THE FOURTH MONTH
IN THE NAME
OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,
On this day died the righteous woman Esther (Aster), the daughter
of the brother of Mardochaeus (Mordecai), the daughter of the brother of
Jeremiah the prophet. And
there was a man, a Jew, in the city of Sus, whose name was Aminadab, the
son of Iyaeru, of the tribe of Benjamin, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king
carried off into captivity; and he had a beautiful daughter whose name was
Esther (Aster). When her
father died she was brought up in the house of Mardochaeus (Mordecai) her
father’s brother. One day
Arkaskesis (Ahasuerus) the king made ready a great feast, and gathered
together with great pomp his governors, and the chief governor Hama (Haman),
the Amalekite, who was the most honorable of all his officers.
And having summoned Queen Vashti to his table, she refused to come,
and sent back to him a message of derision; and because of this he was
angry with her, and he remove her from her royal rank.
Then the king ordered his officers to choose out for him one
thousand women from all the cities of his kingdom, whereof of the number
was one hundred and seven. And
out of the thousand they chose one hundred, and out of the hundred ten,
and out of the ten three, and of the three Esther (Aster) was found to
excel them all by far in beauty and wisdom.
And the king made her the queen and he loved her exceedingly; and
Mardochaeus (Mordecai) continued to devote himself to the court of the
king, and he was not under the authority of Hama (Haman).
Esther (Aster) went in to the king in the twelfth month, in the
month Hedar, in the seventh year of the king’s reign, and she found very
great favor before him. And
Mardochaeus (Mordecai) having learned of a conspiracy between two of the
king’s messengers who wished to kill the king, came in to the king and
told him secretly; and when the king enquired into the matter, and found
out their guilt, he commanded [his soldiers] to kill them, and wrote down
the good deed of Mardochaeus (Mordecai).
Now Hama (Haman) hated Mardochaeus (Mordecai) and all the people of
Israel, for he was an Amalekite, and he wished to destroy all the Jews,
and to create a tumult in all the city.
When Mardochaeus (Mordecai) knew what was happening, he rent his
garments and put on sackcloth. And
Esther (Aster) called a eunuch and sent him to obtain news of Mardochaeus
(Mordecai), and to hear what had become of him.
And Esther (Aster) made the man who had come to her [with news]
from Mardochaeus (Mordecai), to go back, and she commanded him, saying,
“Go and gather together the Jews who are in Susan and tell them to fast
and eat not, and I and my maidens will fast.”
And one night God drove slumber away from the king, and he made
them fetch the Book of the Prophets to read, and he read the praise of
Mardochaeus (Mordecai). And he commanded Hama (Haman) to pay honor to Mardochaeus
(Mordecai). And he commanded
Hama (Haman) to make the king’s sons to array him in purple, and to set
him upon a horse, and to make a herald to go before him and proclaim that
he was the friend of the king. And
for this reason Hama (Haman) was jealous of Mardochaeus (Mordecai), and he
prepared for him a tree whereon to hang him.
And after three days, having finished her prayers, Esther (Aster)
put off the garments of mourning, and put on glorious apparel, and came to
the king, and she did homage to him, and stood up facing him.
And the king said unto her, “What dost thou want, O Esther
(Aster)?” And she said unto
him, “If I have found favor
before the king, let my petition be granted unto me, for I and my people
are sold to death and destruction.”
And the king said unto her, “Who hath dared to do this thing?”
And Esther (Aster) said unto him, “The enemy is Hama (Haman).”
And when Hama (Haman) heard this he feared the king.
And when the king turned aside into the garden Hama (Haman) bowed
down at the feet of Esther (Aster) to pay homage to her, and when the king
found him with her he was filled with wrath, and he said unto him,
“Wouldst thou force my wife in my own house?”
Then he commanded his soldiers to hang Hama (Haman) upon the tree,
which he had prepared for Mardochaeus (Mordecai), and thus he performed
the prayer of Esther (Aster). Salutation to Esther (Aster).
Salutation to Aboli, whose head was cut off in a tank of water.
Salutation to Felhasius, the ascetic, Basil, who was hacked in
pieces, and Arius, who was sent into exile.
