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The Friend of the Poor















Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty

St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Orthodox






This book, which is in your hands. is not merely a collec- tion   of   stories   and   narrations   about   our   father,   "Anba Abraam," but it is an attempt to reveal the life he had lived

in his innermost soul.


How pleasant to the soul it is to be free from the bands of earthly life, enjoying calmly the biographies of the holy fa- thers, tasting the sweetness of the work of Christ in the life of His children, and smelling His essence through their be- havior.


Indeed, it is very difficult to express in words the reality of the secret life, it can be practised but not related, the heart can feel what the tongue fails to express!


The biography of "Anba Abraam" is a life and fellowship with the Lord. Its flavor has been diffused in every home in Egypt,  and  its  fragrance  has  emanated  in  all  the  Eastern world. Some Western persons loved him, cared to visit him, and get to know more of his saintly life.


The famous writer "Leeder," heard about him from some western Catholic people, and hastened with his wife to visit Egypt, in order to meet the old saint, and the bishop of Fay- oum.



The English writer wrote a special chapter about his visit

to our father1. After preparing it he heard that the bishop had departed, so he translated a summary of his biography which the Rev. Abdel-Messieh El-Massoudi El-Saghier had written.


The English writer said:

"There is a man in Egypt whose name is unknown to the ruling class, and who is yet the most talked of and the most venerated man in all the valley of the Nile. Although he is a Christian bishop he is just as much a saint of heaven to the Moslem as to the Christian; and the Christians who join in the daily throng that seek his spiritual help and blessing in- clude Copts and Greeks and Romans - the latter being by no means confined even to the natives of Egypt.

Before  I  even  thought  of  seeking  an  audience  with  this wonderful old man I had heard Catholic people, as far away as France, speaking of the bishop of Fayoum and Gizeh in Egypt as an ascetic in whose powers were confirmed all the signs which our Lord had said should follow them that be- lieve, "In My name they shall cast out devils... they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover."


This old saint whose power is known all over the Eastern world,  is  in  the  direct  and  unbroken  succession  of  those early Christians...


No matter where I had gone in Egypt, I had heard again and  again  of  the  bishop  of  Fayoum;  and  incredible  stories were told to me of his self-denials, his fasting, his mystical wisdom, his power of divination, his faculty to exorcise evil spirits  and  the  cure  of  all  manner  of  sickness  and  of  the



1  S.H. Leeder: Modern Sons of the Pharaohs, Hodder and Staughton, London, 1918, p.

265-6 "A Visit to the Venerated Bishop of Fayoum, Anba Abraam."


comfort his words gave to the afflicted both in soul and in body; of his unstilted kindness to the poor..."


The wife of Late Nassif Mahrous spoke about the effect of their meeting with the bishop. She said, "Some ladies and I, were welcoming Mrs. Leeder, after her visit to the saint and she  told  us  in  French,  'We  had  been  in  the  Presence  of Christ, we were filled with the Spirit of God.'2"





































Whoever accepts "our Lord Jesus," Who for our sake be- came poor (2 Cor. 8:9), so that by his poverty we might be- come rich, does not cease from groaning inwardly, longing to  spend  and  be  spent  for  every  man(2  Cor.  12:15),  espe- cially those who are incapable of giving back what they re-



Those would be willing to bear the burdens of all people, walking in the way of Golgotha, following the steps of our Master, leaving everything behind, suffering for the sake of all men and singing, "I have been crucified with Christ."


Our Father "Anba Abraam" experienced practical fellow- ship with the Lord, so he loved the Lord's least brethren in a wonderful way. Whenever he went, he was surrounded with them, for in him they found their comfort and felt his loving fatherhood.


Once, on an Easter eve, his disciple told him that Hanna

(Bey) (a very honorable title) Nakhla had sent various kinds of food and a turkey. The father blessed the sender, and with a gentle sweet smile asked his disciple to put the food on the tables,  and  call  the  poor  people,  the  blind  and  the  patients who were in the first flour of his home to come and eat. He stood watching his children and taking care of them as they ate. Yet he ate only radishes and some butter milk.




Our  Father,  the  bishop,  asked  a  nun,  the  superior  in  a convent in Cairo, to be in charge of the poor. Shortly there after, he decided to visit those poor people while they were eating. He was surprised to find that the food offered to him was a better quality than offered to the poor. This made him very upset and he dismissed the nun at once.


Once  in  an  "agapi  banquet"  (the  "banquet  of  love"), which  the  bishopric  held  for  the  people,  the  cook  made  a table of fried fish for the rich, and another table of cooked fish for the poor. When the bishop entered to have his dinner with them, he saw the two tables, and he firmly ordered the cook to mix the two kinds of fish. He said, "Who wants to eat from the mixture, let him eat, for God does not separate the poor from the rich, all are the same to Him." When his brethren, the "poor" heard this, they rejoiced for his real fa- therhood. The rich, moved by his love for his children and his high degree of spirituality, also ate from the mixture.


Once a poor woman complained to him of her poverty, he reached  his  hand  under  the  pillow  but  did  not  find  any money, he gave her a new shawl, which one of his children had given to him. The next day the owner of the shawl vis- ited our father and asked him about it. He replied, "My son, the shawl is above." Then the man presented it to him saying that  he  had  bought  it  from  the  poor  woman  to  return  it  to him. "Perhaps you have oppressed her, my son!" the bishop said. "No, my father, I gave her the whole price," the owner of the shawl replied.


Mr. Leeder, the British writer, related to us, about our fa- ther, the bishop, saying: "I have spoken of the poor robe in which the old bishop was wrapped. It was literally like the



robe of an early Coptic recluse, one Abba Isaac, who main- tained that "the manner of the apparel which a monk ought to wear should be such that if it were cast outside the cell for

three days no one would carry it away...


