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

Our Saints, The Reverend Apostles


It is appropriate-during the Holy Apostles' lentthat

we commemorate our Saints, the reverend

Apostles; they are our fathers and our teachers,

through them we received and apprehended the

Faith. We, therefore, ought to be grateful to them.

Though at the same time we -unfortunately-admit

that there are only very few churches which are

named after those reverend Apostles if compared to

the names of other Saints.

First, we should mention that those reverend

Apostles had been called for their mission by

Jesus Christ himself. He is the One who said to

them:" You did not choose Me, but I chose you and

appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and

that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask

the Father in My name He may give you" (Jn15:16)

And Jesus Christ also said to them after the

Resurrection" As the Father has sent Me, I also send


How gracious it is that God's servants are called

to the service by God Himself. St. Paul the Apostle

said in his Epistle to the Hebrews "And no man takes

this honor to himself, but he who is called by God,

just as Aaron was"(Heb5:4).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

In the Old Testament, we find examples of

God's calling:

As when God called Noah (Gn6), and our father

Abraham (Gn12), also when God called Jacob the

father of all fathers and said to him" I am with you

and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you

back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have

done what I have spoken to you"(Gn28:15). God

blessed him and gave him a new name (Gn32:28).

God had also called Moses, He granted him the power

of working miracles, and God said to him "I have

made you as God to Pharaoh" (Ex7:1). And also said

"Not so with my servant Moses; He is faithful in all

my house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly,

and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the

Lord. (Nm12:7, 8).

All those whom God called, were blessed.

And God granted them with special grace.

God had called Jeremiah from the day he was in

his mother's womb. He said "Before I formed you in

the womb I knew you; before you were born I

sanctified you; ordained you a prophet to the nations"

(Jer1:5). And God also said "They will fight against


but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with

you," says the Lord, "to deliver you" (Jer1:19).

God had also called Joshua and said to him" No

man shall be able to stand before you all the days of

your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I

will not leave you nor forsake you" (Jos1:5).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

When God called The Apostles in the New

Testament: He granted them a special grace. It

was said that He loved His own who were in the

world, He loved them to the end. (Jn13:1). And said

to them: "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go

and prepare a place for you, I will come again and

receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you

may be also." (Jn14:2, 3). And about them He said to

the Father ", I desire that they also whom You gave

Me may be with Me where I am", and also said "And

the glory which You gave Me I have given them."

(Jn17:24, 22).

God loved them so much that, after the

Resurrection, He granted them the grace of

Priesthood with all its power. He breathed on them

and said "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the

sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the

sins of any, they are retained" (Jn20:22.23).

And on the day of Pentecost, God filled them with

the Holy Spirit and the talent of speaking with other

tongues (Acts2).

And because He loved them so much He said to

them: "Abide in Me, and I in you." (Jn15) Like a

branch to the vine, abide in My love.

In this concern, St. Paul the Apostle said "I have

been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live,

but Christ lives in me" (Gal2:20).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Our Reverend Apostles were the initiators of

many incidents:

They are the first who were blessed by the grace

of Priesthood according to the rite of Melchizedek.

And they are the ones who gave over the grace of

Priesthood to others whom they ordained as Bishops,

Priests and Deacons. They also established the

Christian Socialism System; they had everything in

common (Acts 2, 4), the believers sold their

possessions and goods, and divided them among all,

as anyone had needed…

They are the first who convened a Holy Council.

This was in Jerusalem (Acts15). This Council

discussed the issue of accepting the Gentiles in the

faith and how to deal with them.

They are, as well, the first who chose by lots in

the New Testament when they were choosing Judas

successor and the lot fell on Matthias. (Acts2).

They are the first who spoke with foreign tongues

when they were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day

of Pentecost.

They are the first who had set rules and

constitutions of the Holy Church.

They are the first who instituted Churches and

constructed it as well, this is mentioned in the Acts of

the Apostles (Acts9:31): "Then the churches

throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace

and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord


and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were

multiplied". I loved this phrase so much that I wrote

it on every occasion of constructing any of our new

Churches in the States or in the UK.

Churches were at first inside the believers' homes

as St. Mark's (Acts 12:12). It was also in Cemeteries,

and then Churches started to be constructed, also,

during the Apostles' era.

The Apostles are the first who made the Holy

Chrism (anointing oil), as mentioned in (1Jn2:20, 27)

"But you have an anointing from the Holy One ".

