IN THE NAME
OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,
On this day it is meet for us to celebrate a festival in honor of the glorious angel Gabriel, for his honor is great with God, and he was held to be worthy to bear the announcement of His birth to our Lady Mary, His mother. And for this reason God had compassion upon us, with this great gift and honor, through this angel, and it is meet for us to pay him honor, and to praise him. And also it was he who told Daniel about our Lord Christ, when he was praying and making supplication for the return of the people from captivity, and about the coming of our Redeemer Christ. And he appeared unto him, and defined the weeks, and revealed unto him that our Lord Christ would come at the end of them . . . and that [the Jews] would kill Him, and that after Him Jerusalem would never have another deliverer, and that after Him they would destroy the altars and the offerings of the children of Israel. And because our Lord Christ had appointed this angel, it was meet for him to announce to our Lady Mary the salvation of all the world. For this reason it is meet for us to make a festival unto him at all times, and that we should entreat him to intercede for us, so that God may deliver us out of the hand of Satan, our Adversary, in all our work. Salutation to Gabriel who was sent to Mary.
And on this day also is commemorated Samson, one of the Judges of Israel. The name of the father of this righteous man was Manohe (Manoah), and he was of the tribe of Dan; and his mother was barren. And the angel of the Lord came unto her, and announced unto her his birth. And he commanded her to keep herself remote from pollution, and from the eating of meat, and from the drinking of wine, which would make her drunk, whilst she was with child, and until she had brought forth her child. And she was not to shave the hair of his head, for he was to be a votive offering to God, and through him the deliverance of the children of Israel from the Philistines was to be effected. When she told her husband what the angel of the Lord had announced to her, he entreated God to shew him that angel. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and he said unto him, “Bid thy wife to take good heed, and to observe what I have commanded her.” And she conceived and brought forth this righteous man, and God blessed him, and the grace of the Holy Spirit of God descended upon him. And he was born with strength, and on one occasion he rose up against a lion and rent him in twain. And on another occasion he slew of the men of the Philistines eighty men, and burnt their city. And the men of the Philistines rose up against the children of Judah to fight with them because of him, and they delivered Samson into their hands. And the children of Judah told Samson what the men of the Philistines had said unto them. And Samson said unto the children of Judah, “Swear ye to me that ye will not deliver me into their hands, and that ye will not kill me.” And having sworn unto him he delivered himself up to them, and they bound him with two iron chains, and delivered him over to the men of the Philistines, who rose up against him to kill him. And a spirit of strength came down upon him from God, and he broke those chains like threads which had been charred by fire. After this he found the jawbone of an ass, and he slew therewith a thousand horsemen of the Philistines. And being athirst, and nigh unto death, he asked God, and He made sweet water to flow out of the jawbone, and he drank and was strong. And the children of Judah laid an ambush for him in the city of Gaza, so that they might seize him; and he rose up by night, and lifted up the gates of the city of Gaza, and carried them upon his shoulders up to the top of a hill. And afterwards when they were conquered by him, they sent to his wife and covenanted to give to her much money, and they said unto her, “Find out from thy husband Samson with what he maketh himself strong.” And she asked him, and he told her that his strength was in the hair of his head, because he was a vow to God. And she told his enemies, and said unto them, “His strength is in the hair of his head”; and they waited in a secret place until he was asleep. When he was asleep his enemies came to him, and they shaved off the hair of his head, and his strength failed. Then the men of the Philistines came into his house, and they bound him and took him to their own country with joy, and they put out his eyes; after this the hair of his head sprouted, and his strength returned to him. And he came into the house of idols on the day of the festival of their idols. When all the men of Gaza had gathered together in the house of idols to worship their idols. And Samson stood up in the house of idols, and he laid hold of the two pillars, one with his right hand, and one with his left, and he lifted up both of them, and the two pillars fell down, and that house of idols fell down. And those who died in that house of idols at that slaughter were far more in number than those he had slain in all the days of his life; and he himself died with them, for he determined that all the enemies of God, who were very many, should die with him. And all the days which Samson judged Israel were twenty years, and he died in peace. Salutation to Samson who was called the Nazarite.
And on this day also was translated the body of James the “chopped.” Now behold, we have written the history of his strife on the twenty-seventh day of the month of Hedar. Salutation to James, the “chopped,” whose body was translated from Persia.
Salutation to John who afflicted his body with toil, and who ate only as much bread as the hand would hold.
Here endeth what is read in the month of Magabit in the peace of God.
