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



The Blessed Month of Tubah

The First Day

1. The Martyrdom of St. Stephen the Archdeacon.

2. The Martyrdom of St. Lawindianus (Leontius).

1. This day marks the martyrdom of St. Stephen, the Archdeacon and the first martyr (protomartyr). St. Luke testified about him in the Acts of the Apostles saying, "Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people." (Acts 6:8) The Jews envied him and seized him and brought him to the Council. They also set up false witnesses who said, "This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us." (Acts 6:12-13) And all who sat in the Council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel. (Acts 6:13)

    Then the high priest said, "Are these things so?" St. Stephen answered with convincing words and told them the history from Abraham to Moses. The coming out of Abraham from Haran, the birth and the circumcision of Isaac, Jacob and his sons and their selling of Joseph, and how Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. St. Stephen continued to narrate to them all the events until the building of the temple. He concluded by saying, "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of Whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers; who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it." (Acts 7:51-53)

    When they heard these things they were cut to their hearts, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"

    Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran toward him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him.

    They stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus receive my Spirit." Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:51-60) Devout men carried St. Stephen to his burial and made great lamentation over him.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also, St. Leontius (Lawindianus) was martyred. He was from Syria during the time of the infidel Emperor Maximianus. When the Emperor heard about this Saint and his worship of Christ, he sent for him. He tried to entice him with much money to renounce the worship of Christ and to worship the idols.

    The saint mocked the Emperor's words and despised his presents, belittling his threats of tortures. The Emperor, was enraged, ordered him to be hung on the squeezing machine (Hinbazeen) to be pressed and then be beaten with pins, and to be cast in boiling oil. The saint endured it all, and the Lord Christ strengthened and healed him.

    When the Emperor was weary of torturing him, he ordered Leontius to be beheaded, and Leontius received the crown of martyrdom. Many miracles and wonders appeared through his body until he became well known in all Syria, and several churches and monasteries were built in his name.

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


The Second Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Departure of St. Theonas, 16th Pope of Alexandria.

2. The Martyrdom of St. Callinicus (Gallinicus), Bishop of Oseem.

1. On this day in the year 300 A.D., St. Theonas, 16th Pope of Alexandria, departed. This saint was a righteous, meek scholar, gentle and loving to everyone. By the spirit of friendship and gentleness with everyone, he was able to build a church in Alexandria, dedicated to the name of the Virgin St. Mary, the Theotokos.

    Until his time, the faithful were praying and performing their services in homes and in caves for fear of the unbelievers. Pope Theonas dealt with them wisely and gently to achieve what he wanted to do. He converted many of them to believe in the Lord Christ and baptized them. He baptized, in the first year of his papacy, St. Peter, who succeeded him on the apostolic throne of St. Mark and was the 17th Pope. It was said that he ordained St. Peter as a reader at the age of five, then he promoted him to be a deacon at the age of twelve, then as a priest at sixteen.

    At the time of this saint, a man by the name of Sabellius appeared in Alexandria who was teaching that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one person. St. Theonas excommunicated him and he invalidated his heresy by convincing proof.

    When he completed his course, he departed in peace, after he had been on the throne of St. Mark for 19 years.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. Also on this day, St. Callinicus (Gallinicus), bishop of Oseem, was martyred.

When Emperor Diocletian heard the report that St. Callinicus was teaching the people to get away from the worship of idols, he sent envoys to seize him and torture him. When the saint heard about the envoys of the Emperor, he called the people of his diocese to the City of Oseem. He celebrated the Divine Liturgy and after he administered the Body and the Blood of Christ to them, he told them, "You will not see my face again." The people wept bitterly, but they could not prevent him from delivering himself to the Emperor's envoys. They took him and delivered him to Arianus, Governor of Ansena (Antinoe). He tortured him, with different kinds of tortures, but the Lord healed him and strengthened him. The Governor took him to the city of "Edku", and there he tortured him again. When the Governor became weary of torturing the Saint, ordered that the Saint's arm be split down to his hand.

    Subsequently, he took him in a ship to the city of "Tukh". When the saint felt, while he was on the ship, that the time of his departure from the world had drawn near, he commanded one of the sailors who was a believer, "If I die, when we arrive ashore, cast out my body on a hill." When St. Callinicus departed, the sailor did as he was commanded. Some believers, through a command of God, came and took the body of the saint and shrouded it for burial and hid it in their homes until the end of the era of persecution.

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


The Third Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

The Commemoration of the Slain Children of Bethlehem by the Order of King Herod

On this day, in the second year of the Advent of Christ, the children of Bethlehem were martyred. King Herod secretly called the wise men and determined from them what time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also." When they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary, His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. When they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

    When they were about to return to Herod, the Angel of the Lord warned them in a dream that they should not return to Herod, and that they should depart for their own country another way. When they had departed, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him."

    Joseph arose, took the young child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,

"Out of Egypt I called My Son."

Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Herod's intention was for Jesus to be slain among the children who were slain.

    It was said that Herod schemed to achieve his evil objective, by sending envoys to Bethlehem and all its districts saying, "By the command of Caesar all the children two years old and under had to be counted." They gathered 144,000 children in the hands of their mothers. He thought that Jesus would be among them. Then King Herod sent a commander with one thousand soldiers, who slaughtered all these children on one of the mountains in one day.

    Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet saying, "A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and a great mourning. Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." (Jeremiah 31:15) For Bethlehem is related to Rachel, and the children were killed nearby her tomb, which is located close to Bethlehem. (Genesis 48:7) St. John the Evangelist said in Revelation that he saw under the altar the souls of those children that had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

    A white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed." (Revelation 6:9-11)

    St. John said also that the new song that the four living creatures and the elders were singing, no one could learn except the 144,000 who were redeemed from the earth, who were not defiled with women for they are virgins. They follow the Lord (the Lamb) wherever He goes, and He wipes every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 14:3-4)

    Blessed are they, and blessed are the wombs that carried them.

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


The Fourth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

The Departure of St. John the Evangelist and Theologian

On this day, in the year 100 A.D., St. John, the virgin, the evangelist, and apostle who was the son of Zebedee, departed. St. John Chrysostom (of the Golden Mouth) said that St. John the Evangelist was originally a disciple of St. John the Baptist. He was the brother of St. James the Elder, who was killed by Herod by the sword. The Lord called him with his brother "Boanerges" (Mark 3:17), that is "sons of thunder," for their strong zeal and great faith. He was also the disciple whom Jesus loved.

    The lot fell on him to go to Asia. The people of this area were stiff-necked, so he prayed to Christ to be with him. He went to Ephesus, accompanied by his disciple Prochorus. They embarked on a ship, but the ship was wrecked on the way and every one of the passengers clung to a plank of the ship's wood. The waves washed out Prochorus to an island, but St. John remained among the waves of the sea for several days, until the waves carried him, by the will of God, to the same island where his disciple Prochorus was. When they met together, they offered thanks to God for taking care of them.

    From there, St. John went to the city of Ephesus where he preached the word of salvation. Its people did not accept his message at first, until a day when an only child fell in the furnace of a public bath managed by the child's mother. They took him in haste out of the fire, but he was dead and his mother wept bitterly. At this time, St. John went to the child, prayed fervently to God, made the sign of the Cross over him, breathed in the child's face, and life came back to him right away. His mother rejoiced and she kissed the feet of the Apostle and tears of joy were in her eyes. From this time on, the people of the city came to hear his teachings and many of them believed and were baptized by St. John. This made the priests of the idols resent him and they tried to kill him several times but they could not, for the Lord protects all His chosen ones. After a great effort and many hardships, St. John led them to the knowledge of God and ordained bishops and priests for them.

    From there, he went to other places in Asia (Minor) and converted many of its people to the Faith of Christ.

    This saint lived 90 years, and they used to carry him to the gatherings of the believers. Because of his old age, he only gave them very short sermons saying, "My children, love one another." He wrote the gospel known after him, and the Book of Revelation which he had seen on the island of Patmos, which is full of divine mysteries. He also wrote the three epistles known by his name.

    He was with the Lord Jesus Christ at the Transfiguration. He leaned (reclined) on the chest of our Lord at the Last Supper. He asked the Lord, "Who is he that shall betray you?" He was standing near the Cross with the Virgin St. Mary and the Lord said to his mother, "Behold your Son," and to John, "Behold your mother." He was the disciple about whom Peter asked the Lord, "And this one, what of him?" The Lord said to Peter, "If it be that I wish him to be here until I come, what is that to you?"

    When St. John felt that he was about to depart from this world, he summoned the people and administered to them the Body and the Blood of the Lord. He preached and commanded them to be steadfast in their faith.

    He then departed from the City of Ephesus for a short distance. He commanded his disciple and others with him to dig there a pit for him. He went down in it, raised his hands and prayed and then bade them farewell. He commanded them to return to the city and to confirm the brethren in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, and said to them, "I am innocent of your blood, for I did not leave any command of God that I haven't taught you, and now, let it be known that you will never see my face again, and God will reward everyone according to his deeds."

    When he said that, they kissed his hand and his feet, and they left him and returned to the city. When the people knew what had happened, they went out to where the saint was, and they found that he had departed. They wept and were deeply sad. They talked about his miracles and marvelled about his meekness.

    In spite of the fact that he did not die by the sword, as the rest of the apostles did, he was equal to them in the heavenly glories, for his virginity and his holiness.

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


The Fifth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

The Martyrdom of St. Eusegnius (Eugenius) the Soldier

On this day, St. Eusegnius (Eugenius) was martyred. He was a soldier during the reign of Emperor Constantine the Great. He was merciful and had many charitable deeds. When Emperor Constantine saw the sign of the Cross, he could not understand its significance, for he was not a believer yet. He asked the soldier Eugenius, who told him that it was the sign of the Lord Christ. The Emperor started to think deeply about it and particularly in the sentence that was written on the sign of the cross, "By this you conquer." At night the Emperor saw the Lord Christ in a dream and He showed him the sign of the Cross. He commanded him to make the flags of his army similar to it. The following morning, the Emperor did as he was commanded, and he won the war against his enemies. He entered Rome victoriously and became a Christian since then, and he lifted up the horn of the Christians and their faith all over the Roman Empire. St. Eusegnius lived until he was 120 years old, until the days of Julian the infidel Emperor (the apostate).

    One day, when he was walking in one of the streets of Antioch, he found two men fighting together. They stopped him and asked him to judge between them, for he was an honorable old man. He made peace between them. Some evil men plotted evil against him, by telling Emperor Julian that he made himself a judge and a ruler over the city. The Emperor brought him, rebuked him and said to him, "Who has appointed you a judge and a ruler?" St. Eusegnius replied with great courage, "I am not a judge nor am I a ruler, but you have forsaken the worship of the God of Heaven, in Whose hands is your soul, and you worshipped unclean idols and you did not follow in the footsteps of those who came before you. I had been a soldier under the righteous Emperor Constantine for 60 years, and with his sons after him, and I did not see anyone as devilish as you.". The Emperor was exceedingly angry with him, and he commanded that he be crucified and to apply lighted torches to his sides. They did all these things to him, but the saint endured them all for his love of the Lord Christ. At last, the Emperor commanded that his head be cut off. When he was approached by the swordsman, he asked him to wait until he prayed. When he finished praying, they beheaded him and he received the crown of martyrdom.

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


The Sixth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Commemoration of the Circumcision of the Lord Christ.

2. The Ascension of Elijah the Prophet.

3. The Departure of St. Marcianus, 8th Pope of Alexandria.

4. The Departure of St. Basil the Great, Bishop Of Caesarea.

1. On this day, the church celebrates the commemoration of the circumcision of the Lord Christ, to Whom is the glory. God had ordained the law of circumcision as a sign that His people would become a particular people over all others. This was that every male of the seed of Abraham be circumcised on the eighth day of his birth. God put every soul that did not obey this law under judgement.

    As our Lord Jesus was born from the posterity of Abraham, according to the flesh, He willed to be circumcised on the eighth day, to fulfill the law of Moses and to relieve us from the heavy burden of this commandment, as St. Paul says, "Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers." (Romans 15:8)

    He also gave us the sign of the new covenant through baptism, as St. Paul says, "In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in Baptism in which you also were raised with Him, through faith in the working of God, Who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses." (Colossians 2:11-13)

    Therefore, He demands from us to keep the spiritual circumcision, that is to say the circumcision of the heart, so that we may live for Him in righteousness and in holiness, for He says, "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God." (John 3:5)

Glory be to our God forever. Amen.

