The 3rd Day of the Blessed Month of Baounah
Construction of the first church of St.George in the cities of Birma and Beer Maa (Water Well) in the Oases
On this day, the first church in the name of St. George was built in Egypt in the city of Beer Maa in the Oasis. As was consecrated also on this day a church in his name in the city of Birma, district of Tanta. For after the perishing of Diocletian, and the reign of the righteous Emperor Constantine, all the temples of the idols were destroyed. Churches were built after the name of the heroic martyrs, who strived with their blood to defend the faith. Some Christian soldiers in the land of Egypt, had donated a piece of the land where the city of Birma is now located. One of them was a righteous and meek young man, who lived on a piece of this land with some of the farmers. In this area there was a well of water. This young man heard of the wonders of the great among the martyrs, St. George. He searched until he found his biography. He wrote it, and it comforted him to read it, which he did without boredom. While he stood praying, on the evening of the twenty-fourth of the month of Bashans, he saw that an assembly of the saints had come down beside the well. They were praising God and chanting with angelic voices. They were surrounded by heavenly light, and he was astounded. One of them, who was in the uniform of a soldier, came forward and informed him that he was Gawargios (George) who was martyred at the hands of Diocletian. He ordered him to build a church for him on that site, for that was the Will of God. The assembly left him, and raised up to heaven while they were glorifying the Most High.
The young man spent that night awake till morning. Few days passed during which he was thinking about how he could build this church, knowing that he did not have the money for a small piece of it. One night, while he stood praying, the great martyr St. George appeared to him. The Saint pointed out to him the place to build the church. Then he directed the young man to another place and told him, "Dig here and you shall find what you need to build the church." When he woke up in the morning, he went where the honorable martyr had directed him. He dug there and found a vessel filled with gold and silver. He praised God, and glorified his patron saint. He built the church and called the father the Patriarch who consecrated it on this day. The relics of St. George, that were kept in his church in the city of Beer Maa in the Oasis, were relocated to the monastery of Anba Samuel by its monks. That was during the days of the Saint Abba Mattheos (87th Patriarch), and the monastery was under the direction of Fr. Zachary Ebn-Elkomos and Fr. Soliman El-Qualamony. During the Papacy of Pope Gabriel (88th Patriarch) the relics of the saint were relocated to his well-known church in Old Cairo. That was on the 16th of Abib, 1240 A.M. (July 10, 1024 A.D.). A great celebration takes place annually, where the church was built beside the water well, to commemorate this venerable event. There, many signs of casting out of evil spirits and healing of the sick take place with the intercession of this great martyr.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
Departure of St.Martha of Egypt
On this day also, the ascetic and fighter St. Martha, departed. She was born in the city of Mesr (Cairo) to wealthy Christian parents. She loved fornication and unchastity in her youth and her works became known. However, the mercy of God from above encompassed her, and moved her to go to the church. That was on the Nativity of Our Lord. When she came to its door and wished to go inside, the servant delegated to watch the door told her, "It is not meet for you to go into the holy church, for you know what you are?" A confrontation took place between them, and when the Bishop heard the clamor, he came to the door of the church to see what had happened. When he saw the girl, he said to her, "Do you not know that the house of God is holy, and only the pure enter it." She wept and said, "Accept me O father, for I am repentant from this instant, and have decided not to go back to my sin." The bishop replied, "If it is true what you have said, go and bring back here all your silk clothes and gold ornaments." She went quickly and brought back all of her clothes and ornaments and gave them to the Bishop. He ordered that they be burned immediately, then he shaved off the hair of her head. He put on her the monastic garb and sent her to one of the convents. She fought a great spiritual fight, and she frequently said in her prayers: "O Lord, if I could not bear the disgrace from the servant of Your house, so please do not put me to shame before Your angels and saints." She continued the spiritual fight for twenty-five years, during which she did not go out of the door of the convent, then departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
Martyrdom of St.Alladius the Bishop
Today also marks the martyrdom of St. Alladius (Hilarius or Hilarion), bishop of one of the countries of the East. One day, he rebuked Emperor Julian for worshipping the idols. The Emperor replied, "If I am, in your opinion infidel, because I do not worship that whom was crucified, I shall make you also forsake worshipping him." Then the Emperor handed him to one of his officers and commanded him to torture Alladius without mercy for one year. When he did not turn away from his firm intention, he lit a fire in a pit and threw him in it, but no harm came upon him. Many believed, and the Emperor ordered their heads to be cut off. Finally, they brought the saint out of the pit, and ordered to cut off his head. He delivered up his soul in the hand of the Lord Christ and received the crown of martyrdom.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