A rich layman just before my visit did not like to see his bishop in this threadbare cloak, and so went out and bought

a garment, soft and sable. Returning to that upper room, he begged the bishop to discard the old robe; here was a new one. With a wander smile the old man took the robe, and put

it under his pillow. Later on in the day, in the crowd which thronged him, he saw a poor ill-clad fellah (farmer), shiver- ing with cold. 'Ah!' he said, 'the Lord has been mindful of you  this  day,  for  here  is  a  cloak  waiting  for  the  first  man who is in need of it.'

And when the poor man got out into the daylight, he saw that  such  a  cloak  was  unsuitable  for  a  country  fellah;  he would  sell  it  and  buy  a  coarse  "gallabieh,"  then  he  would possess both a cloak and spare money to buy food. The man he offered the cloak to was, by chance, the donor, who rec- ognized  his  gift!  Knowing  the  bishop,  he  felt  that  remon- strance of any sort was useless, so he re-bought the garment, hoping that when the bishop found that he had done this, he would be persuaded to wear it.

Again,  however,  the  cloak  was  tucked  under  the  pillow; and again a poor man received it as of the Lord. And now doubtless the threadbare cloak will persist till the day when the bishop exchanges it for a glorious robe which time can- not corrupt...

Here in the twentieth century, the succession of those ear- lier  followers  of  Christ  truly  survives  in  the  life  of  the



bishop of Fayoum, to carry out in all their literal simplicity the  teachings  of  the  Man  of  Galilee,  who  Himself  having nothing, sought as disciples only those who would sell all to follow Him."


It is said that the nobles of the bishopric saw the bishop's home was not suitable, they agreed with their father, to re- new  and  widen  it.  They  collected  money  for  the  bishop's house, and when it totaled about L.E. 200, a valuable sum at that time, they brought it to him asking him to make an ap- pointment  with  a  building  contractor  to  agree  upon  the  re- modeling of the building. The bishop looked at them saying,

"My sons, I have already built, I have built."


"Where is the building. our father?!! There is no change in the building !," they asked. "I have built a house for you in the eternal life," the bishop replied.


Mr. Makar Ibrahim El-Barnashawi said:

[One day a poor citizen went to his rich relative. Mr. A.

(Bey) A.A. asking for a contribution for his wife, who was about to give birth to a child, but Mr. A.A.A. refused, and this  sadly  distressed  the  poor  citizen.  The  poor  citizen vowed that he would ask for the money from the bishops of the  Nazarenes.  He  went  to  Anba  Abraam  and  related  his story.  The  bishop  said,  "Is  the  bishop  for  the  Christians only?" Then he gave him the only pound which was under the pillow; its value was very high at that time.


As  the  poor  citizen  was  leaving,  he  met  the  monk  who was  surprised  that  his  brother  "the  bishop"  had  given  the poor citizen all the money that he had, so, he took the pound from him and gave him an Egyptian dollar (20 piasters). The citizen  returned  to  the  bishop  and  complained  to  him.  The bishop called the monk, took the pound from him, and re-


turned it together with the dollar to the poor citizen. Then he said to his brother the monk, "When we left the house of our father  late  Gabrielle,  what  did  we  possess?..  Is  not  all  that we have now, from the hands of Christ? Have we not taken from  His  hands  for  the  sake  of  His  brethren?  Then  the bishop firmly sent him away.


After three days the monk returned to the bishop with un- cle  Makarious  El-Barnashawi,  to  ask  for  his  forgiveness, which the bishop did grant.


At that time a letter arrived, containing a money order and

a  bill  of  lading,  then  the  bishop  called  the  monk  and  said.

"See..." The monk bowed before him modestly, saying..." I am not like you... Our Lord bestowed upon you the gift of offering."


Fr. Mikhail Astras the priest of St. George Church of Fay- oum,  related;  "One  of  the  nobles  visited  the  bishop,  and handed him an envelope into which he had put it an offer- ing.  The  bishop  accepted  it  and  put  under  pillow.  A  short while later, a poor man entered asking for help, the bishop gave him the envelope, and when he opened it, he found ten pounds.  A  disciple  observed  this,  and  hurried  to  tell  the bishop,  the  bishop  replied,  "This  is  his  portion,  for  God knew his need and He sent someone to offer it."


The  bishop's  contemporaries  related  that  many  persons were coming to Fayoum to bring presents and offerings. The rich men were very generous in their offerings, but he never looked at the amount of any offering, instead he put all the money and gold under the pillow, so that when any person came to him for help, he would reach under the pillow, and give whatever he found.


It  is  said  that  in  his  time  no  one  was  poor  in  Fayoum,  for they  all  found  in  the  bishop's  house  their  own  home  from which they could get what they needed.


One well-known story is told about three young men who plotted to take advantage of the bishop's love for the poor. Two of them approached the bishop saying that the third had died, and that they had nothing to bury him.


The  bishop  nodded  his  head,  and  gave  them  an  offering saying, "Take it and bury him..." They left laughing, but they were  astonished  when  they  found  their  friend  had  actually died.


They tried to return the money asking the bishop for for- giveness.  He  forgave  them  but  did  not  accept  the  money, telling them to bury their friend with it.



































The mystery of the greatness in our father Anba Abraam is that he was a man of prayer.


The prayer in our church, is not a troublesome routine, nor

a hard law we are subjected to, but rather a taste of sweet- ness of our being children of God, and a practice in fellow- ship with Him. Prayer is love!! We converse intimately with Him, and also with love we blame Him kindly!!! In fear we proclaim our repentance, and with joy we thank Him.


