THE THIRD MONTH
IN THE NAME
OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,
On this day died the holy father Abba Isaac, the forty-first
Archbishop of Alexandria. This
father was one of the men of the city of Burles (Borlos), and his parents
were exceedingly rich, and they feared God.
After very many days they begot this holy man, and they rejoiced
over him with very great joy. And
having brought him to the bishop that he might lay his hand upon him, and
baptize him with Christian baptism, the bishop saw upon his head at the
time of baptism a cross of light. And
the bishop took his hand and laid it upon his head, and he prophesied
concerning him, saying, “This boy shall be set over the Church of
God”; and the bishop said unto his father, “Take care of this boy, for
he shall be a chosen vessel of God.” And when the boy had grown a little he taught him to read and
to write, and he learned spiritual doctrine, and he used to read the
histories of the saints. And
he left his parents and departed to the monastery of Abba Macarius, and he
became a monk under the direction of father Abba Zachariah the abbot.
Now the angel of the Lord had informed the abbot of the coming of
this holy man, and the abbot received him and rejoiced in him.
One day the righteous man saw him in the church, and he prophesied
concerning him, saying, “Needs must that this Isaac shall be set over
the Church of Christ.” And
in those days Abba John the archbishop was seeking for a learned man to be
his disciple and his scribe, and the honorable father Abba Isaac was
recommended to him; and the archbishop sent for him and had him brought to
him, and he gave him a roll whereon to write.
And Abba Isaac made mistakes in his writing wittingly and wrote
badly in order that the archbishop might send him away and that he might
be free to go to the desert of Scete, for he hated the pomp of this world
of men. And when the
Archbishop Abba John knew that Isaac had made mistakes and written badly
purposely so that he might dismiss him, Saint Abba John said unto him,
“Thou hast written well, and I shall not let thee go from here.”
When Abba Isaac knew that the archbishop would not let him go, he
displayed to him all his learning and all his wisdom, and he wrote as
beautifully as he could, and the archbishop rejoiced in him exceedingly;
and after a few days he returned to the desert of Scete.
When the death of the Archbishop Abba John drew nigh, he asked our
Lord Jesus Christ to tell him whom he should appoint to be archbishop in
his stead after him. And He
said unto him in a vision, “Thy disciple Isaac shall protect this office
after thee”; and Saint Abba John commanded the people, and told them
that his disciple Isaac was to be appointed archbishop after him.
When Abba John was dead they seized this Saint Abba Isaac, and
enthroned him Archbishop over the city of Alexandria.
And he made the Church to shine in his days, and he restored many
churches, and especially the church of Mark the evangelist and apostle,
and the archbishop’s house. And
great tribulation and many trials came upon this holy father, and he sat
upon the throne of Mark the evangelist three years and a half.
And it is written in the history of the fight of this holy father
that he commanded that he was not to be enthroned archbishop except on the
First Day of the week. Salutation
to Isaac on whom the bishop saw a cross of light when he dipped his hand
in the water to baptize him.
And on this day also the Three Hundred and Eighteen fathers and
bishops assembled in the city of Nicea in the days of Constantine the
righteous man, among them being four archbishops, namely, Abba Alexander,
Archbishop of the city of Alexandria, and Yunakendinos (Innocent),
Archbishop of the city of Rome, Sol Peter (sic), Archbishop of the city of
Constantinia, and the Archbishop of the city of Antioch.
And the cause of their assembling was Arius, who was priest of the
men of Alexandria and had fallen into error. He said: “The Son is a
created being in all His Person.” These
saints were honorable fathers and fighters, and some of them had, like the
apostles, raised the dead, and healed the sick, and worked great signs and
wonders. Some of them had
suffered tortures for the sake of the Orthodox Faith of Christ, some of
them had suffered torture and had their eyes dug out; of some of them the
torturers had cut off their hands and their feet, of some the torturers
had smashed their teeth, and of some they had torn out the nails and
scraped their bodies. Among
those who had suffered tortures there was a certain bishop of the city of
Mar’ash whose name was Thomas. Him
certain vile and evil men cast into prison for two (?) years, where they
tortured him mercilessly. Each
year they had cut off from him one of his limbs, and they had cut off his
hands and his feet, and smashed his teeth, both those in front and those
in the sides of his jaws, and his nose and lips had been cut off, and his
body was as black as the ashes of a fire.
Many people thought that he was dead, and had performed memorial
services for him as for the martyrs and apostles.
When these fathers and bishops arrived in the city of Nicea,
Constantine the emperor prepared for them a large and spacious hall, and
he placed therein thrones whereon the holy fathers and bishops could sit,
and he set therein his own throne, which was smaller than [any one] of
theirs. And he began with
Thomas, Bishop of the city of Mar’ash, and he bowed low before him, and
embraced every part of him, including the [places of] the members which
had been cut off his body. Then
he gave to the fathers and bishops his royal scepter, and his sword, and
his ring, and he said unto them, “Behold, I have this day given you
power over the priesthood and over the kingdom. According to what ye wish let [every man] remain, provided
that he is Orthodox; he who is not Orthodox separate from your flock; and
ye shall formulate the Canon and the Law.”
And our Lord Jesus Christ tarried among them, and there were many
[of them] whose hearts were illumined by the Holy Spirit.
And certain men counted the thrones whereon sitters were seated and
they found them to be in number three hundred and nineteen, and they
counted the fathers and bishops and found them to be in number three
hundred and eighteen. And
they formulated a Canon for the priests, and for the laity, and for the
emperors, and for the countries, and for pilgrims, and for those who sold,
and for those who bought, and they made ordinances for every matter.
Then they proclaimed the Orthodox Faith, and they made known that
the Son was the equal of the Father in Godhead, and they excommunicated
Arius and him that believed in his filthy belief.
This is the Orthodox Faith, which they formulated, saying, “We
believe in One God, the Lord, the Father, the Sustainer of Creation, Maker
of heaven and of earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And we believe in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Son of the
Father, Whose being was with Him before the world was created, Light Who
proceedeth from Light, God Who proceedeth from God in truth, Who was
begotten and not made, Who is equal with the Father in Godhead, in Whom is
everything that is, and without Whom there would be nothing whatsoever
which is in heaven and upon earth, Who for the sake of us men and for our
salvation came down from heaven, and was made man by the Holy Ghost of
Mariyam, the holy Virgin. He
became man, and was crucified for our sakes in the days of Pontius
Pilate.He suffred and died and was buried and rose from the dead on the
third day, as it is written in the Holy Scriptures.
He ascended in glory into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of
His Father. He shall come
again in glory. He shall
judge the living and the dead, and there shall be no end to His
kingdom.” After this, when
one hundred and fifty bishops were assembled in the city of Constantinia,
they formulated the remainder of the Orthodox Faith, saying, “And we
believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord the Vivifier, Who sprang from the
Father. We worship Him and we
praise Him, with the Father and the Son, Who spoke by the prophets”--to
the end of the [words of] the Faith (i.e. And we believe in One, Holy,
Catholic and Apostolic Church. And
we believe in one Baptism for the remission of sin and wait for the
resurrection from the dead. Life
to come. World without end. Amen.). And they
excommunicated anyone who should add anything to it or take anything away
from it. And they commanded
that every priest should recite it, and all the laity, both old and young,
men and women, slaves and handmaidens.
And they were to recite it at the time of at the night prayer, and
at the time of the day prayer, and at the time of the consecration of the
Offering, and they were to teach it to all the people.
And the fathers and bishops made ordinances of every kind for the
Church and the Orthodox Faith. They
established the light of the Faith and then they departed to their own
be to God Who is glorified in His Saints.