THE FIFTH MONTH
IN THE NAME
OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,
On this day our Lord Christ came into the place of circumcision and fulfilled the Law of the Torah, even as the Apostle Paul, the perfumed tongue, saith, “Christ received the circumcision of His flesh so that He might fulfill the covenant of the fathers”; now many have imagined that our Lord Christ did not enter the chamber of circumcision, and that He was not circumcised. If it was as these people thought, would not the Jews have found in [His uncircumcision] a greater pretext than that which they put forward [for attacking Him]. And the Holy Gospel saith, “The Jews searched for men who would bear false witness against Him, and they found them not.” Our Lord Christ fulfilled all the Laws of Moses, and came into the chamber of circumcision according to the Laws of the Torah. And for us He hath ordained in its place Christian baptism and the eating of unleavened bread, and for us He hath ordained in its place His Holy Body and Honorable Blood, and the abrogation of the Sabbath of the Jews, and for us He hath ordained in its place the First Day of the week, which is the Day of His Holy Resurrection. And when eight days had passed since our Lord Christ was born, that is to say when it was the sixth day of the month of Ter, Mary the pure Virgin said unto Joseph, the just man, “Go and bring me a skilful circumciser that he may circumcise my Son according to the Law of Moses, and let us give Him the Name of ‘Jesus’”; and Joseph went and brought a skilful circumciser. And when the skilful circumciser came he found our Lord Christ in the bosom of the pure Virgin Mary, and he said unto them, “Hold the Child; I shall be able to circumcise Him without wounding Him.” And the Child Jesus answered and said unto him, “O skilful man, I wish to see thy skill, and thy power, and thy work, for how wilt thou circumcise Me? No blood shall flow from Me in this world, except the blood, which shall flow from My right side. When one shall pierce Me with a spear in the place of the skull (Golgotha). When I am on the wood of the Cross, blood shall flow from Me, and shall run down upon the earth, and it shall be for the salvation of Adam and all the world.” And when the skilful circumciser heard the words of the Child Jesus, he gathered together his razors and the iron instruments, and brought them into their house; and he rose up and bowed down at the feet of the Child Jesus. And straightway his razors melted and became like water, and he said unto our Lady Mary, “Pure and blessed art thou more than [all other] women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. This thy Son is not of the seed of Adam, but He is the Son of God. If He worketh a miracle like this when He is a child, what will happen when He attaineth the age of manhood? Peradventure He is the Messiah, Who is called Christ, about Whom the prophets prophesied, saying, ‘Behold a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and His name shall be called “Emmanuel,” which is, being interpreted, “God with us.”’” And our Lord Christ answered and said unto him, “Behold, I am He. Wilt thou circumcise Me or not? If thou wilt not I will do as My fathers and My grandfathers did.” And the circumciser said unto Him, “Who was Thy father? Who was Thy grandfather?” And our Lord Christ said unto him, “They were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the fathers of the nation, and they lived before God gave them circumcision”; and the circumciser said unto Him, “I am not able to talk with Thee, for the Holy Spirit is upon Thee.” And straightway our Lord Christ lifted up His eyes to heaven, and He said, “O Father, give me the circumcision which Thou didst give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the earliest times, without the hand of man”; and straightway there appeared in Him circumcision without the hand of man. And the circumcision of our Lord was an incomprehensible mystery, even as was His going forth from the belly of Mary without destroying her virginity, and like His entrance to the Apostles in the Hall of Zion, through doors which were shut, and like the revelation of His power when in the operation of His wisdom He wished that not the smallest portion of His Body should be cut off in circumcision. But it was not so when the blood and water flowed from His side on the wood of the Cross, so that He might save Adam, and the blood flowed from Him, without addition or diminution of its substance, but by His wish so that He might fulfill the Law which He commanded in olden time. And when the circumciser saw this miracle and heard His words he marveled exceedingly, and he bowed down thrice at the feet of our Lord Christ and said unto Him, “Thou art the Son of God and the King of Israel.” And the circumciser went to his home, and he began to tell the children of Israel what he had seen and heard. And to our Lord and God and Redeemer Jesus Christ, be honor and worship with His Good Father and the Holy and Life-giving Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.
