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Author Topic: Post Chalcedon Oriental Orthodox saints.  (Read 59907 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gabriel
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« on: December 02, 2006, 11:16:46 PM »

Howdy folks.

I thought it would be interesting to get a post started about post-OO saints, since I don't really know very many of them.  Feel free to provide links and pictures of icons. 

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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2006, 12:19:41 AM »

St. Gregory of Nareg is a great one:

http://www.stgregoryofnarek.am/index.php
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2006, 03:47:56 AM »

Abba Shenouda the Prophet and Archimandrite (the Head of the Anchorites) (d. 466, Abib 7th) lived before, during, and after the Council of Chalcedon.



St. Shenouda is one of the greatest Saints of the Coptic Orthodox Church for a number of reasons. He is popular first and foremost for his transcendently profound asceticism and holiness which set him apart in the Church of his day to the extent that St. Cyril of Alexandria requested Abba Shenouda's company at the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus 431 for the primary sake of being accompanied by one of reputable holiness. When Abba Shenouda, and his disciple Abba Vesa sought to return to Egypt with St. Cyril, the sailors of the ship refused them entry. As the ship sailed, St. Cyril witnessed St. Shenouda and St. Vesa travelling upon a cloud, and cried out saying, "Bless us, O Father and Saint, O new Elijah!"

Other unique incidents attesting to his sanctity include the prophetic witness to his birth by St. Athanasius and a monk of the Pachomian order known as St. Horesios who, upon meeting St. Shenouda's mother before St. Shenouda's birth, announced: "God bless the fruit of your womb, who will be like Amber diffusing its sweet aroma throughout the whole world". His position as Archimandrite and Abbot of the White Monastery were also prophetically witnessed. Upon visiting St. Pijol at the White Monastery as a child, St. Shenouda's father, who accompanied him, requested that St. Pijol, the Abbott of the White Monastery, bless his son. Abba Pijol refused and instead took the hand of St. Shenouda and placed it on his own head saying, "It is I who is in need of this boy's blessing, for he is a chosen vessel of Christ, who will serve Him faithfully throughout his whole life". St. Shenouda's childhood as a shepherd itself evidenced exemplary Sainthood; however, I shall leave the story of his childhood to the below links.


Saint Abba Shenouda eventually succeeded St. Abba Pijol as head of the White Monastery in the year 383 A.D. In contrast to St. Pachomious who regarded coenobitism to be the climax of monastic excellency, St. Shenouda promoted, in the practice of his monastic community, the concept of coenobitism as the means of preparing spiritually mature souls for the life of anchoritism.

St. Shenouda also acquired popularity, particularly within the Coptic Orthodox Church, on account of his socio-political activities. Abba Shenouda and the thousands of monastics under his rule did not sever themselves completely and unconditionally from the social issues that affected the nearby communities, but rather, in the true spirit of Agape Love which transcends the letter of Monastic canons and regulations, shared the sufferings of the wider Body of Christ and pursued practical means by which to assist the wider community. Thus, during the Blemmye invasion of Upper Egypt, the monastery opened its doors to the refugees and captives, providing not only spriritual comfort and divine protection, but also medical assistance to the wounded, and food to the many in hunger. Many miracles we performed at the hands of St. Shenouda during this time, including the multiplication of food to feed the many who required it.

In spite of his zealous pursuit of the hermitic life, St. Shenouda also took up the position of advocate on behalf of the oppressed Copts during the disastrous aftermath of Chalcedon. He rigorously took up the cause of the Coptic peasants forced into slavery under Byantine rule, both in the courts and before the Emperor himself. In his Spirit-led pursuit to maintain the integrity of the Orthodox spirit amongst the Copts, he helped shape and establish Coptic identity against Byzantine influence in the aftermath of Chalcedon, particularly through his most valuable contribution to Coptic literature.

Here are some useful links:

St. Abba Shenouda: 1. Early Life 2. His Monasticism 3. As a National Leader 4. As a Writer

Excerpts from his Coptic Vita 1. His Childhood 2. His asceticism 3. The building of the Monastery Church 4. Abba Shenouda and the Blemmyes  5. His Repose
« Last Edit: December 03, 2006, 04:25:14 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2006, 04:25:30 AM »

P.S. I will try and update this thread weekly; thanks for your interest.
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2006, 01:01:53 AM »

There is something related to the story of St. Abba Shenouda that I would like to make a specific point of. In one of the links I provided, it states the following concerning his early life:

Quote
His father...owned a small flock of sheep for which he employed a shepherd. This shepherd...asked the parents to have the young St. Shenouda help him in taking care of the sheep. For such assistance, he would have them deduct a fee from his wages. This afforded our young saint the opportunity to be trained in the profession of the saints...The early signs of his spiritual growth were manifested to that shepherd one night, when he saw him raising his hands in prayer in the well with his fingers resembling ten luminous candles.


The footnote to the comment regarding the illumination of his fingers during prayer reads:

Quote
In recent memory we hear of a monk in St. Paul's [the first Anchorite] Monastery near the Red Sea in Egypt, who exhibited such phenomenon during prayer, i.e. luminous fingers!

This recent (and still living) monk that is being referred to above is Abouna Fanous, the monk on the far left of the below image:


Ever since the incident where Abouna Fanous's hands were illuminated during prayer for all to see, he scarcely leaves his cell (in fact he didn't leave his cell for approximately 6 months after the incident). Now, when he is compelled to leave his cell, he never leaves without wearing thick socks on his hands (as you can see in the above photo).
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2006, 07:35:09 PM »

...and Abona Fanous does not open his eyes as well because the pupils illuminate as a cross and he always looks to the floor. One of the few who according to worldly standards are despised and unappreciated but the earth does not deserve him.

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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2006, 01:42:43 PM »

St. Salib (Pi-Stavros) the New Martyr (d. 1512 A.D.):

http://copticorthodoxy.blogspot.com/2006/12/st_12.html
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« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2006, 03:27:41 PM »

I love the Coptic icons. I hope you will add more!
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2007, 03:28:23 AM »

On this day, the 30th of the blessed Coptic month of Tubah, in the year 1723 A.M. (1988 A.D.), the holy St. Andrew the Samuelite of the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor departed to join the ranks of the victorious.

See my blog entry for my complete account of his life and person as well as graphics and access to other resources: http://copticorthodoxy.blogspot.com/2007/02/st.html

May his blessings be with us all. Amen.
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2007, 10:17:16 AM »

St. Takla Haimanot of Ethiopia ought to be mentioned as it would surprise me if the deeds of this great saint were not known amongst the Eastern Orthodox also. This saint stood in prayer for so long that his leg fell off and it is said that it is burried under the place where the Ark of the Covenant now rests in the Church of St. Mary of Zion in Axum. St. Tekla Haymanot also began performing miracles when he was only a small boy and his faith was always exceedingly great. May he please pray for us weak sinners. Would somebody with greater knowledge of this saint care to speak more of him please? Thank you.

This next part is from the Coptic Synaxarium:
Barmoudah 9 or April 17
On this day also a great sign was made manifest through our holy father Pope Sinuthius (Shenouda I) the fifty fifth Pope of Alexandria. This Pope went to the desert of Scetis in order to fast the Holy Lent with the fathers the monks. On Palm Sunday many Arabs came to the desert of Scetis to plunder the monasteries. They stood on the rock east of the church of St. Macarius. Their swords were drawn in their hands ready to kill and steal. The bishops and the monks gathered together and decided to leave the desert before the Holy Feast of Resurrection (Easter) and they took counsel with Pope Shenouda who told them; "As for me I will not leave the desert until I complete the Pascal week. On Maundy Thursday the situation became worse. The Pope took his staff that had the sign of the cross on it and he wanted to go out to meet the Arabs saying: "It is better for me to die with the people of God" but they prevented him from going out, but instead, he strengthened and comforted them. Then he went forth to meet the Arabs with his staff in his hand. When they saw him, they retreated and fled away as if they were pursued by an army of soldiers and from this day onwards they never came back to do any harm.
The prayers of this father be with us and glory be to God forever. Amen.
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2007, 02:39:35 PM »

From India:

http://www.ots.org.in/church/marthoma.htm
http://www.ots.org.in/church/saints/default.htm

St. Kuriakose (Pampady Thirumeni)
http://www.icon.org.in/icon_chfathers.icon?method=getChFathers&id=pampadi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar_Kuriakose_Dayara

http://www.vakathanamchurch.org/photo.htm

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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2007, 06:51:05 AM »

BEATIFIED FATHERS OF THE MALANKARA SYRIAN ORTHODX CHURCH

Indian Fathers

St. Gregorios Geevarghese
(Chathuruthy Thirumeni, entombed at Parumala, 1902) 
http://ParumalaThirumeni.com
http://parumalathirumeni.org

St. Athanasius Paulose, the Malankara Metropolitan
(Valiya Thirumeni, entombed at Aluva, 1953)
http://syrianchurch.org/bio/ValiyaThirumeni.htm

Syrian Fathers entombed in Malankara

St. Ignatius Elias III, the Patriarch of Antioch & all the East
(entombed at Manjanikkara, 1932)
http://sor.cua.edu/Personage/PElias3/index.html

St. Baselios Yeldho   
(Maphriyono, entombed at Kothamangalam, 1685)
http://syrianchurch.org/bio/MorBaseliosYeldho.htm

St. Gregorios Abdul Jaleel
(Metropolitan of Jerusalem, entombed at Paravur, 1681) 
http://SaintGregorios.org

St. Osthatheos Sleeba 
(Patriarchal delegate, entombed at Kunnamkulam, 1930)
http://www.syrianchurch.org/StSl/Mor_Osthathious_Sleeba.htm



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« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2007, 03:20:25 PM »

Qedus Teqeleh Hiayemonot
(St. Tekla Haymonot)

He last settled in the land of "Shawiry" where he built his well-known monastery known as "Elbianos". Many people followed him and became Monks. He exerted a lot of effort in praying and fasting and kneeling before God. He even used to pray standing on one foot; the right one, until his leg was broken! His monks took it and covered it. He never got out of his cave, but remained there till his death.

This Saint has left the church blessed with his love for deep fervent prayer and fasting.

May we all learn to prayer and fast like this Saint.

He was the only human being on earth given wings. Thus his Icon always shows him with wings and standing on one leg with hands up and out in prayer.

The priests in the Ethiopian Church during the opening liturgical prayer we call it "Ahadu" stands in front of the Holy Alter with his hands up and out in a stance of St. Tekle Haymonot and slowly prays "one is the Holy Father, one is the Holy Son , one is the Holy Spirit...." The priest seems as if he is going to fly away. It is a powerful thing to experience.

This Ethiopain Saint is revered and venerated greatly among our Coptic brothers and sisters. I shamefully must say maybe more than in Ethiopia.

WE love him deeply; he is a special Saint for the whole universal church worldwide. However; it seems that my Coptic family has many churches, monastaries, books, videos etc. on our beloved Saint. I had a hard time finding and Ethiopian traditional Icon for this posting. I keep a Coptic traditional Icon of this great saint in my car. Even this Icon was given to me by a very dear Coptic sister who I worked with almost 15 years ago. I put it in my car that hot afternoon on my way home that day and have just moved it from car to car ever since.

I feel that I am being protected by the wings of St Tekla Haymonot instead of the "wings of GoodYear" so I intend to leave it in all my cars that the Lord allows me to have.

Thank you Magda and God bless you where ever you are!!!
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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2007, 01:10:54 AM »

Today we celebrate the Martyrdom of the Holy Saint Pistavros. A few posts above I gave a link to a short summary of his life that I had written last year. Given that that website will be taken down soon (I am in the process of establishing a proper website with a few friends) I thought I would paste my article here for all to read:

St. Salib (Pi-Stavros) the New Martyr [1]


On Monday 3rd of the month of Kiahk in the year 1229 A.M. (1512 A.D.), the victorious St. Salib (Pi-Stavros) the New Martyr received the glorious crown of Martyrdom.

St. Salib lived during a period of Egyptian history known as the Mamluk era which modern-day historians regard as having been one of the most brutal periods that Coptic Orthodox Christians were forced to confront under Islamic rule. According to T. Wilfong’s evaluation:

[2]

Increased conversions were primarily inspired by fear from the threat of violence and the severe restrictions placed upon Non-Muslims at the time. Amidst this great age of apostasy, St. Salib shone as a beacon of courageous strength and uncompromising fidelity to the Truth.

From an early age St. Salib’s spirit sought after the heavenly life to the extent that he refused to even sleep with his own wife whom his parents had, in the absence of his consent and contrary to his own desires, arranged him to marry. Having secured the physical purity of his body, St. Salib desired to further sanctify it in his own blood which he sought to shed for the Name of Christ.

St. Salib pursued his aim by publically confessing that which many publically renounced for the sake of prolonging and enhancing their own earthly lives: faith in Christ as the True God. Having done this, St. Salib was brought before the magistrates who asked him to speak concerning the truth or falsity of the charges brought against him (namely, blasphemy), whilst reminding him of the severe tortures that would await him were he to be found guilty. Unhesitatingly, St. Salib confessed:

“Everything they have spoken about me regarding the religion of Christ is true, for there is no God in heaven or on earth, except Jesus Christ.” [3]

Consequently, St. Salib was imprisoned for the night in order that he may be sent to Cairo the next morning to be dealt with by the Sultan. During his stay in prison, the prison officer witnessed an illuminated lady releasing St. Salib from his chains and relaying the message that his earnest desire to die for the Lord had been granted to him. Undoubtedly, the lady in question was none other than Our Lady, the Theotokos St. Mary. Upon witnessing this event, the prison officer believed in the Faith of St. Salib and offered to release him that he may escape. St. Salib, being passionately focused on Martyrdom, remained unmoved by the offer and ultimately rejected it.

The next day, on his boat trip from upper Egypt to Cairo, the Muslim officer in charge of the boat likewise witnessed St. Salib conversing with the Virgin Mary and the Archangel Michael also; moved by the experience, the officer presented St. Salib with yet another opportunity to escape his fate, which was yet again refused by the determined hero of the Faith.

Upon arriving at the Sultan’s palace, St. Salib was confronted with an intimidating scenery of splendor and glory which marked the Sultan’s court. However, St. Salib was not left in awe or fear, but rather confidently stood before the king awaiting to experience fulfillment of the divine promise. The king offered St. Salib pardon upon the condition that he retract the statements which condemned him according to Islamic law, and to in turn convert to Islam. Nevertheless, St. Salib was no more inclined to prolong his earthly life any more than he was to do so at the previous opportunities he received, and proudly reiterated his confession of Faith and confirmed the veracity of the charges brought against him. St. Salib manifested his zealous pursuit to Martydom even further by remarking:

“Not only was everything that I spoke true, but I would even add more to what I have said.”
St. Salib’s punishment was thus ordered: he was to be nailed onto a wooden cross and then mounted on a camel to be paraded in the streets of Cairo. The aim and the intent of the Muslims was clear: to humiliate both St. Salib and the symbol of his Faith (and subject of his name)—the Holy Cross; nevertheless, behind the scenes of the distorted reality of the Muslims, the Cross and the one bearing its Holy Name were being exalted through humiliation and glorified through suffering.

St. Salib was then taken down from the cross to be finally executed by beheading. Amazingly, the magistrate gave St. salib yet another opportunity to renounce his previous remarks and to embrace Islam; needless to say, St. Salib denied the magistrate’s offer and was consequently executed, whereupon St. Mary embraced his soul in sheets of light and presented it to her beloved Son. St. Salib’s body was then taken to be burnt, whereupon and by virtue of divine protection, St. Salib's body withstood the flames of the furnace for three days. A group of faithful Christians under divine guidance pursued the Saint's body and brought it to the Church where it became a source of numerous miracles and healings.

May his prayers be with us all, and Glory be to God Forever, Amen.

[1] The following account is based on the Martyrology of St. Salib (Coptic Museum manuscript, MS Tarikh, 475) as summarised and analysed by F. Armanios and B. Ergene in 'A Christian Martyr Under Malmuk Justice', The Muslim World Vol. 96 Issue 1 Page 115 January 2006. A unique historical point to make in regard to the hagiographical account of St. Salib, which would certainly be of interest to scholars of hagiography, is the fact that essential facts are corroborated by an independent Islamic source: Ibn Iyas’ chronicle titled Badai al-Zuhur fi Waqaial-Duhur. The two accounts differ only in respect of their interpretation of the essential facts in question.

[2] “The Non-Muslim Communities: Christian Communities,” The Cambridge History of Egypt I: Islamic Egypt From the Arab Invasion to the Ottoman Conquest (641–1517), ed. Carl F. Petry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 184.

[3] In contrast to the Balkan martyrologies, the presumption in St. Salib’s martyrology is that he actually committed the crimes in question, in contrast to the Balkan accounts where most martyrs are falsely accused of insulting Islam or of blaspheming Muhammad, or even tricked into publicly professing their faith in Christ.
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« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2007, 01:26:34 AM »

Normally i'd provide a link to a recorded doxology or something, but since I can't seem to find one on the internet for St Salib I have recorded a Hiten for the Saint in Coptic, followed by English, that others may share in his blessings:

http://www.mediafire.com/?bnb2t2toxfy

Coptic: Hiten ni evki ente piveri em-marteeros pi-athloforos fi-ethooab pi-estavros, ep-chois ari ehmot nan empiko evol ente nenovi.

English: Through the prayers of the New Martyr, the Victorious, the Holy Saint Salib, O Lord grant us the forgiveness of our sins.
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« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2007, 10:54:59 AM »

The Departure of St. Abba Abraam, Ebn-Zaraa, 62nd Pope of Alexandria.
_________________________________________________________________________________

On this day, the 6th of Kiahk of the year 970 A.D., the saint Anba Abraam, the 62nd Pope of Alexandria, departed. This father was a descendant of the Christians of the East; his name was Ebn-Zaraa the Syrian. He was a rich merchant who often visited Egypt, and finally settled there.

He was blessed with many virtues, including mercy to the needy. His reputation for righteousness and knowledge was quickly and widely spread. When the Patriarchal Chair became vacant, the bishops and the learned elders all agreed to choose him as Patriarch. When he sat on the chair of the See of St. Mark, he gave all his possessions to the poor and needy.

Among his accomplishments was the abolition of some corrupt and erroneous customs. He prevented and excommunicated everyone who took bribes from anyone for the purpose of gaining a clerical position. He also strongly forbade the keeping of concubines. When the people who were practicing that knew his orders, the fear of God moved them, for they also feared that the Patriarch might excommunicate them.

They set all their concubines free and went to the Patriarch repenting, except for one of the rich men of the country. This man did not fear God nor did he heed the fact that this father, who chided him repeatedly and was very patient with him, would excommunicate him. He did not return from his evil way and was not afraid lest God should destroy him. In spite of that, this father did not slacken in teaching and rebuking him. Furthermore he humbled himself like Christ, his Teacher, and went to that man's house. When the man heard of the arrival of the Patriarch at his house, he shut the door and refused to let him in. The father remained standing at the door for two hours knocking but the man neither opened the door for him, nor did he speak to him. The father realized that this wretched man had intentionally separated himself from the flock of Christ and became a corrupt member.

The Pope saw it fit to cut him from the body of the church, that the rest of the body may be preserved from his corruption. He excommunicated him saying, "Let his blood be on his own head," and then the Pope shook off the dust from his sandals at the door of the house of that man. At this moment God manifested a sign before the eyes of those who were present, for the doorstep, which was made of granite, had split into two. Later on, the Lord showed his might, and the man lost all his wealth and he was fired from his position in disgrace. He became ill, which led to his death in a horrible way. He became an example to the others; since many sinners learned a lesson and were afraid as a result of what happened to him.

During the days of this father, El-Mu'izz, the Khalifa, had a Jewish Vizier; his name was, Jacob-Ebn-Yousef, who adopted the Muslim faith (Islam). That minister had a Jewish friend (Ebn-Killis), who used to go with him frequently to the Khalifa and converse with him. That Jew took advantage of the favor that his friend had with the Khalifa, and found this to be an opportunity to ask for the presence of the father, the Patriarch, in order that he might have a debate with him.

Abba Abraam came along with Anba Severus Ebn-EI-Mukafaa, Bishop of Ashmunein. El-Mu'izz ordered them to sit, so they sat down silently. He asked, "Why are you not debating?" Anba Severus answered, "How can we argue in the presence of El-Khalifa, with a man who is less intelligent than an ox?" El-Mu'izz asked for an explanation. Anba Severus said, "God has declared by the mouth of the prophet, 'The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib: but Israel does not know."' (Isaiah 1:3) They debated the Jew and shamed him with irrefutable arguments proving the soundness of the Christian faith, and they left El-Mu'izz with great honor.

The minister and his Jewish friend were not able to bear the insults. So they sought the chance to take revenge of on Christians.

A few days later, the Jewish Vizier; Jacob-Ebn-Yousef went to El-Mu'izz and maliciously told him, "Your royal highness knows that the faith of the Christians does not have a sound base. Their Bible states, 'If you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move.' (Matthew 17:20) Prince of the faithful knows the falsehood of these sayings. And to verify this, we will summon the Patriarch to give us the proof that their Christ's sayings are true."

The Khalifa thought to himself, "If the saying of Christ is true, that would be of great benefit to us, for the Mukatam mount is too close to Cairo. If the mountain can be moved away, that would make the position of the city greater than what it is now. If the saying is not true, that will give us justification to persecute the Christians."

El-Mu'izz called the father, the Patriarch, and placed this saying before him, and asked for the proof of its soundness. The Pope asked for a three-day respite, which was granted. When the Pope left El-Khalifa, he gathered the monks and the bishops nearby and they all stayed in El-Mualaqua (the Suspended) Church in Old Cairo, three days fasting and supplicating God.

Before dawn of the third day as Abba Abraam dozed off out of sheer weariness, our Holy Lady, the Virgin, St. Mary, the Mother of God, appeared to him and told him to rise up and go to the street which leads to the market. There he would find a one-eyed man bearing a pot of water on his shoulder. She instructed Abba Abraam to tell him that he was the man designated by God to perform this sign.

This holy man's name was Simon and he was a Tanner. The father, the Patriarch, took him along with some of the priests, monks and people to see El-Mu'izz, who was out with the government leaders and the nobles of the city nearby the Mukatam Mountain. The father, the Patriarch, stood with those who were with him on one side and El-Mu'izz and his entourage stood on the other side.

The father, the Patriarch, and the believers prayed and prostrated three times, and every time they prostrated, they cried out saying, "Kirie-Eleison" (Lord have mercy). Whenever the Patriarch and the congregation lifted up their heads after each prostration, the mountain would lift up and when they bow down, the mountain was lowered down to the ground, and whenever they walked, the mountain moved before them.

A great fear came on the Khalifa and his companions and many fell on the ground. The Khalifa advanced on his horse toward the Patriarch and said, "O great teacher, I now know that you are a holy man, ask whatsoever you wish and I will give it to you." The Patriarch refused to ask for anything; but when the Khalifa insisted, he asked the Governor to allow him to build churches, especially the church of St. Mercurius (of the two swords) which was in Old Cairo. He wrote him a decree permitting the building and the renovation of churches and he gave him a large sum of money from the treasury. The Patriarch thanked him and prayed for him, but he refused to take the money. As a result, El-Mu'izz revered and respected him more for his piety and righteousness. When they started building the church of St. Mercurius, some evil men prevented them from working, whereupon El-Mu'izz came to the site and kept the troublemakers away. He remained there, standing until they completed laying the foundation.

This father renovated many churches all over the See of St. Mark. When he completed his course, he departed in peace after he sat on the chair for 3 years and 6 days.

His prayers be with us. Amen.
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« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2007, 03:01:00 PM »

Today we commemorate the departure of St Samuel the Confessor (7th century). I won't post his Synaxarium account here since it may be viewed as polemical (his refusal to endorse the Tome of Leo marks one of the highlights of his life). St Samuel is widely remembered for his steadfast faith in the face of persecution. After being forced into exile by the Chalcedonian authorities, St Samuel was visited by an Angel of the Lord who commanded him to go to the Mountain of Qalamoun where he established a monastery. Afterwards he was taken captive by berbers who attempted to have him worship the sun; they also tried to defile his purity by tying him up with a maiden to tempt him to fall into sin with her. After miraculously healing the son of the head of the berbers he was released back to his monastery whereupon the Theotokos appeared to him and declared that his monastery would be her abode forever; from that day forward the monastery did not face any subsequent attack from the berbers (the monastery furthermore remains in existence till this day, under his name). St Samuel is also widely remembered for prophesying of the Arab invasion and of the age of apostasy and laxness that would befall Christians as a result of their abandoning their Coptic heritage under foreign influence.
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« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2007, 11:43:29 PM »

ST. VAHAN OF GOGHTN (Martyred in 737)

As a young child, St. Vahan was taken into custody with many other children of Armenian nobility who had been killed because of their Christian belief. He was taken to Damascus where he was taught, together with other children, the Islamic faith. He was well liked by the Arab leaders and attained a high position in the court. While serving in court, the Arab overlords granted the Armenian children, who had grown to adulthood, the right to return home. St. Vahan promised his overlord that he would return but, after returning to Armenia, his overlord died and St. Vahan felt he was released from his promise.

St. Vahan married and established himself over the lands of his father who was killed prior to his captivity. The Arab overlords, however, demanded St. Vahan's return and started to pursue him. He fled from place to place for many years, leaving his family and home. At each place he went, the people became endangered because of his presence so he finally decided to surrender himself, explain his desire to remain in Armenia, and practice his own religion. The policeman governing Armenia had him immediately thrown into prison and, after many different kinds of torture, he was finally beheaded. His life and martyrdom were recorded and, according to some traditions, the melody and lyric of the sharagans dedicated to this saint were written by his sister.

 
http://www.armenianchurch.net/prayer/saints/goghtn.html
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« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2007, 07:22:35 AM »

Today, the 13th of the Blessed Month of Kiahk, we celebrate the consecration of the Church of the blessed Abba Misael the Hermit (I am not too sure of the exact date of this Saint's departure, but given that he was a hermit at the monastery established by St Samuel the Confessor, it would be no earlier than the late seventh century):

While Abba Isaac, the head of El-Qalamun monastery (the monastery of St Samuel the Confessor), was sitting in the monastery a young man came to him. Abba Isaac made the sign of the cross over his face as is the custom of the monks and allowed him to draw near. The young man came closer and prostrated himself before the saint and told him, "My father, Abba Isaac, accept my weakness for the sake of the Lord Christ. Help me to save my soul and count me among your children." The abbot marvelled, for he called him by his name and asked him, "Who told you of my name?" The young man replied, "The grace that dwells within you informed me."

The abbot asked Misaeal to sit down and he told him, "May God Almighty make you a holy temple. And now tell me about yourself." The young man replied, "My name is Misaeal. My father loved the world which kept him from worshipping God; he was also sorrowful for he did not have children. One day he hosted a holy old monk and expressed to him his sorrow for not having a child to inherit his wealth. The monk told him, 'Reform your way with the Lord, the Lover of mankind, and He will give you a blessed son.' He asked the monk, 'How can I go about doing that?' The holy old monk replied, 'Live a perfect life and live according to the commandments of the Church that are required of the believers; do not stay away from the Holy Church and have a priest to consult with in all your affairs. If you do that, you and your wife will have what you wish.'" St. Misaeal said, "My father did all that the holy old monk commanded, and his words were fulfilled and my mother gave birth to a son, me."

"When I was six years old, my parents departed. The father, the bishop, took care of raising me, he also took care of my education and of managing my money. When I studied the Scripture, I longed for the monastic life, so I came here." The abbot was pleased as a result of what the young man, Misaeal, told him. He entrusted him to one of the elders in the monastery who trained him in asceticism, in worship and in the battle of the spiritual life. Afterwards, they clothed him with the garb of the monastic life and the holy Eskeem. From there on, he lived a solitary life in worship and asceticism.

One day, one of the brothers in the monastery came to Abba Misaeal. They prayed together, blessed each other and sat discussing ways to overcome the evil enemy. St. Misaeal told him, "The devil flees when our spiritual prayers are sincere and heartfelt." After they ended their spiritual talk, they praised God and the brother left him. After a while that brother came to Abba Misaeal and found him praying saying, "O Lord save me, look upon my meekness; wash me of my iniquities, for my mother and father have forsaken me but You O Lord adopted and accepted me." When the brother noticed how thin he was, for his skin cleaved to his bones, he cried and told Abba Miseael, "Your body looks like it has been burnt." The saint told him, "I thank my God for he has given me my eyesight and my hearing to read the Scriptures and hear the word of God and he also gave me the strength to stand as I pray."