2. Also, on this day was the departure of the prophet Elijah (Elias), the Tishbite, to heaven, alive. This prophet lived during the time of King Ahab. His heart was filled with sorrow, for he saw the king had turned from the worship of the God of Israel to the worship of idols. He followed Queen Jezebel, who helped the priests of Baalzebub. The worship of idols spread out in his days.

    Therefore, Elijah stood before the king and said, "As the Lord God of Israel lives, before Whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word." (I Kings 17: 1) Immediately the brooks dried up, for there had been no rain in the land, and the grass dried up and the drought set in the whole land. God however did not forsake his zealous servant. He commanded him to go to the brook of Cherith, and the ravens came to him everyday and brought him bread and meat in the morning and in the evening.

    The Lord ordered the water of the river to dry, but He did not forsake the prophet Elijah. God commanded him to go to Zarephath, which belonged to Sidon, where he found a widow gathering sticks and he asked her for bread to eat. She said to him, "As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die." Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel, 'The bin of flour shall not be used up; nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.'" So she went away and did according to the words of Elijah, and she, the prophet, and her household ate for many days.

    Elijah stayed with the widow until the drought had ended. She had a son who was sick, and his sickness progressed until he died. The prophet saw the grief of the woman. He took her son from her and carried him to the upper room where he was staying and laid him on his own bed. Then he cried out to the Lord and he stretched himself out on the child three times. The Lord heard the voice of Elijah and the soul of the child came back to him, and he was revived. Elijah took the child and brought him down and gave him to his mother alive. (I Kings 17:17-23)

    When Jezebel knew that Elijah executed all the priests of Baal by the sword, she threatened to kill him. When he saw that, he arose and ran for his life. He went to Mount Horeb where he hid himself. The Lord talked to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" So he said, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they seek to take my life." The Lord said to him, "... Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal... " (I Kings 19:10-18)

    When Ahab died and King Ahaziah reigned, he did evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of his father Ahab. Ahaziah fell through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and was injured. He sent messengers to inquire from Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, whether he would recover from his injury.

    Elijah, the Prophet, met with his messengers and he told them to go and tell the King, "Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron? Now therefore, thus says the Lord! You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die."

    When they said this to the King, the King knew that it was Elijah the prophet. The King sent to him a captain of fifty, and the prophet was sitting on the top of the hill. He said to Elijah, "Man of God, the King has said, 'Come down.'" So, Elijah answered and said to the captain, "If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men." And the fire came down from heaven and consumed them. Then the King sent another captain of fifty and said to him what the first captain said. And the fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The third captain came to Elijah and fell on his knees before him and pleaded with him. Elijah arose and went down with him to the King whom he rebuked. The King died in his bed. (2 Kings 1:1- 18)

    After that, Elijah went to the Jordan River and he took with him Elisha, his disciple. He struck the water with his mantle, and the river was divided and the two of them crossed over on dry ground. While they were talking to each other, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, separated the two of them, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings 2:1-12)

His prayers be with us. Amen

3. Also on this day in 154 A.D., St. Marcianus, 8th Pope of Alexandria, departed. He was born in Alexandria. When Pope Omanius departed, the fathers of the church gathered with the people of Alexandria and discussed whom they should choose for the vacant throne. By consensus, they chose Marcianus for his intellect and righteousness.

    He sat on the throne of St. Mark for 9 years, 2 months and 26 days. He was always teaching his flock and protecting the church from all the foreign teachings. When he completed his well pleasing course to God, he departed in peace.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

4. Today also of the year 379 A.D., the great St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, departed. His father's name was "Isosorus" (Isidore), who was a priest and a holy man. He begot five children: St. Basil of Caesarea, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Kisarion (Cherion), St. Peter of Sebastia, and St. Machrina. They all lived in holiness all their lives.

    He was instructed in the art of rhetoric, at the hands of the philosopher Libianius of Antioch, and he worked as an advocate. In 358 A.D., he abandoned the world and all its vain glories. He travelled through the wilderness of Egypt, where he witnessed the ascetics and was influenced by them. Upon his return, he withdrew to a wild and beautiful spot in Pontus and devoted himself to prayer and study. When the news of his holiness spread around, many came to him and they took him as a guide to lead them in the way of perfection.

    In 362 A.D., he was promoted to the priesthood. He continued to teach the believers, to defend the faith, and to save those who had been lost.

    In 370 A.D., he was ordained Bishop of Caesarea, Cappadocia. For his boldness in truth and for his rebuke of the emperors who conducted themselves against the doctrine and those who behaved immorally. Emperor Valens wanted to exile St. Basil, but he declined because of the death of his son. Another time, when the Emperor wanted to sign an order for his exile, the pen broke in his hand, he took another pen and that also broke, and the same thing happened to a third pen. Valens tore the paper and left the saint to shepherd his flock and manage his church in peace. St. Basil was filled with the Holy Spirit, and wrote the liturgy that is named after him. God wrought by his hands many signs and miracles. Among them, some heretics gained control over one of the churches and decided to close it unless someone opened it by his prayers. By the prayers of this saint, the church was opened and the believers gained access to it once again. Another sign: Abba Ephraim saw a pillar of light between earth and heaven and heard a voice saying, "This is Basil." St. Ephraim came to the city of Caesarea and witnessed the virtues of St. Basil. St. Basil ordained him a deacon.

    Among his miracles was that a woman wrote all her sins on paper and gave it to St. Basil. He prayed for her and her sins were forgiven, except one sin. He told her to go to Abba Ephraim to pray for her. When she went to Abba Ephraim, he sent her back to St. Basil saying, "Hurry, go back to meet him before his death." When she came back, she found that he had passed away. She wept and she put the paper that she had written on his body and the written sins were blotted out. Also among his miracles was a Jewish physician, who was known for his professional accuracy and who told the saint that he would die after three days. The saint prayed to God, Who prolonged his life, and he did not die on the day that the physician expected him to die. The physician believed and was baptized with all his household.

    Another example is that of a young man who wrote a covenant with the devil to deny his Christianity and his baptism. Through the prayer of the Saint, the young man was saved from the servitude of the devil.

    This saint had many virtues and performed many miracles besides the above mentioned ones. He wrote many articles, homilies, and discourses. He put down canons which the believers follow till now. He also wrote commentaries on some of the Books of the Old and New Testaments.

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


The Seventh Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

The Departure of St. Silvester, Pope of Rome

On this day in the year 335 A.D., St. Silvester (Sylvester), Pope of Rome, departed. He was born in Rome. For his virtues, his ascetic life and his knowledge, he was chosen for the pontificate of Rome in 314 A.D., after the departure of his predecessor St. Miltiades. That was in the eleventh year of Emperor Constantine's reign and less than a year after the issuing of the edict of Milan, which granted freedom to Christianity.

    He baptized Emperor Constantine, for he was not yet baptized. He was occupied with wars, demolishing pagan temples and building churches.

The life of this father was a bright and shining life. He continued to teach the people, and remove all doubts from them. He explained to them that which was difficult to understand. He frequently debated with the heretics and converted many of them to believe in the Lord Christ, and baptized them.

    He composed several discourses and he wrote several books about the knowledge of God and the mystery of Incarnation.

    During the seventh year of his papacy, the Ecumenical Council of Nicea convened, and he excommunicated Arius and all who supported him. When he completed his good course, he departed in peace. He occupied the Roman chair for 11 years.

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


The Eighth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Consecration of St. Macarius' Church.

2. The Departure of St. Andronicus, 37th Pope of Alexandria.

3. The Departure of St. Benjamin, 38th Pope of Alexandria.

1. On this day, the church of St. Macarius, in the monastery known after his name, was consecrated by the hand of Abba Benjamin, 38th Pope of Alexandria. This took place when El-Moquakas was appointed as a ruler and patriarch over Egypt by Emperor Heraclius. Both of them believed in the teachings of the Council of Chalcedon.

    El-Moquakas started to persecute the Christians of Egypt (the Copts) because they refused to follow him. He pursued Pope Benjamin, the legitimate Pope of Alexandria, who took flight to upper Egypt. He moved from one church to another and from one monastery to another, confirming his flock in the faith. He did this for ten years, until the Arab conquest of Egypt and the death of El-Moquakas.

    When Abba Benjamin returned to his throne, the elders of the wilderness of the holy desert of Scete (Scetis) asked him to consecrate for them the new church that they built there in the name of St. Macarius. He went with them joyfully. As he approached the monastery, the monks received him with palm fronds and olive branches, just as the city of Jerusalem received Christ when He entered it.

    When he was consecrating the church and as he was starting to consecrate the altar, he saw the Hand of Christ anointing the altar with him. He fell upon his face in great fear, and one of the Cherubim raised him up and comforted him. Abba Benjamin said, "Truly this is the house of the Lord and this is the door of heaven." He looked to the west side of the church and he saw an elder standing there with reverence and awesome appearance, and his shining face looked like an angel. He said to himself, "Truly, if there a chair became vacant, I would make this man a bishop." The angel told him, "Would you make this man a bishop?, and he is St. Macarius, the father of Patriarchs, bishops, and all the monks. He has come today in the spirit to rejoice with his children, and this place will be forever filled with righteous monks, and it will never be short of leaders and spiritual fruits." St. Benjamin said, "Blessed is he and blessed are his children." The angel said, "If his children obey his commandments and follow his orders, they will be with him in glory, but if they disobey, they will have no share with him."

    Then St. Macarius said, "Do not decide, my lord, what would happen to my children this way. For if one grape in a bunch remains, the blessing of the Lord will be on it. For if their love for one another remains among them, I believe that the Lord will never keep them away from His Kingdom."

    St. Benjamin was amazed and marvelled at the abundant mercy of St. Macarius. He wrote what had taken place and placed it in the church as a perpetual memorial. He asked the Lord Jesus Christ that his departure might take place on a similar day. This was fulfilled, and he departed on the eighth day of Tubah, after he had been on the throne for 39 years. The altar in which he saw the Lord Christ was named after him.

His prayers be with. Amen.

2. Also on this day, of the year 617 A.D., the holy father Abba Andronicus, 37th Pope of Alexandria, departed. This father was from a rich family of great influence and his cousin was the chief of the imperial court at Alexandria. He was very well educated and he studied the holy scriptures and excelled in their interpretation. Because of his knowledge, his righteousness and his charity toward the poor, he was ordained a deacon. By consensus he was chosen to be patriarch, although he never lived in any monastery. He remained in Alexandria all the days of his papacy, not intimidated by the authority of the Melkites.

    Shortly after the ordination of Abba Andronics, the Persians invaded the East and crossed the river Euphrates. They seized Halab, Antioch in Syria, Jerusalem, and many other cities. They killed and imprisoned many Christians. They captured Egypt and went to the City of Alexandria, around which there were six hundred inhabited monasteries. They killed all the inhabitants, plundered their possessions, and destroyed the monasteries. When the people of Alexandria heard what they had done, because of their fear, they opened the gates of the city for them.

    The Persian King saw in a night dream someone saying to him, "I have delivered to you the city. Do not destroy it. But kill its heroes for they are hypocrites." He arrested the Governor of the city, and tied him up in chains. He ordered the elders of the city to bring forth the men, from 18 to 50 years old to come forward to give everyone twenty denari, and to enlist them as soldiers for the city. Eighty thousand men came forward and he killed them all by the sword.

    Afterward, the Persian King went with his army to Upper Egypt. He passed by the city of Nikios. He heard that there were some seven hundred monks living in cells and caves around it. He sent men to kill them. He continued to kill and destroy until Emperor Heraclius conquered him and drove him out of Egypt.

    As for Pope Andronicus, he lived a virtuous life. He remained on the throne of St. Mark for 6 years, then departed in peace.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

3. On this day also, of the year 656 A.D., the blessed and holy father Abba Benjamin, 38th Pope of Alexandria, departed.

    This father was from the city of Barset (Barshout), the province of El-Behiera. He was the son of wealthy parents.

    He became a monk under the guidance of a holy elder by the name of Theonas in the monastery of St. Knobus nearby Alexandria. He grew in virtue and memorized the holy books of the church until he reached the level of Christian perfection.

