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Tute - Babah - Hatour - Kiahk - Tubah - Amshir - Baramhat - Barmoudah - Bashans - Baounah - Abib - Misra - El-Nasi


The Blessed Month of Hatour

The First Day

1. The Martyrdom of the Saints Maximus, Numitius, Victor (Boctor), and Philip (Philopus).

2. The Commemoration of Saint Cleopas the Apostle and His Companion.

1. On this day, the striver Saints Maximus, Numitius, Victor (Boctor), and Philip (Philopus) were martyred. They lived in the days of Decius the Emperor. During his reign, the seven young men disappeared in a cave in a mountain in Ephesus.

    These four saints were from Africa, and they were brethren in spiritual love. The desire for Christ gathered them together. When Emperor Decius was torturing the Christians, they agreed together to declare their faith.

    They went before the Prefect and confessed that they were Christians and only worshipped and bowed to Christ. He ordered them beaten, and they were many times, with whips and sticks. Their backs were burned with red-hot rods. Their bodies then were rubbed with rags made of hair steeped in vinegar and salt.

    In spite of all this severe torture they remained steadfast in the faith. Some of the people present believed in the Lord Christ when they saw their patience and endurance. Finally, the Prefect ordered the heads of some of the saints to be cut off and the sword to be used on the others. Thus they all received the crown of martyrdom.

Their prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also is the commemoration of St. Cleopas the Apostle and his companion who were traveling to a village called Emmaus.

    So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them. When they did not know Him, He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" Later, as He sat at the table with them, He took bread, blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. Then, their eyes were opened, and they knew Him, and He vanished from their sight. (Luke 24:13-31)

    These two Apostles were among the 72 Apostles.

Their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.


The Second Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

The Departure of St. Peter the Third 27th Pope of Alexandria

On this day in the year 481 A.D., the Great Saint Abba Peter III, 27th Pope of Alexandria, departed. He was chosen patriarch after the departure of St. Timothy, 26th Pope. Shortly after his enthronement upon the apostolic throne, he received a letter from St. Acacius, Patriarch of Constantinople, confessing in it the one nature of Christ, according to the faith of St. Cyril and St. Dioscorus. He also stated clearly that it is not right to recognize two separate natures for Christ after the union, otherwise, the usefulness of the union would be futile.

    Abba Peter replied by a letter declaring his acceptance of Abba Acacius into the Orthodox Faith. He sent it with three learned bishops to Abba Acacius, who received them with respect and asked them to join him in the prayers of the Divine Liturgy.

    Abba Acacius read the letter to his particulars and to those who followed him. He then wrote another Catholic epistle to Abba Peter. When Abba Peter received it, he gathered the bishops and the fathers and read the letter to them. They rejoiced exceedingly and they admired the words and the explanations therein. They then recognized Abba Acacius' fellowship with them in the Orthodox Faith.

    This father suffered many tribulations from those who opposed his religion and opinion. Abba Peter was exiled from his chair once, but was restored later. In his exile he continually taught the flock. He preached to them by means of written messages and, whenever he was present, by his spoken words. He stayed on the See of St. Mark for eight years then departed in peace.

His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.


The Third Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Departure of St. Cyriacus.

2. The Departure of St. Athanasius and His Sister, Irene.

1. On this day, the holy father, St. Cyriacus, departed. This striver was brought up in the city of Corinth in Greece. He was the son of Orthodox Christian parents, who taught him the church subjects. They brought him to Abba Peter, Bishop of Corinth, who was his cousin, and he ordained him a reader. Cyriacus read continually and searched in the interpretations of the Holy Scriptures until he surpassed many in it. Abba Peter appointed him to read to the people in the church and to him in his cell, and he was pleased with him.

    When he was 18 years old, his parents asked him if he wished to marry, but he refused. He asked them for permission to visit one of the monasteries in order to be blessed by the saints therein. He continued to visit the monastery from time to time and he longed for the monastic garb.

    He went to the Holy city, Jerusalem, and met its bishop, Abba Cyril. He presented to him his wish to become a monk. Abba Cyril approved his wish and prophesied of him saying that he would become a great father, would have many accomplishments, and many souls would be enlightened by his teachings. He blessed him and sent him to the great father Euthymius (Otimus), the father of the monks of Palestine.

    Father Euthymius accepted him with joy and put the garb of the monk on him. He handed him to one of the elders of the monastery who taught him the ways of worship and revealed to him the artifices of Satan. Abba Cyriacus lived a virtuous life with much asceticism besides humility, godliness and devoutness. God bestowed upon him the gift of healing. He healed all those who came to the monastery with all kinds of sicknesses or infirmities. His virtues and his holiness spread everywhere.

    This holy man accompanied Abba Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, to the Ecumenical council of the hundred and fifty that gathered at Constantinople because of Macedonius, the enemy of the Holy Spirit. Abba Cyriacus opposed his arguments and vanquished him by evidences and proofs. He departed at a good old age. The Lord made manifest from his body after his departure, many signs and miracles. His body still rests in one of the monasteries of the city of Jerusalem, without any change or corruption, to the extent that anyone who sees him today would think that he just died only a short time ago. More than 700 years have passed from the time of his departure till the writing of his biography. He lived at the time of Theodosius the Great in the later part of the fourth Christian century.

His intercession be for us. Amen.

2. On this day also, St. Athanasius and his sister, Irene, departed. They suffered many tortures at the hands of Maximianus. When he failed to turn them away from their faith in Christ, he ordered to cast them into an empty pit, and to shut over them, wherein they departed.

Their intercession be with us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.


The Fourth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Martyrdom of Saints John and James, Bishops of Persia.

2. The Martyrdom of Saints Epimachus and Adrianus (Azarianus).

1. On this day, Sts. John and James, Bishops of Persia, were martyred by the hands of Shapur, the son of Hormuzd (Hermez), King of Persia.

    When the King demanded them to worship the sun and fire, and to offer sacrifices to them, they did not obey him. Instead, they continued teaching and confirming the people in the faith of the Lord Christ, to Whom is the glory. Therefore, the King ordered them be tortured severely. When they would not turn from the faith, and would not cease from teaching the people and strengthening them, in spite of their torture, he ordered them be cast into the fire. They gave up their souls into the hand of the Lord Christ, thus received the crown of glory with all the saints.

Their prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also, Sts. Epimachus and Adrianus (Azarianus), who were from the city of Rome, were martyred. Some people accused them of being Christians to the Governor, who was appointed by Maximianus the Emperor.

    He brought them and questioned them about their belief. They confessed that they were Christians. Then they reproved him for having forsaken the worship of God, who created the Heaven, the Earth, and all that is therein. They also admonished him for worshipping man-made idols which could neither see nor hear and wherein dwelt Satan, who led men astray by worshipping these idols. The Governor marvelled at their audacity and commanded their necks to be cut off. Thus they received the crown of martyrdom.

Their intercession be with us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.


The Fifth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Appearance of the Head of St. Longinus, the Soldier.

2. The Martyrdom of St. Timothy and the Relocation of the Body of St. Theodore, the Prince, to Shotb.

1. On this day was the appearance of the head of St. Longinus the Soldier who pierced the side of our Savior, when He was on the Cross. Emperor Tiberius Caesar sent a soldier to Cappadocia to cut off the head of this saint, as it is written in the 23rd day of the month of Abib. The soldier fulfilled the order and brought the head to Jerusalem, and handed it to Pontius Pilate. Pilate showed the head to the Jews, who rejoiced at his deed. Pilate commanded that the head be buried in some of the piles of dirt outside Jerusalem.

    There was a woman who had believed at the hands of St. Longinus when he preached in Cappadocia. During his execution, she stood, weeping, and witnessed his martyrdom. Later on she became blind. So, she took her son and departed to Jerusalem to be blessed by the holy places, and the holy sepulchre, hoping that she might regain her sight. When she arrived in Jerusalem, her son died. She became very sad and grieved because of her condition and there was no one to take her back to her own country.

    During her sleep she saw St. Longinus, and with him, was her son who had died. He directed her to whereabout his head was buried and ordered her to remove it. When she woke up, she looked for the place until she found it. She dug in the ground and a sweet aroma of incense came out.

    When she reached the head of the saint, a great light shone from it and straightaway her eyes were opened and she was able to see.

    She glorified the Lord Christ, kissed the head, perfumed it, and placed it with the body of her son. Then she returned to her own country glorifying the Lord Christ Who performed wonders through His saints.

The prayers of this saint be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also is the commemoration of the martyrdom of St. Timothy and also the commemoration of the relocation of the body of St. Theodore the Prince, to the city of Shotb, in the province of Assiut (His martyrdom is on the 20th of the Coptic month of Abib).

Their blessings be with us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.


The Sixth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Departure of St. Felix, Pope of Rome.

2. The Consecration of the church of the Virgin in the Mouharaque Monastery in Quosquam Mount.

1. On this day, the holy father St. Felix, Pope of Rome, departed. He was born of Christian parents in Rome in the year 210 A.D. They raised him with high principles and he gradually advanced in the clerical ranks. Astasius, Pope of Rome, ordained him a deacon. Pope Justus, seeing his righteousness and virtues, ordained him a priest.

    When Abba Dionysius, Pope of Rome, (who was contemporary of St. Thaouna, Pope of Alexandria) departed, this father was chosen for the Roman See. He shepherded the flock of Christ with the best of care. When Aurelianus Caesar reigned, he incited persecution against the believers of the Lord Christ. He tortured them using very painful methods, and many of them were martyred by his hands. Since great tribulation befell St. Felix from the Emperor, he entreated God to take these tribulations away from His people. Because of his prayers, the Emperor died in the second year of his reign.

    When Diocletian reigned, he also persecuted the Christians and started torturing them. Pope Felix prayed to the Lord to spare him from witnessing the torture of the Christians. So, he departed in the first year of the reign of Diocletian, after he had sat upon the Apostolic throne for five years. He left many sayings and discourses, some of which were useful teachings and others were about the doctrines.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also was the consecration of the church of the Holy Virgin, in the Mouharaque Monastery, in Quosquam Mount. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ blessed this church with His presence along with His disciples, during the time of its consecration, as was testified to by the Saints Philotheos and Kyrillos, Popes of Alexandria.

Their prayers be with us and Glory be to our Lord forever. Amen.


The Seventh Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Martyrdom of St. George of Alexandria.