When the abbot of the monastery heard about St. Miseael's asceticism, he came to visit him. St. Misaeal told the abbot, "My holy father, after three days some people looking like soldiers will come and ask you about me. Do not keep me away from them. Do not be afraid or sorrowful for it is the Will of God. Also you should know that a famine will happen next year and I shall come back to see you at that time." After a while, the people resembling soldiers came, took the saint and left.

The abbot listened to what the saint said and he bought much of the grain. As St. Misaeal predicted, the famine took place and wheat was in shortage. The Governor came with his men to take whatever grains he might find in the monastery. Soldiers appeared and prevented the governor from doing so and the governor went back empty handed. The abbot welcomed those soldiers, thanked them and offered them food to eat. They told him, "We are not in need of any of that food." One of the them came forward, took the abbot's hand, and took him aside and told him, "Abba, I am your son Misaeal and those people who look like soldiers are hermits who came last year and took me with them. I ask you now to go to Abba Athanasius, the bishop of my town where I was raised; tell him about me, and ask him for my father's money with which you should build a church in my name. Then call our father, the bishop, to consecrate it."

The abbot did as St. Misaeal asked. He went to the bishop and took the gold, the silver, many books and 500 heads of sheep from him. Besides, he also received fabrics, jewels and utensils that belonged to the saint. The abbot tore down the saint's old house, bought the land next to the house and built the church there. While the father, the Bishop, was celebrating the consecration of the church, St. Misaeal and the fathers, the hermits, came and attended the consecration prayers. St. Misaeal told the abbot of the monastery, Abba Isaac, that he would depart from this world in the following year. Then they went back to from whence they came.

The prayers of these saints be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2007, 01:02:03 AM »

This is an amazing saint:  Pope Kyrillos VI


On March 9, the Coptic Orthodox Church remembers the departure of the Great Pope (Papa, Ava) Kyrillos (Cyril) VI, the 116th Pope of Alexandria and successor of Saint Mark the Evangelist. He sat on the throne of Saint Mark for twelve years (1959-1971). Pope Kyrillos was a holy man of prayer who through full dedication to the life of prayer and fasting possessed many higher gifts which included performing wonders and miracles, the gift of knowledge, and an unusual ability to lead by example. He was undoubtedly a very spiritual man and brought the Coptic Church into a new era of spirituality. He was highly regarded by the people of Egypt from all walks of life, Christians and non-Christians alike.

Pope Kyrillos VI was born on August 2, 1902 and was called Azer Ata. His father Ata, was a church deacon and belonged to a middle class family. After completing high school, Azer went to work for a shipping company in Alexandria. Azer was content with little food and the ground to sleep on. Then much against his family's wishes, he resigned his job with the intention of becoming a monk and entered the Monastery of El-Baramous on July 27, 1927. He was ordained monk on February 25, 1928 and was named Mina after the name of Saint Mina (Menas or Mena), his patron saint. He was ordained priest on July 18, 1931. He also attended the Helwan Theological College and was rated one of the top students.

Father Mina's love for God was so great that he desired a life of solitude. Only thirty years old at the time, the monks refused his request saying, "You are only thirty years old and your monastic life is only five years. Do you want to pursue the life of solitude in the desert whereas many others before you have struggled for the same goal for thirty or forty years and failed?" The assembly of monks did not change Father Mina's decision and he lived in a cave near the monastery. He pursued a life of solitude at El-Natron Valley in the western desert between Cairo and Alexandria, then he headed the Monastery of Saint Anba Samuel the Confessor at Zawarah in upper Egypt and devoted a great deal of effort toward the restoration of this historic landmark.

--- When the monastery of Saint Samuel was restored, he left that area and moved to a deserted windmill in El-Moukatam mountain at the outskirts of Cairo (see figure down). This windmill was totally abandoned and very dangerous. It was miles from the nearest city. Many dangerous animals can be found there at all times, like scorpions and snakes. Here, Father Mina spent his time praying and contemplating because of his love for his Saviour.



It goes without saying that Father Mina had many obstacles to overcome which Satan setup. First Satan instigated the guard of Antiquities not to carry water to the monk. Afterward, God sent one of his saints in a dream to rebuke the guard. So he woke up and carried water to Father Mina who was in urgent need for it.

In another incident Satan sent robbers to the windmill. The robbers beat Father Mina and injured his head. When Father Mina regained consciousness, he noticed he was bleeding. He crawled to the icon of Saint Mina and put the icon on his head. The bleeding stopped at once. Father Mina then went to the hospital to be treated. The doctors were surprised when they found out that he walked 15 miles from the windmill.

Father Mina was ordained Pope on Sunday May 10, 1959 and was named Kyrillos VI. Before him, five popes of Alexandria bore the name Kyrillos (Cyril); the first of them was Saint Cyril the Great of Alexandria, the pillar of faith, who acted against Nestorianism and used the title Theotokos, meaning God bearer, or Mother of God, for the Virgin Mary.

On the enthronement day of our holy father, Pope Kyrillos VI declared that by becoming the pastor, he was also the loving and vigilant pastor of all. At the end of the liturgy, all people gathered around him and he began to bless them individually, standing for long hours with meekness and patience. The metropolitans and bishops felt pity for him after noticing the sweat and his fatigue. They beseeched him to rest. But the pope refused to send anybody away and insisted on finishing. From then on, Pope Kyrillos continued this practice.

The pope abolished any barrier between him and his sons. As a result, one could meet the pope whenever in need, even if he was sick or even if one came by night while everybody else slept. When he was asleep, his patron saint, Saint Mina, would awaken him. Once, as Father Raphael Ava Mina says, someone went to Pope Kyrillos to pray for him because all medical effort to heal him had failed. But the Pope was asleep so the person was about to go home. But Saint Mina awakened the Pope to give him his blessings. The man was surprised to find the pope calling him by his name even though he had never seen him before.



The amount of documented miracles performed by Pope Kyrillos and his patron saint, St. Mina, is immense. It is said that nearly every person who lived in the days of Pope Kyrillos witnessed a personal miracle, whether healing from various diseases, miraculous solving of difficult life problems, casting out of devils or just revelation of people's past. And till our present day, Pope Kyrillos performs miracles which are documented. There are more than 18 printed volumes documenting the miracles of Pope Kyrillos. Originally published in Arabic by 'Pope Kyrillos the VI Society', many of these volumes were also translated to English, French and other languages.



---One might ask why does it matter if Pope Kyrillos performed miracles. In fact some have asserted, as the Pharisees did, that miracles are the work of the devil. But we have seen otherwise. The miracles of Pope Kyrillos helped strengthening people's faith and they returned to God. Unveiling people's secrets often leads them to faith and changes their presumptuous thoughts, as it did with Nathanael (John 1:45). Nathanael had changed from a doubter who said, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" to a believer saying, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God." The gift of revelation leads to repentance. The Samaritan woman began her discussion with Jesus with contempt. But because Jesus revealed her thoughts, she said to everyone, "Come, see a man who told me all things that I ever did." (John 4:29).

It is said that Pope Kyrillos VI prayed more than 12,000 masses during his lifetime. He would start the day spiritually at 3:00 or 4:00 am with the Holy Psalmody and finish the liturgy early so that many of his children can go to school and work. This continued for thirty five years ever since the pope was a hermit. The mass service was the source of his strength and greatness. Didn't the Lord say: "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me." (Proverbs 8:17 - KJV). The Psalmist also said: "I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your word. My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word." ( Psalms 119:147-148 - NKJV).

The late Bishop Mina El-Samueli spent a few years of his monastic life with Father Mina. He recalled this story. He said, "Father Mina the Hermit used to wake up at 2:00 am, start the midnight Agpeya prayers, bake the 'korban', raise incense then serve the holy mass which would end around 8:00 am. This meant spending six continuous hours in prayer. Afterwards, he would meet with those who were hungry and thirsty for God's mercy. Here is a sick person looking for a cure which he attains through the prayers of Father Mina. There is another facing a major decision in need of God's guidance and obtains it through Father Mina's advice. A third is tormented by a demon and is healed when Father Mina prays for him... Whoever sat with Father Mina obtained a definite relief, a heavenly relief. So one would leave knowing that his ship had found a true haven and his soul was filled with peace."

--One day Pope Kyrillos received a foreign priest in his private room at the old Cathedral of Saint Mark. The priest, seeing that the room of His Holiness was very humble and not to the standard a pope deserves, asked His Holiness to give him the permission to furnish the room and decorate it with the most luxurious furniture. The Pope laughed and thanked him for his love, saying: "The room in its current state is still much better than the manger where the Christ was born." In his first papal letter, Pope Kyrillos said: "Let us disappear for God to appear with His blessed glory."



He restored the body (relics) of Saint Mark from Italy. Saint Mark, who wrote the Gospel bearing his name, is the founder of the Coptic Church. After his martyrdom in Alexandria in 68 A.D., his body was kept in Egypt but eventually ended up in Rome. For many centuries, the Coptic Orthodox Church wanted the relics of her patron saint back.


It was under the papacy of Pope Kyrillos VI that this dream came true, a few months after the start of the miraculous apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Zeitoun, Egypt. From the time Pope Kyrillos stepped off the plane which brought the holy relics (see figure on the right -- photographed on June 24, 1968), hymns, liturgies and doxologies were sung incessantly. Luminous celestial beings in the shape of white pigeons flew over Cairo Airport and were seen by all attendants (it was half an hour before midnight and real pigeons do not fly by night). These beings were similar to the 'doves' that accompanied the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Zeitoun; they appeared suddenly and also disappeared suddenly. The body of Saint Mark was finally placed in the new Cathedral of Saint Mark.


In his last days on our vanishing earth, he was gravely ill with phlebitis. They hooked a speaker from the great Cathedral to his bedroom at his request because he could not bear not being able to perform liturgy daily as before. One day the head mother of one of the convents (monasteries for nuns) wanted to speak to him on the phone, but the staff wouldn't give out his private number. Anba Kyrillos appeared to her in a vision, gave her the number and comforted her. She did not call, but later on she was blessed by seeing him and was rendered speechless when Anba Kyrillos asked her the reason she did not call on his private line. Our Father Papa Ava Kyrillos departed on March 9, 1971. Initially, they buried him under the Altar in the Great Cathedral in Cairo. But when his successor, H.H. Pope Shenouda III read his will, he had to follow his wishes and move his holy body to the desert south west of Alexandria, to the Monastery of Saint Mina which was re-established and immensely expanded by Pope Kyrillos to honour his patron saint, St. Mina of Mariout.


May the prayers and intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and of Pope Saint Kyrillos VI and his patron Saint, St. Mina the martyr and miracle-maker of Mariout be with us. Glory be to God forever.
Amen



Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
(Nehemiah 8:10 - NKJV)


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« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2008, 02:23:54 AM »

I recently found the life of this remarkably courageous bishop:


 
 
 
 
   

A Short life history of martybishop Abune Petros who became martyr on the 29 th of July 1936, in Addis Ababa Ethiopia in the struggle against colonialism and oppression.


Abune Petros was born 1982 in a farmer family in the city of Fiche, which is situated north of Addis Ababa. He got the baptismal name Hailemariam that means power of Maria. As the custom of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) tradition he got a special bishop name, that is PETROS with the Ethiopia title for a bishop which is ABUNE. As a young boy Abune Petros was known as clever, helpful and humble disciple in the city and the church in Fiche.


 

He chose early to study the EOC diakon and priest education. At the age of 24 he took the EOC oath and became a monk. He grew up and became a principled and well-known teacher around the monasteries in Fiche and Wolamo area. In 1918 he was assigned by the EOC as he teacher and priest for the Debre-Menkrat monastery church in the region of Wolamo. Abune Petros continued to teach there when in 1924 he was assigned as the main teacher for the well-known island monastery-church of Mary, which is situated inside Lake Zewai in southern part of Ethiopia. He was well known for his teaching and preaching to the people around the region to seek first the kingdom of God: "To put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3:12).

 

His teachings and preaching were very popular and insightful to the people in the area and the disciples he teaches in the Monastery. In 1928 in connection with the nomination pf Ethiopia bishops in the St.Marks Monastery in Alexandria, he was nominated to one of four bishops of Ethiopia, with the title and name ABUNE PETROS.

 

Abune Petros was nominated as bishop of the central and eastern part of Ethiopia. Half of his time he stayed in the City of Dessie and the surrounding monasteries, while he rest of his time he spent visiting and teaching in he monasteries around the Wereilu region. To help him in the administration of the churches and monasteries in the two regions, two priests were assigned to him one from each region. He continued to preach the gospel and teach in the churches. He was liked by many for his teaching and exhortation to stand-up for the belief, the truth and follow the example of our lord Jesus Christ: "For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for His sake." (Phillippians 1:29). As we read further we will see that Abune Petros exemplified this with his life.

 

When Italy with the leadership of fascist Mussolini's army invaded Ethiopia in 1932, Abune Peteros followed with Emperor Haile Selassie and the Ethiopian defence forces to the northern front. He helped the wounded, prayed and consecrated the dead and preached the Gospel. During that time he saw the undiscerning terror and violence of the invading army: He saw how the invading army with the help of nerve gas and technologically advanced weaponry burned down the forest and villages with innocent civilians and at last won the war at Maichew. The patriots retreated and decided to continue guerrilla warfare against the fascist army. Abune Peteros, with all the impressions he got from the war and the burned villages of civilians, returned safely and took refuge in the well-known monastery church of Debre Libanos.

 

In the monastery he urged the priests and monks to fast. He himself started to fast and prmy for the mercy of God to the people of Ethiopia and prepared himself for the big challenge that is waiting a head for him: "My earnest expectation and hope, is that I will not be put to shame in anything but my lord Jesus Christ will even now as always be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death." (Phillippians 1:20).

 

During these difficult times he started to question in his preaching. "How a Christian country as Italy could undertake such a hideous terror action of occupation on another peaceful Christian country that is Ethiopia. "For him all Christians were brother and sister pilgrims helping each other in this world on the way to meet God in Heaven. With that he began his crusade against the invading army's terror and killing machinery. He went further and condemned all the violent actions and killings of civilians by the invading army.

 

The fascist army was by then committing undiscerning violent actions against innocent civilians because they had suspicion that the people are helping the patriots who were growing in both strength and manpower. During these times there were some EOC priests who out of fear of the terror of the army accepted the Italian leadership in Addis Ababa. Through these priests the fascist army sent letters to win the support of the popular and respected bishop Abune Petros to its camp, to accept the powerful army of Italy as government and stop with his preaching against the violence of the army on civilians and the patriots. If he did this they promised him the best house quarters and a peaceful life in Addis Ababa. Abune Petros saw these letters as a incitement of commit sin against God, his Christian belief and consciousness. With that he refused to accept the offer and stayed in fasting and prayer in the monastery of Debre-Libanos. "Choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God that to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin" (Hebrews 11:25).

 

 

The resistance against the encroachment and violence of the invading army kept on growing like wild fire over the whole of Ethiopia. The patriots began to win battles at different fronts. Abune Petros continued his teachings and preaching to the people to stand-up for their belief and conviction and that God would visit the downtrodden people of Ethiopia soon. He went on further and preached against Italy's right to occupy Ethiopia with terror and violence. He exhorted the people not to be afraid of the terror and violence from the occupying army. "I say to you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warm you whom to fear: fear the one who has the power to kill the body and after that has the authority to cast in to hell; yes I tell you fear Him." (Luke 12:4-5).

 

The Italian authorities in Addis Ababa who saw and heard him preach wanted by all means to stop Abune Petros from preaching and inciting people to resistance. However, since he was very popular and respected bishop, many in the Italian authorities would rather win his support to accept the Italian authority in Ethiopia than imprisoning or killing him. In the month of July 1936, the patriots planned and executed an attack on Addis Ababa. During that time one of the day Abune Petros clothed with his bishop garment and the ever - present hand cross rapped in a small blue scarlet cloth went into the capital city and began to preach to the people who were lamenting in the grips of the invading army. The soldiers were given order to arrest the Abune and bring him to court for treason against the Italian occupation. While he was in prison waiting for court appearance, both the priests in the city and the officers of Italy tried to convince him to accept the Italian occupation. And finally have him the following ultimatum: To stop preaching against the occupying army's violence and terror against civilians and the patriots, accept the Italian authorities in Addis Ababa and finally condemn the patriots as bandits. Otherwise, he was told that he will lose his life. Abune Petros refused to comply to the ultimatum set by his tormentors and through the(Italian) interpreter gave the following answer to the interrogating officers of the invading army: "The cry of my country men who died due to your nerve-gas and terror machinery will never allow my conscious to accept your ultimatum. How can I see my God if I give blind eye to such a crime." Listen to me you who know righteousness, a people in whose heart is my law, do not fear the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings. For the moth will eat them like garment....." (Isaiah 51:7-8). "Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:10).

 

After this a quick assembled court sentenced Abune Petros to death. The news of the death sentence on the popular bishop of Ethiopia spread over he whole country. People begin coming to Addis to say farewell of their beloved bishop who stoop-up for the righteous cause which God have called him, for the right of the people of Ethiopia to freedom and independence and against the terror and violence of the invading army. All this form the pulpit of a church and it the presence of deadly ultimatum upon his head. Due to his popularity the fascist army was afraid of riot and attempts by the patriots to free him from prison, and decided that the execution of the death penalty should be done as soon as possible. He was taken to his execution place where a many people and the fascist army officers and generals were gathered, and were told to say his last speech. We cite the Ethiopia Orthodox Church newspaper Vol.1,No. 8,9,10,1945 for the account: " When Abune Petros came to the place of execution and was given to say his last words, he took his hand cross and removed the blue cloth that was rapped around it and blessed the people at the four corners of the world and said the following last words: "My country men don not believe if they tell you that the patriots are bandits, the patriots are people who yearn for freedom form the terrors of fascism. Bandits are the soldiers who are standing in front of me and you, who come from afar, terrors and violently occupy a weak and peaceful country: our Ethiopia. May God give he people of Ethiopia the strength to resist and never bow down to the fascist army and its violence. May the Ethiopian earth never accept the invading army's rule." After that a swarm of bullets from the execution platoon pierced and killed our beloved bishop Abune Petros.

 

The fascist army wanted by any means to cover up the crime they did against Abune Petros and Ethiopia by forbidding everybody all writings about his execution. Because of his popularity both inside and outside of Ethiopia they thought it might injure their policy of occupying Ethiopia due to the domestic and international opinion that grew against his act. However hard they tired to stop the publicity, the example of Abune Petros shines in all people who love the truth unto this day. Above all, the fascist army's lost all credibility from the domestic opinion, many found courage after this to leave the occupying army's stronghold in the capital city to join the patriots and fight for independence. patriotic resistance grew more in strength and lead o a sooner freedom of the country from the fascist occupation. The poplar Ethiopian Poet-Laureate Tsegaye Gebremedhin has illustrated the last days of Abune Petros life by a theatre play called: "Petros at that Hour".

 

A statue of Abune Petros was raised in the capital city Addis Ababa 10 years after his death, as a reminder to coming generations of: his unwavering stand for the truth. His unbending courage to stand up against every form of violence on human rights, his integrity and his commitment not to give in for short term gain or treat. Above all his unwavering conviction and belief that we all one day will sand up and answer for our deeds in his life before God.


 
http://www.eotc-mkidusan.org/English/SaintsAndHolly/index_Dec21_2007.htm

 

 



   
   
 


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« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2008, 02:10:51 AM »

Abouna Yostos El-Antony, is a great saint of the Coptic Church who departed to be amongst Christ and the Saints in 1976. A movie on his life was produced, and can be viewed online at the below links. It's in arabic, but it has english subtitles.

Part 1 (just skip straight to the 36 min mark, that's where his monastic life begins): http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7292860459903278275

Part 2: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6368809692293825295
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« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2008, 03:02:54 AM »

Taken from Saints & Feasts of the Armenian Church, by Patriarch Torkom Koushagian:

St. Krikoris Rajig (549 A.D.)

A Persian by birth from the Rajig family, Krikoris was originally named Manjihr.  At a very young age, he moved to Armenia and adopted the Christian faith and his new name.  Krikoris entered a monastery near Tvin and was so renowned for his piety and strong faith that the monastery was eventually named Rajig Manjihr.  When the Persian Marspan Tenshabouh started his reign over Armenia, he spent much time and effort spreading the Persian religion and was particularly concerned with Krikoris.  Finally, he ordered Krikoris to return to Persia.  Krikoris refused whereupon he was tortured and finally beheaded.

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« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2008, 12:15:45 AM »

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

One of the most obvious and most popular post schism Oriental Orthodox saints among our Eastern Orthodox brethren is St. Isaac of Syria.  Many websites carry his Icon and I'm sure his works are available online also.
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« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2008, 07:51:30 AM »

Abouna Yostos El-Antony, is a great saint of the Coptic Church who departed to be amongst Christ and the Saints in 1976. A movie on his life was produced, and can be viewed online at the below links. It's in arabic, but it has english subtitles.

Part 1 (just skip straight to the 36 min mark, that's where his monastic life begins): http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7292860459903278275

Part 2: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6368809692293825295


Thank your so much on this link on our coptic othodox brothers in christ ,,ive watched a few of the films posted there.. didn't know anything about the holy coptic oriental orthodox churches or about the holy coptic saints...watching the films there so similar to our eastern orthodox saint's ,,,i pray for unity between us the sooner the better....God truly is glorified in all his Holy saints........stashko
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« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2008, 03:58:58 PM »

Today we commemorate the departure of St Samuel the Confessor (7th century). I won't post his Synaxarium account here since it may be viewed as polemical (his refusal to endorse the Tome of Leo marks one of the highlights of his life). St Samuel is widely remembered for his steadfast faith in the face of persecution. After being forced into exile by the Chalcedonian authorities, St Samuel was visited by an Angel of the Lord who commanded him to go to the Mountain of Qalamoun where he established a monastery. Afterwards he was taken captive by berbers who attempted to have him worship the sun; they also tried to defile his purity by tying him up with a maiden to tempt him to fall into sin with her. After miraculously healing the son of the head of the berbers he was released back to his monastery whereupon the Theotokos appeared to him and declared that his monastery would be her abode forever; from that day forward the monastery did not face any subsequent attack from the berbers (the monastery furthermore remains in existence till this day, under his name). St Samuel is also widely remembered for prophesying of the Arab invasion and of the age of apostasy and laxness that would befall Christians as a result of their abandoning their Coptic heritage under foreign influence.


Brother ..a question who or what are the berbers i know one in chicago he tried telling me about his religion that it wasn't islam but i couldn't understand him at all ..he had such a heavy accent i couldn't make out what he was telling me.....i tried looking it up on the net it mentions that they  will or do go to a mosque though the majority are not muslims there religion im still left with questions what is it,,,, a muslim allso was there from Morocco or algeria when i was speaking to him ,,the muslim started condeming his religion and called him a tree worshipper that left me more confused....what tree Huh?  if you know the answer please let me know... stashko
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« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2008, 04:17:34 PM »

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

One of the most obvious and most popular post schism Oriental Orthodox saints among our Eastern Orthodox brethren is St. Isaac of Syria.  Many websites carry his Icon and I'm sure his works are available online also.
[/quote


Dear  Ghazar...if brother Ekhristosanesti doesn't answer my post #24 maybe you can for me ....id really appreciate it ,, or any body can if you know the answer. thank you....stashko
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« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2008, 04:47:38 PM »

Brother in Christ Stashko,

I have never heard of a Berber.  But the accusation of being "tree worshippers" I am familiar with.  Armenians have been accused of this by our Muslim "neighbors" because we worship (or show great reverence to) the greatest Christian Icon:  our Lord's Holy Cross.  But what a Berber is, I have no idea.  Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.  -Sdn. Ghazar
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« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2008, 04:55:26 PM »

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

One of the most obvious and most popular post schism Oriental Orthodox saints among our Eastern Orthodox brethren is St. Isaac of Syria.  Many websites carry his Icon and I'm sure his works are available online also.

St. Isaac of Syria was in the Nestorian communion, actually.
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« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2008, 05:02:01 PM »

As for Berbers, that's a North African ethnic group. St. Augustine was one. Not all of them are tree worshippers.  Wink
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« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2008, 05:06:22 PM »

St. Isaac was in the Nestorian communion but he is venerated in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches I believe.

I'm sure his works are available online also.

Yes, St. Isaac of Syria Skete carries some of his works.

http://www.skete.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=1350&Category_ID=12
http://www.skete.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=773&Category_ID=61
http://www.skete.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=280&Category_ID=61
http://www.skete.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=284&Category_ID=14
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« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2008, 05:14:13 PM »

Symeon,

I stand corrected.  What I should've said is that Isaac is the most popular Assyrian saint among Oriental and Byzantine Orthodox.  He's so popular among OO's, we claim him as our own. :-)
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« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2008, 09:07:59 PM »

Brother in Christ Stashko,

I have never heard of a Berber.  But the accusation of being "tree worshippers" I am familiar with.  Armenians have been accused of this by our Muslim "neighbors" because we worship (or show great reverence to) the greatest Christian Icon:  our Lord's Holy Cross.  But what a Berber is, I have no idea.  Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.  -Sdn. Ghazar


Thank you..for your reply Brother.....as a eastern orthodox christian i never my self ever heard this from a muslim ,,but when i think about it that could happen in the middle east and far east and near east .....were christians and muslims live close by each other.....we celebrate the holyday the elevation of the holy cross and venerate the holy cross with a kiss every sunday..almost  everytime theres a service.......again God Bless you brother ........stashko
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« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2008, 09:12:45 PM »

As for Berbers, that's a North African ethnic group. St. Augustine was one. Not all of them are tree worshippers.  Wink



Please Brother enlighten me about it ...what type of tree what does it symbolize for them....give me details if you know them.....stashko
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« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2008, 02:01:17 AM »

Taken from Saints & Feasts of the Armenian Church, by Patriarch Torkom Koushagian:

St. Tavit Tvinetzi (David of Tvin) (701)

Born Sourhan of a Persian father and a Christian mother, he entered military service of the Arab overlords at a very young age and was assigned to Armenia, where he served side by side with the Armenian prince Krikor Mamigonian.  He accepted the Christian faith and was baptized by Catholicos Nerses the Builder and renamed Tavit.  He lived many years in peace and made his home near the Armenian capital, Tvin. 

When Abdulla Vostigan became overlord of Armenia, he started a series of persecution against the Christians.  Tavit, a former follower of Islam, was among the first to be arrested.  When he refused to change his religion, he was crucified and speared upon the cross, when he was sixty years of age.  His body was buried near the Mother Church of Tvin and the cross and spear used to martyr him were kept in the church.
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« Reply #35 on: March 11, 2008, 11:59:01 PM »

A wonderful Indian Orthodox saint, St. Gregorios of Parumala:

At the turn of the 20th century, there lived a holy man on a haunted island, called Parumala, on the banks of River Pampa in Kerala, India. He was the prophet of his time, who set moral tone for his people. Powerful like Prophet Elijah and glittering like John the Baptist, he remains the beacon and a great Saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church. It was on June 15, 1848, that Kochu Ipeora(Geevarghese) was born in Chathuruthy family, Mulanthuruthy, Kerala. His parents were Kochu Mathai and Mariam, who had three sons and two daughters. After the birth of fifth child Ipeora, Mariam died. After the early days of education under Malpan(teacher) Geevarghese of Chathuruthy, Kochu Ipeora was ordained as decon on September 14, 1859; he was only ten years old at that time.

One day Malpan became seriously ill with smallpox. Deacon Geevarghese was the only one who stayed and took care of him, while all others were sent home. On the eight day Malpan died and Deacon became ill. During this time he had a vision of St. Mary in his dream, descending to console him, and exhorting him to dedicate the rest of his life to the lord. He pledged: "He Would". This was a heavenly vision that enable him to become a humble servent of God. Very soon the deacon recovered. At the age of 18, in 1865 he was ordained as a priest. Joseph Mar Dionysios raised him to the order of monks(Ramban) in 1872. The Patriarch of Antioch consecrated four(4) metropolitans at Paravoor Church, Kerala in december 10, 1876. The youngest amoung them was Geevarghese Ramban and who was named Mar Gregorios. Because of his age everybody called him "Kochu Thirumeni"(Youngest Bishop). Mar Gregorios was appointed the bishop of Niranam, Kerala. He started a monastry at Parumala, Kerala.

Mar Gregorios was a man of God, who lived not according to the way of the flesh but according to the law of god. He led a virtuous and austere life, like a monk, living on frugal diet enriched by prayer and fasting.

