(The Twelfth Day of the Blessed Month of Baounah)
I. The Commemoration of Archangel Michael:
On this day, the church celebrates the commemoration of the angel Michael, the Archangel, the intercessor of the human race. The one who appeared to Joshua the son of Nun, encouraged him, and told him, "Nay, but as captain of the hosts of the Lord am I now come." He made the city of Jericho to fall into his hands, and he stopped the sun for him.
May his intercession be with us. Amen.
II. The Departure of St. Justus, the Sixth Pope of the See of St. Mark:
On this day also, of the year 135 A.D., St. Justus, the Sixth Pope of the See of St. Mark, departed. This saint was an honorable and learned man before his ordination. He was baptized by St. Mark the Apostle, along with his father, his mother and others. St. Anianus, the second pope, ordained him a deacon, then a priest, and appointed him to preach, and teach the people. He was chosen for the papacy to succeed Pope Primus. He shepherded his people with the best of care for ten years. He departed at a pleasing good old age.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
III. The Departure of St. Kyrillos the Second, the 67th Pope of Alexandria:
On this day also, the twelfth of Baounah, 808 A.M. (June 6th, 1092 A.D.), the great Pope, St. Kyrillos the Second, the 67th Pope of Alexandria, departed. He became a monk in Sawma'et (Cell) of Singar. Because of his knowledge and righteousness, they chose him a Patriarch, a successor to St. Christodolus, the 66th Pope. His enthronement was on 22nd of Baramhat, 794 A.M. (March 18th, 1078 A.D.).
Some of the bishops disobeyed the Pope and decided to depose him. They assembled a council from forty-seven bishops for this purpose. When the Fatimid governor knew of this dissension, he called the bishops to his orchard. He harshly talked to them with words God had put in his mouth. The overseer of the orchard (Yaseeb) sided with those who opposed the Pope. Peter, the pope's disciple, reproved him and an exchange of words took place between them while the Pope was coming out of the meeting. The Pope told the overseer, "If the Governor has authority, Christ has authority over the heaven and earth." The Pope dismounted his horse, and made a matonia before him, which was on Saturday the 23rd of Misra, 802 A.M. On the next Saturday, the governor became enraged with the overseer of his orchard. He went there and ordered the beheading of the overseer. That was in the same place where the Pope had made the matonia to him and in the same hour.
The Governor told the dissenting bishops, "You all should be in accordance, and obey your Archbishop." Thus, they all were reconciled, and went to the church of St. Marcurius. They celebrated the Divine liturgy on Saturday and Sunday and then went to their parishes rejoicing. This Pope remained on the Chair for fourteen years, two month, and thirteen days, then departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
IV. The Departure of St. Euphemia:
This day also, marks the martyrdom of St. Euphemia. She was the wife of a man who feared God, and gave much alms. He kept three festivals each month: the commemoration of the angel Michael, on the twelfth day; the commemoration of the Mother of God (Theotokos), on the twenty-first day; and the commemoration of the Nativity of our Lord, on the twenty-ninth day of each month. When the day of his departure drew near, he commanded his wife, to keep this custom, to not stop the giving of alms, and to do the acts of charity especially on these three festivals. He painted a picture of the honorable angel Michael and gave it to her.
After the departure of her husband, she continued to fulfill his will. Satan was jealous of her, and he came to her disguised as a monk, who talked to her expressing his pity for her. He advised her to get married, to bring forth children, and to refrain from doing charitable deeds lest she finish her money. He told her also that her husband had received the Kingdom and he had no need of the alms giving. She answered saying, "I have vowed not to consort with another man after my husband." She went on saying, "If birds as the doves and the ravens do not take second mates, how then can men who are created in the form and likeness of God do this?" The devil left her angry.
When the feast of the Angel had come, and she had prepared all what she needed as her custom, Satan appeared to her in the form of an angel and said to her, "Peace be to you, the angel Michael has sent me to you, commanding you to cease from these alms, and to marry a believing man." Then he told her, "A woman without a man is like a ship without a captain," and he began to bring her proofs out of the Holy Bible in regard of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and others like them who married wives and pleased God. She replied saying, "If you are an angel of God, where is the Cross, the symbol of your military service? For the soldier of the King never goes to any place without this symbol with him." When Satan heard these words from her, he returned to his original form, and jumped on her to choke her. She cried for the angel Michael, whose feast she was celebrating, and he delivered her immediately from him. The angel Michael told her, "Go and arrange your affairs, for you shall depart from this world today. And behold the Lord has prepared for you what eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, nor has it occurred to the heart of man," then he gave her the greeting of peace, and went up into heaven.
After, St. Euphemia had celebrated the feast of the angel Michael, she sent for the father the bishop and the priests. She gave them all her money to give to the poor and the needy. Then, she took the Picture of the honorable angel Michael and prayed before it. She laid it upon her face and breast, then departed in peace.
May her prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.