2. The Martyrdom of St. Nehroua.

3. The Departure of St. Mina, Bishop of Tamai (Thmoui).

4. The Consecration of the Church of St. George of Cappadocia.

1. On this day, St. George (Gawargios) of Alexandria, was martyred. His father was a merchant in the city of Alexandria and had no son. It happened that he travelled to the city of Lydd and attended the feast of the consecration of the Church of St. George the martyr. He prayed to God, interceding with His great saint that he might have a son. God answered his prayers, and gave him a son, and he named him George. His mother was the sister of Armenius, the Governor of Alexandria.

    His parents died when he was 25 years old. George was merciful, loving and kind to the poor and loved the church. He stayed with his uncle who had only one daughter. One day she went with some of her friends for an outing. While they were walking nearby a monastery outside the city, she heard its monks singing sweet hymns. She was touched by what she had heard and asked her cousin George about it. He replied that those monks had forsaken the world to worship and he guided her to believe in the Lord Christ. He told her about the share of the sinners of the final punishment and the share of the righteous of felicity.

    When she returned to her father, she told him that she was a believer of Christ. He tried to reason with her, to dissuade her, and to lure her with great promises. Then he threatened her. When she did not hearken to his words, he ordered that her head be cut off, thus she received the crown of martyrdom.

    Later on, the Governor knew that George was responsible for her conversion. He seized him and tortured him severely. Then he sent him to Ansena where they also tortured him and finally they cut off his holy head, thus he received the crown of martyrdom. A deacon whose name was Samuel, took his holy body and carried it to the city of Manf, El-Giza province.

    When the wife of his uncle Armenius knew about it, she sent for the body and placed it with the body of her martyred daughter in Alexandria.

Their intercession be for us. Amen.

2. On this day also, St. Nehroua, was martyred. He was from the district of Fayyum and he feared God. When he heard the accounts of the martyrs, he went to Alexandria to die for the Name of the Lord Christ.

    He was told in a vision that he must go to Antioch. While he was thinking of how to go there and looking for a ship to embark on, God sent to him His angel Michael, who carried him on his wings from Alexandria to Antioch and set him down before Diocletian. There he confessed the Lord Christ. Diocletian asked him about his name and his country, and when he knew Nehroua's story, he marvelled at the manner in which he had come.

    Diocletian offered him much money and many prizes to turn him away from his faith, but Nehroua refused. Then Diocletian threatened him, but could not frighten him. Therefore the Emperor ordered that he be tortured in many different ways.

    One time they tortured him by releasing lions to attack him, once by burning him in a fire, another by squeezing him in the wheel, and still another time by casting him in a cauldron with fire under it. Finally, they cut off his holy head with a sword and he received the crown of martyrdom. St. Nehroua became a counterpart for those from Antioch who were martyred in the land of Egypt.

    It happened that St. Julius El-Akfahsee was present at the time of his martyrdom, so he took his body and sent it with two of his men to St. Nehroua's country with great honor.

Their intercession be for us. Amen.

3. Today also, St. Mina, bishop of the city of Tamai (Thmoui) El-Amdid in Sinbelawain, departed. His father was from the city of Samannoud. He was the only son of God-fearing parents. They practiced the works of the monks such as fasting, prayers and asceticism until their report was heard throughout the country.

    They made their son marry against his will. But he agreed with his wife on keeping their virginity. They remained so, doing many worships as practiced by monks, wearing sackcloth and spending most of their nights in prayer and reading the word of God. This saint longed to be a monk and he discussed it with his wife saying, "It is improper for us to practice the monastic works while we are in the world."

    She agreed with him, and he went to the monastery of Anba Antonius, to be far away from his parents. They looked for St. Mina to return him back to his wife and they knew not where he was. From there he went with Anba Mikhail, who became later on the 46th Pope of Alexandria, to the monastery of St. Macarius, where they became monks. That was during the time of the two bright stars Anba Abraam and Anba Gawargah. Father Mina became their disciple, he learned from them, followed the way of their worship and increased in his angelic works until he surpassed in his worship many of the fathers.

    Satan envied him for his strenuous fight and afflicted him in his legs and he laid flat on the ground for two months. After that the Lord Christ healed St. Mina, who overcame Satan with the might of God.

    Later on, he was called for the rank of episcopate. When the messengers of the Patriarch came to him and he knew the reason for their visit, he wept and was sorrowful to leave the desert. The fathers convinced him that this was the will of God. He obeyed and went with the messengers to the Patriarch who ordained him Bishop of the city of Tamai (Thmoui).

    The Lord granted him the gift of healing the sick, the gift of knowing the hidden things and he knew what was in the minds of people. The bishops of the surrounding districts used to come to him for counselling. People from everywhere came to listen to his teachings. He was the father of four Patriarchs and he laid his hand upon them when they were ordained. They were: Anba Alexandros II, Anba Cosma, Anba Theodore, and Anba Mikhail I.

    When the Lord Christ wished him to depart from this transient world, He informed him. Anba Mina called the people of his diocese and commanded them to be strong in the Orthodox faith and to keep the divine commandments. Then he committed them to their true shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ and departed from this transitory world and came to Christ, Whom he loved. The people wept and mourned the loss of their shepherd and their father after the Lord, who cared for their souls. They buried him in a fitting manner and laid him in the place, as he had directed beforehand.

His prayers be with us all. Amen.

4. Also on this day, is the commemoration of the consecration of the Church of the honorable saint and great martyr St. George in the city of Lydd. We also commemorate the great wonders and signs, the Lord has done therein which became known throughout the land and sea. When Emperor Diocletian heard the reports of this church, he sent Eukheius, the head of his army, with soldiers to destroy it. Eukheius came with arrogance to where the icon of St. George was and he began to scoff at the Christians and at the Saint. He had a staff in his hand with which he struck the lamp, which was burning before the icon of St. George and he broke it. A fragment of the lamp fell on his head. Fear and great trembling came upon him and he fell prostrate on the ground. The soldiers carried him, to take him back to his country, for they knew that this had happened to him because of his mockery towards this great martyr. Eukheius died on the way back with disgrace, and they cast him into the sea.

    When Diocletian heard this, he became angry and decided to go himself to this church and destroy it. The Lord bore no longer with him to do what he had determined to do and He smote him with blindness and the men of his kingdom rose up against him. The Lord took the kingdom away from him and placed Constantine, a righteous Emperor, in his place. Emperor Constantine closed pagan temples and opened the churches. The churches and the universe rejoiced, especially the church of the great martyr, the star of the morning, St. George.

His intercession be with us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.


The Eighth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

The Commemoration of the Four Incorporeal Beasts

On this day is the commemoration of the four Incorporeal Beasts who carry the throne of God. As it is mentioned by St. John who witnessed this in his Revelation saying, "Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardine stone in appearance: and there was a rainbow around the throne in appearance like an emerald: ... and in the midst of the throne and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying, 'Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty who was, and is, and is to come.'" (Revelation 4:2-8)

    Isaiah the Prophet said: "I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim: each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said, 'Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.'" (Isaiah 6:1-3) Ezekiel the Prophet said: "Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the North, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself, and brightness was all around it, and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man... and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight; and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calve's feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze..." (Ezekiel 1:4-7)

    St. John the Evangelist said: "After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, 'Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, belong to the Lord our God,' ... and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God who sat on the throne, saying, 'Amen, Alleluia... for the Lord God Omnipotent reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give Him glory......'" (Revelation 19:1-7)

    The Lord set them near His throne in order for them to make supplications on behalf of all the creation. The beast with the man's face makes supplications on behalf of the human race, the one with the lion's face makes supplications on behalf of the beasts, the one with the bull's face makes supplications on behalf of the cattle, and the one with the eagle's face makes supplications on behalf of the birds. The teachers of the church built churches in their names and commemorated them on this day.

Their intercession be for us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.


The Ninth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Departure of the Holy Father Anba Isaac, 41st Pope of Alexandria.

2. The Assembly of the Ecumenical Council at Nicea.

1. On this day, of the year 679 A.D., the great holy father Anba Isaac, 41st Pope of Alexandria, departed. This father was born in El-Borolos from rich, God-fearing parents. They begot him long after their marriage. When they took him for baptism, the bishop who baptized him saw a cross of light over his head. The bishop laid the boy's hand over his head and prophesied concerning him saying, "The church of God will be entrusted to him." Then he told his parents, "Take care of him, for he is a chosen vessel of God."

    When he grew they taught him writing, the Christian doctrine and church subjects. He read extensively in the biography of saints and he was filled with their pure life. He longed for the monastic life, so he left his parents and went to the desert of St. Macarius. He became a monk and disciple of Anba Zacharias, the Hegumen. The angel of the Lord had informed the elder father beforehand of his coming and the father received him with joy. One day, one of the holy elders saw him in the church and prophesied about him saying, "The church of Christ will be entrusted to him."

    Pope John, the Patriarch of that time, asked for a monk to be his scribe and private secretary. The people who were present recommended this honorable father Isaac. The Pope had father Isaac brought to him. He gave him a book to scribe. Anba Isaac made mistakes in his writing deliberately, hoping that the Pope might send him back, for he had forsaken the glory of men. When the father knew his intention he said to him, "You have written well, do not leave this place."

    When Fr. Isaac realized that the Patriarch would not let him return, he used all his knowledge and writing ability and his virtues became known. The Patriarch rejoiced in him exceedingly. Nevertheless, because Fr. Isaac was still longing for solitary life, the Patriarch allowed him to return to the desert.

    When the departure of Pope John drew near, he asked the Lord Christ to let it be known to him who would be his successor. In a vision, he was told that his disciple Isaac would sit on the chair after him. The Pope commanded the people that, with a divine revelation and by the order of the Lord, Isaac would sit on the chair after him.

    When this father was enthroned to the See of St. Mark, the church was illumined. He restored many churches, especially the church of St. Mark the Evangelist, and the patriarchal cell. He suffered many tribulations and sat upon the throne for three and a half years, then departed in peace.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. Also on this day, of the year 325 A.D., 318 fathers assembled in the city of Nicea, in the days of Emperor Constantine, the righteous Emperor. Among them were the heads of the four Sees and they were: Anba Alexandros, the 19th Pope of Alexandria, who was accompanied by Athanasius, his Archdeacon and private secretary; Estasius, archbishop of Antioch; Macarius, Archbishop of Jerusalem. Sylvestros, archbishop of Rome, because of his old age did not attend and sent two priests in his place.

