(The Twenty-Fourth Day of the Blessed Month of Misra)
I. The Departure of St. Takla Haymanot, the Ethiopian:
On this day, the great hermit and the blessed St. Takla Haymanot, the Ethiopian, departed. He was born in a village nearby Jerusalem which was the share of Zadok and Abia-thar the priests during the reign of King Soliman, son of King David.
Zadok begot Azariah, Azariah begot Zadok, who was named after his grandfather, and Zadok begot Levi, and so forth till the father of this saint was born. His name was Tsega Ze-Ab (which means the Grace of the Father) and he married a woman whose name was Sarah. They were righteous, God fearing and very rich. They always celebrated the commemoration of the honorable Archangel Michael on the twelfth day of each Coptic month, and gave alms to the poor and the needy.
Sarah, the mother of this saint, was very beautiful, meek and adorned with many virtues, hence they called her "Egezi-Hareya" (i.e. God has chosen her). However, She and her husband were bitter and sad because they did not have any children. She went daily to the church imploring God to give her a child that would delight her heart. Her husband also went to the church at the time of the offering of the incense and taught the congregation the fundamentals of faith. Every time he went to the church he took from his own money an offering to the house of God. They both agreed to disperse their money to the poor, the needy, the monasteries and the churches.
Meanwhile the king died, and another king reigned who worshipped the idols. The new king demolished the churches and built pagan temples. He was unjust and he plundered and captured women, among them "Egezi-Hareya", the mother of St. Takla. Later she returned safely to her husband and both glorified God and praised His Holy Name.
Afterwards, the angel of the Lord appeared to them in a vision at night, and announced to them the birth of this saint. When the saint was about one and half years old, a famine befell Ethiopia. When the twelfth day of the blessed month of Baramhat, the commemoration of the honorable head of the Heavenly hosts, drew near, Sarah, the mother of the child, was crying because she was not able to celebrate this occasion. The child wiped away her tears with his little hands and yet he was still unable. to talk. He pointed to her to carry him to where there was a plate with a little flour in it. She took him to the plate where he dipped his hand in the flour. The flour increased until it was pouring onto the floor. She brought baskets and every time she emptied the plate, it became full again, until she had filled twelve baskets. His mother then knew that God was with the child. Then she brought to him the empty container of oil. He placed his hand over it and it was filled with the power of God. In the same fashion, other containers in the house were filled. When Tsega Ze-Ab, the father of the child, returned from the church and knew what happened, he glorified God. They celebrated the commemoration of the archangel Michael, fed the poor and all the neighbors.
God honored this saint with many miracles that he performed during his life and also after his departure. When St. Takla Haymanot completed his good strife, he departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
II. The Departure of St. Thomas, Bishop of Mar'ash (Syria):
On this day also, the fighter father, St. Thomas, Bishop of Mar'ash, departed. He was an ascetic worshipper, who fasted and prayed continually, with many merciful deeds. Therefore, they ordained him a bishop for the city of Mar'ash. He shepherded the flock of Christ with the best of care. When the infidel Emperor Diocletian reigned, he sent one of his representatives to the city of Mar'ash to torture the Christians. He started with this saint. He ordered the saint to worship the idols. The saint not only disobeyed him but also rebuked him on his idolatry. He tortured the saint severely by flogging, and dismemberment, then he cast him in an abandoned prison. From time to time, he ordered to dismember one of his organs. First they cut his ears, then nose, lips, his legs, then they smashed his teeth. He was left in this prison for twenty-two years. His congregation thought that he had died, and they celebrated an annual commemoration for him. A faithful woman came to him by night, and threw to him provisions through a small opening.
The saint remained in this condition until the righteous Emperor Constantine reigned and declared the glory of the Christian faith, and ordered the release of the faithful from prisons. The woman informed some priests of the whereabouts of this saint. The priests came to the saint, carried him to the church with songs and hymns. The people came forward for his blessing and kissed the places where he was dismembered.
When the Emperor assembled the council of Nicea, this saint was one of those attended. As the Emperor came to the council, he knelt before the fathers and kissed their hands. When he knew what had happened to this father, he asked for his blessings. As the council adjourned, he and the other bishops returned to their dioceses. He gathered his priests and congregation, read to them the creed that was instituted by the council, and also explained to them what was difficult to understand. Afterwards the saint lived for a short period then departed in peace, when his episcopate was about forty years.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.