    One night he heard in a night vision someone saying, "Rejoice Benjamin, for you will shepherd the flock of Christ." When he told his spiritual father about what he had heard, he said to him, "The devil wants to hinder you. Beware of pride." He increased in virtue. His spiritual father took him to Pope Andronicus and told him about Abba Benjamin's vision. The Pope ordained him priest and put him in charge of the church affairs, and he excelled in his care.

    When he was chosen to the patriarchate, he faced many tribulations. The angel of the Lord had revealed to him the hardships that the church was about to experience. The angel told him to flee with his bishops. St. Benjamin celebrated the Divine Liturgy and administered the Holy Mysteries to the people. He also commanded them to be steadfast in the faith of their fathers and informed them of what was about to happen. He wrote a circular to all the bishops and all the heads of the monasteries, advising them to hide until the hardships were over. Then he went to the wilderness of St. Macarius, then to Upper Egypt.

    After the Pope had left Alexandria, the Chalcedonian El-Moquakas arrived, and took charge over the country and seized the church with authority from Emperor Heraclius. He persecuted the believers and arrested "Mina", St. Benjamin's brother, and tortured him severely. Then he burnt his sides, and finally killed him by drowning him.

    Shortly after, Amr Ebn-Elas invaded the land of Egypt and stayed there for three years. In 360 A.M. (Anno Martyri), Amr went to Alexandria and gained control of its fortress. Many evil men took the chance and burned many churches, among them was St. Mark's Church on the seashore, and many other monasteries that were surrounding Alexandria, and plundered their contents. One of the sailors went to the church of St. Mark during this disturbance and he thrust his hand into the sarcophagus of St. Mark, thinking that he would find money. He did not find anything except a body. He stole the clothing that was on it and took the head with him, and hid it in his ship and did not tell anyone.

    When Amr Ebn-Elas knew about the disappearance of Pope Benjamin, he sent a circular to all the cities of Egypt, giving orders that the Pope's hiding place be safe and secure. He asked the Pope to come back to his people and to take charge of the church. Pope Benjamin came back after he had been in hiding for 13 years. Amr Ebn-Elas was courteous toward him and honored him. He returned the churches and all their properties back to him.

    When Amr was about to leave Alexandria, heading to Pentapolis (the five western cities), one of the ships could not move and was unable to leave. The captain of the ship was questioned and when they searched the ship they found the head of St. Mark. They called upon Pope Benjamin and he carried it and walked with the priests and the people while they were joyfully singing hymns, until they arrived to Alexandria. The captain of the ship paid a great amount of money to the Pope to build a church after the name of St. Mark.

    This father was dedicated to converting the unbelievers to the Christian faith. He departed in peace after he had been on the apostolic throne for 37 years.

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


The Ninth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

The Departure of Abba Abraam, Companion of Abba Gawarga

On this day the blessed St. Abraam departed. His father was a pious man, merciful and kind to the poor. Because of his piety and good nature, he was entrusted to look after the treasury of his village, as well as that of the neighboring villages. When Egypt suffered a famine, he gave all he had to the needy.

    As for St. Abraam's mother, she lived in the fear of God and Satan envied her, and provoked an evil man against her. As a result, he accused her to the Persians who captured and took her to Persia. During her captivity, one night she saw in a vision, one who told her; "you shall return to your country." Shortly thereafter, the vision was fulfilled and she returned to her country, Egypt, safely.

    After her husband's death, she wanted her son, Abraam, to be married, but he refused and told her of his desire for monastic life, and she rejoiced. As she bid him farewell at the outskirts of the city, she lifted up her arms toward heaven and prayed saying, "Please Lord, accept him from me as an offering."

    St. Abraam went to the wilderness of Sheheet (Scetis), where he became a monk and a disciple of St. Yoannis, the Archpriest of the wilderness.

    Abba Abraam led an extremely harsh monastic life, exerting himself with long fasts and many worships. One day, St. Abraam saw the roof of his cell opened and the Lord Jesus came down, riding a heavenly chariot, and the Cherubim were praising Him. Abba Abraam knelt down in great fear and the Lord blessed him. Then the Lord Christ ascended to heaven. A sign remained in the roof of his cell as a commemoration of this visitation. His cell was near the cell of his spiritual father Abba Yoannis, which is known by "Babgeeh". An angel of the Lord used to visit Abba Abraam from time to time to comfort him.

    One day he went to Mount Orion where he met with St. Gawarga. St. Gawarga came back with Anba Abraam to the wilderness of Sheheet and stayed with Abba Abraam until the day of their departure.

    After the departure of Abba Yoannis to heaven, Abba Abraam became ill for 18 years. When the time of his departure drew near, Abba Abraam received the Holy Mysteries. Anba Yoannis appeared to him in the spirit and told him that the Lord Christ had prepared for him a heavenly banquet. Abba Abraam departed in peace at the age of 80.

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


The Tenth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

Paramouni of Holy Theophany (Epiphany)

On this day it has been the tradition of the Orthodox Church, following the teachings of the holy fathers of the church, to fast until dusk, eating only what is permitted to be eaten during the holy forty days (Lent). If Christmas day or Epiphany falls on Wednesday or Friday, the saintly apostles ordained that the believers eat all the food that one is permitted to eat during the Pentecostal days (the post-resurrection fifty days). They are feasts to the Lord. The Paramouni days are fasted to compensate for the feast days, so that we may have the blessings of both the fast and the feast. In the custom of our Coptic Orthodox church, if the Paramouni day falls on Saturday or Sunday, it is the tradition to fast on the Friday that precedes them also. Then they pray on water before midnight and they wash and bless everyone who wants to be blessed. The reason to complete this before midnight is because of the fear that the little children may break their fasting by drinking water.

    We ask Christ to purify us, cleanse us from all our abominations, forgive our sins, and make us worthy to receive the revelation of the glory of His divine nature in our hearts and in our deeds, as He revealed His glory in the Jordan River.

To Him be the Glory with His Good Father and His Holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the end of ages. Amen.


The Eleventh Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

The Holy Theophany of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Baptism of the Lord christ)

On this day of the year 31 A.D., our Master, Lord and God, Jesus Christ, was baptized at the hands of St. John the Baptizer (the dyer). The feast is called in Greek the Feast of Theophany or the Feast of the Revelation of the Divine Nature of the Lord, for the Holy Trinity was revealed: our heavenly Father was heard from heaven saying, "This is My beloved Son," and the Son standing in the Jordan river, and the Holy Spirit was descending in the form of a dove, and alighting upon Him.

    St. John the Baptist bore witness that the Lord Christ, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying,

"This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased."

St. John the evangelist said about this day, "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Behold! The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. This is He of Whom I said, 'After me comes a Man Who is preferred before me, for He was before me.' I did not know him but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.'" (John 1:29-31) The glory of our Lord Jesus Christ was revealed on this day, that He is the Son of God and that He is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. For this reason, this feast has become a great feast for all believers, in which they are purified with water after the example of the baptism of our Lord, to Whom is the glory, to obtain forgiveness of their sins.

Glory, honor and worship to our Lord God, now and forever more and to the end of ages. Amen.


The Twelfth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Commemoration of the Archangel Michael.

2. The Martyrdom of St. Theodore El-Mishreke (the Oriental).

3. The Martyrdom of St. Anatole (Anatolius).

1. On this day, the church commemorates the honorable Angel Michael, the head of the heavenly host, the intercessor for the human race, and the faithful steward.

His intercession be for us. Amen.

2. On this day also of the year 306 A.D., the church celebrates the commemoration of the martyrdom of the courageous prince, St. Theodore El-Mishreke (The Oriental).

    He was born in the City of Tyre in 270 A.D. In his youth, he enlisted in the Roman army and was promoted to the rank of commander. His father's name was Sadrikhos, "Adrakos" who was a high ranking official during the reign of Emperor Numerianus (283-284 A.D.), and his mother was the sister of Basilides, the minister.

    When Emperor Numerianus died in the war against the Persians, his son, Justus, was fighting in the west. The two officials Sadrikhos and Basilides continued to run the affairs of the Empire, until the infidel Diocletian took charge of the Empire, and started to persecute the Christians. At that time, St. Theodore was in charge of the army that was fighting against the Persians. He saw a vision at night: a ladder was extended between earth and heaven, and at the top of the ladder the Lord sat on a great throne, surrounded by hosts of angels chanting. He also saw under the ladder a great beast which was the devil. The Lord said to St. Theodore, "Your blood will be shed for My Name's sake." The saint asked the Lord, "How about my friend Lawondius?" The Lord replied, "Not only Lawondius, but Banikaros, the Persian, also."

    During a truce, between the Roman and Persian armies, St. Theodore met with Banikaros, the commander of the Persian army. St. Theodore guided him to Christianity and he believed in Christ.

    Emperor Diocletian ordered that Prince Theodore be brought to him. The prince came back with his army and with him were Lawondius and Banikaros. When St. Theodore knew that the Emperor was going to ask him to worship idols, he told his soldiers, "Whoever among you wants to fight for the Name of the Lord Christ, let him come and join me." They all shouted in one accord, "We die with you and your God is our God also."

    When he arrived in the city, he left his soldiers outside and went alone to the Emperor who received him well. The Emperor inquired about the war and the army and he asked St. Theodore to worship Apollo.

    The saint answered in great courage and faith, "I do not know any god that I can worship except my Master, Jesus Christ."

    Diocletian commanded his soldiers to nail the Saint to a tree and to brutally torture him. But the Lord was strengthening and comforting him. Finally, he delivered up his pure soul into the hand of the Lord Whom he loved. He received the crown of eternal glory in the kingdom of heaven. The Emperor sent the priests of Apollo to the soldiers of the saint, to call upon them to worship the idols. They all shouted, "We have no king except our Master, Jesus Christ, Lord of Lords, and King of Kings." When the Emperor heard what they said, he had them all beheaded. They received the crowns of martyrdom and eternal bliss.

Their prayers be with us all. Amen.

3. On this day also, St. Anatole (Anatolius) was martyred. He was born in Persia. When he grew up, he became a soldier of the Roman Empire and was promoted to a commander in the army. He spent fifteen years in the army until the reign of Diocletian. He longed to chose the heavenly kingdom, preferring it over all the vain glory of this temporal world.

    He came before the Emperor, took off his military attire and sword, threw them before him and confessed his faith in the Lord Christ. The Emperor was astonished at his boldness. When he knew that he was a Persian, the Emperor treated him with kindness, then sent him to Romanos that he might persuade him to change his counsel. Romanos failed to do that and he returned him to the Emperor. The Emperor tortured him with all kinds of tortures, sometimes by pressing his body, sometimes by beating him and casting him to wild beasts, and other times by cutting his tongue.

    The Lord Jesus Christ sent to him His Angel to comfort him in all his afflictions. He remained under persecution for a long time and when the Emperor became weary of torturing him, he ordered his head cut off. He received the crown of martyrdom in the eternal kingdom.

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


The Thirteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Commemoration of the Miracle at Cana of Galilee.

2. The Departure of St. Theophilus, the Monk.

3. The Martyrdom of St. Demiana.

1. On this day, the church celebrates the commemoration of the miracle that our Lord Jesus Christ performed at Cana of Galilee. It was the first miracle that our Lord Jesus performed after His baptism. He was invited to the wedding with His virgin mother, St. Mary, and also some of His disciples.

    When they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine." Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it." There were set there six water pots of stone. Jesus said to them. "Fill the water pots with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, "Draw some out now and take it to the master of the feast."

    When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, he said to the bridegroom, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine and when the guests have well drunk, then that which is inferior; but you have kept the good wine until now."

    This was the beginning of the signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee and manifested His glory and His disciples believed in Him. (John 2:1-11)

To Him is the Glory with His Good Father and the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.