    The reason for their assembly was to judge Arius who was a priest in Alexandria. He blasphemed against the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ by saying that he was not equal in essence to God, His Father, and there was a time when the Son did not exist.

    Among those who attended this council were holy fathers, who were, in the rank of the Apostles, able to raise the dead, heal the sick and work great wonders. Among them also were those who were tortured for the sake of their faith, lost their eyes, or had their hands or feet cut off, or had their teeth smashed or their nails pulled out or their ribs broken. One of them was the fighter St. Bephnotius, the confessor, one of the bishops of upper Egypt who was tortured much during the days of Diocletian. They plucked out his right eye, burnt the flesh of his left leg, bound him in chains and took him to cut marble in a stone quarry. He was called the martyr among priests. He was a holy old man, loved by God and the people. The Lord worked many wonders through his supplications and prayers.

    When the fathers convened, they sat on the chairs prepared for them. Then the righteous Emperor Constantine came and greeted them, starting with St. Bephnotius, the Bishop, whom he respected much. The Emperor kissed with honor the scars of his wounds. Then he placed his royal scepter and his sword before them saying: "Behold, this day, you have the power of the priesthood and the Kingdom, to loosen and to bind as the Lord said, 'Whosoever you wish to exile or to keep, that will be in your authority.'"

    The Holy Spirit enlightened the minds of those present and they were counted and there were found to be 319 but when they counted the visible chairs, they counted 318! This fulfilled the saying of the Lord Christ, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20)

    They had Arius brought before them and asked him to state his faith. He blasphemed saying, "The Father was when the Son was not." When they explained to him his error and he did not change his opinion, they excommunicated him and all those who shared his opinion and belief. Then they wrote the Canon of the Christian faith which is known as the "Nicene Creed". It states: 1. Truly we believe in one God, God the Father, the Pantocrator, Who created heaven and earth, and all things, seen and unseen.

2. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light; True God of True God; Begotten not created, of One Essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made.

3. Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary and became Man.

4. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; suffered and was buried.

5. And the third day He arose from the dead, according to the Scriptures.

6. Ascended into the heavens; He sits at the right hand of His Father.

7. And He is coming again in His glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end.

    Later on, when the council of one hundred and fifty assembled in the city of Constantinople to judge Macedonius, the enemy of the Holy Spirit, they formulated the remainder of that creed saying:

8. Yes, we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father; Who, with the Father and the Son, is worshipped and glorified; Who spoke by the prophets.

9. And in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

10. We confess one Baptism for the remission of sins.

11. We look for the resurrection of the dead.

12. And the life of the coming age. Amen.

    They forbade to add to or take away from the Creed and commanded all the believers, priests, laity, old and young, men and women, to recite it and to have it said during the Holy Liturgy and in all prayers.

    After the fathers of the council of Nicea had excommunicated Arius and established the Creed, they issued other decisions as follows:

I. With regards to Melitus, Bishop of Assuit, who had resisted his superior St. Peter the martyr, the Alexandrian Pope, the council confirmed the authority of the Pope of Alexandria over his subjects in the ordinances 5, 6, and 7.

II. They settled the controversy between the bishops of Africa and Asia Minor and the bishop of Rome regarding the baptism of heretics. The council decided that the baptism performed by heretics was worthless in contrast to what the Bishop of Rome and his followers had thought.

III. They also established the Resurrection feast day. It was decided that it would be on the Sunday that followed the full moon, on which was the Passover of the Jews. Thus, they would not celebrate before the Jews or with them. They authorized the Popes of Alexandria, because of their knowledge and accuracy in calculating the dates, to notify all the churches about the day on which they would celebrate the feast.

    The holy fathers confirmed the church, they established the light of the faith and then departed to their parishes.

Their prayers be with us and Glory be to our Lord forever. Amen.


The Tenth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Martyrdom of St. Sophia and the Fifty Virgins with her.

2. The Assembly of a Council in Rome because of the Feast of Theophany and Lent.

1. On this day, the holy, and pure fifty virgins and their mother Sophia, were martyred. These saints were from different countries. Divine love and ascetic life had brought them together and they lived in a convent for virgins in El-Raha. St. Sophia, the head nun, was filled with every wisdom and grace. She raised them with a spiritual upbringing until they became as angels on earth. They continually prayed, fasted and read the holy Books and chronicles of the monks and saints. Among them were some who had dwelt in the convent for 70 years and some were young in age but firm in faith and of strong conviction.

    When Emperor Julian the Infidel heard that Shapur, King of Persia, intended to fight him, he prepared his army and set out against Shapur. The city of El-Raha was on his way and when he passed by the convent of these virgins, he ordered the soldiers to kill everyone in it and to rob the convent. The soldiers carried out the order, they cut the nuns with swords into pieces and took everything they found.

    The Lord took vengeance on this evil Emperor by having him stabbed by the spear of a knight at war. (It was said that he was Saint Marcurius) The Emperor fell down from his horse and died in the year 363 A.D. As for the holy virgins, they received the crown of martyrdom.

Their prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also a holy council assembled in Rome in the days of Victor, Pope of Rome and Anba Demetrius, Pope of Alexandria. The reason for the assembly of this council was because the Christians used to celebrate the Epiphany, then start 40 days of fasting on the following day and end the fast on the 22nd day of the month of Amshir. After a few days they would fast the Passion week, then celebrate the honorable feast of the Resurrection.

    When St. Demetrius the Patriarch was chosen for the Alexandrian throne, God illumined his mind with divine grace. He studied the church books and interpreted most of them. He formulated the basis for calculating the days of the fast and the changeable feasts which we celebrate to the present time. He sent copies of it to Abba Victor, Patriarch of Rome; Abba Maximus, Patriarch of Antioch; and Abba Agapius, Bishop of Jerusalem.

    When Abba Victor received this message he read it and appreciated it very much. He gathered fourteen of his learned bishops and many of the learned priests. They examined it, accepted it, and spread it in their countries.

    Since then the holy fast and the feast of Resurrection have been regulated as they are now in our Coptic Orthodox Church.

To our Lord is the Glory forever. Amen.


The Eleventh Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Departure of St. Anna (Hannah), the mother of the Theotokos.

2. The Commemoration of the Martyrdom of St. Archelaus and the Martyrdom of Elisha the Hegumen.

1. On this day, the pious and righteous St. Anna (Hannah), the mother of our Lady, the holy virgin St. Mary, the Mother of God, departed. This holy woman was the daughter of Matthan, the son of Levi, the son of Melki, who was a descendant of Aaron the priest. Her mother's name was Mary (Mariam) and she was from the tribe of Judah.

    Matthan had three daughters. The first was called Mary after her mother, and she was the mother of Salome, the midwife. The second was Sophia, the mother of Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist. The third was St. Anna (Hannah), the wife of the righteous man Joachim, who was of the tribe of Judah. She was the mother of our Lady, the holy virgin St. Mary, the Mother of the Savior of the world. That makes our Lady the Virgin St. Mary, Salome, and Elizabeth cousins. Although we know little about St. Anna, having been chosen to be the mother of the Mother of God in the flesh is an indication of her virtues and righteousness, which distinguished her from other women to have this great grace.

    Because she was barren, she entreated God to take away her shame. So the Lord gave her a daughter that delighted her eyes and the eyes of all mankind; she is the Virgin St. Mary, the Mother of the Savior of the world.

Her intercession be for us all. Amen.

2. On this day also is the commemoration of the martyrdom of St. Archelaus and the martyrdom of Abba Elisha the Hegumen.

Their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.


The Twelfth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

The Commemoration of the Honored Archangel Michael

On this day the church celebrates the feast of the honored Archangel, Michael, the head of the hosts of heaven, who stands at all times before the great throne of God, interceding on behalf of the human race.

    Joshua, the son of Nun, saw him in great glory and was frightened by him and fell on his face to the earth and said to him, "Are you for us, or for our adversaries?" So he said, "No; but as Commander of the army of the Lord... I have given Jericho into your hand, ... and its king." (Joshua 5:13-15, 6:2)

    The Archangel Michael was with all the saints and martyrs. He strengthened them and enabled them to endure patiently until they finished their strife. Festivals of commemoration are held and alms offered in his name on the twelfth day of each Coptic month.

    An example of one of his wonders: A God-fearing man whose name was Dorotheus and his wife Theopista, held a festival of commemoration for the honored angel Michael on the twelfth day of each month. It happened that this righteous family fell on hard times and had nothing to celebrate with for the commemoration of the honored Michael. They took their clothes to sell so that they might have a feast. Michael the Archangel appeared to Dorotheus and commanded him not to sell his clothes, but to go to a sheep-master and to take from him a sheep worth one-third of a dinar.

    He was also to go to a fisherman and to take from him a fish worth one-third of a dinar but Dorotheus was not to slit open the fish until he came back to him. Finally, he was to go to a flour merchant and to take from him as much flour as he needed.

    Dorotheus did as the Angel commanded him. He invited the people, as was his custom, to the feast honoring the Archangel Michael. When he went into his storeroom looking for wine for the offering, he found that all the containers had been filled with wine and many other good things. He marvelled and was astonished.

    After they had finished the celebration and all the people had departed, the Archangel appeared to Dorotheus as before and commanded him to cut open the belly of the fish. He found 300 dinars of gold and three coins each is a third of a dinar. He told him these three coins were for the sheep, the fish and the flour, and the 300 dinars were for him and his children. God had remembered them and their oblations and had rewarded them here, in this world and in the kingdom of heaven on the last day. As Dorotheus and his wife were astonished at this matter, the Archangel Michael said to them, "I am Michael the Archangel who delivered you from all your tribulations and I have taken your oblations and alms up to God, you shall lack no good thing whatsoever in this world." They prostrated themselves before him and he disappeared and went up into heaven. This was one of the innumerable miracles of this honored Angel.

His intercession be for us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.


The Thirteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Departure of St. Timothy, Bishop of Ansena (Antinoe).