And on this day also died our father Noah who belonged to the tenth generation from Adam. This Noah from his earliest years used to contemplate divine mysteries, and to observe that sin was increasing, and evil growing to the full, and the righteous diminishing, and that all that was flesh would be destroyed by the waters of the Flood. Because of this he lamented, and wept, and his face became furrowed, and he preserved his virginity for five hundred years; and he continued to minister to the body of our father Adam, and to keep the commands of his God. And then God commanded him to marry a wife and He told him that He was going to destroy all flesh by the waters of the Flood, and that there would be left upon this earth none except his own seed. And Noah married a wife whose name was Haykol, the daughter of Abu Zir, and he went in to her three times, and she brought forth Shem, Ham and Japhet. And then God said unto him, “Cut down trees on this holy mountain, and make an ark three hundred cubits long, and five hundred cubits broad, and thirty cubits high; and make inside it three stages. The first stage shall be for the beasts, and the second for the birds and for everything that creepeth, and the third stage for Noah, and his sons and their wives. And he made inside it a cistern for water, and a store-chamber (or pantry) for their food. And he made a trumpet of Kashyan wood, the length of which was three cubits, and the breadth one cubit and a half, which was to be blown three times a day. The first time was at dawn to gather together the workmen for their work, the second was to assemble the people for their meal, and the third time was to send the people to bed. When the children of Cain saw Noah making an ark for the water of the Flood, they mocked at him and began to say, “Behold this old man is mad, or why would he say that the waters will rise above the tops of the mountains?” Then Noah took the body of our father Adam and embraced it. And Shem his son took gold, and Ham took myrrh, and Japhet took incense, and carried them into the ark with the body of our father Adam. And [Noah] took in with him clean beasts, and animals, and birds, seven of each kind, and of the unclean beasts, and animals, and birds, two of each kind. And Noah placed the body of our father Adam facing the east side, and he laid the three offerings upon his breast; and Noah, and his sons, and his wife, and their wives occupied the west side. And then God, by His power, shut the door of the ark on Noah, and He commanded the doors of heaven to be opened, and the storehouses of the deep, and the cataracts of the winds, and there went forth storm, and mist, and fog, and darkness, and the sun and the moon and the stars withheld their light, and never before was there such a terrible day. When the children of Seth, who had committed fornication with the children of Cain, saw this, they knew that God was angry with them, and that the words which Noah had said unto them were true. And they all ran to the ark to ask Noah to open its door to them, but they were unable to ascend the holy mountain, because the stones thereof were like fire; and the ark was closed and sealed by the power of God. And the angel of God used to dwell in the ark, and he became a chief to Noah and his sons. And the waters of the Flood increased and they began to overpower the children of Cain, who were drowned. By the force of the water the ark was lifted up above the earth, and every being of flesh that lived on the earth perished. And the waters rose above the tops of the mountains for a space of fifteen cubits, and they bore the ark and carried it down to the Garden; and Noah and his sons and all who were in the ark worshipped in the holy Garden. Then the ark sailed over the waters, by the force of the winds, and it continued to go onwards for one hundred and fifty days, and it appeared on Mount Ararat, on the twenty-seventh day of the month of Tekemt (Oct.-Nov.). And the waters being assuaged on the twenty-seventh day of the month of Genbot (May-June), on that day, the day on which he went into the ark, Noah came out from the ark; and this day was the First Day of the week. And God sent His voice to Noah telling him to take large beasts and to offer up an offering on the altar before Him. And Noah sent out the animals from inside the ark, and God promised Noah that He would not destroy the earth again, and as a mark of His promise He set a bow in the heavens so that all people might see it. And God blessed Noah and his sons, saying, “Increase and multiply and fill the earth”; and He commanded the earth to bring forth grass according to its custom, and the beasts and cattle, and the fowl of the heavens, and everything which moveth [to bring forth young]. And after Noah had gone out from the ark he planted a vine, and drank of the wine thereof, and he became drunk and stripped himself naked. When Ham has son saw him he made a mock of him, and told his brethren, but they turned their faces from him, and covered him with his apparel. And when Noah recovered himself, and knew what his son Ham had done he cursed him. And after he had divided the whole earth among his sons, the day of his death arrived, and he died in his nine hundred and fiftieth year, and was buried on Mount Ararat.