Believers, at first, received the Holy Spirit when the

Apostles laid their hands on them as mentioned in

(Acts8), (Acts19). And when Churches grew in

number in many different countries, the Apostles then

used the Sacrament of the Holy anointing (Myron).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The Reverend Apostles were the first

preachers, and that shows how importantly

great they were:

That was after the day of Pentecost when they

obeyed God's saying to them; "But you shall receive

power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and

you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all

Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth"


Their missionary started on the day of Pentecost

when they attracted 3000 souls to the faith and

baptized them (Acts2:41). and then when they healed

the lame man at the gate of the temple which was

called Beautiful, they then said to the chiefs of the

Jews: it is not by our own power or godliness we had

made this man walk…and the Apostles directed the

people's attention to God the Holy One whom they

delivered up and denied when they asked for a

murderer to be granted to them instead…and they

said that through faith in His name, the lame man

stood and walked (Acts3). Then many of those who

heard the word believed; and the number of the men

came to be about five thousand (Acts4:4).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And after ordination of the seven Deacons, we

read that: "the word of God spread, and the number

of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a

great many of the priests were obedient to the faith"


After a great persecution had arisen against the

church which was at Jerusalem, and lots were all

scattered, we also read that "those who were

scattered went everywhere preaching the word"

(Acts8:1, 4).

We then read about the faith of the Samarians,

and that the Apostles sent them the two Saints Peter

and Paul who laid their hands on them so they

received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8).

Preaching then started to be extended throughout

Cities, and lots of territories, as from Jerusalem it

extended to Antioch. The Disciples were first called

Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26). Then preaching

moved forward outside of Judea and Galilee to Cyprus

and Minor Asia, to the Western direction in Greece

and Rome and towards the East in Iraq and India,

also it moved towards the South to Egypt and Libya

and in the Northern direction to Europe.

During 30 years of time, preaching has been

extending in such a great success.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Saul of Tarsus, his faith had helped the

preaching missionary to grow (Acts9), Saul

whom God appeared to him and called him to be

a prophet for the Gentiles. Preaching grew with the

great effort of this great Saint, whom Bernaba

participated with for some time, then St. Mark with

lots of other disciples who then became Preachers.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

God granted the Reverend Apostles a power

of working miracles; this power helped

strengthening their preaching.

In this concern, the Bible says "And through the

hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were

done among the people…And believers were

increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both

men and women, so that they brought the sick out

into the streets and laid them on beds and couches,

that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall

on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the

surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people

and those who were tormented by unclean spirits,

and they were all healed" (Acts5:12-16).

Concerning St. Paul the Apostle, the Bible says"

Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of

Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were

brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases

left them and the evil spirits went out of them."

(Acts19:11, 12).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

We can notice in their preaching the quality

of courage and endurance.

when the Chief Priests wanted to stop them, and

threatened them not to speak at all nor teach in the

name of Jesus, they answered and said to them: "we

cannot but speak the things which we have seen and

heard" (Acts4:20). On the contrary, they replied

courageously "We ought to obey God rather than


When the Apostles were whipped and imprisoned,

they went rejoicing out of jail that they were counted

worthy to suffer shame for His name. "And daily in

the temple, and in every house, they did not cease

teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ"

(Acts5:41, 42).

they were preaching everywhere, even along the

roads as when Philip preached the Ethiopian eunuch

who was sitting in his chariot reading the scripture of

Isaiah the prophet, the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near

and overtake this chariot" and Philip preached Jesus

to him. When he believed, Philip baptized him and

then he went on his way rejoicing (Acts8:27-39).

And also Paul the Apostle who preached the

Gospel to the jailer when he was in the prison of

Philippi, the jailer was saved and his entire household

(Acts16). God's Angel was always getting the

Reverend Apostles out of jails, then they resume their

preaching mission and chiefs became amazed of what

they do.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

They employed all methods of preaching.

St. Paul the Apostle says" and to the Jews I

became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those

who are under the law, as under the law, that I might

win those who are under the law; to those who are

without law, as without law (not being without law

toward God, but under law toward Christ, that I might

win those who are without law; to the weak I became

as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become

all things to all men, that I might by all means save


some" (1Cor9:20-22). And also said "For if I preach

the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is

laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the

gospel" (1Cor9:16).

And as they preached the Gospel in the

Sanctuary, in prison and along the road; St. Paul

preached at Areopagus in Athens (Acts17:22). "Dwelt

two whole years in his own rented house, and

received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom

Of God and teaching the things which concern the

Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one

forbidding him." (Acts28:30, 31).

St. Paul spoke also of God's word before both

Felix the Governor (Acts24), and King Agrippa

(Acts26). The Apostles preached the Gospel and lots

of the Epistles, in addition to their oral education.

May their prayers and their intercession be with

all of us. Amen.

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