[Here follows a long section on Gabra Manfas Kedus, which is wanting in the Bodleian MS.]
And on this day took place the strife of Abba Gabra Manfas Kedus, the star of the desert, of glorious renown, and fine old age, the blessed and excellent man Abba Gabra Manfas Kedus, the desert man, who sprang from the city of Nehisa, in the north of Egypt. And he dwelt in the desert three hundred years. When he went forth from that place, he wandered about in the deserts of Ethiopia, and he dwelt in Gekala, and then departed to the land of Kabd, and he lived [there] naked, drinking no water and eating no food, unlike a man upon earth and unlike an angel. And he finished his strife on the fifth day of Magabit, on the First Day of the week, on the festival of Peter and Paul. This holy man had a father and mother who were pious people, and they were believers, and they were of noble race. His father’s name was Simeon, and his mother’s name was ‘Aklesya, and they were righteous before God. And they remained childless for a period of thirty years, and ‘Aklesya wept because she had not got a son, and her husband also wept. One day the Holy Spirit came to the place where she was, by the door of the courtyard, and she imagined that he was a priest who lived in the palace. And he said unto her, “Peace be unto thee! What maketh thee weep and to groan before God?” And ‘Aklesya said unto him, “I rejoice in every work of the Lord my God, but I groan because [I have not] a son.” And at that moment ‘Aklesys conceived, on the 29th day of Tahsas. And the angel whose name is Gabriel came in the form of a man, and said unto her, “The name of this child shall be Gabra Manfas Kedus”; and then that angel disappeared. And on the third day the child rose up, and came down from his mother’s breast, and he stood up and bowed three times to the Father, and three times to the Son, and three times to the Holy Ghost, and he also said, “Glory be to the Father, Glory be to the Son, Glory be to the Holy Ghost, Who hast brought me out of the darkness into the light.” And those who were there and heard him marveled, and his mother marveled, and she remained stricken with surprise until the third hour. And God commanded the angel Gabriel and said unto him, “Go to the house of Simeon, and take the child from the breast of his mother, and bring him into the desert where there are many monks, and lay him down in their courtyard. And say to the abbot, Take the child from the courtyard, and bring him into the sanctuary, even as Mary, My mother, grew up in the sanctuary, and she dwelt there for twelve years in the hands of the angels until she came out into the world. And I was incarnate of her, because I was pleased with her more than with any other woman. And I am pleased with the child, for I have made him pure, and I have created him; for he is of the Holy Spirit. And his food and drink shall not be of that which is on the earth, but from the kingdom of heaven.” And the angel of the Lord went down quickly to where the child was, at his mother’s breast, and he carried him upon his wings, even as a woman carrieth her child. And his mother, and those who were there, were frightened when they saw the angel carrying him on his wings, and kissing him on his face. And he bore him up to the seventh heaven, and brought him before God, and God blessed him and said unto the angel, “Take him to My mother that she may bless him, and kiss him as she kissed Me. And take him also to the fathers of olden time, Adam, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and to all the prophets and apostles, that they may embrace him, and to all the martyrs and the monks, and take him also to the children who were slain, for My sake, by the hand of Herod. And tell all of them at the last day, when all the world shall perish, and when all of you shall be with him.” And He also said, “Bring him to me.” Then the angel forthwith took him where God commanded, and laid him down with our Lady Mary, and she kissed him, and embraced him. And the angel also took him to where all the righteous were assembled, and they all embraced him; and then he brought him back and [set him] before God. And our Lord said unto him, “I will be with thee; be strong in everything which shall come on thee. All the souls of men shall be saved by thee. And when the story of the child and his faith is noised abroad there shall come unto him many men, and priests, and bishops from Egypt, and Mesr (Cairo), and Nehisa, and from the district of Sabser; and he shall love pilgrims.” One day when our father Gabra Manfas Kedus was at prayer, [the angel] came unto him, and said unto him, “Come, go up into heaven even as I bore thee thither before”; and he took him, and carried him on his wing, and made him go up to heaven, and he brought him before God. And our Lord brought Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Fifteen Prophets, and the Twelve Apostles, and all the martyrs, and He brought all the saints and said unto them as He placed himself by him, “Rise up, and embrace him that was born after you, and who fighteth even as ye did, and whose glory shall be exalted. And I will be with