We do not pray for our own benefits only, but also for the benefits of the church and the whole world.


Our holy father devoted his life to prayer, as he loved his God, the Lord Jesus. He was filled with power. He was ac- customed to gathering all his children every evening, at his residence, to pray the psalms and to read some chapters of the holy Bible in order to help them to understand it.


The people who slept in the room close to his, related that he used to rise up at midnight to pray the psalms and stay up until  dawn.  He  used  to  repeat  the  words:  "Create  in  me  a clean  heart,  O  God,  and  put  a  new  and  right  spirit  within me," praying it with zeal.


All who met him testified that his prayers were very deep in spirit until his senility.





The  English  writer  "Leeder"  said:  "It  was  with  deep emotion that I looked into the face of this saint... To doubt his right to the title was impossible for the power of a pure and beautiful soul made itself felt at once, with a force that was almost overwhelming.


The eyes looked out of a calm, grave face, fringed with a small white beard, which in no way obscured the sensitive mouth. The turban was worn farther back than usual, leaving the broad unwrinkled forehead to suggest that the ascetic, in this case, had been governed by a fine intelligence.


Taking the cross in his right hand, and holding it closely over our heads, the bishop poured out, mostly in the Coptic language,  in  tones  of  rapt  devotion,  the  wonderful  prayers and blessings of his Church.


Of  the  mere  words,  I  of  course  recognized  little,  except the often-repeated 'Kyrie-eleison!' (Lord have mercy!) But I was thrilled nevertheless by the childlike earnestness of the man  who  uttered  them;  never  had  I  heard  prayer  which seemed to establish a link with the throne of Grace with such instant security; it seemed as if earth fell away, to leave  this  man  speaking  in  the  clear  presence  of  God Himself."


Late  Naguib  (Bey)  Erian  said  that  some  believers  saw  a beam of light coming out of his window at night while he was praying.


It is also said that in 1898 A.D, on a Wednesday evening, during the prayer hour the gas lamp hanging from the roof by means of a rope, broke down due to a sudden cut in the rope and caused a fire to flame up. The bishop gave no at-



tention to this matter, but he went on praying. Later he told the people present who were much afraid of the fire: "Whey do you have such weak faith? Behold, the fire had been ex- tinguished and none was harmed!."



In 1902 A.D our father roamed in Egypt accompanied by his disciple Anba Mettaos, the metropolitan of Abyssinia. At Abu-Kerkas,  they  were  the  guests  of  Adib  (Bey)  Wahba, who  was  until  that  time  without  a  son.  He  had  only  three daughters, and his only son died. Adib Bey summoned the saint  secretly  saying  to  him,  "I  have  heard  that  you  are  a

'man  of  God'  and  God  hears  your  prayer.  I  beg  you  to  ask God to give me a son to inherit my name.” He entered the bed-room, prayed on a cup of water and sprinkled the house, then he anointed his wife with oil, saying to her "By God's will  you  will  be  granted  a  son  within  a  year."  He  blessed them and pointed at an open space saying to Adib: "Who is the owner of this?" "It is mine," answered Adib Bey. "Make

it  a  guest  room  for  the  poor,"  said  the  bishop.  After  ten months God granted Adib Bey a son called "Wahbey."


The same thing happened with late Gawher, the preacher of   the   Copts   in   Tanta,   as   God   granted   him   the   son

"Youssef."  We  hear  about  too  many  persons  who  came  to Abbot  Abraam,  asking  his  prayers  that  God  might  grant them sons or preserve their life.


We  would  not  be  exaggerating  if  we  said  that  hundreds but thousands of miracles had happened through his prayers, for which there is no room here.





The  Christian  pilgrim  Yowakeem  came  to  him  from Cairo, after he had spent all his wealth on doctors because he  was  dumb.  In  the  evening,  people  gathered  to  pray  as usual, and when they began to pray "Lord have mercy," his tongue was healed and he prayed with them.


Mr. Fahmy, the son of the Rev. Abdel-Messieh the priest of Sanouris Church, had epilepsy. Doctors were perplexed, but as our father anointed him with oil and prayed for him he was healed.


Our   father   Abdel-Messieh   El-Baramousy   El   Saghier wrote that once he stayed a week with the bishop. He saw many persons visiting him. One of them was a woman from

"Balout," a village near Manfalout, who was sick for a long time.  She  spent  all  her  wealth  on  doctors,  but  she  was  not healed from her lameness and dumb... Four men took her to the bishop, and he prayed for her three days, then she was healed and went back to her village, in the streets praising the Lord and thanking Abbot Abraam.


Mr. Ayad Abadir related that when he was transferred to El-Fayoum he saw by himself a young man who was very sick, his relatives took him to the bishop, who made the sign of the cross on him, and prayed for him, then he was healed.


When the engineer S.A.Y. was taken sick with cancer, he accompanied  his  father  to  the  saint,  who  told  him  to  use some  well-known  eyedropper  in  Egypt,  called  "The  Seven Girls Eyedropper." He prayed on it and put a drop of it in his eyes, at once the leukemia disappeared.


In 1924, Mr. Mohammed Badr-Eldine, the secretary of the

Public Prosecutor General, at Alexandria, related to his col-



league Mr. Labib Boulos that his only son was sick and he did his best to get him healed, lastly he sent a letter to Abbot Abraam, who replied to him stating the time when he would be healed, and this actually happened.