At Parumala Seminary he led a austere life. He woke up at 4am in the morning and prayed till 5am. He taught deacons till 7am followed by prayer and his lite breakfast. From 9am till 11am he taught deacons again. From 11am to noon he took care of administrative matters and again went to prayer at noon and then to lunch. He rested till 1:30pm and taught till 4pm with a brief prayer in between. From 4pm to 5:30pm he was busy with his administrative duties. After evening prayers and supper he taught bible to the deacons. After the complining, at 9pm he would let the deacons go to bed, but he would still be praying until midnight. On Wednesdays and Fridays and lenten days, he would fast till evening. Besides, he observed his own special fasts. People came from far and near to seek his blessings and paternal advices.


In his own words "Prayer brings truth,religious faith, honesty and respect amoung the people."

St. Gregorios became sick when he returned from Veeyapuram Church after blessing a marriage. Even from the beginning of his illness he knew that he was in his last days. The news of illness spread all over Malankara. Although he grew weaker day by day, his face shone brighter and brighter. It was on November 2, 1902, midnight he was ready to meet his heavenly father. He left his earthly abode and flew to eternity. In 1947, The Holy Episcopal synod canonised and proclaimed him a Saint of th Orthodox Church. There are hundreds of instances that proved his Saintilness. Thousands of people receive favours and blessings through his intercession.

The growing flow of pilgrims to his tomb, several years after his demise, tells a story of a man of faith, prayer, healing, and great intercession.

http://jtsoftware.tripod.com/fparumala.htm
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« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2008, 07:57:16 PM »

St. Salib (Pi-Stavros) the New Martyr's story is amazing. Thank you for posting it.


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« Reply #37 on: March 28, 2008, 10:02:09 PM »

I wonder if the saint depicted in the icon on this page is St. Tekla, whose story Dn. Amde related to us in reply #12:

http://www.tewahedo.org/videoall.html

It is an impressive icon of an impressive saint.



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« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2008, 04:47:33 PM »

I wonder if the saint depicted in the icon on this page is St. Tekla, whose story Dn. Amde related to us in reply #12:

http://www.tewahedo.org/videoall.html

It is an impressive icon of an impressive saint.





Yes. The Icon is of Saint Tekla Haimonot
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« Reply #39 on: April 10, 2008, 03:14:41 PM »

Here's an interesting thing I never knew concerning Coptic liturgical history.  I found this to be celebrated this year on April 18th (10th day of the Coptic month of Baramouda for those who are interested), which I don't understand why since according to the Synexarium, he departed on April 5th.  Anyway, on that day, we commemorate the departure of Pope Gabriel II, the 70th Pope of Alexandria, who was known as Ibn Turaik (does anyone who knows Arabic knows what that means and for an added bonus of favor, why he was called such?):

On this day also of the year 861 A.M. (April 5th, 1145 A.D.) the great and holy father Pope Gabriel II, the seventy Pope of the See of St. Mark, who was known as Ibn Turaik, departed. This Pope was from the nobles of Cairo, and he was a writer, scribe, distinguished scholar, with a commendable conduct. He transcribed with his hand many Arabic and Coptic books, he retained its contents and comprehended its interpretations. The elders of the people and the clergy chose him for the Patriarchal Chair, and his enthronement was on the 9th of Amshir, 847 A.M. (February 3rd., 1131 A.D.). When he prayed his first Divine Liturgy in St. Macarius monastery as the custom of the previous Patriarchs, at the end of the Liturgy, he added to the profession after the saying: 'I believe and confess to the last breath, that this is the life-giving Flesh that Thine Only-Begotten Son, our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, took from our Lady, the Lady of us all, the holy Mother of God, Saint Mary,' this sentence 'He made it one with His Divinity.' The monks objected, lest it would be understood from that there was mingling between His Divinity and His Humanity, and asked him to refrain from using it. He refused saying: 'This statement was added by a decree from the council of bishops.' After a great and lengthy discussion, they decided to add this sentence: 'Without mingling, without confusion, and without alteration,' because of the fear of falling in the heresy of Eutyches, and he agreed with them. During his papacy, he ordained 53 bishops and many priests, he drew up Canons and laws concerning inheritance, and many other matters. He never took any money from anyone, nor he touched the revenue of the churches, or that of the religious endowments for the poor. When the governor of that time asked him for money, the nobles and people collected three hundred Dinars in gold and gave them to the governor on his behalf. He remained on the Episcopal Chair for fourteen years, two month and two days, then departed in peace. May his prayers be with us and glory be to God forever. Amen.
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HH Abuna Pawlos - Patriarch of Ethiopia


« Reply #40 on: April 10, 2008, 04:19:17 PM »

Ib-n = Son

Ib-nah = Daughter

Taraik = History

It seems the meaning of the name Ibn Taraik can mean "Son of History" or "Daughter of History" depending on how we are pronouncing the English phonetic 'Ibn'.

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"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
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« Reply #41 on: April 10, 2008, 04:22:22 PM »

Salpy

Thanks for the story it was very interesting.
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"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
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« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2008, 07:30:26 PM »

Ib-n = Son

Ib-nah = Daughter

Taraik = History

It seems the meaning of the name Ibn Taraik can mean "Son of History" or "Daughter of History" depending on how we are pronouncing the English phonetic 'Ibn'.

But wouldn't it be "Tareekh" instead of "Turaik" or is that another Arabic word for it?
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« Reply #43 on: April 10, 2008, 10:31:15 PM »

It is hard to write the names in "arabized" English and understand their meaning because some of the letters are not pronounced in English and it can be misleading. The holy Pope Gabriel II last name before ordination is  تريك (turek)... and it is irrelevant to تاريخ (taree7') which means history. His dad's name was تريك and it is not  nickname for the Pope, and in the culture of the Middle East, whether Arab, Jewish or North African at the time and till now the person is known by his father's name most of the time. There is a very famous egyptian soccer player now called أبو تريكة which is similar to the Pope's dad name.

The story of this holy Pope is recorded in the Book"The History of the Coptic Church" by Father Menasah Youhana, pages 406-407, and it talks about his teachings concerning the necessity of adhering to the holy life we are called for specially in the celebrations such as weddings and his efforts to eliminate the bad practices in such ocassions by introducing thirty canons to guide the faithful. We need the same nowadays.

In addition to his liturgical interests, the 12th century arab historian Usama Ibn El-Munkes in his book "Lebab EL-adab" documents his phrase which he said to the Sultan "El-3adel Abi EL-7asan" when he asked him to fulfill the request of the king of Ethiopia. The latter asked the Sultan to force the Pope to unlawfully excommunicate the Metropolitan of Ethiopia, who disagreed with the king's practices, in return for many favors. He tortured the Pope when he refused to obey him and kept him in prison for two days, afterwards he summoned him again. The Pope said: " My king, I have no other answer than my previous one concerning His Eminence ... your dominion and power is only on this very weak body which is between your hands, but my faith you cannot alter nor change my conviction. I will not excommunicate him (the Metropolitan of Ethiopia) even if you make me suffer every kind of affliction." 
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« Reply #44 on: April 11, 2008, 05:18:37 AM »

Fr. Dn. Amde and Stavro,

Thank you both, and especially Stavro for extra information on the holy father.  He is truly axios for his virtues and holiness.  May his prayers and blessings be with us all.

PS Is there a way where we can have access to these canons in English?
PSS excellent soccer player if I may say so myself
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« Reply #45 on: April 14, 2008, 08:45:12 PM »



This recent (and still living) monk that is being referred to above is Abouna Fanous, the monk on the far left of the below image:


Ever since the incident where Abouna Fanous's hands were illuminated during prayer for all to see, he scarcely leaves his cell (in fact he didn't leave his cell for approximately 6 months after the incident). Now, when he is compelled to leave his cell, he never leaves without wearing thick socks on his hands (as you can see in the above photo).
I find this topic fascinating! I can't seem to find any other info on him, though. Any suggestions? God Bless You!
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« Reply #46 on: April 16, 2008, 09:08:11 AM »

I find this topic fascinating! I can't seem to find any other info on him, though. Any suggestions? God Bless You!

Well he is still alive so it's to be expected that there would be nothing written on this holy man yet. Everything known about him is pretty much circulated orally, but even then, those who are in the know are selective about what can and cannot be told just yet. An event such as his hands illimunating during prayer was not really something that could be kept secret since it was publically witnessed by quite a few people. During my last visit to Egypt my family and I were having dinner with my dad's best friend who knows Abouna Fanous closer than anyone else, and he (my dad's best friend) began recounting various incidents that he had witnessed or been involved in first-hand. After a few accounts, he began another, but stopped half-way through as he felt that it was not appropriate for this one to be told. My dad tried to pursuade him to stop being a tease and to just finish the story, but he refused to budge.
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« Reply #47 on: April 16, 2008, 09:16:12 AM »

From today's Coptic Orthodox Synaxarion:

On this day a great sign was made manifest through our holy father Pope Shenouda I (+859-880 A.D.), the 55th Pope of Alexandria. During one year, this Pope decided to retreat to the desert of Scetis in order to fast the Holy Lent with the monks. On Palm Sunday of that year many Arabs came to the desert of Scetis in order to plunder the monasteries. They stood on the rock east of the church of St. Macarius. Their swords were drawn in their hands ready to kill and steal. The bishops and the monks gathered together and decided to leave the desert before the Holy Feast of the Resurrection; they took counsel with Pope Shenouda who told them, "As for me I will not leave the desert until I complete the Pascha week." On Great Thursday the situation became worse. The Pope took his papal staff and decided to go out to meet the Arabs, saying, "It is better for me to die with the people of God." The monks tried to prevent him from going out, but he strengthened and comforted them and pursued his will anyway. With the papal staff in his hand, he thus went forth to confront the Arabs. When the Arabs saw him, they retreated and fled as if they were being pursued by an army of soldiers. From this day onwards they never returned to do any harm.

May the prayers of this father be with us all, and glory be to God forever. Amen.
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« Reply #48 on: April 28, 2008, 01:21:06 AM »

A deeply spiritual man and a great musical genius from 6th century Ethiopia, St. Yared:


http://www.st-gebriel.org/Styared/gab_yared_music.htm



The Ethiopian Re'ese Liqawnt (head professor), Yared, was born on April 25, 505 A.D. in the city of Aksum. His father was named Adam and his mother Tauklia. Yared's lineage was from the priesthood of Aksum. When he was six years old his parents gave Yared to the tutorship of Yishaq, who was a teacher in Aksum. Under this teacher, Yared completed the study of the alphabet and began to study the Psams. However, he had difficulty learning his lesson and was sent back to his parents by his teacher. His father having died in the meantime, his mother, Tauklia, placed him in the hands of her brother, Abba Gedeon, who was the parish priest, with the request that he should raise and educate Yared. Abba Gedeon was the teacher of the Old and New Testaments in the courtyard of the church of St. Mary of Sion and he had begun translating the Holy Scriptures into Geez from Hebrew and Greek. Yared lodged with Abba Gedeon and began studying along with the other children but for years he lagged behind the others in his studies and so was constantly reprimanded and punished by the new teacher. Yared was not bright student and however much he studied he could not grasp his lessons. Because of his slow-midedness he became an object of derision and mockery to his classmates. One day his uncle whipped Yared severely, saying: You should not lag behind your classmates and you should pay attention to your studies as the others do.
Yared became bitter about his failure as a student and decided to go elsewhere and start life anew. He therefore fled from the school and while journeying to his uncle's birth place, Medebai welel, he was caught by a heavy shower and was obliged to take cover under a tree near a spring called Maikerah, some four kilometers outside the city of Aksum.

While sheltering under the trees, pondering and feeling remorse about his failure, he witnessed an event that was to change his whole life. His attention was caught by a caterpillar struggling time and again despite repeated failures, to climb up the trunk of tree to eat of its leaves. Six times the caterpillar failed but on the seventh trial it struggled with all its might and was able to reach its destination. Watching the perseverance of the caterpillar, Yared wept, comparing his weakness with the strength of the grub. After seeing the stamina of the tiny creature, he decided to return and take up his studies again. He reasoned that man was a creature superior to a caterpillar and as the caterpillar had, with repeated effort, reached its goal and eaten of the leaves of the tree so he too should bear the consequences such as whipping, study diligently and succeed. Having decided this, he returned to his spiritual teacher, Abba Gedeon and begged to be forgiven and to be taken back to continue his studies. Abba Gedeon relented and began teaching him the Psalms. Besides continuing his studies, Yared went to the church of St. Mary of Sion every day and prayed to God saying: "Oh ! merciful lord give me wisdom! " God heard the child's prayer and endowed him with insight and intelligence. His sudden brightness filled his teacher with wonder. Thus he was able, through diligence and hard work, to complete the study of the Old and New Testaments within a short time. Since Yared was now a highly gifted student, he finished his studies with astounding results and thereafter became a deacon. From his teacher Abba Gedeon he had learnt Hebrew and Greek and was fluent in both these languages. In his understanding of the Holy Scriptures and knowledge of foreign languages he became the equal of his teacher. Upon the death of his uncle-cum-teacher, even though he was only fourteen years old, Yared took over the chair and profession of his tutor and began giving lessons.

In the Book of May II Sinksar (Lives of the Saints) is related the full story of how Yared created the chant and notation system inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit. At this time there was no set of rules for the liturgical chant. In this same book it is written that when Almighty God wanted to establish sacred chants, as he was desirous of being praised upon earth, three Angels were sent from Paradise in the form of three birds to teach Yared heavenly songs in his own language. The birds circling in the air in front of Yared sang to him sweet and captivating new songs, while Yared stood there listening, mesmerized by the sweet sound. The birds began praising him in his language (Geez), saying "Oh ! famed, honored (Yared) and full of grace! praised be the womb that bore you, praised be the breasts the breasts that" you sucked. They then carried him off to heavenly Jerusalem where twenty-four celestial Angels were singing. St. Yared standing before the seat of the Trinity sand the secret songs conceived in his heart and revealed to him by the Holy Spirit.

When he was brought back to Aksum, Yared went to the chief priest of the church of Aksum at nine in the morning and standing in front of the Holy ark of Sion raised both his hands and sang: "Praised be the Father, praised be the Son and praised be the Holy Ghost. He first created Sion and heaven and reveled to Moses the Law of the Old Testament". He called this song. "Ariam" which means supreme heaven, abode of God.

While Yared was in heaven he had heard the angels praising God with musical instruments such as the inzira (a large flute), the masinquo (a one-stringed violin), the tsenatsil (a type of sistrum), the kebero (a large drum), and the begena (great harp). He thus had these instruments made and used them to accompany his hymns. St. Yared himself testified that he had indeed heard his hymns from the angels in heaven saying: "Praised be God, Holy, Holy, Holy God, Your hallowed Lordship ! Ruler of heaven and earth. How wondrous is the song I heard from the angels in heaven! "Now Yared set to work and composed a large number of chants for the hymns and liturgy of the church. He also invented a system of musical signs and symbols, and introduced the mequamia (praying stick) to provide support during the long services of his sacred dance.

The emperor who ruled Ethiopia during this time was Gebre Meskel (525-539 A.D) the son of the renowned Emperor Kaleb. The fact that during his reign Ethiopia produced her greatest musician and poet, Saint Yared, who as the creator of Zema (music) and poetry, surpassed all, pleased the Emperor so much that he was content to conduct the matters of state and leave to Yared the affairs of the Church. Together they instituted the celebration of Hosana (Palm Sunday) in the city of Aksum. This custom which they established is still practiced in churches throughout Ethiopia.

St. Yared was the author of many religious songs and hymns devoted to particular occasions of the seasons and of the months and to the days and festivals of the saints and the Holy Trinity. He divided his hymns into four parts, each with its own melody. These songs were for the four seasons of the years: winter, summer, spring and autumn. He named the great book comprising these church hymns, Deggua. Deggua means in Tigrigna, De'guaa which in turn means lamentations, songs of mourning or higher understanding. The great Degua is also called "Mahlete Yared" meaning treasury of hymns or songs of Yared. He prepared the Deggua in the three modes of chanting used in the church and known respectively as Geez, Ezel and Ararai. Geez means the plain chant for ordinary days; Ezel means a more measured beat for funerals; Ararai means a lighter, free mood for great festivals. The three modes: Geez, Ezel and ararai are supposed to represent the Father, The Son and the Holy ghost respectively.

Yared, after having written the Deguas on parchment, created ten tones with notation. His innovation was centuries old before Europeans created the present musical notation with its seven letters of the alphabet. As noted above, after composing his hymns in the three modes, he created the following ten notes:

Yizet
Deret
Reqreq
Difat
Chiret
Quinet
Hidet
Qurt
Dirs
Anbir
These have and order of arrangement and together are called "Seraye". The name "Seraye" signifies their being hymnary guides, its veins and bases. Yared's notation comprises dashes, curves and dots having particular meanings.


Tseome Dugua which is part of the Degua is written about fasting. Therefore it is sung only during Lent. Hence its named Tsome Dugua (Songs for Lent)


Me'eraf is sung on Sabbath vigils, for prayer, praising the Lord or when hymns are performed.

Zimare is sung after communion in honor of the Holy Communion.

Mewasit is for funeral services, requiems and for Easter Eve.

Quidase is performed during communion.

all these are chanted in the three modes of Geez, Ezel and Ararai and non of St. Yared's compositions departs from these three modes. To prepare the above mentioned book (that is the Deguaa, Tsome Deguaa, Meraf, Zamare and Mewasit) together. St. Yared laboured for nine years.

Many authorities consider Yared not only the father of hymns but also the first to introduce poetry, the signs of Degua and the first to write musical notes and use musical instruments to accompany his hymns.

Dr. Sergew Hable Selassie in his book, Ancient and Medieval Ethiopian History upto 1270, writing about the works of Yared notes, "Although it (the Deguaa) was presented in the general form of poetry, there are passages relating to theology, as well as to philosophy, history and ethics."

Yared's compositions bear witness to his being a composer of music, a writer and a poet of the highest talent.

All the hymns composed by Yared continue to be sung in churches all over Ethiopia by priests and choirs of debteras. These hymns are accompanied by various musical instruments created by Yared giving the performance more fullness. The singers chant in a choir in harmony with the melody, slowly moving their prayer sticks back and forth or up and down in an orchestrated movement known as tirkeza. The beating of the drums and the rattling of the sistra also join in to make the music more melodious.

As Edward Ullendorff states in his book The Ethiopians: "The entire spectacle, the carrying of the Tabot (Ark of the Convenant) in solemn procession, accompanied by singing dancing, beating of staffs or prayer sticks, rattling of sistra and the sounding of drums, has caused all who have witnessed it to feel transported."

Before the time of Yared's innovation, the church did not use poetry and song and the priests were not accustomed to performing spiritual chants. They prayed in whispers, mumbling and repeating the sentences. Therefore, when Yared first poured forth his sweet melodies, the emperor, the queen, the courtiers, and the people hastened to where he was and, enraptured by his voice, stood there listening the whole day long.

The Nine Saints who had fled from religious persecution in the Byzntine Empire and who had come to Ethiopia in the 5th century had good spiritual relations with Saint Yared and he occasionally visited them at their individual churches which were built for them by the Aksumite Emperors. It was Saint Yared who taught these saints hymns and the hymns he taught them are to be found in the Deguaa. One of the churches consecrated by Yared is Debre Damo founded by Abune Aregawi, one of the Nine saints. When saint Yared saw this church he was overwhelmed by its magnificence and sang sweet and captivating hymns and stayed there teaching hymns for many days with Abune Aregawe before returning to Aksum.

Saint Yared, beside composing many spiritual songs and hymns of his own, also invented, a special type of musical notation for the guidance of singers and dancers.




Yared was blessed with a sweet voice and anyone who heard him sing could no but help being captivated. One day while Yared was performing his spiritual songs in the church of Aksum Sion, the emperor enchanted by the songs left his place and came towards Yared. Standing there and gazing into the eyes of Yared, the Emperor leaned upon his spear which had a sharp point and thus unwittingly pierced the foot of Yared. Yared, too, was so carried away by his own singing that he was not aware of the pain and it was only when he reached the end of his song that the king pulled out the spear and blood gushed forth from Yared's foot. When the Emperor saw what had happened he was deeply shocked and asked Yared to demand of him whatever compensation he wanted even if it were half of him whatever compensation he wanted even if it were half of his empire. The sage replied: "Promise to grant me what I wish" and the emperor swore in the name of God to do so.
Yared then said:" allow me to retire from my work in the court and to live among the people so that I may devote the rest of my life to teaching, to meditation and to prayer." When the emperor heard this he wailed and lamented, saying "You filled my heart with joy by transforming the church into a semblance of the seat of God and the priests into the likeness of the angels of God but now you have wrought grief upon me." "However, Yared's wish was fulfilled and as Yared left the court and the city of Aksume grieved because of his departure.

This great teacher, apart from composing hymns, went from place to place imparting his knowledge to the uninitiated. One such place that was fortunate enough to receive his teaching was the Church of St. Qirqos on the Island of Lake Tana. While staying for two years in this church, St. Yared mixed writing ink in a stone bowl and wrote his Deguaa. The deguaa written by his own hand, the bowl in which he is said to have mixed ink, his sistrum and prayer stick are preserved to this day in this church. Tradition holds that this church was built by Emperor Gebare Meskel, Abune Aregawe and St. Yared when they came to visit Lake Tana and the island.

St. Yared also stayed at the church of St. Mary which Abune Aregawi build upon Zur Amba mountain in Gayint District. This church was built at the order of Emperor Gebre Meskel. Here St. Yared taught the Mewasit canticle, for some three years. This place is known even today as a center for learning hymns and Mewasit and the debteras have to undergo long and arduous training to qualify for that post.

From here St. Yared went to Tselemt sub-district in the freezing and icy-cold conditions of the Semien mountains to meditate and to teach people who came from near and far. He also went from place to place teaching in Wegera and Agew, living a life of fasting and prayer, serving and praising God with his hymns.

His disciples taught the hymns and educational system of Yared in the monasteries and churches and to this day the works of St. Yared still remain the corner-stone of Ethiopian ecclesiastical culture. In recognition of his religious and spiritual work he was canonized as the greatest Saint of the Ethiopian Church.

St. Yared was not only a composer of hymns but also the originator of a new system of education, revealing his discoveries to the people in Geez which they could easily understand therefore, he is the father of Ethiopian education and has greatly contributed to Ethiopian culture. As can steel be seen today, ecclesiastical music and poetry comprise a major part of traditional Ethiopian education and the bases of these were laid down by Yared. The primary stage, 1st nebab bet (simple reading), the 2nd comprising Zeima Bet (school of music or hymns), the 3rd Quine Bet (poetry), the 4th Mesahft Bet (Study of the interpretation of the Scriptures) is still given in the curriculum of the Church schools. The Church was the main source of cultural and ethical inspiration through the years of Ethiopia's isolation and the generations that followed.

On the celebration of emperor Gebre Meskel's coronation day, singing for the first time the song called "Teketsel Tsigie Gebre Meskel Hatsegue," St. Yared placed a wreath of flowers upon the Emperor's crown. This episode is found, written in the Duguaa. Of those musical instruments traditionally used in the performance of religious songs, following the composition set by St. Yared, the Masinquo, Kebero and Inbilta are played accompanying secular songs. Thust, St. Yared, with his versatile and inventive turn of mind, contributed much to the birth and development of secular music. The work of St. Yared gave Ethiopia the gift of music from the 6th century onwards. However, because of Ethiopia's hundreds of years of isolation from the outside world, due acclaim has not been given to St. Yared as a great contributor to the system of modern music and poetry as given to those such as Hayden Bach and Mozart who emerged over a thousand years after him in Europe. However, in his own country he is recognized as a musical genius and the patron saint of many churches in Addis Ababa, Mekelle, RasDashen, etc. The music school in Addis Ababa has been named after St. Yared and a religious school in the city of Aksum also bears his name.

St. Yared died at the age of 66 on May 20, 571 A.D. in a cave below the Semien mountain where he had been accustomed to teach.

The history of Saint Yared is found in the book written about his life called Dirsane Gedl Ze Quidus Yared (Story of the struggle of St. Yared), in many religious books and in the Kibre Negest (Glory of the Kings). All these books praise the superb quality of the chants of St. Yared. There is hardly any other person about whom so much has been written in Ethiopia as St. Yared.

One sage captivated by Yared's song wrote,

"O, Yared, Priest of the altar on high in the heavenly places;

Whither the glorious hand of the Father of all has led thee'

Lead thou me also with thee that we may chant together"

Another writer pays tribute saying: "He (Yared) composed chants the like of which can be found neither among the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Syrians nor in the east or west."

'None has so far discovered a new mode of music which can be added to the three modes of Saint Yared." says another.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Taken from the book "Ethiopian Civilization" By Belai Giday.

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« Reply #49 on: June 24, 2008, 01:16:18 AM »

St. Nerses Shnorhali ("The Graceful")

St. Nerses IV Kla, Catholicos from 1166-1173, was from the city of Hromkla (in Cilicia ). Author, musician, poet, theologian, St. Nerses enriched the Armenian Church and its services with many hymns, prayers, and services. His prayer, In Faith I Confess, (link to PDF file) is a jewel of Christian spirituality, consisting of 24 verses for the 24 hours of the day, which he called a prayer for all Christian faithful. It has been translated into over 36 languages. He also wrote the General Epistle, describing Christian society, the Lament for Edessa, which had been mercilessly sacked by the Moslems in 1144, and a spiritual poem, Jesus Son. He also wrote the Sunrise (Arevakal), Compline (Khaghaghakan), and Night Service (Hanksdyan), three of the 8 daily services in the Armenian Book of Hours. St. Nerses is remembered by the Armenian Church during the Feast of the Holy Translators.

http://www.stnersess.edu/classroom/badarak/templates/commentary/saintseng.php#head16

Some of his prayers, including In Faith I Confess, are included in the Oriental Orthodox Prayers thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13200.0.html
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« Reply #50 on: July 12, 2008, 09:19:16 PM »

Syrian Orthodox saint and poet, St. Jacob of Serug:

JACOB of SERUGH c.451-521 SyrOrth

Poet, known as ‘the Flute of the Holy Spirit and the Harp of the Church’; bishop of Bat$nan da-Srug (519-21). Most of the little information about his life comes from two notices (ed. Assemani, BO I, 286-9, and Abbeloos, De vita et scriptis Jacobi... (1867), 311-12); there are also two panegyrics (ed. Krüger, OC 56 [1972]) and a late Biography. An outline based on all these sources was compiled by P. Y. Dolabani (Swodo mpaygono..; Mardin, 1952).

Born in Kurtam, on the Euphrates, his poetic gifts became evident early on. He was a student at the ‘Persian School’ in {Edessa}, and this explains the appearance in his mimre of some exegetical traditions that go back to Theodore of Mopsuestia. At an unknown date he was appointed Chorepiscopos of H$aura, and then at the age of 67 he was consecrated bishop of Bat$nan in 519 by Paul, bishop of Edessa. The date of his death is given as 29 Nov 521 in the notice published in BO, and this is the date of his liturgical commemoration; other sources, however, give different dates (and even a different year, 520; see Vööbus, Handschr. Überlieferung, I, 4). A contemporary source (Chron. of Joshua the Stylite, 54) states that, at the time of the Persian invasion of north Mesopotamia (502/3) ‘the respected Jacob, the periodeutes, who composed many mimre on Scriptural passages, and sughyotho and zmirotho ... wrote letters’ of encouragement to different cities.

Jacob is primarily known for his verse mimre in the 12-syllable metre (which is named after him); these are said to have numbered 763. At least 380 survive, and over half of these have been edited by P. Bedjan. The majority of these are highly imaginative expositions of biblical passages; a number of others deal with saints (e.g. Simeon Stylites, Ephrem, George, etc.). The attribution of some mimre remains uncertain: thus that on the myron is also attributed to George of the Arabs; definitely not by Jacob, despite the attribution, is the mimro on Alexander (ed. Reinink, CSCO 454-5). A number of Madroshe and sughyotho are also attributed to him manuscripts, at least some of which are very probably genuinely his.

Jacob’s prose writings consist of (1) six Turgome, or prose homilies, for Nativity, Epiphany, Lent, Palm Sunday (Hosanna), Good Friday and the Resurrection; (2) Lives of holy men of his own lifetime, Daniel of Galash and Hannina (unpublished; summaries by F. Nau in Revue de l’Orient Chrétien 15 [1910]); and (3) a collection of 43 Letters (not all of which are complete).

Various liturgical texts are attributed to Jacob , in particular, three Anaphoras (ed. H. G. Codrington, in Anaphorae Syriacae II.1 [1951]) and the Maronite baptismal rite (ed. A. Mouhanna, OCA 212; 1980). Though the attibutions are uncertain, these texts share many themes to be found in Jacob’s mimre. Liturgical bo‘awotho are attributed to Jacob, as well as to Ephrem and Balai (depending on their metre); some of those attributed to Jacob are just excerpts from his mimre. Likewise, many bote d-h$asho (ed. Strothmann, GOFS 32; 1989) are adapted from Jacib’s mimre (see Journal of Semitic Studies 36 [1991], 201-4). Surprisingly, a passage from Jacob’s turgomo for the Resurrection is to be found in the H$udra (ed. Darmo, II, 553-4; see OCP 55 [1989], 339-43).

