(February 14)


On this day died the holy father Abba Alexander, the forty-third Archbishop of the city of Alexandria.  This saint was a monk in Debra Bataron, which is, being interpreted, “Monastery of the Fathers,” and, by the Will of God, he was appointed Archbishop of the city of Alexandria.  He was righteous, and pure, and was a learned man, but great tribulation came during the days of his office.  For the King of Egypt, who was reigning at that time, appointed his son to rule over the kingdom, and he plundered the monasteries of the monks of the desert of Scete.  Here is an example of his excessive infidelity and wickedness:  He went into a monastery to the south of Mesr (Cairo), and saw a picture of our Lady Mary; now it was decorated, and upon it was a dress of beautiful silk.  And he said, “What is this?”  And the priest said unto him, “This is a picture of our Lady Mary, the mother of Christ.”  And the king’s son abused it, and spat in its face, and said, “If I live I will destroy the Christians and blot them out”; and forthwith he reviled our Lord Christ.  When the night came he saw a most terrifying and horrible vision, and in the morning he told his father, saying, “Last night great tribulation and intense pain came upon me from the Satans, and I saw a man sitting upon a great throne, and he was exceedingly horrible, and frightful, and terrifying, and his face shone brighter than the sun, and thousands of thousands [of angels] were going round about him carrying weapons of war, and I and thou were bound behind him.  And I asked them [saying], ‘What is this?’  And they said unto me, ‘This is Christ, the King of the Christians, Whom thou didst mock yesterday.’  And then one of those who were carrying weapons of war came to me, and pierced my side with his spear, and none took the spear out, and at length I died.”  When his father heard this he was exceedingly sorry, and straightway the young man fell ill, and his tongue became dumb, and he died that night; and after forty days his father died also, and another king was appointed in his stead.  And he afflicted the Christians greatly, and he seized Abba Alexander and tortured him until he asked the people for three thousand dinars of gold, and gave them to him.  And God blotted out that king quickly, and after him was appointed another king, who was worse then he.  And he seized the captain of the troops of this father, and demanded from him three thousand dinars of gold as before.  And this father said unto him, “Some I must beg for from the believers, and some I must borrow”; but he would not accept these words from him.  And the saint said unto the king, “Wait until I can ask some other people”; and he waited for him.  And this father went up into Upper Egypt to beg.  And there was a certain desert monk, who was in charge of a monastery, and he had with him two disciples, and the desert man commanded his disciples to clear out a place in the monastery, and they found there five water jars filled with gold; and the disciples stole one jar and hid it, and they brought to the desert monk, their teacher, four water pots filled with gold, and the desert monk sent them to the archbishop to help him.  And when the two disciples of the desert monk [had carried] them to the archbishop, they took the water-pot of gold which they had stolen, and went into the world, and they cast aside their monks’ garb, and they acquired with that gold menservants and maidservants, and cattle.  And the governor of that city commanded the soldiers to beat them, and the two disciples confessed that they had found five water-pots full of gold; and the governor sent the captain of his soldiers to the king and he reported this matter to him.  And the king sent the captain of his troops, and he plundered the house of the archbishop, and carried off all the sacred vessels and furniture of the churches.  And then he had this father brought, and he bound him with fetters and put him in prison, and treated him with contumely, and said unto him, “Bring me the four water-pots which were full of gold [and contained] thirty hundred dinars.”  And the archbishop said unto him, “I have no possessions whatsoever of this fleeting world,” but the king would not release him from prison until the archbishop had sent to all the people, and they had brought to him thirty hundred gold dinars and given them to him.  And then God blotted out this wicked king, and another king worse then he was appointed in his place, and he compelled all the Christian people to brand on their hands, instead of the honorable Cross, the name of the unclean and lying prophet, [Muhammad,] that is the mark of the beast, concerning which John the Evangelist and Theologian prophesied (Revelation xvi, 2).  And that wicked king sent to all the cities, and commanded the people to do this, and he commanded the archbishop to do this.  And the archbishop entreated him with many petitions to have mercy upon him, but he refused; and the archbishop asked him to wait for three days.  And the archbishop prayed to God fervently, and with many entreaties, not to cast him away from Him, and not to let him come into this unclean affair; and God heard his prayer, and visited him with a slight illness.  And the archbishop asked the king to allow him to go to his house in the city of Alexandria, but he refused him, and he thought that he was making an excuse to avoid the branding of the hand.  And after three days the angel of God appeared unto the archbishop, and said unto him, “On the second day (i.e. to-morrow) thou shalt die.”  And the archbishop said unto his disciples, “Prepare a ship for me, for tomorrow God will visit me”; and he died in peace.  And they carried his body in a ship, and buried it with the bodies of the fathers, archbishops.  In the days of this father the Melchites of the country of Egypt had a holy archbishop whose name was Anastasius, and his people rose up against him, and acted hostilely towards him, because of his love for the believing Jacobites.  And he meditated on the matter and betook himself to safety, and he would not associate with his own people in their enmity against the Jacobite believers.  And he forsook his people and came to this father Alexander, and he submitted to his authority.  And this father honored him greatly, and asked him to occupy an episcopal throne, and rule over the believers of his flock, and to let him dwell in a monastery like a monk.  And Abba Anastasius was not pleased with these words, and he said unto him, “If I had wanted the archiepiscopate, behold I am already archbishop, but I want to become thy disciple.”  And after many entreaties, and much argument, which took place between them, Anastasius was pleased to become a bishop; and this father made him bishop over a certain district in Egypt, and he shepherded well the flock over which he was placed.  And as for Abba Alexander he sat upon the throne of Mark the Evangelist for four and twenty years and a half, and he pleased God and died in peace.  Salutation to Abba Alexander.

And on this day also died the holy father, Abba Theodore, the forty-fifth Archbishop of the city of Alexandria.  This saint was a monk in the monastery of the city of Mareotis, now the name of the city (monastery?) was Tanbura, and he was the disciple of a certain righteous and perfect elder, who saw by the Holy Spirit that his disciple Theodore would be appointed Archbishop of the city of Alexandria, and he told the people this.  And this father was strictly devoted to God, and he fought a great spiritual fight.  He was a man of goodly appearance, and he wore sackcloth made of hair next to his skin, and over that garments made of iron; and he was perfect in his humility, and in his meekness.  By the Will of God, Who chose him, he was made Archbishop of the city of Alexandria, and he protected the flock of Christ with a good protection, and he taught them continually, and read to them the Scriptures daily, and especially on Sundays and on the festivals.  And in all his days there was tranquility and peace, and the Church flourished, and there was no contention.  This father sat on the throne of Saint Mark the Evangelist for fourteen years and a half, and he fulfilled the duties of his office, and died in peace.  Salutation to Abba Theodore.

Salutation to the desert monk who during a period of seventy years never saw the face of a man, and who comforted Abba Ebeloy.

And on this day also took place the deaths of Abraken, and Abadir, and Abarianus, and Nebdalms (Nebeldamas).

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