THE FOURTH MONTH
IN THE NAME
OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,
On this day died John Kama (John, the Black).
This holy man was from the city of Sabra, of the country of Mansis
(Mansurah) in the north of Egypt, and his parents were God-fearing
believers; and they had no other son, ad they wished to rejoice in him in
this world. And they married
him to a certain maiden against his will, and when he entered the bridal
bed-chamber he stood up as one who prayed frequently, and he drew nigh to
the maiden and said unto her, “O my sister, thou knowest that this world
is a fleeting thing, and all the lust thereof; wilt thou that we agree
together to preserve our bodies in purity?”
And she answered and said unto him, “God is my witness that I
have never for a moment thought of desire in my heart.
I do not love marriage. May
parents forced me to marry thee against my will.
And now, behold, God hath fulfilled my petition.”
And they agreed together to preserve their virginity unsullied, and
they lived together many days and they slept together, but kept their
virginity undefiled. And it
came to pass that when they lay down together the angel of God descended
like a bird, and covered them over with his wings.
And because of their exceedingly great righteousness God made a
vine to grow in their house, which no man had planted, and it grew and
mounted up and overshadowed their heads, and their children (sic).
And it was a sign of their virginity and of their holiness, for
this their action was above the nature of the children of men--two young
people sleeping together and the desire of the flesh never rising in their
thoughts! Who can go into the
fire without burning himself? They
would not have done this unless the help of God had protected them.
And when their parents saw that they had lived together for many
days, and had begotten no children, they thought that they had had no
children because they were too young. And after this John Kama said unto his wife, “O my sister,
I want to go to the desert of Scete and become a monk, but I will do
nothing without thy consent.” And
she answered and said unto him, “Do what thou wishest, and may God cause
thee to be right, so far as I am concerned.”
When she had said this John took her and placed her in a house of
virgin nuns, and she became abbess, and she performed signs and wonders
and pleased God. And when the saint went out to depart and to labor in the
desert of Scete, a man with a shining face appeared unto him and asked him
concerning his going forth. And
Saint John Kama said unto him, “If God be willing I wish to become a
monk.” And the man with a
shining face advised him and said unto him, “Go to the cell of Saint
Abba Darudi of the monastery of Abba Macarius, and live with the elder
Abba Darudi, who will make thee a monk and teach thee the path of the
ascetic life.” And the
shining man walked with John Kama, and comforted him until he came to the
house of Abba Darudi; and when he entered the house Abba Darudi received
him into it, and arrayed him in the garb of the monk, and Abba John
learned from him the Monastic Rule and the way of righteousness until Abba
Darudi died. When Abba Darudi
died the angel of God commanded Abba John Kama to go to the west, to the
city of Saint Abba John, the Short, and to build a habitation for himself
there. And he departed
thither, and three hundred brethren gathered together to him, and he
arrayed them in the garb of the monk, and they built a church and a tower
(or, fortress), and he taught them to pray and to sing hymns and psalms,
and the Liturgy, and the Praises of our Lady Mary.
One night when they were standing in prayer at the time of
midnight, at the praising of our Lady Mary, the apostolic Saint Athanasius
appeared unto him, and revealed unto him spiritual mysteries; and from
that day they have mentioned the name of Saint Athanasius at the end of
the prayer of the Three Children. Once our Lady Mary appeared unto John Kama, and said unto
him, “This place shall be my house for ever.
And I will be with thy sons as I have been with thee, and my name
shall be given to this monastery”; and the church was dedicated in the
name of our Lady Mary, the God-bearer.
Now there were certain monasteries in Upper Egypt the monks of
which wished to be under the shadow of Saint Abba John Kama, and they sent
a message to him asking him to come to them, so that he might strengthen
them in his Rule and Ordinances.
And Abba John called one of his disciples whose name was Sinoda,
and he said unto him, “Stand over the brethren until I return”; and
that holy brother whose name was Sinoda stood on his feet, and he
slumbered not, nor lay on the ground, until Saint Abba John Kama returned
from Upper Egypt; and he found him standing on his feet, which had broken
out in ulcers wherefrom the worms were crawling.
