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THE ELEVENTH MONTH
Hamle 01
(July 08)

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

On this day the holy virgin Cephronia became a martyr.  This fighter of the spiritual fight gave herself to our Lord Jesus Christ.  She was the sister of the abbess of a nunnery (wherein there were fifty virgins, now the nunnery lay between two rivers) whose name was ‘Ariana, and she brought her up in the fear of God, and taught her to read the Divine Books.  And she fought a good fight, and devoted herself to God, and she fasted for two days at a time, and she prayed many prayers.  Now this holy woman ‘Ariana was exceedingly beautiful.  When Diocletian, the infidel, commended his officers to make men worship idols, they seized many Christians and they became martyrs.  When the virgins heard this they went forth from the nunnery and hid themselves, and there was no one left in the nunnery except the abbess ‘Ariana, and this Saint Cephronia, and another sister.  And on the following day the envoys of the emperor came to the nunnery, and they seized the abbess and bound her with fetters, and then searched for the other virgins.  And saint Cephronia said unto them, “Come, take me, and set free this old woman”; and they took her, and bound her with fetters of iron, and carried her to the city; now at that time her days were twelve years; and the abbess followed her weeping. And when they brought her to the governor he asked her saying, “Wilt thou worship the idols?”  And he promised her many things [if she would do so].  But she refused to obey him, and she spurned his promises.  And he commanded the soldiers to beat her with rods, and they did so.  And he commanded them to rip up her clothes, and they ripped them up so that her body became visible.  And the abbess cried out at him, saying, “May God rip thee up, O wicked infidel, even as thou wishest to put to shame this little girl.”  And the governor was wroth, and he commanded them to bind Saint Cephronia, and to torture her on the wheel and to cut her body with iron saws; and they did this to her until all her body was sawn in pieces.  And she prayed to God, and sought for help from Him, and no injury happened to her.  After this they cut out her tongue, and smashed her teeth, and they cut off her limbs and burnt her body with fire; and our Lord Jesus Christ raised her up without suffering.  When the governor was tired of torturing her he commanded them to cut off her head with the sword, and then she received the crown of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens.  And a certain rich man, who was a believer, came and took her body, and wrapped it up in beautiful silk wrappings, and laid it in a coffin of gold, and many signs and miracles took place through her.  Salutation to Cephronia.

And on this day also died the holy fighters Kalyos, Archbishop of Rome, and Bartholomew, and Gebre Medhin, the monk and righteous man.

And on this day also died the saints and fighters, the two priests, who were brothers, Beyus and Benjamin.  These saints were priests in the church of the city of Tuna, in the district of Tida, in Lower Egypt, and they were brothers.  Their father was steward of the church, and he was an excellent and meek man.  His two sons were perfect in holiness, and God wrought great signs and wonders by their hands.  And they healed the sick, for they used to wash the sick in water from the well of the church, and they were healed of their sicknesses straightway.  And at the time when death was drawing nigh to their father, the priest Benjamin was putting on the priestly vestments in order to go up into the sanctuary, to consecrate the Offering; and one told him saying, “Thy father is nigh unto death and he is asking for thee.”  And Saint Benjamin said, “I cannot take off the priestly vestments until I have finished the Office; if God willth me to see him before his death, [good and well,] and if not, God’s Will be done.”  And whilst he was speaking thus his father sent a messenger, asking for him a third time.  And when he had finished the Office he found that his father was dead, and he was exceedingly sorry, because the money and the sacred possessions of the church were deposited with him, and he did not know where his father had laid them.  And his brother Beyus counseled him to go to the desert of Scete, and to ask the holy elders there about the sacred possessions of the church.  And when Saint Benjamin had gone to the desert of Scete, he went and held converse with Saint Abba Daniel, Abbot of the desert of Scete, and Abba Daniel told him about everything which had happened, and he commanded him to go to a certain righteous man, who would make him to know everything that had happened to the property.  And Benjamin went to him, and he revealed to him where the sacred money was, and he took it away with him.  And after this the saint and his brother devoted themselves to every kind of good and noble and perfect spiritual fight, and they became believers.  In those days, what was left of the holy Body (i.e. the sacramental bread) they laid up [in a coffer] for [use in] sickness, and when any one was nigh to die, they gave him some of it.  And Satan, in the form of a serpent, came and moved the coffer, and made a hole in it, and went in and ate the Body which rested therein; and the serpent was in the habit of going into that box, and eating the holy Body which was therein.  And when the saints knew this they wept, and Benjamin, who was exceedingly sorrowful, killed the serpent; and then they took counsel together as to whether they should eat the serpent, because the holy Body [was inside it].  And they asked God to inform them if this was His good pleasure, and the angel of God appeared unto them, and commanded them to eat the serpent; and they ate it.  And after this they died, and God revealed their work and their strife to a certain holy virgin, and she told the people how the saints had lived.  And they built for them a beautiful church, and many signs and miracles were made manifest by their bodies, and these are mentioned in [the story of] their fight.  Salutation to Benjamin and to Beyus.