Up till now we feel the effect of his prayers for us. The son of the priest of "Manzalet Demian" Church, in Minieh, was afflicted with Lameness. His family visited the tomb of the saint. In the morning they found their son running, and when  they  asked  him  about  the  matter  he  told  them  that  a man appeared to him, prayed for him and anointed his limbs with oil. Then he was able to walk.








































"I  discipline  my  body  and  bring  it  into  subjection,  lest, when  I  have  preached  to  others,  I  myself  should  become disqualified" 2 Cor. 9:27.


As much as the heart is emptied from the mortal love of the  world,  it  will  be  qualified  to  be  filled  with  heavenly things.  And  as  far  as  it  is  filled  with  the  heavenly  things, man  will  not  desire  any  earthly  thing.  So  our  father  strug- gled,  refusing  everything  in  order  to  gain  the  Food  of  his soul "Jesus Christ."


His principal food was beans and lentils; and during non- fasting days it was the milk without fat. Once he desired to eat a chicken. He asked his disciple to cook it and bring it to him. When the table was prepared he prayed and asked his disciple  to  take  the  chicken  away  and  to  bring  it  the  next day. The same thing happened on the second and the third days. And on the fourth day the food was spoiled, he looked

at  it  saying  to  himself  "O  myself,  eat  from  what  you  de- sired!"  The  same  thing  happened  with  his  disciple  "Anba Marcus," the metropolitan of Esneh.




















The man of God, Anba Abraam, loved Jesus Christ, and had communion with God on the basis of going on the way of  Golgotha  following  the  Cross,  where  he  left  everything willingly.  He  was  refused  and  humiliated  from  people  for the sake of the heavenly glory. He left all his personal dig- nity joyfully and without grumbling.


He  was  a  loving  kind  father  for  the  poor  and  the  rich alike, and he was never conceited.


Mr.  Leeder  investigated  everything  about  the  character and life of our father after he had visited him. He said that he always saw our bishop hiding his hands with the sleeves of his garment in order to prevent anyone from kissing his hands. He also said: "It is usual, I believe, in every Christian church to kneel in receiving a bishop's blessing; but on no account would Anba Abraam consent to any person kneeling before  him.  "To  God  alone,"  he  said,  "was  such  homage due." He was distressed that I felt obliged to kneel, but when

I explained that my first reverence was to God, and then to

His good servant, he gently gave way."


One of the best habits of our father is that he never per- mitted a priest or a deacon to carry the Holy Bible while he was reading it, but in a very modest way he went to the lec- tern and read it as any priest did. He never permitted any of the deacons to say in his presence any statement, that they



usually said before reading the Bible to show their respect to him. He absolutely did not distinguish himself from his peo- ple,  and  he  never  sat  on  a  chair  different  from  that  of  his children. The bishop never permitted the priests to burn in- cense infront of him.


Our  father  Anba  Abraam  was  very  pleased  when  any  of his children called him "Our father, the bishop," and never permitted anyone to call him "Our Master, the bishop."


In the sanctuary he used to stand up all the time during the liturgy,  and  when  he  got  older  and  weaker  he  used  to  sit down on the carpet whenever he got tired.


When the Pope Kyrellos V wanted to give him the higher rank of "Metropolitan," he refused completely.


Anba Abraam did not change his cross after becoming a bishop, but he kept the same old cross, and lived the same life as before, without any slight change.


We can clearly see the kindness of this bishop through the stories told by the people:


"Once, during the morning service of Sunday (matins) the bishop noticed that the deacons were not keeping harmony in their prayers. After the service had ended he remarked on that to the teacher (moalem). The teacher misunderstood him and  did  not  attend  the  vespers  on  that  day.  The  bishop  in- wardly  feeling  the  teacher's  anger  due  to  his  misunder- standing went to his home asking for forgiveness. When the teacher saw him he wept saying, "I beg you to forgive me."

Then the bishop returned to his residence late at night.


As his fame spread, he did not leave his children and es- cape  in  the  desert,  flying  from  vain  glory,  but  he  only  re-


fused  to  meet  anyone  coming  to  him  merely  for  honoring him. This is what the British writer witnessed; saying: "The old  man  apparently  had  no  liking  for  the  idea  of  being sought  out  by  travelers  on  the  purpose  of  venerating  him; this  was  not  his  Master's  work.  If  the  English  man  was

(speaking about himself) poor, or sad, or sick, or in need for any  spiritual  ministration,  or  counsel,  then  he  would  see him, but not otherwise."


When  the  Prince  Serguios  (uncle  of  Nicola  the  Tzar  of

Russia)  and  his  wife,  heard  about  him  they  visited  him  in

1898. The governor received them, and the Coptic noblemen of  El-Fayoum  tried  to  buy  new  furniture  for  the  bishop's residence,  but  the  bishop  refused  completely.  The  visitors came  and  bowed  infront  of  him  on  the  ground,  and  he prayed for them. When they offered him a bag full of golden pounds he refused, and lastly he took one pound and gave it to his disciple Rizk. The Prince said that he did not feel such as inspiring awe all his life as at that moment when he was standing infront of this saint, Anba Abraam.





























Anba  Isidore  said,  "He  was  a  scholar  in  the  holy  Bible studies, so that he learned the extracts by heart and repeated them  from  memory.  This  was  a  result  of  his  studying  the Scriptures at the Monastery of El-Baramous." Some monks said that he read all the Bible every forty days.


It is said that he used to collect his people every evening for  prayers,  and  gave  someone  responsibility  for  reading many chapters of the Bible, and then he would explain them. He encouraged the priests and preachers to deliver sermons, and he himself used to attend those meetings, and to com- ment  on  anything  wrong  they  might  say  concerning  the dogma or the rites of the church.


