Archive

Next

Previous

THE FIRST MONTH
Meskerem 07
(September 17)

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

On this day died the holy and blessed father Abba Dioscoros, Archbishop of Alexandria; now he was the twenty-fifth archbishop of that city.  His death took place on the island of Gagra after a great debate about the Orthodox Faith at the Council, which the Emperor Marcianus (A.D. 450-457), the denier of Christ, had convened and to which he had summoned him.  And when he arrived there he saw a great assembly containing six hundred and thirty bishops.  And Saint Dioscoros said, “In what is the Faith lacking that it is necessary to gather this great assembly because of the Faith?”  And they said unto him, “This assembly hath been convened by the emperor’s command.”  And Dioscoros said unto them, “If this assembly hath been convened by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be praise!  I will remain, and I will utter with my tongue what Gad hath given me to say; but if this assembly hath been convened by the emperor’s command, let the emperor manage his assembly as he pleaseth.”  Then the blessed Dioscoros tore up the document wherein Leyon (Leo the Great, A.D. 440-461), Archbishop of Rome, had written the wicked creed wherein he had assigned to Christ two Natures, and two Wills after His Unity.  And Saint Dioscoros spoke by the Holy Ghost before the assembly and showed that our Lord Jesus Christ was One--He Who was invited to the marriage-feast in Cana of Galilee as a man, and also He Who changed the water and made it sweet wine, for He is God Almighty, and He is not separated in His works.  And Abba Cyril, Archbishop of the city of Alexandria, sent forth his testimony concerning the Word, and he said, “The union of the Word of God with the flesh is like the union of the spirit with the body, and like the union of fire with iron.  And if there are two different Natures, and they are one in their unity, similarly our Lord Christ is one Messiah and one Lord, and one Nature, and one Will”; and none of those who were gathered together at that assembly dared to contradict him.  And some among them had gathered together at the Council of Ephesus, which had been convened because of Nestorius, that infidel and enemy of our Lord Christ.  And they informed the Emperor Marcianus the infidel, and the Empress Belkarya, saying unto them, “There is no one who resisteth your commands concerning the Faith except Dioscoros, Archbishop of the city of Alexandria.” And they brought Dioscoros to the emperor, and there were with him the senior bishops of the city and Council, and they debated the matter among them from morning until evening, but Saint Dioscoros would not change his Orthodox belief.  And the emperor and the empress were irritated at this, and the empress commanded them to smite Saint Dioscoros on his mouth, and to pluck out the hair of his beard, and they did so.  Then he took the hair of his beard, which they had pulled out, and his teeth, which had dropped out, and sent them to the city of Alexandria, and he said unto the people, “Behold, this is the fruit of the Orthodox Faith.”  And when the bishops saw what great tribulation had fallen upon Dioscoros, they became afraid for themselves lest there should come upon them what had come upon Dioscoros.  Therefore the bishops came to an agreement with the Emperor Marcianus, the infidel, and they wrote with their hands on his roll, saying as they did so with their tongues--may they be cut in pieces in Sheol! And declaring that Christ hath two distinct Natures.  And when Dioscoros returned, he sent to them and ordered them to bring to him the roll whereon they had written.  And they sent it to him thinking that he would write on it even as they had done.  And Saint Dioscoros wrote at the foot of the roll and excommunicated them all.  And he also excommunicated every one who departed from the Orthodox Faith, which our fathers the Apostles, and our holy fathers the Three Hundred and Eighteen Orthodox bishops who assembled in Nicea laid down.  And the emperor was wroth, and he commanded that Dioscoros should be banished to the island of Gagra.  And they took him there, and with him was Abba Macarius, bishop of the city of Kaw, and four others fled.  And those six hundred and six bishops were sitting in Chalcedon.  And when they had taken Saint Dioscoros to that place, there came upon him great tribulation through the bishop of that district, for he was a Nestorian.  And he treated him with great contempt until God performed by the hands of Saint Abba Dioscoros signs and mighty wonders, and all [the people] bowed down at his feet, and were subject unto him, and they magnified his greatness.  Thus God honors His chosen ones in every place.  And Abba Dioscoros said unto Abba Macarius, “Thou shalt receive the crown of martyrdom in the city of Alexandria”; and he sent him with certain believing pilgrims to the city of Alexandria, and there he ended his testimony according as Dioscoros prophesied concerning him.  And Saint Dioscoros having ended his good fight and pleased God, departed from this transitory world, and received the crown of his fidelity and entered into everlasting life.  He died in the island of Gagra, and they laid his body there.