2. On this day also, St. Theophilus the Monk, departed. He was the only son of a king of one of the Roman islands. He brought him up well in the Christian faith and knowledge. When he was 12 years old, he read in the epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews, "And you, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands. They will perish but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail." (Hebrews 1:10-12) Then he read in his first epistle to the Corinthians, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband... for I wish that all men were even as I myself... and I think I also have the spirit of God." (I Corinthians 7:1,2,7,40)

    He also read in the holy gospel the words of the Lord, "If you want to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Matthew 19:21)

    Theophilus left his father's house and all that was his, and went out in disguise. He went from one monastery to another until he arrived in Alexandria. From there, he went to the "Glass Monastery". When St. Boctor, the abbot of the monastery, saw him and knew by the spirit that he was a descendant of kings, he received him well and blessed him. He asked him about his story. St. Boctor was greatly surprised and glorified God and accepted him in the monastery. When he saw his successful, virtuous, and active spiritual life, he clothed him in the holy Eskeem. Ten years later, some soldiers sent by Theophilus' father came and took him by force. When he came before his father, he could not recognize him, for asceticism had changed his appearance. The saint revealed his identity to his father, who rejoiced greatly. The saint started to preach to his father telling him about life, death and judgement. His words left a mark in the heart of his father. His father took the crown off his head, relinquishing his throne to his brother. He went with his wife and St. Theophilus, their son to the "Glass" monastery, where the king became a monk and stayed with his son. St. Theophilus' mother became a nun in a convent. They all lived an ascetic life in worship and in virtue until the end of their days. When they completed their strife, they departed in peace.

Their prayers be with us. Amen.

3. On this day also, St. Demiana was martyred. This chaste and fighter virgin, was the daughter of Mark, Governor of El-Borollus, El-Zaafran, and Wadi Al-Saysaban in the Northern delta of the valley of the Nile. She was the only daughter to her parents. When she was one year old, her father took her to the church of the monastery of Al-Maymah. He offered alms, candles and oblations so that God might bless her and keep her in His care.

    When she was fifteen years old, her father wanted her to be wed. She refused, and told him that she had vowed herself a bride to the Lord Christ. When she saw that her father was pleased with her intention, she asked him to build her a place where she could worship God in seclusion with her virgin friends. He fulfilled her wish and built her the house that she wanted. She lived in it with forty other virgins. They spent their time reading the holy scripture and in worship.

    Shortly after, Emperor Diocletian sent for Mark, St. Demiana's father, and ordered him to worship the idols. He refused at first, but after the Emperor appeased him he obeyed his order and worshipped the idols and forsook the Creator of the Universe. When Mark returned to his official seat, and St. Demiana knew what had transpired, she rushed to meet him. She did not greet him, but said, "What is it that I heard about you? I would have preferred to hear about your death rather than to hear that you have renounced your faith and forsaken the God Who created you from non-existence into being, to worship gods made by hands. Take note that if you do not return to your first faith and renounce the worship of stones, you are not my father and I am not your daughter," and she left him.

    Her father was greatly moved by the words of his daughter, and he wept bitterly. In haste, he went to Diocletian and confessed the Lord Christ. When the Emperor could not convince him with threats and promises, he ordered him beheaded.

    When Diocletian knew that the one who turned Mark from worshipping the idols was St. Demiana, his daughter. He sent her a prince to try first gently to convince her to worship idols, and if she disobeyed him to behead her. The prince went to her with two hundred soldiers and the instruments of torture. When he arrived at her palace, he said to her, "I am a messenger sent from Emperor Diocletian. I came to call upon you according to the Emperor's orders, to worship his gods, so that he can grant you all that you want." The saint shouted in his face saying, "May God denounce the messenger and the one by whom he was sent. Don't you have any shame at all to call stones and wood gods which are inhabited by devils? There is no god in heaven or on earth except one God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Eternal Creator, the Everlasting, Who is everywhere, Who knows all the secrets, and Who can throw you in hell where is the everlasting torment. As for me, I am the maidservant of my Master and my Savior Jesus Christ, and His Good Father and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity, Him I confess and upon Him I depend, and in His Name I die, and by Him I live forever."

    The prince became exceedingly angry and ordered her to be placed in the Hinbazeen (the squeezing press), until her blood poured out of her body on the ground. The virgins were standing weeping over her. When they put her in prison, the angel of the Lord appeared to her, touched her body with his illumined wings, and she was healed of all her wounds. The prince used all his evil imagination to torture St. Demiana, once by tearing her flesh and another time by placing her in boiling oil. Through it all the Lord raised her up safely. When the prince saw that all his attempts were in vain, before the steadfastness of this pure virgin he ordered her beheaded, and all the other virgins with her. Thus, they all received the crowns of martyrdom.

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


The Fourteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1.The Departure of St. Archiledis (Arselidas).

2.The Departure of St. Maximus, Brother of St. Domadius (Domatius).

1. On this day St. Archiledis departed. This fighter was born in the city of Rome. His father's name was "John" and his mother's name was "Sinclatiki". They were righteous before the Lord and lived according to His commandments.

    This saint's father died when he was 12 years old. When his mother wanted him to get married, he declined. She advised him to go to the Emperor to take over his father's position. She sent along with him two of their men and a precious gift to present to the Emperor. While they were sailing, they encountered a great tempest with high waves and strong winds, so that the ship was wrecked. The saint hung onto one of the ship's planks, and God saved him from drowning. When he made it to the seashore, he found a body of a dead man that was thrown to the shore by the waves.

    He reflected on the transience of the world and its temporal nature, and said to himself, "What do I have to do with this temporal world, and what would I profit when I die and become dust?" He arose and prayed to the Lord Christ to guide him to the right way.

    Then he walked diligently until he arrived at the monastery of St. Romanus. He gave to the abbot of the monastery what was left of his money. He stayed there living an ascetic life, denying himself food and clothing, until he reached a level of perfection. The Lord granted him the gift of healing the sick. He made an oath not to ever see the face of any woman.

    When he did not return to his mother for a long time, and she did not know his whereabouts, she thought that he died, and she grieved much over him. She built a hostel for the poor and the strangers, and she lived in one of its rooms.

    One day she heard two merchants talking about her son and his holy monastic life and the grace of God that was upon him. When she inquired about him, she became sure that it was him, her own son. She arose quickly and went to that monastery.

    When she arrived, she sent to inform the saint of her arrival. St. Archiledis answered her saying that he had made an oath before God not to ever see a woman. She repeated her request, and threatened that if he did not allow her to see him, she would go to the wilderness to be eaten by the wild beasts.

    When he learned of her persistence, and that he could not renege on his oath, he prayed to the Lord christ to take his soul. Then he told the gate keeper to allow her to come in while God had answered his request. When his mother entered his cell, she found that he had given up his spirit. She cried, wept and asked God to take her soul also, and God answered her prayer.

    When they tried to separate their bodies, they heard a voice coming from St. Archiledis' body saying, "Let my body be with the body of my mother, for I did not grant her own heart's desire to see me." They buried both of them in one grave. God honored this saint in performing many miracles.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also, St. Maximus, brother of St. Domadius (Domatius), departed. They were the children of Emperor Walendianus.

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


The Fifteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

The Departure of Obadiah, the Prophet

On this day, Obadiah, one of the prophets of the children of Israel, departed. He was the son of Hananya, the prophet from the tribe of Judah. Obadiah prophesied in the days of King Jehoshaphat, King of Judah.

    It was said that Obadiah was the head of the fifty men who were sent by King Ahaziah, for the third time, to Elijah the Prophet. He came to Elijah in humility and pleaded with him not to destroy him as those who proceeded him, for fire had come down from heaven and burned them. He asked Elijah to have compassion upon him and to come with him to go to see King Ahaziah. The Prophet went with him as was told by the angel of the Lord. (2 Kings 1:15)

    Thus, Obadiah realized that to serve Elijah the Prophet was far more noble than to serve earthly kings, and that if he were to accompany him, it would lead him to the service of the Heavenly King. He left the service of the King and followed Elijah, and was filled with the grace of God. He prophesied for more than twenty years. He prophesied about the destruction of the land of Edom, for they rejoiced for the distress of the people of God. (Obadiah 1-16) He also prophesied about the salvation of Jerusalem and her victory over the Family of Esau, and her victory over all her enemies. (Obadiah 17-21)

    He lived more than seven hundred years before the advent of the Lord Christ. He departed and was buried in the tomb of his fathers.

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


The Sixteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Martyrdom of St. Philotheus.

2. The Departure of St. John IV, 48th Pope of Alexandria.

1. On this day, the honorable St. Philotheus, whose name means "lover of God", was martyred. He was born in the City of Antioch, of pagan parents, who worshipped a bull, which they fed cakes made of fine flour and sesame seed oil mixed with honey. They also anointed the bull with spices and fine perfumed oils three times every day, and they gave it wine and oil to drink. They established two places for the bull, one for the summer, and another for the winter. They put around its neck a collar of gold, and golden rings in its legs.

    When Philotheus was ten years old, his father asked him to worship the bull, but he refused, his father left him without punishment, for he loved him as he was his only son. As for St. Philotheus, because of his young age, he did not know the Living God, and he thought that the sun was the god. He stood once looking at the sun and said, "I beseech you, O sun, if you are God, tell me." He heard a voice coming from heaven saying, "I am not God, but I am a servant and a slave to God, Whom you will know, and you will shed your blood for His Name's sake."

    When God saw the integrity of the child's heart, He sent His angel to inform him about the creation of the world, and the incarnation of the Lord Christ, for the salvation of mankind. St. Philotheus was pleased, and rejoiced in his heart. From that time on, he fasted, prayed and gave alms to the poor and those who were in distress.

    After one year had passed, his parents had a great banquet for their friends, and they asked their son to worship the bull before they ate and drank. The child stood in front of the bull and said, "Are you the God that should be worshipped?" A voice came out of the bull saying, "I am not the God, but the devil has possessed me and I have become a deceiver of men." Then the bull jumped and attacked his parents and killed them instantly. The Saint ordered his servants to kill the bull, burn its body and scatter its ashes.

    St. Philotheus prayed to God for the sake of his parents, and the Lord raised them up from the dead. Later on, he was baptized along with his parents in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God granted him the gift of healing the sick, and his repute reached Diocletian, the emperor. He brought him, and ordered him to offer incense to the idols, but he refused. The Emperor tortured him with all kinds of tortures, but the Saint never swayed from his determination. The Emperor tried again to persuade him by deception and flattery, and the Saint promised to worship Apollo as the Emperor commanded. The Emperor was pleased to hear this, and he brought Apollo along with 70 other idols, and 70 pagan priests and a herald went around to call upon the public in the city.

    Great multitudes came to watch St. Philotheus worshiping Apollo. On their way, the saint prayed to the Lord Christ, and the earth was opened and swallowed the priests and the idol of Apollo. There was a great excitement and disturbance, and a great multitude believed and confessed the Lord Christ.

    The Emperor was exasperated, and ordered them all beheaded, and they received the crown of martyrdom. St. Philotheus was also beheaded, and he received the crown of life.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also, in the year 792 A.D,, St. John IV, 48th Pope of Alexandria, departed. He became a monk in St. Macarius' monastery. He persevered in intense worship and was reputed for his ascetic life. He was chosen by Pope Michael, 46th Pope of Alexandria and ordained a priest for the Church of St. Mina. Pope Michael entrusted him to manage the affairs of the church and to lead the people and direct all its property and offerings. He excelled in his duties.

    When Anba Mina, 47th Pope of Alexandria, departed, the bishops, the priests, and the scholars of the City of Alexandria gathered and nominated several monks. They wrote the name of each of them on a piece of paper, and the name of Father John was among them. The bishops prayed and celebrated the Divine Liturgy for three days. Then, on the third day, they brought a child to draw one of the names. They found it to be the name of this saint, Father John. They returned the paper, mixed it with the other papers, and brought another child, who drew the same paper. This was repeated a third time. They were sure that the Lord had chosen Fr. John to become the next pope. They took him and ordained him patriarch in 768 A.D. He shepherded his flock well. He always preached the people confirming them in the Orthodox faith. He was also merciful to the poor and the needy.

    During his days, there was a famine, to the point that one measure of grain (a Bushel) was sold for two Dinari. Many poor from different beliefs gathered every day at his door. He delegated to his disciple Mark to use the money of the churches to feed the poor and satisfy their needs. He offered to everyone without distinction of faith until God removed this famine.

    Anba John was dedicated to building many churches. When the time of his departure drew near, he called on the priests and said to them, "On the 16th of Tubah, I was born and was also ordained Pope, and on this day also I will depart from this world." When the bishops and the priests heard this, they wept and said, "Who would become our Father after you?" He said to them, "The Lord Jesus Christ has chosen my disciple Fr. Mark to this rank."

After he had completed 23 years and several months in the papacy, he departed in peace.

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


The Seventeenth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Departure of St. Maximus and St. Domatius (Domadius).

