. The Lord appeared to him in a
vision at night and told him, "Get out of your country, away from your family and from
your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I
will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing." (Genesis
12:1-2) Then the Lord appeared to Abraham in the form of three men. He welcomed
them, for they were strangers, and God promised him the birth of Isaac. Abraham was
then one hundred years old; Sarah, his wife, was advanced in age, and they believed
the promise of God.
When Isaac was born, Abraham, his father, circumcised him on the eighth day of his
birth. Although he was sure that through his procreation all the nations of the earth
would be blessed, God told him, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you
love, and offer him there as a burnt offering." He did not doubt the promise of God. He
began to offer his son as a sacrifice, confident that God would raise him, and raise
offspring through him. When he fulfilled the sacrifice of Isaac by intention, God
revealed his virtues to the generations to come by saying, "By Myself I have sworn,
says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son,
your only son, in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your
descendants as the stars of the heaven." (Genesis 22:1-18) That was fulfilled and he
was called the father of Christ in flesh. (Luke 3:34) He departed in peace when he was
one hundred seventy-five years old.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
2. Our father Isaac:
He was born by a divine promise, and he was perfect in piety and obedience to God
and to his father. He was willing to be sacrificed by his father as an offering to God,
although he was the son of the promise, and his father begot him when he was one
hundred years old. Isaac was not a child then, for the Bible said, "So Abraham took
the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and went to the place
which was afar off." Some historians say that Isaac's age then was about thirty-seven
years old. He obeyed his father, and laid down his neck for slaying, but the angel of
the Lord ordered his father not to lay his hand on the lad. As it was considered that
Abraham had fulfilled the sacrifice of his son by intention, it was also considered that
Isaac was sacrificed by intention.
He suffered many tribulations and sorrows. God gave him two sons, Esau and Jacob.
Isaac loved Esau for his bravery. When Isaac was old and his eyes were so dim that
he could not see, he called Esau, his older son, and said to him, "My son ... behold
now, I am old. I do not know the day of my death. Now therefore, please ... go out to
the field and hunt game for me. And make me savory food ... that I may eat, that my
soul may bless you before I die." Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to Esau his
son. She spoke to Jacob her son, saying, "... Go now to the flock and bring me from
there two choice kids of the goats, and I will make savory food from them for your
father, such as he loves ... that he may bless you before his death." Jacob said to
Rebekah his mother, "Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a
smooth-skinned man. Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be a
deceiver to him; and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a blessing." But his
mother said to him, "Let your curse be on me, my son." (Genesis 27:1-29) She did that
by a divine inspiration. Jacob did as his mother ordered him, and his father ate and
blessed him. Isaac departed in peace when he was one hundred eighty years old.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
3. The father of the Tribes Jacob:
Esau, his brother, hated him for he took the blessing of their father from him. Jacob
feared Esau, and fled to Laban, his uncle. He shepherded Laban's sheep for seven
years and Laban gave Jacob his daughter, Leah, in marriage. Then Jacob served
another seven years, and Laban gave him his second daughter, Rachel, in marriage.
(Genesis 29:15-30) Then Laban, his uncle, told him, "The sheep that are streaked
shall be your wages, then all the flocks bore streaked." (Genesis 31:4-8)
God made him exceedingly wealthy. He returned with his two wives, Leah and Rachel,
and God blessed him with twelve sons. He saw God face to face and wrestled with him
until the breaking of day, and God called him Israel.
He suffered many sorrows and tribulations, such as the selling of Joseph his son as a
servant to the Egyptians, the loss of his sight, the severe famine, and others as
mentioned in the Holy Bible. His son Joseph then rose to power and became the
second man in Egypt after the Pharaoh, and he tried until he was able to bring his
father Jacob to Egypt, where he stayed for seventeen years. When his departure drew
near he called his twelve sons and blessed them. When he blessed Judah, he said,
"The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until
Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people." That was a prophesy
about the coming of the Lord Christ from his seed. When he was one hundred
forty-seven years, he departed in peace, after commanding that he be buried in the
tomb of his fathers. Joseph carried him in the chariot of Pharaoh, brought him to the
land of Canaan, where he was buried with his fathers.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
Up

The Twenty-Ninth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
1. The Martyrdom of Sts. Athanasius, the Bishop, Gerasimus (Jarasimus), and
Theodotus.
