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(November 16)


On this day Saint George the Great, the Alexandrian, became a martyr.  The father of this holy man was a foreigner, and he was of the men of Alexandria, and he had no son. And the festival of the dedication of the church of Saint George the Martyr in the city of Lydda arrived, now it was celebrated on the seventh day of Khedar, and he entreated Saint George to intercede on his behalf with God so that He might give him a son, and he called his name George.  And the mother of this holy man was the sister of Armenius, governor of the city of Alexandria, and when his parents died, he lived with his mother’s brother; and his days were fifteen years.  And George loved the Church.  Now Armenius had an only daughter, and [one day] she went out with her friends to divert herself, and she found a monastery outside the city of Alexandria wherein monks were gathered together, and they were singing sweet hymns.  And the sound of their hymns and their praises came and penetrated the heart of the maiden, and she began to ask George, the son of her father’s sister, to tell her the meaning of the words of the hymns which the monks were singing.  And as he was explaining to her the meaning of the hymns and making her to understand them, he told her of the punishment which would come upon sinners, and of the peace and joy which would come upon the righteous and the virtuous.  When she returned to her father Armenius she confessed our Lord Jesus Christ before him.  And Armenius began to persuade her, and he said unto her, “O my daughter, do not this thing”; but she would neither listen to his words nor obey him; and he commanded the soldiers to cut off her head, and they cut it off with the sword, and she received the crown of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens.  And certain men told the governor, saying, “It is George, thy sister’s son, who hath led astray thy daughter.”  And the governor seized Saint George, and after he had tortured him very severely he sent him to the city of ‘Ensena, where they tortured him very severely, and afterwards cut off his holy head with a sword; and George received the crown of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens.  Now there was there a certain deacon whose name was Samuel, and he took his holy body and carried it to the city of Manuf.  And when the wife of Armenius, the brother of the mother of Saint George, knew that George had become a martyr, she sent and took his body and placed it with the body of her daughter in the city of Alexandria.  Salutation to George.

On this day also the holy man Abba Nahrew became a martyr.  This holy man [came] from the district of the Fayyum in the country of Egypt, and he feared God exceedingly.  And when he heard the stories about the martyrs, he went to the city of Alexandria, and wished to die for the sake of the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And [our Lord] said unto him in a vision, “Needs must that thou go and die in the city of Antioch.”  And he pondered in his heart and said, “How can I possibly get there?”  And he sought out a ship in which he could embark.  And God sent unto him the angel Michael who carried him on his wings from the city of Alexandria, and brought him to the city of Antioch, and set him down near Diocletian; and Nahrew confessed the Living God.  And the emperor asked him his name, and the name of his city, and Nahrew told him that he was from the country of Egypt, and the emperor wondered about [the manner of] his coming.  And the emperor tried to persuade him [to deny Christ], and he promised him that he would give him much money, and costly raiment, if he would submit to him and offer sacrifice to his idols, but he would not hearken to what he said unto him.  And the emperor spoke a second time, saying, “I will torture thee with very severe tortures,” but Nahrew was neither afraid of him nor did he obey his command.  And the emperor commanded his soldiers to torture him with many different kinds of tortures.  On the first occasion he drove savage lions to attack him, on the second he burnt him in the fire, on the third he tortured him on the wheel, and on the fourth he boiled him in a large cauldron.  When the emperor was tired to torturing him he commanded his soldiers to cut off his head, and they cut it off and he received the crown of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens.  And it came to pass that instead of being martyred in the city of Antioch, all the martyrs who ought to have been martyred in the city of Antioch, were martyred in the land of Egypt; and similarly this holy man Abba Nahrew, who was from the country of Egypt, and should have been martyred in Egypt, received the crown of martyrdom in Antioch.  At that time Saint Julian dwelt in Antioch, and he took the body of Nahrew the martyr and sent it away in charge of two of his servants to his country with great honor. Salutation to the man who was borne on the wings of Michael.