2. The Departure of Anba Yusab, Bishop of Girga, known as El- Abbah.

1. On this day is the commemoration of the two honored saints Maximus and his brother Domatius (Domadius). Their father's name was Walendianus, he was one of the Roman emperors who feared God and was Orthodox in faith. God gave him these two sons who were angelic in their purity and holiness since their young age, always praying and reading the holy books.

    When they realized the vanity of this world and all its glory, they decided to leave it and live a monastic life. They asked their father to allow them to go to the City of Nicea, to pray in the place where the first Universal Council was held in 325 A.D. Their father rejoiced, and he sent an entourage of soldiers and servants with them, as was the custom for the children of kings. When they arrived, they asked the soldiers to go back to their father and tell him that they wanted to stay there for some time. Then they revealed their thoughts to a saintly monk, that they desired to put on the holy garb of the monks. The monk did not agree with them because he feared their father, but he advised them to go to Syria where St. Agabius abided.

    They went to St. Agabius and stayed with him until his departure. Before he departed, he put on them the monastic garb, and told them that he saw St. Macarius in a night vision saying, "Command your two sons to come to me after your departure, so that they may become my children." Then St. Agabius told them, "I desired to see St. Macarius in the flesh, but I have seen him in the spirit. After my departure, you should go to him in peace."

    God granted them the gift of healing the sick. Their report was heard in all the countries, especially among the sea merchants and the travellers. They learned the trade of making ships' sails, and they were able to support themselves with money earned from selling them, and they gave the rest to the poor and the needy.

    One day, one of their father's stewards saw a ship with the names "Maximus and Domatius" on its sail . He inquired of the owner of the ship about these names. The owner told the steward, "These are the names of two monk brothers, which I have written on my ship as a blessing, so that God with their prayers may prosper my business." He described the brothers to him, as one with a full beard, and the other without a beard. The steward recognized them and he took the man and brought him before the Emperor. When the Emperor made certain about what he had heard, he sent their mother and the princess, their sister, to meet them. When the women met with the two saints and recognized them, they wept. Their mother wanted them to return with her, but the Saints refused, and they comforted the hearts of their mother and sister.

    After a while, the Patriarch of Rome departed, and they remembered Maximus, whom they wanted to ordain in his place. His father rejoiced when he heard this. When the news arrived to St. Maximus and his brother, they remembered the command of their father Anba Agabius. They disguised themselves, and took the road along the Mediterranean sea shore, and when they were thirsty, God transformed for them the salty water into sweet water. They became very tired of walking, and their feet were bleeding. They slept on a hill because of their exhaustion and God sent them a certain power that carried them to the wilderness of Scetis where St. Macarius was residing. They told St. Macarius that they wanted to live under his guidance. When St. Macarius saw that they were of rich background, he thought that they would not be able to live in the desert because of its harsh living conditions. They answered him saying, "If we are not able to live here, our father, we will return to where we came from." Then he taught them how to plait palm leaves, and he helped in building a cave (cell) for them. He also told them about someone who would take the work of their hands to sell and bring them back bread.

    They lived in this manner for three years, never communicating with anyone. They only went to church to partake of the Divine Sacraments silently. St. Macarius marvelled, for they did not go to him all these years. He prayed to God to reveal to him their secret. He went to visit them in their cell where he stayed the night with them. When he woke up at midnight, as was his custom, to pray, he saw the two saints praying and a ray of light going from their mouths to heaven, and the devils were all around them like flies, and the angel of the Lord standing with a sword of fire to protect them. The next day, St. Macarius put on them the holy Eskiem, and asked them to pray for him. They bowed to the ground before him (made metanias) in silence.

    When they completed their course, and the Lord wanted to take them away from the sorrows of this temporal world, St. Maximus became sick. He sent word to St. Macarius, asking him to come. When St. Macarius arrived, he found St. Maximus ill with a fever, and he comforted him. St. Macarius saw a company of prophets and saints, including St. John the Baptist and Emperor Constantine, gathered around the Saint until he delivered his pure spirit in dignity and in honor. St. Macarius wept and said, "Blessed are you, O Maximus."

    St. Domatius, his brother, wept bitterly, and asked St. Macarius to pray on his behalf to the Lord Christ to take him also to be with his brother. After three days, he also became sick, and when St. Macarius knew by the spirit he went to visit him. On his way, he saw the company of saints who carried St. Maximus before carrying the soul of St. Domatius ascending up to heaven. When he arrived at the cave, St. Macarius found that St. Domatius had passed away. St. Macarius put St. Domatius' body with his brother's, whose departure was on the 14th day of this month. St. Macarius ordered that the monastery be called after their names, the monastery of "El-Baramus" as it is known until today.

Their prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also, of the year 1826 A.D., Anba Yusab, the great scholar and honorable father, departed. He was the Bishop of Girga and Ekhmiem, and was known by the name "El-Abbah". He was born in the town of Nekhila in Upper Egypt, to rich parents who were compassionate to the poor and the needy. When Anba Yusab was 25 years old, his parents wanted him to be wed, but he refused. Because of his inclination towards the monastic life, he went to the estate of St. Anthony's monastery in the city of Boash. He stayed there for some time, during which his humility and piety were evident. This convinced the abbot to send him to the monastery. When he arrived, the monks received him with joy, for they had heard of his virtues and his knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. Shortly after, they clothed him in the monk's tunic.

    When the reports of this father reached Pope John, 107th Patriarch, he called Anba Yusab and kept him with him. After the Pope verified what he heard of Anba Yusab' righteousness and knowledge, he counseled with the bishops who agreed to ordain Anba Yusab a bishop over Ekhmiem and Girga. Anba Yusab refrained from accepting this rank because of its responsibilities; however, he was ordained against his will.

    When he arrived at his diocese, Anba Yusab found many heretics mingled with his people. He built a church, and made a great effort to gather his flock, to teach them, to restore those who were lost, and to guide many of the heretics to the faith. He wrote several articles on the Incarnation of the Lord Christ and explained several difficult issues and ambiguous verses in the Bible. He urged his people to forsake all the bad customs that they were engaged in, both inside and outside the church. He succeeded in putting an end to the quarrels and divisions from those who were in opposition to the truth. He was merciful to the poor, and never judged anyone by his appearance. He was fair in judgement, never took sides, and did not accept bribes. He sent whatever money he had left to his brethren, the monks, in their monasteries. He did not own anything except the clothes that he wore and those things which fulfilled his basic needs. He never uttered anything but the truth, and was not afraid of the mighty rulers of the land. He shepherded his flock with the best of care.

    When God wanted to take him away from this world, Anba Yusab became ill for a short period of time. While he was sick, he stayed some time in his diocese, and then in the cell of Pope Anba Peter, 109th Pope. Then he went to his monastery in the wilderness. The monks rejoiced to see him, and his blessed life ended there, and he gave his pure spirit into the hand of the Lord who loved him. He lived 91 years, 25 years before his monastic life, 31 years in the monastery, and 35 years as bishop.

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


The Eighteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

The Departure of St. James, Bishop of Nisibis

On this day of the year 338 A.D., St. James, Bishop of Nisibis, departed. He was born in the city of Nisibis, and was brought up there. He was Syrian by race.

    Early in his youth, he chose the monastic life. He wore sackcloth made of hair to protect him from the heat of summer and the cold of winter. His food was composed of the vegetation of the earth, and his drink was only water. For this reason, he was very thin, but his soul was illumined and full of grace. He was worthy to receive the gift of prophecy and the performing of miracles. He also was able to foretell the future and he advised the people of what would happen to them in advance.

    His miracles are numerous. One day he saw some promiscuous women jesting without shame by a spring of water, and they had let their hair down to take a bath. He prayed to God, and the water of the spring dried up, and the women's hair became white. When the women apologized to him and repented for what they had done, he prayed to God, and the water came back to the spring, but their hair remained white.

    Another miracle occurred when he was passing by certain people who stretched a man on the ground and covered him as though he was dead. They asked the saint for some money for his burial. When they returned to the man, they found him dead. They came back to the saint and repented for what they had done. St. James prayed to God, and the man came back to life.

    When his virtues became widely known, he was chosen to be a bishop over the city of Nisibis. He shepherded the flock of Christ very well, and protected his people from the Arian wolves. He was one of the bishops who attended the first Universal Council at Nicea in 325 A.D., and agreed on the excommunication and exile of Arius.

    When Shapur, the Persian King, came and surrounded the city of Nisibis with his army, God, in answer to the prayer of St. James, brought swarms of mosquitoes and wasps over their horses and elephants which caused a great stampede and the animals fled away. The King of Persia then became fearful, and he fled with his army and the siege was ended. When the saint completed his good course, he departed in peace.

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


The Nineteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

The Discovery of the Relics of St. Abahor (Pihour) St. Bisoura (Pisoura) and their Mother Ampira (Asra)

On this day, the church commemorates the discovery of the relics of St. Abahor, St. Bisoura, and their mother Ampira.

    They were from the town of Shabas, near Desouk in Egypt. They were martyred during the era of idol worshipping, and their bodies were buried in the church of their town.

    When the Europeans invaded Egypt, during the Crusades in 1248 A.D., they gained control of Damietta (Domiat) and all the surrounding towns. King El-Kamil, King of Egypt at that time, went out with his army to fight the invaders. On their way, they destroyed many churches, among which was the church of Shabas, where the relics of the saints were placed. One soldier opened the coffin of these saints, hoping to find something of value, rather he found these invaluable treasures that were of no value to him. He threw their relics beside the wall of the church and took the coffin and sold it. But the long suffering God was patient toward that soldier, until he went back to his camp. He was the first to be killed as witnessed by his companions on their return.

    The precious relics were seen by the wife of one of the priests. She took them joyfully, and because of her fear, she entered the church and hid them in a side of the church and covered them with pieces of brick.

    The relics remained hidden for twenty years, for the woman forgot everything about them. But God wanted to reveal the relics for the benefit of the faithful. The woman remembered them and she made it known to the rest of the faithful. The priests came and carried them while they were praying and praising God. They put them in a new coffin in the church. Anba Gabriel, the bishop of the diocese, ordered this day to be a feast and a memorial, and that their names be placed in the chronicle of the feasts of the Church.

    Many miracles and signs were brought about by God through these relics. One of these miracles concerns a daughter of one of the believers who lost her sight and lost all hope for healing. She interceded through the saints' pure relics and was instantly healed and her sight returned. She glorified the Lord Christ Who honored His servants with this great honor.

The prayers of these saints be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


The Twentieth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Departure of St. Prochorus, One of the Seventy Disciples.

2. The Commemoration of the Consecration of the Church of St. John, the Owner of the Golden Gospel, and the Transfer of His Relics to It. Also, the Commemoration of the Martyrdom of Anba Behna (Bahnou) and Anba Kloag (Bagoug), the Priest.

1. On this day, St. Prochorus departed. He was one of the seventy disciples who were called by the Lord and sent to preach His Name, and granted the gift of healing and casting out of evil spirits. St. Prochorus was with the disciples in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost, and he was filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. He was chosen by the Apostles to be one of the seven deacons, who were filled with the Holy Spirit and with wisdom. (Acts 6:5) He accompanied St. John the Theologian, and travelled with him to many cities. St. John laid his hand on him and ordained him bishop for Nicomidia in Bithinia. He preached the Name of the Lord Christ, and restored many Greeks to the faith, baptizing them and teaching them to keep the Commandments. After he built a church for them and ordained priests and deacons, he went to the surrounding cities. He preached to them and baptized many of their inhabitants, as he also preached to and baptized many of the Jews. He endured many afflictions and hardships because of his preaching of the Name of Christ.

    When he completed his course, he departed at a well-advanced age, and received the eternal bliss.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. This day also is the commemoration of the consecration of St. John "El-Koochy's" church, which was in the city of Rome, and the relocation of the saint's relics to it. He was known as the owner of the Golden Bible.

    This day also is the commemoration of the martyrdom of St. Behna and St. Anba Kloag the priest.

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


The Twenty-First Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1.The Dormition of Our Lady, the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos.

2.The Departure of St. Hilaria, Daughter of Emperor Zeno.

3.The Departure of St. Gregorius (Gregory of Nyssa), Brother of St. Basil the Great.

