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Day 7 of the Blessed Coptic Month of Bashans, may God make it always received, year after year, with reassurance and tranquility, while our sins after forgiven by the tender mercies of our God my fathers and brothers.
The Seventeenth Day of the Blessed Month of Bashans
Departure of St.Epiphanius, Bishop of
On this day, of the year 402 A.D.,
the great father St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus, departed. He was born
to Jewish parents, his father died, and left him with a sister and their
mother brought them up well. His father left him an untrained donkey and
his mother asked him to sell it. He met a Christian man called Philotheus
who wanted to buy the donkey, but the donkey kicked Epiphanius in his thigh,
and he fell down on the ground unconscious. Philotheus made the sign of
the cross over the place of injury and Epiphanius was cured of his pain
instantly. Then Philotheus cried out over that donkey asking God that the
donkey would die God answered his prayer, and the donkey fell down and
died. Epiphanius inquired about the secret of the donkey's death and Philotheus
told him that it was the cross. He guided him to the crucified Christ,
the Son of God, Whom the Jews crucified in Jerusalem by His own will for
the Salvation of the world. This remained in the mind of Epiphanius. When
one of the rich Jewish men died and had no one to inherit him, he left
all his inheritance to Epiphanius. He used this inheritance to spend on
the teachers of religion and Law. Once, when he was walking in the road,
he saw a poor man asking for charity from one of the monks, and as the
monk did not have any money to give, he took off his garment and gave it
As the poor man took this
garment, St. Epiphanius saw a white dress coming down from heaven upon
the monk instead off the garment that he gave away. He was astonished and
went to the monk and asked him: "Who are you and what is your faith?" The
monk told him that he was Christian. He asked the monk to guide him to
the facts of the Christian faith. The monk brought him to the bishop who
taught him the law of the Christian faith and baptized him. Epiphanius
desired to become a monk, and the bishop sent him to the monastery of St.
Lucianus. He became a disciple to St. Hilarion, and the grace of God was
with him. He excelled in the church subjects, monastic virtues, and its
cannons. St. Hilarion prophesied that he would become a bishop and commanded
him to go to Cyprus, and not to refuse the office of bishop if it was offered
to him. When the bishop of Cyprus departed, it happened that Epiphanius
entered the city to buy certain necessities, and he had two monks with
him. A saintly bishop was inspired to go to the market place to choose
the monk that had two clusters of grapes, whose name was Epiphanius, to
ordain him a bishop for Cyprus. When the bishop went to the market, he
found him with the other two monks, with two clusters of grapes in his
hand. He asked him about his name and he knew that he was the chosen one
by God. He took him to the church and ordained him deacon, priest, then
bishop. He revealed to the people his vision about him and the prophecy
of St. Helarion was fulfilled.
St. Epiphanius followed
a right course of conduct in his diocese, which was well pleasing to God.
He wrote many books and discourses and he always preached about mercy.
It happened that John, bishop of Jerusalem, was not merciful, so St. Epiphanius
borrowed from him some of his gold and silver table vessels, and sold them
and gave its price to the poor and the needy. When Abba John asked him
to return them, he struck him in his eyes and he became blind. John asked
the Saint to pray to heal him, and he prayed, and God opened one of John's
eyes. In the year 402 A.D., Empress Eudoxia called Epiphanius to help her
to drive out St. John Chrysostom (Of the Golden Mouth) from Constantinople.
However, he tried to reconcile them together, but he failed. She threatened
him that she would open the temples of idols and close the churches if
he did not work on his removal. But since he could not reconcile the differences
between her and St. John, he returned to Cyprus and departed in the same
year. (His body was relocated on the 28th. of Bashans).
May His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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