THE THIRD MONTH
IN THE NAME
OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,
On this day became a martyr Saint Peter, the seventeenth
Archbishop of the city of Alexandria; and he was the last of the martyrs.
The father of this holy man was the high priest of the city of
Alexandria, and his name was Theodore; the name of his mother was Sophia.
And they were fearers of God and they had no children at all. And on the fifth day of the month Hamle (July-Aug.), the day
of the festival of Peter and Paul the apostles, the mother of the holy man
saw many Christians with their children, and they wore festal apparel with
decorations, and they were going to church; and she was exceedingly
sorrowful. And she went into
the church and stood up before the altar of the saint, and she besought
our Lord Christ with many tears to give her a son.
And that night Peter and Paul the apostles appeared unto her, and
they said unto her, “Behold God hath accepted thy petition, and He will
assuredly give thee a son, and thou shall call his name ‘Peter’”;
and they commanded her to go to the Archbishop Theonas that the people
might pray for her. And after
certain days she brought forth this holy man, and she called his name
“Peter”. When his days were seven years she gave him to the archbishop
even as [Hannah gave] Samuel the prophet to Eli, and he became to him like
a beloved son; and the archbishop made him a reader, and after that he
made him a deacon, and after that he made him a priest.
And he used to help the archbishop in all his divers good works and
in his administration of the churches.
When Abba Theonas was dying he commanded the bishops and priests to
appoint Abba Peter archbishop in his place, and they appointed him
Archbishop of the city of Alexandria; and when he was appointed all the
people and all the churches rejoiced.
And it came to pass in the days of Diocletian, the infidel emperor,
that there lived in the city of Alexandria a certain judge who was of the
same opinion as the emperor, and who worshipped idols with him, and he had
two sons. And his wife was a Christian, but she was unable to have her
sons baptized with Christian baptism in the city of Antioch, and she
therefore took them and embarked on a ship in order to come to Alexandria.
As they were journeying over the sea, a violent storm rose up
against them, and she was afraid that her two sons would die without
baptism. And she cut her
breasts, and made the sign of the Cross with her blood, which she smeared
over the foreheads of her sons, and she dipped them in the sea three times
in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. Then a great calm came, and they were saved from drowning and
arrived in the city of Alexandria. And
she brought her sons to the Archbishop Abba Peter so that he might baptize
them with Christian baptism, together with the sons of the men of
Alexandria. And when the
archbishop wished to immerse her boys, the water congealed and became as
hard as a stone; and he tried to immerse them three times, and each time
the water became like a stone. And
the archbishop marveled and asked her what had happened, and she related
to him how a wind storm had risen up at sea, and how she had cut her
breasts, and how she had signed the foreheads of her sons with the sign of
the Cross with her blood, and how she had immersed them in the sea three
times in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.
When the archbishop heard this he marveled exceedingly and praised
God, saying, “Thus says the Church; as one is baptism even so one is the
Church.” And in the days of
this father Archbishop Abba Peter one Arius, a heretic, rose up, and the
saint rebuked him but he would not hearken to his words; and having
rebuked him many times and Arius having refused to turn from his wicked
opinion, Abba Peter anathematized him and excommunicated him.
And when the Emperor Diocletian heard the report of this Saint
Peter, and that he was teaching the multitudes everywhere not to worship
the gods, he sent messengers to him to seize Saint Peter and to shut him
up in prison. And when the
men of the city knew this straightway they took their weapons of war with
them and they came to the prison house to fight the messengers of the
emperor. And when Saint Peter
saw that there was going to be a great tumult on his account, he wished to
yield up his soul to death for his people, and he wanted to be released
from this world and to be with Christ.
And he made all the people come to him, and he comforted them and
commended them to be strong in the True Faith.
When Arius knew that the blessed Peter was departing to God and
leaving him under the ban of excommunication, he went to the great high
priests, and told them to beseech the blessed Peter on his behalf, so that
he might release him from the ban of excommunication; but when the chief
priests entreated the blessed Peter on behalf of Arius, he added to the
ban of excommunication which he had laid upon him.
And he said unto them, “I have seen a vision this night, and
behold our Lord Jesus Christ was standing with His rent raiment.
And I said unto Him, My Lord, ‘Who hath rent Thy raiment?’
And He said unto me, ‘Arius hath rent My raiment; he separated Me
from My Father. Beware of
him.’” Then Saint Peter commanded Arkilas (Archelaus) and Alexander,
and said unto them, “Ye will have to appoint an archbishop after me;
beware of Arius, and have no fellowship with him in the work of the
priesthood, and release him not from the ban of excommunication, for he is
the enemy of Christ. And thou
‘Arkilas (Archelaus) shall be archbishop after me and before Alexander,
and thou shalt meet Arius and shalt die speedily.”
After this the blessed Peter took counsel with the messengers of
the emperor (sic) in secret that they might bring him out from the inside
of the prison house, and they dug opposite to it and took him out and
finished the emperor’s command. And
they did as he commanded them, and they took him and brought him outside
the city, [to the place] where was the grave of the blessed Mark the
evangelist. [The text of this
passage is corrupt.] And
Saint Peter prayed and committed his people to the care of God, and he
prayed again, saying, “O my Lord Christ, let the shedding of my blood be
the end of the worship of idols, and may they be brought to naught and
perish throughout the world.” And
a voice came from heaven, saying, “Amen!
It shall be according as thou sayest”, and a certain virgin who
was near that place heard these words.
And Saint Peter said unto the soldiers of the emperor, “Finish
what ye have been commanded to do”; and straightway they cut off his
holy head with the sword and he received the crown of martyrdom in the
kingdom of the heavens. And
his body stood upright for a space of two hours.
And the people made haste and went out from the city, for they were
by the prison house and they did not know what had become of the saint
until one told them what had happened. And they took the body of their shepherd and their chief and
made it ready for burial, and they brought it to the city and took it into
the church, and laid it upon his seat on which no one had ever once seen
him sit, even as he told them. And
when they asked him, saying, “Why dost thou not sit upon thy throne?”
he answered and said unto them, “I see the power of God sitting upon it,
and therefore I do not dare to sit upon it.”
Then they finished making him ready for the grave, and they laid
his body with the bodies of the chosen saints, the archbishops.
And he sat upon the throne of Mark the evangelist fourteen years,
and he was appointed archbishop in the tenth year of the reign of
Diocletian. And many signs
and mighty wonders took place through his body.
Salutation to Peter, the preacher of the Faith, the counterpart of
And on this day also is commemorated the Birth of our Lord and
God and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, of the holy two-fold Virgin Mary, our
Lady. Salutation to Thy
Birth, O Thou Who didst show to Peter Thy raiment, which Arius had rent.
And on this day also are commemorated the forty-seven thousand
martyrs who suffered in the time of the Emperor Diocletian.
Salutation to the righteous men who fought against Diocletian.
[This paragraph is wanting in the Bodleian MS.]
be to God Who is glorified in His Saints.