Jacob is commemorated on 29 Nov in both the Syrian Orthodox and the Maronite Calendar. Although Assemani and others have claimed that Jacob was Chalcedonian, it is now known that he objected to the Council of Chalcedon: this is clear from some of his Letters and from a mimro (probably genuine) lamenting the Council. Basically, Jacob disliked the analytic approach to theology current in the controversy that followed the Council of 451; his preference was for the theology of symbol and paradox that characterised Ephrem’s approach.

The appreciation with which Jacob’s mimre has always been held is indicated by the large number of manuscripts containing them. The oldest of these go back to the sixth century, while several manuscripts of the 11th to 13th century contain huge collections, sometimes with well over 200 mimre. There are also translations into Armenian and Arabic.


http://www.bethmardutho.org/wikisyriaca/index.php?title=Jacob_of_Serug
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« Reply #51 on: July 12, 2008, 09:49:14 PM »

A bit of St. Jacob's poetry can be read in the Wisdom of the Oriental Orthodox Fathers thread, reply #99:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12005.msg242296.html#msg242296
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« Reply #52 on: December 01, 2008, 06:15:54 PM »

On the next Matthew (M.C.) Steenburg lecture will be showcasing Mar Jacob of Serugh a Post-Chalcedon Saint who will be discussed from A Word from our Holy Fathers. I do believe this podcast will only touch upon his writings with a soft approach when applying it to Byzantine theology.

Are many of the OO here a little iffy when listening to AFR as it seems like the EWTN for EO. Though I believe when I listen to it, it's more of a primer and most of the material does contradict each other. Take Matthew Gallatins discussion on Western theology  vs. Fr Patrick Reardon approach of Dante and so on.  Sometimes I see AFR putting too much Orthodoxy to the point of overconsumption as it does very little for the soul. Perhaps they should reform back to their more over enthusiastic days in 2004 with just a few lectures and interviews and 24-7 music.
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« Reply #53 on: December 02, 2008, 12:29:08 AM »

While I am generally very comfortable with Eastern Orthodox sources and podcasts (i.e. I don't see them in the same way as I see EWTN), I still am saddened we as OO's don't have something to represent US.  We have Coptic resources, but mostly about social issues and Coptic history, with little or no emphasis on Oriental Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #54 on: December 02, 2008, 12:35:20 AM »

If EA would graduate already then maybe Erkohet.com would start stacking up that encyclopedia and start commenting on Fr V.C Samuels book. None the less EA writes great apologetics and the Malankara faithful have personally referenced the site in Lectures and Retreats. Also some great Pics of monasteries and Patriarchal updates could gather more people to the site.
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« Reply #55 on: December 02, 2008, 12:45:13 AM »

If EA would graduate already then maybe Erkohet.com would start stacking up that encyclopedia and start commenting on Fr V.C Samuels book. None the less EA writes great apologetics and the Malankara faithful have personally referenced the site in Lectures and Retreats. Also some great Pics of monasteries and Patriarchal updates could gather more people to the site.

I personally miss his apologetics.  He's someone I can say probably very qualified and knowledgeable OO history and theology, and I would love if something like Erkohet becomes a podcast.
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« Reply #56 on: December 24, 2008, 06:37:22 PM »

Abune Endreyas of Ethiopia:


 

If you start a journey from the small town of Addis Zemen and travel towards Gondar, after some minutes you are bound to reach a place known as Tara Monastery. From this monastery if you turn to the right and travel for 2 or 3 km you will reach the famous cave known as ‘’Washa Endreyas’.


This monastery was founded 600 years ago. The monastery was established during the reign of Emperor Yekuno Amlak in the 13th century. Before, the monastery was founded however; i.e. in the times of Old Testament in Ethiopia the cave was an abode of a great serpent. Idolaters and animists used to worship the reptile by bringing for him tributes of all   kinds of things. The most common tribute /that was given to it was milk. The attendants of the serpent used to put the milk on a huge bowel made from a huge trunk of a tree. As a result the serpent worship dominated all the people in the area. For how many years this continued none until to day know.


At last the day came when our lord, the almighty sent a great saint by the name Abune Endreyas. The story of Aba Endreyas is similar to that of Angabo father of Makeda Queen of Sheba. It is our father Aba Endreyas who destroyed this worship of the serpent and other forms of Idolatry found on the place. The story is told in the following manner.


When Abune Endreyas reached the place first where the people worshiped the great serpent he became deeply sad He saw the ignorance of the people and the design of the devil to lead people away from the knowledge of Salvation found in the holy gospel. He was a saint filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and became determined to get rid of it.


Early next day he traveled to the cave where the feared serpent lived. When Abun Endreyas reached the place the serpent came out from the cave ready for a fight. This happened so because the serpent was not a common reptile but the abode of an evil spirit who aimed to lead people astray. It was this evil spirit who recognized the saint first and who came out for a fight hiding inside the flesh of the serpent. However our father was a true follower of saint Georgy and killed the serpent with the power of the Holy Spirit. When he entered the cave he found an idol shaped like a man from wood. He blessed the cave and consecrated it holy. He was able to win a victory over the force of evil and take away the ground which it had held for long.


Abba Endreyas transformed the cave in to a church by putting the ark of Jesus in it. He then celebrated also the establishment of the monastery. From that day on it became known as the cave of Endreyas or “washa Endryas.”


Still, to day one can see the bowl made from the wood which used to contain the tribute milk for the serpent still kept to remind all the faithful of the spiritual war fought by the saint. The wooden Idol that had a shape like a man also can be seen. This place has many other attractions apart from those mentioned above. Human dead bodies that remain until today in a condition of preserved intactness and escaping decay with different forms of wrappings /Genzet/ can be still visible. There are many more wonderful objects and places found in this are area for people to see. May the blessing and interceder of the saint be with us.
 

Glory to God and his mother holy Mary Amen

 
May God Bless us. Amen!!

   
Mahibere Kidusan©2003, All Rights Reserved
Last updated on December 03,2008     
   
http://www.eotc-mkidusan.org/English/SaintsAndHolly/index.htm
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« Reply #57 on: December 29, 2008, 04:12:54 AM »

Another saint of the Ethiopian Church:




Abune Tetemke Medhin

Hiruy Simie

 

Our father Tetemke Medhin lived in the first half of the 15th centurey during the regime of Yohannes IV our father was a hermit, a monk, a Religious teacher and a Miracle worker. Abune Tetemke Medhin is recognized for his saintly life among the many venerated saints in Ethiopia.  His father's and mother's name was Wolde Kiristos and Wolde Mariam respectively.

 

Aba Tetemke Medhin was born on December 2nd and was baptized on the epiphany, hence it is said that his name became Tetemke in order to remember this memorable event. His upbringing was not different from the many boys of his time in rural Ethiopia. From his early age he became a herd boy and looked after his parents cattle. However, because of his extreme desire of learning the religious teachings of our church, he used to abandon the cattle on the field, and secretly go to monks and hermits to learn the psalms of David.

 

One day a hermit came to his father and asked for a permission to teach the boy church prayers. Wolde Kiristos refused and asked the hermit as to who would look after the cattle when his child became a student. Many days later Wolde Kirstos saw a traditionally made small skin bag with the book of Psalms on the shoulders of Tetemke Medhin.

 

The confused father next day came to the place where the cattle were grazing. To his great surprise and amusement he saw wolves and leopards bounding happily with them. Late in the afternoon the Leopards and wolves herded the cattle to their manger and ran away to their lairs which was found on a near by hill densely forested by huge trees. When Tetemke Medhin came as usual in the evening, the perplexed father asked him where he had been during the day time. The unsuspecting boy told his father that he was looking after the cattle near the densely wooded hill.


The father immediately understood and said. "My son, I know now every thing, this is a sign that I should allow you to go to those Saintly hermits and learn the prayers of our Orthodox faith."

 

From that day onwards Abune Tetemke Medhin started learning the religious teachings of our church, until his very heart was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to bereave the spiritual war.

 

He was so dedicated to this way of live that he wanted to follow the path of our former saintly fathers the apostles, the martyrs and the Saintly Monks. He became a monk when he was 23 years old in the church of Mertule Mariam from the hand of Aba Zekere Mariam. The Saint Tetemke Medhin then started living the life of a hermit by wearing the cloth made from the skin of Goats undernith which he wore chains that bound his flesh from his neck to his toes. He fasted always except on Saturdays and Sunday both days being the Sabbath of the EOC. Moreover, he lived bound with an infinite prayer and prostrated before God 1000 times a day.

 

Then the lord looked upon him with his love and gave him his blessing and made his holy spirit to reside in him. By this power he was able to understand the meanings of the cry of wild animals and communicated with them. The animals in the forest also were able to understand him and obey his commands.

 

Aba Tetemke Medhin used to have a donkey named "Tseware Meskel" (barer of the cross) who used to run errands like a man. The donkey understood always perfectly what the saint said. In such a manner it served him for many years always doing the commands of the saint with out a single mistake.

 

Our father received his testament from God while he was traveling to Gondar. From that movement, he started teaching the monks in his monastery known as Guhancha Monastery. He thought religious teachings and the laws of Monkhood. In the monastery he lived the remaining years of his life being the abbot of the place.


Finally, the hour came for his departure to his creator. On the day he visited the church of Saint George in Gashola, he died. He was 61 years old when he passed away. That day God showed the singe of his great spiritual achievement and struggle. The Monks had not prepared his tomb in Gashola and didn't bury him there his body smelled like the best incense ever burned and like the best perfume ever smelled. Its fragrance was so sweet that non-ever smelled any thing like it before or after in their life. They put his body in a wooden coffin and placed it with honor inside the church. Many laity still every year visits Gashola to honor the saint.

 

N.B. Our father founded Haratse Mariam Monastery in Metekel Zone, Hawariat (apostles) Monastery and Guhancha monastery during his life time.


http://www.eotc-mkidusan.org/English/SaintsAndHolly/index_December03_2008.htm#1

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« Reply #58 on: January 26, 2009, 10:39:45 PM »

These saints are celebrated by the Armenian Church during the week before Lent.  It is customary on this day for a liturgy to be celebrated, in which priests serve all the parts, including the deacons parts and choir.  This is the feast day for priests.



St. Leontius The Priest and His Companions

Celebrated each year on the Tuesday before the feast of St. Vartan, the Feast of St. Leontius honors the sacrifices made by clergymen in the battles against the Persian Empire.

The group of martyred priests is known collectively as the Levontian Fathers. They include Catholicos Hovsep; the bishops Sahag and Tatig; and the priests Arshen, Manuel, Apraham, Khoren, and Ghevont Levontius. A number of deacons are also included in this group.

The Levontian Fathers participated in the Council of Artashat, which drafted the reply to the demand of the Persian King that Armenians adopt paganism.  In that reply, they wrote: "When it comes to our eternal salvation, there is nothing you or your priests can do. Your religion is a lie and should be laughed at. Ours alone is true and teaches the love of God and of men."

The priests did not stay in their churches when combat broke out between the Armenians and Persians, preferring instead to fight on the front lines.  Popular iconography portrays them with sword in one hand and a cross in the other. Following the initial Vartanants Battle in A.D. 451, the Levontian Fathers were abducted by the Persian King and imprisoned.

Subsequent armed conflict between Armenians and the Persians ended in victory for the Armenians. At the urging of pagan priests, the Persian King attributed his army's losses to the fact that the Armenian clergymen, taken in the initial battle, had not been executed. So, to ensure future victory for his soldiers, the King tortured and killed the Levontian Fathers.

St. Ghevont (Levontius) is singled out in this commemoration because of his influence in the original Vartanants battle at Avarayr.



http://www.armenianchurch.net/prayer/saints/leontius.html
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« Reply #59 on: February 07, 2009, 04:38:04 PM »

Here is the hagiography of St. Gebre Menfes Kidus (which is my baptism name!)from the Ethiopian Synazarium (Megabit 30 / April Cool. He is considered the second most honored Saint in Ethiopia after St. Tekle Haimanot. He came to Ethiopia in the 12th century, either from Egypt or perhaps Europe. Some of his icons portray him with European looking features.


                            From the Ethiopian Synaxarium:

           "And on this day took place the strife of Abba Gabra Manfas Kedus, the star of the desert, of glorious renown, and fine old age, the blessed and excellent man Abba Gabra Manfas Kedus, the desert man, who sprang from the city of Nehisa, in the north of Egypt.  And he dwelt in the desert three hundred years.  When he went forth from that place, he wandered about in the deserts of Ethiopia, and he dwelt in Gekala, and then departed to the land of Kabd, and he lived [there] naked, drinking no water and eating no food, unlike a man upon earth and unlike an angel.  And he finished his strife on the fifth day of Magabit, on the First Day of the week, on the festival of Peter and Paul.  This holy man had a father and mother who were pious people, and they were believers, and they were of noble race.  His father’s name was Simeon, and his mother’s name was ‘Aklesya, and they were righteous before God.  And they remained childless for a period of thirty years, and ‘Aklesya wept because she had not got a son, and her husband also wept.  One day the Holy Spirit came to the place where she was, by the door of the courtyard, and she imagined that he was a priest who lived in the palace.  And he said unto her, “Peace be unto thee!  What maketh thee weep and to groan before God?”  And ‘Aklesya said unto him, “I rejoice in every work of the Lord my God, but I groan because [I have not] a son.”  And at that moment ‘Aklesys conceived, on the 29th day of Tahsas.  And the angel whose name is Gabriel came in the form of a man, and said unto her, “The name of this child shall be Gabra Manfas Kedus”; and then that angel disappeared.  And on the third day the child rose up, and came down from his mother’s breast, and he stood up and bowed three times to the Father, and three times to the Son, and three times to the Holy Ghost, and he also said, “Glory be to the Father, Glory be to the Son, Glory be to the Holy Ghost, Who hast brought me out of the darkness into the light.”  And those who were there and heard him marveled, and his mother marveled, and she remained stricken with surprise until the third hour.  And God commanded the angel Gabriel and said unto him, “Go to the house of Simeon, and take the child from the breast of his mother, and bring him into the desert where there are many monks, and lay him down in their courtyard.   And say to the abbot, Take the child from the courtyard, and bring him into the sanctuary, even as Mary, My mother, grew up in the sanctuary, and she dwelt there for twelve years in the hands of the angels until she came out into the world.  And I was incarnate of her, because I was pleased with her more than with any other woman.  And I am pleased with the child, for I have made him pure, and I have created him; for he is of the Holy Spirit.  And his food and drink shall not be of that which is on the earth, but from the kingdom of heaven.”  And the angel of the Lord went down quickly to where the child was, at his mother’s breast, and he carried him upon his wings, even as a woman carrieth her child.  And his mother, and those who were there, were frightened when they saw the angel carrying him on his wings, and kissing him on his face.  And he bore him up to the seventh heaven, and brought him before God, and God blessed him and said unto the angel, “Take him to My mother that she may bless him, and kiss him as she kissed Me.  And take him also to the fathers of olden time, Adam, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and to all the prophets and apostles, that they may embrace him, and to all the martyrs and the monks, and take him also to the children who were slain, for My sake, by the hand of Herod.  And tell all of them at the last day, when all the world shall perish, and when all of you shall be with him.”  And He also said, “Bring him to me.”  Then the angel forthwith took him where God commanded, and laid him down with our Lady Mary, and she kissed him, and embraced him.  And the angel also took him to where all the righteous were assembled, and they all embraced him; and then he brought him back and [set him] before God.  And our Lord said unto him, “I will be with thee; be strong in everything which shall come on thee.  All the souls of men shall be saved by thee.  And when the story of the child and his faith is noised abroad there shall come unto him many men, and priests, and bishops from Egypt, and Mesr (Cairo), and Nehisa, and from the district of Sabser; and he shall love pilgrims.”  One day when our father Gabra Manfas Kedus was at prayer, [the angel] came unto him, and said unto him, “Come, go up into heaven even as I bore thee thither before”; and he took him, and carried him on his wing, and made him go up to heaven, and he brought him before God.  And our Lord brought Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Fifteen Prophets, and the Twelve Apostles, and all the martyrs, and He brought all the saints and said unto them as He placed himself by him, “Rise up, and embrace him that was born after you, and who fighteth even as ye did, and whose glory shall be exalted.  And I will be with him until My coming, and he shall go with you, and he shall resemble me in purity like the angels.  He shall dwell at My right hand, and ye shall be with him.”  And He sent to our father His Person in His Trinity and He stretched out His hands, and embraced him, and He kissed his mouth, and He said unto him, “There be many souls whom thou shalt make to escape the Judgment through thy prayers and thy supplication.  Get thee far from men.  The blind and the sick shall be healed through thy prayer.  Henceforward withdraw thyself [from men] and get thee into the Inner Desert.  Dwell with the lions and the panthers; the lions shall be sixty in number and the panthers sixty also.”  And the saint said unto our Lord, “What will the lions and the panthers feed upon and what will they eat?”  And He said unto him, “If thou treadest on the ground with thy foot they will lick the dust of thy foot, and they will be satisfied until they obtain food; [and this shall be] until thy coming to Me.”  When the good angels heard these words they marveled, and when they saw the saint naked, and without raiment, they kissed him, and embraced him.  And the angel brought him down quickly to his former abode.  And his hair grew, and it grew thick all over his limbs, and the hair of his head was seven cubits long, and the hair of his mouth (i.e. his beard) was one cubit long.  Each day he healed blind men, and lepers, and sick folk; and their number was fifty thousand.  And our father was exceedingly sorry that men knew of his work, and his labour, and he said, “I will arise and depart from this place so that men may know nothing about me, and may not bestow upon me the vain praise of this world.”  And he departed from that place, and came into the Inner Desert, and dwelt there; and the people missed him, and were very sorry, because he had worked miracles for them, and they wept and lamented with a great lamentation.  And he lived in this wise for more than one hundred years, until old age came on him.  Let now go back to our former subject when we said that he came into the desert, and withdrew himself from men; and he dwelt on the right side of the desert for many years.  During the heat of summer, and the cold of winter, he wore no clothing on his body, but he went naked, and his girdle was made of plaited hair.  He prayed standing in the cold of dawn, naked.  By excessive sufferings he melted his body, and hardened his bones (?), and he used to say unto his soul, “Know that thou wilt have to stand naked before God.”  He devoted himself strenuously to prayer and fasting, and bowings, and to innumerable and ceaseless vigils by day and by night until at length his body dried up, and his skin became stretched tightly over his bones.  He had no food except, at times, the fruit of trees, or roots, or plants, and sometimes the grass and berries whereon the dwellers in the desert feed.  He took no care whatsoever to provide for his body in anything.  The angels used to visit him, because he was like unto them in his speech and acts.  Among the saints of olden times and those of later times, who is there that can be compared with him upon earth?  There is not one who did not eat the bread of earth, or drink water, or wear raiment, but he never prepared anything for his body.  Verily Gabra Manfas Kedus was like unto the fowls of heaven, for he thought nothing about the food of this world, but he hungered and thirsted for God [only]; and for this reason his food was the bread of heaven, and his drink came from the Garden (Paradise).  He knew that it was not a lie the word of God, Who said, “Be of good cheer, have no doubt about apparel, nor desire as to raiment” (Matthew vi, 25 f.).  And God covered his whole body with hair, even like the hair which covereth the goat (or, sheep), and his fine beard was a garment which covered his body, now it was as black as a raven, and was plaited like byssus.  The awe which he inspired was like that of the lion, and it was frightening and terrifying.  His stature was like that of the palm, and the odor of him was as sweet as the scent of a mass of pistachios, of the costliest kind; his odor had the smell of the food of the desert.  His face was like the face of an angel of God, his beard was a round mass (?), and his . . . was in his mouth.  Even if I were to think of declaring the number of his words, I could not enumerate them, for they were far more numerous than the grains of sand of the sea and the drops of the rain.  Who hath [not] admired thy contending more than those of every man?  And I will exalt thee above every man, and above heaven, and earth, and sun, and moon, and stars.  Was there ever any limit to one of thy footsteps?  The prophets and the Apostles our (sic) kinsmen speak of thee, the angels bear thee up on their wings, our Lady Mary calleth thee “my beloved,” and loveth thee even as she loved her Son.  And when he had finished making a prayer, the angels came unto him, according to their wont, and said unto him, “What dost thou require, O bold man?”  And he said unto them, “I would see God, even as the saints, who were before me, saw Him, and as the Apostles saw Him, and also as the martyrs saw Him, when they were destroyed in the towns, and as the righteous saw Him in the desert and in [their] cells (or, caves).”  When the angels heard his word they departed, and told our Lord Jesus Christ all that he had said unto them.  And straightway the heavens were opened, and the tabernacle of fire was uncovered, which four beasts carried, but did not touch; and there were four and twenty priests of heaven holding their censers standing before Him.  And our Lord appeared, and the archangels, each one according to his rank, sitting upon his holy throne, in his own person; and the Three were seated--Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; and he saw Three Persons and Three Beings, and all the angels and archangels in their hosts were praising Him.  When our father Gabra Manfas Kedus saw this, he was afraid and trembled.  And our Lord said unto him, “Be strong and fear not in seeing Me, for I have given thee a bold heart, that thou mayest look at Me Myself, even as Abukalamsis (i.e. John of the Apocalypse) looked upon Me.  What dost thou wish for, and what dost thou ask of Me?  I have come to thee that thou mightest see Me; what thou wishest I will do for thee, My beloved one, whom I chose before thou hadst being, and I have made thee pure, My chosen one.  Thou hast dwelt in the desert seventy or eighty years at a time, thou hast wandered through the deserts doubting nothing, thou hast not feared to dwell with lions, and thou hast endured, and been of good cheer even unto death.  And now, verily, I will not refuse what thou shalt ask of Me; whatsoever thou desirest I will perform for thee.”  When our father heard God utter this great mystery, he rejoiced and said, “My Lord and my God, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst do for me as Thou hast done for others like me.  Now, grant me ten mercies.  Have mercy for my sack upon the men of the land of Gabota, who are sinners, for Thou didst not come into the world to call the righteous, who have no need to repent, but to turn sinners to repentance.  Remember, O Lord, those in the Judgment, whose tears flow like the waters of winter, and who gnash their teeth, and who acted as they did in ignorance, Satan having led them into error.  Have mercy upon them, O Lord, and shew compassion unto them.”  And our Lord said unto our father Gabra Manfas Kedus, “They say hard things.  It hath been head that I do not do unto them as unto the others, who are righteous peoples, and are pure, and have borne toil upon earth.  And as to that which thou askest Me; I do not destroy a monk for the sake of one sin.  If his wickednesses are many, and his sins are many, after he hath entered the fire he becometh subject for judgment.  When he beseecheth Me with great labour I make the soul of that man to go forth from him, and I scatter it among the winds, and not a trace of it is ever found; at the resurrection of the dead [it is] not in the abode of the righteous, or in the abode of sinners.  In thy case it is not thus; according to My mercy I will have mercy upon thee, for I have given thee a promise that I will do whatsoever thou askest Me.”  When our father heard [this], he rejoiced and bowed his face.  And all the heavenly beings rejoiced and said, “Redemption is with our God.  Amen.”  And our father also said unto God, “How great is [Thy] mercy, my Lord?”  And God said, “To each of thy years according to the length of thy days I will add two years”; and forthwith the days of our father were made to be three hundred years.  And our Lord said unto the archangels, “Go ye and bring souls forth from judgment, and release them and give them to the blessed Gabra Manfas Kedus.”  And the seven angels went down to the Gahanam of fire, the place of sinners.  At that moment came ‘Abd Almakos, the angel of Gahanam, who hath power over the tortures of sinners, and brought out there from the men of the land of Gabota.  And the number of the souls who went forth from judgment was thirty thousand, and [the seven angels] led them on their way, and guided them--namely Michael and Gabriel, each with his pilgrims, Saku’el and Ramu’el, each with his great ones, and Fanu’el blew a trumpet before them.  And the other angels were uttering cries of joy, until they came before the throne of God in the heavens, and saying, “Glory to God in the heavens, and peace upon earth, His good will to men.”  And God said unto our father Gabra Manfas Kedus, “The men who are in the world shall not see thee, that is to say, the priests, and the monks and the believers; only those who are good like thyself who visitest them.  And thou shalt not appear to the angels except by thy wish.  Thy chariot shall be the winds, and thy goings shall be like theirs without noise.  Fly from the east to the west, and from the north to the south, and from behind the earth to the north, and thou shalt be able to come to any place by means of the winds.  And from henceforth, O blessed Gabra Manfas Kedus, My beloved, whenever thou wishest look upon Me, My Father, and the Holy Spirit, the Three of us thus always.  And moreover, go to the country of Ethiopia, and in that land there are souls which thou hast to bring forth from judgment.”