And on this day also is commemorated the ascension of Elijah the prophet into heaven, being alive in the body. This zealous prophet lived in the days of Ahab the king, and his soul was in travail each day, and all day, because of the deeds of the king and his abominable wife. Then his soul became angry, and he stood up before the king and said unto him, “Why hast thou forsaken the God of heaven, thou and thy wife Elzabel (Jezebel), in Whose hand is thy soul, and [why] do ye worship the idol Baal? And why have ye taken the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite? By the life of the Lord God of Israel, I swear that no rain shall descend upon the earth from heaven except at my word.” And straightway, whilst yet the words were in his mouth, the rivers dried up, and the green herb withered, and there was a famine in all the land. And when God saw that Elijah the prophet by reason of his jealously for His honor afflicted himself concerning the famine, He commanded him to go to Dabra Karen (?), and a raven used to bring him food every day; and God willed to perform the wish of the prophet, and He did not permit his word to be made a lie. And God willed and sent to him a raven with food, but Elijah would not receive the food from the bird, because, according to the Law of the Old Testament, the raven was an unclean bird. Did he perchance spare himself because of the famine, and command rain to fall? And the prophet took the food from the raven and it defiled him not. And God commanded the stream from which he used to drink to dry up, so that, peradventure, when he was thirsty he might have compassion upon men, and command rain to fall. And in this matter the prophet did not spare himself, and moreover, he came nigh to die through hunger and thirst. And God commanded him to go to Sarepta of Sidona where he was fed by widow woman. And God thought that by [making him do] this he would journey through the cities, and see the bodies of the dead cast out on the road side, and would have compassion on the people in his heart, and command the rain to fall. And when Elijah went to Sarepta of Sidona, he found that widow woman gathering firewood, and he asked for bread from her that he might eat. And she said unto him, “As God liveth and as thy soul liveth I have only a handful of flour in my house, and I am going to make it [into bread] for my son, and we shall eat it and die; and also I have a little fat in a pot.” And the prophet said unto her, “Bring me a little water that I may drink, and a little bread that I may eat, and afterwards do thou eat.” And the woman said in her heart, “Even if I am to die it is better for me to make it [into bread] for this pilgrim as he wisheth, and I will make merry and think that I have eaten it myself.” When the prophet knew the beauty of her mind and the integrity of her nature, he had compassion in his heart, and he asked God for rain. And God accepted the word of the prophet because he had done this on account of his jealously for Him. And Elijah said unto her, “Believe me, and go and do as thou thinkest, but make for me first a cake baked on the ashes, (then make one for thyself afterwards,) and bring it to me, and afterwards thou shalt make one for thyself and thy son, for thus saith God, “Thy flour barrel shall never become empty, and the fat in thy pot shall never finish until [the day] when God shall send rain upon the earth’”; and it came to pass even as the prophet said. And the woman went and made [the cake], even as the prophet commanded her, and he dwelt with her until the days of the famine had ended. And the woman had a son who fell sick and died, and she rent her garments and made lamentation, and took the child and carried him to Elijah into the upper chamber, and she wept and entreated Elijah, in God’s Name, on behalf of the child. And Elijah laid his face upon him, and the child came to life straightway; and it is said that this child was Jonah the prophet. Then Elijah sent his disciple to Ahab, King of Israel, and he said unto him, “Behold the descent of rain from heaven is nigh.” And the king searched for Elijah and wanted to kill him, because he had shut up the heavens so that no rain fell for three years and seven months. And then Elijah took the prophets of Baal and