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THE FIRST MONTH
Meskerem 18
(September 28)

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

On this day died Eustathius, a teacher of the faith and a preacher of the Gospel.  The name of the father of this holy man was Christos Mo’A, and the name of his mother was Sena Haywat; and they were both righteous and fearers of God, and they walked in all His judgments.  And when Christos Mo’A, after the glad tidings of an angel, begat this child he called him Ma’Akara ‘Egzi’E.  When he grew up he taught him the Psalms of David and the Books of the Church.  Then he took him to the monastery of Abba Zacharias, his mother’s brother, who when he saw him knew that the grace of God was dwelling upon him, and he taught him all the rules of monasticism, and he arrayed him in the apparel of the angels.  And the young man fasted and prayed with such intense devotion that the elders of the monastery marveled at the sternness of his strife; and he was girded with wisdom and knowledge.  After a short time he was made a deacon, and he ministered in the church like Stephen the archdeacon.  And our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him with Michael and Gabriel, and He embraced him and breathed into his face the Holy Spirit.  And He said unto him, “O my beloved Eustathius, I have chosen thee from thy mother’s womb, and heave appointed thee to become a teacher of many nations from Ethiopia to Armenia.  And thou shalt preach the Gospel without fear and trepidation.  He who heareth thee heareth Me; he who rejecteth thee rejecteth Me.”  When our Lord Jesus Christ had said this unto him He went up into heaven.  And Saint Eustathius went to the bishop and was appointed priest, and he began to preach the faith of the Gospel.  At length very many men gathered together to him, and they became monks through him and they became disciples [of him], now the greatest of them was Abba ‘Absadi, and he turned many from their iniquity, and at length they forsook their evil works.  And his doctrine filled the whole earth, and in his days the honoring of Sabbaths and days of festival was established, and he turned not aside from [the ordinances of] the Apostles, neither to the right hand nor to the left.  And he made two pilgrimages to Jerusalem, and God made manifest through him signs and wonders which were innumerable in opening the eyes of the blind, and in healing the paralytics, and in casting out devils.  Then he decided that he would go to Jerusalem by the will of God, and he gathered together his sons, and he laid upon them the charge of keeping all the canon of the monks, and of keeping themselves from mingling with the pagans; and he appointed his son ‘Absadi chief over them.  And he went to Jerusalem and kept the Sabbath as he went, and he taught the faith of Christ.  And he came to the Archbishop ‘Abba Benyamin and was blessed by him, and they conversed together on matters of the Faith.  Then he went down to Jerusalem and was blessed in the holy places, and was baptized in the Jordan.  Thence he departed to Armenia, and having arrived at the sea of Jericho he asked the sailors to allow him to embark in a ship.  And when they prevented him from doing so, he cast his head-fillet into the sea, and said a blessing over it in the Name of the Trinity, and made over it the sign of the Cross.  Then he got up upon the fillet as upon a ship, and two angels acted as sailors, and our Lord acted as captain, and they carried over his sons who had no fear of the terror of the sea.  And Eustathius said unto his sons, “Only take heed that ye do not lay up revenge and malice in your hearts; it seemeth to me however that one of you is about to perish.”  And before he had finished uttering these words one of his sons dropped into the sea and was drowned because he was treasuring revenge and malice in his heart.  And by God’s will they crossed over the sea and came to the country of Armenia, and he held converse with the archbishop, and did homage to him, and was blessed by him.  When the archbishop saw him he rejoiced with exceeding great joy, and he received him gladly.  And our father Eustathius continued to teach the men of Armenia the canons of the apostles, which are in the ordinance of the Synod until they were all one brotherhood in doctrine.  When the time for his departure from this world had drawn nigh, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him, and made a covenant with him in respect of those who should invoke his name, and those who should celebrate his commemoration, and those who should do into writing the story of his fight.  And when he died the bishops and priests prepared him for burial with great honor, and they buried him in the church of Mar Mehnam (i.e. Behnam) the martyr, and many miracles happened through his body.

Salutation to Eustathius and to his fillet whereon he crossed the sea.

And on this day also is commemorated Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine the righteous emperor.  In the days of this holy woman the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be praise, was found.

And on this day also died Saint Abba ‘Onorewos (Honorius) the teacher [in the monastery] of Segadj.