him until My coming, and he shall go with you, and he shall resemble me in purity like the angels. He shall dwell at My right hand, and ye shall be with him.” And He sent to our father His Person in His Trinity and He stretched out His hands, and embraced him, and He kissed his mouth, and He said unto him, “There be many souls whom thou shalt make to escape the Judgment through thy prayers and thy supplication. Get thee far from men. The blind and the sick shall be healed through thy prayer. Henceforward withdraw thyself [from men] and get thee into the Inner Desert. Dwell with the lions and the panthers; the lions shall be sixty in number and the panthers sixty also.” And the saint said unto our Lord, “What will the lions and the panthers feed upon and what will they eat?” And He said unto him, “If thou treadest on the ground with thy foot they will lick the dust of thy foot, and they will be satisfied until they obtain food; [and this shall be] until thy coming to Me.” When the good angels heard these words they marveled, and when they saw the saint naked, and without raiment, they kissed him, and embraced him. And the angel brought him down quickly to his former abode. And his hair grew, and it grew thick all over his limbs, and the hair of his head was seven cubits long, and the hair of his mouth (i.e. his beard) was one cubit long. Each day he healed blind men, and lepers, and sick folk; and their number was fifty thousand. And our father was exceedingly sorry that men knew of his work, and his labour, and he said, “I will arise and depart from this place so that men may know nothing about me, and may not bestow upon me the vain praise of this world.” And he departed from that place, and came into the Inner Desert, and dwelt there; and the people missed him, and were very sorry, because he had worked miracles for them, and they wept and lamented with a great lamentation. And he lived in this wise for more than one hundred years, until old age came on him. Let now go back to our former subject when we said that he came into the desert, and withdrew himself from men; and he dwelt on the right side of the desert for many years. During the heat of summer, and the cold of winter, he wore no clothing on his body, but he went naked, and his girdle was made of plaited hair. He prayed standing in the cold of dawn, naked. By excessive sufferings he melted his body, and hardened his bones (?), and he used to say unto his soul, “Know that thou wilt have to stand naked before God.” He devoted himself strenuously to prayer and fasting, and bowings, and to innumerable and ceaseless vigils by day and by night until at length his body dried up, and his skin became stretched tightly over his bones. He had no food except, at times, the fruit of trees, or roots, or plants, and sometimes the grass and berries whereon the dwellers in the desert feed. He took no care whatsoever to provide for his body in anything. The angels used to visit him, because he was like unto them in his speech and acts. Among the saints of olden times and those of later times, who is there that can be compared with him upon earth? There is not one who did not eat the bread of earth, or drink water, or wear raiment, but he never prepared anything for his body. Verily Gabra Manfas Kedus was like unto the fowls of heaven, for he thought nothing about the food of this world, but he hungered and thirsted for God [only]; and for this reason his food was the bread of heaven, and his drink came from the Garden (Paradise). He knew that it was not a lie the word of God, Who said, “Be of good cheer, have no doubt about apparel, nor desire as to raiment” (Matthew vi, 25 f.). And God covered his whole body with hair, even like the hair which covereth the goat (or, sheep), and his fine beard was a garment which covered his body, now it was as black as a raven, and was plaited like byssus. The awe which he inspired was like that of the lion, and it was frightening and terrifying. His stature was like that of the palm, and the odor of him was as sweet as the scent of a mass of pistachios, of the costliest kind; his odor had the smell of the food of the desert. His face was like the face of an angel of God, his beard was a round mass (?), and his . . . was in his mouth. Even if I were to think of declaring the number of his words, I could not enumerate them, for they were far more numerous than the grains of sand of the sea and the drops of the rain. Who hath [not] admired thy contending more than those of every man? And I will exalt thee above every man, and above heaven, and earth, and sun, and moon, and stars. Was there ever any limit to one of thy footsteps? The prophets and the Apostles our (sic) kinsmen speak of thee, the angels bear thee up on their wings, our Lady Mary calleth thee “my beloved,” and loveth thee even as she loved her Son. And when he had finished making a prayer, the angels came unto him, according to their wont, and said unto him, “What dost thou require, O bold man?” And he said unto them, “I would see God, even as the saints, who were before me, saw Him, and as the Apostles saw Him, and also as the martyrs saw Him, when