When our father heard the words of the Lord his face shone and his mind rejoiced, and he said unto Him, “My Lord and my God, who shall guide me to that country, and how shall I know the road thither?  For I have heard men say from my childhood that the country of Ethiopia is far away.”  And our Lord said unto him, “Go, and My power shall bring thee thither, and My angels shall not be far from thee, for thou art honorable even as are they.  As for Me, even as thou wishest, thou shalt find Me, and according as thou hast asked Me I will do for thee.”  After our Lord had given the promise to His servant He disappeared from him, and the angels returned, saying, “Glory,” and, shouting with joy with David the prophet, they cried, “Go up into the heights.  Thou hast led captive captivity, and Thou hast given Thy grace to the children of man.”  And those souls which had come forth from judgment went into the Garden of Delight, with honor and praise. And the heights of heaven were filled with joy when [the angels] saw this wonderful and astonishing sight, the like of which had never been seen from the creation of the world to the time of the coming of Christ.  Grant unto me, O Lord, an understanding heart so that I may be able to know the work which Thou didst perform for our father Gabra Manfas Kedus, the like of which Thou didst not do for the prophets, and the patriarchs, and the other saints of the monastery and the desert; not that a man [who] hath done the work which Thou gavest him could do what Thou Thyself dost  What then?  Our father was able to fly in the air, and to go round the sea of fire, [and to bring out] thousands of souls.  He did not do this by the strength of his natural body which was water, fire, dust and wind, and there was no other like him; except Adam, the first [man] created.  Adam was not able to go about, and to go out from Sheol until our Redeemer came.  O Gabra Manfas Kedus, what is the sum of the grace, and great kindness, and glory, and exaltation, wherewith thou was provided by God?  When I think of describing thy strife my mind becometh light (i.e. unsettled), like that of a man who hath drunk old wine, with joy, and it soareth and it cometh back, and saith, “How long and how many days should I require to come to an end of his history; for the matters which concern him are very many and are countless.”  When our father Gabra Manfas Kedus looked upon the land of Gabota he saw that there was in him the faculty of knowing what was hidden, and what was manifest.  Moreover he knew the mysteries of the heavens, and what was in the earth, and he knew when priests were pure, and he was able to see when the Holy Ghost descended.  The deeds of sinners were manifest before him, and they were clear in his eyes as in a mirror, for he knew everything relating to the spirit.  And our father Gabra Manfas Kedus saw in the land of Gabota that the people hid themselves in the church at the time of the Offering, now the number of these amounted to two hundred.  And when the Offering was being consecrated the Holy Spirit descended upon that altar, and our good father rejoiced when he saw the descent of the Holy Spirit.  And he also watched when the people received the Offering, and none partook except those whose deeds were good and whose hearts were right concerning the mystery of the spiritual Offering.  And our father said unto the angel, “What is the sin of those who have not received the Spirit?”  And the angel said unto our honorable father, “Behold, the sin of those who have not received the Spirit is great before God.”  And our father turned and he saw the Satans driving the people with fiery whips from the hall of the church, until they came to their houses.  And Satan himself rejoiced because they had become his companions, and they were all destroyed, and there were left among them only those who had wished for repentance; and Satan rejoiced because he found certain poor folk cast out.  Now these were sinners who had not repented for their life upon earth, and they became soldiers of Satan.  When our father saw this wonderful thing, he sorrowed and wept, and he said, “My Lord and my God, Thy people have been made captives, and carried off, and there are not left two hundred men, but four who have eaten (?) the ephod of Thy Body.  He saith, Thou givest (or, sellest) Thy people without price” (Psalm xliv, 12).  When our father had said this he wept, and he departed to make prayers near the place (?) of the Apostles, and when he had arrived there he fixed his gaze on the island of water near the place where he dwelt formerly.  And our Lord saw him and said unto His blessed servant, “I will shew mercy unto thee, and in each day I will give thee sixty thousand [souls], namely on My Birthday, and on thy birthday, and on the day of My Baptism, and on the day of My Resurrection; on each of these days [each year] I will give thee as an act of grace sixth thousand souls.  If Satan hath carried off souls thou must take them from the Judgment:  I have left none to Satan, I have given [all] to thee.”  When Satan heard this he wept with a great weeping, saying, “Ever since this wretched man was created and born I have been bound with fetters.  Where can I go from this wretched man who by fasting and prayer hath taken my captives and carried them of, the captives whom I took and led astray by my arts, and carried off into the Great Judgment, before he was born.”  And uttering these words he wished to die.  And when the spirit-beings of heaven, and the beings of earth heard [this], they rejoiced, and laughed, and brought out the souls who were in the land of Egypt with much labour, and fasting and prayer.  In one day the continuous bowings [of our father] amounted to forty thousand, and during each forty thousand [he recited] the One Hundred the Fifty Psalms of David, and he sang the Fifteen [Books of] the Prophets, and the Prayer of Solomon, and the Praises of our Lady Mary, and besides these he bowed his face three hundred times to the right and three hundred times to the left.  All this he did in one day and one night.  Through such work as this the souls of sinners gained salvation, and our father by his prayer made the Satans weep, and exhausted the power of Satan and destroyed the sting of his poison, and carried him bound into captivity.  After this [our father] went forth from Ethiopia with lions and hyaenas accompanying him; the number of the lions and hyaenas which went before him was thirty, and the number of those which followed him was thirty.  And angel of God, whose name was Gabriel, guided him, and our father was mounted upon a chariot of the spirit, and those beasts were with him.  And the angel brought him to the land of Kabd, and then he took him to Zekuela, on the highland of the earth, and our father stood on the sea-shore, and looked east, and west, and the south, and north.  And he saw the sins of the [men of] Ethiopia, and they were spread out before his eyes and planted in his brain.  And he said unto God, “I swear unto Thee by Thy Living Name, that I will not go forth from this sea, and that I will not stand upon my feet.”  And he sat thus for forty days and forty nights, and a voice came unto him from heaven, saying, “Whosoever shall commemorate thee and shall call upon thy name I will give unto thee.”  And our father said unto the angel, “All Ethiopia hath not been taught; I will not go away from this sea.”  And the angel departed from him, and he dwelt in this wise for one hundred years; and all his body perished, and his blood was poured out from him, until all the water of the sea resembled blood, and all his bones appeared like crystal.  And the devils came and smote him, from the east and from the west, from the south and from the north, in one day five hundred devils smote him with their darts all day long, for one hundred years.  And his bones dwindled and became like sharp stones, and among the men who were before him, from Stephen the martyr to Peter, the chief of the Apostles, and among all the martyrs who died for Christ, there was none who displayed in one day the wonderful things which he made manifest.  After this our Lord came and stood on the sea-shore, and He said unto our father, “Rise up and go forth, I have given thee Ethiopia”; and he found his bones like the eye of a needle.  And He sought for him, and made him as he was at first.  And He sent him to Kabd, and then He took him up into heaven; and he dwelt for seven years in the lower part of heaven, but above the sun.  After this He sent him into the land of Kabd, and he lived standing upright like a pillar for six months, and he gazed into heaven, and he neither dropped his eyelids nor bowed his head, and his hands were stretched out towards heaven.  After this Satan came to him in the form of a black raven, and he found his bones suspended in the heavens which covered [them], and he sat upon his head, and he pecked at his eyes, and dug out his eyeballs.  After this our father remained [blind] for ninety-eight [years], he prayed continually, and ceased not in that land.  Then Michael and Gabriel came to him, and they stood in front of his face, and together they breathed upon him, and his eyes saw and his vision became seven times brighter than the sun.  And they said unto him, “Depart to Zekuala, that thou mayest kill thine enemies, and great strength shall be given unto thee from heaven and from earth”; and after this they went up into heaven.  And our father rose up and went to Zekuala (sic), and he found on the road three tired men of the mountains, and they were resting close by their dwelling in the shade.  And Abba Gabra Manfas Kedus looked at them and said in his mind, “I will hide from them.”  And they made haste and cried out, saying, “Do not forsake us at the throne of God.  Carry us a little way on thy back.”  And our father came, and saw that they were all broken old men, and that they were covered with grey hair.  And he lifted up one of them upon his back and he carried him and brought him a distance of one stade.  And the old man said unto him, “Now thou hast tired thyself, for thou neither eatest, nor drinkest, nor weepest.”  And our father said unto him, “By what dost thou know me?”  And the old man said, “Go and bring my companions”; and he turned and went, leaving the old man there, and he came to the place where the other two old men were, and he took one of them and brought him back to the old man and joined him.  And he said unto them, “Whence have ye come?  The odor of you is sweet and rejoiceth the heart, and carrieth away the senses.”  And the three old men rose up and stood up, and the three of them seemed to be one.  And they said unto him, “We will carry thee even as thou didst carry us for a little, and we will carry thee, and make thee to arrive in the Seventh Heaven.”  At that moment their countenance changed, and they put on the awe of Godhead, and they became like flames of fire, and lightning flashed forth from them.  And all the angels of heaven and earth came down, and were terrified, and the mountains and hills descended, and fell down, and all the rocks were broken in pieces and they became like dust.  At this moment the Father of Light took our father and carried him on His back, and brought him to the middle of the Second Heaven.  And His Son went back to him and took him, and carried him on His back, and brought him from the Second Heaven to the middle of the Third Heaven, and the Holy Spirit went back to him and brought him to His holy and awful throne; and the Three Persons and One Being sat on one throne.  And our Lord embraced him and kissed his mouth, and Father, Son and Holy Ghost embraced him and kissed him; as a father kisseth his son even so did They kiss him and embrace him.  And He showed him the four thrones of the Prophets, and Apostles, and the Righteous, and the Martyrs, and there remained three double [thrones].  And our Lord said unto him, “Heaven, and earth, and sun, and moon, and stars, are insufficient to be the price of one hair of thy head.  Depart, get thee down to Zekuala, and drown the devils who cast away thy bones, for they are boasting and they know not that I have raised thee up.  I will be in the sea, and the seven archangels shall follow thee, and fiery lightning shall go before thee.”  And our father flew on the back of the lightning, and the Three Persons sent him on his way, and returned to their throne.  And our father descended and fell upon their heads with swords of fire, and the lightning's consumed them, and they became ashes.  And the winds carried away their ashes, and those devils were in number seven thousand two hundred, and they all perished in one day, and there remained not one.  After this the lightning's and the archangels went up [into heaven].   And our father departed to the land of Kabd, where there were lions, and hyaenas, and wolves, and serpents.  After this the saints came to him one day, led by the Holy Spirit:  (1) Abba Samuel of Waldebba, (2) Abba ‘Ansesa of the land of Hazlo, (3) Abba Benyam of the lower land; and they had their lions with them.  They came to the land of Kabd, and our father hid himself; and they continued in praises seven days until they should find him.  After the seven days certain lions, which had been hidden, went forth, and came to the place where the three saints were, and they seized upon their lions and devoured their bodies; they devoured and licked up their bodies in a moment.  And the saints were terrified, and the lions disappeared.  And the saints were exceedingly sorry, and their sorrow was revealed unto our father.  And he rose up and came to them with the great power which was given unto him from heaven, and with him there were sixty lions, and sixty hyaenas, and angels bearing the tent of light.  And the hair of his head covered his whole body like a thatch and swept the ground, and the hair of his beard and neck reached the ground; and he was arrayed in his apparel.  And he came unto them with great might, and said unto them, “Peace be unto you, O saints of God.”  And those saints were terrified when they saw his terrifying majesty and the lions which roared before him, and the hyaenas which screamed and laughed like horses.  And our father said unto those saints, “For what purpose have ye come to me, [seeing that] I am alone in this desert place?”  And those saints said unto him, “We came unto thee having known of thy holy prayers, O chief anchorite in all the world, and we came unto thee that we might hold converse with the servant of God.  When we came and did not find thee we sorrowed and wept for seven days, and whilst we were praying on the seventh day thy lions came and seized our lions, and they ate them up and swallowed them and licked up their blood in the twinkling of an eye.”  And our father said unto his lions, “Why did ye eat what God had not commanded ye to eat?  Ye were ordered to eat nothing but the dust of my footsteps until the day of your deaths. Cast up and throw up what ye have eaten.”  And the lions opened their mouths, and threw up what thy had eaten, all the flesh and bones and blood of the saints’ lions, and none of their flesh and bones remained in their bellies; and they cast up everything in the twinkling of an eye.  And our father turned towards the east, and praised God, saying, “O Thou Who didst raise up Lazarus, raise them up, but do not raise up those whom Thou hast given to Thy servants to follow them.”  Then he blessed them and their bodies, that is to say, the dead bodies of the lions, and he said unto them, “Rise up by the power of God.”  And the lions rose up in the twinkling of an eye, and they were as they were at first, and they uttered cries, and purred, and lay down by our father, and they did homage at his feet.  And those lions spoke like men, and they said unto him, “Henceforward we will follow thee.  Those saints were unable to do anything for us, but thou hast raised us up and brought us out from the bellies of [thy] lions”; and our father sent them away to their former owners, and the saints marveled at the work of God.  And Abba Samuel said unto our father, “Art thou God?  We thought that thou wast a man like unto ourselves.  That which was dead thou wast raised from the belly of the lions, and what they had eaten thou hast made to come forth.  We have seen a marvelous thing this day!”

On the third day of Magabit our father fell sick, and on the Eve of the Sabbath his death drew nigh.  His pain and sickness seized him so strongly, that he well nigh died; and the hour of his death approached.  And there came unto him several anchorites who were recluses, whose names were, Fere Kedus, and Zara Buruk, and James, and Benyam, and Joseph, and our father told them that he was going to die, and that God had given him a covenant (or, promise).  When they heard this they wept, and sorrowed for the death of the saint, for he was the chief of the anchorites.  During the early hours of the Sabbath he lived with difficulty, and was exhausted, now burning and now sweating, but he never ceased to make supplication to his God, which was his custom with every breath.  When the evening came his body was in a state of collapse, and he was unable to speak, and those who were by him [sent] to fetch Gabra Andreas so that he might see his death and be a witness concerning it.  When the anchorites came to him, they told him that the blessed man was going to die; and when he heard [this] he wept and sorrowed bitterly.  And he rose up, and went to him.  And it was the evening of the Sabbath, for the day was ended, and it was the first hour of the night.  And he rose up [and went] to the place where he was, now his road was far from the abode of the holy man, and the place where the honorable man was.  And at the fourth hour of the night he found him lying like a majestic lion in the desert where there was none to terrify him and to overshadow him; and there was no one in the village which was near his road who had found him.  And he was lying with his hands spread out towards heaven, even as our Lord Jesus Christ was extended on the wood of the Cross at the time of His Passion, until the hour of His death.  And one saw the light which was upon him, and the grace of God which was on his face, and the ruddiness of his beauty, and his beard which was as white as snow.  When the seventh hour of the night came his soul separated itself from his body.  At that moment a sound was heard from heaven, like the sound of thunder, and there came down lamps which were like snow, and like unto crystal, and which thundered and rolled down from the heavens to the earth, each having the form and similitude of the other, and they shone like the sun, and moon, and stars.   Those who were there were terrified and afraid, because of the great awfulness of the things which were taking place, and which had come upon them; and they were unable to touch any part of his body.  And after his death they withdrew themselves and fled, and they lost their senses by reason of the fear and trembling which had come upon them.  Now the earth trembled, and the mountains quaked, and there was a mighty noise at the moment of the departure of the soul of the saint.  And those saints stood afar off that they might see and hear the mysteries of heaven and earth which were being performed.  And God fortified the minds of those saints, so that they might understand what had happened to the honorable man, our father, and might testify that they had seen God in His Three Persons descend to our father before his soul [departed].  And Jesus said unto him (?), “I have come to give thee oblations for thy commemoration.  Whosoever shall write or have written the book of thy strife shall pass with thee boldly, and his abode shall be in the mansions of light, and I will write his name on My awful throne.  Whosoever shall commemorate thee greatly and unceasingly shall pass through the lake of fire, and shall stand unashamed before thee.  If he giveth bread to the hungry I will give him the bread of heaven, and he shall nevermore hunger.  If he giveth drink to the thirsty I will make him to drink milk with the babes for ever.  If he giveth incense, even though he be polluted, he shall be with thee.  If he give flour I will make him to draw nigh unto the heavenly Jerusalem with thee.  If he give oil on the day of thy commemoration he shall be with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-Israel.  If he bring a lamp, he shall traverse the sea of fire and darkness, with twelve lamps of light, which shall be seven times brighter than the sun.  If they assemble on the day of thy commemoration, I will make them to assemble on Mount Zion with all the saints.”  And our father entreated God and said unto Him, “I have lived three hundred and sixty-nine years, I have never drunk water, I never thought about food for my body, and have eaten only wood (i.e. herbs), and the fruits of the desert, nor about clothing for my body, and I continued to be naked, and if I had lived in the sea I should have lived like the fish and the hippopotamus.  I lived in a tree like the birds, and I lived like the stag in the mountains, with the lion, the wolf, the panther and the serpent.  This is the reward which Thou givest to the saints.  I beseech Thee, O Lord, to be pleased to speak to me.”   And our Lord answered and said unto him, “If the sin of a man is not repented for, the man who hath committed it, not only if he be a Christian, but if he be an ‘Arminu, I will give unto thee if he celebrate thy commemoration, and he shall be saved, and he shall be with thee.  When thy soul is separated [from thy body] on the fifth day of Magabit they shall make twelve . . . as for Mary, My mother.  They shall make a habitation and I will bless their assemblies.  If he be old, I will give him a good seat.  And now ascend into the houses of light.  And take twelve crowns, and ten thousand lamps in thy right hand, and ten thousand lamps in thy left hand, one thousand before thee and one thousand behind thee, and twelve precious stones of light, and take horses of fire to bear thee.”  And our father answered and said unto Him, “O our Lord Jesus Christ, if men celebrate my commemoration with right hearts, unto how many generations wilt Thou give them unto me?”  And the Lord said unto him, “I will give them unto thee for fifteen generations.”  Then they heard a great voice which cried out and said, “Take the body of Gabra Manfas Kedus, and carry it away, and let his grave be in Jerusalem, on the right-hand side of the altar.”  And Michael and Gabriel and all the angels uttered cries of joy before his holy soul, and each of them cried out unceasingly, and the angels carried away his body to bury it as God commanded them; and thirty desert anchorites came to meet it.  And the hosts of angels placed his soul in the houses of light, saying, “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, all the time, now and always, and for ever and ever.”"

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Pray to God, and start a revolution instead!"
Selam, +GMK+
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« Reply #60 on: February 08, 2009, 09:28:00 AM »

Amen! Amen! Amen! May his prayer and blessing be with us all.

Gebre Menfes Kidus, Thank you for posting this, so that the whole world know his name and his deeds.

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« Reply #61 on: June 03, 2009, 10:48:01 AM »

St. Abuna Ewostatewos (Eustathius) of Ethiopia

St. Abuna Ewostatewos (Eustathius) was a monastic evangelist who lived from 1273 to 1352. He was born and was ordained as monk by his uncle Abba Zacharias in Gara’alta. The name of the father of this holy man was Christos Mo’A, and the name of his mother was Sena Haywat. Before his ordination as a monk his name was Ma’iqaba Egzi. Later on he founded his own monastery in Seraye. In his missionary, he attempted to abolish pagan animistic religions and ceremonial observances. He is well known for having uprooted twelve sanctified groves of trees devoted to pagan gods. In his teachings, he urged his followers to make their own food. He forbade them from taking donations from nobles. He condemned Christian rulers who were involved with the slave trade and he advocated the teaching of Christ. he made two pilgrimages to Jerusalem, and God made manifest through him signs and wonders which were innumerable in opening the eyes of the blind, and in healing the paralytics, and in casting out devils.

At the time, King Amde-tsion and many among the Ethiopian church as well as the representative of the Alexandrian Patriarch (Abuna Yaqob) were opposed to observing the Sabbath on Saturday. Ewostatewos however, preferred to observe the Sabbath on Saturday and Sunday and taught against the Alexandrian position on the Sabbath. The conflicting view between Ewostatewos and the church lead him to leave the country around 1338. He went to Egypt, Jerusalem, Cyprus, and finally settled in Armenia until his death. When he left Ethiopia, Ewostatewos was accompanied by some of his followers (Abba Bakimos, Marqorewos, and Gebre Iyesus) but he entrusted the leadership of the rest of the community to his senior disciple, Abba Absadi.

In Egypt he met Patriarch Benjamin and he presented his position on the question of the Sabbath by resorting to the Ten Commandments and to the Apostolic Cannons. He bitterly complained to the patriarch who but asked him to be reconciled with his countrymen. Seeing that his reception in Egypt was unfavorable, he passed on to Jerusalem suffering some acts of persecution on the way. From Jerusalem he passed on to Cyprus and then to Armenia.  On his way to Armenia, having arrived at the sea of Jericho he asked the sailors to allow him to embark in a ship.  And when they prevented him from doing so, he cast his head-fillet into the sea, and said a blessing over it in the Name of the Trinity, and made over it the sign of the Cross.  Then he got up upon the fillet as upon a ship, and two angels acted as sailors, and our Lord acted as captain, and they carried over his disciples who had no fear of the terror of the sea.

And by God’s will they crossed over the sea and came to the country of Armenia, and he held converse with the archbishop, and did homage to him, and was blessed by him.  When the archbishop saw him he rejoiced with exceeding great joy, and he received him gladly.  And St. Ewostatewos continued to teach the men of Armenia the canons of the apostles, which are in the ordinance of the Synod until they were all one brotherhood in doctrine.  When the time for his departure from this world had drawn nigh, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him, and made a covenant with him in respect of those who should invoke his name, and those who should celebrate his commemoration, and those who should do into writing the story of his fight.  And he died on Meskerem 18 (September 28), 1352. The bishops and priests prepared him for burial with great honor, and they buried him in the church of Mar Mehnam (Behnam) the martyr, and many miracles happened through his body.

After his death his disciples returned to Ethiopia with even stronger views on the subject of Sabbath. An Armenian monk who had joined Ewostatewos abroad (and named by him as Buruk-amlak) came with them and became an active member of their community in Ethiopia. The memory of the exile and death of Ewostatewos gave his followers a strong sense of unity, and they continued to defend his position on the Sabbath. By the advice of Abba Absadi, they went to different directions and each of them established a community of his own. Filipos established the monastery of Debre Bizen in Hamasien; Gebre Iyesus established the monastery of Debre San in Infraz; the others established the monasteries of Debre Mariam in Qohayin, Debre Dimah in Dambalas; Daqi Yita and Gunda Gundi.

Ewostatewan followers were persecuted and secluded until the reign of King Dawit in 1404. King Dawit issued a special royal decree to tolerate and fully protect Ewostatewan views which transformed the house of Ewostatewos from one of an actively persecuted sect into that of a respectable school. Later on, Emperor Zara Yakob in 1450 supervised the Council of Debre Mitmak in Shewa and finally resolved the conflict by accepting to observe Sabbath on Saturday and Sunday. Since then the Tewahido Church observes the two Sabbaths: Saturday as the Jewish Sabbath and Sunday as the Christian Sabbath.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido church remembers St. Ewostatewos on the 18th of every month and celebrates his annual festival on Meskerem 18.

Let his prayers and blessing be with us all. Amen.

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« Reply #62 on: July 12, 2009, 09:44:26 PM »

From the Syriac Orthodox Church, the life of St. Aho:

http://www.soc-wus.org/ourchurch/St.%20Aho.htm

St. Aho the ascetic (+524)
St. Aho was born around 419 A.D. in the city of Rish'aino (Ras ul-'ayn now), which is to the south and east of Nisibis in present day Syria near Hassekeh, his father's name was 'Ubadyo, Aho was one of his three children.  At the age of twelve became the disciple of a local monk, and the Lord bestowed wisdom on the child and he was enlightened and became wiser than all the other children in the instruction.

Around 439, Rish-'aino comes under Persian siege. The great army went up and they came to Nusaybin and the Romans retreated before them. They chased after them unto Harran. When the Persians returned, he commanded Nabon the Commander, that they should go out and capture and bind all of them. They began to flee across the Euphrates river. All the residents migrated to the West. The remainder were captured by the Persians. They pillaged and burned all their villages.

During this time. 'Ubadyo father of Aho came to him and said “My son, behold, our residents wait outside the gate of the city. Behold, your mother, and your brothers are with them. Rise, we shall go to them. “He agreed and went with him. When they came to the camp they sat until many people gathered, without number. They came to the bridge to the west of the city. When they crossed over the bridge of Euphrates they trampled each other much. About 200 people died, men, women, and children. When the Blessed Aho saw this, he returned to the city. His father, mother, and brothers went on their way. When they came to an inn of that day they sought and did not find him. They thought an accident happened to him. They mourned and wept. They gave up looking for him and went on their way.

They arrived at the city of 'Akka ('Aku) on the Mediterranean Coast.. His father died on the way but his brothers, because they knew how to fish, were fishing there, because the city was built by the sea. When they learned the city and the region, they took for themselves wives from there. They bought for them a boat for cargo. They were sailing to every place that they desired on the sea. Their mother sat with them in mourning because of the Blessed One.

Mor Aho is captured
Mor Aho returned to Rish'aino, he thought to himself that he might follow the life of an Anchorite, when he was thinking on this, met another young man about his age and he told him about his desire. They both decided to become Anchorite monks, and both decided to go to Nusaybin (Nisibis). When they were traveling on the road, behold there was a unit of a troop of Persians leading many captives. They caught the youths and bound them. They arrived at Nusaybin where they gathered all the captive. They were in number about 7000 souls. They were taken to the east of the city. Nabon the commander went with them and all the troop with him. The captives passed in front of them. Although Nabon was a pagan he was a compassionate man. He ordered the youth, the males and females, little boys and girls only, to be taken and released to their land. When they reviewed, they chose about 3000 souls and they released the remainder and returned them. They were led down to Persia and showed to the King. The King commanded that they should take one third of them for him and two thirds for the commander and the soldiers with him. They cast lots in accordance with the grace of the Messiah, who in every time helps those who do his will.

Mor Aho was given to a Christian soldier Michael to serve as a slave or indentured servant. Michael discovers that Aho is a Christian and they make a pact to serve together in the military, so Michael takes Aho to the King, (who most likely was Yazdagrid II). Michael tells the King that Aho is his nephew on his mother’s side, and he convinced the King to make Aho a soldier that he may become one like him and given  him a salary. The King saw in the Blessed One a countenance like the countenance of an angel. He favored him and ordered his master-chief. He gave him a horse and a mule and weapons that soldiers use and gave to him much silver. He registered him like one of the soldiers.

Aho and Michael leave the military
Mor Michael and Mor Aho served in the Persian army for 18 years. In around 458 A.D. They decided to follow Lord's steps when one day they stood in prayer until midnight according to their custom. While sackcloth and ashes was underneath them they were singing and saying, “O Lord show us the way to go towards you. O Lord we lift up ourselves.” (Ps.1:1) When they said this they fell into a deep sleep. The two Blessed Ones dreamed one dream. They saw a man of a beautiful appearance standing over them. His countenance was illuminated like the sun. He was wearing glorious clothing and standing over them. He said to them, “My brothers, rise, ascend at once together to the region to the west, for there the Lord prepares for us a place that we might dwell in it.” When they awoke from their sleep, those Blessed Ones related one to another what they saw. They rejoiced greatly for they realized that the Lord prepared before them his way. Very early in the morning they put their things on their mounts, everything they owned.

Miracles and Monks
They traveled to Nisibis, the place of Mor Aho’s capture. They entered the village of Teldoros [Tel-Darius (Dara)]. When they arrived at an inn on the way, they saw a certain village that was called Teldoros. They turned to the house in it. Now there was a master of the village, a certain man, a believer called Theodoros. When he saw them from afar he said to his master chief, “Behold, I see upon the road two solders. Take them to our dwelling.” When the master chief went out to their way he took them in and welcomed them and gave them water and washed their feet. He gave them bread and straw and fodder for their mounts. He was thus accustomed to do this for all travelers of the road.

Now Theodoros had a son, a deaf mute from his mother’s womb who was called Heworo. When the boy saw the master chief carrying implements and useful things for the two, he signed to his father in three fingers. He indicated to him there were three. Because the child saw three, the father was astonished at him and did not know what he was saying to him. When it was evening he made for them a dinner and he served and sat as they were eating. He gave drink to only those two. The boy signed to give to the other one. But his father thought he was mocking. His father became angry and said to the servant to take him out. But these Blessed Ones let him stay. He was silent and did not sign again.

After the dinner a little while Theodoros left the Blessed Ones and went to his bed. But the child, Hewaro remained with them while he slept. When they rose in prayer they said to each other this is the time for the name of the Christ (Messiah) to be praised by us for this child. They prostrated and they prayed and their tears ran before God, before they finished their prayer the child Heworo awoke and rose from his bed and ran to the feet of the Blessed Ones and he began kissing them. When the Blessed One saw him they fended him off. But that one began speaking with them in a straight tongue. When they heard his speaking, they rejoiced greatly and they praised God and asked him when they said to him, “How did your tongue get straight?”

But that one said to them that, “There was a man with you in the evening and he took me by the hand and gave to me a cup of cold water. When I drank he said to me, “Rise, go now near these ones.” When I came near you my tongue was straightened.”

When they miracle was known, the fame of Aho and Michael spread throughout the region and Theodoros offers to build them a monastery about a mile east of Tel-Darius in the village named Kasar. In Kasar St. Aho and Michael create a monastic community. Mor Aho and Mor Michael had a dam built for fish, vineyards planted, and many kinds of trees. About 20 monks joined the two saints in the monastery. Later, Mor Aho and Mor Michael are offered a nearby vineyard in the village of Zamorto (Kfar Zamoro is the name of the ruin today). In Zamorto, St. Aho casts a demon out of a man called Hobel.

Discovery of his long-lost family
The Blessed One, Mor Michael, after he remained with community five years, he returned to the region of Nineveh and built for him there a monastery. He built a pillar in it and sat upon it until his departure around 463 A.D. It is also about the same time that Aho takes a trip to Jerusalem for a year and a half. On his return he decides to follow the Mediterranean coast. At 'Akka he boards a ship which turns out to be owned by his brothers. After they question each other about their family history, final proof is given to the brothers. It is a birthmark or a mark from an injury on his shoulder.

He departs from the vessel in Antioch. His brothers cannot persuade him to return to 'Akka with them and meet his mother. He quotes scripture to them from Matthew 17:20, “Unless a man forsakes his father, mother and brothers he cannot be a disciple.”

When Mor Aho’s mother learns of this event after the brothers return she travels to Antioch, catches a caravan to Nisibis. The determined mother finds Mor Aho near his monastery. She suffers from heat exhaustion and her son gives her a drink of water. He takes her to the monastery knowing it is his mother but not revealing himself to her. When he finally reveals himself to his mother, she is speechless for an hour, weeping and crying for joy. Then she scolds him for causing her so much grief. Mor Aho out of guilt and devotion stays by her side for nine years until her death (474 A.D).

More Monasteries and Conversions
About this time Theodoros dies also, but not until after he builds another monastery for Mor Aho in Tur'abdin. He names the monastery the White Monastery after Hewaro the son of Theodoros. An additional donor to the monastery is Demetrius, who owned the fortress of Tur'abdin. He had a mausoleum built for himself but with enough room so that when Theodoros died, he was buried in it also.

After the death of his mother and Theodoros, Mor Aho leaves his community again and travels to a village called Hadas. Here he is invited by a childless woman, Dorsela, to be her guest. The servant girl of the woman tells the husband upon his return and makes it sound as if Mor Aho is up to no good. He has Mor Aho thrown in prison. Only after the girl confesses due to a dream, does the husband, named Maximus, rush to the prison and release Mor Aho begging him his forgiveness. Mor Aho confronts the girl and casts a demon out of her called Legion. The demon curses Mor Aho upon his leaving the girl and the region. Mor Aho blesses the girl and announces that she will have twins.

Mor Aho continues his journey and arrives in Athens where he stays for five year which must have been about the year 480 A.D. He continues his journey to Constantinople and lands a job helping the warden of the Church which contains the True Cross. After four years he convinces the warden to take a tiny silver of the True Cross and leave with him.

Mor Aho returns to Hadas apparently without the warden for he is not mentioned again in the story. Dorsela and Maximus are now the parents of seven children. They give their oldest son, Rumanos, to Mor Aho as a disciple. Mor Aho remained in the village two years.