And on this day also Saint Mercurius became a martyr.  This holy man was a Persian jester and musician; originally he was a Christian.  When Constantine, the son of Constantine the Great, died, there reined after him Julian the infidel, who slew Saint Mercurius.  Now Julian was the son of Constantine’s sister.  This denier of God worshipped idols, and he afflicted the Christian peoples grievously, and by his means very many became martyrs.  When he was born there were gathered together those who jested and played music, and those who made men laugh, and this holy man Mercurius was among their number.  And the infidel Julian ordered the holy man to show him what the system of Christianity was, and what they did in church.  And Mercurius did according to what the infidel emperor had commanded him, and he made a jest and mockery of all the ordinances of the Church.  And there was very great merriment.  And when he was making a mockery of the ordinance of holy Christian baptism, and was making the sign of the Cross over the water in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, One God, the Lord illumined the heart of Mercurius, and he saw the Divine Grace of God through heaven, and an exceedingly great light enveloped him.   And straightway Mercurius stripped off his apparel, and went down into the water, and was dipped in the water three times in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, One God.  Then he went up out of the water, and put on his raiment and confessed that he was a Christian.  And the emperor was wroth with him and he threatened him, saying, “Unless thou doest as I command thee, and unless thou castest incense to the gods, I will torture thee with the greatest severity.  On the other hand, if thou wilt hearken to my command I will give thee very much money and I will honor thee exceedingly.”  And Saint Mercurius answered and said unto him, “If thou wert to give me all the money in this world and the kingdom thereof, I would not deny my Lord Jesus Christ.”  Then straightway the infidel emperor commanded his soldiers to cut off his holy head, and Mercurius received an incorruptible crown in the kingdom of the heavens.

And on this day it is meet that we should celebrate also the festival of the Honorable and Life-giving Cross of our Lord and God Jesus Christ.