they were destroyed in the towns, and as the righteous saw Him in the desert and in [their] cells (or, caves).” When the angels heard his word they departed, and told our Lord Jesus Christ all that he had said unto them. And straightway the heavens were opened, and the tabernacle of fire was uncovered, which four beasts carried, but did not touch; and there were four and twenty priests of heaven holding their censers standing before Him. And our Lord appeared, and the archangels, each one according to his rank, sitting upon his holy throne, in his own person; and the Three were seated--Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; and he saw Three Persons and Three Beings, and all the angels and archangels in their hosts were praising Him. When our father Gabra Manfas Kedus saw this, he was afraid and trembled. And our Lord said unto him, “Be strong and fear not in seeing Me, for I have given thee a bold heart, that thou mayest look at Me Myself, even as Abukalamsis (i.e. John of the Apocalypse) looked upon Me. What dost thou wish for, and what dost thou ask of Me? I have come to thee that thou mightest see Me; what thou wishest I will do for thee, My beloved one, whom I chose before thou hadst being, and I have made thee pure, My chosen one. Thou hast dwelt in the desert seventy or eighty years at a time, thou hast wandered through the deserts doubting nothing, thou hast not feared to dwell with lions, and thou hast endured, and been of good cheer even unto death. And now, verily, I will not refuse what thou shalt ask of Me; whatsoever thou desirest I will perform for thee.” When our father heard God utter this great mystery, he rejoiced and said, “My Lord and my God, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst do for me as Thou hast done for others like me. Now, grant me ten mercies. Have mercy for my sack upon the men of the land of Gabota, who are sinners, for Thou didst not come into the world to call the righteous, who have no need to repent, but to turn sinners to repentance. Remember, O Lord, those in the Judgment, whose tears flow like the waters of winter, and who gnash their teeth, and who acted as they did in ignorance, Satan having led them into error. Have mercy upon them, O Lord, and shew compassion unto them.” And our Lord said unto our father Gabra Manfas Kedus, “They say hard things. It hath been head that I do not do unto them as unto the others, who are righteous peoples, and are pure, and have borne toil upon earth. And as to that which thou askest Me; I do not destroy a monk for the sake of one sin. If his wickednesses are many, and his sins are many, after he hath entered the fire he becometh subject for judgment. When he beseecheth Me with great labour I make the soul of that man to go forth from him, and I scatter it among the winds, and not a trace of it is ever found; at the resurrection of the dead [it is] not in the abode of the righteous, or in the abode of sinners. In thy case it is not thus; according to My mercy I will have mercy upon thee, for I have given thee a promise that I will do whatsoever thou askest Me.” When our father heard [this], he rejoiced and bowed his face. And all the heavenly beings rejoiced and said, “Redemption is with our God. Amen.” And our father also said unto God, “How great is [Thy] mercy, my Lord?” And God said, “To each of thy years according to the length of thy days I will add two years”; and forthwith the days of our father were made to be three hundred years. And our Lord said unto the archangels, “Go ye and bring souls forth from judgment, and release them and give them to the blessed Gabra Manfas Kedus.” And the seven angels went down to the Gahanam of fire, the place of sinners. At that moment came ‘Abd Almakos, the angel of Gahanam, who hath power over the tortures of sinners, and brought out there from the men of the land of Gabota. And the number of the souls who went forth from judgment was thirty thousand, and [the seven angels] led them on their way, and guided them--namely Michael and Gabriel, each with his pilgrims, Saku’el and Ramu’el, each with his great ones, and Fanu’el blew a trumpet before them. And the other angels were uttering cries of joy, until they came before the throne of God in the heavens, and saying, “Glory to God in the heavens, and peace upon earth, His good will to men.” And God said unto our father Gabra Manfas Kedus, “The men who are in the world shall not see thee, that is to say, the priests, and the monks and the believers; only those who are good like thyself who visitest them. And thou shalt not appear to the angels except by thy wish. Thy chariot shall be the winds, and thy goings shall be like theirs without noise. Fly from the east to the west, and from the north to the south, and from behind the earth to the north, and thou shalt be able to come to any place by means of the winds. And from henceforth, O blessed Gabra Manfas Kedus, My beloved, whenever thou wishest look upon Me, My Father, and the Holy Spirit, the Three of us thus always. And moreover, go to the country of Ethiopia, and in that land there are souls which thou hast to bring forth from judgment.”