It  is  said  that  nobody  heard  him  speaking  about  earthly matters,  but  all  his  speech  was  spiritual  and  concerning heavens. His life itself was a real sermon for all. For in his days all were close to Jesus Christ, joining the church, and no one dared to abduct any of the children of the church. On

1908 A.D someone tried to spread some heresies in Fayoum, then the father wrote a strong evangelistic letter to his peo- ple, so that they might not deviate from the orthodox faith.


A  Christian  girl  once  was  seduced  by  a  deceptive  non- Christian  man  who  made  her  yield  to  him  and  despise  her faith as a price for their marriage. The authorities informed the bishopric office of her desire to change her religion. The



bishop  did  not  send  any  priest,  but  went  personally  to  the police office to meet her, but she refused to accept his ad- vice.  The  bishop  angrily  said,  "You  don't  desire  the  other religion  but  you  only  desire  the  youth.  Your  aim  is  very wicked. Go out and God will do His will." As soon as the girl left the room, she fell on the ground and all believed that she had died. The policemen hurried to the girl thinking that the  bishop  had  killed  her.  The  bishop  full  of  courage  ap- proached the girl, blessed some water and sprinkled it over her. She immediately arose and said: "I have seen with my own  eyes!"  Then  she  changed  her  desire  for  marriage,  and lived in righteousness and modesty.


The same story was repeated with a Christian youth who wanted to change his religion for the sake of money. He re- fused the bishop's advice, who told him that God would do His will. The youth died in the same day.


The same thing occurred again with a wicked woman who was presented to the bishop's residence, she had determined to deny the Lord, Jesus Christ. As soon as she left the place she was afflicted with leprosy.



























Our father was famous for his kindness and modesty, but he was also firm. Kamel Saleh Nakhla related : "He speaks frankly,  giving  attention  to  the  truth  itself,  without  taking into consideration to whom it was told."


The priest of St. Mark's Church in Cairo once did a wrong to  a  metropolitan.  A  council  was  assembled  to  judge  him. Our father asked the metropolitan to forgive him but he re- fused. While they were praying, the bishop asked the metro- politan to say the Lord's prayer. When the metropolitan be- gan asking God to forgive our sins as we forgive the sins of our debtors, the bishop interrupted saying, "If you believe in this prayer then go to your brother and kiss his head, or else you  are  deceiving  God  by  saying  this  prayer."  The  metro-

politan asked the priest for his forgiveness.


Once the Pope sent for the bishop to attend a council held to judge a priest, who was charged with allowing a bishop who  was  under  the  ban  of  the  church,  to  enter  the  church, gave  him  food  to  eat  and,  a  place  to  sleep  in.  The  council was  assembled  under  the  presidency  of  the  Pope  and  the charge  was  read.  The  Pope  announced  that  the  priest  must be  excommunicated,  then  he  gave  the  written  judgment  to Kellini (Pasha) Fahmy to sign and pass to his neighbor. The saint  was  sitting  next  to  the  Pasha.  The  bishop  took  the document, read it and said, "I cannot know why this priest should be excommunicated. Did not Jesus Christ command


us  to  be  considerate  to  the  poor  and  strangers?!"  Then  he declared that he would not sign the judgment. Kellini Pasha said that the Pope had already decided, and the verdict was according to the church law. The bishop replied answering the Pasha's words, "Why was I called to this council if I am not allowed to express my opinion?!" One of the members whispered to the bishop, "Do you know that the man you are speaking  to  is  Kelini  Pasha  Fahmy?!"  "Who  is  Kellini  Pa- sha?"  asked  the  saint,  "Did  not  Moses  speak  to  God  Him- self! Leave me in peace!" Then he left the council room and went downstairs. The Pope sent one of the members to him, but he said, "Blessed be the Name of God, I will not go up the  stairs  of  this  house  again  all  my  life,  unless  that  judg- ment  is  brought  to  me  over  here  and  destroyed  immedi- ately." The Pope yielded to him and the priest was forgiven.




































The bishop who had a loving spirit, was a patriotic man more than others. He created the patriotic feeling in his chil- dren, offering to the society good citizens, who fulfill their mission  firmly  and  faithfully,  not  motioned  with  fear  or submissiveness.


The church must not interfere in politics, for her Master told her, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to  God  the  things  that  are  God's."  At  the  same  time  she teaches her children to be honest in their work, suffering for the  sake  of  others,  obeying  the  authorities,  praying  for  the President  and  all  who  have  authority,  and  to  be  loyal  in

paying taxes etc.


It is said that some people came to Anba Abraam asking him to pray for them so that they would be exempted from the military service. He replied "If you want to be exempted, who will guard the nation?," and sent them away.























God  saw  that  the  bishop's  heart  was  open  widely  full  of love to the poor and rich, to the faithful and unfaithful men, so  he  bestowed  to  him  the  grace  of  the  exorcism  of  evil spirits.


The English writer said; "The bishop's power in exorcism of  evil  spirits  has  perhaps  brought  him  more  visitors  from distant parts than any of the other gifts for which he is fa- mous."


The son of the singer (moalem) of the Cathedral of Cairo,

a very intelligent young Copt, who mastered the French and English languages, and of high rank in the government, re- lated to the English writer about the large number of people, Moslems  and  Christians,  who  were  relieved  from  the  evil spirits by the prayers of the bishop. The young Copt also re- lated in detail how the bishop healed his aunt of evil spirits.


