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THE TWELVETH MONTH
Nehasse 02
(August 08)

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

On this day died Saint Athanasia.  This holy woman was a native of the city of Manuf, and her parents were rich.  When they died she arrived in her mind at the wise decision to make her house a dwelling place for monks and pilgrims, and this she carried into effect.  And she used to receive all those who came to her, and she gave them whatsoever they needed, and at length she came to the end of her money.  And certain evil men, whose actions were abominable, gathered together, and they corrupted her mind and induced her to commit sin, which she used to do continually, instead of doing what was good.  And the holy elders of the desert of Scete heard the story of her, and they sorrowed for her with very great sorrow.  And they called Abba John the Short and informed him of what had happened to her, and they asked him to go to her, and to show her affection in return for the many kind acts, which she had done to them, and to save her soul.  And he submitted unto them in this matter, and asked them to help him by their prayers.  And Saint Abba John rose up and departed, and came to the place where Athanasia was, and he said unto the woman who kept the door of her house, “Inform thy mistress of my arrival.”  And when the woman had informed her about the arrival of the saint, she thought that he had come to her for the purpose of committing sin, and she adorned herself and sat upon her couch.  Then she called him, and he came unto her singing these words, “Even if I have to go amid the shadows of death I will fear [no] evil, for Thou art with me” (Psalm xxii, 4).  And when the saint came to her she made him to sit by her side upon her bed, and he looked at her and said unto her, “Why dost thou belittle our Lord Jesus Christ?  Why hast thou forsaken thy good deeds and turned thyself to this evil course of life?”  And when she heard his words she trembled, and she knew that her heart was melting; and the saint bowed his head and wept.  And she asked him, saying, “Why dost thou weep?”  And he answered and said unto her, “Because I see the Satans playing on thy face, and therefore I weep for thee.”  And she answered and said unto him, “Is it necessary for me to repent?”  And the saint said unto her, “Yea.”  And she said unto him, “Take me away, and carry me whithersoever thou wishest”: and he said unto her, “Come,” and she followed him, and they departed and came into the desert.  And when the eventide was come he said unto her, “Sleep by thyself,” and after he had finished his prayer he lay down at a distance from her.  And when he rose up at midnight to pray he saw pillar of light shining upon her, and the pillar reached from earth to heaven, and he saw the angel of God bearing away her soul.  And he rose up and went to her, and he found that she was dead, and he cast himself upon the ground and prayed to God to give him information concerning her.  And there came unto him a voice, saying, “God accepted her repentance when she repented more readily than He did the repentance of those who were in a state of repentance for many years, and who repented even like her.”  And Saint John went and told the holy elders everything, which had happened unto her, and the saints came and made her ready for burial and buried her.  Salutation to Athanasia.

And on this day also are commemorated Saint Demiana and her brother.

And on this day also died Saint Eupraxia.  This holy woman belonged to a race of kings. Then name of her father, who was a royal councilor, was “’Atekhanos,” and the name of her mother was “Eupraxia,” and they fasted, and prayed to God that He would give them a son; and when they had gotten this saint, they called her by her mother’s name “Eupraxia.”  And after a few days her father died, and the king and queen mourned for him, and her mother took Saint Eupraxia to a house of virgins when she was six years old.  And when she saw the beauty of the excellence of the virgins, she said unto them, “Why do ye lead this life of service?”  And they told her, saying, “It is for Christ’s sake.”  And she said unto them, “Where is Christ?”  And they showed her a picture of Christ, and she came up to it, and bowed low before it, and kissed its feet.  And she went to the deacons, and asked [them] to received her as a nun, and they told her mother, and her mother gave her to the deaconess; and her mother, having handed her over to the care of all the virgins, left her and departed.  And after a few days Eupraxia, her mother, died, and the saint assumed the garb of the monastic life; and she fought the spiritual fight continually and fasted every eighth day.  And Satans was envious of her, and tempted her, and sometimes he threw her into the water, and sometimes he wounded her with the axe when she was cutting up wood, and sometimes he poured boiling water over her, but nothing harmed her.  And she continued to minister unto the virgins, to each in her turn.  Sometimes they commanded her to tend the furnace, and sometimes to bake the bread, and sometimes to draw water, and she never hesitated to perform these works.  She never lay down upon the ground, but stood upright for forty days at a time, until at length the virgins marveled at the severity of her fight.  And God made manifest by her hands signs and wonders, and the sick were healed, and the devils went out, and the lame walked, and the blind saw, when she prayed over them.  And there was a certain virgin whose name was Iyalya, and it was she who taught Eupraxis to read and to write, and the duties of the ascetic life; she was her companion in every work, and they loved each other very much.  And when she was thirty years of age she saw a vision wherein the deacons were taking up Eupraxia into the royal palace, wherein was the heavenly Bridegroom and never-ending joy; and when she woke up she knew that the death of Eupraxia was nigh.  And on the following day she told the virgins, and when they went to Eupraxia they found that she was in a high fever.  And they wept over her, and asked her to pray over them, and she blessed them, and died, and she was buried in the tomb of her mother, at whose tomb she had prayed three days before.  Salutation to Eupraxia.

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