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THE FOURTH MONTH
TAHISAS 06
(December 15)

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

On this day is commemorated Saint Anatolius the priest and martyr.  Salutation to Anatolius.

And on this day also died the holy father Abba Abraham the Syrian, the sixty-second Archbishop of the city of Alexandria.  This father was a Christian from the country of the East, and he was a merchant and had many possessions.  He came to Mesr (Cairo) many times when traveling, and he dwelt there, and there appeared in him many virtues, and he was merciful to the poor.  And the report of his excellence and understanding was noised abroad, and the fathers, the bishops, and the elders, and the doctors agreed concerning him, and they determined to make him Archbishop of the city of Alexandria.  And when he had been enthroned by the Will of God, he gave all his goods to the poor and needy, and he suppressed every evil custom from his office, and he threatened to excommunicate all the bishops if they took any bribes whatsoever in making appointments to the priesthood; and he excommunicated those who took concubines, and he was wroth with those who had them.  And when those who had concubines heard the excommunication which he pronounced against them, they feared the banning of the archbishop very greatly, and they feared God the Most High, and they cast out all their concubines from their houses, and came to Abba Abraham the archbishop, and bowed down at his feet and repented; and he accepted their repentance and remitted unto them all their sins.  And no man dared to gainsay the archbishop except a certain man who was a scribe in Mesr (Cairo), and he feared neither God Most High nor this father.  And this father rebuked him many times, and he bore with him for many days, but although he bowed low before him many times he would not accept his rebuke, nor turn from his evil way, and he was not afraid lest God Most High should destroy him.  And although he saw a pure and holy old man lying prone on the ground at his feet, (which ought to have been cut off!), beseeching him to turn from his evil, and to cast out that concubine from his house, he neither listened to his command nor turned and forsook his counsel.  And even after this the archbishop considered neither his own learning (?), nor his rebuke, but he humbled himself like Christ his Creator, and he went to the house of that man.  And when that infidel heard of the coming of this father to his house, he shut the door, and this father remained for two hours standing at the door of that evil man and knocking at it; and the man neither opened the door to him nor spoke one word.  And when this father heard that the wretched man had separated himself from the community, and was alone, and that of his own free will he had perished from the flock of Christ, and that all his members were rotten, than and then only, not because of the sin which he had committed against this father, but in order that the rest of the members of his flock might not be corrupted, this father rightly decided to cut him away from his congregation, and to set his blood on his own head, and he excommunicated him, and shook off the dust from the sandals on his feet at the door of the house of that unclean man.  And God made manifest at that moment a sign in the presence of the men who were there, for the framework of the door and the large stone were split asunder and became two parts.  What an awful and marvelous thing was this!  When the massive, solid stone heard the excommunication of this father it split asunder.  And the fate, which came upon this man who was full of sin, was not tender, for God worked grievous signs upon that man, and he became the poorest of the poor.  And He removed him from his position in disgrace, and of all his possessions he had not left to him one sarik (i.e. farthing); and God afflicted his body with serious illness, and [the soldiers] cut off his hands in the days of Hakim the Khalifah.  And he became a spectacle unto all men, and many sinners were afraid when they saw an evil death come upon him, and they repented.  And in the days of this holy father, Me’ez (Al-Mu’izz) the Khalifah of Mesr (Cairo), the captain of his host was a certain Jew who embraced with him the Muslim Faith, and he became like unto the Muslims; and that captain had a friend, a Jew, who used to come with him frequently and hold converse with the khalifah.  And when that Jew found favor with the khalifah, because of his friendship with the captain of the host of the khalifah, he made a request to the khalifah, and he said unto him, “I very much wish that thou wouldst bring the archbishop to me so that I might have an argument with him.”  And the khalifah sent and brought this father, and with him was Severus, the son of Makfue, Bishop of the city of Eshmunen.  And they disputed with that Jew, and vanquished him in argument and put him to shame.  When the khalifah saw this he rejoiced, and he was pleased with the archbishop and those who were with him, and paid them honor and they departed to their houses in peace.  And the captain of the host and that Jew friend were ashamed, and they were seeking to kill the archbishop and all the Christians.  One day the captain of the host came to the khalifah and said unto him, “I would have thee to know, O my lord, that the Christians have no Faith, for it saith in their Gospel, ‘If there be in you faith as large as a mustard-seed, and ye say to this mountain, Depart and fall into the sea, it shall depart from this world.’”  And when the khalifah heard this he sent and brought the Archbishop Abba Abraham, and he said unto him, “What hast thou to say to the words in your Gospel which saith, ‘If there be in you faith as large as a mustard-seed, and ye say to this mountain Depart, and it shall depart’?”  And the Archbishop said unto him, “Yea, it is true, the Gospel doth say this” (Matthew xvii, 20).  And the khalifah said unto him, “Behold, there are thousands and tens of thousands of thousands of you Christians in whom there is faith.  I wish you to bring to me one of your number to make manifest this sign to me with his own hand, not thyself who art the head of the Christian people, though it would be seemly for thee to make manifest this sign unto me with thine own hand.”  When the archbishop heard these words he was dismayed and feared exceedingly, and he said unto the khalifah, “Wait three days,” and he replied, “Let it be according as thou sayest.”  