slaughtered them with his own hand. When Elzabel (Jezebel), the wife of Ahab the king, heard this she was wroth, and she sent messengers after Elijah and she wished to kill him because he had killed the prophets of Baal. And Elijah was very sorry because of this, and he said, “O God, they have slain Thy prophets, and have overthrown Thy altars, and I only am left, and they wish to kill my soul.” And God said unto him, “Fear thou not, for I have left unto Me seventy men who have not worshipped the idol Baal. As for thyself, who can take away thy soul? I will take thee up into heaven whilst thou art living in the body.” When Ahab the king was dead, his son reigned in his stead, and he did evil before God. And he fell sick of a disease, and he sent messengers to the idol Afron to ask him whether he would recover from his illness or not. And Elijah the prophet met the messengers of the king, and he said unto them, “Say ye to the king: Thou shalt died of this disease.” And when they told the king this, he knew that the man [who spoke this] was Elijah, the prophet, and he sent him a captain, and fifty soldiers with him. And Elijah was sitting on the top of a mountain, and the captain said unto him, “O prophet of God, descend and come to the king.” And Elijah the prophet said unto him, “If I be a prophet of God, let fire come down form heaven and consume thee”; and fire came down from heaven and consumed him, and those who were with him. And the king sent unto him a second captain, and there were fifty soldiers with him. And he said unto him, “O prophet of God, descend and come to the king.” And Elijah said unto him, “If I be a prophet of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume thee”; and straightway fire came down from heaven and consumed that captain and those who were with him. And the king sent a third captain to him, and that captain came to him humbly, and he bowed down before the prophet, when still some distance from him, and he asked him, saying, “Have mercy on my soul”; and Elijah came down and went with him to the king, even as God commanded. And he rebuked the king for his evil deeds, and the king died on his bed. Then Elijah went to the River Jordan, and with him was Elisa his disciple, and he threw his garment on the River Jordan and divided it into two parts, and passed over. And behold there came a mist, and an earthquake, and flashes of lightning, and horses of fire, and they carried off Elijah the prophet, and bore him up into heaven. And then his disciple Elisa wept and said, “O my father Elijah, [behold] the chariots of Israel! Let a double portion of thy spirit rest upon me.” And Elijah rent his garment into two parts, and threw [them] on Elisa, and the spirit was doubled upon him. And all the miracles which Elijah performed Elisa his disciple performed also. Elijah passed over the River Jordan once, and Elisa passed over it twice; Elijah raised from the dead one dead man, and Elisa raised two. And Elisa his disciple performed many miracles, for the Holy Spirit which was on Elijah was doubled on him. And Elijah the prophet and Enoch shall come together in the last days, and they shall rebuke the false Christ, and they shall kill his people, and their bodies shall be cast out for three days and a half, and then they shall be raised up, and the resurrection of the dead shall take place. This prophet Elijah was a righteous man, and he was the first to live in the Garden in the days of the Old Testament.
And on this day also died the holy father Abba Makaryanu (Marcianus), the eighth Archbishop of the city of Alexandria. This saint was appointed Archbishop after the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ; and one hundred years after the second destruction and pillage of Jerusalem, in the ninth year [of his office]. And he remained in his office for nine years, teaching the people and confirming them in the True Faith; and he converted very many of the infidels and pagans, and brought them into the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. And he baptized them with Christian baptism, and illumined them with the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Law of Christianity. And this father pursued a good course life, and walked prudently, and he pleased God and died in peace.