1. On this day, Our Lady, the all pure, Virgin St. Mary, the Mother of God, departed. As she was always praying in the holy sepulchre, the Holy Spirit informed her that she was about to depart from this temporal world. When the time of her departure arrived, the virgins of the Mount of Olives came to her, with the apostles, who were still alive, and they surrounded her bed. The Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom is the glory, with a host of thousands and thousands of angels came to her and comforted her and told her about the eternal joy that was prepared for her, and she rejoiced. The apostles and the virgins asked her to bless them. She stretched her hand and blessed them all, and she gave up her pure spirit in the hand of her Son and God, and He took her spirit to the heavenly mansions.

    The apostles prepared the body in a fitting manner and carried it to Gethsemane. Some of the Jews blocked their way to prevent them from burying the body. One of the Jews seized the coffin with his hands, which were separated instantly from his body and they remained attached to the coffin. He regretted his evil deed and wept bitterly. Through the supplications of the saintly apostles, his hands were reattached to his body, and he believed in the Lord Christ. When they placed the body in the tomb, the Lord hid it from them.

    St. Thomas the Apostle was not present at the time of St. Mary's departure. He wanted to go to Jerusalem and a cloud carried him there. On his way, he saw the pure body of St. Mary carried by the angels and ascended to heaven with it. One of the angels told him, "Make haste and kiss the pure body of St. Mary," and he did.

    When St. Thomas arrived where the disciples were, they told him about St. Mary's departure and he said to them, "You know how I conducted myself at the resurrection of the Lord Christ, and I will not believe unless I see her body." They went with him to the tomb, and uncovered the place of the body but they did not find it, and everyone was perplexed and surprised. St. Thomas told them how he saw the holy body and the angels that were ascending with it. They heard the Holy Spirit saying to them, "The Lord did not will to leave her body on earth." The Lord had promised his pure apostles to let them see her in the flesh once again. They were waiting for this promise to be fulfilled, until the 16th day of the month of Misra, when the promise was fulfilled and they saw her.

    The years of her life on earth were 60 years. She was 12 years old when she left the temple. She spent 34 years in Joseph's house, until the Ascension of the Lord, and 14 years with St. John the Evangelist, according to the commandment of the Lord which he told her at the cross, "Behold, this is your son," and to St. John, "Behold, this is your mother."

Her intercession and blessings be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also, St. Hilaria, daughter of Emperor Zeno, departed. Emperor Zeno was an Orthodox believer, who loved the church. He had only two daughters, Hilaria and her sister, Thaopesta.

    Their father brought them up and taught them the fundamentals of the Orthodox faith. Hilaria, since her young age, loved to live a solitary life, and she thought about the monastic life. When she was 18 years old, she left the court of her father and travelled to Egypt, disguised in men's clothing.

    She went to the wilderness of St. Macarius, where she met a holy man by the name of Anba Pemwah. She told him about her desire to become a monk and she was ordained a monk under the name of Hilary. Three years later, Anba Pemwah found out that she was Hilaria, the daughter of Emperor Zeno. He kept her secret, and placed her in a cave, and visited her from time to time. She stayed there for fifteen years. When she did not grow a beard, the monks thought that she was an eunuch, and they called her "Hilary, the eunuch".

    Meanwhile, her sister Thaopesta became possessed with an unclean spirit, and her father spent on her a great deal of money in vain. The men of his court advised the Emperor to send her to the elders of Sheheat (Scetis), for the fame of their holiness had spread to all the Roman districts. The Emperor sent her with one of the noble men in the empire, accompanied by many soldiers and several servants. He sent a letter with the nobleman to the elders of the wilderness telling them about his pain and grief. The Emperor told them that God had given him two daughters: one departed and did not return and he did not know where she was, and the other became possessed with an evil spirit who tormented her often. He asked them to pray for her, so that the Lord might heal her from what was ailing her, so that she would be a comfort to him in place of his disappeared daughter.

    When the princess arrived at the wilderness of Sheheat (Scetis) with her entourage, and the elders read the emperor's letter, they prayed for her for many days, but she was not healed. At the end, the fathers decided that St. Hilary the eunuch (Hilaria, her sister) should take her and pray for her healing. St. Hilary refused, but the elders obliged her to take her. St. Hilary knew that she was her sister but her sister did not recognize her.

    St. Hilaria embraced and kissed her sister often then left to weep outside. A few days later, Thaopesta, her sister, was healed from her illness, and St. Hilaria took her to the elders and said to them, "Through your prayers, God has granted her healing." The elders sent Thaopesta back to her father in peace.

    When Thaopesta arrived to her father, he and all those who were in the palace rejoiced for her safe return, and offered many thanks to the Lord Christ. Her father asked her about her stay in Sheheat (Scetis), and she said that St. Hilary, the eunuch who healed her by his prayers, embraced her and kissed her often. When the Emperor heard this, he had some doubts about this monk. He sent to the elders asking them to send St. Hilary, who healed his daughter, in order to receive his blessings. When the elders ordered "him" to go to the Emperor, "he" wept bitterly before the elders, pleading with them to spare "him" from the trip. They told "him" that the emperor was a righteous man who loved the holy church and that it was only proper not to disobey him according to the Holy Scriptures.

    After a great effort, St. Hilaria went to the Emperor, who saluted "him" and all those who were  with "him". Then, he had a private meeting with Hilaria together with the Empress. They asked "him", "How did you "the holy man" embrace and kiss the princess?" Then Hilaria asked them to bring the Bible and to pledge to "him" not to prevent "him" from going back to the wilderness after answering their inquiry. They brought the Bible and pledged to "him" as he wished. Then "he" made "himself" known to them saying, "I am your daughter Hilaria," and she told them all that had happened to her. Her parents wept with a loud voice and all the people in the palace were in confusion.

    She remained three months, then she wanted to return, and when her parents refused, she reminded them of their oath. Then the Emperor wrote to the Governor of Egypt, demanding him to send a hundred bushels of wheat every year and six hundred measures of oil and all that the monks needed in the wilderness, on a yearly basis. The Emperor saw to it also that many cells were built for the monks. He also built a beautiful palace in the monastery of St. Macarius. From that time on, the number of monks increased in the wilderness.

    St. Hilaria stayed five years after her return to the wilderness, then departed in peace. No one knew that she was a woman until after her death.

Her prayers be with us. Amen.

3. On this day also, of the year 396 A.D., St. Gregory of Nyssa, the brother of St. Basil the Great, departed. This great father of the church was virtuous and so were his brothers. He was very well versed in the art of discourse and in the Greek language. He was also strongly zealous in his Orthodox faith.

    When these good characteristics were known about him, he was chosen bishop against his will, and was ordained over the city of Nyssa. He shepherded the flock of Christ, that was entrusted to him, very well. He illumined the souls with his sermons and discourses. He interpreted many books of the Holy Bible. He was exiled at the time of Emperor Valens, but returned to Nyssa by the order of Emperor Theodosius the Great, in 378 A.D.

    When the one hundred and fifty fathers gathered together in the second Universal Council in Constantinople, in 381 A.D., because of the heresy of Macedonius, the archbishop of the city, at the order of Emperor Theodosius, St. Gregory, was one of the fathers present. He silenced Sabilius, Macedonius, and Apolinarus, arguing their heretic opinions and exposing the fallacies of their heresies.

    It was said about him, that while he was celebrating the divine liturgy, he saw the cherubim on the altar.

    After thirty-three years as the bishop of Nyssa, his brother St. Basil came to visit him, for St. Gregory was sick as a result of his austere ascetic life. St. Gregory received his brother with joy. Once, when St. Gregory was about to start the holy mass, he fell into a trance, and the Virgin St. Mary appeared to him and said, "Today, you will come to us." He departed the same day, and St. Basil, his brother, prayed over him, and he was buried with great honors.

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


The Twenty-Second Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

The Departure of St. Anthony the Great (Antonius)

On this day, of the year 355 A.D., St. Anthony the Great, the star of the wilderness, and the father of all monks, departed.

    This righteous man was born in the year 251 A.D. in the city of Qimn El-Arouse, to rich parents who loved the church and the poor. They raised him up in fear of the Lord. When he was twenty years old, his parents departed, and he had to take care of his sister.

Once, he entered the church and heard the words of the Lord Christ in the Gospel, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Matthew 19:21)

    He returned to his house, decided to fulfill this commandment and considered it directed to him personally. He gave his wealth to the poor and needy, and he took his sister and placed her with some virgins.

    At that time, monasticism had not yet been established. All those who wanted to live a solitary life went and lived on the outskirts of the city. This was what St. Anthony did as he dwelt alone, worshipping and living an ascetic life.

    The devil fought him there by afflicting him with boredom, laziness, and the phantoms of women. He overcame the devil's snares by the power of the Lord Christ. After that, he went to one of the tombs, and he resided therein and closed the door on himself. Some of his friends used to bring him food. When the devil perceived his ascetic life and his intense worship, he was envious of him, and he beat him mercilessly, then left him unconscious. When his friends came to visit him and found him in this condition, they carried him to the church. After he somewhat recovered, he went back to the same place. The devil again resumed his war against St. Antonius, only this time the

phantoms were in the form of wild beasts, wolves, lions, snakes and scorpions. They appeared as if they were about to attack him or cut him into pieces. But the saint would laugh at them scornfully and say, "If any of you have any authority over me, only one would have been sufficient to fight me." At his saying this, they disappeared as though in smoke, for God gave him the victory over the devils. He was always singing this psalm, "Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those also who hate Him flee before Him." (Psalm 68:1)

    St. Anthony used to prepare a quantity of bread that would sustain him for six months. He did not allow anyone to enter his cell, and whoever came to him, stood outside and listened to his advice. He continued in this condition of solitary worship for 20 years. Then by God's command, he went to El-Fayyoum and confirmed the brethren there in the faith, then returned to his monastery.

    During the time of persecution, he longed to become a martyr. He left his monastery and went to Alexandria. He visited those who were imprisoned for the sake of Christ and comforted them. When the Governor saw that he was confessing the Lord Christ publicly, not caring what might happen to him, he ordered him not to show up in the city. However, the saint did not heed his threats. He faced him and argued with him in order that he might arouse his anger so that he might be tortured and martyred. But God preserved him all along, according to His will, for the benefit of many, and so the Governor left him alone. Then the saint went back to his monastery according to God's will, and many came to visit him and to hear his teachings.

    He saw that these visits kept him away from his worship. As a result, he went far away to the eastern desert. He travelled with some bedouins to the inner wilderness for three days, until he found a spring of water and some palm trees, and then he chose to settle there. On this spot now stands the monastery of St. Anthony the Great. The bedouins came to him with bread, and the Lord drove away all the wild beasts from this place, for his sake.

    On occasions, he would go to the monastery on the outskirts of the desert by the Nile to visit the brethren, then return to his inner monastery.

    His fame spread abroad and it reached Emperor Constantine. The Emperor wrote to him, offering him praise and asked him to pray for him. The brethren were pleased with the Emperor's letter, but St. Anthony did not pay any attention to it, and he said to them, "The books of God, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, commands us everyday, but we do not heed what they tell us, and we turn our backs on them." Under the persistence of the brethren who told him, "Emperor Constantine loves the church," he accepted to write him a letter blessing him, and praying for the peace and safety of the empire and the church.

    One day, he was bored, and he heard a voice telling him, "Go out and see." He went out and saw an angel who wore a girdle with a cross, one resembling the holy Eskiem, and on his head was a head cover (Kolansowa). He was sitting while braiding palm leaves, then he stood up to pray, and again he sat to weave. A voice came to him saying, "Anthony, do this and you will rest." Henceforth, he started to wear this tunic that he saw, and began to weave palm leaves, and never got bored again.

    St. Anthony prophesied about the persecution that was about to happen to the church and the control of the heretics over it, the church victory and its return to its formal glory, and the end of the age.

    When St. Macarius visited St. Anthony, St. Anthony clothed him with the monk's garb, and St. Anthony foretold him what would be of him.

    When the day of the departure of St. Paul, the first hermit in the desert, drew near, St. Anthony went to him. St. Anthony buried St. Paul the hermit after he had clothed him in a tunic which was a present from St. Athanasius the Apostolic, 20th Pope of Alexandria.

    When St. Anthony felt that the day of his departure had approached, he commanded his disciple to hide his body and to give his staff to St. Macarius, and to give one sheepskin cloak to St. Athanasius and the other sheepskin cloak to Anba Serapion, his disciple. He stretched himself on the ground and gave up his spirit. The angels and the saints took his spirit and carried it to the place of perpetual rest.