And on this day also died Abba Minas, Bishop of the city of Tamai.  This holy man was from the city of Gamnudi and he was the only child of his father.  His parents were God-fearing folk, and they labored in the works of the monks in respect of their fasts, and prayers, and their devotion to the ascetic life, and their fighting, and at length the report of them was heard by all men, and by all the fathers.  And they made their son to marry a wife against his will.  And when the bridegroom came into his marriage-chamber with the maiden who called herself his wife, he made an agreement with her that they were to keep their bodies pure and that they were not to pollute them and their virginity; and they fought a great fight.  Then Saint Minas wanted to assume the garb of the monk, and he said unto his wife, “It is undesirable for us to do the works of the ascetic life whilst we are still living in the world.”  Now they used to wear sackcloth made of hair beneath their apparel, and they used to stand up all night long keeping vigil, and praying, and reading the Books of God.  After this she embraced him and bade him farewell, and he departed to the monastery of Abba Anthony, wishing, by so doing, to be far away from his parents, for they were seeking him everywhere, and they had with them an order from the emperor bidding him to return to his wife; but God protected him and they did not find him at all.  And Saint Minas dwelt in the monastery of Anthony for many days, and he devoted himself to ascetic labors and fought strenuously.  Now there was there with him living like a monk Abba Michael, Archbishop of the city of Alexandria.  After this he left the monastery of Saint Abba Anthony, and he departed to the monastery of Saint Abba Macarius of Scete.  In their days lived the two bright stars, Abba Abraham and Abba Ga’argi, and Saint Abba Minas was a beloved son unto them, and he dwelt with them in their cell.  And he multiplied his labors in the angelic toil of the ascetic life, and he learned their doctrine, and the way in which they fought, and in his fighting and piety he excelled many of the fathers, and Abba Abraham and Abba Ga’argi, and other fathers marveled at him.  And Satan was jealous of him, and he beat him with a great beating internally, and he lay prostrate on the ground for two months; but after this our Lord Jesus Christ raised him up whole and unharmed, and he roared like a lion against Satan.  After this our Lord Jesus Christ summoned him to become a bishop, and the envoys of the archbishop came to him; and he was exceedingly sorrowful and he wept because of his separation from the desert of Scete.  And the holy fathers said unto him, “Be not sorrowful, for this is from God”; and he bowed to the Will of God, and he departed with the envoys of the archbishop, and the archbishop made him Bishop of the city of Tamai.  Now God gave him the gift of healing the sick, and all those who were sick used to come to him, and he would pray to God for them and they were healed straightway.  And God also gave him gift of the knowledge of hidden things, and he knew what was in the minds of men.  All the bishops whose sees were in the districts near him used to come to him from all parts, and take counsel with him, and accept his advice, and bow to his decision; and the laity also used to come to him from all parts of the country to hear his wise doctrine.  He was the father of four archbishops, and he laid his hand upon them when they were enthroned; now these were, Iskander, and Cosmas, and Theodore, and Michael, Archbishop of the city of Alexandria.  When our Lord Christ wished him to depart from this transitory world this father knew by the Holy Spirit that day of his departure.  And he sent messengers and they brought all the people who were in his diocese, and he commanded them to be strong in the Orthodox Faith, and to keep the precepts of the Holy Gospel.  Then he committed them to their True Shepherd, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Whom he loved.  And all the people wept and mourned the departure from them of their good shepherd and father who protected them upon earth in the place of God, and they buried him in a fitting manner, and laid him in the place where he had directed he should be laid.  Salutation to Minas, Bishop of the city of Tamai.

And on this day also was consecrated the church of the holy and honorable, the great one among martyrs, George of the city of Lydda.  And God wrought therein signs and great wonders which made the hearts of men to rejoice, and at length the history [of the holy man] and his wonderful acts were heard on sea and on land.  When the Emperor Diocletian, the infidel, heard the report of the church of Saint George, and the signs and great wonders which took place therein, he sent a captain whose name was Eukheius together with a large company of soldiers to destroy the church.  And that captain came there with arrogance, and he went up into the tower wherein was the image (or picture) of Saint George, and he began to scoff at the church, and at Saint George.  And he had a staff in his hand, and he struck with it the lamp which was burning before the picture (or image) of Saint George, and he broke it, and straightway a fragment of the glass fell from it and dropped on the head of the infidel without his knowledge.  And fear and great trembling fell upon him, and his head became filled with fever, and he fell and lay prostrate on the ground.  And his companions took him up to carry him to their own country, for they knew well that all this which had come upon him was caused by Saint George the mighty and victorious martyr; and whilst they were carrying him on the road that captain died in disgrace and misery, and the soldiers took him up and cast him into the sea.  When Diocletian, the infidel emperor, heard this thing he was furiously angry, and he determined in his heart to go himself and destroy the church of Mar Saint George; but God bore no longer with him, and He smote him swiftly and made his eyes blind.  And the men in the palace rose up against him, and God removed him from his kingdom, and made the righteous man Constantine emperor; and he opened the churches and closed the houses of idols, and all the ends of the world rejoiced.  And the churches rejoiced, and the church of the holy and honorable star of the morning, George, rejoiced and was exceedingly glad.  Salutation to George the Martyr.