And on this day also died the holy father Abba Sawiros (Severianus), Bishop of the city of Gabla (Byblos).  The name of the father of this holy man was ‘Ablaryanos (Apollinaris), and he studied foreign wisdom in the city of Athens.  He went to the city of Caesarea and studied [Greek] philosophy and literature, and he returned to Rome and studied the doctrine of the Church, and he learned by heart the Books of the Old and the New Testaments in a few years.  After this his parents died and they left him exceedingly great wealth and endless possessions, and he wished to give them all to Christ so that he might receive it back a hundredfold.  He built a great house wherein might be received travelers, and pilgrims and strangers, and the poor, and the afflicted.  And he planted gardens and made for them storehouses whereto the fruits of the earth might be carried, and those places, which he made for the poor, and the needy, are called by his name to this day.  His brother was a magistrate of that city and he laid an accusation against him before Honorius, Emperor of Rome (A.D. 395-423), and said unto him, “Sawiros (Severianus) hath scattered all his possessions and he saith, I give it to Christ, and I shall received a return therefore from Him as it is promised in the Holy Gospel.”  And these words pleased the emperor, and he rejoiced in Saint Sawiros (Severianus) and loved him exceedingly.  And Honorius the emperor commanded that Sawiros (Severianus) should neither be separated from him nor leave the royal palace, and he used to go with him to church always and stand all night in prayer [with him].  Moreover the righteous Emperor Honorius used to practice the works of the monks in secret, and to wear next to his body a hair shirt under his royal apparel.  In those days the Archbishop of the city of Rome was Saint Yonakendinos, and it was revealed unto him by God that Sawiros (Severianus) should be appointed bishop over many peoples.  And he loved him and he honored him exceedingly, and he wished never to be separated from him; everyone loved him, and Theodosius (II), Emperor of Constantinople (A.D. 408-450), heard of his fame.  And when Sawiros (Severianus) saw that everyone honored him, he was afraid that his labor would be wasted, and he wanted to leave that place secretly.  And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him and commanded him to go to Debra Gabla and to become the father of the monastery and of many souls.  And having put on the monkish garb he went forth by night, and with him was his disciple Theodore.  And God sent forth a light like unto a wheel, which went before him until he came to Debra Gabla.  And there was there a certain righteous man who was the abbot of that monastery, and he learned in a vision concerning the coming of Saint Sawiros (Severianus).  And he went out to him, and welcomed him and embraced him, and told him how a vision concerning him had appeared unto him, and he marveled greatly.  And his fame arrived in every region, and all the people came to him, and the number of the men who thronged to him could not be counted.  And the Emperor Theodosius sent forth from him men of position to build monasteries for Saint Sawiros (Severianus).  And the angel of the Lord marked out for them the places wherein they were to build monasteries for him.  And he was the comforter of many souls, and God performed many signs by his hands and wonders innumerable, and among them was the wonder concerning the daughter of the governor of Gabla, in whom Satan used to dwell.  And Satan said to her father, “If thou wilt drive away Sawiros (Severianus) from this place I will go out of thy daughter.”  And when the father of the girl heard this word, he rose up and went to Saint Sawiros (Severianus), and told him what Satan had said to him and asked him to heal his daughter.  And the holy man wrote upon a paper for him these words:  “In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ get thee out of her”; and her father took that paper and carried it to his daughter, and straightway Satan went forth from her.  And again there were gathered together many people, the Samrawiyan and others.  Now they formed a large company, and they wished to come into the monastery of Saint Sawiros (Severianus) and to pillage it.  And God brought darkness upon them, and they remained for three days and three nights without seeing anything at all; and they made supplication with many tears to Saint Sawiros (Severianus), and he dismissed them and they departed.  And when any of those monks who were under his authority fell sick, he prayed over them and healed them, and he comforted them all and taught them the fear of God until they all became like unto the angels of God.  And there was a bishop of that city whose name was Philotheus, and he learned from a vision of God that Saint Sawiros (Severianus) would succeed him as bishop, and he sent letters to all the peoples and commanded them to take Saint Sawiros (Severianus) and to appoint him bishop, because God had chosen him for this dignity.  Then straightway the righteous Emperors Honorius and Arcadius and their governors, took Saint Sawiros (Severianus) and appointed him bishop of the city of Gabla, and he fought a great and strenuous fight for the preservation of his flock and of the peoples.  And there was in that city a certain Jew whose name was Sektor, and he was very learned and boasted himself of his knowledge of the Law of Moses.  This man came to Saint Sawiros (Severianus) and disputed with him, and he would not listen to one word, which came out of the mouth of Saint Sawiros (Severianus).  After this God appeared unto the holy man in a vision and informed him that the Jew would become one of the holy and blessed people of Christ.  And when the Jew went to his house he saw during a sleep the places of severe punishment, and it seemed as if one said unto him, “Look upon these unbelieving Jews, thy kinsmen, and observe how they and all those who have not believed in Christ, dwell in severe punishment which shall be for ever.”  And on the following day that Jew came to Saint Sawiros (Severianus) and fell down and did homage at his feet, and asked him to make him a Christian.  And straightway he baptized him with Christian baptism, and his house and all the men of his city.  When all the other Jews heard that their chief had become a Christian, they believed and were baptized and became Christians, and they became even as those who were born in the Christian Faith.  And Saint Sawiros (Severianus) entreated some other men who were called Nimontos, now they were magicians, to enter the Christian Faith, but they would not hearken unto him because they were puffed up by their magic.  Now when a man was coming to them they would scatter dust in his face, and he would not be able to see anything.  And Saint Sawiros (Severianus) entreated our Lord Jesus Christ with tears, to bring those men into the Christian Faith.  And God brought upon those men a severe disease, which did not affect anyone among the Christians, even as He did in the land of Egypt when He brought a plague upon Pharaoh, and his army, and the Egyptians in the days of old.  And the magicians perceived their error, and that this disease had come upon them because they had not hearkened to Saint Sawiros (Severianus).  And they rose up and came to the saint and became Christians, and all that city became one pasture.  And Satan groaned and cried out like an old man who has rent his garments, and he said, “Behold, I am in distress in every part of the world.  Holy monks have filled all the country of Egypt from one end to the other, the Archbishop Yonakendinos dwelleth in the country of Rome, John of the Golden Mouth (Chrysostom) dwelleth in Constantinople, and this place only was left unto me, and behold Sawiros (Severianus) hath taken it from me.”  And the men of Persia sent a despatch to the Emperors Honorius and Arcadius, seeking to be their allies in battle, and these righteous emperors sent the Persian dispatch to Saint Sawiros (Severianus).  And when he had read it he wrote a dispatch to the Emperors Honorius and Arcadius to instruct them [in his views], and he said unto them, “If we belong to Christ, and if our kingdom belongeth to Christ, we have no need of armor, or spears, or troops.”  And he began to remind them of the signs which God had wrought for the righteous kings of olden time, and how he had made them strong and how they had vanquished their enemies.  And before the great fast came the Persians being ashamed departed from them.  As concerning John Chrysostom.  Having brought Saint Sawiros (Severianus) with the bishops, the holy man admonished with great severity the Empress Eudoxia, because of John Chrysostom, for he had done nothing whatsoever worthy of banishment.  And when the empress would not hearken unto him, he returned to his city and wrote discourses in which he admonished her severely, and these discourses are read in Orthodox churches unto this day.  And Saint Sawiros (Severianus) waxed old, and his days were one hundred years.  Before his departure from the body, at the tenth [hour] of the day the angel of God appeared unto him, and summoned him to go forth from this world and from toil into rest.  And the holy man ordered his people to continue to keep the Law of God; then he died and delivered his soul into the hand of his Creator.  His death took place two years after John Chrysostom died, and one year after Saint Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus, died (A.D. 394).  When Saint Sawiros (Severianus) was dead, they prepared his pure body for burial as was meet, and they sang spiritual songs and laudatory sentences and buried him in a grave.