And on this day also died the warrior Mar Jacob, the Egyptian.  This holy man had righteous and believing parents, and they gave him as a votive offering to God.  When he had finished his instruction in the school house his parents took him into the mountains of Alexandria, and they gave him to the Archimandrite Abba Gabriel, and he made him a monk when he was a boy twelve years of age.  When he was twenty years of age he went forth with his teacher into the desert in order to strive in the ascetic life.  And they found there a high tower, and at the bottom was a spring of water, and Abba Gabriel and Mar Jacob went up to the top of the tower; and they used to draw water from the stream and pour it out into hollows which were like troughs in the ground, and every day the wild animals of the desert used to come there and drink there from.  And the holy man Mar Jacob used to milk them, and make cheese from the milk, and he and his teacher lived thereon.  When Abba Gabriel died, Mar Jacob went up to the top of the tower, and by the Will of God there came to him twelve desert monks, and they dwelt with him in fasting and prayer, and they lived upon the milk of the animals, and the want of wheat for the monastery was supplied by the pilgrims who came from afar.  One day they said, “It is our desire to see Abba Moses the Black (i.e. the Ethiopian), and to be blessed by him.”  And Satan because he coveted to be loved by them, took the form of Abba Moses the Black, and he came flying on his wings and said unto them, “Why do ye trouble me to drag myself from mine own place, seeing that I am an old man?”  And they said unto him, “We wish to hear the word of life from thy lips, and we wish thee to bless us.”  And he said unto them, “How do ye live?”  And they said that they poured out water for the wild animals of the desert, and that when they came to drink, they milked them and lived upon their milk each evening.  And Satan said unto them, “Will ye not listen unto what I shall command you?”  And they said unto him, “Yea.”  And Satan said unto them, “Take ye not the milk of the beasts and ye shall not do violence unto them, for ye are monks.  And fast ye forty days at a time, and do not pray the Psalms of David, for David took the wife of Uriah by violence and slew him.”  And he addressed a very large number of profitless exhortations to them so that he might ensnare them by his wiles, and they received his words imagining that they were the words of Abba Moses the Black.  Then the Holy Ghost made Mar Jacob to understand that his words were the teaching of Satan, and he commanded his disciples to consecrate the Offering on the first day of the week, and afterwards he showed his sons that the words that had been said to them were of Satan.  And Satan came unto him again disguised as the Archbishop of Alexandria, and there were bishops with him, and when he came he cursed them and anathematized them, saying, “Why are ye living here without my permission?” And Saint Abba Jacob saw the extent of his power with his disciples, and he made a prayer, and straightway Satan disappeared and his counsel did not remain.  Sometimes Satan came unto him in the form of a serpent, and sometimes in the form of a king, and sometimes in the forms of beautiful virgins, and sometimes he took the forms of eagles and ravens that tore [his] face with their claws.  And he was tempted for seven years.  Then when God saw his weariness and his prayer, He sent lightning from heaven, and it rent Satan in pieces, and scattered him like smoke.  And Satan cried out, saying, “Woe is me by reason of thee, O Jacob, for thy prayer hath burned me up.”  And then God commanded Mar Jacob to go to the monastery of ‘Abdin, and he told his sons this, and having laid upon them the charge that they were to dwell in the tower, he departed alone to the shore of Jericho.  And as there was no ship there, he blessed a wave of the sea, and he embarked upon it, and traveled upon it as upon dry land until he crossed the sea and arrived at Tarsus.  And as he passed through a market-place in the city, he found a wounded man with worms devouring him.  And the holy man said unto him, “What is thy name?”  And the man said unto him, “My name is ‘Anthony’; my father gave me money for the physicians, and they have not healed me.”  And Mar Jacob saw that the man was grieving because of his disease, and he made a prayer, and laid his hands on every part of his body, and said unto him, “In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ be made whole,” and straightway the man was healed.  And forthwith Anthony followed him and became his disciple.  Then the holy man and his disciple went on their way, and when they arrived at the city of ‘Amid they found the son of King Anestus mad, and he was beating his head on the stones, and no one could restrain him.  And Mar Jacob commanded his disciple Anthony to seize him, and to bring him to him; and when he arrived he made over him the sign of the Honorable Cross, and he commanded Satan in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ to go forth from him.  And Satan went forth from him in the form of a black slave, and the young man recovered and followed the holy man; and when his father and the people saw him they rejoiced with very great joy.  Now the king wished to give Mar Jacob much money, but the holy man refused it and would not take it.  And by the commandment of God he departed with Abba Barsabo, a teacher of the monastery of the city of ‘Abdin, and as he was traveling on the road Anthony fell sick of the smallpox, and on the third day he died.  And when Mar Jacob came to a city, the name of which is ‘Awersa, he found that the son of the governor was sick, and through the prayer of the holy man Mar Jacob he recovered.  When his father saw that he had recovered he rejoiced with very great joy, and he handed him over to the holy man to be his disciple until the day of his death. Now the name of the young man was Fekur.  And when they drew nigh unto the monastery of Barsabo, the monks welcomed them and brought them in with much singing.  Now there was built by the side of this city a certain temple, and the King of Persia, who was called Samer, used to come there every year and celebrate a festival in honor of his idols.  And Mar Jacob said unto the monks, “Behold, we have heard that the King of Persia hath come, let us go to him and shed out blood for the sake of the Name of Christ, to Whom be praise!”  And whilst the monks were considering this advice the soldiers of the king arrived in the monastery, and they saw that the monks were wearing black apparel, and they said unto them, “What are ye?  Which of the gods do ye worship?”  And the holy men said, “We worship the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who came down from heaven, and became man through the Holy Ghost by Mary the holy Virgin, to Him do we bow down and Him do we worship.”  When the soldiers heard them they carried them away to the king, and when they arrived before the king they confessed the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And the king enquired what their country was, and Abba Barsabo said, “I and my brethren are Romans,” and Saint Abba Jacob saith, “I am by myself; I am an Egyptian.”  When the king heard his words he commanded his soldiers to remove Jacob against his will, for he did not wish to kill him because he had a treaty with the men of Egypt.  And the king ordered his soldiers to beat the monks, and they beat them until their blood flowed from their bodies like water, and he then had them cast into the prison house [where] the angel of the Lord healed them; on the following day when the soldiers found them alive, the king [promised to] bestow many gifts upon them.  But when they treated his word with contempt he commanded his soldiers to torture them by crushing their feet into [iron] boots, and by beating them, and drawing out their front teeth, and grinders, and by drawing out of the nails of the hands and feet, and by cutting off their noses, and lips, and ears; this they did for a period of six days; but our Lord Jesus Christ gave them strength [to endure].  On the eighth day he commanded the soldiers to cut off their heads, and Mar Barsabo addressed them, and after he had exhorted them, he delivered them one by one into the hand of the swordsman, and ten monks were crowned.  And the captain of the horse of the king on seeing the crowning of the saints stripped off his apparel and confessed our Lord Jesus Christ, and his head also did they cut off with the sword.  After the sons of Mar Barsabo were dead he himself stretched out his neck, and said unto the swordsman, “Finish what thou hast been commanded [to do],” and straightway he gave him his neck.  And the martyrdoms of the saints were finished on the twenty-eighth day of the month Nehasse (Aug. 7 - Sept. 5).  Then the king ordered his soldiers to burn their bodies with fire, but the earth opened her mouth and covered them.  And the king being ashamed wanted to depart to his own country.  Thereupon Mar Jacob prayed to God and He rained upon him fire [mingled] with black clouds, and hail and snow, and he and all his soldiers perished, and not one of them remained [alive].  When the men on the frontiers heard this they all went out and took their horses and all their goods, and they carried them to Mar Jacob and said unto him, “Take all these goods for thy needs,” but he refused to do so, and commanded them to build a little church over the grave of the holy martyrs; [and they did so] and there it remaineth unto this day.  One day there was a plague (or smallpox) in a certain city, and the people sent to Mar Jacob asking him to help them by his prayers; and when Mar Jacob heard of the plague he was very sorry.  And having taken the censer he went into the church, and he prayed a long time, and having gone forth from the church he said unto the messengers, “Be not afraid, neither grieve ye; depart ye in peace.”  When the messengers arrived they found the city in a healthy state, and they praised the God of Saint Jacob.  And there was a certain maiden who came with her father to the holy man, and she lusted for the holy disciple whose name we have mentioned, and she wanted to cast him down in sin.  When he refused her she became with child by a certain servant of her father, and she acted craftily in the matter.  When her father heard of this he set out to kill Mar Jacob and his disciple, and as he was going along the road [to do so] lightning fell upon him and blinded his eyes.  After a few days his daughter brought forth her child, and she carried the child to saint Mar Jacob in the midst of the congregation.  And Mar Jacob said unto the child, “In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command thee to declare the name of thy father.”  And the child said, “My father is so-and-so, the servant of my mother’s father”; and when the people heard this they marveled and praised God.  When the time of Mar Jacob’s departure from the world drew nigh, he commanded his disciple Daniel, saying, “Behold my departure draweth nigh.  When I am dead bury me with Mar Barsabo and his sons.”  Three days after this he died in peace, and the angels took his soul up into Jerusalem.