And Abba John Kama said unto him, “O my son Sinoda, why hast thou
done this thing? I commanded
thee to stand over the brethren in my place, and to inspect their works
and their obedience.” And
Sinoda bowed down at his feet and said unto him, “Forgive me, O my
father, I have not done anything good.”
Then the days drew nigh when God wished to give Abba John Kama rest
from the toil of this fleeting world, and the saint wished to depart to
his everlasting habitation, which changeth not; and he became a little
sick and delivered up his soul into the hand of God.
Salutation to Abba John Kama.
Salutation to Abba Darudi.
And on this day also died the Maccabees in the kingdom of the
Midianites and Moabites. There
was a king whose name was Sirusadin who was devoted to evil, and he
boasted himself in the multitude of his horses, and the might of the
soldiers who were under his authority.
And he had many gods whom he worshipped and served, fifty of whom
were in the form of men and twenty in the form of women; and he used to
sacrifice to them morning and evening, and compel [other] men to sacrifice
to them. And there was a man
of the tribe of Benjamin whose name was “Maccabeus,” and he had three
good, strong sons; one of them used to choke bears, and kill them like
chickens, and one of them used to kill a bear with a single blow.
And their names were “Abya” and “Sila” and “Pantos.”
And they possessed beauty of their hearts, for they worshipped God,
and feared not death. And the
king said unto them, “Ye are heretics; why do ye not offer sacrifice to
my gods and worship them?” And
they answered him with one voice, and said unto him, “We will neither
offer sacrifice to thy gods, now worship them, but we will worship the
Lord God, Who is thy Creator, and Who made thee, and made thee to reign
over all His work so that thou mightest see His people in integrity and
righteousness. When He shall
say unto thee, ‘Leave this world,’ wilt not thou have to leave it?
And will He not give thy glory to another, because thou hast made
thyself blind to the duties of governing, which He hath committed to thee?
For suddenly death shall come upon thee.
And at the Resurrection there shall be judgment, and the deeds of
men and of kings shall be enquired into.
There is nothing, which shall give them honor, for at the
punishment and the judgment riches and poverty shall be alike.
The Judge is just, and the punishment is prepared, and the Books
shall be opened, and the deeds of men shall be made manifest, and there
shall be nothing, which shall remain, concealed and unrevealed at the
resurrection of the dead. Even
the earth shall give back what hath been committed to its care, and what
hath been laid upon it, even as a woman when her time for bringing forth
hath arrived cannot shut her womb when that which is in her belly is about
to go forth. Can any man
compel the clouds to gather up water when their Lord hath commanded them
to drop down rain? And they
will shut up the souls of sinners in houses of darkness, the darkness
where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
And the souls of the righteous they will take into the houses of
light, wherein there is pleasure and never-ending joy. And at the resurrection of the dead [souls] will be gathered
from the four winds, and they shall be brought by water, and by the dew,
and by the sun, and by the heat, and by the dust of the earth, and by the
breath of the winds; and God will bring from His habitation the Spirit.
And when He summoneth them with one word they will all be gathered
together, and the resurrection will take place.
And the Living God, the Spirit of Life, will give the space of
seven hands to one grain, according to His Will, and it shall shoot out
its roots into the earth, and sprout and bust into leaf above ground.
See that it be not dead, and unable to live at all.”
And when the king heard this he commanded [his soldiers] to cast
them into a red-hot oven, and they did as the king commanded; and these
blessed and holy men entered it and delivered up their souls into the hand
of God, their Lord. And the
angels met them with joy and gladness, and they took them into the bosoms
of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the Garden of Delight.
And the king also commanded the soldiers to cast their bodies into
the sea, and they did so, but the sea would not swallow them, because the
Spirit of God was with them. And
he also commanded them to cast their bodies to the wild beasts, and they
did so, but neither the wild beasts nor the birds would touch them; and
the eagles and other birds hovered over them and protected the bodies for
fourteen days. And their bodies sparkled like the foot (i.e. rays) of the
sun, and like a tabernacle of light.
Salutation to the five (sic) Maccabees.
And on this day also are commemorated Nicolaus, the governor, and
his believing wife, and Daniel, the Less, the monk and spiritual fighter.
be to God Who is glorified in His Saints.