2. The Departure of St. Zacharias, 64th Pope of Alexandria.

1. On this day, the saint Abba Timothy, Bishop of Ansena, departed. He was righteous and chaste from his youth. He became a monk at a young age and lived a righteous life. Because of his chastity, righteousness, knowledge and his good character, he was chosen bishop for the city of Ansena (Antinoe). He preached to the believers and guided the people to believe in Christ. The Governor however, seized him and tortured him in various ways, inside the prison and outside it, for three consecutive years. There were many others with him in prison who were seized because of their faith. The tyrant Governor continued to bring several of them out of prison and shed their blood after torturing them, until only a few remained in prison, this father was one of them. When the Lord destroyed Diocletian, and Constantine (the Emperor who loved Christ) reigned, he ordered all the prisoners who were persecuted for the sake of their faith in Christ to be set free, in all the countries under his authority. Father Timothy was also released and went to his diocese and gathered all the priests of his diocese. They prayed to the Lord all night. Father Timothy asked for the salvation of the soul of the Governor who had tortured him saying, "Because O Lord, he is the one who has brought me great blessing by bringing me close to You, be good to him so he might become close to You." The people who were gathered marvelled at the purity of  this father's heart, who was fulfilling his Master's words, "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)

    When the Governor heard that, he marvelled saying, "I had thought that he would curse me for what I inflicted upon him, for I had ill treated him greatly, but instead he is blessing me. Truly the faith of these people is a 'Divine Faith'." He sent for Abba Timothy. He inquired about the principles of the Christian faith. The father revealed to him the cause of the Incarnation of the Son of God and what the prophets had spoken many years before, concerning Him and how their prophesies were fulfilled, giving him proofs from the scriptures.

    Consequently, the Governor believed in Christ and the father the Bishop baptized him. The Governor subsequently resigned the governorship and became a monk.

    As for St. Timothy, he continued to teach his flock, guarding them until he departed in peace.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also of the year 1027 A.D., the great St. Abba Zacharias, 64th Pope of Alexandria, departed. He was a native of Alexandria and was an ordained priest there. He was chaste and gentle in disposition.

    When St. Philotheus, 63rd Pope, departed, the bishops assembled to choose, with God's guidance, the person who was fit to succeed him. While they were gathered in the church of St. Mark, discussing who was the most suitable man, they were informed that a rich man from Alexandria called Ibrahim Ben-Bishr, who was close to El-Khalifa (Governor) had given him a bribe and obtained a decree from him to be appointed Patriarch. El-Khalifa sent him, accompanied with some soldiers, to Alexandria. The bishops were saddened and they entreated God in one accord to keep away from His church the one who was coming to shepherd His church through bribery and the sultan's influence. They asked God to choose the person who was fit for this honor. While they were on this subject, Abba Zacharias came down the stairs of the church carrying a vessel. His foot slipped and he fell and came tumbling down the stairs to the floor while still holding the unbroken vessel in his hand. The bishops and the priests marvelled at this and they asked the opinion of the people of Alexandria. Everyone agreed on Abba Zacharias' righteousness and his knowledge. They all agreed, along with the bishops, to ordain him Patriarch.

    When Ibrahim Ben-Bishr arrived, he found that they had already ordained Abba Zacharias as Patriarch. When the bishops read the King's letter, they appeased Ibrahim and ordained him priest, then hegumen. They promised to ordain him bishop when one of the dioceses became available.

    Abba Zacharias, had suffered many tribulations. As an example, a monk had made many accusations against him before El-Hakem (Be-Amr-Allah) who became El-Khalifa (Governor) in the year 989 A.D. El-Hakem seized the Pope and cast him to the lions, but they did not harm him.

    The Governor was angered with the keeper of the lions and thought that he had taken a bribe from the Pope. The Governor kept the lions for a period of time without food, then he slaughtered a sheep and smeared the clothes of the Patriarch with its blood. He then cast him a second time to the lions, but again, they did not harm him, for the Lord had domesticated them. The Governor marvelled and ordered that he be lifted up.

    The Governor then cast him into prison for three months during which he threatened him with death and casting in fire if he did not forsake his Christian faith. The Patriarch was not afraid. The Governor tried again bribing him by promising to appoint him a judge with jurisdiction over all other judges but he was not impressed with these earthly ranks and did not hearken to the order of the Governor. Finally, because of the mediation of one of the princes, he released him.

    Abba Zacharias went to the desert of Scete, stayed there for nine years during which the people suffered great tribulations and experienced many troubles. Also, several churches were destroyed during that time.

    Christ the Lord had compassion on His church and removed these tribulations from the people. He also turned the Governor away from his injustice. Subsequently, the Governor ordered the churches that were destroyed to be rebuilt. He also ordered that everything that was taken from them be returned and that the bells of the churches ring again.

    Abba Zacharias lived 12 years, after his return from the desert, during which he took interest in building churches and restoring those that were destroyed. He remained in the papacy for 28 years and departed to the Lord in peace.

His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.


The Fourteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

The Departure of St. Martinus (Martin) Bishop of Tours (Thrace)

On this day, the great St. Martinus (Martin), Bishop of Tours (Thrace, in France), departed. He was born to Christian parents in a city called Sorpeia. He grew up to be gentle and a worshipper who kept the Orthodox faith. He did not spare any effort in resisting the followers of Arius, who were enraged by him. Consequently, they waited for him on a road several times and beat him. When they continued chasing him, he left the city. He went to live in a cave near the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. There, he sustained himself by eating plants.

    When his reputation spread throughout the country, he was chosen to be Bishop of Tours (Thrace). He lived an apostolic life, and grew in charity and mercy towards many people. The Lord performed many miracles through him.

    Once when he was passing by, he saw a person stopping a funeral and preventing the deceased person's family from burying him, claiming that the deceased owed him 400 dinars. This holy father entreated him to release the dead body, but the man refused. St. Martinus prayed and entreated God to make the truth known. The dead man was raised immediately and he rebuked the man who falsely accused him, exposing his lies before those present. Subsequently, the unjust man died and the man who was raised up from death through the prayers of St. Martinus, went back to his home and lived many years.

    This holy father completed his distinguished life and departed in peace.

His prayers be with us, and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Fifteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

The Martyrdom of Saint Mari-Mina, the Wonder Worker

On this day St. Mina, who is called the blessed faithful, was martyred. His father, Eudoxius, was a native of the city of Nakiyos (Nikiu) and was its Governor. His brother was envious of him and he brought charges against him before the Emperor. The Emperor transferred him to Afrikia and appointed him Governor over it. The people were pleased with him because he was merciful and God-fearing.

    His mother Euphemia had no children. One day she went to church on the feast of our Lady, the Virgin, the Mother of God, at Attribes. She saw the children in the church wearing their beautiful clothes with their parents. She heaved a sigh and wept before the icon of Our Lady St. Mary, entreating her to intercede for her before her beloved Son, in order that He would give her a son. A voice came from the icon saying, "Amen." She rejoiced in what she had heard and realized that the Lord had heard her prayers. When she returned to her home and told her husband about it, he replied, "May God's Will be done."

    The Lord gave them this saint and they called him Mina, according to the voice that his mother heard. When he grew, his parents taught him reading and writing and they reared him in a Christian manner. When he was eleven years old, his father departed at a good old age. Then his mother departed three years later. St. Mina devoted his life to fasting, praying and to living a Christian life. Because of everyone's love towards him and his father, they placed him in his father's position. In spite of that, he did not forsake his worshipping.

    When Diocletian had reneged Christianity and issued his orders to worship idols, many were martyred for the Name of the Lord Christ. St. Mina left his position and went to the desert, where he stayed many days worshipping God with all his heart.

    One day he saw the heavens open and the martyrs crowned with beautiful crowns. He heard a voice saying, "He who toils for the Name of the Lord Christ shall receive these crowns." He returned to the city over which he was Governor and confessed the Name of the Lord Christ. Knowing that he belonged to a noble family, they tried to dissuade him from his faith and promised him honors and precious gifts. When he did not change his mind, they threatened him and the Governor ordered him to be tortured. When the Governor failed to turn him away from his faith in the Lord Christ, he sent him to his brother so that he might influence him but he failed also. Finally, he ordered his head to be cut off with the sword, his body to be cast in the fire and his ashes to be scattered in the wind. The body remained in the fire for three days and three nights, but it was not harmed.

    His sister came and gave the soldiers a lot of money and they let her take the body. She put it in a sack made of fronds and decided to go to Alexandria, as her brother had previously advised her. She embarked with her brother's body on one of the ships to Alexandria.

    During their trip, sea beasts came out of the water and attacked the passengers aboard the ship. They were frightened and screamed with fear. The Saint's sister prayed to the Lord and asked for the intercession of her brother. While the passengers were in fear, fire went forth from her brother's body and burned the faces of the beasts. They dived immediately into the water and as they reappeared, the fire burned them again. They finally dived and did not reappear.

    When the ship arrived at the city of Alexandria, most of the people went out with the father, the Patriarch. They carried the holy body with reverence and honor and entered the city with a venerable celebration and placed it in the church, after they shrouded it in expensive shrouds. When the time of persecution ended, the angel of the Lord appeared to the honorable Patriarch, Anba Athanasius, the Apostolic. The angel informed him of the Lord's command which was to place the body of St. Mina on a camel and to take it out of the city without letting anyone lead it, but to follow it from a distance until it stopped at a place that the Lord had designated. They walked behind the camel until they arrived at a place called Lake Bayad, in the district of Marriot.

    There they heard a voice saying, "This is the place where the Lord wishes the body of his beloved Mina to be placed." They lowered the body and placed it in a coffin, then they situated it in a beautiful garden and many miracles happened through the body.

    Later on, the people of Pentapolis (the five cities) rose against the cities around Alexandria. The people were getting ready to face the Berbers, and the Governor decided to take the body of St. Mina with him to be his deliverer and his strong protector. He took the body secretly and through the blessings of this saint, he overcame the Berbers and returned victorious.

    The Governor decided not to return the body of the Saint to its original place and wanted to take  it to Alexandria. On the way back, they passed by Lake Bayad, St. Mina's original place. The camel carrying the body knelt down and would not move in spite of frequent beatings. They moved the body over another camel, but again this second camel did not move from its place. The Governor finally realized that this was the Lord's command. He made a coffin from decay-resistant wood and placed the silver coffin in it. He then returned it to its place and invoked St. Mina's blessings, then returned to his city.

    When the Lord wanted to disclose the location of St. Mina's holy body, He did it in this manner. There was a shepherd in the desert. One day a sheep with mange slipped down into the water of a well near the place of the saint's body. The sheep then came out of the water and rolled over in the sand of that place, and instantly the sheep was healed. When the shepherd saw this miracle, he was amazed. He took some of the sand and mixed it with water and smeared it over every sheep with mange, as well as on those with other infirmities, and immediately they were healed.