When our father heard the words of the Lord his face shone and his mind rejoiced, and he said unto Him, “My Lord and my God, who shall guide me to that country, and how shall I know the road thither? For I have heard men say from my childhood that the country of Ethiopia is far away.” And our Lord said unto him, “Go, and My power shall bring thee thither, and My angels shall not be far from thee, for thou art honorable even as are they. As for Me, even as thou wishest, thou shalt find Me, and according as thou hast asked Me I will do for thee.” After our Lord had given the promise to His servant He disappeared from him, and the angels returned, saying, “Glory,” and, shouting with joy with David the prophet, they cried, “Go up into the heights. Thou hast led captive captivity, and Thou hast given Thy grace to the children of man.” And those souls which had come forth from judgment went into the Garden of Delight, with honor and praise. And the heights of heaven were filled with joy when [the angels] saw this wonderful and astonishing sight, the like of which had never been seen from the creation of the world to the time of the coming of Christ. Grant unto me, O Lord, an understanding heart so that I may be able to know the work which Thou didst perform for our father Gabra Manfas Kedus, the like of which Thou didst not do for the prophets, and the patriarchs, and the other saints of the monastery and the desert; not that a man [who] hath done the work which Thou gavest him could do what Thou Thyself dost What then? Our father was able to fly in the air, and to go round the sea of fire, [and to bring out] thousands of souls. He did not do this by the strength of his natural body which was water, fire, dust and wind, and there was no other like him; except Adam, the first [man] created. Adam was not able to go about, and to go out from Sheol until our Redeemer came. O Gabra Manfas Kedus, what is the sum of the grace, and great kindness, and glory, and exaltation, wherewith thou was provided by God? When I think of describing thy strife my mind becometh light (i.e. unsettled), like that of a man who hath drunk old wine, with joy, and it soareth and it cometh back, and saith, “How long and how many days should I require to come to an end of his history; for the matters which concern him are very many and are countless.” When our father Gabra Manfas Kedus looked upon the land of Gabota he saw that there was in him the faculty of knowing what was hidden, and what was manifest. Moreover he knew the mysteries of the heavens, and what was in the earth, and he knew when priests were pure, and he was able to see when the Holy Ghost descended. The deeds of sinners were manifest before him, and they were clear in his eyes as in a mirror, for he knew everything relating to the spirit. And our father Gabra Manfas Kedus saw in the land of Gabota that the people hid themselves in the church at the time of the Offering, now the number of these amounted to two hundred. And when the Offering was being consecrated the Holy Spirit descended upon that altar, and our good father rejoiced when he saw the descent of the Holy Spirit. And he also watched when the people received the Offering, and none partook except those whose deeds were good and whose hearts were right concerning the mystery of the spiritual Offering. And our father said unto the angel, “What is the sin of those who have not received the Spirit?” And the angel said unto our honorable father, “Behold, the sin of those who have not received the Spirit is great before God.” And our father turned and he saw the Satans driving the people with fiery whips from the hall of the church, until they came to their houses. And Satan himself rejoiced because they had become his companions, and they were all destroyed, and there were left among them only those who had wished for repentance; and Satan rejoiced because he found certain poor folk cast out. Now these were sinners who had not repented for their life upon earth, and they became soldiers of Satan. When our father saw this wonderful thing, he sorrowed and wept, and he said, “My Lord and my God, Thy people have been made captives, and carried off, and there are not left two hundred men, but four who have eaten (?) the ephod of Thy Body. He saith, Thou givest (or, sellest) Thy people without price” (Psalm xliv, 12). When our father had said this he wept, and he departed to make prayers near the place (?) of the Apostles, and when he had arrived there he fixed his gaze on the island of water near the place where he dwelt formerly. And our Lord saw him and said unto His blessed servant, “I will shew mercy unto thee, and in each day I will give thee sixty thousand [souls], namely on My Birthday, and on thy birthday, and on the day of My Baptism, and on the day of My Resurrection; on each of these days [each year] I will give thee as an act of grace sixth thousand souls. If Satan hath carried off souls thou must take them from the Judgment: I have left none to Satan, I have given [all] to thee.” When Satan heard this he wept with a great weeping, saying, “Ever since this wretched man was created and born I have been bound with fetters. Where can I go from this wretched man who by fasting and prayer hath taken my captives and carried them of, the captives whom I took and led astray by my arts, and carried off into the Great Judgment, before he was born.” And uttering these words he