THE FOURTH MONTH
IN THE NAME
OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,
On this day is commemorated Saint Anatolius the priest and
martyr. Salutation to
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.]
be to God Who is glorified in His Saints.