Salutation to the righteous fathers of the city of Kadih Aswan, who
enriched the poor.
Salutation to thy birth, seeing that thy mother had long remained
barren, O Takla Haymanot, the sun who conquereth time, with whose praise
the earth is filled from one boundary to the other, and with whose
righteousness heaven is covered. [The
above salutations are wanting in the Bodleian MS.]
And on this day also died Abba Pawli who disputed with Satan in
the city of Samer, which is called Salonkeya (Thessalonica).
Now the men thereof were kinsmen of Herod, and they were wicked;
and they had the custom of going into the bath the men and the women
together. And Abba Pawli came
to that city, now he had a young deacon with him, and he found the people,
both men and women, going into the baths together on the Fourth Day of the
week. And when Abba Pawli saw
[this] he marveled exceedingly, and he said unto one of them, “Why do ye
do this abominable thing?” And
the man said unto him, “As we consort with our wives on our couches even
so we consort with them in the bath.”
And when the night was come, and men were asleep, Abba Pawli began
to pray to God with anguish of heart to smite the people a severe blow.
And when he had finished his prayer he saw a black man coming from
the bathhouse carrying a sword, which was like fire. And Abba Pawli said unto him, “Who art thou and what dost
thou seek?” And the black
man said unto him, “I am Satan. God
hath sent me, since thou didst ask Him for me.”
And Abba Pawli said unto him, “I beseech thee to tell me all
thine error”; and Satan said unto him, “Ask me what thou willest.”
And Abba Pawli said unto him, “How dost thou find the means of
entering into man against God’s Will?”
And Satan said unto him, “We have no power to enter into man as
long as he walketh in the path of God, nor into him that invoketh the Name
of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, nor into those who receive
the Body and Blood of Christ in holiness”; and then Satan told him all
his error. And when Abba
Pawli looked about so that he might remove himself from Satan, there was,
as it were, a flash of fire; and Abba Pawli was terrified, but an angel of
God appeared and strengthened him. And on that day a stroke of God descended and destroyed those
who were in the bathhouse, and all that were left [alive] were one man and
five women. And Abba Pawli
said unto them, “Why do ye do this?”
And they said unto him, “Our fathers commanded us to go into the
bath house, and to enjoy ourselves one day each month with our women.
We shut the doors, and extinguish the lamps, and lie with the woman
on whom our hand happeneth to fall.”
And Abba Pawli said unto them, “Doth anyone of you know his
daughter or his sister?” And
they said unto him, “Certainly not, one doeth like the irrational
beast.” And Abba Pawli taught them the Faith of Christ, and baptized
them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and
administered to them the Holy Mysteries.
And he went into his cell, and finished his fight, and departed to
his God at a good old age. Salutation
to Pawli, who made Satan to reveal to him the crafty and deceitful means,
which he used in seducing the children of men.
And on this day also the holy and honorable Ignatius, Archbishop
of Antioch, became a martyr. This
saint was the disciple of the blessed John the evangelist, and he followed
him in preaching, and he went with him to many cities; and after this,
John made him Archbishop of Antioch, and he preached the doctrine, which
maketh alive therein. And he
converted many to the knowledge of God, and he baptized them with
Christian baptism, and he illumined them with knowledge, and revealed unto
them the error of those who worship idols.
And the pagans were wroth with him, and they accused him before the
Emperor Trajan the Caesar, a heretic, and they said unto him, “Ignatius
destroyeth the worship of thy gods, and he teacheth the people and
bringeth them into the Christian Faith of Christ.”
And straightway Trajan sent and had him brought into his presence,
and the emperor said unto him, “Why hast thou done this, Ignatius?
And why hast thou destroyed the worship of my gods, and hath
brought all men to worship Christ?”
And Ignatius said unto him, “If thou wilt allow me, O emperor, I
will bring thee also to the worship of Christ, the God of all men, and I
will make thee His friend.” And
the emperor said unto him, “Cease this talk, and offer sacrifice to the
gods, and if thou dost not do so I will torture thee very severely.”