And on this day also Agathon, Peter, John, Ammon, and Ammona and their mother Rapika (Rebecca) became holy martyrs.  This holy man came from the city of Konya, on the borders of the district of Kus in Upper Egypt.  And our Lord Christ appeared unto them and informed them what would happen unto them, how they would receive the crown of martyrdom in the city of Sebra which is near the city of Alexandria, and that they would take their bodies to the city of Nikreha to the north of the land of Egypt.  And the holy men rejoiced at this vision, and they rose up early in the morning and gave all their possessions to the poor.  Now Agathon their eldest brother was a man of high position in his city, and everyone loved him, and Rapika (Rebecca) their mother encouraged them and incited them to bear patiently punishment for the Name of Christ.  Then they came to the city of Kus and confessed Christ before Dionysius the governor, who condemned them to a severe punishment; and he tortured their mother before them, and she bore the torture bravely and rejoiced, and then he tortured her five sons.  And when he was weary of torturing them they advised him to send them to the city of Alexandria so that they might not lead astray the people, for they were held in great affection by all, and many men through them believed in Christ and received a crown of martyrdom.  And when they had brought the holy men to Armenius, the governor of the city of Alexandria, now he was in the city called Sabra, and he learned about their fight, he tortured them very severely.  He hacked their bodies with knives, he cast them into a large vessel and kindled a fire on top of them, he threw them on to the wheel, and hung them up head downwards.  And in all these tortures our Lord Christ supported them against death until the governor and all his people were ashamed.  Then the governor commanded his men to cut off their heads with a sword, and to sink their bodies in the sea.  And straightway they cut off their heads with a sword, and they laid their bodies in a small boat so that they might cast them into the sea.  And God sent forthwith an angel to a certain rich man of the city of Nekraha to the north of Egypt, on the borders of Masil, and commanded him to take the bodies of the saints.  And that rich man went and gave much money to the soldiers, and took the bodies of the holy saints, and he heard a voice, which said, “This is the abode of the saints.”  And he laid them in the church until the time of tribulation passed by, and then he revealed their existence; and they built a fine church and laid their bodies therein.  And God made manifest from their bones many great signs and wonders, and recently they translated their bodies to the city of Samnutya (Samhud in the province of Farshut).

And on this day also Fasiladas and two thousand [of his companions] were martyred.

And on this day also are to be commemorated Das, Gagra, Nawla, Bishop of Antioch, and Peter the monk. 

And on this day also is commemorated the birth of Hanna the mother of our Lady.

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