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Our Saints’ Relics

relics

 

St. Moses the Black

On 24 Baounah (Paoni – Coptic month), St. Moses the Black, whose life story is remarkable, was martyred. This saint took the Kingdom of Heaven by force, exactly as our Lord Jesus Christ said: “The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12). In his early life, St. Moses was a slave to people who worshiped the sun. He was a mighty man who loved
to eat and drink excessively. He killed, robbed and committed all evil. No one could stand up before him, or challenge him. On many occasions, he lifted up his eyes to look to the sun and to talk to it saying, “O Sun!! if you are God, let me know it.” Then he said, “And you O God whom I do not know, let me know you.” One day, he heard someone saying to him, “The monks of Wadi El-Natroun know the real God. Go to them and they will tell you.” Instantly, he rose up, girded his sword and went to the wilderness of Shehet (Skete). He met St. Esidorous (Isidore) the priest, who was frightened when he saw him, because of his appearance. St. Moses comforted him by saying that he came to the monks so that they might let him know the real God. St. Esidorous took him to St. Macarius the Great, who preached to him, taught him the faith and baptized him. He accepted St. Moses as a monk and taught him to live in the wilderness. St. Moses dashed in many worships, and fought a spiritual fight, which was greater than that fought by many saints. However, the Devil fought him intensively with his old habits of excessive eating, drinking, and fornication. He informed St. Esidorous about everything which came upon him in his fight with the Enemy. He comforted him and taught him how to overcome the snares of the Devil. It was told about him, that when the elders of the Monastery slept, he used to go round to their cells and take their water pots and fill them with water, which he brought from a well at a far distance from the monastery. After many years in spiritual struggle, the Devil envied him, and struck him with a sore on his foot which made him sick and bed-ridden. When he knew that this was from the Devil, he increased in his asceticism and worship, until his body became as a burnt wood. God looked to his patience, healed his illness, and removed all his pains. The blessing of the Lord came upon him. After a while, he became the Father and the spiritual guide of 500 brothers, who elected him to be ordained a priest. When he came before the Patriarch to be ordained, the Patriarch wanted to test him by asking the elders, “Who brought this black here? Cast him out.” He obeyed, and left saying to himself, “It is good what they have done to you, O black colored one. The Patriarch, however, called him back and ordained him a priest, and said to him, Moses, all of you now has become white.”

One day, he went with some elders to St. Macarius the Great, who said to them, “I see among you one to whom belong the crown of martyrdom.” St. Moses answered him, “Probably it is me, for it is written: ‘For all they that take with the sword, shall perish with the sword.'” (Matt. 26:52). After they returned to the monastery, it did not take long until the Berbers attacked the monastery. He told the brethren, “Whoever wants to escape, let him escape.” They asked him, “And you O father, why do you not also escape?” He replied that he had waited for this day for long time. The Berbers entered the monastery and killed him with seven other brothers. One of the brethren was hiding, and saw the angel of the Lord, with a crown in his hand standing by and waiting for him. He went out from his hiding place to the Berbers and he was also martyred.

His body is now located at Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Monastery of El-Baramous in Egypt.

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Saint Samaan the Tanner

Saint Simon the Shoemaker lived towards the end of the tenth century AD. He Saint Samaan the Tannerwas a contemporary of the Saint Bishop Abram Ibn Zaraa the Syrian, who occupied the seat of St. Mark in 975 AD and rested in peace in 979 AD.

A severe and overwhelming famine came upon all of Egypt under the reign of the Ikhshidid Empire, namely between AD 934 to AD 968, shortly before the Fatimid Empire was established, under which the miracle of moving the mountain took place. The miracle took place circa AD 979, so Saint Samaan must have lived through this famine, which sent more than half a million people to their early graves.

These events must have left an impression on the Saint’s soul and made him renounce pleasure in worldly things- as we shall see. This was -and is- God’s way of dealing with man… Cairo had been constructed only a short while before the miracle of moving the mountain took place. This article is copied from st-takla.org

Al-Mu’iz Li Din Illah the Fatimid, was a polished politician, besides being a letterman and a lover of the gatherings in which poetry was recited. He was, as well, fond of religious sciences, which made him invite the Muslim, the Christian, and the Jewish religious leaders in order to debate before him with all frankness and freedom, and without any anger or contention.

This matter has a direct relationship with the miracle of moving the Mokattam mountain, as we shall see later on. Saint Samaan the Tanner worked in one of these handicrafts, which was tanning the hides of animals. This Saint appeared suddenly on the scene of historical events as a shining star, and disappeared just the same way. History does not mention anything about his early upbringing at all, so we do not know where he was born, or where he was reared up, or who was his father.

When the Saint was practicing his work as a shoemaker, a woman came to him to mend her shoes, and this woman was beautiful. It so happened that when she was taking off her shoes, her legs showed and he looked lustfully at her. But at once he drove the awl into one of his eyes, thus plucking it outin keeping with the commandment of the Lord “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery with her i his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Mt. 5:28,29). St. Samaan simply carried out the commandment literally!!

And histiory tells us of a great miracle that happened with his prayers, which is the miracle of moving the Mokattam Mountain in Cairo.. for more details about that, vistit his church’s Web site from the links’ section.

 May his prayers be with us all, and glory be to God forever. Amen.