    This saint lived for 105 years, struggling in the way of holiness and purity.

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


The Twenty-Third Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Martyrdom of St. Timothy, the Apostle.

2. The Departure of Pope Cyril IV (Kyrillos), 110th Pope of Alexandria.

1. On this day, of the year 97 A.D., St. Timothy, the Apostle, was martyred. He was born in the city of Lystra of the district of Lycaonia in Asia Minor, to a Greek father who worshipped the stars and a Jewish mother whose name was Eunice. (Acts 16:1-2, Timothy 1:5)

    When St. Paul preached in Lystra, this saint heard his teachings and saw the signs that God wrought by his hands. He believed and was baptized. Timothy rejected the gods of his father and forsook the faith of his mother. He became a disciple of St. Paul the Apostle, followed him in his travels, and shared his labors.

    In the year 53 A.D., St. Paul ordained St. Timothy bishop over the city of Ephesus and the neighboring cities. St. Timothy preached there and converted many to the Christian faith and baptized them.

    St. Paul wrote two epistles to St. Timothy: the first of which was in 65 A.D., and the second was shortly before 67 A.D., urging him, "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine, continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." (1Tim. 4:16) He also wrote to him about the qualifications of bishop, priest, deacon, and the widow. He cautioned him also about false prophets and commanded him not to lay his hand on one in haste but only after thorough examinations and testing.

    St. Paul called Timothy his son and his beloved. St. Timothy delivered four epistles for St. Paul: the first was the Epistle to Corinth, the second to Philippi, the third to Thessalonica, and the fourth to the Hebrews.

    St. Timothy shepherded the flock of Christ extremely well, and he illumined minds by his teachings, instructions, and admonitions. He continued to rebuke the Jews and the Greeks, therefore they envied him and congregated against him and started beating him until he was martyred in the city of Ephesus. The believers took his body and buried it.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also, the great father Pope Kyrillos IV (Cyril), 110th Pope of Alexandria, departed. He was born in the town of Sawamaa of the district of the city of Girga, to righteous parents in the year 1816 A.D. They gave him the name David (Daoud) after his grandfather. His father brought him up and educated him well. He grew up despising the things of the world and its vanities. When he was 22 years old, he went to the monastery of St. Anthony, where he conducted himself virtuously and lived an ascetic life, which convinced the abbot of the monastery, Father Athanasius (El-Kalousni), to clothe him with the garb of the monks. He continued to read and to study the holy books.

    Two years after David's ordination as a monk, the abbot of the monastery departed. David (Daoud) was chosen, by the consensus of the monks, to become their abbot. Pope Petros "El-Gawli" (Anba Petros VII), 109th Pope of Alexandria, ordained him a priest, and he appointed him as abbot of the monastery. He took care of the state of affairs of the monastery and those concerning the monks.

    He was very sharp intellectually and was very well versed in religious matters. When a problem transpired among the Ethiopians concerning some doctrinal issues, the Pope, Anba Petros called upon him to go to Ethiopia to solve these problems. He performed his duty admirably. Father Daoud returned on July 13, 1852, to find that Pope Petros had departed on April 15, 1852. When they tried to choose a successor to the Pope, there was a split in the people's opinions. Some wanted Father Daoud and others wanted to choose someone else.

    Finally they decided to ordain Father Daoud an auxiliary bishop in the year 1853. He performed his duties as such, for a year and two months, during which, he showed discretion and good conduct, that made him worthy to be chosen patriarch on the 28th of Bashanse of 1571 A.M. (1854 A.D.).

    He devoted all his efforts to disciplining the youth and educating them. He established the great Coptic school in the patriarchate. He also established another school in Haret-El-Sakkayeen. He paid great attention to the teaching of the Coptic language. He also established a great printing house and printed many church books.

    Generally, the progress of the Copts at that time attributed to his efforts. He demolished the old church in the Patriarchate and built another, but he could not complete it because of his absence in Ethiopia for the second time.

    This great pontiff upheld the canons of the church, and was charitable to the poor and the needy, and was deeply loved by his flock. He departed on the 23rd of Tubah in 1577 A.M. (1861 A.D.)

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


The Twenty-Fourth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Departure of St. Mary the Ascetic (The Shut-In).

2. The Martyrdom of Anba Bisada (St. Psati), the Priest.

1. On this day, St. Mary the Ascetic, the shut-in, departed. Her parents were among the wealthy and noble people of Alexandria. Several of the sons of the great men in the city asked to marry her, but she declined.

    When her parents departed, she distributed all that they left among the poor, keeping just a modest part for herself. Then she joined a convent near the City of Alexandria, and wore the monastic garb. She exerted herself in worship for 15 years, then she put on the holy "Eskeem" and put on a garb made of hair. After she took the permission of the abbess, she shut herself in her cell, closed the door, and opened a small window in it to receive her provisions. She spent 22 years in this cell, fasting two days at a time. During the holy forty days fast (Lent), she fasted for three days, and then broke her fast on some pulses moistened with water.

    On the 11th day of the month of Tubah, she asked for a little of the holy water. She washed her hands and feet, then she received the Holy Communion, and drank from the holy water. She became sick and stayed in her bed until the 21st of Tubah, when she received the Holy Mysteries once more. She called upon the abbess and all the sisters, bade them farewell, and asked them to visit her after three days. On the 24th day of Tubah, they visited her and found that she had departed in peace. They carried her to the church, and after praying over her, they placed her with the bodies of the virgin saints.

Her prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also, St. Bisada (St. Psati) was martyred. His father was from El-Kase and his mother, who was the daughter of one of the pagan priests, was from Ehreet. She was a believer in the Lord Christ. When the son of a pagan priest asked her to marry him, she took flight to El-Kase where she married a farmer, and God gave her a son whom she called Bisadi.

    They brought him up in the fear of the Lord and in the keeping of His Commandments. When St. Bisadi was twenty years old, his father departed and left him a great wealth. St. Bisadi increased in the deeds of charity and righteousness.

    When Emperor Diocletian issued his decree of worshipping the idols, the saint hid himself in his home, and continued to worship God. A voice came to him from heaven saying, "Why are you delaying?" Immediately, he rushed to the governor and confessed his faith saying, "I am a Christian."

    The Governor ordered him be tortured by beating with whips, hitting his head with pins, pulling out his nails, and dipping his fingers in vinegar and lime. He endured the torture for several days with great patience, and the Lord Christ healed all his wounds.

    St. Bisadi performed several miracles, and the Governor became weary of torturing him; he chained him and sent him to the Governor of El-Fayyoum. There St. Bisadi raised a child from the dead. A large stone had fallen on the child while standing beside a wall. The bishop of the City of El-Fayyoum heard about St. Bisada, brought him and ordained him a priest. Then he went back to reappear before the Governor of El-Fayyoum who tortured him, then sent him to Alexandria where he received the crown of martyrdom.

    St. Julius El-Akfahsi (who wrote the biographies of saints) took his body and gave it to his mother who was present. She returned with the body to her home town, Ehreet, and all the people of the town received the body of St. Bisadi with joy, and buried him with great honor. They built a church after his name, and the Lord performed many miracles through his body.

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


The Twenty-Fifth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Departure of St. Peter, the Worshipper.

2. The Martyrdom of St. Askala (Asela), the Ascetic.

1. On this day, St. Peter the worshipper, departed. He was at first a tax collector, who was very cruel and had no mercy. Because of his selfishness and greed, he was nicknamed "the merciless". The Lord Jesus had compassion upon him and He wanted to turn him away from all his bad deeds.

    One day, God sent him a poor man to ask him for a little food, and it thus happened that his servant arrived at the same time when the poor man was standing before him, with bread. The tax collector took a loaf of bread and hit the poor man with it on his head, not as an act of mercy, but to get rid of him so that he might not come back again.

    That same night, Peter, the tax collector, saw a vision in his sleep, as though he was in the judgement day, where the scale of justice was erected, and he saw some people clothed in black in the ugliest forms. They came and put his sins and his injustices in the left pan of the scale. Then a group of the angels of light, with beautiful countenances and in white clothes, came and stood beside the right pan of the scale. They appeared perplexed, for they did not find anything to put in the pan. One of them came forward, and put in the loaf of bread with which he had hit the head of the poor man, and said, "There is nothing for this man except this loaf of bread."

    At this moment, Peter woke up from his sleep trembling and afraid. He started to rebuke himself for all that he had done. He started to be exceedingly merciful and compassionate, and he even gave his own tunic away. When nothing was left of his property, he left his town and sold himself as a slave, and paid the price to the poor.

    When his good deeds became well known, he fled to the wilderness of St. Macarius, where he became a monk and lived an ascetic life with great devotion and good repute, that made him worthy to know the day of his departure. St. Peter called the elders of the monks and bade them farewell, and departed in peace.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also, we celebrate the commemoration of the martyrdom of the striving saint Anba Askala (Asela) the ascetic.

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


The Twenty-Sixth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Martyrdom of the Forty-Nine Saints, the Elders of Sheheat (Scetis).

2. The Departure of St. Anastasia.

1. On this day, the forty-nine elder priests of Sheheat, Martinos, the envoy of the emperor, and his son, were martyred.

    Emperor Theodosius the Less, the son of Emperor Arcadius, did not have a son. He wrote to the elders of Sheheat asking them to pray to God to grant him a son. St. Isidor wrote back to him saying that God did not will for him to have a son who would participate with the heretics after him.

    When the Emperor read the message, he offered thanks to God. Some people gave him the advice to marry another wife to have offspring from her to inherit the empire after him. He said to them, "I cannot do anything except what the elders of Sheheat demanded." He sent an envoy whose name was Martinos to consult with them about that. Martinos had a son named Zius who accompanied him on his visit to the elders in order to receive their blessings.

    When they arrived and the elders read the message, they took the messenger to the body of St. Isidor, for he had departed. They called on him saying, "Our father, we have received a letter from the Emperor. What shall we say to him?" A voice came from the pure body saying, "What I had  said before, I also say now, that the Lord will never give him a son to participate with the heretics, even if he marries ten women." The elders wrote back to the Emperor recounting what they heard.

    When the messenger wanted to return, the pagan berbers attacked the monastery. One of their great elders, whose name was Anba Yuannis, called upon the brethren and said, "The berbers have come to kill us. Whoever amongst you would like to become a martyr, let him stand, and whoever is afraid, let him hide in the palace." Some of them hid in the palace, but he remained with the forty-eight elders, who were all slaughtered by the berbers.

    Martinos and his son were hiding. The son looked up and saw the angels placing the crowns of glory on the elders who were killed. The son said to his father, "I see spiritual beings putting crowns on the heads of the elders. I shall go to receive a crown like them." His father replied, "And I also shall go with you, my son." Both revealed themselves to the berbers. They were killed and received the crown of martyrdom.

    After the berbers had gone, the monks who were hiding in the palace came down, took the bodies, and placed them in a cave. They sang and said praises before the cave every night. Some people from the city of Batanoon came and took the body of Anba Yuannis and returned to their city. The elders of the monastery returned the body after a while. Also, some people from El-Fayyoum came and stole the body of Zius, the son of Martinos. When they arrived at the lake of El-Fayyoum, the angel of the Lord returned him to where the body of his father was. The elders also tried to separate the body of Zius, the son, from the body of his father several times, but they could not. Every time they moved the body of Zius, the angel of the Lord would return it to its place. One of the fathers heard one night, in a vision, someone saying, "Praise God, we were not separated in the flesh, nor are we separated when we are with Christ. Why do you want to separate our bodies?"

    When persecution became rampant and the attacks on the monastery continued, the fathers relocated the bodies, to a cave which they built beside the church of St. Macarius. At the time of Anba Theodosius, 33rd Pope of Alexandria, they built a church for them. When Anba Benjamin, 38th pope, came to the wilderness, he established a feast day for them on the 5th of Amshir, which was the day of the relocation of their bodies to this church. In time, the church building deteriorated, and they moved the bodies to one of the cells until the time of Ibrahim El-Gohary, who built a church for them around the end of the 18th century, where they placed the bodies of the saints. The church is still in existence today in the monastery of St. Macarius.

    The cell in which the bodies were kept is known today in Coptic as the cell of Ehme' Epseet, or the cell of the forty-nine.

