(The Fifth Day of the Blessed Month of El-Nasi)
I. The Departure of St. James, Bishop of Misre:
On this day, in the year 804M. (August 28th, 1088 A.D.), and during the Papacy of Pope Kyrillos II, 67th Patriarch, the church celebrates the commemoration of the pure father, St. James, Bishop of Misre (Cairo). This saint longed for the monastic life from a young age, so he went to the wilderness of St. Macarius, and lived in a cell there for many years. Then he was ordained Archdeacon for the church of the monastery of St. John. Because of his virtuous life, great knowledge and piety, he was ordained bishop for Misre (Cairo). Having been seated upon the episcopal seat, he added to his prayer, asceticism, and worship. He was a teacher, spiritual advisor, and a deterrent to the sinners, during his episcopate. When he finished his good strife, he fell sick. He called his people, commanded them not to be negligent in the Divine commandments, and explained to them what the punishment of sinners would be. Then, he made the sign of the glorious Cross on his face, and delivered his pure soul in the hands of the Lord.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
II. The Departure of the Righteous Amos, the Prophet:
This day also marks, the departure of the righteous prophet Amos, one of the twelve minor prophets. He prophesied in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and Jeroboam the son of Joash, King of Israel. God had sent him to the children of Israel to caution them and advise them to bear fruit that befits repentance before the coming of the day of vengeance. He prophesied concerning the passion of the Lord and the darkness of the sun on that day. He also prophesied concerning the lamentation and sorrow which should come upon the children of Israel after this, how their festivals should be turned into days of sorrow, and their joy into weeping; how they should lack he help of God, and how they should hunger and thirst through the lack of teaching and knowledge, how they should be scattered in all countries among the nations. And all these things were fulfilled upon them. It was said that this prophet was killed because of his harsh rebuke for their sins. This prophet lived about eight hundred years before the advent of the Lord Christ.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
III. The Departure of St. Barsoma, the "Naked":
On this day also, in the year 1033M., the great saint who was perfect in the love of God, Anba Barsoma the "Naked" (El-Erian), departed. He was born in Misre (Cairo). His father called El-Wageeh Moufdel, was the scribe of the Queen "Shagaret El-dor", and his mother was from the family of El-Taban. When his parents departed, his uncle took possession of all that they had left. Barsoma did not quarrel with him but forsook the world and lived the life of the righteous hermits. He lived outside the city for five years suffering the harshness of the summer heat and the winter cold. He wore no clothing except a hairy sackcloth, following the example of the Saint Anba Paul (Anba Paula), the first hermit. Then he shut himself in a cave inside the church of St. Marcurius Abu-Saifain for twenty years in ceaseless prayer and fasting, by day and night. There was a huge serpent in that cave. When he entered the cave and saw this serpent, he cried saying, "O my Lord Christ, the Son of the Living God, who gave us the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and every power of the enemy. You granted healing to the children of Israel, who were bitten by the serpents, when they looked to the brass serpent. Now I look to you, O You Who was hanged on the Cross, so that you might grant me power to be able to overcome this beast." Then he made the sign of the cross over himself, and moved toward the serpent saying, "You trampled the serpent and the snakes, and You tread upon the lion and the dragon. The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?" Then he said to the serpent, "O blessed one stand still in your place," and then he made the sign of the cross over it. He prayed to God and asked Him to remove the beastly nature from it. As he finished his prayer, the serpent changed its nature and became tame. The saint said to the serpent, "Henceforth, O blessed one, you shall not have power or might to harm any man, but you shall be subject and obedient to what I say to you." The serpent manifested signs of submission and obedience, and became with the saint as the lion was with Daniel, the prophet, in the den.
Then he left the cave and lived on the roof of the church. He endured the summer heat and the winter cold, until his skin became dark from much worship and asceticism. He remained in this state for fifteen years.
During his days, a great persecution befell the Christian nation. The churches were shut and the Christians were forced to wear blue turbans. As for this saint, the ruler seized him, severely smote him, then cast him in prison. When he was released, he went to the monastery of El-Shahran, where he lived on the roof of the church and he increased in his asceticism. He did not replace his white turban. The rulers of that time from princes, judges and others, visited him and saw his white turban, but no one dared to force him to wear a blue one for they knew that the power of God was with him. The saint continually asked and supplicated God to take his anger away from His people. Having completed his strife, he departed at a good old age, in the year 1033 A.M. He was then sixty years old, and was buried in the monastery of El-Shahran.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
IV. The Departure of St. Yoannis XV, 99th Pope of Alexandria:
Today also, in the year 1346M. (September 7th, 1629 A.D.), Pope Yoannis XV (John), 99th Pope of Alexandria, departed. He was from Mallawy, and was known by the name of Yoannis El-Mallawany. He became a monk in St. Antonios monastery, and was ordained Patriarch in the 7th of Tute, 1336 A.M. (September 18th, 1619 A.D.). He was chaste, knowledgeable, and just in his judgements. He was modest, impartial, and only sought the truth. He was zealous about the church, compassionate to the priests, loving to the poor, and provided shelter for strangers. He did not desire anything of this world, but rather he was absorbed in prayer and worship, day and night.
In the year 1340 A.M. (1623 A.D.), a grave epidemic befell Upper Egypt. It lasted from the month of Tubah (January) till the month of Baramoudah (April), which perished multitudes of people and devastated many families. Pope Yoannis was in Upper Egypt, and returned to Cairo in 1341 A.M. In year 1342 A.M. another severe epidemic spread through the land, which was less severe than the first. The Pope went to upper Egypt again in the second year of the epidemic, then returned to Cairo. On his way back, he passed by the city of Abnub, and he spent a night there. He suffered abdominal pain. It was said that he was given a poison where he spent that night. The owner of that house had concubines besides his wife and the Pope admonished him for that. When the Pope felt ill, he asked for a boat, which he sailed in. He ceased in the boat on his way, and was buried in the monastery of the Saint Anba Bishiah in El-Biadiah. He was on the Chair for nine years, eleven months and twenty-two days.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.