    The news of these miracles spread in all the countries until the Emperor of Constantinople heard of them. He had an only daughter and she was leprous. Her father sent her to the place where the saint's body was and she inquired from the shepherd how these miracles were happening. She took some of the sand, moistened it with water, smeared it on her body and slept the night in that place. In her sleep she saw St. Mina saying to her, "Arise early and dig in this place, and you will find my body." When she woke up, she found herself cured. She began digging as she was told and she found the holy body. She sent word to her father, informing him of the news. The Emperor rejoiced exceedingly, thanked the Lord and glorified His Name. He then sent men and money and built a church in that place and it was consecrated on the fifteenth day of the Month of Baounah.

    When Arcadius and Honorius reigned, they ordered a city to be built there. Multitudes of people came to that church asking for the intercession of the blessed St. Mina. The Lord had honored him with many signs and wonders that appeared from his pure body. When the Arabs came to Egypt, some of them attacked the city and the church was destroyed, only ruins remained.

    When His Grace, the late Pope Abba Kyrillos the Sixth was ordained Patriarch over the See of St. Mark, he took interest in building a large monastery in this area (Marriot) in the name of St. Mina. He spent a great deal of money in establishing it. There are now many churches in the monastery, visited by many Orthodox worshippers who go there to receive blessings and to pray. He also bought one hundred acres of land and built a fence around it. He ordained a number of monks who had a high degree of scientific and religious education.

The intercession of Mari-Mina be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Sixteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Beginning of the Fast of the Nativity (Advent) in the Coptic Church.

2. The Consecration of the Church of St. Abu-Nofer (Onuphrius).

3. The Martyrdom of Saint Yostus, the Bishop.

1. Today marks the beginning of the fast of the Nativity (the Advent) in our Coptic Church. We implore our Lord, who completed our salvation by coming down to redeem us from the bondage of sin, to help us to do what is pleasing in His sight during this holy fast and through all the days of our lives.

2. On this day also was the consecration of the Church of St. Abu-Nofer (St. Onuphrius), the hermit, which was in El-Zaher, Misr (Cairo).

3. Today also, is the commemoration of the martyrdom of St. Yostus, the bishop, by the hands of Maximus the prince. He tortured him severely and finally he received the crown of martyrdom.

His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Seventeenth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

The Departure of Saint John Chrysostom

On this day, the honorable Saint John of the Golden Mouth (Chrysostom), departed. He was born in the city of Antioch around the year 347 A.D., to a rich father, whose name was Sakondos and a pious mother, whose name was Anthosa. They brought him up well and reared him in the Christian tradition. He went to the city of Athens, where he learned the Greek wisdom in one of its schools. He surpassed many in knowledge and in virtue. He forsook the vanities of the world and became a monk at a young age in one of the monasteries. He had a friend whose name was Basilius, who was a monk before him in that monastery. They had the same interests and they practiced many virtues.

    When his father departed, St. John did not keep any of his father's possessions, but gave all of his inheritance to the poor and the needy. He then lived an ascetic life full of strife.

    In the monastery, there was a Syrian hermit whose name was Ansosynos. One night he saw the apostles, Peter and John, entering where the Golden Mouth was. St. John, the Apostle, gave him a Bible and told him, "Do not be afraid, whosoever you shall bind, shall be bound, and whosoever you shall loose, shall be loosed." The old hermit therefore realized that St. John Chrysostom would be a faithful shepherd.

    The grace of the Lord filled St. John Chrysostom and he wrote homilies and sermons and he interpreted many books while he was still a deacon. It was St. Melatius, Patriarch of Antioch, who had raised him to this rank. Then he was ordained a priest by St. Phlapianus, St. Melatius' successor, by the guidance of the angel of the Lord.

    When Nectarius, Patriarch of Constantinople departed, Emperor Arcadius summoned St. John and made him Patriarch. He conducted himself during his patriarchate in an apostolic manner. He continued teaching, preaching and interpreting the books of the church, both old and new. He boldly admonished the sinners and the wealthy, regardless of their authority or wealth.

    Queen Eudoxia, the wife of Emperor Arcadius, had a lust for money. She took a garden which belonged to a poor widow by force. The latter complained to the Saint, who went to the Queen and admonished her and asked her to return the garden to its owner. When Eudoxia did not obey him, he prevented her from entering the church and partaking of the Holy Communion. She became exceedingly angry and gathered a council of bishops whom St. John had previously excommunicated for their evil deeds and their mismanagement. They sentenced the saint to be exiled. He was exiled to the Island of Thrace, but this exile did not last more than one night. The people were enraged and they gathered around the royal palace demanding the return of the Patriarch. While the people were sorrowful because of their righteous shepherd, a severe earthquake took place and almost destroyed the city, terrifying everyone. The people thought that this was a sign of the Lord's anger, caused by the exile of the Saint. As for Eudoxia, she was disturbed, her soul was troubled and she went in haste to her husband and asked him to bring back the saint from exile. Once the light of the shepherd shone on his flock, their sorrow changed to joy and their wailing was replaced by the songs of joy and happiness.

    This state of affairs did not last long. There was a large square beside the church of Agia Sophia, where a large silver statue of Queen Eudoxia was erected. On the day of its dedication, some common people danced madly, played profligate games, until they were immersed in immorality and sin. Because of St. John's zeal to curb the spread of immorality, he repudiated the people in his sermons, courageously showing his disapproval of their behavior. His enemies took advantage of his zeal and accused him before the Queen, of having said that "Herodia had risen up and danced and asked for the head of John the Baptist on a plate." This cruel accusation gave the Queen a good reason to sentence him to exile. She instructed the soldiers who were in charge of guarding him not give him any means of comfort during his travel. Thus, they moved him from one place to another hastily, until they came to a city called Komana, where his health deteriorated and he departed in peace in the year 407 A.D.

    During the reign of Theodosius II, the son of Emperor Arcadius (who exiled St. John), the body of St. John was taken to Constantinople, where it was placed in the church of the Apostles.

His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Eighteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Martyrdom of the Two Saints: Atrasis and Yoana (Junia).

2. The Martyrdom of Saint Philip the Apostle.

1. On this day the two saints Atrasis and Yoana (Junia), were martyred. Atrasis was the daughter of the pagan Emperor Hadrian. Because of his great love for her, he built a special small room where she could be away from people.

    Atrasis thought always about the vanity of the world and the end of life. Day and night she asked for guidance towards the right way. In a vision at night, she saw a person who told her, "Bring Yoana (Junia), the virgin, the daughter of Philospheron, and she will teach you the way of the Lord." When Atrasis woke from her sleep, her soul rejoiced and she sent for Yoana, who came to her at once. Princess Atrasis met Yoana, bowed down before her and embraced her.

    Yoana started to tell her the reason for the incarnation of the Son of God, starting with the creation of Adam and how he was expelled from paradise, the coming down of the flood and the renewal of the creation once more, the reason for worshipping idols, the appearance of God to Abraham, the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, how the prophets proclaimed the coming of the Son of God, His coming down from Heaven and His incarnation through the Virgin and the salvation of the world from the hand of Satan. She made clear to Atrasis what the godly people will receive; and that is, heavenly grace in eternal life. When the virgin princess heard that, her soul rejoiced exceedingly. The words of Yoana were sweeter than honey to her ears and she immediately believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be the Glory. The two virgins worshipped day and night with fasting and prayers. One night they saw the Lord Christ and the Virgin Lady, His Mother, in a dream. The Lord placed His hand over their heads and blessed them.

    Meanwhile, her father, the Emperor had gone to war. When he came back his daughter was betrothed to be married. Before the wedding ceremony, her father asked her to offer incense to the god Apollo, before getting ready for her bridegroom. She told him, "Father, how could you forsake the God of heaven and earth and worship defiled idols? Turn, O my father, to the God Who created you and in Whose hand is your life and death."

    When her father heard these words, which he had never heard from her before, he asked who taught her that. They told him it was Yoana, the daughter of Philospheron, who corrupted her mind. He ordered them both to be burned. They took them outside the city, arrayed in their beautiful garments and their jewelry. Their slaves and handmaidens were crying. All the people of the city were sorry for the youth of these two saints and they asked them to submit to the Emperor's wish by offering incense to the idols, but they would not turn from their decision. When they dug the pit and lit the fire, the two saints held each other's hands and they cast themselves into the fire. They stood in the fire, turned their faces towards the east and prayed, and many had seen them. After the fire was out, some of the believers who were present went forward to take their bodies. They found them stuck to each other; their garments and their jewelry were not burned. They placed their bodies in a safe place until the end of the persecution era, then they built a great church for them.

The prayers of these two saints be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also, of the year 80 A.D., St. Philip the Apostle, one of the Twelve Disciples, was martyred. His lot fell to go to Africa and the surrounding regions. He went and preached there in the Name of the Lord Christ. There, he performed many miracles and wonders which astounded the people.

    After he led the people to the knowledge of God, confirming them in the faith, he went to Herapolis, where he also led the people to the knowledge of God.

    The non-believers took counsel together to kill him, accusing him of disobeying the king's order that no stranger was allowed to enter their city. They jumped him and seized him, but he smiled at them saying, "Why do you keep yourselves away from everlasting life and why don't you think about the salvation of your souls?" But they did not pay any attention to his words, instead they tortured him severely, then they crucified him head down. During the crucifixion an earthquake took place; the people were terrified and ran away. Some believers arrived and wanted to untie him from the cross, but he asked them to leave him, so he might finish his strife and receive his crown. He delivered his soul to the hands of Christ and received the crown of eternal glory in the year 80 A.D. and was buried there.

    In the sixth century A.D., his body was transferred to Rome. The Lord manifested many signs and great wonders through the body of St. Philip.

His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Nineteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Consecration of the Church of St. Sergius and St. Bacchus.

2. The Commemoration of the Preaching of St. Bartholomew, the Apostle.

1. This day marks the consecration of the church of St. Sergius and St. Bacchus in the city of Rusafa. When St. Sergius was martyred in this city, some believers carried his body, prepared it for burial, hid it in their home and lit lamps and candles before it. When the era of persecution ended, they brought the body out and a church was built in the Saint's name. Fifteen bishops and a large number of people gathered on this day and attended the consecration of the church. When the body of the Saint was brought to the church, scented oil flowed forth from it and many sick people who were anointed with it in faith were healed.

His blessings be with us. Amen.

2. On this day, we also commemorate St. Bartholomew, one of the Twelve Apostles, who preached in the oasis of Al-Khargah, where he led the people to the knowledge of God.