And the archbishop went out from before the khalifah, and he gathered together the archbishops, and the bishops and the priests, and the monks who lived near him, and they sat in the church of the holy Lady of us all, the Virgin Mary, in Mu’Allakah in Mesr (Cairo) for three days and three nights, fasting, and praying, and making supplication to God.  On the third night, at dawn, our holy Lady, the Virgin Mary, the God-bearer, appeared unto Abba Abraham with a bright and joyful face, and she said unto the archbishop, “What is it that hath come upon thee?”  And she said unto him, “Fear not, I have accepted all thy tears which thou hast shed in my church, and now rise up, and get thee out into the ‘street of iron’ which leads into the market, and there thou shalt find a one-eyed man bearing a pot of water on his shoulders, lay hold upon him, for he shall make manifest this sign unto thee.  And the name of this man is Simon, and he is a shoe-maker, and he put out his eye through the command of my Beloved Son Jesus Christ.”  And the archbishop rose up and went quickly, and he found the man, and laid hold upon him, and he said unto him, “Have mercy on the Christian folk.”  And he told him how our holy Lady the Virgin Mary had appeared unto him, and how she had told him about him.  And Simon bowed down before him and said unto him, “Forgive me, O my father, I am a sinful man and a transgressor, and I cannot do what thou tellest me, but God’s Will be done.  By the prayer of our holy Lady the Virgin Mary and by thine own prayer thou shalt help the Christian people.  But I beseech thee, O my father, not to reveal my work unto any man, for I have not strength enough to bear this world’s honor; but what I say unto thee do.  Get thee out to the mountain about which the khalifah spoke unto thee, with thy priests, and let thy people be with thee, and take with thee the Gospels, and the crosses, and the censers, and candles.  And let the khalifah and his soldiers and all the people stand on one side, and do thou and thy people stand on the other side.  And I will stand behind thee among the people and none will know me, and let them entreat God, and say, and cry out, ‘Kiryalayson,’ that is to say, ‘God have mercy upon us, Christ,’ one and forty times, and then command thy people to hold their peace.  Then do thou bow down, and let all the people bow down, and I myself will bow down with thee.  And do this three times, at the same time making the sign of the Life-giving Cross before that mountain.”  When the archbishop heard this, he took the bishops, and the priests, and the monks, and the believing people, and came to the khalifah.  And the khalifah and his soldiers went out, and with them were all the people of Mesr (Cairo) and Kahera (Cairo), and they made haste to that mountain, and the Archbishop Abba Abraham and the believing men stood on one side, and the khalifah and his soldiers and all his men on the other side.  Then the archbishop and the believing men prayed, and Simon with them, and they cried out, saying, “Lord have mercy upon us” one and forty times.  And when they had bowed down three times, now at each time the archbishop lifted up his eyes to heaven, and made the sign of the Cross, the mountain moved itself and rose up in the air before all the people.  And when the archbishop and all the believing people bowed down, the mountain descended to its place [again]; and thus he did three times.  And when the khalifah and his soldiers and all the Muslims saw this sign and wonder, they marveled exceedingly, and they cried out loudly and were afraid with a great fear.  And the Khalifah brought the archbishop Abba Abraham, and honored him greatly, and asked him to demand from him whatsoever he wished, but he had no need to ask him for anything whatsoever.  And when the khalifah pressed the archbishop, the archbishop said unto him, “I wish to build some churches, and especially a church [in honor of] Saint Mercurius in Mesr (Cairo).”  And the khalifah commanded him to build what churches he wanted, and besides this he gave him money from his palace, and paid him reverence.  And the archbishop said unto him, “May God lengthen thy days upon earth, and make strong thy kingdom; for myself I do not want money.”  And when he said this to him the khalifah loved him exceedingly, for he saw his righteousness proceeding from him in his rejection of the goods of this world.  Then the khalifah leaped upon his horse and [departed] with his soldiers and he stood by the side of the archbishop at the building of the church of Saint Mercurius, when certain evil men would have prevented him building the church, and he stayed with him until he had finished building the church of Saint Mercurius, and many other churches in the country of Egypt.  And having fought a good fight, and pleased God, he died in peace, having sat upon the throne of Mark the evangelist for three years and six months.  And one saith in the story of the life of this father that the scribe whom he excommunicated because of his concubines concocted poison and poisoned himself and he died.  And this saint departed to God Whom he loved, and all the people mourned for him.  Salutation to Abraham the merchant and archbishop.  Salutation to Simon who was instructed by the mouth of Mary.

And on this day also is commemorated the consecration of the church of Saint ‘Arsima, the virgin and martyr, and the translation of her body, and of the bodies of the holy martyrs who were with her; now these were six and twenty holy martyrs.  And King Tiridates said unto her, “Hath thy heart no desire to live as long as thou canst with us?”   And she said unto him, “My desire for heaven, which is better, is greater.”  And he commanded his soldiers to take her to the fore part of the tent and to strip her naked there, and to cut off her head; and they cut off her head and she received the crown of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens.  Salutation to the translation of the body of ‘Arsima.

And on this day also are commemorated Batelsis the priest, and Abraham Soreyawi, the second, who was a carpenter, and a Christian, and Ta’Amani, and Sufit, and Meryan, and Michael, and Yolsawis and Ptolemy.

Salutation to Elyab a pagan on whom God showed compassion. [This salutation is omitted in the Bodleian MS.]

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