Mor Aho then ventures into Armenia near the village of Ause where he encounters pagans who are celebrating under a giant tree. in whom they believe there is a god. Mor Aho observes the carnal activities and weeps and prays for them. He is discovered and two men bring him to the feast. Mor Aho fears for his life and prays to God. A tornado rips up the tree and casts it in the river about a mile away. The people are furious at Mor Aho for ruining their party. They want to kill him because he tells them that the God of Jesus Christ is his god. Others Christian missionaries had tried to convert them before he is told. They demand that the tree be brought back and their gods with it. Another storm comes and blows all the animals in the river. Two hours of darkness inhabits the land. The pagans relent and are converted to the faith of Mor Aho.

Mor Aho has a church built and sends for the Bishop of Miletene. Bishop Koriokos of Miletene comes and they baptize many people and ordain many priests and deacons. A monastery is built Mor Aho resides there for 22 years. According to the periods of time identified in the story, this takes place about the year 508 A.D.

The Death of Aho
The blessed St. Aho put on years and it seemed to him that he was sick unto death. When the villagers heard, they all gathered around him weeping much. When the Blessed One saw them he quieted them and comforted their heart and said to them, “My brothers this is the end of every man.” But those ones were very sad about his departure. They wept and they said, “O Father of Peace and Mercies, where shall we go to find you and who shall be a leader for us like you? Stretch to your right hand and confirm your sons and daughters while we are standing. Give to us peace and go in peace, merciful peace. Then go to the region of pleasures. We remain here tormenting ourselves. O Good Shepherd where will you go. Your flock is left without a shepherd. You saved us from the mad wolves that would have torn us apart.”

When the Blessed One heard all this suffering he rose and sat on his bed and opened his mouth and spoke with them and said unto them, “Since you offended me in the time of my death I know that the Messiah has called me to not leave you. He stretched out his hand and signed them with the Cross. He committed them to the Messiah and said to them, “O Messiah you labored from my youth to my old age. He shall guide you in all purity and holiness.” He turned and kneeled in prayer and prayed thus, he said,

“O Lord God, mighty and holy, give to your servant in this hour the petition that I ask from you.
May every region or house or village be reminded of your name and the name of your servant.
May there not be a single house from among them with sickness, nor paralysis, nor weariness from evil, nor difficult diseases.
Also do not make barren its houses. Give them times of peace and seasons of blessings. Make them fervent in abundant exaltations and continual bounty.
Make them fervent in all goodness and in every place where they perform vigil or intercession.
In your name and in the name of your servant may there not be hail, nor blight, nor locust, nor plague.”

He turned to them and said, “My moment arrives.”

When he said these things they thought to themselves that it was not the end. But he gave his soul to the Creator for eternal sleep. His face was illuminated like the sun. But those ones when they saw that he died they were weeping violently and they made a great lamentation without end. The women were mourning for him like the Hebrews mourned for Aaron. All the region gathered and they made a great procession and service for three days. They embalmed him in Maroon. They wrapped him in pure silk and expensive incense. They buried him in a grave of the monastery. Every man began to lament for him. Two disciples remained and they wept much. All the people gathered and they lamented about the death of the Blessed One.

The days of the life of the Blessed One were 105 and his departure from this world was in the month of January 25th. 524 A.D. May the Lord enlarge his remembrance!. Amen.
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« Reply #63 on: September 24, 2009, 10:10:01 PM »

Here is a slide show about the pious Syriac empress, St. Theodora:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5zYblo5LQE

Who would have thought that someone would do a slide show like that on youtube?  I hope more such videos are coming.
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Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #64 on: November 15, 2009, 11:08:49 PM »

'Pope Kyrillos VI: Intercessor of Students' - Multimedia Presentation, Article and Primary Accounts of his Miracles. In denying the honour and dignity of a teacher, he earned the true honour and true dignity of a true teacher in the eyes of students. In denying the wisdom of the world, he received the true wisdom from above. Although ignorant of the world's philosophies, he became a true philosopher. On all these accounts, and many more, the late and blessed Pope St Kyrillos VI attracted multitudes of students of academia who eagerly scurried to his papal residence with books and notes in hand seeking his blessings and prayers. The great Pope served the lowly students humbly, patiently, compassionately, empathetically and with miraculous wonders. Click here to read more.
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« Reply #65 on: January 14, 2010, 12:31:01 AM »

One of my favorite saint stories about the Coptic Pope HH St. Kyrillos VI shared to me by my father: 

A newly ordained priest did Vesper prayers every Saturday, but he did it all alone.  He then complained to the Pope, "I don't have a congregation, and I don't even have any deacon at all that can come and help me serve the Vesper prayers."  The Pope told him to try this one last Saturday, and if there are no more people, he can stop doing Vesper prayers at the church.

That Saturday, the priest went and started Vesper prayers and no one was there.  But within minutes, the Pope and a few bishops came, and the Pope commanded that the priest continue in leading the prayers while he and the bishops take the role of the deacons serving him.  Embarrassed, the priest pleaded the Pope should lead as is the canonical thing to do, but the Pope insisted, and the service continued with the priest leading and the Pope and the bishops as deacons.  From that point on, the priest never complained again, and years went by and more and more people did start to show up.
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« Reply #66 on: January 14, 2010, 01:11:33 AM »

One of my favorite saint stories about the Coptic Pope HH St. Kyrillos VI shared to me by my father: 

A newly ordained priest did Vesper prayers every Saturday, but he did it all alone.  He then complained to the Pope, "I don't have a congregation, and I don't even have any deacon at all that can come and help me serve the Vesper prayers."  The Pope told him to try this one last Saturday, and if there are no more people, he can stop doing Vesper prayers at the church.

That Saturday, the priest went and started Vesper prayers and no one was there.  But within minutes, the Pope and a few bishops came, and the Pope commanded that the priest continue in leading the prayers while he and the bishops take the role of the deacons serving him.  Embarrassed, the priest pleaded the Pope should lead as is the canonical thing to do, but the Pope insisted, and the service continued with the priest leading and the Pope and the bishops as deacons.  From that point on, the priest never complained again, and years went by and more and more people did start to show up.

Glory to God! What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it Mina. Smiley

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« Reply #67 on: January 16, 2010, 05:07:49 PM »

A polemical post was split off and put in the private forum:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25425.new.html#new

Just to let the person who made the post know, any polemical discussions regarding the Oriental Orthodox, our saints, or any other aspect of our tradition, is to take place in the private forum.  If you want to be admitted into the private forum, please pm Fr. Chris.
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« Reply #68 on: April 13, 2010, 02:05:14 AM »

This Thursday, the Coptic Church commemorates the life of St. Macrobius of Kaw, a contemporary of St. Severus of Antioch the pillar of faith and St. Theodosius I of Alexandria.  From the Coptic Synexarium:

On this day also the saint Anba Macrobius, the son of the governor of the city of Kaw, departed in peace. When Anba Severus, Archbishop of Antioch, was wondering around the cities of Upper Egypt, he came to the city of Kaw and Macrobius ministered unto him. He accompanied Anba Severus in his visit to the monastery of Anba Moses, where he saw from the holiness of the monks, their asceticism and devoutness, made him ask Anba Moses to accept him as a monk. Anba Moses indicated to him the hardship of the monastic life and its difficulties especially he was raised in luxury and family wealth, and the one that slept on silk, could not take the rough life.

When Anba Moses saw the insistence of Macrobius on the monastic life he asked him first to resign his job that he took after his father, and to relinquish all his money and possessions. He went to his city Kaw, appointed his brother in his place, returned and put on the monastic garb. When his brothers Paul, Ilias, and Joseph saw what their brother had done, they came to him and became monks by the hands of Anba Moses.

Anba Macrobius built many monasteries and many monks, about a thousand gathered around him, and he also built convents for about a thousand nuns. He used his money to build many places for those that did not desire the monastic life, and he supported those who sought his help. Then he sent to Anba Moses asking to send him brethren to prepare those gathered around him for the monastic life, they came and put on them the monastic garb.

Christians from the cities of Assuit, Shatb, and neighboring cities came and gave him many gifts and much money to help him in building the churches and monasteries. He accepted it from them and blessed them. Anba Macrobius increased in virtues, asceticism and giving alms to the weak, needy, widows, orphans and the lonely, beside caring for his monasteries. His alms were from his own money not from that was offered. God granted St. Macrobius the gift of healing, they brought him the sick and he healed them with the power of God and the strength of their faith.

The father the Patriarch Anba Theodosius, heard about him and he wrote to him praising and encouraging him to be steadfast in virtue, asceticism and loving the strangers and asked him to come for the people of Alexandria to be blessed by him. When he came to the Patriarch, he rejoiced with him and called the people of Alexandria to receive the blessing from him, and he ordained him a priest. Macrobius returned to his monastery, the people of Assuit and Shatb received him with songs and hymns until they came to the monastery. Many miracles were performed through his hands, and when he finished his good strife, he departed in peace. Multitudes gathered from Assuit, Shatb, Abu-Sergah, Kaw and the neighboring cities, and his brother Anba Yousab, who was appointed as his successor in running the monasteries in the fear of God, prayed and buried him.

The appearance of his body was on the seventh day of the blessed month of Tubah, seven hundred thirty three years after his departure by the hands of the deacon Los El-Talawy the servant of his monastery's church, during the days of Anba Yousab, bishop of Akhmeem and the notable Isaac the scribe of the prince Eiz-Eldeen El-Hamawy. Anba Yousab, bishop of Akhmeem, took the body out of its tomb in the mountain, down to the church of the monastery, where they buried him with hymns and praises.

May his prayers be with us. Amen.
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« Reply #69 on: May 02, 2010, 05:19:36 PM »

Today the Coptic Church commemorates the life of ninth century Coptic Patriarch, Pope St. Shenouda I, who was commemorated most for being a wonder-worker, an upholder of Christological Orthodox faith, and a charitable man.  May his prayers be with us all, Amen!

On this day, of the year 596 A.M. (April 19th., 880 A.D.), the great father Pope Sinuthius (Shenouda I), 55th Pope of the See of St. Mark, departed. This holy father was a monk in the monastery of St. Macarius. He advanced in righteousness and worship, and was ordained archpriest for the monastery.

Shortly after, he was chosen for the Patriarchate with the recommendation of the people and bishops. He was enthroned on the 13th day of Tubah 575 A.D. (January 8th., 859 A.D.), and great tribulations and severe persecutions befell him. God performed through him many signs and healed many grievous sicknesses.

Once there was a drought in the city of Mariout for three years, the wells dried up and the farm land became barren. This father came to the church of St. Mina, celebrated the Divine Liturgy, and supplicated God to have mercy upon His creation. At the setting of the sun of that day, the rain began lightly then ceased. This father entered his room and stood up praying and he said: "O My Lord Christ, have mercy on Thy people with the riches of Thy compassion, and let them be filled with Thy good pleasure." Before he finished his prayer, mighty thunders and lightnings started, and the rain descended like a flood, until the wells, the vineyards, and the farms were filled with water. The people rejoiced, glorifying God the wonder worker.

When this father was in the wilderness visiting the monasteries, the Arabs of Upper Egypt came to the desert of Scetis to plunder the monasteries and kill the monks. The Pope took his staff that had the sign of the cross on it and he went forth to meet them, when they saw the Cross they retreated and fled away. (The account of this wonder is mentioned in the 9th day of Baramoudah

Some men, in a village called Boukhnessa, one of the villages of Mariout, said that He Who suffered for us was only a man and that the Divinity had departed from Him. This Pope wrote a letter and sent it during the Holy Fast (Lent) to be read in all the churches. He said in it, "God the Word suffered for us in His Body, and His Divinity was not separated from His humanity, not for a twinkling of an eye. The pain and suffering did not touch and affect the Divinity, as when you hammer a red hot iron, the iron suffers from the hammering but not the flame. For the passion of the Humanity to be of value, the Hypostatic union with the Divinity was a must, and through this passion Christ redeemed all the humanity."

Also, some men from the city of El-Balyana, and their bishops, said that the Divine Nature died. When the father heard that, he wrote to them saying: "The Nature of God, the Word, is unknowable, intangible, and impassable for it was impossible for the pain to affect its essence. The participation of the Divinity with the humanity in passion is moral participation, to give a value to these sufferings, to pay the debt of the humanity to God the Omnipresent, and that would only be possible if the Divinity would participate morally without affecting His essence. So we say "Holy God, Who was crucified for us, have mercy upon us." When his letter reached them, they turned from their error, and the bishops came and confessed the true and right faith before the Pope and asked for forgiveness.

Pope Shenouda I, cared greatly for the churches, their buildings, and their needs. He also cared for the places wherein pilgrims sojourned, and what money has left to him, he gave to the poor and the needy.

When he finished his good course, he departed in peace. He stayed on the Chair of St. Mark for 21 years, 3 months and 11 days.

His prayers be with us. Amen.
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Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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« Reply #70 on: May 30, 2010, 02:01:38 PM »

I am glad I found this page. I found it by doing a search on Debre Mitmak church in Egypt. For our lord Jesus Christ and our holy mother two fold virgin and god bearer passed by this place. I wanted to know if it still in existence and what has become of this church in these modern times. I often have difficulty finding these holy places because often the names are changed or known by another name. In regards to the monk that graces this page. I can understand his wanting to hide himself from the public eyes. For any saint or holy one will say all glory belongs to God not mortal man. So he hides the hands to put the glory back where it belongs... To God!

Glory be to God forever.

THE NINETH MONTH
Ginbot 24
(June 01)

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,
ONE GOD.  AMEN.

On this day our Lord Jesus Christ came to the land of Egypt, and He was a child whose days were two years, even as the Holy Gospel saith.  And the angel of God appeared unto Joseph in a dream, saying, “Rise up, take the child and His mother, and depart to the land of Egypt and remain there until I tell thee.”  And the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ took place for two reasons, in the operation of His wisdom, firstly:  If Herod, the infidel, found Him, and was able to kill Him, others would think that His Incarnation was from below; and secondly:  That the men of the land of Egypt might not be deprived of His grace, and of His going about in their midst, and that He might smash the idols which were in the land of Egypt, and that the prophecy of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled which said, “Behold, God shall mount upon a swift (or, light) cloud, and shall come to the land of Egypt, and the idols of Egypt shall fall down” (Isaiah xix, I).  Our Lord, in the operation of His wisdom, fled before Herod, but it was not through fear that He fled.  And the first city at which Joseph, and our holy Lady, the Virgin Mary, the God-bearer, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and Salome, whose name was “Balata,”  arrived, would not receive them.  And they dug there a well of water, and it became a means of healing, not only to the men of that city, but also to all other men.  Thence they departed to the monastery of Gamnudi, and they crossed the river towards the west.  And the Lord put His foot upon a stone, and the mark of the sole of His foot is in the stone to this day, and the name of that place is called “the place of the sole of the foot of the Lord Jesus.”  And our Lord said unto His mother, the holy Lady, the Virgin Mary, “Know thou, O Mary, my mother, that in this place a church shall be built in thy name and in mine.  And I will make manifest therein signs and wonders, until the end of the world, and it shall be called ‘Debre Mitmak.’”  Thence they departed towards the river, and crossed over towards the west, and He saw the desert of Scete from afar, and our Lord Jesus Christ blessed it, and He said unto His mother, “Know, O my mother Mary, that in this desert there shall live many monks, [and] ascetics, and spiritual fighters, and they shall serve God like the angels.”  Thence He came to Debre Mesrak.  And there was a staff in the hand of Joseph, wherewith he used to smite (?) our Lord Jesus Christ, and Joseph gave Him the staff.  And when He took it He said unto His mother, “We will tarry here”; and that place and its desert, and the well of water, which is the first there, became known as Matareya (Near Heliopolis).  And our Lord took Joseph’s staff, and broke it into little pieces and planted these pieces in that place, and He dug with His own divine hands a well, and there flowed from it sweet water, which had an exceedingly sweet odor.  And our Lord took some of the water in His hands, and watered therewith the pieces of wood which He had planted, and straightway they took root, and put forth leaves, and an exceedingly sweet perfume was emitted by them, which was sweeter than any other perfume.  And these pieces of wood grew and increased and they called them “Balsan” (i.e. the balsam trees).  And our Lord Jesus Christ said unto His mother, the holy Virgin Mary, “O my mother, these Balsan, which I have planted, shall abide here for ever, and from them shall be [taken] the oil for Christian baptism, when they baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”  Thence they went to the city of Behensa, and to a place, which is called Bet Iyasus, which is interpreted “House of Jesus”; and our Lord Jesus Christ dug there a well whereof the water cured every sickness and every pain.  And He also set a sign in a certain well of the river of Egypt, which rose [in flood] every year.  At the time of prayer at which they offered up incense at mid-day to God by that well, as soon as the reading of the Gospel was ended the water which was in the well would rise up and come to the mouth of the well; and they used to receive a blessing from it, and straightway the water would recede until it reached its former level; and the people used to measure by the cubit the height to which it rose above its normal level at the bottom of the well.  If the height were twenty cubits, there would be great abundance in the land of Egypt that year; if the height were eighteen or seventeen cubits, there would also be abundance, but if the height were only sixteen cubits there would be a great famine throughout the land of Egypt.  And then they went to ‘Eshmunayn, and our Lord broke the idols which were therein; and they dwelt there for a few days with a man whose name was ‘Apelon.  And there were there some komol trees, and they bowed [their heads] before our Lord Jesus Christ, and they have remained bent until this day.  Thence they went to Debre Kuskuam, and they remained therein for six months, and our Lord placed a well therein, the water of which healed every sickness.  And when our Lord had finished living in the land of Egypt the days which He wanted to live there, that is to say, three years and six months, and Herod was dead, the angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream, and again he spoke to him, saying, “Rise up and take the Child, and His mother, and depart to the land of Israel.”  When they returned from that place, they came to the city of Mahareka; and having come to Mesr (Cairo), they dwelt in the cave, which is the church of Saint Sergius in Mesr (Cairo).  After this they went out from Mesr (Cairo) and came to Matariyah, and they bathed there, and the well therein which our Lord Jesus Christ made became holy and blessed from that hour, even as has already been said.  And thence went forth the oil “Balasan,” [the plants of which] our Lord planted, and with this oil Christian baptism is made perfect, and with it churches and altars, and sacred property are consecrated.  And with it they give relief and healing to all those who are sick, and they present it as a gift to kings, who boast themselves of its possession.  And from this place they went to Mehdab.  And by His return was fulfilled the prophecy of Hosea the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt have I called My Son” (Hosea 11:1).  And it is meet to us to celebrate a spiritual festival on this day, and we should sing on it the words of David the prophet, “God hath wrought signs in the land of Egypt, and wonders in the Field of Zoan” (Psalm 78:12).  And also, “He hath wrought in thee the signs of Egypt, and in the Egyptians,” and with them.  “Glory be to God our Lord Jesus Christ, and to this Good Father, and to the Holy Life-giving Spirit, for ever and ever.  Amen.”  Salutation to Thy coming to the land of Egypt.
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« Reply #71 on: May 30, 2010, 05:04:06 PM »

Welcome to the forum, Fikerte Selassie!
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« Reply #72 on: May 30, 2010, 05:35:27 PM »

I give thanks for the warm welcome!
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« Reply #73 on: June 14, 2010, 09:42:23 AM »

I am glad I found this page. I found it by doing a search on Debre Mitmak church in Egypt. For our lord Jesus Christ and our holy mother two fold virgin and god bearer passed by this place. I wanted to know if it still in existence and what has become of this church in these modern times. I often have difficulty finding these holy places because often the names are changed or known by another name. In regards to the monk that graces this page. I can understand his wanting to hide himself from the public eyes. For any saint or holy one will say all glory belongs to God not mortal man. So he hides the hands to put the glory back where it belongs... To God!

Glory be to God forever.


Fikerte Selassie,

You may very well know that we have the Debre-Mitmak church here in Ethiopia. This church is called as “Tsadqane Mariam” and is located at Sela-dingay, Tegulet of North Showa. The history of this church, indicates that it was built during the period of King Zara’ Yaqob (15th C.). When the king heard that the Debre-Mitmaq in Egypt was destroyed by muslims, he assisted the Copts in rebuilding it. Again the muslims destroyed the second church. Tradition says that it was rebuilt twice and destroyed twice. When he knew that no trace of this church was left in Egypt, he decided to build the Debre Mitmaq church at his own seat at Tegulet and he did this with the help of the two Coptic bishops that were in charge of the EOTC during his reign. In the chronicle of Zara Yaqob translated by Richard Pankhrust the following is written:

“In the seventh year of his reign, (1441) he left the province of Amhara and went to Eguba, situated in the district of Tagulat, celebrating there the ceremony of baptism and made halt in that land which he much liked. While he was there he received a message from the patriarch Abba Yohannes informing him that the Muslims had destroyed by fire the monastery of Mitmaq in Egypt, being enraged at Our Lady Mary having appeared in that locality, and because a great number of Muslims, who witnessed this miracle, had become converted to the faith of the Christians. When he received this message, our King Zara Yaqob burst into tears and was profoundly stricken, as well as all his court and the pilgrims who had made formerly the voyage to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, to console him¬self and to restore his courage and that of his people, he said to them: "Do not weep O Christian people, and do not feel afflicted because the monastery of Mitmaq in Egypt has been destroyed. We will build here a church to Our Holy Virgin Mary and will call it Debra Metmaq." Our King commanded at once the con¬struction of a church at that place and granted it land in the district of Tagulat. He caused ornaments to be executed in it, brought its construction to a finish and installed priests there. Following up his declaration and the oath he had made, he called it Debra Mitmaq. …”

Hiywot
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« Reply #74 on: June 14, 2010, 01:04:01 PM »

I give thanks Hiywot for the information regarding Debre Mitmak Church in Egypt. I thankful that our lord put it in your heart to make a response to me about that holy place. I too feel the sadness in my heart that it was destroyed twice and that no trace of it was left in Egypt. I would like to also inquire about a certain holy text. The Gospel of Abba Garima. If you know how I might get a copy or a translation of this holy works I would be very grateful.

Glory be to God forever!

THE TENTH MONTH
Senne 07
(June 14)

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,
ONE GOD.  AMEN.

On this day became a martyr the holy and honorable victor, Abba ‘Abaskiron from the city of Kalen.  This saint was one of the soldiers of Arianus, the governor of Antinoe.  And when the Edict of the wicked Emperor Diocletian concerning the worship of idols arrived, this saint rose up among the people, and cursed the emperor and his gods, and no man dared to punish him because he was a soldier, but they shut him up in the governor’s house.  And when the governor of the city of Antinoe went to the city of Asyut, the emperor sent this saint and five other soldiers to him; and the names of these soldiers were:  Walfius, and Herminius, and Arkias, and Peter, and Carnius.  These men made a covenant with Abba ‘Abaskiron to shed their blood for the sake of the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And having stood up before the governor of Antinoe, he commanded the soldiers to cut off the belts of these men, and then to torture them; and the soldiers did as he commanded.  Of these five soldiers some of them had their heads cut off, and some of them were crucified, and they were crowned and received the crown of martyrdom.  And the governor commanded the soldiers to beat Saint ‘Abaskiron severely, and after this to flay his head down to his neck; and they did so.  Then he tied him to the tail of a horse, and dragged him about the city; then he set him in a cauldron of [boiling] lead, and shut down the cover on him; and after this he put him in the furnace of the public baths; but under all these tortures the angel of God came to him, and helped him and comforted him, and made him to endure patiently, and raised him up whole and uninjured.  When the governor was tired of torturing him he brought to him a certain sorcerer whose name was Alexander, and who thought that he could cast spells on the sun and moon, and that he could ascend in the air and hold converse with the stars.  And he commanded them to shut the doors of the baths, and to sprinkle the whole building with urine; and they did as he commanded.  Then he took a serpent, and uttered words over it, and slit it into two parts.  And he took the venom and the liver of the snake, and laid them in a brass bowl, and boiled them, and then took them to Saint Abba ‘Abaskiron; and he brought the vessel into the bath house and gave the saint that boiling poison, and he swallowed it.  And the magician cried out, saying, “O master of the powers of darkness, work with thy strength upon this Christian”; and when nothing evil whatsoever happened to the saint, he marveled exceedingly.  And Saint Abba ‘Abaskiron said unto the sorcerer, “Satan, on whom thou reliest for help, will not help thee, and he himself shall punish thee by the might of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  And straightway an evil Satan leaped upon the magician, and he began to make him roll about until he confessed our Lord Jesus Christ.  And the governor commanded the soldiers to cut off the head of the magician with the sword, and they did so, and he received the crown of martyrdom.  And the wrath of the governor against the holy man was increased, and he had him tortured severely, and they mutilated him cruelly; and whilst the saint was suffering this horrible torture, he gave thanks to God.  After this the governor commanded them to cut off the head of Abba ‘Abaskiron with the sword, and he received the perfect crown of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens.  Salutation to Abba ‘Abaskiron. [Here is] one of the miracles of this Saint Abba ‘Abaskiron.  There was a church in a certain village in the north of Egypt, and the priests of that church were committing evil deeds; and the saint waited for them to turn from their wickedness, but they neither repented of it nor turned from it.  And the saint entreated God, Who brought upon them the disease of the plague, and they all died at once.  And the saint departed, riding upon a horse, and he arrived at a city the name of which was Beyahu, in Upper Egypt, at the time when men sleep, and when the men of the city were talking together by the light of the moon before they went to sleep.  And the saint came to them, riding upon a horse, and he said unto them, “Peace be unto you”; and as soon as they saw him they rose up straightway, and they welcomed him, and they said unto him, “Peace be to thee, O our lord.”  and he said unto them, “I wish ye to give me a little piece of ground,” and making a line on the earth with his spear he said, “This will be enough for me.”  And the men answered and said unto him, “Yea, our lord, as thou commandest us so shall it be”; and he gave them one hundred dinars in gold, and disappeared from them forthwith, and they marveled at the appearance of him, and at his words.  And after these men had gone to sleep in their houses, he transported the church from Lower Egypt to the city of Beyahu in Upper Egypt; and when the men of the city rose up in the morning they found the church standing there; and they marveled greatly, and glorified God.  And many miracles have been worked therein from that day to this.

And on this day one thousand six hundred men suffered martyrdom under Herminius (or, Arminius), the governor.  Salutation to the sixteen hundred martyrs of Herminius.  [In the Bodleian MS. the number is 18,000.]

And on this day also was re-opened the church of our holy Lady, the Virgin Mary, the God-bearer, in the market place of Wela, in the city of Mesr (Cairo), after it had been closed for three years and six months.  This took place in the year one thousand and twenty of the [Era of the] Righteous Martyrs (A.D. 1304).  Salutation to the opening of the church, O Virgin Mary.

Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints.  Amen.
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« Reply #75 on: June 15, 2010, 08:41:16 AM »

I give thanks Hiywot for the information regarding Debre Mitmak Church in Egypt. I thankful that our lord put it in your heart to make a response to me about that holy place. I too feel the sadness in my heart that it was destroyed twice and that no trace of it was left in Egypt. I would like to also inquire about a certain holy text. The Gospel of Abba Garima. If you know how I might get a copy or a translation of this holy works I would be very grateful.

Glory be to God forever!


Fikerte Selassie,

I am happy that you found my response helpful.

1.   More on Debre-mitmaq

Debre-mitmaq is a Geez name that means “Monastery of the bath”. This monastery was located in the present day city of Sakha where the footprint of the Baby Jesus on a rock is found. According to my references, Sakha is located between the branches of the Nile Delta - and the town 22 miles north of Tanta, 20 miles west of any Samanoud it falls within the province Kfraheik. This site was a site of pilgrimage in the month of May because of the appearance Virgin Mary between 21st and 25th days of the month. It is written that demolition of the monastery in the fifteenth century has diminished the importance of the location of the “monastery of bath” or Debre-mitmaq.

2.   Gospel of Aba Gerima

Did you mean “Gedle Aba Gerima” or the “Life of Aba Gerima”? There is no book known as “Gospel of Aba Gerima”. But “Gedle Aba Gerima” is printed in both Geez and Amharic and is available in some of the Tewahido book shops, here, in Addis Ababa. You can call your friends or relatives in Addis and ask them to buy it and send it to you.

