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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 Eighth Day of the Blessed Month of Kiahk
Departure of St.Heraclas, the Thirteenth
Pope of Alexandria
On this day of the year
240 A.D., the holy father, Pope Heraclas, 13th Pope of Alexandria, departed.
He was born to pagan parents who believed and were baptized after his birth.
They taught him the Greek philosophy, then the Christian wisdom. He also
studied the four gospels and the epistles. St. Demetrius, 12th Pope of
Alexandria, ordained him deacon, then a priest over the church of Alexandria.
He was successful in the ministry and was faithful in all that was entrusted
to him. When Abba Demetrius departed, St. Heraclas was chosen as Patriarch.
He shepherded the flock of Christ well. He converted many pagans and baptized
them. He devoted his efforts to teaching, preaching and instructing the
transgressors. He assigned to St. Dionysius the work of judging between
the believers, and taking care of their affairs. Pope Heraclas sat on the
throne of St. Mark for 13 years and departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
Martyrdom of the Saints : Barbara and
On this day also Sts. Barbara
and Juliana, were martyred. Barbara was the daughter of a noble man from
one of the countries in the east, called Dioscorus, during the days of
Maximianus the Emperor, in the beginning of the third Christian century.
Because of his strong love for her, he built her a tower to live in. The
saint always raised up her eyes to the sky from the top of the tower and
contemplated the beauty of the sky and what was in it: the sun, the moon
and the stars. She came to the conclusion that they must have an able and
wise maker and that would be none other than the Almighty God who created
them. Origen, the scholar, happened to be in this area and was informed
of the saint. He went to her and taught her the principles of Christianity.
There were two windows in the bathroom and she ordered a third one to be
opened and a cross to be placed over the water basin. When her father came
to see her and saw the changes that were done, he asked her for the reason.
She told him, "Don't you know, my father, that with the Holy Trinity everything
is complete, and here are three windows in the name of the Holy Trinity.
This sign is the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, wherein was the salvation
of the whole world. I ask you, 0 my dear father, to turn away from the
wrong way that you are in and worship the God Who created you."
When her father heard these
words, he became angry, drew his sword and ran after her. She fled, and
he ran after her. There was a rock in front of her that split into two
halves and she went through. The rock then returned to its earlier state.
Her father went around the rock and found her hidden in a cave. He jumped
over her like a wolf, seized her and took her to Marcianus, the governor.
The Governor talked to her kindly, promising her many things. Then he threatened
her, but could not take away her love for the Lord Christ. Thereupon, he
ordered her to be tortured with different kinds of torture. There was a
damsel called Juliana, who watched St. Barbara while she was being tortured
and wept for her. Juliana saw the Lord Christ strengthening and comforting
St. Barbara; she was enlightened and believed in the Lord Christ. They
cut off her head and that of St. Barbara and they both received the crown
of martyrdom. St. Barbara's father perished shortly after and so did the
Governor who tortured her. The water of the basin that had the cross over
it in the tower had the power to heal everyone who washed with it. They
placed the bodies of these two saints in a church outside of the city of
Galatia. Years later, they relocated the body of St. Barbara to the church
in Cairo which is named after her to this day.
May Their prayers be with us. Amen.
Martyrdom of the Saints : Esi and His
On this day also was the
martyrdom of St. Esi and his sister Thecla. They were from the city of
Abu-Sair, west of El-Ashmunein. St. Esi was a very rich man. He gave the
money which he earned from the shearing of his sheep to the needy. When
Esi knew that his friend Paul, whom he visited often for trading, was seriously
ill in the city of Alexandria, he went to visit him and remained with him
until he recovered from his illness. They both agreed to visit the saints
who were in prison because of the persecution. Some of the saints in prison
prophesied that they would receive the crown of martyrdom. That was during
the time when St. Victor, the son of Romanus (Ebn-Romanus) came to Alexandria.
When Esi and Paul knew of his good strife and of his renouncing of the
world, they wished to follow his example. Esi went to the Governor and
confessed the Lord Christ. The Governor ordered him to be tortured with
the most severe kinds of torture such as making him take off his clothes,
binding and squeezing him, then placing burning torches on his sides. They
also ordered him to be cast on the ground and beaten with whips, and to
dismember parts of his body. Through it all he was patient, and the Angel
of the Lord strengthened him and healed his wounds. Paul, his friend, was
crying and praying along with his servants for Esi's sake. The Angel of
the Lord appeared to his sister Thecla and ordered her to go to her brother.
She went to the seashore and embarked on one of the ships. Therein, the
Virgin, the Mother of God, and Elizabeth, her kinswoman, appeared to her
and comforted her because of her brother. Elizabeth told her, "I have a
son; they beheaded him unjustly," and St. Mary told her, "I have a Son
whom they crucified with envy." Thecla did not recognize them at that time.
