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Meskerem 03
(September 13)


On this day the General Council of Bishops took place in the city of Alexandria in the second year of the rule of the glorious father Abba Dionysius the archbishop.  This assembly took place because of certain evil men who had appeared in the country of Arabia, and who believed that the soul dieth with the body, and that on the day of the Resurrection it shall be raised up with it.  And they composed a discourse on the wicked belief and sent it to the men who were living in the city of Alexandria.  And when the Abuna, the Archbishop Abba Dionysius heard this thing he was exceedingly sorry about it, and he admonished them and commanded them to turn from this evil affair, but they would not hearken unto him.  Therefore the Council assembled to discuss them, and he debated the matter with them, and made manifest their error, but they neither repented nor turned away from their evil counsel; and the archbishop and the whole Council anathematized them and cursed them.  And he wrote a discourse on them wherein he said, “the love of God for the children is exceedingly great and mighty.”  And he explained in that discourse that the soul neither dieth, nor perisheth, nor decayeth, but that it abideth even as the angels abide, for it is a spiritual thing and is immutable and incorruptible.  When it goeth forth from the body it is taken to the place for which it is suitable. And on the day of the Resurrection, when the trumpet soundeth, and dead bodies of men shall rise up by the command of their Creator.  And all the souls of men shall go each into the body whereto it belongeth, and it shall rise with it, and according to its work it will either rejoice for ever, or suffer punishment for ever.  And the two (i.e. soul and body) will remain in the state in which they have risen forever and forever and ever.  May the prayer of this Council be with us.  Amen.

And on this day also a great earthquake took place in the country of Egypt and in all its borders, and the church of Dasya fell down at the time of the third hour of the day.  And this church was in the name of Michael the archangel.  And it is said that a certain ungodly man asked the Christians to pay tax to him, but they would not give him anything; and when it was evening this man came with his followers and pulled down the church.  This happened in the ninth year of Archbishop Abba Macarius, in the eight hundred and twenty-eighth year of the Holy Martyrs [A.D. 1112].  May their prayers and blessing be with us.  Amen.

And on this day are commemorated Dioscoros the martyr, and Archbishop Dionysius, and the martyrs who were in Tensel Yakoton, and many martyrs in Persia.  May their prayer and blessing, etc.

And on this day died Abba ‘Anbes (Father Lion) of the country of Ethiopia.

And on this day died Abba Muse (Moses) of the desert of Scete.

When this man became a monk he forsook the world, and departed into the desert, and he put himself under the yoke of fasting and prayer until God lightened his eyes to see a garden of olive trees and palm trees.  At the beginning of each month he took what fell of the fruit of these trees, and ate it, and the amount of food which he was in the habit of eating was like that of a small bird.  And his apparel was made of the fiber and bark of the palm.  And the heat of summer and the cold of winter attacked him, but in spite of these he devoted himself to his prayer and fasting.  And he had no knowledge of letters and writing.  And all the various kinds of wild animals of the desert used to visit him, and he made friends with them and when the time of prayer drew nigh he made a sign to them with his hand and they departed.  And when there was a time of want they would come and stand before him as if they wished to speak to him, and he knew through the Holy Spirit what they were seeking after, and he would bring down rain for them; and he lived in this manner for thirty and five years.  And Satan was jealous of him, and he disguised himself and took the form of a very aged monk, and appeared in front of the cave of Muse (Moses) and walked along limping.  When the holy man saw him he thought that he was a dweller in the desert.  And he went to him and took him into his cave and he continued in prayer for three days.  And when the wild animals that used to visit the holy man saw these old men, they withdrew from him.  Then that old man asked the holy man concerning his country and his belief, and Abba Muse (Moses) told him all his work, and asked the old man in return concerning his city and belief.  And the old man said unto Abba Muse (Moses), “As for me I have lived in the world and have committed sin for many years, and I have begotten a daughter.  Then when I remembered the transitoriness of the world, I came out into the desert and have lived herein for forty years.  I have remembered my daughter and I can find no one to whom to marry her except thyself, and it is for this purpose that I have come hither.  When I die thou shalt bury me; I have orchards and gardens and thou shalt inherit them all.”  When Abba Muse (Moses) heard these words he was terrified, and he said unto the old man, “How can I who am a monk do this?”  And this old man brought unto him testimony from the Scriptures how Abraham, and Moses, and David, though they were righteous men, had married wives.  And through this the old man made the heart of Abba Muse (Moses) to yield.  And he showed him a beautiful palace, and in it there was a beautiful maiden, and there came before Abba Muse (Moses) a vision wherein the old man was dead, and the holy man was weeping over him, and was preparing his body for the tomb and then burying him.  And when he went to consort with the maiden a mighty wind arose and he was driven backwards.  When his senses returned the palace had disappeared, and the garden, and the maiden, and he was forced to go back to his dwelling.  And he wished to eat a meal of the fruit of the tree from which he ate formerly, and the fruit was bitter in his mouth.  And when famine compelled him he went forth into the desert, and again he met Satan under the form of an aged pilgrim who was going to Alexandria, and he was riding an ass, and was provided with meat and drink, and he took him with him and brought him into the city and left him there.  And Satan appeared unto him in the form of a woman who was carrying water.  And seeing him in the garb of the men of the desert she asked him about himself, and he told her everything which Satan had told him; and she laughed at him in her heart, and she took him to her house and gave him meat and drink.  And she told him the affair of her marriage, and how she was the daughter of a king who was dead, and how she possessed much property.  When she saw that his heart inclined to her, she said to him also, “I am a Jewess and we are many”; and then she seduced him with many crafty arts until he denied his Faith.  And again she said unto him, “Come, let us take possession of my property in the place where I deposited it”; and she took him to an empty desert wherein there was no water.  And she took him up to the top of a mountain, and she transformed herself before him, and she said unto him, “I am that Satan who leadeth very many into error.  I seduced thee from the desert, and I enticed thee away from thy Faith.  Behold, thou shalt die in this desert, and thy soul shall go into Gehenna”; and having said these things he disappeared from him.  And the holy man turned to his right hand and to his left, and there was no way to escape and no water to drink.  And as the matter pressed sorely upon him he fell down on the ground and scattered dust on his face and he became dizzy and wept until his soul wished to be set free from him.  And God heard his cry, and He sent an angel unto him to console him, and he said unto him, “Thy sin is remitted unto thee.  In three days thou shalt die and my servant Samuel, the dweller in the desert, shall bury thee.”  And straightway Abba Samuel came to him, and gave him peace, and comforted him, and took him with him into the church which ‘Agabos the king had built in the desert which was hidden from the eye of man, and it was the cemetery for the company of monks.  And when they offered up the Offering, and received the Holy Mysteries.  And there, being a press of people Abba Samuel departed to obtain a blessing at the grave of the saints.  And when [Abba Muse (Moses)] arrived there, he knelt down on his knees and died straightway; and Abba Samuel buried him and wrote the history of him.

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