wished to die. And when the spirit-beings of heaven, and the beings of earth heard [this], they rejoiced, and laughed, and brought out the souls who were in the land of Egypt with much labour, and fasting and prayer. In one day the continuous bowings [of our father] amounted to forty thousand, and during each forty thousand [he recited] the One Hundred the Fifty Psalms of David, and he sang the Fifteen [Books of] the Prophets, and the Prayer of Solomon, and the Praises of our Lady Mary, and besides these he bowed his face three hundred times to the right and three hundred times to the left. All this he did in one day and one night. Through such work as this the souls of sinners gained salvation, and our father by his prayer made the Satans weep, and exhausted the power of Satan and destroyed the sting of his poison, and carried him bound into captivity. After this [our father] went forth from Ethiopia with lions and hyaenas accompanying him; the number of the lions and hyaenas which went before him was thirty, and the number of those which followed him was thirty. And angel of God, whose name was Gabriel, guided him, and our father was mounted upon a chariot of the spirit, and those beasts were with him. And the angel brought him to the land of Kabd, and then he took him to Zekuela, on the highland of the earth, and our father stood on the sea-shore, and looked east, and west, and the south, and north. And he saw the sins of the [men of] Ethiopia, and they were spread out before his eyes and planted in his brain. And he said unto God, “I swear unto Thee by Thy Living Name, that I will not go forth from this sea, and that I will not stand upon my feet.” And he sat thus for forty days and forty nights, and a voice came unto him from heaven, saying, “Whosoever shall commemorate thee and shall call upon thy name I will give unto thee.” And our father said unto the angel, “All Ethiopia hath not been taught; I will not go away from this sea.” And the angel departed from him, and he dwelt in this wise for one hundred years; and all his body perished, and his blood was poured out from him, until all the water of the sea resembled blood, and all his bones appeared like crystal. And the devils came and smote him, from the east and from the west, from the south and from the north, in one day five hundred devils smote him with their darts all day long, for one hundred years. And his bones dwindled and became like sharp stones, and among the men who were before him, from Stephen the martyr to Peter, the chief of the Apostles, and among all the martyrs who died for Christ, there was none who displayed in one day the wonderful things which he made manifest. After this our Lord came and stood on the sea-shore, and He said unto our father, “Rise up and go forth, I have given thee Ethiopia”; and he found his bones like the eye of a needle. And He sought for him, and made him as he was at first. And He sent him to Kabd, and then He took him up into heaven; and he dwelt for seven years in the lower part of heaven, but above the sun. After this He sent him into the land of Kabd, and he lived standing upright like a pillar for six months, and he gazed into heaven, and he neither dropped his eyelids nor bowed his head, and his hands were stretched out towards heaven. After this Satan came to him in the form of a black raven, and he found his bones suspended in the heavens which covered [them], and he sat upon his head, and he pecked at his eyes, and dug out his eyeballs. After this our father remained [blind] for ninety-eight [years], he prayed continually, and ceased not in that land. Then Michael and Gabriel came to him, and they stood in front of his face, and together they breathed upon him, and his eyes saw and his vision became seven times brighter than the sun. And they said unto him, “Depart to Zekuala, that thou mayest kill thine enemies, and great strength shall be given unto thee from heaven and from earth”; and after this they went up into heaven. And our father rose up and went to Zekuala (sic), and he found on the road three tired men of the mountains, and they were resting close by their dwelling in the shade. And Abba Gabra Manfas Kedus looked at them and said in his mind, “I will hide from them.” And they made haste and cried out, saying, “Do not forsake us at the throne of God. Carry us a little way on thy back.” And our father came, and saw that they were all broken old men, and that they were covered with grey hair. And he lifted up one of them upon his back and he carried him and brought him a distance of one stade. And the old man said unto him, “Now thou hast tired thyself, for thou neither eatest, nor drinkest, nor weepest.” And our father said unto him, “By what dost thou know me?” And the old man said, “Go and bring my companions”; and he turned and went, leaving the old man there, and he came to the place where the other two old men were, and he took one of them and brought him back to the old man and joined him. And he said unto them, “Whence have ye come? The odor of you is sweet and rejoiceth the heart, and carrieth away the senses.” And the three old men rose up and stood up, and the three of them seemed to be one. And they said unto him, “We will carry thee even as thou didst carry us for a little, and we will carry thee, and make thee to arrive in the Seventh Heaven.” At that moment their countenance changed, and they put on the awe of Godhead, and