And on this day also died the holy father Abba Basil, Bishop of Caesarea. The name of the father of this saint was Esderos, and he was a priest, holy and pure, and was a man of the city of Antioch. And he begot four sons, Basil, and Gregory Peter, and Cherion, and Macrinus; and they were all holy and perfect men. And this saint was filled with the Holy Ghost, and he composed the well-known Liturgy which beareth his name. And God performed very many signs and wonders by his hands, which are written down in the history of his strife, and of them are the seven following. FIRST MIRACLE: The story of Peter, the brother of the Bishop of the city of Sebastia, and how he had a wife, and how the people reviled him because of this wife, and how Basil came to him, and revealed his spiritual fight to the people, and the mystery of his relations with his wife, and how Peter and his wife were virgins, and had no knowledge whatsoever of the operation of sin. And Basil informed the people how he saw the angel of God overshadowing them [in bed], and how the people saw Saint Peter, and the blessed woman his wife, with the angel of God overshadowing them, and how the people marveled and glorified God, and bowed down at the feet of the blessed Peter, and asked him to forgive them their transgression, and how he forgave all those who had slandered him. SECOND MIRACLE: Concerned the church which the heretics and schismatics seized by violence, but were unable to open the doors thereof; but when the believers prayed the doors were opened through the prayer of Basil. THIRD MIRACLE: The story of Saint Abba Ephraim, who saw a pillar of light which reached from the earth to heaven; and he heard a voice, saying, “This is Basil.” And Saint Ephraim came to the city of Caesarea, and he saw the virtues and the righteousness of the blessed Basil. And Saint Basil appointed Ephraim a deacon, and prayed over him, and he made him to speak in the Greek tongue. FOURTH MIRACLE: The story of the wise astrologer, who never made a mistake in his computations. When Saint Basil was sick, and he knew that the time of his death [was nigh], he summoned that astrologer and said unto him, “When am I going to die?” And the astrologer said unto him, “Thou wilt die in the evening, and thy soul shall go forth from thy body [at the time].” And Saint Basil said unto him, “If I remain [alive], and do not die until the morning, wilt thou became a Christian?” And the astrologer said unto him, “Yea.” And Saint Basil entreated God, and God added three days to his days, and that wise and learned Jewish astrologer, who was the greatest of his class, believed, and Saint Basil baptized him and all the men of his house with Christian baptism, and then he died in peace. FIFTH MIRACLE: The story of the man who denied Christ, and who wrote his denial of Christ with his own hand upon a paper, and gave it to Satan. And Saint Basil shut up that man in a certain place, and he prayed to God so earnestly that at length Satan brought back that paper which the man had written; and thus Saint Basil saved him. SIXTH MIRACLE: The story of the priest who was a virgin, and his wife, who had with them a man who was sick of dire disease, and how Basil knew of the integrity of the priest and his wife, and how he slept with the sick man that night, and how he prayed to God on his behalf, and how the man was healed of his sickness straightway. SEVENTH MIRACLE: The story of the honorable lady who wrote down a list of all her sins on a piece of paper, and sealed it and gave it to Saint Basil, and asked him to pray on her behalf to God until all her sins, which were written down on that sealed paper, were blotted out. And Saint Basil prayed on her behalf until all the sins, with the exception of one, were blotted out; and the blessed Basil commanded her to go to Saint Abba Ephraim, so that he might pray for that sin to be blotted out. And when she went to Saint Abba Ephraim, he spoke to her, saying, “Hasten and get thee back to the blessed Basil before he dieth, and he will forgive thee, for he is the chief of priests.” And when she returned she found that Saint Basil was dead, and the bearers had lifted him up and were carrying him on his bier to bury him. And the woman wept with a bitter weeping, and she laid that paper upon his body, and that sin which was written on the paper was blotted out from it. When all the people who were there saw this miracle they marveled exceedingly, and glorified God, Who giveth such grace to those who fear Him. And Saint Basil performed many signs and miracles besides those which we have written here in this book. And he composed many beautiful Homilies and Instructions for monks, and he translated many Books of the Old and New Testaments, and he drew up Canons which are to be found in the hands of believers unto this day.
Salutation to Noah and his wife and sons. Salutation to Basil. Salutation to Abba Moses, who dwelt in the desert sixty winters. He gazed at the hearts of the saints until he became stupefied, and his face changed and became coals of fire. Salutation to Makaryanu (Marcianus), the eighth Archbishop of Alexandria. Salutation to the circumcision of our Lord.
be to God Who is glorified in His Saints.