Salutation to Jacob the strenuous ascetic!

Salutation to Jacob the priest!

And on this day also is commemorated Saint Stephen the priest, and Niceta the martyr.

And on this day also were found the bones of Thomas and of Archbishop Athanasius; and on this day are commemorated our father the admirable Philotheus [the Thaumaturge], and Abba Nob the anchorite, and the martyrs who were with ‘Aboli - forty men and twenty women.

And on this day also are commemorated ‘Efomya (Euphemia) the martyr, and Abba Finomis, and Selhan, and ‘Akalaeles, and Isaac.

And on this day also took place the miracle which Thomas the apostle wrought when he went to preach the Gospel in the country of India.  Now he was afraid, and he said, “How can I go to India, the country of which I know not?”  Then our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him and said unto him, “Fear thou not, for My grace is with thee.”  And whilst he was with our Lord there came a merchant from India.  And our Lord said unto him, “What dost thou want?”  And the merchant said, “I want a carpenter”; and he sold him for three letra of silver.  And he wrote a paper which testified, saying, “I have sold my servant, the son of Joseph the carpenter, to ‘Abenes, a merchant of Gona”; and Thomas’s [new] master took him to the city of the king.  When they drew nigh unto the city they heard [the sound of] organs and pipes, and they said, “What is this?”  And the people said unto them, “The king has made a marriage-feast for his daughter, and he has ordered that whosoever doth not come to the wedding shall be punished.”  And ‘Abenes and Thomas went into the room of the feast, and while the guests ate and drank Thomas the apostle ate nothing at all.  And there he found a Hebrew singing maiden who was singing songs in the Hebrew language.  And whilst the apostle was praying in the Hebrew language one of those who were at the feast struck him; and the apostle said, “I see a hand with the dogs tearing at it”; and the singing woman alone heard him because he spoke in the Hebrew Language.  And the man who smote Thomas went down to the lake (or well) to draw water, and a lion sprang out and slew him and left him lying in pieces.  And a dog seized the right hand and carried it in among the people at the feast, and one said unto Thomas, “Who is dead?”  And he said unto them, “This is the hand of him who struck one who serveth.”  When the singing maiden heard this, she cast sway her tambourine and went and sat at the feet of the apostle, and she said, “I heard thee say unto him, ‘The gods shall tear the hand which smote me.’”  When the people heard this some believed and some did not.  When the king heard this he said unto Thomas, “Come and pray over my daughter, for this day have I given her in marriage.”  And when the apostle had entered the marriage-chamber he prayed to the Lord in the form of Thomas, on behalf of the bride and bridegroom, and admonished them with the words of faith, and they believed the words of the apostle, and abandoned their marriage.

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