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THE NINETH MONTH
Ginbot 21
(May 29)

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, 
ONE GOD.  AMEN.

On this day all Christian communities celebrate the festival of the appearance in public of our holy Lady, the Virgin Mary, the God-bearer, in Debre Mitmak, as she was seated upon light, in a circle, in the church, which was built in her name.  She was enveloped in divine light, and there were standing round about her all the hosts of the angels, and archangels, and their wings were extended and overshadowing her, and the Seraphim also were standing round about her with their censers, and they were censing her great majesty.  And every time they bowed down to her they praised her, saying, “God the Father looked down from heaven upon earth and He found none like unto thee.  He sent His Only Son, and He was born of thee.”  And the martyrs came, mounted upon their horses, and they bowed before her, and Mar Saint George descended from his horse, and two others came and bowed before her, and he who came after [Saint George] was Saint Mercorios, mounted upon a black horse.  After him all the martyrs came, and bowed down to her, and did homage to her, and she blessed them, and they returned.  And there came also the company of the prophets, and the righteous, and they bowed down and did homage to her.  And the children whom Herod slew also came lamenting before her, and they leaped up and embraced each other.  And when those who were gathered together saw this, it filled them with joy and they thought they were in heaven.  And if there was anyone whose father was dead, or his mother, or a kinsman, or a friend, and he asked her, saying, “O my holy Lady, thou Virgin Mary, thou God-bearer, show me so and so,” straightway she made that person to come in the form he had before [on earth].  And also when they threw down their stoles she took the one which she wished in her hands, and threw it back to them, and they divided it among the women a thing of blessing.  And thus Christian and Armani (Pagan?) saw her for five days.  And when they wished to go home to their own houses, they did homage to her and made an agreement with her, and she blessed them with her fingers.  Salutation to him that looked upon thee, O Mary, as the eye of a daughter looketh at her mother.

And on this day also died the Holy Father Abba Martianus.  This saint became a monk in his early manhood with a certain holy elder, and fought a great spiritual fight, and then he went to a monastery of the city of Caesarea of Palestine, which was called Debre Tabot Noha, and there he fought an exceedingly great and strenuous fight.  And having lived for seven and sixty years as an ascetic, fighting the spiritual fight with fasting, and prayer, and prostrations, and vigils by day and by night, the report of his virtues and righteousness became noised abroad.  And a certain woman, who was a harlot, and sinner, and who was a notorious evil-doer, heard of him, and she said unto those who talked about his virtues, and his righteousness, and his holiness, “How much more are ye going to praise the man?  He liveth in the desert and he never seeth a woman.  If he once saw me I would stain his virginity, and defile his holiness, and destroy his abstinence from women.”  And those men, because they knew his holiness, and his virginity, and the purity of his body, contradicted the harlot about this, and fierce contention broke out between her and them.  And she said unto the, “How much money will ye give me if I go to him, and make him to fall into sin with me?  What will ye give me, I say?”  And they agreed with her to give her a certain sum of money if she did this.  And straightway she rose up, and took her ornaments, and her apparel, and her many perfumes, (now she was very beautiful to look upon,) and she went to his cell, wearing poor and wretched rags wherein her face was muffled.  And themselves tied up her ornaments and her fine apparel in a bundle; and then she hid herself in a place, which was near his cell until the evening.  And in the evening she knocked at the door of his cell, and asked him to let her remain with him until the morning.  And the saint was very sorry for himself, and he pondered in his heart deeply.  And he said, “If I leave her outside the wild bests of the desert will eat her, and if I bring her in I shall have to suffer a warfare about her within myself.”  And after this he opened the door to her, and he left her in that place, and went to another.  And the woman arrayed herself in her beautiful apparel, and she adorned herself and perfumed herself, and she came to him and asked him to lie with her; and she said unto him, “No one will see me here.”  And the saint knew that she was a snare of Satan, the Enemy, and he said unto her, “Wait a little for me until I look at the road, for if we do not fear God it is meet for us to fear men, who are like unto us.”  And he went out from her, and lighted a large fire, and as he put his head into the flames time after time, he said to his soul, “If thou art able to bear Hell, commit sin.”  And he tarried in coming to her, she went to him, and she saw him in the flames burning his hands and his fingers and his feet.  And she was terrified, and dragged him out of the fire, and her sense returned to her, and she stripped off her raiment, and cast it away, and threw herself down at his feet and begged him to help her to save her soul.  And he began to teach her, and to admonish her about the end of this fleeting world, and the desire thereof, and she repented with all her heart.  And he said unto her, “It is not desirable for us to live together in the same place.”  And he took her to a house of virgins, and commanded the abbess to take charge of her, and she pleased God during the rest of life, which remained to her.  And she reached a good old age, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit, and healed many sick folk.  And Saint Martianus, fearing lest the Enemy might bring to him another woman, departed to an island in the river [Nile], and dwelt there, and a certain owner of a boat used to bring him food, and buy the work of his hands.  And when the saint had dwelt there many days the boat belonging to that man sank in the river, and a certain woman hung on to one of the planks thereof, and the waves of the river washed her to the island on which Saint Martianus lived.  And when he saw her he was frightened, and was sorry, because he would have to dwell with her; but the word of God spoke to her, and he arrayed her in the garb of the nun.  And he prepared food for her, and he said unto her, “It is not desirable for us to dwell together in one place.”  Then he left that island, and cast himself into the river; and a large monster of the river took him up and carried him over, and brought him to dry land. From that time onwards he never lived in [one] place, but wandered about in the mountains, and deserts, and uninhabited districts until he had traveled through one hundred and sixty countries.  He never stayed one day in one place.  And after this he shut himself up in a cave, and when he knew that the time of his death was nigh, he called the bishop and told him all that had happened to him, and all his spiritual fight from the beginning to the end thereof; and the bishop marveled at the great size of his body.  And before all this happened the angel of God had appeared to the bishop, [and told him] to think about the body of Saint Martinaus.  And after this he delivered up his soul into the hand of God; and the bishop swathed him for burial and buried him with great honor.  And as for the woman who was on that island, the owner of the boat visited her until she died; and he came and found her body white as snow, and he carried it to his own country.  Salutation to Abba Mardali.

And on this day also died Abba Aaron, the Syrian.  This saint was a fighter from his youth, and at length the gifts of healing and working miracles were given unto him.  When pilgrim monks came to him he used to cook for them young doves, and when they said unto him, “We do not eat flesh,” he would say words of blessing over the doves, and he dismissed them and they flew away.  And he built a monastery, and the water was a long way off down the mountain, and he prayed a prayer, and made the sign of drawing it up with his hand, and so made the water to ascend.  One day Satan came to him to destroy him with evil, and Abba Aaron, knowing the appearance of him by the grace of the Holy Spirit, which dwelt upon him, said unto him, “Come into this cave to dwell.”  And when Satan had come into that cave, one side of it fell on him and buried him, and a huge stone leaped upon him, and Satan was put to shame.  And also, when the governor of the city died, did not he raise him up by his prayer?  And this father made a lion to carry four water-jars on his back, and the lion drew water for him for a period of ten years; and then he departed to God.  Salutation to Aaron, who made young doves, which had been boiled, to fly away.

And on this day also are commemorated Amos, the prophet, and Mardali.

Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints.  Amen.