(The Twenty-First Day of the Blessed Month of Babah)
I. The Commemoration of the Theotokos:
On this day we celebrate the commemoration of our holy lady, the Mother of Light, the Virgin St. Mary. Salutation to you O Mary, the Mother of God, the eternal Word, because through you was the salvation of the human race.
Her intercession be for us. Amen.
II. The Commemoration of the Relocation of the Body of Lazarus:
On this day also we celebrate the commemoration of the relocation of the body of Lazarus,whom our Lord raised from the dead. It was relocated by one of the Christian Emperors to Constantinople. When he heard that the body was on the island of Cyprus, he sent some of the trusted bishops to the island where they found the holy body laid in a sarcophagus buried under ground.
The inscription on the coffin read, "This is the body of Lazarus, the friend of the Lord Christ, whom He raised from the dead, after he had been buried for four days." They rejoiced at it and carried it to the city of Constantinople. The priests went out and received the body with great honor and veneration, and with prayers and incense. They laid it in a sanctuary until they built a church for it and then relocated the body to the church where they celebrated a holy day for him.
His intercession be for us. Amen.
III. The Departure of Joel the Prophet:
Today also, the great Prophet Joel, the son of Phanuel, from the tribe of Reuben, departed. He prophesied in the days of Abya the son of Jeroboam the son of Solomon the King. He taught the people and admonished them and prophesied concerning the dwelling of God in Zion, His passion, and the coming of the Holy Spirit, the comforter upon the holy Apostles on the day of Pentecost. He prophesied that their sons and daughters will prophesy and their young men will see visions and their old men will dream dreams.
This prophet prophesied also concerning the going forth of the law of the Gospel from Zion when he said, "A fountain shall flow from the house of the Lord and water the valley of Acacias." (Joel 3:18) And he revealed that wars will break out on the earth after the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. He spoke also concerning the day of Resurrection more than a thousand years before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He said, "The sun and the moon will grow dark and the stars will diminish their brightness." (Joel 3:15) He pleased God and departed in peace.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
IV. The Departure of St. Freig (Abba Tegi, Anba Roweiss):
On this day also in the year 1405 A.D. (1121 of martyrs) St. Freig, who is known as Abba Roweiss, departed. This saint was from a village called Miniet-Yamin (about 130 kilometers north of Cairo). His father's name was Isaac and his mother's name was Sarah. When he was born, they called him Freig. He worked with his father in farming and he had a small camel on which he carried salt and sold it. He called the camel "Roweiss" (i.e. small head). The camel used to put his head against his cheek as if he was kissing him. Because of his humility, he called himself after his camel.
Persecutions befell the Christians, so he came to Cairo and not having a house or shelter, he went from one place to another. He spent most of his nights in prayers and wailing. He did not own a coat or any clothes or a cover for his head. He was naked except for that with which he covered his loins, and his head was uncovered. He looked like the hermits of the desert; his eyes were red because of much weeping and he never cut the hair of his head. He was a man of few words -once an evil man smote him severely but he did not open his mouth. St. Marcus El-Antoni was present at that time and he rebuked the evil man.
During the later part of his life, he used to say, "O Virgin, take me because my burden is heavy." He meant the burden of carrying the sin of the people for which he often rebuked them though they did not listen to him.
He lived in the days of the holy father Pope Mattheos, 87th Patriarch, and St. Marcus El-Antoni, in the days of El-Sultan El-Zaher Barkuk.
He shut himself up in a small storeroom at the place of his disciple Michael the builder, in Meniet Syreg. He stayed in that place for 9 years until his departure on the twenty-first of Babah of the year 1121 of the martyrs. He was buried in the church of the Virgin, in Deir El-Khandaq. He performed many wonders such as healing the sick, prophesying and saving many from their troubles.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.