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Day 12 of the Blessed Coptic Month of Kiahk, 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 Thirtieth Day of the Blessed Month of Kiahk
Departure of St.John, Archpriest of Scetis
On this day, St. John (Youannis), the archpriest
(Heagomen) of Shiheet (Scetis) departed. When he was ordained archpriest
for the monastery of St. Macarius, the whole wilderness was illumined by
him and he became a father to many of the saints. Among those saints were
Anba Gawarga and Anba Abraam, the two great stars, and Anba Mina, bishop
of Tamai "Tamuz", and Anba Zacharias and many others, through whom many
souls were saved. Because of his holiness and his great piety, when he
was administering Holy Communion to the people, he was able to recognize
those who were sinners and those who were righteous. Several times he saw
Christ and the angels surrounding Him upon the altar. He once saw one of
the priests, who was of bad reputation, coming to the church and the evil
spirits surrounding him. When the priest arrived at the door of the church,
the angel of the Lord came out from the sanctuary (Hekal) with a fiery
sword in his hand and dismissed the unclean spirits. The priest entered
the church and put on the service clothes and administered the liturgy
and gave the Holy Communion to the people. After he was finished, he took
off the service clothes and went out of the church, the evil spirits returned
to him. This was what St. John said to his brethren the monks, to make
them aware that there was no difference between a sinful and an unsinful
priest in ministering the church sacraments. For it is for the sake of
the people that the bread and the wine are transubstantiated to the Body
and the Blood of Christ.
He told them a parable, "As the picture of the emperor
is imprinted on his seal that is made from iron or gold, and the seal is
one, also the priesthood is one with the sinner and the righteous, and
the Lord rewards everyone according to his deeds." This saint suffered
many tribulations. The "Berbers" took him captive to their country. He
stayed there for many years, during which he was tortured. He met St. Samuel,
the abbot of the monastery of Qualamon, during his captivity. By the grace
of God, he returned to his monastery. When he knew in a vision the day
of his departure, he called the brethren and commanded them to keep the
Commandments of the Lord, and to walk in the pathway of the saintly fathers,
to share with them the good portion and the inheritance of the kingdom
of heaven. Shortly after, he became ill and he saw a crowd of saints were
coming to take his spirit, and he gave up the spirit in the hand of the
Lord. His brethren carried him to the church and because of their strong
love for him and their firm belief in his holiness, they kept a portion
of his burial clothes which was a source of healing for many
sicknesses. This father lived for 90 years.
May His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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