And on this day also Saints Zenobius and his mother Zenobia became martyrs.  These saints were from the city of Tabais, and they were elders therein, and certain men accused them of being Christians before the emperor.  And the emperor commanded his soldiers to bring them to him, and [when they had done so] he said unto them, “What is the object of your worship, and where is your country?”  And they said unto him, “We believe in Christ, and our city is Tabais.”  And the emperor said unto them, “Sacrifice ye to the gods”; and the saints said unto him, “We sacrifice to our God Jesus Christ and not to devils.”  And the emperor was wroth with them, and he commanded his soldiers to strip off their apparel, and to hang them up by the hair of their heads, and to beat them with rods; and the saints prayed to God, and straightway their fetters were unloosed.  And the people saw the saints putting on garments of light, and the governor carrying his throne and following them, and when they saw this they cried out, saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, God of Hosts, our Lord Jesus Christ.”  And the governor marveled and said, “The God of the Christians is great.”  Then the governor was wroth and he commanded his soldiers to hang them up on two crosses, so that each could see the other, [and they did so,] and straightway a cloud came from heaven, and enveloped them, and gave them manna.  On the following day the governor found them teaching the word of God, and when the people saw them they cried out with one voice, saying, “We believe that the God of the Christians is great.”  And the governor also commanded his soldiers to make two seats and to fasten in them in an upright position two-iron stakes, and to cast them into a red-hot oven; but God delivered them, and the governor found them teaching the people as they were sitting upon those seats.  When the governor saw this he was filled with fury, and he commanded his servants to dig a pit twenty cubits deep, and twenty cubits broad, and to light a fire therein and to cast them into it; but when the saints prayed to God the fire was extinguished, and every part of the pit became like a place swept and garnished.  And the governor called the keeper of the bath, who was carrying a vessel full of water.  When the people saw this sign they gave thanks unto God, saying, “A miracle [worked by] God for His saints.”  When the governor failed to make them submit, he commanded his soldiers to slay them, and to take care of their bodies until the following day so that they might burn them with fire and scatter their ashes to the winds.  And when they killed them there were crashes of thunder, and lightning, and torrents of rain, and there died through that thunderstorm fifty-four men.  During the night the believers stole the bodies of the saints and buried them, and on the following day when the governor searched for their bodies, everyone told him that a miracle had taken place; and the governor believed and became a Christian.  Salutation to Zenobia and to her first-born son Zenobius.

Salutation to the multitude of martyrs who suffered with Zenobius and Zenobia whilst the heavens thundered and lightened.

And on this day also died Saint Mercurius and his brother John.  These saints were the children of Christian and God-fearing folk, and the name of the elder of them was Shanay, but when he adopted the garb of the monk they called him “Mercurius.”  The name of the younger was Abu Farz, and him, when he adopted the garb of a monk, they called “John.”  When these saints arrived at man’s estate they departed to the monastery of Saint Theodore the general, and they dwelt [there] under the direction of a righteous old man who served God.  And they obeyed him and did work of every kind, and they ministered to the work of the brethren, and they did whatsoever was required in the monastery, and they endured the cold of winter and the days of summer, and they used to gather in very many of the fruits of the earth, and take them to the monastery.  They acquired no possessions whatsoever in the world, and they were remote from all the appetites of the world for meat, and drink, and riches; and they used to fast two and three days at a time.  And they also learned to read and to write Coptic and Arabic without a teacher, and they fulfilled all the demands of the Rule of the ascetic life.  Whilst they were living thus one day the angel of the Lord came and told them that they would attain to the fight of martyrdom; and then they became strong by the Holy Spirit, and they rose up in glad haste and rejoiced.  Then they came into their own city, where accusations against them were made to the governor of the city, and he had them taken to the governor of Behnesa.  And that governor asked them questions and said unto them, “Is it true that ye are idolaters?”  And the saints said unto him, “We confess openly that we are Christians, and we have no other God except Jesus Christ.”  When the governor heard this he was filled with wrath, and he ordered his soldiers to throw chains about their necks and to march them round about the whole city; [and they did so,] and then they shut them up in the prison house.  Whilst they were there the angel of the Lord visited them many times, and when they had been in prison five months the governor had them brought out and set before him, and he said unto them, “Abandon your Faith”; and they refused.  And the governor [tried to] frighten them and said unto them, “I will burn your bodies,” but they were not frightened by his words, and when the governor saw the firmness of their minds, he sent them back into prison.  After many days there came another governor, and he wished to save them and to set them at liberty, and straightway certain men reviled him and said unto him, “If thou dost not kill them we will accuse thee to the emperor.”  So against his will he commanded his soldiers to light a fire, and they were summoned to come, but he only did this to frighten them for he wanted to imprison them, and then he cast them into the prison house.  And he commanded his soldiers to bring them out again, and to frighten them with fierce swords, but the hearts of the holy men did not quail, and they were unable to alter their words.  Then, fearing the people, the governor commanded his soldiers to cut off their heads.  They cut off the head of John first, and his head leaped up from his body, and there went forth from it a voice like unto a shout of joy, and it was so loud that all the people who heard it wondered; then they cut off the head of Saint Mercurius, and thus they finished their holy martyrdom.  And they cast their bodies in the fire, and straightway the fire was extinguished, and it did not touch their bodies, and their raiment was not scorched.  When the governor saw this he commanded them to keep guard over their bodies so that the Christians might not steal them.  And on the following day when they looked they found a fountain of water under the place where they had cast their bodies, and afterwards many signs and miracles were made manifest through it.  Salutation to Mercurius, whose body the fire would not burn.  Salutation to John, from whose head after it had been cut off a voice was heard.

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