THE FOURTH MONTH
IN THE NAME
OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,
On this day Saint Basofreyos (Parsnuphis) became a martyr in the
days of the Muslims. This blessed man became a monk in the church of
Gabriel the Archangel, in the city of Mesr (Cairo), on the banks of the
river [Nile], and he fought a great fight therein, and he disputed with
the Muslim Shekhs concerning the True Faith, and he made manifest to them
the Godhead of our Lord Christ. And
because of this the Muslims were wroth with him, and they tortured him
severely, and cut off his head with the sword, and he received the crown
of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens.
Salutation to Befsufyos.
And on this day also died Saint Abracius.
This saint was a man of Upper Egypt, and he put on the garb of the
monastic life when he was twenty years of age, and he fought a great and a
good fight. And when Satan
grew tired of setting himself in opposition to him [secretly], and of
being overcome when he fought him, being unable to effect anything against
him, he came to him openly, face to face, and said unto him, “There are
left unto thee of thy days fifty more years,” wishing by these words to
cast the saint into despair. And
the holy elder answered and said unto him, “Thou hast made me sorrowful;
I was thinking that I had another hundred years to live, and therefore I
was weary. But if it be truly
as thou sayest, it behooves me to fight before I die.”
And then he fought strenuously and increased the strictness of his
ascetic life, but he died that same year and departed to God; and he
ended, the seventieth year of his life still fighting.
Salutation to Abracius.
And on this day also Saint Hannah conceived our holy Lady the
Virgin Maryam, the God-bearer. Salutation
O blessed Hannah to thy conception!
And on this day also died the holy father Michael, the desert
monk, of Dabra Kalmon. Salutation
to Michael, the desert monk and priest.
And on this day also is commemorated Abba Makari (Macarius), who
fed upon partridges. This
father Makari (Macarius) sought from his youth to follow the Living God,
and he learned the Books of the Church, and he knew that this fleeting
world would come to an end, and that there was a reward for the just and a
punishment for sinners. Therefore
he forsook the world and became a monk in a monastery.
Thence he went forth into the desert, a journey of ten days, and he
came to a monastery about which there was nothing except roots and
partridges; and water in abundance was there.
And straightway he pondered and said, “If I go out into the
fields after the partridges my labor and my prayers would be in vain, for
I have, since I am alone by myself, no one to come to my help.
And as for him who saith, ‘Thou shalt not eat flesh,’ is it not
the flesh of thy neighbor [to which he refers] in derision?
And God knows that I have nothing else to eat except these
[partridges and roots].” And
from that day he began to net the partridges, and each day he netted one
and cooked it with herbs, and thus fed himself with what God had given
him, and he drank of the water there and gave thanks; and he prayed, and
made supplication to God, and kept vigil all the night.
And he continued to do this for many years, and he never heard the
voice of a man, and he never saw the face of a man, and he never spoke to
a man, and he neither reviled nor abused anyone; and he used to say,
“Satan only makes his appearance with man.”
And after this a certain monk from Constantinople came to the place
where Saint Makari (Macarius) was living, seeking [in] the desert [for
him]. And when he was Abba
Makari (Macarius) netting the birds he could not contain himself, but he
made haste to slay his brother with calumny.
And the [monk from] Constantinople came to the archbishop, and he
went in to tell him everything which he had seen, [saying], “I went into
the desert to look for the caves [of the monks], and there I saw a monk
living by himself and netting birds so that he might eat flesh, and so
disgrace us when the people saw what he was doing.”
When the archbishop heard these words he sent away that monk with a
messenger so that he might know all that had happened, and find out if
what the monk who had gone to him had told him was true.
And before the two men had arrived, and whilst they were still on
the road, Abba Makari (Macarius) went to net partridges according to his
wont, and he netted three birds in one net.
And he thought, saying, “Hath God given me these [three] birds to
try me? Hath not my belly
been satisfied (or filled) up to this day?
[They must be] for others, but I have never seen any man in this
desert.” Whilst he was thus
thinking the two monks who had been sent by the archbishop arrived, and
when he saw them, he rejoiced, saying, “I thank Thee, O God Who hast
given me food for Thy servants, Thou knowing well my poverty.”
And they nodded to him as he brought the table towards them, and he
said unto them, “Take, O my brethren, and sit down.”
And he seized his vessel and ate silently and without a word until
he had finished, according to his wont, and he finished without a word.
And the two monks refused to eat, and they said unto him, “We do
not eat flesh for we are monks, and there is laid upon us the prohibition
to eat flesh.” And Abba
Makari (Macarius) left them and did not force them, and he took the birds
which he had cooked and blew upon them three times, and they flew up into
the air and went back to their nests as if they had never been netted.
When the two monks saw this miracle they bowed down before him and
said unto him, “Forgive us, O holy one of God; we have sinned and gone
astray concerning thee.” And
he said unto them, “It is God Who shall forgive you your sins, for I am
sinner”; and when they saw this they marveled and went back to their
country and related all the miracles of the saint, which they had seen.
And the archbishop heard this, and, wondering, he went to the
emperor and said unto him, “Behold, a righteous monk hath been found in
our days, come, let us go to him so that we may receive his blessing.”
And the emperor rose up with his soldiers, and with him were the
archbishop, and bishops, and priests, and deacons, and when he came nigh
unto him, an angel took the saint and lifted him up to carry him to the
Country of the Living; and when the emperor saw him going up he said unto
him, “Bless us, O saint of God, and speak one word unto us.”
And the saint said unto them, ”Let your tongues fast from the
words of calumny. If a priest
doth not learn from books, overmuch pride and boasting will not come upon
him; and if a monk doth not learn too much, arrogance will not come to
him. Love ye one another, and
God be with you all.” And
thus saying he ascended before them.
Salutation to Makari (Macarius).
And on this day also are commemorated Abranicus the martyr, and
Horasafon, and Cornelius the governor, and Warktepos (or Wartepala), and
‘Arfra (or Fefra).
be to God Who is glorified in His Saints.