they became like flames of fire, and lightning flashed forth from them. And all the angels of heaven and earth came down, and were terrified, and the mountains and hills descended, and fell down, and all the rocks were broken in pieces and they became like dust. At this moment the Father of Light took our father and carried him on His back, and brought him to the middle of the Second Heaven. And His Son went back to him and took him, and carried him on His back, and brought him from the Second Heaven to the middle of the Third Heaven, and the Holy Spirit went back to him and brought him to His holy and awful throne; and the Three Persons and One Being sat on one throne. And our Lord embraced him and kissed his mouth, and Father, Son and Holy Ghost embraced him and kissed him; as a father kisseth his son even so did They kiss him and embrace him. And He showed him the four thrones of the Prophets, and Apostles, and the Righteous, and the Martyrs, and there remained three double [thrones]. And our Lord said unto him, “Heaven, and earth, and sun, and moon, and stars, are insufficient to be the price of one hair of thy head. Depart, get thee down to Zekuala, and drown the devils who cast away thy bones, for they are boasting and they know not that I have raised thee up. I will be in the sea, and the seven archangels shall follow thee, and fiery lightning shall go before thee.” And our father flew on the back of the lightning, and the Three Persons sent him on his way, and returned to their throne. And our father descended and fell upon their heads with swords of fire, and the lightning's consumed them, and they became ashes. And the winds carried away their ashes, and those devils were in number seven thousand two hundred, and they all perished in one day, and there remained not one. After this the lightning's and the archangels went up [into heaven]. And our father departed to the land of Kabd, where there were lions, and hyaenas, and wolves, and serpents. After this the saints came to him one day, led by the Holy Spirit: (1) Abba Samuel of Waldebba, (2) Abba ‘Ansesa of the land of Hazlo, (3) Abba Benyam of the lower land; and they had their lions with them. They came to the land of Kabd, and our father hid himself; and they continued in praises seven days until they should find him. After the seven days certain lions, which had been hidden, went forth, and came to the place where the three saints were, and they seized upon their lions and devoured their bodies; they devoured and licked up their bodies in a moment. And the saints were terrified, and the lions disappeared. And the saints were exceedingly sorry, and their sorrow was revealed unto our father. And he rose up and came to them with the great power which was given unto him from heaven, and with him there were sixty lions, and sixty hyaenas, and angels bearing the tent of light. And the hair of his head covered his whole body like a thatch and swept the ground, and the hair of his beard and neck reached the ground; and he was arrayed in his apparel. And he came unto them with great might, and said unto them, “Peace be unto you, O saints of God.” And those saints were terrified when they saw his terrifying majesty and the lions which roared before him, and the hyaenas which screamed and laughed like horses. And our father said unto those saints, “For what purpose have ye come to me, [seeing that] I am alone in this desert place?” And those saints said unto him, “We came unto thee having known of thy holy prayers, O chief anchorite in all the world, and we came unto thee that we might hold converse with the servant of God. When we came and did not find thee we sorrowed and wept for seven days, and whilst we were praying on the seventh day thy lions came and seized our lions, and they ate them up and swallowed them and licked up their blood in the twinkling of an eye.” And our father said unto his lions, “Why did ye eat what God had not commanded ye to eat? Ye were ordered to eat nothing but the dust of my footsteps until the day of your deaths. Cast up and throw up what ye have eaten.” And the lions opened their mouths, and threw up what thy had eaten, all the flesh and bones and blood of the saints’ lions, and none of their flesh and bones remained in their bellies; and they cast up everything in the twinkling of an eye. And our father turned towards the east, and praised God, saying, “O Thou Who didst raise up Lazarus, raise them up, but do not raise up those whom Thou hast given to Thy servants to follow them.” Then he blessed them and their bodies, that is to say, the dead bodies of the lions, and he said unto them, “Rise up by the power of God.” And the lions rose up in the twinkling of an eye, and they were as they were at first, and they uttered cries, and purred, and lay down by our father, and they did homage at his feet. And those lions spoke like men, and they said unto him, “Henceforward we will follow thee. Those saints were unable to do anything for us, but thou hast raised us up and brought us out from the bellies of [thy] lions”; and our father sent them away to their former owners, and the saints marveled at the work of God. And Abba Samuel said unto our father, “Art thou God? We thought that thou wast a man like unto ourselves. That which was dead thou wast raised from the belly of the lions, and what they had eaten thou hast made to come forth. We have seen a marvelous thing this day!”