When she met her brother, they agreed together and went to the Governor
confessing the Lord Christ. He tortured them severely on the squeezing
wheel (Hinbazeen), burned them with fire, nailed them, and flayed the skin
of their heads. But the Lord healed, strengthened, and comforted them.
When the Governor became weary of torturing them, he handed them to his
son, the Governor of the city of Antione (Ansena) in Upper Egypt. When
they had sailed for a short while, the wind died down so the boat stopped.
The Governor ordered the heads of Esi and Thecla, his sister, to be cut
off and cast into the weeds and the wild plants on the banks. They did
so and thus they received the crown of martyrdom. The Lord commanded a
priest called Abba Ori (Ari) from Shatanouf to go and take their holy bodies.
As for Paul, Esi's friend, and Ablanius, the son of Thecla, they were martyred
May Their intercession be with us. Amen.
Departure of St.Samuel the Abbot of the
Qualamon Monastery (Abba Samuel the Confessor)
Also on this day the saint
Abba Samuel, the head of El-Qualamon Monastery, departed. He was born in
the city of Dakluba, diocese of Masil, from holy parents and he was their
only child. Arselaos, his father, who was a priest, saw in a vision at
night, a resplendent man telling him, "Your son must be entrusted with
a large congregation, for he is chosen by the Lord to be His all the days
of his life." Samuel was pure from his youth, like Samuel the prophet,
and he was always harboring thoughts in his heart about the monastic life.
One day he found a means to go to the desert of Scete, but he did not know
the way. The Angel of the Lord, in the form of a monk, appeared to him
and accompanied him as he was himself going to the monastery, until they
came to the desert of Scete. There, the Angel delivered him to a holy man
called Abba Agathon who accepted him as the Angel of the Lord instructed.
Abba Samuel lived with Abba Agathon for three years in total obedience
in every way. Later on, the holy old man Abba Agathon departed. Abba Samuel
devoted himself to many prayers and fasting. He fasted a week at a time.
He was ordained a priest over the church of St. Macarius in Scete.
An envoy came to the desert
carrying Leo's Tome and when the envoy read it to the elders, Abba Samuel
became zealous, with the zeal of the Lord. He jumped up in the middle of
the gathered monks and seized the letter and rent it into pieces saying,
"Excommunicated is this tome and everyone who believes in it and cursed
is everyone who might change the Orthodox faith of our Holy Fathers." When
the envoy saw this, he became furious and angry. He ordered him to be beaten
with pins and to be hanged up by his arms, and that his face be smitten.
One of these strikes enucleated one of St. Samuel's eyes. Then he was driven
away from the monastery. The Angel of the Lord appeared to St. Samuel and
commanded him to depart and to dwell in El-Qualamon. He went there and
built a monastery, lived in it for a while teaching those gathered around
him and confirming them in the Orthodox faith. When El-Moquakas heard about
Abba Samuel, he came to him and asked him to recognize the Council of Chalcedon.
When he did not listen to him, he smote him and expelled him out of the
monastery. He went and lived in one of the churches and after a while he
returned to the monastery.
When the Barbers raided
the monastery, they took him with them on their way back to their country.
He prayed to the Lord Christ to rescue him from them. Whenever they set
him on a camel, the camel was unable to stand up with him on it, so they
left him and he went back to his monastery. When the Barbers raided the
wilderness again, they took St. Samuel with them to their country. They
had captured before Abba Yoannis the heagomen (Archpriest) of Scete. So
they were joined together and comforted each other. The captive of Abba
Samuel tried to persuade him to worship the sun. When he failed, he tied
the leg of Abba Samuel to the leg of one of his maidens and sent them to
attend to the camels. He intended for Abba Samuel to fall into sin with
her and then he would submit to him, according to Satan's advice. Through
it all, the saint was gaining more courage and became stout-hearted. He
remained in these circumstances until the master's son fell ill and was
close to death; Abba Samuel prayed for him and the boy was healed of his
sickness. The news was spread all over this country and whosoever was sick
came to him; he prayed over him and anointed him with oil and the sick
were healed. His master loved him exceedingly, he apologized and asked
for Abba Samuel's forgiveness. He told him to ask for anything he wished.
Abba Samuel asked to go back to his monastery. His master allowed
him to return. When Abba Samuel returned, many of his sons gathered around
him and they increased in number until they became thousands. The Virgin,
St. Mary, appeared to him and told him, "This place shall be my abode forever,"
and from that day the Barbarians never attacked this monastery again. Abba
Samuel wrote many discourses and articles. He prophesied concerning the
coming of Islam to Egypt. When the time of his departure drew near, he
gathered together his sons and commanded them to be strong in the fear
of God, to walk according to His commandments and to fight for the sake
of the Orthodox faith till their last breath. Then he departed in peace.
May His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
On this day also is the departure of St. Yustus, the monk of St.
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