Once a man called Abd-el-Messieh was possessed by an evil spirit. The bishop was very tired for the evil spirit did not want to go out of the man, and he disturbed the neigh- bors  by  his  loud  crying.  The  saint  asked  the  people  who were present to bring him to the church on Sunday. While the  liturgy  was  being  celebrated,  and  the  priest  prayed  the Sanctification,  saying  "He  took  bread  on  His  hands  which are holy..., the man cried loudly and disturbed all the church,


so that the bishop was obliged to go out from the sanctuary and command him, "In the name of Jesus Christ the cruci- fied Nazarene, stop and do not move!" The man was silent until the end of the service. Then he summoned him in the bishop's  residence  and  said  to  him  calmly  "In  the  name  of Jesus Christ come in." Then the man was very worried and the bishop continued, "Why did you make this trouble in the church?" The man replied, "Did you put me in the fire and ask  me  not  to  cry?  A  fire  from  the  heaven  was  sent  down unto the table, and was about to burn me !" As the bishop rebuked  him,  the  evil  spirit  went  out  and  the  man  was healed.


Mr.  Mansour  Girgis  said  that  when  they  were  praying

"Lord have mercy!" and the bishop was praying, putting, his hand on the head of Masoud, a sick man from Ekhmim, the sick man trembled at the beginning of the prayer and said,

"Neither you nor ten persons like you can drive me out!" The bishop: "May God persecute you! Go out!"

The evil spirits: "I do not know why you are living until this moment!"

The bishop: I live to fight you! What is your name? Evil spirit: My name is Abraam, the bishop.

The bishop: May God rebuke you. Are there any bishop among the devils?

Then he put the cross on his head and the evil spirit cried:

"The fire! the fire! I will go out!," and he went out.


Fr. Philipos El-Makary said that in 1906 A.D. he saw the bishop  exorcising  a  devil.  While  he  was  praying,  the  devil said  in  deception,  "Forgive  me!  Leave  me  for  my  name  is Girgis,  a  son  of  baptistery,  and  my  age  is  seven  days."  As the bishop did not give him any attention, but continued on


praying,  he  said  to  him  "  If  you  had  not  the  fiery  cross  in your  hand,  I  could  kill  you."  Then  the  person  cried  loudly and the devil went out.




















































Fr.  Mikhail  Saad  conveyed  to  us  a  simple  image  of  the last  moments  of  our  father  Anba  Abraam  before  and  after his departure. He formed it by the aid of the contemporaries who are still alive.


The wife of Late Nassif Mahrous said that before our fa- ther's  departure  he  summoned  Fr.  Abd-El-Sayed  and  some deacons,  and  asked  them  to  pray  the  psalms  outside  his room  and  not  to  open  his  door  before  half  an  hour  had passed. When they opened the door they found him resting

in Christ.


Mr.  Makar  El-Barnachawi  said  that  Mr.  Selim  Saeb  the governor of Fayoum called his wife and said to her "Oh! The bishop of the Nazarenes died... Look at those horses and the people  who  are  riding  them,  they  are  around  him  crying;

"Eqouab!  Eqouab."  Then  he  went  out  and  met  Mr.  El- Barnachawi  asking  him  about  the  meaning  of  the  word Eqouab."  He  told  him  that  it  means  "Holy,  and  it  is  the hymn of the heavenly creatures.


In  the  day  of  his  death,  all  the  people  of  Fayoum  wept bitterly  and  many  came  from  all  the  provinces  of  Egypt. Someone said that those who attended the funeral there were about twenty five thousands, and others said that there were more than ten thousands.


Anba Abraam departed from the world, but did not depart


from the Church, for his love has no end and he still works on behalf of the salvation of all. Now with a wide heart he prays for us in Paradise.


All what he left were:

1- The material things were a simple mattress, a pillow, a quilt, a wooden seat, a small bed and some old furniture.

2- Lists of the monthly gifts offered to the poor families.

3- He left us his glorious life, as a precious treasure.




A brigadier general who was working at the province of Fayoum, was to be brought for trial and he was very trou- bled.  Before  going  to  the  court  he  visited  Anba  Abraam, asking  him  for  his  prayers.  "Don't  be  afraid,"  said  Anba Abraam, "You will only be transferred to another province." The words of our father came true. This general was used to visit him yearly and to offer him five pounds for poor people

at a time.


Once he came as he was accustomed and asked the door- keeper:  "Where  is  Anba  Abraam?"  The  door-keeper  an- swered: "He is in the Monastery of Azab." The general went there  and  asked  the  guard  about  our  father,  and  the  guard told  him  that  he  was  inside.  He  entered  and  found  Anba Abraam standing as if he was waiting for him. The general offered  him  the  ten  pounds,  his  vow  for  two  years.  Anba Abraam asked him to give the money to the guard. The gen- eral went to the guard and said to him: Anba Abraam asked me  to  give  you  this  money.  The  guard  wondering,  said:

"Where is Anba Abraam? He died! This is his tomb!" The general  also  was  amazed,  and  said:  "I  was  speaking  with



him!"  They  entered  together  again,  but  they  did  not  find him!


The same thing happened with a family from Assuit who came for his blessing. He appeared to them, and when they wanted to offer him money as they were used to, he said, "I don't need this money, but there are many poor families liv- ing  near  the  church,"  and  mentioned  them  their  names  in order that they might go and help them.




While a some worker was digging his grave, sun had set. As he couldn’t carry on, so he asked for light. Then behold, something  like  a  bright  dove  appeared  that  lightened  the whole place until he finished the saint's grave.




The  owner  of  the  Book  Store  of  El-Mahaba  mentioned that when they put the saint's icon on their annual calendar in  1957,  an  attendant  who  used  to  go  to  some  Christian families, to give injections to their patients, saw the icon in all the houses he used to visit. He asked: "Who is the priest who  had  this  dull  and  black  face,  that  I  always  see  in  the houses of those Christian families?" At night he was awak- ened as he heard someone saying: "Are you not pleased with my picture?" The voice was repeated, and the man felt that his  legs  were  paralyzed.  He  wept  bitterly.  Next  day  St. Abraam appeared to him and told him that God had forgiven him. He stood joyfully, praising God. From that moment he

used to buy the calendar and distribute it.