His prayers be with us and glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Twentieth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Departure of St. Anianus, 2nd Pope of Alexandria.

2. The Consecration of the Churches of Prince Theodore, the Son of John El-Shotbe, and Prince Theodore El-Mishreke.

1. On this day of the year 86 A.D., the holy father Abba Anianus, the second Pope of Alexandria, departed. This saint was a native of Alexandria, the son of pagan parents, and he was a cobbler. When St. Mark, the Apostle, entered the city of Alexandria, it happened by God's Divine Will that he tripped and tore his sandal. He gave it to Anianus to repair. While Anianus was thrusting the awl into it, the awl went through to the other side of the sandal and injured his finger. He screamed in pain, saying in Greek, "Eis Theos" which means "O, the Only God." When St. Mark heard him mentioning the Name of the Lord, he glorified the Lord Christ. Then he took some dust from the ground, spat on it and applied it to the finger of St. Anianus and he was healed immediately.

    Anianus was exceedingly amazed. He took St. Mark to his house, asked him about his name, his belief, and where he came from. The apostle began to tell him of the books of the prophets concerning the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the mystery of His incarnation, His Death and Resurrection and the performing of miracles in His Holy Name.

    Anianus' mind was illuminated and he believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and all the people of his house believed with him. They were all baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and God's Divine Grace was poured upon them. They continued to listen to the teachings of the Apostle Mark, who taught them the doctrine of the church, its ordinances and its laws.

    When St. Mark decided to go to Pentapolis, he laid his hand on Anianus and ordained him Patriarch over the city of Alexandria, in the year 64 A.D. St. Anianus continued preaching and baptizing its people secretly, helping and strengthening them in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He turned his house into a church; and it is said that it is the one known as the church of St. Mark the Martyr, where the church of St. Mark in Alexandria stands now. This saint occupied the throne of St. Mark for 22 years, then departed in peace.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. This day also commemorates the consecration of the churches of the two saints: Prince Theodore (El-Shotbe), the son of John and Prince Theodore (El-Mishreke).

Their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Twenty-First Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Commemoration of the Virgin St. Mary, the Theotokos.

2. The Departure of Saint Gregory, the Wonder Worker.

3. The Departure of Saint Cosma, 54th Pope of Alexandria.

4. The Commemoration of the Holy Martyrs Alphaeus, Zacchaeus, Romanus and John, and the Commemoration of the Saints Thomas, Victor, and Isaac of the City of Ashmunen.

1. On this day the church celebrates and commemorates the pure Virgin St. Mary, the Mother of God, the Word Who was incarnated from her, for the salvation of Adam and his offspring.

Her intercession be for us. Amen.

2. Also on this day, in the year 270 A.D., St. Gregory the wonder worker, departed. He was the bishop of Neocaesarea, in the province of Pontos, where he was born to rich pagan parents. He learned philosophy and wisdom at an early age and surpassed many of his colleagues. Then he went to Beirut, where he studied the Greek and Latin subjects. From there he went to Caesarea, Palestine, where the erudite Origen was, who taught him Christian philosophy. He also learned Theology and the interpretations of the holy books. In the year 235 A.D., he went to the city of Alexandria, the cultural center of the world at that time, to complete his studies.

    He returned to his town in the year 237 A.D. In the year 239 A.D., he was baptized in the holy baptism and became a Christian, for he realized the vanity of this world and chose the way of the everlasting kingdom of heaven. He directed all his attention to the salvation of his soul. When he knew that the Bishop of his town was seeking him to assist him in the bishopric duties, he escaped to the wilderness. He devoted himself to prayers and ardent worship, forsaking the world and the futility of its glories.

    When the Bishop of his town departed, they sought him in order to make him the new bishop but they did not know where to find him. It happened while the people were gathered with St. Gregory, the Theologian, that they heard a voice say, "Seek Gregory the hermit and set him a Bishop over you." They sent a party to search for him in the wilderness and in the mountains. When they did not find him, they decided to take a Bible and pray the prayer of ordination over it, as though he were present. They called him Gregory even though his given name was Theodore. St. Gregory, the Theologian, presided over this service.

    The angel of the Lord appeared to St. Gregory in the wilderness and said to him, "Rise up and go to your town, for they have made you the bishop over it and refuse not, for it is the Will of God." He did not hesitate, rose up immediately and descended from the mountain and went to his town. The people went forth to meet him with great honor, and they completed his ordination in the year 244 A.D.

    The Lord performed many signs and wonders at his hands, so that he was called the wonder worker. For example, two brothers who owned a lake from which they made a good living by catching large amounts of fish had a falling out because of it, for each one of them claimed his ownership of it. When they were unable to reach an agreement, they sought the wisdom of St. Gregory to help them settle their differences. He ordered that they should divide the yield of the lake equally between themselves. When they did not heed his judgement, he entreated God and the waters of the lake dried up and it became a farmland, which they divided between them. Reports of the signs and wonders which he made were heard throughout the land. Finally, when he completed his strife, he departed in peace.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

3. Also on this day, in the year 809 A.D., St. Cosma II, 54th Pope of Alexandria, departed. He was born in Samanoud and became a monk in the monastery of St. Macarius. When the papal chair became vacant, the bishops and the people, with one accord, agreed to choose this father. He was ordained Patriarch and he experienced great tribulations. The believers also experienced tribulations and great afflictions; however, some wonders appeared during his patriarchate.

    Among them, blood flowed from the icon of St. Mary in the church of St. Severus, in the desert of Scete (the Holy desert). Also, many of the icons in the churches in Egypt became wet with tears. This unusual phenomenon was believed to be a result of the afflictions and sorrows that befell the Patriarch and the believers.

    In spite of all the afflictions that he experienced, the Patriarch continued teaching the believers and strengthening them diligently and with great zeal. He stayed on the Chair of St. Mark for seven years and six months, then departed in peace.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

4. This day also marks the commemoration of the martyrs Saints Alphaeus, Zacchaeus, Romanus and John. Also the commemoration of Saints Thomas, Victor and Isaac of the city of Ashmunen.

Their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Twenty-Second Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

The Martyrdom of Saints Cosmas, Damian, Their Brothers and Their Mother

On this day, saints Cosmas and Damian, their brothers, Anthimus, Leontius (Londius) and Euprepius (Abrabius), and their mother Theodata, were martyred. They were from one of the Arab countries. Their mother feared God and was compassionate and merciful towards strangers. She became a widow, while her children were still young. She raised them and instilled in them the fear of God and the love of righteousness. Cosmas and Damian studied medicine and they treated the sick, free of charge. As for their brothers, they went to the desert and became monks.

    When Diocletian renounced the faith and ordered the worship of idols, he was told that Cosmas and Damian were preaching in the Name of Christ, and urging others not to worship idols. He ordered them to be brought to the Governor of the city, who tortured them severely by beating them and burning them. He then asked them the whereabouts of their brothers. Upon finding out, he brought them and their mother. He ordered them to raise incense before the idols, but they refused. He then ordered the five to be squeezed through the wheel. When they experienced no harm, he took them out and cast them into a red hot furnace for three days and three nights, then into hot boiling water. Finally he placed them on red-hot iron beds. Through all this, however, the Lord raised them up whole and unharmed to reveal His glory and the honor of His saints. When the Governor became weary of torturing them he sent them to the Emperor who also tortured them. Their mother constantly encouraged and comforted them. The Emperor rebuked her, but she admonished him for his cruelty and for worshipping idols. He ordered her head to be cut off and she received the crown of everlasting life. Her body remained on the ground and no one dared to bury it for their fear of the Emperor. St. Cosmas screamed at those present saying, "Men of this city, is there not one merciful person among you who will cover the body of this poor old widow and bury her?" Straightaway, Victor, the son of Romanus, came forward, took the body, placed it in a shroud, and buried it.

    When the Emperor heard what Victor had done, he ordered that he be exiled in the land of Egypt, where he received the crown of martyrdom. The next day, the Emperor ordered the heads of the saints Cosmas, Damian, and their brothers to be cut off. They then received the crown of life in the kingdom of heaven.

    At the end of the era of persecution, many churches were built in the name of these saints and God made manifest many signs and wonders therein.

Their intercession be for us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Twenty-Third Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Departure of St. Cornelius the Centurion.

2. The Consecration of the Church of St. Marina.

1. On this day, St. Cornelius the centurion, departed. He was a captain over one hundred soldiers in Caesarea of Palestine and he worshipped the stars.

    When he heard the Apostles preaching and saw the miracles performed at their hands, which were above and beyond any human power or pagan gods, he was astonished, confused, and he started to doubt his gods. He forsook the worship of the stars and opened his heart to the Lord through prayers, fasting and merciful deeds. In his prayers he repeated, "O Lord God, I am confused in my knowledge of You, direct me and guide me to You." The Lord had compassion on him, accepted his prayers and his compassionate deeds, and sent an angel to announce to him that his prayers and alms had ascended before God and had been accepted by Him. He ordered him to send men to the city of Joppa, to bring St. Peter the Apostle, who was lodging with Simon the tanner and who would tell him what he must do. Cornelius did as the Lord said and had St. Peter brought to his house.

    As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshipped him. But Peter lifted him up saying, "Stand up; I myself am also a man." When Peter went in the house, he found many Gentiles who had come together. Then he said to them, "You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or to go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore, I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then for what reason have you sent for me?" So Cornelius said,

"Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour, I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. Send, therefore, to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.' So I sent to you immediately and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God."

    Peter then opened his mouth and said, "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation, whoever fears Him and works righteousness, is accepted by Him." Then he preached to them of Jesus Christ, the Lord of all, and explained to them the mystery of His incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and the workings of miracles in His Name. Cornelius, his household, all his men and most of those who were with him, believed and were baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Straightaway the Holy Spirit descended upon them. (Acts 10)

    Afterwards, Cornelius left the military service and followed the Apostles. St. Peter then ordained him a Bishop over the city of Caesarea of Palestine. He went there and proclaimed the Name of Christ, showing them the error of worshipping idols. Their minds were illuminated with the knowledge of God and they believed in Him. He strengthened them with the signs and miracles he performed before them and he baptized them all and among them was Demetrius the Governor. Then he departed in peace and received the crown of glory of the apostles.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also is the commemoration of the great martyr, the chosen bride of the Lord Christ, the fighter St. Marina and the consecration of her church in the city of Antioch.