And on this day also [took place] the testimony of ‘Agnatyos (Ignatius), the Archbishop.

And on this day also Thomas the apostle worked a miracle for the woman who was killed in a tavern.  There was a certain young man who used to do an unseemly thing, and he took a piece of the sacramental bread to put into his mouth; and his two hands withered, and he was unable to put [the bread] into his mouth.  And the man who saw him told the holy apostle what had taken place, and the apostle called him.  And he said unto him, “Tell me, my son, what thou didst do.  Be not ashamed, for the grace of God hath admonished thee.”  And the man bowed down at his feet, and he said unto him, “I have done an abominable thing, though I thought I was doing a good one.  I loved a certain woman who served in a tavern, and I said unto her, ‘Remain pure, even as thou hast taught me that thou art pure.’  And when she refused I took a sword and killed her.”  And the apostle said unto him, “How couldst thou let anger make thee to commit the act of the Serpent?”  And straightway the holy apostle commanded one to bring him water, and he prayed over the water, and said unto the man, “Dost thou believe in our Lord Jesus Christ?  Wash thy hand”; and the man washed his hand and it was healed and became as it was before.  Then the apostle said unto him, “Come, lead me to the dead body.”  And the young man went with the apostle, and brought him unto the place where he had stabbed the woman.  And when the apostle saw her he was very sorry, for she was very beautiful; and he commanded the young man to bring her out, and to lay her on a bed, and the people did as he commanded.  And he laid his hand upon her, and prayed, and having finished his prayer he said unto the young man, “Go and say unto her, holding her hand, ‘I with my hand killed thee, and with my hand Christ raiseth thee, up through Faith.’”  And the young man drew nigh unto her, and he said to her, “I believe in our Lord Christ,” and as he did so he drew the woman’s hand [to him], and she leaped up and sat down, and many people who were there saw her.  And she looked at the holy apostle, and left her bed, and bowed down at his feet.   And she took the hem of his garment, and said unto him, “Where is the other one who was with thee, and who committed me to thee?”  And the apostle said unto her, “Where didst thou arrive?  Tell me.”  And she answered and said unto him, “A man who was wholly black, and wearing foul raiment, took me and carried me into a place of darkness, wherein there were many pits; and there was a horrible smell there.  And I saw a pit of fire, which blazed, and a wheel of fire, and souls were bound to that wheel.  And I also saw another pit of fire, which was filled with boiling filth and worms, and there were souls, which were being rolled therein.  And some were hung up by their tongues, and some by their hair, and some by their hands, and some by their feet, and the heads of some were under a layer of smoke and they were being smoked with sulfur.  And I also saw a place of darkness, which was very dense.  And he who was guiding me said unto me, ‘These are the souls of fornicators, and calumniators, and liars, and plunderers, and stealers, and murderers, and of those who never visited the sick, and who did not remember the Law of God; therefore they are rewarded according to their works.’”  And the apostle said unto those men who were there, “Do ye hear what this woman saith?  This is not the only punishment which God hath in store for the wicked, but there is worse than this.  And turn ye to God, and forsake the working of sin, and the evil mind, and dwell in Faith, and with a meek spirit and with holiness, and ye shall receive grace from Him.”  And all the people believed in God, and they collected much gold in order that he might give alms to the poor, for the people was wont to give alms.  And the fame of him arrived in all countries and cities, and the people took up all those who were sick or diseased, and those who were possessed of evil spirits, and those who were lunatics, and those who were tormented as they lay on their beds, and brought them and laid them down in the place where the apostle was.  And he healed them all by the might of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Salutation to Thomas.

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