On the third day of Magabit our father fell sick, and on the Eve of the Sabbath his death drew nigh. His pain and sickness seized him so strongly, that he well nigh died; and the hour of his death approached. And there came unto him several anchorites who were recluses, whose names were, Fere Kedus, and Zara Buruk, and James, and Benyam, and Joseph, and our father told them that he was going to die, and that God had given him a covenant (or, promise). When they heard this they wept, and sorrowed for the death of the saint, for he was the chief of the anchorites. During the early hours of the Sabbath he lived with difficulty, and was exhausted, now burning and now sweating, but he never ceased to make supplication to his God, which was his custom with every breath. When the evening came his body was in a state of collapse, and he was unable to speak, and those who were by him [sent] to fetch Gabra Andreas so that he might see his death and be a witness concerning it. When the anchorites came to him, they told him that the blessed man was going to die; and when he heard [this] he wept and sorrowed bitterly. And he rose up, and went to him. And it was the evening of the Sabbath, for the day was ended, and it was the first hour of the night. And he rose up [and went] to the place where he was, now his road was far from the abode of the holy man, and the place where the honorable man was. And at the fourth hour of the night he found him lying like a majestic lion in the desert where there was none to terrify him and to overshadow him; and there was no one in the village which was near his road who had found him. And he was lying with his hands spread out towards heaven, even as our Lord Jesus Christ was extended on the wood of the Cross at the time of His Passion, until the hour of His death. And one saw the light which was upon him, and the grace of God which was on his face, and the ruddiness of his beauty, and his beard which was as white as snow. When the seventh hour of the night came his soul separated itself from his body. At that moment a sound was heard from heaven, like the sound of thunder, and there came down lamps which were like snow, and like unto crystal, and which thundered and rolled down from the heavens to the earth, each having the form and similitude of the other, and they shone like the sun, and moon, and stars. Those who were there were terrified and afraid, because of the great awfulness of the things which were taking place, and which had come upon them; and they were unable to touch any part of his body. And after his death they withdrew themselves and fled, and they lost their senses by reason of the fear and trembling which had come upon them. Now the earth trembled, and the mountains quaked, and there was a mighty noise at the moment of the departure of the soul of the saint. And those saints stood afar off that they might see and hear the mysteries of heaven and earth which were being performed. And God fortified the minds of those saints, so that they might understand what had happened to the honorable man, our father, and might testify that they had seen God in His Three Persons descend to our father before his soul [departed]. And Jesus said unto him (?), “I have come to give thee oblations for thy commemoration. Whosoever shall write or have written the book of thy strife shall pass with thee boldly, and his abode shall be in the mansions of light, and I will write his name on My awful throne. Whosoever shall commemorate thee greatly and unceasingly shall pass through the lake of fire, and shall stand unashamed before thee. If he giveth bread to the hungry I will give him the bread of heaven, and he shall nevermore hunger. If he giveth drink to the thirsty I will make him to drink milk with the babes for ever. If he giveth incense, even though he be polluted, he shall be with thee. If he give flour I will make him to draw nigh unto the heavenly Jerusalem with thee. If he give oil on the day of thy commemoration he shall be with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-Israel. If he bring a lamp, he shall traverse the sea of fire and darkness, with twelve lamps of light, which shall be seven times brighter than the sun. If they assemble on the day of thy commemoration, I will make them to assemble on Mount Zion with all the saints.” And our father entreated God and said unto Him, “I have lived three hundred and sixty-nine years, I have never drunk water, I never thought about food for my body, and have eaten only wood (i.e. herbs), and the fruits of the desert, nor about clothing for my body, and I continued to be naked, and if I had lived in the sea I should have lived like the fish and the hippopotamus. I lived in a tree like the birds, and I lived like the stag in the mountains, with the lion, the wolf, the panther and the serpent. This is the reward which Thou givest to the saints. I beseech Thee, O Lord, to be pleased to speak to me.” And our Lord answered and said unto him, “If the sin of a man is not repented for, the man who hath committed it, not only if he be a Christian, but if he be an ‘Arminu, I will give unto thee if he celebrate thy commemoration, and he shall be saved, and he shall be with thee. When thy soul is separated [from thy body] on the fifth day of Magabit they shall make twelve . . . as for Mary, My mother. They shall make a habitation and I will bless their assemblies. If he be old, I will give him a good seat. And now ascend into the houses of light. And take twelve crowns, and ten thousand lamps in thy right hand, and ten thousand lamps in thy left hand, one thousand before thee and one thousand behind thee, and twelve precious stones of light, and take horses of fire to bear thee.” And our father answered and said unto Him, “O our Lord Jesus Christ, if men celebrate my commemoration with right hearts, unto how many generations wilt Thou give them unto me?” And the Lord said unto him, “I will give them unto thee for fifteen generations.” Then they heard a great voice which cried out and said, “Take the body of Gabra Manfas Kedus, and carry it away, and let his grave be in Jerusalem, on the right-hand side of the altar.” And Michael and Gabriel and all the angels uttered cries of joy before his holy soul, and each of them cried out unceasingly, and the angels carried away his body to bury it as God commanded them; and thirty desert anchorites came to meet it. And the hosts of angels placed his soul in the houses of light, saying, “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, all the time, now and always, and for ever and ever.”Salutation to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
be to God Who is glorified in His Saints.