Her intercession be for us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Twenty-Fourth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

The Commemoration of the Twenty-Four Priests

On this day, we commemorate the twenty-four incorporeal priests of the Most High, who are sitting around His throne. They are exalted above all the saints and the spiritual hosts. Because of their closeness to God, they intercede on behalf of the human race and offer the prayers of the saints as incense, in the golden censers in their hands, before the Glorious and Blessed Lord. St. John the Evangelist said in Revelation, "After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, 'Come up here and I will show you things which must take place after this.' Immediately I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes, and they had crowns of gold on their heads. (Revelation 4:1-4) ... each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" (Revelation 5:8) who are on earth raising it to the Almighty.

    St. John continued saying, "I heard the Four living creatures praising God and saying, 'Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come.' Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him Who sits on the throne, Who lives forever and ever. The twenty-four elders fall down before Him Who sits on the throne and worship Him Who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 'You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your Will they exist and were created.' (Revelation 4:8-11)

    And when a command went forth from God they fell down, and worshipped saying, 'Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints, who shall not fear You, 0 Lord, and glorify Your Name? For You alone are Holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested.'" (Revelation 15:3-4)

    The fathers of the church arranged this feast to commemorate them.

Their intercession be for us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Twenty-Fifth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

The Martyrdom of St. Mercurius, Known as the Saint with the Two Swords

On this day, St. Mercurius, known as the saint with the two swords (Abu-Saifain), was martyred. He was born in the city of Rome. His parents were Christians and they called him Philopateer (which means "Lover of the Father"). They reared him in a Christian manner. When he grew, he enlisted in the army during the days of Emperor Decius, the pagan. The Lord gave Philopateer the strength and the courage, for which he earned the satisfaction of his superiors. They called him Mercurius and he grew very close to the Emperor.

    When the berbers rose up against Rome, Decius went out to fight them, but when he saw how many they were, he became terrified. St. Mercurius assured him saying, "Do not be afraid, because God will destroy our enemies and will bring us victory." When he left the Emperor, an angel appeared to him in the shape of a human being, dressed in white apparel. The angel gave him a sword saying, "When you overcome your enemies, remember the Lord your God." (That is why he is called, "of the two swords", "Abu-Saifain", one is the military sword and the other is the sword of the divine power).

    When Emperor Decius conquered his enemies and Mercurius came back victorious, the angel appeared to him and reminded him of what he told him previously, that is, to remember the Lord his God.

    Decius, and his soldiers with him, wanted to offer up incense to his idols and St. Mercurius tarried behind. When they informed the Emperor of what had happened, he called St. Mercurius and expressed his amazement at his abandoning of his loyalty to him. The Emperor reprimanded him for refusing to come and offer incense to the idols. The Saint cast his girdle and his military attire down before the Emperor and said to him, "I do not worship anyone except my Lord and my God Jesus Christ." The Emperor became angry and ordered him to be beaten with whips and stalks. When the Emperor saw how the people of the city and the soldiers were attached to St. Mercurius, the Emperor feared that they might revolt. So instead, he bound him in iron fetters and sent him to Caesarea where they cut off his head. He thus completed his holy fight and received the crown of life in the kingdom of heaven.

His intercession be for us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Twenty-Sixth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Commemoration of the Martyrdom of the Sts. Valerian (Balaryanos) and Tiburcius (Thiborinos), His Brother.

2. The Commemoration of St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa.

1. On this day, Sts. Valerian (Balaryanos) and Tiburcius (Thiborinos), his brother, who were natives of Rome, were martyred. They were the sons of pagan parents. Balaryanos was betrothed to the daughter of one of the nobles of Rome; her name was Kilkeya. She was extremely beautiful and a Christian, who worshipped Christ in secret. When he married her, she gradually started to tell him about Christ's life and how to believe in Him, until he believed at her hands and was baptized. When St. Valerian was filled with Grace, he taught his brother who also became a believer and was baptized. Because of his righteousness, St. Valerian became worthy to talk to the angels and they revealed to him future hidden things.

    When Diocletian reigned and persecuted the Christians, these two saints went around the city and carried the bodies of the martyrs, prepared them for burial and buried them. Certain wicked men betrayed them to Tosius, the king's usher, who summoned them and asked them about their belief. They confessed that they were Christians. He offered them many things if they would deny Christ and offer sacrifices to idols, but they were not deceived by his promises. He threatened them with many kinds of torture, but that did not frighten them. When he saw their patience and endurance, he ordered their heads to be cut off.

    The usher saw angels carrying their souls up to heaven and immediately he believed in the Lord Christ. Because of his conversion, he was cast into prison for three days and on the fourth day, he was taken out of prison and his head was cut off along with the head of Kilkeya, Valerian's wife. They all received the crown of martyrdom.

Their prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also we commemorate the departure of St. Gregory, bishop of Nyssa. He was born in Cappadocia, in the year 330 A.D. and was ordained bishop by his brother, St. Basilius, in the year 372 A.D.

    He was exiled during the reign of Emperor Valens, then returned in the year 378 A.D., by the order of Emperor Theodosius the Great. He wrote many church books and departed in peace in the year 396 A.D.

His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Twenty-Seventh Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

The Martyrdom of St. James the Mangled (Sawn)

On this day, St. James the mangled, was martyred. He was one of the soldiers of Sakrod, the son of Shapur, King of Persia. Because of his courage and his uprightness, he was promoted to the highest rank in the king's court. He found favor and access to the king, who even counselled with him in many affairs. In this way, he influenced St. James greatly to the extent that he turned his heart away from worshipping the Lord Christ.

    When his mother, his wife, and his sister heard that he adopted the king's belief, they wrote to him saying, "Why have you forsaken the faith in the Lord Christ and worshipped the created objects, the fire and the sun? Know that if you persist in what you are doing, we will disown you and you will become a stranger to us." When he read their letter, he wept and said, "If by doing that, I have become a stranger to my own family and my people, how would the situation be with my Lord Jesus Christ?" Consequently, he resigned from the king's service and devoted his time to reading the holy books.

    When the news reached the king, he summoned St. James. When the King saw the change that had befallen him, he ordered that James be beaten severely and if he did not change his belief, he was to be cut up with knives. They cut off his fingers, his hands, his legs and his arms. Each time they cut off a piece of his body, he praised the Lord and sang saying, "Have mercy upon me O Lord according to Your great compassion." (Psalm 50:1) Eventually, nothing was left of him except his head, his breast and his loins.

    When he knew that his time was near, he entreated the Lord to have mercy and compassion upon the world and the people therein. He apologized for not standing in the presence of the mighty Lord and said, "I have neither legs to stand before Thee, nor hands to lift up to Thee, behold the parts of my body have been cast around me, O Lord receive my soul." Straightaway, the Lord Christ appeared to him, comforted, and strengthened him and his soul rejoiced. Before he delivered up his soul, one of the guards made haste and cut off his head. He thus received the crown of martyrdom. Some of the believers then came forward and took his body, wrapped it and buried it.

    When his mother, his sister, and his wife heard that he was martyred, they rejoiced for his soul and came to where the body was and kissed it, weeping. They shrouded it in expensive cloth and poured sweet scents and perfumed oil over it. A church and a monastery were built in his name during the reign of the righteous Emperors Arcadius and Honourius.

    When the king of Persia heard the news of the miracles and wonders which appeared through the body of St. James and of the other honored martyrs, he ordered all the bodies of the martyrs in all parts of his kingdom, to be burnt. Some of the believers came and took the body of St. James and brought it to Jerusalem and entrusted it to St. Peter El-Rahawy, Bishop of Gaza.

    The body remained there until the reign of Marcianus, who persecuted the Orthodox Christians everywhere. St. Peter, the Bishop, took the body to Egypt. There he went to the city of Behnasa, where he stayed in a monastery occupied by devoted monks. It happened that at the sixth hour, while they were praying in the place where the holy body laid, St. James appeared to them with many other martyrs of Persia. They joined them in singing, blessed them and disappeared. Before leaving, however, St. James told them that his body should stay there as the Lord commanded.

    Despite this, when Anba Peter the Bishop, decided to return to his country, he took the body with him. When he arrived at the seashore, the body was taken from their hands and returned to the place where it had originally been.

His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Twenty-Eighth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

The Martyrdom of St. Sarapamon, Bishop of Niku

This day marks the martyrdom of St. Sarapamon, Bishop of Niku (Nakiyos). He was born in Jerusalem. His father's name was Abraham, the son of Levi, the son of Joseph, Simon's brother and uncle of Stephen, the Archdeacon and the first martyr. He was from the tribe of Judah. At birth, he was called Simon after his grandfather.

    When his father died, Simon longed to become a Christian. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and commanded him to go to Abba John, Bishop of Jerusalem, who taught him the mystery of the incarnation of the Lord Christ. However, he did not dare to baptize him in Jerusalem, for his fear of Jews, and he was pondering what he should do.

    The Virgin St. Mary, appeared to Simon and told him to go to the city of Alexandria, to St. Theonas, 16th Pope of Alexandria. He departed and the angel of the Lord, in the form of a man, accompanied him on his journey to the city of Alexandria. He went to Pope Theonas, who rejoiced on seeing him, preached to him and baptized him.

    He then became a monk in El-Zogag monastery, (the monastery of Abba Severus, outside Alexandria). When Pope Theonas departed and Abba Peter, the seal of the martyrs, succeeded him, Abba Peter summoned Simon so that he could assist him in the works of the patriarchate.

    When the chair of the city of Niku (Nakiyos) became vacant, Abba Peter ordained Simon Bishop over it. His flock rejoiced greatly in him and the Lord performed many signs and wonders at his hands. There were pagan temples close to his city, and he pleaded to the Lord Christ until they were destroyed and were covered with water and Paganism was eradicated from his diocese. The heresy of Sabilius of Upper Egypt, who taught that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one person, was also eradicated.

    When Diocletian denied Christ, they told him that Sarapamon the Bishop had hindered the worship of idols with his teachings. Diocletian ordered Anba Sarapamon to be brought to him. When Anba Sarapamon arrived in Alexandria with the messengers, he spent the night in prison. Pope Peter, accompanied by some clergy, came to see him. When they embraced him, they saw his face as though it was that of an angel.

    When Anba Sarapamon came before the Emperor, he tortured him with all kinds of torture, but the Lord Christ raised him up every time without suffering. When the Emperor saw that many people believed because of him, he sent him to Arianus, Governor of Ansena, who tortured him and threatened to cut off his head if he did not change his mind.