Their prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also, St. Anastasia departed. She was from a noble family in the city of Constantinople. She was very beautiful and had a great moral character. Emperor Justin, who was married, wanted to marry her. She refused and went and told his wife. The Empress sent her to Alexandria on a private ship. She built her a convent outside the city of Alexandria and named it after her.

    When the Emperor knew where she was, he sent for her, but Anastasia escaped and hid herself in the wilderness of Sheheat (Scetis), disguised as a prince. She met with Anba Daniel, the archpriest of the wilderness, and revealed her story to him. He brought her to a cave, and asked one of the elders to fill a water pot for her once every week, and to place the pot at the door of the cave and leave. She remained in this place for 28 years, without anyone knowing that she was a woman. She used to write her thoughts on pieces of pottery, and leave them at the door of her cave. The elder who brought her the water used to take the pieces of pottery without knowing what was written on them and give them to St. Daniel.

    One day he brought a piece of pottery to St. Daniel who wept when he read it, and said to his disciple, "Come with me now to bury the body of the saint in that cave." When they entered her cave, they received blessings from each other. St. Anastasia said to Anba Daniel, "For the sake of God, bury me with what I have on my body." Then she prayed and bade them farewell and departed in peace. They wept and buried her. When the disciple was caring for her burial, he found out that she was a woman, and he marvelled in silence.

    After they buried her, and they returned to their place, the disciple knelt before St. Daniel and said, "For the sake of God, tell me her story, for I have seen that she was a woman." The elder told him her story, that she was from one of the noble families of Constantinople, and how she surrendered herself to Christ, forsaking the vain glory of this world.

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


The Twenty-Seventh Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Martyrdom of St. Sarapion.

2. The Commemoration of the Archangel Suriel.

3. The Relocation of the Relics of St. Timothy, the Apostle.

4. The Martyrdom of St. Abe-Fam, the Soldier (St. Phoebammon).

1. On this day, St. Sarapion was martyred. He was a native of the City of Binosah (Babousah), a town of Lower Egypt. He was wealthy, had many possessions, and he was also a charitable man.  At the time of the persecution, he heard that the governor of Alexandria, Armanius, had arrived in Lower Egypt, the northern part of the country, to torture the Christians. He went out with his friend, Theodore and another friend who was a shepherd called Thomas. They all confessed the Name of Christ before the Governor, who cast them into prison.

    When the people of his town heard about his arrest, they came carrying arms to kill the Governor and to free the saint. The saint constrained them and told them that he wanted to be martyred in the name of Christ and they went away.

    The Governor took the saint with him to Alexandria on a ship, and there he tortured St. Sarapion with the pressing wheel (Hinbazin), and threw him in a ditch filled with fire. Then he put him in a cauldron full of pitch and bitumen and lit fire under him. Through it all, the Lord was with him and delivered him safely. At last they crucified him and threw arrows at him.

    The angel of the Lord came and brought St. Sarapion down, and crucified the Governor in his place. They continued to throw arrows at the Governor as if he was the saint, while he was crying and saying, "I am Armanius." The saint said to the Governor, "The Lord God lives, you will not be brought down from the tree, until you bring out those who are in prison and spread the  ccounts of their struggle." The Governor did as the saint told him. The number of martyrs that were beheaded on that day was 540 souls.

    Then the Governor gave the responsibility of torturing the Saint to one of the princes, whose name was Orion. He traveled with the saint by sea to his own town. At night the ship was ashore at one of the villages, and they slept. In the morning, Orion found that the place where the ship was ashore was the town of the saint, and he marvelled, and he heard a voice saying, "This is his town, you should get him out of the ship."

    After they had tortured the saint, they beheaded him, and he received the crown of martyrdom. Orion wrapped the body of the saint in his tunic and delivered him to his family.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

2. On this day also, the church commemorates the honorable Archangel Suriel. He was with Ezra, the righteous prophet, and instructed him about many hidden mysteries. He is also the intercessor on behalf of sinners.

His intercession be with us. Amen.

3. On this day also, the church celebrates the commemoration of the transfer of the relics of St. Timothy, the Apostle, from the City of Ephesus to Constantinople.

    When Emperor Constantine built the City of Constantinople, he relocated the relics of many of the saints to it. When he heard about the whereabouts of the relics of St. Timothy, he sent some priests who carried the holy body to Constantinople. They placed it in the church of the apostles and the saints.

His prayers be with us. Amen.

4. On this day also, St. Abe-Fam, the Soldier, was martyred (Bifam or Phoebammon). He was born in Oseem (Awsim) to a wealthy father whose name was Anastasius, and a righteous mother whose name was Susanna.

    They brought him up in the Christian faith. He grew up in the fear of God, merciful to the poor, and steadfast in prayer and fasting. His parents wanted him to get married, but he declined. When Emperor Diocletian reigned and knew that this saint did not raise incense to the gods, the Emperor sent to the governor Arianus to torture St. Abe-Fam if he did not offer incense to the idols.

    Arianus went to Oseem and when he saw the saint he said, "Peace be with you," and the saint replied, "Why do you speak the word of peace? Did you not know that peace is only for the righteous?" and "there is no peace for the wicked, says the Lord." (Isaiah 48:22) The Governor became extremely angry and took the Saint to Qaw where he tortured him severely, then beheaded him. The Saint received the crown of martyrdom. God honored this saint by performing many miracles through his body.

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


The Twenty-Eighth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Martyrdom of St. Clement.

2. The Martyrdom of St. Anba Kaou.

1. On this day St. Clement was martyred. He was the son of a faithful woman whose name was Euphrosyne (Euphrasia) from the City of Angora.

    When he grew up, his mother taught him the church's subjects and reared him with the Christian ethics. When he was 12 years old, he walked in the way of righteousness, and he reached a high level in worship and asceticism. He did not eat except dry vegetables, as did the three young men at the time of Daniel. When he was ordained deacon, he increased in searching the books, and the spirit of God was upon him.

    His fame spread out until it reached Emperor Diocletian. He brought the saint, befriended him and promised him that he would adopt him if he agreed to worship the idols. When he did not give in to his demands, Diocletian tortured him with various tortures. However, God strengthened him and exposed His enemies by His might. Many tortured him, to an extent that he stood before seven courts to be judged by them, and every time God strengthened and comforted him. At last, they beheaded him and he received the crown of martyrdom. His body was taken by a faithful woman, whose name was Sophia, who buried him with great honor.

His prayers be with us all. Amen.

2. On this day also, St. Kaou was martyred. He was from the City of Bamway (Bimay) in El-Fayyoum. At that time, Emperor Diocletian issued an edict commanding the worship of idols.

    The saint resided in a home that he had built for himself outside of his city, where he worshipped God. The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a vision saying, "Why are you sitting here, while martyrdom is available? Arise now, and go to El-Lahoon where you will find the messenger of the Governor of Alexandria. Go and confess the Name of Christ before him and you will be granted the crown of martyrdom."

    St. Kaou rose up from his sleep with great joy and he went to El-Lahoon and found the messenger at the seashore. When the messenger saw him, the messenger marvelled at St. Kaou's beautiful old age, and he honored him. The messenger took out from his pocket an idol made of gold and precious stones and said to the saint, "This is the gift of the Emperor to the Governor of Ansena."

    St. Kaou took it in his hand and admired its wonderful workmanship. Then he cast it to the ground and smashed it. The messenger became very angry and ordered him to be bound. He took him to the Governor of Ansena and told the Governor what St. Kaou had done. The Governor tormented him, then he sent him to the Governor of Bahnasa, who also tortured him.

    When he did not surrender and did not worship the idols, he was beheaded and received the crown of martyrdom. Some believers came and took his body to the place where he used to worship and buried him there. They built a church after his name in the same place later on and God manifested many miracles in it.

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


The Twenty-Ninth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

1. The Departure of St. Eksani (St. Xene).

2. The Commemoration of St. Seriakos (Syriacus), the Fighter.

1. On this day, St. Eksani (St. Xene) departed. She was the daughter of one of the noble and rich families of Rome. She was the only daughter of her parents. She was brought up at an early age accustomed to fasting and prayers, visiting the prisoners and helping the needy.

    She used to visit the convents in Rome to spend time in worship. She distributed what she brought with her among the poor and was satisfied with what the nuns ate. She read the biographies of the saints and prayed to God to grant her a share among them.

    It happened that one of the ministers of Rome asked for her hand in marriage for his son. Her father was delighted about that and he brought her the best of clothing and the most precious gems and furnishings. Shortly before her wedding, she asked her mother to allow her to go to the monastery to visit her friends the nuns before getting married, in order to bid them farewell, and her mother gave her permission.

    She took her precious ornaments and two of her maiden servants, and went quickly to the seashore. She found a ship going to Cyprus, which she embarked on. On her arrival, she went to St. Epiphanius and told him about her story. He advised her to go to the City of Alexandria.

    She traveled to Alexandria, where she met Anba Theophilus, 23rd Pope of Alexandria. She informed him of her desire to live the monastic life. He agreed and he cut her hair and clothed her in the monastic garb.

    She sold all of her jewels and clothes that she brought with her, and built a church in the name of St. Stephen, the Archdeacon. She resided with a group of virgins and nuns that Pope Theophilus settled with her.

    She practiced asceticism and strived. She lived only on bread and some moistened vegetables. She did not eat any cooked food, and she slept on the ground. She struggled in that manner for more than 20 years.

    When she departed, God manifested a sign in heaven to reveal the heavenly blessings that she received. At midday, a cross of light, whose light exceeded that of the sun, appeared in heaven, and around it a circle of stars that shone like crowns. The cross remained shining until her body was buried with the other saintly virgins, then it disappeared. The people knew that the appearance of the cross was to manifest her virtue.

    Later on, the two maiden servants told the Pope her real story and how she had a covenant with them to conceal her story and to call her sister. The Pope marvelled, glorified God, and he wrote her biography.

Her prayers be with us. Amen.

2. Today also is the commemoration of St. Syriacus, the fighter.

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


The Thirtieth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah

The Martyrdom of Saints Pistis, Helpis, Agape, and Their Mother, Sophia

On this day, the holy and blessed virgins, Pistis, Helpis, Agape, and their mother, Sophia, were martyred. St. Sophia was from a rich and noble family in Antioch. When she had these three girls, she called them Pistis, which means faith, Helpis, which means hope, and Agape, which means love.

    When they grew up, she went with them to Rome to teach them the worship of God and His fear. Emperor Hadrianus (Hadrian), the infidel, heard about them and he summoned them before him. Their mother preached to them, and encouraged them to be steadfast in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, saying to them, "Let not your determination grow faint or weak, and let not the glory of the world entice you, lest you lose the eternal glory. Be patient and persevere until you meet your Bridegroom, the Christ, with Whom you will enter into the everlasting joy." The oldest sister was 12 years old, the second was 10 years old and the youngest was 9 years old.

    When they came before the Emperor, he asked the oldest to worship the idols, promising her that he would marry her to one of the great men in his kingdom, and that he would bestow on her many delights and pleasures, but she refused. He ordered her to be beaten with hammers, mutilating her breasts, and to place her in a cauldron of boiling water over the fire. The Lord was with her, saved her, and He granted her strength and peace, and everyone was astonished and glorified God. Then the Emperor commanded that she be beheaded.

    Then they brought the second daughter before the Emperor. He also beat her severely and also placed her in the boiling water, then they brought her out and beheaded her. With the youngest daughter, her mother feared that she would weaken, so she encouraged and strengthened her. When the Emperor ordered her placed in the pressing wheel (Hinbazin), she cried to Christ, and He sent His angel who broke it.

    The Emperor then ordered her to be thrown into the fire. She prayed and made the sign of the cross on her face. Then she threw herself in it. All those who were present saw three men in white robes surrounding her, and the fiery furnace was as cold as the dew. They marvelled, and many believed in the Lord Christ, and they were all beheaded.

    The Emperor ordered afterwards that her sides be pierced with hot rods, but the Lord strengthened her and she did not feel the pain. Finally, she was beheaded. Their mother carried their bodies outside the city, sat and wept, and asked them to ask the Lord Christ to take her soul also. The Lord granted her wish and her spirit went immediately to her Creator. Some believers came and carried the bodies and buried them with great honors.

    Emperor Hadrian was struck with small pox in his eyes, and he became blind. The worms grew in his body and he died a dreadful death, and God avenged the death of these saintly virgins.

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

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