And Saint Ignatius said unto him, “O emperor, do whatsoever thou
wishest to me, for I will not worship thine unclean gods, and I am not
afraid of thy tortures, neither by thy fire nor by thy lions, and thou
canst not separate me from the love of Christ, the Living King.”
When the emperor heard this he was exceedingly wroth, and he
commanded his soldiers to torture him severely.
And they tortured him with divers kinds of tortures:
they put burning coals of fire upon his hands, they pinched him
with tongs the claws of which had been made red-hot in the fire, and they
burnt his sides with red-hot pitch and oil; and after this they sliced all
his body into pieces with butchers’ knives made of iron.
When those who were torturing him were weary of inflicting tortures
upon him, they cast him into the prison house until they were able to do
with him what they wished; and he remained in the prison house for many
days. And then they
remembered him and brought him out and set him before the emperor, and the
emperor said unto him, “O Ignatius, if thou couldst see the gods thou
wouldst be pleased with their beauty.”
And the saint said unto him, “If thou didst believe on Christ I
could make thee to raise the dead, and to heal the sick.” And the emperor said unto him, “There is no worship better
than the worship of the sun.” And
the saint said unto him, “How is it good to worship the sun, which was
created, and to forsake the Creator, Whose kingdom shall never end?” And the emperor said unto him, “What thou sayest is good,
but thy transgression is not good, for thou hast drawn all the people of
Syria to the worship of Christ.” And
the saint was wroth, and he said unto the emperor, “Because I have drawn
men away from the worship of idols, and have brought them into the worship
of Christ, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, Who existed before
the world, thou art wroth with me, and dost command me to worship thy gods
and thine unclean idols! I
will not accept thy words, and I will not sacrifice to Satans, but I will
worship my God, Who is indeed God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy
Spirit.” And straightway
the emperor was wroth with him, and he commanded his soldiers to make two
famished lions to attack him so that nothing whatsoever of his body might
remain. And when Saint
Ignatius saw the lions drawing towards him, he cried out with a loud voice
and said unto the people, “Hear my voice, O ye men of the city of Rome,
who are gathered together here, know ye that I do not suffer this torture
for the sake of pride and arrogant boasting, but I suffer it patiently for
the sake of Jesus Christ, my Lord God.
And behold, my soul desireth that these lions shall chew me up like
grain, for my soul desireth to depart to my Lord Jesus Christ.”
And when the emperor heard this he marveled, and was frightened,
and said, “How great is the patient endurance of these Christians under
these tortures! What pagan is
there who would have been able to endure such punishment as this for the
sake of the gods?” And when
all the lions had come to the saint they looked at him, and they stood
still being frightened [of him]. Then
one of them smote with his paw the head of the saint and clawed him, and
straightway the saint delivered up his soul into the hand of Christ his
God, with joy, and his petition was fulfilled.
And those lions were not able to touch his body, for it was laid up
in the city of Rome until the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; and
they took it to a grave which was outside the city, with praise and
singing. Thus he finished
nobly his martyrdom for the Name of our Lord Christ, and the story of his
fight hath been written so that it may be profitable to him that readeth
it. And those who shall
remember his name, and shall celebrate a festival in his honor, in any
place, he shall make intercession when they are suffering tribulation, for
he is the enemy of the life of this world.
Salutation to Ignatius.
And on this day also died the Holy Father Fulgosius, Archbishop
of the city of Antioch. This
holy man married a wife and begot a daughter, and then his wife died and
he assumed the garb of the monk; and because of his virtues, and his
goodness, and his pleasing manners, and his asceticism, and his gentleness
God chose him to be Archbishop of the city of Antioch.
And having been appointed he tended the flock of Christ carefully
and well, and he protected it against the Arian wolves, and the followers
of Macedonius, and the Sabellian heretics.
He lived the life of an angel in his archiepiscopal office, and he
did not possess a change of apparel, and he had no money.
And he finished his fight and pleased God, and died in peace.
And Saint John of the Golden Mouth (i.e. Chrysostom) praised him in
his [Book of] Praisings and Discourses, and made manifest therein his
virtues and his righteousness. Salutation to Fulgosius, the devotee of God.
And on this day also died ... in one day, even as the angel told
them. [Wanting in the
be to God Who is glorified in His Saints.