2. The Arrival of the Holy Relic of St. John, the Short, to the Wilderness of Scetis.
1. On this day, Sts. Athanasius, the Bishop, Gerasimus (Jarasimus), and Theodotus,
his two servants, were martyred. Certain men laid an accusation against the bishop
before Arianus, the governor, that he had baptized the daughter of Antonios, the
chancellor. Arianus brought St. Athanasius and asked him to worship the idols. The
bishop refused and declared his faith in the Lord Christ. The governor tortured him
with severely painful tortures, and when he saw him getting firmer in his faith, he
ordered to cut off his neck and the necks of the two servants with him. Some believers
took their bodies, shrouded them, and laid them in coffins. God honored them by
manifesting many signs and wonders from their bodies.
May their prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also, in the year 515 A.D., the body of the great saint Anba John, the
Short, was relocated from Al-Qulzum (Red Sea) to the wilderness of Scetis. When Pope
John (Youhanna), 48th Pope of Alexandria, was in the wilderness of Scetis, some of
the monks expressed their wish to relocate the relics of St. John, the Short, to his
monastery. The Grace of God moved the Pope, and he wrote a letter by the hand of
the Hegumen Kosman and Hegumen Boctor, from the elders, and sent them to
Al-Qulzum. They were not able to take the body because it was in the hands of the
followers of the Council of Chalcedon. So they returned empty handed.
Shortly after, a prince from the Arabs took charge of Al-Qulzum, and he was a friend of
Anba Michael, bishop of Epla'os. Once again the Patriarch wrote another letter to the
bishop expressing his wish to take the body of St. John and to send it with the monks
carrying his letter. The bishop rejoiced with the letter, and informed the prince about
the wish of the Patriarch. The prince asked, "How could they reach the place?" His
scribe answered him, "Let the monks put Arab garments over their own apparel, and
let them come with us to the place." The monks came in, along with the Arabs, to the
place where the body was. The monks carried the body and walked all night until they
came to Misr, and then went to the wilderness. The monks of the monastery of St.
Macarius went out carrying crosses and censers and met them with songs and hymns.
They brought the body of St. John to where the body of St. Macarius was. They poured
many perfumes and fragrant oil over him, then carried him to his monastery while they
were chanting. The monks of his monastery received him with joy and happiness.
When Pope Mark (Marcus), 49th Patriarch, was ordained, and went to the wilderness
with the bishops of Lower Egypt and some priests, he visited the monastery of this
saint. He uncovered the holy relic of the saint, and he was blessed by it. He covered
him with the sackcloth that was covering him, then wrapped him in fine linens. The
monks praised and thanked God, and sang many hymns and songs for this holy father.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
Up

The Thirtieth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra
The Departure of St. Malachi, the Prophet
On this day, the great prophet, Malachi, one of the twelve minor prophets, departed.
He prophesied about the return of the people from captivity in Babylon to Jerusalem.
He rebuked the children of Israel because of their transgression against God and His
Law. He also admonished them because of their vile offerings, and prophesied about
the acceptance of the Gentiles when he said, "For from the rising of the sun, even to
its going down, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; In every place incense
shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; For My name shall be great among
the nations." (Malachi 1:11) He pointed out to them that they did not give the tithes
nor their first fruits, by saying, "'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there
may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this,' says the LORD of hosts, 'If I will
not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there
will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so
that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for
you in the field,' says the LORD of hosts." (Malachi 3:10-11)
He prophesied about the coming of St. John the baptizer before the Lord, the Savior of
the World, by saying, "'Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way
before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the
Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,' says the
LORD of hosts." (Malachi 3:1) He also prophesied about the coming of Elijah before
the Lord at His second coming, saying, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the Prophet
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the
hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers,
lest I come and strike the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6)
Having pleased God by his strife, and having completed his days in peace, he departed
to God Whom he loved.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
The Blessed Month of Misra
The First Day