V    In the year 1829 A.D. (1545 Coptic) in a village called

"Galad," 27 km. south west of Mallawi, in the area of the diocese of Deirout, was born the child Boulos Ghobrial. His parents were righteous and loving God.


V  He was sent to the "Kuttab," i.e., the church School. His teacher  Roufail  took  care  of  him,  taught  him  reading, writing,  arithmetic,  the  Holy  Scriptures,  church  hymns and the psalmody. He was very intelligent and anxious to learn everything.


V  When he was eight years old, his mother was sick. A few weeks later she died, and left her only child. As he loved praying and reciting psalms, he found in God what satis- fied his emotions and filled all his heart.


V  When he was fifteen years old, he became famous among his mates. The priests recommended him to "Anba Yous- sab," the bishop of the diocese, who ordained him a dea- con during his visit to the village church.


V  As he loved the life of contemplation, so he was admitted to  St.  Virgin  Mary  Monastery  "El-Meharrak"  at  Assuit, when Father Abd-el-Malek was the president of the mon- astery.  He  was  very  decent,  active,  and  he  loved  all  the monks. They recommended him and he became a monk



when he was nineteen years old, in 1564 C. (1848 A.D). His new name was Fr. Boulos El-Meharraki.He  was  dis- tinguished by:

1-His patience and self-control.

2-His interest in almsgiving.

Anba  Yakoubos,  the  bishop  of  Minieh,  heard  about him,  he  asked  him  to  come  to  the  "bishop's  residence" and to remain with him. Fr. Boulos worked day and night, and  he  changed  the  "bishop's  residence"  to  a  shelter  for poor men.


V    His great desire for contemplation urged him to ask the bishop  to  allow  him  to  return  to  the  monastery  after  he had spent four years helping the bishop. Then the bishop ordained  him  a  priest,  and  allowed  him  to  return  to  the monastery in 1863.


V    At that time there was a problem regarding Father Ab- del-Malek,  the  president  of  the  monastery,  but  Father Boulos did not interfere in this problem.

The  monks  chose  him  to  be  the  new  president  of  the monastery.  He  opened  the  doors  of  the  monastery  for poor people, also young men heard about him and came, asking him to teach them, and after a short time they be- came forty monks, among them:

1-  "Anba  Marcus,"  bishop  of  Esneh  and  Luxor,  who was born at "Tasa," Assuit, in 1565 Coptic, 1848 A.D. He became a monk in 1586 at El-Meharrak's Monastery, and he grew up under the leadership of Fr. Boulos, the mon- astery's president. Pope Kyrilos chose him in 1592 C. to teach the new monks at El-Baramous' Monastery. He met his spiritual father again after five years absence, and he


remained  with  him  until  1595  Coptic,  when  he  was  or- dained  a  bishop  for  Esneh  and  Luxor.  Up  till  now  the people of Esneh still remember much about his pure life, his  holiness,  deep  love  for  prayer,  his  modesty,  and  his special care for everyone, and about his renewing of old churches and constructing new ones.

2- Fr. Mikhail El-Behery. He was one of  his students, and lived the same life of his teacher. In 1925 Anba Lu- cas, bishop of Manfalout wrote a book about his biogra- phy.

3- Anba Mattaous, bishop of Ethiopia.


V  As  usual  the  devil  was  furious  when  he  saw  that  the monastery was opened for poor people, and young monks were filled with love to Jesus Christ. He made some of the monks think that Fr. Boulos was wasting the money of the monastery, and they rebelled against him.


V  In 1586 C. (1870 A.D) Fr. Boulos was asked to leave the presidency of the monastery after being the president for five years. He went with four of his students to Cairo to meet "Anba Marcos," bishop of El-Behera and the acting Pope. They asked him to let them go to the Monastery of Anba  Bishoy  at  the  "Natroun-valley,"  where  they  re- mained  for  a  short  period.  Afterwards  they  went  to  El- Baramous' Monastery in 1587 C. At that time the presi- dent  of  this  monastery  was  Fr.  Youhanna  (John)  El- Nassekh, who became later Pope Kyrilos. He was so glad to receive them and he offered them cells to stay in.


V  Fr. Boulos devoted all his time to praying and study, but his deep love to the poor people did not end. So he loved


the Arabs who were living in the area of the monastery and  he  shared  with  them  everything  he  had,  even  his clothes.


V  In  1597  C.  (1881  A.D.)  the  Ethiopian  Emperor,  John Kassa  asked  Pope  Kyrilos  to  ordain  a  metropolitan  and three Bishops for Ethiopia, then he chose the four fathers who were accompanying Fr. Boulos. They were:

*  Fr.  Ekladious  El-Meiry  who  was  ordained  a  metro- politan of Asmara with the name "Anba Boutros" (Peter).

* Fr. Ekladious El-Khaldy El-Moharreky who was or- dained  bishop  of  Addis  Ababa  with  the  name  "Anba Mettaous."

* Fr. Solimon El-Delgawi El-Moharraky with the name of "Anba Lucas," bishop of Axum.

*   Fr.   Mikhail   El-Masry   El-Moharraky,   bishop   of

Kadgod, with the name of Anba Marcus (Mark).

At the same time Anba Isaac the metropolitan of Fay- oum and Giza departed, then the four bishops asked the Pope  to  ordain  their  father  as  a  bishop  for  that  diocese. The  Pope  and  the  people  agreed,  and  all  the  people  of Fayoum became very pleased and joyful on that day, for the  ordination  of  their  new  bishop  "Anba  Abraam,"  in Abib 1597 Coptic.