Hiywot
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« Reply #76 on: June 15, 2010, 05:41:28 PM »


Here is photos of it on the web page. http://www.hewit.com/skin_deep/?volume=23&article=1


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Volume 23 - Spring 2007

    * Tsbook (Tigrinya for Good) - The Gospel of Abba Garima
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Tsbook (Tigrinya for Good) - The Gospel of Abba Garima
by Mark Winstanley
 

"He is very jumping," said Abba Welda Howareyouat. A black-faced Guereza monkey is interrupting Lester Capon as he repairs a page from Abba Garima's Gospel. A small troop of these long-tailed monkeys daily visit the olive trees that surround the grass compound of the treasury of the Abba Garima Monastery. They are not the only visitors. A troop of baboons forage on the cactus fruit, a grey hornbill calls loudly, a family of Augur's buzzard often throw their shadows over our bindery in the sun. A pair of starlings, but not ordinary starlings, these ones have been caught in paint ball fight, chatter from the lintels of the church. The sky is an impossible deep blue, a cooling breeze threatens to scatter our work and the sun shines warmly here at 8,000 feet in the Tigrean Highlands. Beneath us the landscape is a patchwork of green and golden terraced fields. The rains have been plentiful this year. The shadow that hangs over this rocky, stony but beautiful land is the failure of the rains in the three successive years of 1982, 83 & 84 which lead to the famine.

Who, what, where, when?

Who? - Lester Capon - Bookbinder; Mark Winstanley, assistant to Lester; Jacques Mercier - French scholar of Ethiopian art; Abba Daniel, Ethiopian monk from the Patriarch; Sam Fogg, an English collector.

What? The illuminated pages of the 6th century Gospel of Abba Garima need urgent attention.

Where? At the Abba Garima Monastery near Adwa, Tigray, Northern Ethiopia

When? Early October 2006

Background Details

In about 400AD, legend has it that Nine Syrian Saints converted the Abyssians to Christianity. They introduced a much more Judaic version than the Roman, Greek or Coptic, a version that has remained unchanged to this day. The language is Ge'ez and the writing is in Ethiopian script. The Nine Saints also started a monastic movement that has many echoes in Mount Athos. An aversion to the female sex includes cows, mares, nanny goats but not hens. This exclusion still runs and so prevents faranji women from entering the sacred ground of the monasteries. One of the Nine, Abba Garima came to Adua. He founded the monastery where it stands today. Here in Northern Tigray one of the world's most extraordinary miracles has happened. Not that in one day, according to legend, he wrote all 350 pages on sturdy goat's vellum and illuminated the first 12 pages on both volumes. Not that it has survived the destruction of the monastery twice once by Queen Judith, a Falasha queen in the 10th century and second in 1570's by Mohamed Gragn, a Somali Moslem who swept all aside with his Turkish muskets. No, the miracle is that this is the only document of its kind in Africa. There are no known Ethiopian manuscripts older than 11th century. The illuminations are of stunning quality. The artist has used bright colours that retain their lustre. Fiery reds, deep blues and delicate greens suffuse the pages. The black text reveals a clear and confident hand with 23 lines in double columns to the pages. I will mention more about its condition later

I am not a historian. I was very happy to be Lester Capon's assistant. It was quite enough to fetch and carry while a real expert worked. As those of you who work regularly on such sumptuous books, know the constant judgement calls you must make. This was no different. However there were a few difficulties. Firstly the bindery was outside. We had to move three times a day to stay out of the sun. There was no space to store anything apart from two biers (empty of coffins) on which we dried the dyed Japanese paper and vellum strips. We were plagued by flies that seemed to take pleasure in exchanging bodily fluids via our eyes and nostrils. The monks liked to join in. The abbot, Abba Menhr Tecklamaryat attacked the cord that attached the metal front with a scalpel. As the atmosphere lightened he borrowed Lester's paring knife to cut his nails, strewing his cuticles over page 4 of the manuscript. I lent him my 'Leatherman' as he needed a pedicure. Beside us renovations to a stone hut were in progress. At one stage a 'chippy' wielding his adze on a doorframe was sending showers of chippings over our bench. There were constant interruptions. A couple of donkeys would stroll by and take a few mouthfuls of grass. Ungulate damage wouldn't have sounded too good in the match report, but the hardest part was Lester's health. He had a chest infection that was just about kept at bay by pills. How he managed to complete a long day's work under these conditions is a tribute to his fortitude and doggedness.

The Prelude in Adwa

Our journey out did not start particularly well as the loading bay of the Ethiopian Airways jet wouldn't open. We decided to fly on the next flight. At least we had three seats to ourselves so we were well rested as we sat in the hot sun in Addis Abba Airport awaiting a connecting flight to Axon. We board the plane with Jacques Messier and Daniel, a monk from Hayk. We both took the chance to soak up the views of the mountains and green and black chequered fields of rural Tigray. I was only mildly upset to find my luggage, including two small presses, had stayed in Addis (they turn up the following day).

On our way to Adwa in a springless 70's Toyota van we climb over a pass of 9,000 feet. A grand view of extinct volcanoes punctures the horizon. The tiny terraced fields fringed with acacia trees are green with tef and barley. We check into the Tefare Hotel. Its better days were long ago but at least the bed bugs weren't solely to blame for the sleepless nights. They were aided by our first tasting of injera and goat titbits of vindaloo strength, the continual music from the bar, the muezzin's calls to prayer and the chanting from the local church were fairly effective.

We awake to Abba Garima's Saint's Day. We are swept up the hill to the new church by a procession of 5,000. The streets are filled with shamma-shawled pilgrims, the women singing and ululating. In the churchyard ten monks are singing and dancing to the beat of a couple of drums. Their routine may have inspired the Morris dancers. The steps of the church are covered with carpets. In front stand monks crowned with 18th C crowns and helmets shaded by highly coloured umbrellas. Some hold silver and bronze crosses. A metal studded Bible is carried on the shoulder of one monk.

The Pope made his entrance. He is wearing a white beehive bonnet, his robes are a white raiment shot with gold thread. He is flanked by a retinue of black coated, black bearded bishops, who wear black satin caps like judges about to pass the death sentence. The crowd joins in singing with a cantor who after fifteen minutes of plainchant, is cut off in his prime by a papal flunkey. The Pope and his entourage move off slowly downhill followed by the procession of monks with crosses, umbrellas and bibles. We walk down to the marketplace where the crowd forms a hollow square. The Bishop of Mekele makes a rousing speech, the crowd eager for every word. The Pope's homily is, by contrast, greeted with restlessness and general chat. Probably because he congratulated the crowd on their spiritual wealth as opposed to West's material wealth. As we head back to our salubrious hotel the Popemobile, a white Toyota Land cruiser passes. A straggle of boys chase with outstretched hands. A papal palm is tossing out what seems to be Bassett Liquorices Allsorts. In fact they are tiny black Aksumite crosses. With Jacques and Daniel we again eat a challenging meal. Lester has a particularly disgusting concoction of chicken and entrails. He is not well.

The Grist of the Trip

As the Pope is in town the monastery is closed. There is also an issue with the paperwork. Letters from the Patriarch, the Diocese, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the EU have to be presented together with the contract to start the repairs on the Bible. Lester and I are blinded by the glow of the 6th C. Eventually we drive up in the afternoon to the hills. Grand scenery unfolds as we climb out of Adwa. The bulbous outcrops of rock look like the dental record of a battered giant who boxed above his weight. Beneath these towering igneous rocks nestle the farms of the peasants. The pre-school children watch over herds of sheep, goats, cows and donkeys.

The Monastery is made up of three churches, a treasury and about fifteen square and circular cells in which the monks live. The ground is very steep. The rough cliffs are covered with cactus and shrubs. The roofs are painted green. The window frames and doors are painted green, red and yellow. Very Bob Marley. Of course it's the other way round. Everything looks well cared for. The entrance to the treasury is a stone portal with steps. Inside this round building a glass cabinet as wide as the room, is filled with crosses, helmets, chalices and manuscripts. From cow horns embedded in the wall, hang leather bible satchels ready for a monk to take on his travels to the outlying villages.

The talking starts. Jacques and Daniel after three hours persuade the Abbot to let us see the Garima Gospel - or rather volume 1. A hush and then an awed sigh falls on Lester and me as we see the metal board opening to reveal the first 6 pages of text. A 2mm wide vellum thong runs through the text about 4mm in from the gutter. We turn to the illuminated pages. Blues, reds, with birds and curtained columns lie before us, bright and clear defying the 1600 years between its creator and us. Another thong is stabbed right through these damaged and sometimes creased pages, preventing a decent opening. I marvelled at the strength of the vellum used to survive such a battering. The rest of the book of 300 pages has been gathered into sections of around 8 pages and the Caterpillar technique has been used. So called, because on removing the strips the holes left, look like the tracks of a bulldozer. Many of the pages are creased and damaged but most are in good condition if one overlooks the odd creepy crawly that emerges from time to time. Although I can't read Ge'ez I found the script very beautiful. A wonderful strong black line that is clear and flowing. At this point Lester wants a bit of peace and quiet. A scrum of monks is peering over his back. It doesn't come out often and this is Abba Garima's own hand. This is a Sacred Book written by the saint's very own hand. The light starts to soften. Its time to return to Adwa. Lester has another meal on the wild side. This time it's a cabbage soup with stale bread. It's disco night at the Tefare. And the muezzin's sermon starts at 4.30am.

It's Wednesday 12th October and we still have not started work. Before Jacques leaves for Aksum and Addis today, he has three hours to persuade the monks to let us see volume 2, remove the front boards, change the order of the pages in both volumes. He is successful. Lester starts to cut the threads that attach the metal cover. The abbot joins in using a spare scalpel. Lester looks aghast. But there is no stopping our abbot. He helps as the first five pages are de-thonged and even more exciting for him is the releasing of the illuminated pages. However he is very unhappy when we want to number the pages in pencil. So we photograph them. It's going well. Jacques and Daniel leave for Aksum. Now we are on our own. No translator - so we start on a Tigregina course. Tsbook - good; ah'oui - fire; yakanyeahly - thank you; wa'aag - monkey; sir lester - three!

We start to flatten the pages. Out comes the parchment glue, the Japanese tissue. The Dryad presses are put into service to nip the repaired edges and to make up the new sections. As we are the new kids in town there are constant interruptions, monks, visitors and moving our "bench" out of the hot sun.

By 5.30 we are ready for our taxi back to the delights of Adwa. We heard that the Pope decided not to stay in his old monastery but rather at the Holiday Hotel. Civilisation at last. On the cheating side of town in a modern concrete block, clean loos (I'd had to buy Vim at the Tefare) lights that work, but best of all after four days of indigenous nosh we have steak and chips rice and spinach washed with several St George beers. We're happy.

Rather too early Jacques appears to retrieve his computer and then catch a flight to Addis. I'm not happy at missing my breakfast, especially as we have a long day paper repairing. Steady she goes. As the monks become used to us the atmosphere is now relaxed. I find an old pottery beer cup and play the drunk and then do the burning hand trick with Lester's magnifying glass. We rely mostly on sign language which gets us very sweet tea. We wander down to the fields at the end of the day to bird watch. I'm looking out for the family of Augur's buzzard that live in a tall eucalyptus and almost by mistake spot the grey hornbill sand bathing. A flock of green parrots rouse on the branches of a cedar. Weavers and widow birds with their extravagant tails flit from bush to bush. Meanwhile Lester spotted on his hillside walk a family of baboons having a shouting match with the capuchin monkeys. On our return to the Holiday Inn, we receive a worrying call from Jacques that there is a gap in the paperwork. We spend a nervous evening suspecting that the whole endeavour may be curtailed. The prospect of a jobsworth official from the Ministry of Culture & Tourism threatening us with detainment is not the best nightcap. Saturday is market day. We have the compound to ourselves. In spite of the threat from the Ministry, we continue to separate the pages in volume 1. We also manage to move an odd loose illuminated page from vol.2 without any problems. It also gives a chance to examine the book more closely. The book block is in a pretty awful state. Loose pages everywhere in spite of the caterpillar method; for Lester it is a burst mattress. But the silver boards are really special. Of course it is still just about attached to the14th century manuscript, by three very worn threads. The book is about 14 inches thick. The glass case is 8 inches deep; so it stored opened, with a piece of pottery under the board as a support. Nevertheless the vellum is of such durability and strength that it still opens reasonably well. We spend the rest of the day repairing the broken edges, nipping the pages using our makeshift wooden Dryad presses.

Like a bird on a wire

As Sunday is a day of rest and the monks are busy celebrating Mass, we have arranged to take the taxi on a three hour drive to Debre Damo. Unfortunately our early morning start is delayed by a power cut. The petrol pumps didn't work! But by mid morning we are bouncing our way over the dirt road in bright sunlight through the grand scenery of Tigray. Volcanic peaks pepper the skyline. We are in the capital of the terraced field. The tef is just coming into maturity, waving in the breeze like a silken carpet. The wheat fields are being harvested by rows of squatting peasants wielding sickles.

The Chinese are supervising the rebuilding of thousands of culverts and bridges along this mountainous road. We turn off onto a very bumpy road. Occasionally we have to push the Toyota. We drive through a beautiful village built with exquisite stonewalls, reminiscent of the Cotswolds. Now we can see the ambo. We approach on foot.

Arigawa, one of the Nine Saints, founded this monastery in 4th century. One feels that he may have been a Stylite with ideas of grandeur. As the ambo has absolutely vertical sides of at least 80 feet, Arigawa needed the help of a sleepy python up whose body he climbed. This image is found in many of the bibles, icons and paintings. Many other church builders in Ethiopia have developed these Alpine instincts and further a-field the Health and Safety precautions of Debre Demo are not matched in such a faranji friendly manner. One such church visited by Pete Marsh has a terrifying approach along a sloping path above a 200 foot drop. An overhanging chain of 40 feet was left un-ascended. Unlike Arigawa who was given wings by God when the devil took against him Pete thought a length of rope and few carabineers might be necessary. It starts to drizzle. We pause in a talla tavern to eat a snack and to wait for the rain to stop. At the base a couple of pilgrims have just completed their descent, so I am attached to the hauling strap. I grab the plaited rope of goatskin. It's almost vertical and the wall is worn smooth by 1600 years of bare flailing feet, so it's a strenuous ascent. And after 80 feet I'm pleased to heave myself up over the polished wooden portal. The monks salaam me and have a good laugh at the faranji. Lester has quite a struggle. After being landed he has a good breather.

Of course the church is a cracker. I'm slightly reminded of Italian Alp chalets. The stonework is so crisp, the wooden ends of the beams protruding through the walls is so unlikely and the marvellous Aksumite biscuit coloured pillar in the entrance is stunning. We walk through the village where the monks have their cells, halls of residence and banqueting. There is wonderful dissymmetry. Large cisterns have been dug in the rock to provide water. We skirt by the sheer sides of the ambo and peer at the tiny caves dug high into the sides of the rock where particularly Garboesque monks withdrew often for years and until death allow another soloist to occupy this tiny room with a view. And all too so we have to leave. Lester is helped by our guide as he is descended down the serpents tail. I rather enjoy the abseil. By the time we reach Adwa, after 3 hours of driving, the taxi is full of peasants happily chatting. Back at the hotel I eat an ambo of lasagne, a truly vast helping.

Monday morning sees us back in our bibliophile's idyll. However our peace is interrupted as we make our first acquaintance of Fissela Zibola, the man from the Ministry of Culture & Tourism.
"Your permit from the Ministry"
"Here's the letter that Jacques left"
"That Jacques has been avoiding me. You have no permit. Stop all work now"
"But the pages are loose"
"You will leave now. I will take back to your hotel."

We spend the afternoon at a coffee ceremony. The waitresses are cock-a-hoop to have a faranji or two to entertain. We drink our three cups of spleen bursting strength coffee amid much laughter and coquetry from the girls. I have time to hire a Chinese mountain bike. Given the steepness of the hills, it is surprisingly difficult to find one with brakes.

In spite of my forebodings we are cleared later that evening to return the next day but with an escort from the ministry. We are now under the sharp eye of Moulou, the Ministry representative. His life is typical of so many Tigreans. He has an Eritrean father and Ethiopian mother. In 1984 to escape the famine, their parents carried him and his sisters 300 miles to the Sudanese border. A UN truck took them to a refugee camp in the desert where they stayed for six years. Schools, hospitals and churches were established. On return the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia started. The family was separated. He has not seen or heard from his father since 1999.

We work on toning down the repairs. Soon we are ready to sew the first four sections on vol. 1 and the six sections on vol. 2. It's a two-man job sewing Coptic. Lester has worked out a really neat way of guarding the sections with a vellum strip that allows the pages to turn and open freely. We pass the needle through the section, but require the help of the pliers to draw the needle through. The extra pair of hands is needed to hold the section clear of the book. Lester is very happy at our day's work. We have been lucky that competing parties of patriarch and ministry have let us get on. And my bike ride down the gravel road is glorious. The dodgy brakes enhance the view of the mountains and sunset. A puncture 2kms from the hotel slows me down a bit.

Scenic Interlude

We do have some peaceful days that were flushed by an intense happiness and excitement. The wonderful manuscript of course is pretty inspiring. So are our surroundings. The al fresco bindery, the indigo-blue sky, the monkeys in the trees, the breeze and fluorescent birds are entrancing. We take our lunch, shaded by olive trees on the flat roof of a monk's cell. And the view from Bistro de la Terrace is stupendous. Our diet is sardines with or without sardines on bambasha bread with bananas and oranges. Our digestion is helped by the vista that spreads a thousand feet below. The terraced fields of green tef, the yellow wheat edged by rows of dark green acacia trees form a patchwork of peasant farming unchanged for a millennium. The horizon is pierced by steep, volcanic peaks. The smell of Africa blows over. Dusty, dungy and decidedly addictive. Peasants carrying water drive their flocks of brown sheep, goats and cattle up the stony paths leading their donkeys laden with wood. We stroll up pass the church where the monks are reading the gospel and chanting their song. In the early morning they sit wrapped in their shammas waiting for the warming sun. We salaam and kiss their crosses. Field birds of incandescent colours are chattering in the bushes. Above us a family white-chested Augur's buzzards perch in their cedar tree. Soon the thermals will rise and their shadows will flash across our workbench as they cruise down the valley wheeling and swooping in the soft easterly breeze. An enviable commute.

More binding

We now have three days to complete the work. The pressure is mounting. We need to attach the boards, tone down the guards, trim the vellum guards and reinstate the caterpillar stitch on the vellum linings. And that's just vol.1. Lester and I work away only occasionally interrupted by the monks trying to ride my bike in the compound. Just once do they ride into our bench. A bit of fish wife from me sees them off. Again my ride back is special as I manage to beat the taxi.

Only two days left now. We attach the gilded bronze boards to vol.1 with a series of whippings and kettle stitches. By midday vol.2 is progressing well. The fly leaves of vellum are now dyed down with a mixture of tea and coffee and are spread-eagled on the bier that serves as our secondly bench. Lester has decided to reinforce the sewing on vol.2. We repeat the Coptic Twin Method. It was one of those great moments in my binding life. As we shuttled the needles, all four of them, through the sections of yellow vellum with their black Ge'ez letters still legible, still read and still turning after 1,600 years, the touch and feel of those pages is still with me. I was warmed by the breath of history on my neck.

What a pleasure, what a thrill and what an honour these humble monks had given us. How lucky we were to have the chance to preserve a part of Abba Garima's Gospel. Now with the folded section and vellum flies fitting sweetly, we thought it looked a picture.

When we met Jacques and Daniel, their tales of intrigue from the Diocese, the Patriarch, the Ministry of Culture sounded tough. But not as tough as the chicken that night. Jacques thanked the waiter for the "food" he had eaten. I promised the Frenchman a "meal" back in England. Or at least a bowl of shiro and injera!

As our last binding day is dawning, we start early. It's Saturday so the people going to market are in full flood. I see a boy carrying four skins of goat looking like very fresh slunk vellum. With him his mother carries on her head a load of wood with a cockerel balanced on the top. I walk down the stony path past the fields emptied of peasants. Only the very young and very old are left to tend the animals. Occasionally the path is lined with flowering aloes. The acacia trees are flushed with their spring growth. In the background there is the hum of a million unseen bees. A hornbill with drunken flight pattern screeches loudly as it spars with our family of buzzards. I reach the valley floor where forty eucalyptus tree trunks lie scattered by the stumps of a once shady grove. By the river in the reed beds are lots of weaver nests. Plenty of them flit about including a red and black one with an 18 inch tail. I turn to meander back up the path. A steer face of volcanic rock looms behind the monastery. The shoulders of the hills are covered with green shrubs with spiky white flowers. A white bell tower, clear against the sky, is perched high on the cliff beside the green round roofs of the monastery. The valley is now filled with the chattering voices of the returning peasants. The married women loaded with wheat, their hair is braided on their foreheads and on their necks is fluffed out in two pom-poms. Often the women attach gold ornaments to their braids. To my salaams they stop, smile, and then firmly shake my hand. Often they slide their shawls off their heads as a sign of respect. The shouts of "faranji" are absent. But my bright shirt and white skin is a sharp reminder of the alieness of my appearance. My face and arms must glow for miles. Just beneath the monastery the peasants stop to bow to and to kiss a large boulder beside the path just as they would the walls of the church.

Our work for this trip is finished. The monks have gathered in the treasury. Daniel, Jacques and Momlou are ready with cameras. Lester and I have brought a tea set with 12 glasses as a present for the monks. With Daniel doing the translation we thank the monks. I offer the Abbot Teckla Maryam on bended knee our gift. This causes some consternation and some amazement, as they are not used to a "faranji" bowing before a monk in the position of a supplicant.

Abba Teckla Maryam stands to say prayers, including the Pater Noster, which I say in English and they say in Ge'ez. Sorry no recording. They use the joint of their fingers to count the number of times they repeat the name of Jesus with their thumbs running along their cupped hands. Just the way my father showed me the Nepalese shepherds count their animals. The oldest monk, rheumy eyed with an open sore on his forehead gave thanks, wished us a safe journey and blessed our families. He said the pictures in the Gospel were of Roma. Did he mean Constantinople?

During the team photos the mood was lightened by a good deal of horseplay that involved a lot of tickling and arm-twisting. Apparently these affairs are usually a bit serious so it was a real joy to have so many smiling faces.

Back at the hotel a local band is playing. Yamaha organ, lead guitar and vocal. Great stuff. Where are you Andy Kershaw? As it is the evening before the Sabbath, our nearest church is broadcasting not only the service and but also especially the fine voice of its priest. I can hear his alleluias sung a Judaic pre-Gregorian chant. For half an hour this melody, unchanged for sixteen hundred years, washes over my balcony.

Next morning we drive up to the monastery for the last time, with my bike and a sheep on the roof of the taxi. There is a long conversation about the photographing of the finished pages as a letter has emerged from the Patriarch forbidding such activity.

Ever so slightly bored by the chat, Sueravia, a young monk, and I climb up to a spring initiated by Garima's spit. As it still seeps minutely in three places, it is a holy spot where shoes must be removed. We climb higher and I spot a couple mountain goats, grey, horned and extremely fleeting.

On our return we manage to take the shots with only token protest. I wander down to the cliff. In some cactus below I hear the low cough of a monkey. In amongst the spikes I notice a brown animal. At the same time from the undergrowth emerges a male baboon with red nose and a hairy face. He eyeballs me for a second or two, grunts loudly and from the bushes five more bound out and scamper towards the safety of the cliff, exposing their familiar red bottoms. The thought did cross my mind that you don't want to be Lester's apprentice for too long.

I head back to the treasury where a Malmaluk Sultan's tray of 14th C is being shown. One metre across with gold and silver inlays of phoenixes, the Kufic lettering spells out praise for the Sultan. We are about to see their most prized treasure, a 15th C silver chalice with engraving both on the outside and inside when another party arrives. It never appears!

Sadly we say our goodbyes and I mount my bike for the last time and head off into the sunset. The only deflating moment is yet another puncture.

Mark Winstanley - As the son of a Gurkha officer he spent most of his childhood in Malaya. At 8 years old he was sent to Stoke House, a boarding school in Seaford. After five happy years leaning Latin, Fives and playing rugby in the rain he went to Eastbourne College where his only distinction was winning the Fives Cup four years in a row. Luckily his three very mediocre A Levels let him squeeze into the Army. He was commissioned in the Royal Corps of Transport in which he served for four years. The dreary years in Germany were enlivened by a couple of tours to Ulster. He then travelled in the Americas for a couple of years. In 1977 while working in Hay on Wye in one of the many bookshops, he was lucky enough to get a place on Arthur Johnson's Craft Binding course at the London College of Printing. At the end of year show he met John Rose who offered him a job, where he began a belated apprenticeship at Keypoint Francke Bookbinders.

During those 5 years he learnt so much about trade binding and especially about finishing from Bert Knight. He then went to Collis Bird & Withey. Another happy 5 years passed with Nick CB working on the forwarding side.

In 1990 Hannah More, Rosie Gray and Mark decided to start the Wyvern Bindery in Clerkenwell. From a tiny studio they set out to bind in the craft tradition using the best materials making bespoke books. They managed to survive the early years and in 1994 opened a larger bindery on the Clerkenwell Road with a double shop front. After five years of happy partnership, Hannah and Rosie decided that life in the countryside was more appealing than slogging through Hackney. So after a shaky start, he is now the fortunate owner of a bindery that binds all sorts of interesting and beautiful books with an eclectic mix of forwarders and finishers all passionate about the craft. As middle age spreads its greying tentacles he still manage to ski tour, ride, play squash and tennis and take the odd trip to Ethiopia to admire their manuscripts and birds.
 

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Skin Deep - Volume 23 - Spring 2007

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Fikerte Selassie
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« Reply #77 on: June 15, 2010, 05:48:22 PM »

NOTE: I do not hold the same disrespectful comments I found in some of the author of the previous post as my own.
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Hiywot
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« Reply #78 on: June 16, 2010, 07:51:44 AM »


I would like to also inquire about a certain holy text. The Gospel of Abba Garima. If you know how I might get a copy or a translation of this holy works I would be very grateful.


Fikerte Selassie,

The link you posted is referring to the hand written gospel (according to Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John). These are the first four books in the New Testament, which you already have in your bible. So why do you ask for a copy?

Aba Garima has written the gospel on goatskin (birana). Since it was a 5th (6th?) century material it was damaged in years. The story you posted tells how a team led by Lester Capon (a book binder) did the job of repairing and restoring the original Birana Gospel in 2006.

Humbly yours,

Hiywot
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« Reply #79 on: July 07, 2010, 08:19:41 AM »

I have found the following piece from the link that I have given below. It clearly indicates what a great saint Abuna Garima is.

By Jerome Taylor
- Independent

For the handful of hardy travellers who make it to the Abuna Garima monastery in Ethiopia's Tigray Highlands, there is a book that local monks believe holds magic properties.

Kept under lock and key in a bright-blue circular hut at the centre of the isolated monastery, the Garima Gospels are one of the Christian world's oldest and most exquisite treasures.

Until recently, scholars had always assumed that the two 25cm-thick volumes, which are written on goat skin and brightly illustrated, dated back to the early 11th century. But recent carbon-testing has proved what the monks believed all along: the books are among the oldest gospels in existence.

New dating techniques have put the creation of the two books to somewhere between AD330 and AD650, making them a close contender to being the most ancient complete Christian texts.

The only major collection of scripture that is known to be older is the Codex Sinaiticus, a copy of the Bible hand-written in Greek which dates back to the third century. Unlike the Garima Gospels, the Codex includes large chunks of the Old Testament, but the entire work is divided between museums and monasteries in Egypt, Britain, Russia and the US. The Garima Gospels, meanwhile, have been in one piece in the same place for the best part of 1600 years, guarded by generations of monks from Muslim invaders, colonial conquerors and a fire in the 1930s which destroyed their church.

To read more please go to the following link:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10656988&ref=rss

Hiywot
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« Reply #80 on: December 24, 2010, 11:24:37 AM »

I recently heard from a Coptic pries on why the Coptic Church has three days more during the Nativity fast.

It was so moving to hear of Pope Abraam's faith and that he was outside of the Coptic community but the Church raised him as their Patriach .Also encouraging that the Church continued as Coptic Church and not  Syrian Church after his departure.

Eternal Memory to our fathers  Pope Abraam and Simon the Tanner

http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/synexarion/simon-popeabraam.html
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Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #81 on: January 25, 2011, 12:39:41 PM »

This just came out on Erkohet:

http://www.erkohet.com/index.php/fiery-darts-from-the-orient/36-church-history-fathers-and-saints/232-bishop-yousaab

Today is his feast day (the same day we celebrate the memory of the pre-Chalcedonian Roman fathers, Sts. Maximus and Domatius).  From the Coptic Synexarium:

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, 17th 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, 19th 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.
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« Reply #82 on: February 26, 2011, 02:13:51 AM »

For my sister, Fekerte SELASSIE

The Gospel of Our father Abune Gerima is not available for public use. The reason is: i've been at our father's Monastery about three months ago, [may i say WHAT A MAGNIFICENT MONASTERY!] and the scriptures of our Father is a copy of the gospel that you find in every orthodox Tewahedo Ethiopian house. The Gospels are not different gospels from what you or i have at our homes. But if you want to view the book itself, the only option is to come to the monastery. Some short time ago, American (or perhaps European i'm not sure) Scholars (temporal Scholars) came and took a photo of it, and declared it was, quote "the oldest living scripture [gospel]...".