    It happened that Arianus was in Alexandria, so he took St. Sarapamon with him in the ship. When the ship reached Niku (Nakiyos), his home town, the ship stopped and no one was able to move it. They took the saint off the ship and led him to the northern part of the city, where they cut off his head and he received the crown of martyrdom. The people of his diocese carried his body to the church with great honor.

His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Twenty-Ninth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Martyrdom of St. Peter, the Seal of the Martyrs, 17th Pope of Alexandria.

2. The Martyrdom of St. Clement, Pope of Rome.

1. This day marks the martyrdom of St. Peter, 17th Pope of Alexandria and the seal of the martyrs. His father was the archpriest of Alexandria and his name was Theodosius and his mother's name was Sophia. They were God-fearing people and they had no children.

    On the fifth day of the Coptic month of Abib, the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, his mother went to church where she saw other mothers carrying their children. She was exceedingly sorrowful and she wept. She besought our Lord Jesus Christ with many tears, to grant her a son. That night, Peter and Paul appeared to her and told her that the Lord had accepted her prayers and that He would give her a son, and to call him Peter. They commanded her to go to the Patriarch, to bless her. When she woke up, she told her husband about what she saw and he was exceedingly glad. Then she went to the father, the Patriarch and told him about what she saw and asked him to pray for her. He prayed and blessed her.

    Shortly after, she gave birth to this saint and called him Peter. When he was 7 years old, they gave him to Pope Theonas, as was done with Samuel the prophet and he became as a son to him. He placed him in the theological school where he received his education and excelled in preaching and counseling. He then ordained him as a reader, then as a deacon, and shortly after as a priest. He relieved the Pope of many church administrative duties.

    Before Pope Theonas' departure, he recommended that Abba Peter be his successor. When he was enthroned on the See of St. Mark, the church was enlightened by his teachings.

    It came to pass in the city of Antioch, that a man of high authority had agreed with Diocletian the Emperor, to return to paganism. That man had two children and because of him, their mother could not baptize them there. Therefore, she took them to Alexandria. On her way there, the sea was troubled by a violent storm and she was afraid that her two sons would drown and die without being baptized. She therefore dipped them in the sea three times saying, "In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit," then she cut her breast and with her blood made the sign of the Holy Cross over their foreheads.

    Eventually, the troubled sea calmed down and she arrived safely to Alexandria with her sons. On the same day, she brought them to be baptized. Whenever, the Patriarch, St. Peter tried to baptize them, the water would solidify as stone. This happened three times. When he questioned her, she informed him of what had happened to her at sea. He marvelled and praised God saying, "That is what the church proclaims, that it is one baptism." Therefore, the baptism she performed in the sea was accepted by the Lord.

    Also in the days of this Pope, Arius the heretic appeared and St. Peter advised him several times to turn from his wicked thoughts, but he would not hearken to him. Consequently, he excommunicated him and prevented him from the fellowship of the church.

    Arius contacted Emperor Maximianus, the infidel, and reported to him that Peter, the Patriarch of Alexandria, incited the people not to worship the gods. The Emperor was outraged and he sent messengers with orders to cut off his head. When they arrived in Alexandria, they attacked the people and destroyed most of the cities of Egypt. They robbed all their valuables, their women and children. In total, about 840 thousand of them were killed, some with the sword, some with starvation and some with imprisonment. Then they returned to Alexandria and captured the father, the Patriarch, and imprisoned him.

    When the people heard about their shepherd's arrest, they gathered in front of the prison door and wanted to save him by force. The officer in charge of his slaying was worried that the general peace would be disrupted, so he postponed the execution till the next day. When the saint saw what had happened, he wanted to deliver himself to death for his people, for he feared what might happen to his flock. He wished to depart and be with Christ, without causing any disturbances or troubles. He sent for his people and he comforted them and advised them to adhere to the true faith.

    When Arius, the infidel, learned that St. Peter was departing to be with the Lord, leaving him under the band of excommunication, he entreated him, through the high priests, to absolve him. St. Peter refused and told them that the Lord Christ had appeared to him this night in a vision, wearing a torn robe. St. Peter asked Him, "My Lord, who rent Your robe?" The Lord replied, "Arius has rent My robe, because he separated Me from My Father. Beware of accepting him." After this, St. Peter summoned the Emperor's messenger in secret and advised him to dig a hole in the prison's wall on the side where there were no Christians. The officer was amazed at the bravery of the father and he did as he commanded him. He took him out of prison secretly and brought him outside the city, to where the tomb of St. Mark the evangelist, Egypt's evangelist. There, he kneeled down and asked the Lord, "Let the shedding of my blood mark the end of the worship of idols and be the end of the shedding of the blood of Christians." A voice came from heaven and was heard by a saintly virgin who was near that place. It said, "Amen. May it be to you according to your wishes." When he finished his prayer, the swordsman advanced and cut off his holy head.

    The body remained in its place until the people went out hurriedly from the city to the place where he was martyred, because they did not know what had happened. They took the pure body and dressed it in the pontifical clothes and seated him on the seat of St. Mark, which he refused to sit on during his life. He used to say that he saw the power of God sitting on the Chair and therefore, he did not dare to sit on it.

    Then they placed his body with the bodies of the saints. He occupied the throne of St. Mark for 11 years.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. This day also marks the martyrdom of St. Clement, Pope of Rome. This Saint was born in Rome to an honorable father whose name was Fostinus; who was a member of the Senate. His father educated him and taught him Greek literature.

    When St. Peter, the Apostle, came to Rome and Clement heard about his teaching, he called him to appear before him and they discussed many things together. The Apostle explained to him the falsehood of idol worship and proved to him the Divinity of the Lord Christ, in Whose Name they preached and performed miracles. He believed at his hands, was baptized by him, and followed him since that day.

    St. Clement wrote the biography of the Apostles and what happened to them at the hands of the kings and rulers. He preached in numerous cities and many believed at his hands. He was the one to whom the apostles gave their Canon Books. He became the Archbishop of Rome in the latter part of the first century A.D. He preached there and brought many of its people to the knowledge of the Lord Christ.

    Emperor Trajan heard of him and ordered him to be seized and brought to him. The Emperor commanded him to worship the idols and deny the Lord Christ, but St. Clement refused. Because the Emperor feared torturing him before the people of the city and before his family, he exiled him to a city and wrote a message to its Governor, telling him to torture St. Clement, then to kill him. The Governor tied his neck to an anchor and cast him into the sea. In this way, the Saint delivered up his pure spirit and received the crown of martyrdom, in the year 100 A.D.

    One year after his departure, the sea water receded off his body, which appeared in the bottom of the sea as though he was alive. Many went in and were blessed and they decided to take the body away from its place. They brought a marble coffin and laid him in it and when they wanted to take his body out of the sea, they were unable to move it. They knew that he did not wish to be moved from his place, so they left him and departed.

    On the day of his feast each year, the sea would flow back and the visitors would enter and be blessed by him. Many frequently travelled to see this wonder.

    Among the many miracles written about him: One year the visitors went in to visit and to be blessed by him and when they left, they forgot a little child who was behind the coffin of the Saint. This was according to the Lord Christ's Will, in order to reveal the honor of His beloved ones and the grace they had received from Him. When the child's parents remembered their son, they went back to the sea, but they found the water was back and that it had covered the casket. They realized that their son must be dead and devoured by the beasts of the sea. They wept over him and commemorated him as was the custom. The next year, when the sea waters receded, the people entered, as was their custom, and were amazed to find the child alive. They asked him how he existed and what he had eaten. He replied, "The Saint fed me, gave me drink, and protected me from the beasts of the sea." They praised the Lord Christ Who is glorified in all His saints.

His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Thirtieth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

1. The Departure of St. Acacius, Patriarch of Constantinople.

2. The Martyrdom of St. Macarius.

3. The Consecration of the Church of Saints Cosmas, Damian, Their Brothers and Their Mother.

1. On this day, St. Acacius, Patriarch of the city of Constantinople, departed. He was knowledgeable and well informed about the Holy Books and was an expert in explaining their mysteries. So, he was ordained a priest over the church of Constantinople.

    When the council of Chalcedone convened, he refused to attend its meeting and when they called on him to hear his opinion, he refused, claiming he was sick. He was exceedingly sorrowful for the tribulations that befell St. Dioscurus and he made that known to his companions and those he trusted: the Governors, Christians and ministers whom he knew to be dedicated and faithful Orthodox. He thanked the Lord that he did not participate in the works of this council.

    When Anatolius, the Patriarch of Constantinople departed, this father was chosen by the believing ministers and the enlightened government officials to be successor. St. Acacius strove diligently to eliminate the division and enmity that dwelled in the church. When he found that the spiritual ailment was deep-rooted and difficult to overcome, he believed that the proper thing to do was to devote his efforts to the salvation of his own soul.

    He sent a letter to the holy father, Abba Peter, the Pope of Alexandria, confessing the true faith which he had learned and received from the holy fathers, Abba Cyril and Abba Dioscorus. He followed that letter with many others, asking the Pope of Alexandria to accept him in the fellowship. The Pope of Alexandria answered all his letters, then he wrote him a Catholic letter and sent it with three bishops. They went disguised until they entered Constantinople and there they met Acacius, who treated them with great honor and received the letter from them. He read the letter to his friends, the Orthodox nobles of the city and they all agreed on it and with him, and confessed the True Faith. Then he wrote a letter before them, accepting the faith of Abba Dioscorus, Abba Timothy and Abba Peter and confessing the soundness of their faith. Afterwards, he accompanied the three bishops to some monasteries and he took part with them in the celebration of the liturgy and the partaking of the Holy Communion. The bishops then exchanged the blessings with him, took the letter and returned it to Abba Peter. The Bishops informed Abba Peter about their fellowship with Abba Acacius and that they had taken part in the liturgy with him. Abba Peter accepted the letter and ordered that Abba Acacius be mentioned in the liturgies and the prayers of the Coptic church.

    When the news reached the bishops of Rome, they exiled St. Acacius from Constantinople. He remained in exile until he departed in peace, all the while remaining firm in his Orthodox Faith.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also is the commemoration of St. Macarius, the martyr.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

3. On this day, we also commemorate the consecration of the church of the Saints Cosmas and Damian; their brothers, Anthimus, Leontius (Londius) and Euprepius (Abrabius); and their mother Theodata.

Their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.

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