V  During his time, the diocese of Fayoum became a great vine, under which shadow the poor and rich sat with great delight.


V  When  the  Khedive  Tawfik  visited  El-Fayoum,  a  great feast was prepared. Anba Abraam was sitting very near to the  Khedive.  He  ate  only  salad,  and  when  the  Khedive


asked him about that he answered that the day was Fri- day, and the Christians were to fast on all Fridays. Then he ordered fruits for Anba Abraam and asked him to meet him again. He went to meet him at the railway station be- fore  he  left,  and  the  Khedive  welcomed  him  fervently saying to him "You are a blessed man."


V  The  rulers  and  governors,  even  the  tyrant  ones  found comfort in his presence.


V  The  British  High  Commissioner  heard  about  him  and asked to see him. The governor of the province of Fay- oum, the responsible men and the nobles were ashamed because  of  the  poor  furniture  of  the  bishop's  residence and its old buildings. But the kneeling down of the Brit- ish man in solemnity to the father, and the kissing of his hands and the cross surprised them very much.


V  Mr. Wasif Boctor Bishara one of the noble of Keneh re- lates that around 1898 Mohammed Bey Nohey, the gov- ernor of Fayoum province was transferred to Keneh, and there he had a welcoming party, I was one of the guests, and  I  remember  that  the  main  conversation  during  the whole party was about the life of saint Anba Abraam, his words  and  his  good  deed.  During  the  conversation  the governor was deeply afflicted.


V  In  the  year  1902  he  made  a  trip  with  his  disciple  Anba Mattaous, the metropolitan of Ethiopia. They visited Up- per-Egypt and went up as far as Luxor. On his return the governor  of  Fayoum,  the  commandant  of  police,  the  po




lice  men,  the  nobles  and  all  the  people  were  joyfully waiting for him at the station.


V  In  the  year  1893  he  had  some  trouble  with  his  leg,  that made the doctors decide to have it amputated. When one of his spiritual children told him about this he smiled as usual, and said "God will not let this happen. I am sure He will let them down!" After two months he recovered completely,  and  went  out  to  the  church,  praising  God. The  bishop's  residence  was  very  crowded.  The  people held  palm-leaves,  and  they  were  waving  olive  branches with joy!


V  After he had spent 33 years, as a bishop, rich with deep fellowship with God and real worship, serving everybody sincerely, tiring continuously for the poor, using the gift of  healing  and  exorcising  of  evil  spirits,  he  was  sick  in bed for a month. So the people gathered to get his bless- ings, specially when they knew that he refused to call a doctor  saying,  "I  am  flying  to  the  Lord  Jesus."  And  it happened  on  Thursday  2  Baouna  1630  C.,  9  June  1914 after sunset that our blessed father departed to Paradise.


V  Those who attended his funeral were more than ten thou- sand  persons.  Some  have  estimated  them  to  be  twenty five thousand, Christians and Moslems. But the history of Anba  Abraam  has  not  ended.  In  every  Egyptian  house there is still a lot to be told about him, for he was really a God's loving man.


V  On the third of Baouna 1860 C., 10 June 1964 the church celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his departure, under


the care of Pope Kyrilos VI. The Holy Council of Bishops decided that his name should be added to the saints in the Holy  Eucharist.  For  the  heart  that  can  hold  love  for  the whole church never stops love after this physical body is taken  off,  so  that  on  the  day  of  the  Lord  it  would  be clothed with a spiritual and imperishable body.


May the blessing of our blessed Father be with us. Amen.













































The Essence of Christ


A Friend of the Poor


A Man of Prayer


His asceticism


The Modest Bishop


Explaining the Word of Truth


His Firmness


A Patriot


His Power in Exorcism of Evil Spirits


His Departure


A Summary of His Life


















||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

||    The Orthodox Faith (Dogma)    ||    Family and Youth    ||    Sermons    ||    Bible Study    ||    Devotional    ||    Spirituals    ||    Fasts & Feasts    ||    Coptics    ||    Religious Education    ||    Monasticism    ||    Seasons    ||    Missiology    ||    Ethics    ||    Ecumenical Relations    ||    Church Music    ||    Pentecost    ||    Miscellaneous    ||    Saints    ||    Church History    ||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Patrology    ||    Canon Law    ||    Lent    ||    Pastoral Theology    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bibles    ||    Iconography    ||    Liturgics    ||    Orthodox Biblical topics     ||    Orthodox articles    ||    St Chrysostom    ||   

||    Bible Study    ||    Biblical topics    ||    Bibles    ||    Orthodox Bible Study    ||    Coptic Bible Study    ||    King James Version    ||    New King James Version    ||    Scripture Nuggets    ||    Index of the Parables and Metaphors of Jesus    ||    Index of the Miracles of Jesus    ||    Index of Doctrines    ||    Index of Charts    ||    Index of Maps    ||    Index of Topical Essays    ||    Index of Word Studies    ||    Colored Maps    ||    Index of Biblical names Notes    ||    Old Testament activities for Sunday School kids    ||    New Testament activities for Sunday School kids    ||    Bible Illustrations    ||    Bible short notes

||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

||    Prayer of the First Hour    ||    Third Hour    ||    Sixth Hour    ||    Ninth Hour    ||    Vespers (Eleventh Hour)    ||    Compline (Twelfth Hour)    ||    The First Watch of the midnight prayers    ||    The Second Watch of the midnight prayers    ||    The Third Watch of the midnight prayers    ||    The Prayer of the Veil    ||    Various Prayers from the Agbia    ||    Synaxarium