The story of the gospel is this: Our father the Saint Abune Gerima starts writting the four Gospels in the monastery with an ink tipped wood [in amharic: Shenbeko], on "brana papers". Being so faithful to GOD, Aba Gerima forgot when day begins and where it ended, so consumed by the Gospel, he suddenly looks around and the sun was setting, and he can't write because there was so little light. So, he starts to pray, and not minutes longer, the sun comes back up all in her glory, Our father continues writting by the sun above him with his powerful prayer. And soon finishes writting the Gospel. He then puts down the ink tipped wood he was using to write, by the might of GOD and by the holiness of our father, the dry and dead wood starts to grow leafs right before our father's eyes. The wood then became a tree right there and then in a matter of minutes. Blessed be HIS GRACIOUS NAME, for there are so many graces given to us all.

The gospel got many decorative arts; pictures of plants, birds, and so many that teach the Might and Glory of GOD ALMIGHTY.

Our father, [Yetewahedo Abat] Mahletawi Kedus (St.) Yared the Axumite singed about this father in glorious ways.

The full name of the Monastery is: Debre-Seloda Aba Aregawi Monastery.

AregawiThe very short story of this mighty saint our father Aba Aregawi is this:
Aba Aregawi was born is the then Roman Empire, perhaps at the lower sides of Turk [in Amharic it's Adisitua Romia Gezat]. His parents were Kings and Queens of the country. His mother was unable to bear a child [Mekan]. Everyday she comes to a church and stands before the Holy Pictures and pray for GOD to give her a child. And the Glorious GOD gives her a son, they named him Yishak (sometimes called Yish’haq). He grows up in the will of GOD, learing about laws and canons of Christianity. He soon becomes a king in his father’s place.
Some short while after serving as king, he reads in the Gospel about worldly glories and how unworthy they are in the eyes of GOD and how they distract the soul from reaching CHRIST. And our father decides to leave his throne as a king and set out to became a monk. He left his home and gave out his possessions to the needy, then came to the Holy Land of our fathers’ Jerusalem (Amharic: Eyerusalem, Hebrew: Yerushalaim). In the Holy Land, he helped many monks, learned about monastery life, and so many wisdom filled him.
He performed miracles, among many: he woke up numbers of dead people.
He was then given a promise by GOD, that he will be made monk (ordained officialy) by a Holy father named Aba Pentelewon, and was given the cloth of the monks but were told by GOD, not to wear it yet, until he meets Aba Pentelewon. As told he waited in wisdom and learning at the monastery in the holy land.
Then one day, the Archangel St. Gebriel came to our father and carried him in cloud and brought him to Egypt. There he also stayed in magnificence for some time.
Then after a while, the Archangel St. Gebriel again came to our father and again carried him in cloud and brought him the Ethiopia, particularly the now and the then glorious city of Axum.
Aba Pentelewon then ordained him as a monk, and the wisdom filled Yishak became Aba Yishak [Aba is a title given to Monks in Ethiopia]. He stayed with other saints that came from the vast Roman Empires to Ethiopia to become monks.
Among many miracles he performed, this is one of them: Aba Yishak with Aba Pentelewon and many more saints were praying and soon to break their whole day fasting as usual. In a nearby Church of the Archangel St. Michael, they were about to give the daily mass [kidasse], but were one man short, and cannot perform the mass. So they came to the Saints, and ask them to spare one man and lead the mass with them. Aba Yishak then agrees to go to the mass ceremony to lead it. [Note that; in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo and other Oriental Orthodoxes, leading a mass after eating is absolutely forbidden.] And the saints were eating and breaking their fast in the appropriate time. But Aba Yishak didn’t eat the food, he put it aside for later continued his fasting, but the other saints and peoples did not know this and assumed he ate it. And just as Aba Yishak takes a step to lead the mass, the saints and the people that assumed he ate the food, said: “Aba Yishak leads a mass after eating”. Then Aba Yishak hears their talk and says he did not eat it, and continues: “May GOD make a witness out of the rocks and trees for I abide by the Law of GOD.” Asserting that he was law abiding. Then as he turns around and goes to lead the mass, many stones got up and many trees freed from their long roots on their own and followed Aba Yishak to the mountain where the monastery stands at now, and the rocks can still be seen hanging to this day. Then the saints run toward our father and bow, and ask for forgiveness for they carried his name in false accusation. And say in Ge’ez [Ethiopian Orthodox liturgical language]: “Geremkene”, it means “you amazed us”. And by that, he was called Aba Gerima, meaning “The amazing, astonishing monk (father)”.
Our father, then starts to build the now standing monastery on his own. Carrying heavy, long trees in his back and carrying them to the mountain, and down again, and up again until he builds the Monastery’s central Church, then paints the inside himself, and finishes.
 Then at a later day, he was praying at the same mountain of Debre-Seloda, when suddenly the Mighty Lord himself appears right before him. Christ gave Aba Gerima many promises, among which are: “those that carry your name in glory will be blessed, those that came to your monastery, will be blessed, those that make churches in your name will be given glory…”
Then, he was taken by CHRIST into the unpassing world of the saints, but nor did he die or live, he was not anymore. Just like our father the 7th generation of Adam, who was our father the first Prophet Henok (sometimes Enoch, or Enok). And he still remains that way till the day he won’t no more.
The place of his ‘vanish’ is still protected inside the wing of the monastery he built himself, but absolutely no one dares to enter in there, not even the monks of that monastery go in. Inside the ‘vanish’ [in Amharic ‘meswarom’ meaning: ‘vanishing point or place’], there is a light and energy stronger than the sun’s own light. And Aba Gerima is inside it.

In the name of the FATHER, and of the SON, and of the HOLY SPIRIT,,, ONE GOD,,, Amen::
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« Reply #83 on: February 26, 2011, 07:54:42 PM »

Welcome to the forum, Ermias!
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« Reply #84 on: January 18, 2012, 12:02:54 AM »

There is a new resource on St. Evagrius:

http://evagriusponticus.net/index.htm

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18592.msg695466.html#new
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« Reply #85 on: March 17, 2013, 06:36:54 PM »

Two days ago, March 15th, the Coptic Church celebrated the martyrdom of a certain St. Dioscorus during the time of Islam, who upon returning to his Christian religion because of a harsh letter by his sister, was martyred.  I could not find out when exactly this saint was martyred, but since this is during the Islamic period, it is post-Chalcedonian.  May his prayers and blessings be with us all, Amen!  May he also pray for those Christians who are struggling in the Muslim countries, persecuted for their faith!

On this day, St. Dioscorus was martyred at the time of the Arabs. He was from Alexandria, and was brought up as Christian but for unexplained reason he left the faith of his fathers and adopted the faith of the Arabs. He had a married sister in the city of Fayyum. When she knew what her brother did, she sent a letter to him saying: "I would have preferred that the news had come to me telling me that you had died a Christian, and I would have rejoiced, than that the news that reached me, that you are not dead, and you have abandoned the Faith of Christ your God." At the end she said: "Know that this letter marks the end of the relation between you and me. From this time on do not show me your face and do not write me."

When he had read his sister's letter, he wept bitterly, and he smote his face and tore his beard. Then he rose in haste and girded up his loins, prayed entreating God fervently and made the sign of the cross over himself. He went out of his house and wandered about in the city.

When the Muslims saw him in this condition, they brought him to the Governor who asked him: "You have left Christianity and joined our religion, so what happened to you?" He replied saying "I have been born Christian, and I shall die Christian, and I do not know except this." The Governor threatened him, beat him and inflicted great pain upon him and when he did not change his opinion, he shut him up in prison. The Governor sent to the Khalifa of Egypt presenting his case to him. The Khalifa ordered the governor to offer him leaving the faith of the Christians and entering the faith of the Khalifa, if he obeyed to give him much money and to reward him, otherwise to burn him. The Governor brought him out of jail and asked him to deny his faith but he refused saying: "I told you before that I have been born Christian, and I shall die Christian." He ordered him to be burnt. They dug a large pit outside the city, and they filled it with wood and they set fire in it. When the flames of the fire mounted up to a great height, they casted him in the pit after they had beaten him sorely and gashed his body with knives. He received the crown of martyrdom in the kingdom of heaven.

May his prayers be with us. Amen.


The Ethiopian Synexarium has a slightly added detail, of the time of the "successors of Muhamad:"

On this day Saint Dioscoros became a martyr in the days of the reign of the successors of Muhammad the prophet. This holy man was a native of Alexandria, and certain men made him leave the Christian Faith of his fathers, and brought him into the Faith of the Muslims, and he remained in their belief for a few days. Now he had a sister in the Feyum, who was married to a certain believer, and when she heard that her brother had abandoned the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ she was exceedingly sad. And she sent him a letter, saying, “I would rather that news had come to me telling me that thou hadst died a Christian, nay, I would have rejoiced therein, than that this news of thee which hath reached me, telling me that thou art not dead, and that thou hast abandoned the Faith of Christ, thy God.” And she added many other words of rebuke in that letter, and at the end thereof she said, “Know thou that this letter [marks] the ending of the love which was between thee and me. From this time onwards I will never look upon thy face. Send me no more of thy letters.” When he had red his sister’s letter, he wept bitterly, and he smote his face and tore his beard. Then he rose up forthwith and girded up his loins, and prayed a long prayer, and entreated God with many entreaties, and he made the sign of the life giving Cross-over himself, and went out from his house and wandered about in the city of Alexandria. And when the Muslims saw him they seized him and brought him to the governor, who asked him what had happened to him; and Dioscoros said unto him, “I am a Christian, and I know nothing except this.” And the governor answered and said unto him, “Didst thou not abandon the Christian religion, and adopt ours?” And Saint Dioscoros answered and said unto him, “It is written in the Holy Gospel, ‘He who doth not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the punishment of God shall descend upon him.’ For this reason I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. I was born a Christian, I will die a Christian.” And the governor was wroth with him, and said unto him, “If thou dost not turn from this counsel of thine, I will torture thee very severely”; but Dioscoros was not afraid of the governor’s tortures, and he did not turn from his good counsel. And the governor beat him for a long time, and inflicted great pain upon him, and then shut him up in prison, where he remained for a few days. After this the governor had him brought out of the prison house, and promised him, swearing many oaths as he did so, that he would give him much money if he would turn from his counsel to the Muhammadan Faith, and that if he did not, he would burn him in the fire. And Dioscoros said, “I will not died outside the life-giving Christian Faith”; and the governor commanded that they should burn him. And his men dug a large pit outside the city, and they filled it with wood, and they set fire to the wood, and the flames of the fire mounted up to a great height. And the men of the city beat him sorely and they gashed his body with butchers’ knives. Afterwards they cast him into that fiery pit, and he delivered his soul into the hand of God and received the crown of martyrdom in the kingdom of heaven.
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« Reply #86 on: March 17, 2013, 06:49:39 PM »

Two days ago, March 15th, the Coptic Church celebrated the martyrdom of a certain St. Dioscorus during the time of Islam, who upon returning to his Christian religion because of a harsh letter by his sister, was martyred.  I could not find out when exactly this saint was martyred, but since this is during the Islamic period, it is post-Chalcedonian.  May his prayers and blessings be with us all, Amen!  May he also pray for those Christians who are struggling in the Muslim countries, persecuted for their faith!

He reminds me of our St. Gideon of Karakallou.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 07:03:00 PM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #87 on: March 17, 2013, 06:52:23 PM »

Two days ago, March 15th, the Coptic Church celebrated the martyrdom of a certain St. Dioscorus during the time of Islam, who upon returning to his Christian religion because of a harsh letter by his sister, was martyred.  I could not find out when exactly this saint was martyred, but since this is during the Islamic period, it is post-Chalcedonian.  May his prayers and blessings be with us all, Amen!  May he also pray for those Christians who are struggling in the Muslim countries, persecuted for their faith!

He has a lot in common with our St. Gideon of Karakallou.

Thank you!

Just in case you might have missed it, I updated my post above Smiley
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 06:53:13 PM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #88 on: November 20, 2013, 12:00:52 AM »

Qedus Teqeleh Hiayemonot
(St. Tekla Haymonot)

He last settled in the land of "Shawiry" where he built his well-known monastery known as "Elbianos". Many people followed him and became Monks. He exerted a lot of effort in praying and fasting and kneeling before God. He even used to pray standing on one foot; the right one, until his leg was broken! His monks took it and covered it. He never got out of his cave, but remained there till his death.

This Saint has left the church blessed with his love for deep fervent prayer and fasting.

May we all learn to prayer and fast like this Saint.

He was the only human being on earth given wings. Thus his Icon always shows him with wings and standing on one leg with hands up and out in prayer.

The priests in the Ethiopian Church during the opening liturgical prayer we call it "Ahadu" stands in front of the Holy Alter with his hands up and out in a stance of St. Tekle Haymonot and slowly prays "one is the Holy Father, one is the Holy Son , one is the Holy Spirit...." The priest seems as if he is going to fly away. It is a powerful thing to experience.

This Ethiopain Saint is revered and venerated greatly among our Coptic brothers and sisters. I shamefully must say maybe more than in Ethiopia.

WE love him deeply; he is a special Saint for the whole universal church worldwide. However; it seems that my Coptic family has many churches, monastaries, books, videos etc. on our beloved Saint. I had a hard time finding and Ethiopian traditional Icon for this posting. I keep a Coptic traditional Icon of this great saint in my car. Even this Icon was given to me by a very dear Coptic sister who I worked with almost 15 years ago. I put it in my car that hot afternoon on my way home that day and have just moved it from car to car ever since.

I feel that I am being protected by the wings of St Tekla Haymonot instead of the "wings of GoodYear" so I intend to leave it in all my cars that the Lord allows me to have.

Thank you Magda and God bless you where ever you are!!!

I find this hard to believe. Have you been to the two countries? I was surprised in my travels to find Abune Tekle Haimanot in Egypt, but he was not everywhere, whereas in Ethiopia his icon and churches can be found wherever you go.

Whatever the case may be, he is a great father to all who call upon him - may his blessing and prayers be with us all!
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« Reply #89 on: December 09, 2013, 04:06:59 PM »

Today the Coptic Church commemorates the departure of St. Acacius of Constantinople.  From the Coptic Synexarium:

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

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

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

He sent a letter to the holy father, Abba Peter, the Pope of Alexandria, confessing the true faith which he had learned and received from the holy fathers, Abba Cyril and Abba Dioscorus. He followed that letter with many others, asking the Pope of Alexandria to accept him in the fellowship. The Pope of Alexandria answered all his letters, then he wrote him a Catholic letter and sent it with three bishops. They went disguised until they entered Constantinople and there they met Acacius, who treated them with great honor and received the letter from them. He read the letter to his friends, the Orthodox nobles of the city and they all agreed on it and with him, and confessed the True Faith. Then he wrote a letter before them, accepting the faith of Abba Dioscorus, Abba Timothy and Abba Peter and confessing the soundness of their faith.

Afterwards, he accompanied the three bishops to some monasteries and he took part with them in the celebration of the liturgy and the partaking of the Holy Communion. The bishops then exchanged the blessings with him, took the letter and returned it to Abba Peter. The Bishops informed Abba Peter about their fellowship with Abba Acacius and that they had taken part in the liturgy with him. Abba Peter accepted the letter and ordered that Abba Acacius be mentioned in the liturgies and the prayers of the Coptic church.

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

His prayers be with us. Amen.
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« Reply #90 on: March 25, 2014, 04:27:50 PM »

Tomorrow the Coptic Church will commemorate the martyrdom of the deacon St. Sidhom Bishay, brutally murdered by a mob of Islamists at his time.  His body is preserved until today, and it is well known that he is the grand uncle of Metropolitan Bishoy of Demiatta, the same village where St. Sidhom grew up in and was martyred.

Quote
On this day also the church commemorates the martyrdom of Sedhom Bishay in Domiat on the 17th. of Baramhat year 1565 A.D. (March 25th., 1844 A.D.). He endured the torture for the Name of the Lord Christ and his martyrdom made the rising of the Cross during the Christian funeral processions openly, for it was forbidden before.

This martyr was a clerical employee in the government of the port of Domiat during the days of Mohammed Ali Basha the Governor of Egypt. A revolt of mobs in the port arose, they seized Sidhom Bishay and accused him falsely that he cursed Islam and witnessed against him before the religious judge a low uncivilized person and a donkey driver. The judge decided either he would forsake his faith or be killed, he whipped him and then sent him to the Governor of the city. After the Governor had examined his case he issued the same judgement against him as the judge did. Sidhom was steadfast in his Christian faith, not caring to be killed. They whipped, dragged him on his face down the stairs in the Governor palace, then they put him on a buffalo facing the tail and went around with him in the streets of the city insulting and degrading him. The Christians in the city became afraid and locked themselves in their houses.

The mob continued to insult him and tortured him in different ways until he was about to deliver his soul; so they brought him to the door of his house and left him there. His family went out and brought him inside and five days later he departed to heaven.

His departure was a great martyrdom, and the Christians counted him among the holy martyrs. They gathered regardless of their denomination and joined in his funeral in a celebration that there was nothing like it before. The Christians carried their arms and the priest put on their vestments headed by the Archpriest Yousef Michael who was the head of the Coptic congregation in Domiat and accompanied by the priests of the other denominations. They marched in his funeral in the streets of the city and in front of him the deacons carrying the banners of the Cross, and they arrived to the church where they prayed the funeral rites. The people went on objecting this reprehensible and painful incident and talking about the patience and endurance of the different kinds of torture in silence and the steadfastness of Sidhom the martyr.

The prominent people of the Christian community in Domiat deliberated as how to avoid these incidents in the future. They decided to ask the consuls of the foreign countries to mediate with the ruler of the country and the Pope the Patriarch of the Copts and sent to them detailed reports. Mr Michail Sorour the official representative of seven countries in Domiat was in charge of this mediation.

The ruler of Egypt was concerned about this incident and sent two official representatives to examine the case. So they reopened the inquiry and they realized the injustice and the ill-treatment that befell the great martyr and convicted the judge and the governor for their wrong doing, stripped them from their honor then exiled them. They asked, as a good will and to comfort the people, to allow the raising of the Cross publicly before the Christian funerals, and the ruler allowed that in Domiat. This was allowed later on all over the country during the Papacy of Pope Kyrellos IV.

The blessings of this great martyr be with us and glory be to God forever. Amen.


May his prayers be with all!  Amen!



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« Reply #91 on: March 25, 2014, 05:26:39 PM »

And today the Coptic Church commemorates the departure of the 45th successor to St. Mark, Pope St. Mikhail I (also known as St. Khail).  Many reasons to celebrate the memory of this man.  I particularly enjoy the fact that they recorded the binding and enforcing of the monk to become the Pope of Alexandria, as being a Pope at this turbulent time was actually quite an unneeded and frightening vocation for anyone to be in.  That fear would be actualized, as he would later be considered a confessor, who was imprisoned and tortured by the Ummayid Muslims of the time, and many Copts were giving up the faith that they may enjoy rights under the Islamic rule.  It wasn't until the OO King of Nubia at the time came to save the day for the Church and force the Islamic government to back off for some time.

The Synexarium is quite interesting, as it claims historically that in a OO/EO debate, he won over the EO Pope Cosmas of Alexandria to his side.  The story may be disputed but it's worth quoting the Synexarium for this:

Quote
On this day of the year 483 A.M. (March 12th, 767 A.D.) the holy father Anba Khail (Mikhail), the forty six Pope of the See Of St. Mark, departed. This father was a monk in the monastery of St. Macarius and he was knowledgeable and ascetic. When Pope Theodorus the forty fifth Patriarch, his predecessor, departed the bishops of Lower Egypt (Delta) and the priests of Alexandria gathered in the church of Anba Shenouda in Cairo.

A Dispute arose among them about who was fit, and finally they called Anba Mousa, Bishop of Ouseem, and Anba Petros, Bishop of Mariout. When they arrived, Anba Mousa found the priests of Alexandria obstinate, he rebuked them for that, and dismissed them that night so their minds and souls might calm down. When they met the next day he mentioned to them the name of the priest Khail the monk in the monastery of St. Macarius. They unanimously agreed to his choice and obtained a decree from the Governor of Egypt to the elders of the wilderness of Sheahat (Wadi El-Natroun) to bring him from the monastery. On their way, when they arrived to Geza they found father Khail coming along with some elders to fulfill a certain task connected with the monastery. They seized him, bound him, and took him to Alexandria where they ordained him Patriarch on the 17th day of Tute, year 460 A.M. (September 14th., year 743 A.D.).

It Happened that there was a drought in the city of Alexandria for two years, and on that day the rain fell heavily for three days and the people of Alexandria considered that a good omen.

During the reign of Marawan the last of the Khalifas of the Umayyad rule and during the governorship of Hefs Ebn El-Walid and during the days of this father many great tribulations fell upon the believers.

A large number of the believers fled from Egypt and the number of those who denied Christ was twenty-four thousand, and because of that the Patriarch was in great sorrow until God perished those were responsible for that. This father endured many difficulties from Abdel Malek Ebn-Marawan the new governor. He imprisoned, beaten, chained, and tortured him with many other ways of painful tortures, then he released him. The Patriarch went to Upper Egypt to collect alms and when he came back, the Governor took the money from him and threw him back in prison.

When Keriakos king of Nuba knew that, he was extremely enraged, he prepared one hundred thousand soldiers and marched down to Egypt. Going threw Upper Egypt he slew all the Muslims that he met, until he reached El Fostat (Cairo), he camped around the city threatening to destroy it. When Abdel Malek the Governor saw the army surrounding the city and that all this had taken place for the sake of the Patriarch, he became terrified, so he released him from prison with great honor. The Governor entreated the Patriarch to mediate peace between him and the king of Nuba. The Patriarch agreed to his request, so he went with some of the clergy to meet the king and asked him to accept the peace from abdel Malek which the king accepted and returned back.

Abdel Malek respected the Christians and lifted up all his retribution. When the father the Patriarch prayed for the sake of the Governor's daughter, who was possessed with an unclean spirit, and with his prayers the unclean spirit left her, the Governor increased his respect for the Christians.

This father debated with Cosmas the Melchite Patriarch concerning the Hypostatic Union. Pope Khail wrote him a letter, signed it along with his bishops, which said in it: "It is not right to say that in Christ two distinct Natures or two distinct Persons after the Hypostatic Union." Cosmas was convinced with that and asked to become a bishop under the authority of Anba Khail. When Anba Khail completed his strife, he departed to the Lord whom he loved after he had spent on the Chair of St. Mark twenty-three and half years.

May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.


St. Khail was also known for the famous "canon of Khail" concerning the choice of the episcopate/patiarchate, and opposed even the sister Syriac Church at the time for the choice of a diocesan bishop to become the patriarch of Antioch.  HG Bishop Serapion recounts the story here:

Quote
I. Pope Mikhail (Khail) I, the 46th Patriarch (744-767)

This saint survived a difficult era of persecution in the history of the Church, which saw the end of the Ummayad and the beginning of the Abbasid dynasties. He suffered tremendous persecutions from ruthless governors and was thrown in jail several times. Nonetheless, he stood firm and courageous in defending the Orthodox faith and shepherding his people with dedication, purity, and righteousness. We may read the whole history of this saint in Volume II of Iris Habib El Masry’s The Story of the Copts. Before the end of that era, a crucially important incident occurred that immortalized the name of Pope Mikhail I in the history of the Church with fame and glory.

The See of Antioch stayed vacant for a while because of the political incidents that accompanied the end of the Umayyad and the beginning of the Abbasid dynasties. It happened that Bishop Isaac of Harran desired to become the Patriarch of Antioch. Since he had an intimate relationship with Caliph Abdullah Abu Gaafar of Harran, Bishop Isaac sought his assistance to help him achieve his goal. However, two Antiochian bishops opposed Bishop Isaac’s wish while reminding him of the Church canons which forbid a diocesan bishop to move to the See of the Patriarch or to seek the assistance of the authorities to acquire a priestly rank. Caliph Abdullah was incensed at the two bishops and murdered them while helping Bishop Isaac sit on the See of Antioch. Wanting to confirm his situation, Bishop Isaac sent a delegation of bishops carrying a Letter of Communion along with both gifts and threats to Pope Mikhail I of Alexandria, who refused to accept Bishop Isaac as the Patriarch of Antioch. Pope Mikhail was summoned by Abdullah in light of the close political relationship between Egypt and Syria at the time. When Bishop Isaac’s messengers reached al-Fistat, they met with the governor of Egypt and informed him about their mission. The governor begged Pope Mikhail to accept the delegation and the Letter of Communion out of fear that Abdullah would harm him. Pope Mikhail asked the governor to give him three days to convene a synod of bishops to discuss the matter and the governor agreed. The synod gathered for an entire month without any interruption from the governor; he did not even remind Pope Mikhail that they had initially agreed on three days only.

After that month passed, the bishops held a meeting at the Church of St. Mary known as El Mu’allaqah (the “Hanging Church”) where Pope Mikhail issued the following decision of the Holy Synod concerning Bishop Isaac’s request:

No sword, fire, throwing to the lions or banishment, or all of those things together can scare me. And I will not accept an illegal act. I will not put myself under my anathema which I wrote with my own hand writing and in which I declared that it is not permissible for a bishop to be a patriarch. Our honored fathers considered those who receive the priesthood from authorities are anathema. For the bishops had written to me from Antioch during the days of Yohanna the Patriarch that all the bishops who after him to sit on the throne of the Patriarchate to be anathema. So how am I supposed to accept what I had refused before? And our honored fathers themselves had declared that all who conduct that behavior to be anathema.

Pope Mikhail handed this decision to the bishops sent by Bishop Isaac.

The delegation returned to the governor of Egypt and requested that he command Pope Mikhail to accompany them to Harran. The governor, who cared for Pope Mikhail, again begged him to yield to Caliph Abdullah and Bishop Isaac, but Pope Mikhail thanked him and refused to change his declaration. He told the governor that he was ready to go to Harran. Two other Alexandrian bishops, Abba Moses and Abba Theodosius, both declared that they were ready to accompany Pope Mikhail in his journey to Harran. After the honorable Pope made preparations for his journey, a messenger arrived in al-Fistat declaring the death of Bishop Isaac. When the delegation of bishops heard this, they returned to their country immediately in silence. As for Pope Mikhail and the bishops of Egypt, they thanked God for His support.

We learn from this story the following points:

1. Pope Mikhail I lived a holy life full of courage in front of unjust rulers, like Abdullah, and possessed amazing endurance that helped him preserve the Canons of the Church despite being jailed several times.

2. The declaration issued by Pope Mikhail was not his own personal opinion only, but rather, the result of a Holy Synod of bishops who gathered for a whole month to research the Canons of the Holy Church. In addition, two of these bishops were ready to die with Pope Mikhail in Harran for the sake of defending the Canons.

3. The Canons of the Holy Church forbid a bishop to move from one diocese to another, or to receive the priesthood from the hands of worldly authorities. These Canons are not local canons belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Church only, but rather, are universal Canons belonging to the whole Church. As the declaration of the Holy Synod mentioned, the bishops of Antioch wrote to Pope Mikhail during the days of Patriarch Yohanna and said, “Those who may follow him (Patriarch Yohanna) from the metropolitans as Patriarch will be anathema.” Pope Mikhail agreed and signed this declaration with the bishops of Antioch. This is why Pope Mikhail asked, “How can I justify today what I banned yesterday?”

Thus, the anathemas of Pope Mikhail I were not personal ones, but rather, were issued from the Synods of the Church of Antioch and the Church of Alexandria. Two Antiochian bishops were martyred by Caliph Abdullah when they refused to agree to the transfer of Bishop Isaac to the See of Antiochian. In addition, the Pope of Alexandria and two of his bishops were also prepared to become martyrs for the same reason. The declaration of Pope Mikhail became an important historical document in the history of the Church; so much so that it is called the Canon of Pope Mikhail. Our glorious Church applied that Canon until the nineteenth century when the idea of moving a metropolitan or diocesan bishop manifested itself again.

from http://lacopts.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Choosing-The-Patriarch-Lessons-from-the-History-of-the-Church-English.pdf

An interesting life of endurance, strength, and courage, even when considering some of these issues as controversial today.  In the context of its time, it was a testimony to his fidelity to the Church's customs and traditions even in the face of persecution.  May his prayers be with us all.  Amen!

« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 05:31:48 PM by minasoliman » Logged

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