Departure of Pope Cosmas, the 44th Patriarch
This day also marks the departure of Pope Cosmas the First (44th Patriarch), in the year 446 A.M. (June 24, 730 A.D.). He was from the village of Abi-Sair. He became a monk in the monastery of St.Macarius. He was ordained against his will a patriarch on Sunday the 30th of Baramhat, 445 A.M.(Marsh 729 A.D.). He did not cease, since his enthronement, from asking God to repose his soul speedily. God responded to his request after one year and three months of his enthronement.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
Departure of St.Abraam, Bishop of El-Fayyoum
Today also, the saint Anba Abraam, Bishop of El-fayyoum and El-Giza, departed. This was in the year 1630 A.M. (June 10, 1914 A.D.). This saint, whose name was Paul (Boulos), was born in 1545 A.M. (1829 A.D.) in the Estate of "Gilda", district of Mallawi, governate of Miniah, to righteous parents. They brought him up in a Christian manner. They sent him to the church school, where he learned religious subjects and the church hymns. As he was a very bright student, Anba Yousab, the Bishop of Sunabbo ordained him a deacon for the church of Gilda. His heart longed for the monastic life, so he went to El-Muharrak monastery where he was ordained a monk by the name of Paul Gabriel El-Muharraki. He was nineteen years old. He was meek, humble, had a pure life, and he prayed much in seclusion. Accordingly, the monks loved him exceedingly. When Anba Yakoubos, bishop of El-Meniah, heard of him, he summoned him. He retained him in the episcopate for a period of time during which he promoted him to a priest. When he returned to his monastery, the monks with a consensus decided to make him the abbot over the monastery after the death of their Abbot. He was then promoted to archpriest (hegumen) in the days of Abba Demitrius the second (111th Patriarch). He remained Abbot of the monastery for five years, during which the monastery was the refuge for thousands of the poor. So he was called the father of the poor and the destitute. During his time as abbot, he did not spare an effort to improve the condition of the monastery spiritually and physically. He improved its finances by developing its agricultural land.
As he increased his charity toward the poor, the orphans and the widows, some of the monks became more resentful of him, for they considered these charitable works as squandering and extravagant acts. They complained against him to Anba Morcos, Metropolitan of El-Behira, who was the acting Patriarch after the death of Pope Demitrius. Anba Morcos accepted their complaints and deposed him as the abbot of their monastery. Shortly after his dismissal, he left El-Muharrak monastery and went to the monastery of El-Baramous. Several monks from the El-Muharrak monastery went to the monastery of El-Baramous, with archpriest Bolous (Abba Abraam), because they did not like the attitudes of the complaining monks. He stayed there for some time studying the Bible and teaching the monks. The abbot of the monastery of El-Baramous at that time was archpriest Youhanna the Scribe, who became later on Pope Kyrillos the fifth (112th Patriarch). In the year 1597 A.M. (1881 A.D.), Pope Kyrillos the Fifth chose and ordained him a bishop for the parish of El-Fayyoum and El-Giza. He replaced its reposed bishop, Anba Eisak, and was ordained with the name of Abba Abraam.
During his episcopate, he became famous for two attributes:
The First: His charity to the multitude of poor that came to the bishopric residence. He gave them all what he had of money. He made the bishopric residence a shelter for many of them. He offered clothing for those who had no clothes and food for those who were hungry. He never allowed anyone to offer him food that was better than that offered to the poor. Once he went down to visit the poor while they were eating, and found that the food he was offered that day was better than that offered to them. He became very sad, and immediately relieved the nun supervising the feeding service of the poor from her duties.
The Second: He was famous for his prayer of faith. Many miracles were performed, through his prayers, on his hands. His fame was spread to all parts of Egypt and also to some parts of Europe. Many patients, of different religions, came to him, seeking the blessing of his prayers and were healed. Anba Abraam was well read of the holy books. He always gave to his visitors advice, instructions and sermons which showed the great depth of his knowledge. More important was that he possessed a pure nature and many virtues. Particularly, his severe denial of himself, and his true renouncement of the pleasures of life and its vain glory. His food and clothing were just bare necessities. His ambition never looked up to the glory of higher ranks or positions. When the Patriarch wanted to promote him to the rank of metropolitan he apologized saying that the Holy Bible did not mention any ranks in the priesthood except the ranks of the priest and the bishop. He was also straightforward in revealing his own opinion, looking only for the truth. He never gave any attention to the rank and greatness of people in higher places, for their greatness was far less than the greatness of the truth. For this reason, all the metropolitans and bishops of the church avoided his anger and sought to please him.
Abba Abraam departed to the heavenly bless on the third of Baouna, 1630 A.M. (June 10, 1914 A.D.). More than ten thousand Christian and Moslems walked in his funeral precession. His pure body was laid in the tomb, which was prepared for him in the monastery of the Virgin Mary in El-Ezab. Many miracles were manifested through him after his departure, and his tomb became and still is a pilgrimage for many who have special needs or infirmities.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.