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 Akhmim’s Martyrs

At the 29th of Kiahak 303, people were filling the bigAkhmim's Martyrs.. children.. women.. and old elders... church of “Soutir” (Saviour), and they spent the last night
praying and praising the Lord, in the preparation for the Holy Nativity Mass, which starts in the third quarter of the night. Bishop Odagious, their beloved pastor was not there with them, as he died from a while. They heard that the evil ruler of Ansna “Erianos” was coming to their town with his soldiers. So Bishop “Abadion” went secretly (because he was arrested before) to them to pray with them.

After the prayers finished at dawn, the ruler of the town went to the idols temple, and was filled with hatred for the Christians, because the idols’ priests talked bad about them. So they went to the church and found thousands of Christians praying there.. So Bishop “Agfa” and Bishop “Wanin” went out to talk to him, and he asked them about the reason for this gathering. They told him that today was a feast for the birth of Jesus Christ.. He was so mad, and killed them both at once, so they became the firstfruits of Akhmim’s Martyrs. This article is copied from st-takla.org

Then the ruler and his soldiers called all the Christians to come and bow and worship idols.. All people challenged him, and confessed their faith in One God.. Jesus Christ.. And said that they are ready to die for Him.. And when the ruler noticed their strong faith, order to kill all the priests (of whom Father Asconda, who drew to Christianity 70 of the idols’ priests), and deacons followed them.. and many of the people.. they were few thousands..!

And when the ruler saw that they were full of faith and bravery, he put torture instruments.. That continued for three whole days! The number of martyrs at that time from Akhmim was 8140 martyr! (from 29 Kiahk till 1 Tooba).

 May their prayers be with us all, and glory be to God forever. Amen.

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St. George

St George-the martyr

St. George was born about 280 A.D. of a Christian family that was wealthy and of noble origin, in the city of Capadocia, a city of the Eastern Empire, in Asia Minor.

He followed the usual career of young nobleman and joined the Roman army, where his ability and charm brought him quick promotion. The Emperor heard about him and as a rcsult made him a tribune or an officer in the Im- perial Guard.

One story says that he was a frielld of Constantine another officer, who later became the first Christian emperor. The legend says that St. George came with Constantine to Britain and visited some holy places as Glastonbury and Caerleon. On his return to Nicomedia, the capital of the Eatern Empire where Diocletian settled, he met the fiercy storm of persecution.

Diocletian gave orders for the issue of a formal edict against the Christians on February 23, in the year 303 A.D., being the feast of Termhlalia.

The provisions of this edict which was published on the next day in the market place, were as follows: “All churches should be levelled to the ground. All sacred books to be burned. All Christians who hold any honorable rank are not only to be degraded, but to be deprived of civil rights. Also, All Chris- tians who are not officials are to be reduced to slavery”.

In great courage, the young man George, pushed his way through the market place to read the proclamation, and then in front of the awe-stricken crown, he deliberately tore down the Imperial edict and threw it away. Consequently he was arrested and brought to the presence of Diocletian.

Some historians believe that St. George was not the young man who tore the proclamation, but as the edict was proclaimed and the great church in Nicomedia was ransacked and destroyed by the pretorian guard, he liberated his slaves, distributed all his wealth to the poor and prepared himself for mar- tyrdom. he entered Diocletian’s palace and rebuked him for his behaviour against the Christians.

The Emperor tried to seduce him by promises that he would be granted a higher positon in the Empire. But as these promises failed to attract him, the Emperor began to threaten him with unbearable tortures that he will in- flict on him. Lastly he put him in prison.

 CHASTITY:

Diocletian knew that nothing, except sin, could destroy the strength, and demolish the integrity of this Saint. Thus he arranged for a very beautiful woman to spend the night with him in prison and try to debauch him. St. George who could only look forward to heavenly joy, began to pray and within a short while he managed to swing her heart to the christian faith. Soon she seriously began to inquire about salvation, and by the morning she declared that she found her true Bridegroom Jesus Christ. With great courage she announced her Christianity to the emperol and his mell, aild joined thc other saintly martrys.

 SUFFERlNGS

It is not the purpose of this paper to go through the tortures that wer. applieci to St. George, in depth, but nevertheless I wish to bring to light his utmost love for Christ, by listing sorne of them. His body was torn by a special instrument that had metallic teeth, and our Lord Jesus rose him, after his death and many pagans were converted. He was put in a active lime, and thell water was poured on it. Again the Lord returned him back to life. The emperor became very agitated, imagining that the Saint was USillg magic. He called his top magician, Athanasius and requcsted hilll to prepare a lethal poison to kill St. George. The Saint signcd over the CtAp with the sign of the cross before drinking it, of course no harnrl came to him. The Emperor’s councillors informed him that St. George’s magic was in fact contailled in the sign of the Cross itself. Another cup was also given to the Saint, but this time with his hands tied behind his back. The Saint signed it by his head saying: “shall I drink it from here or here or here or here!!!”

During all these tortures, although the Saint had enollgh paills and sufferings of his own, but nevertheless kept on talking to Diocletian about the powers of the Christian faith. At the end the Emperor asked him if he could raise a dead man he knew of. St. George prayed to our Lord and the dead man came back to life. The result of that was the conversion of both the dead man and the magician as well as many others. They all were martyred.

IN THE EMPEROR’S PALACE

When all methods failed to incite St. George, the Emperor invited him in his palace to entertain him. He offered him an apointment as a prince if he only sacrificed once to the idols. The Saint replied “Tomorrow you will see the powers of your gods”

At the palace, St. George met Empress Alexanefra, who llad a f:air idea about the Saint’s God. She spoke with him, but the conversation quickly changed its course and the Saint began to preach to her about Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.

On the following day many people went to thc temple to witness St. George’s saerifice to the idols. The Saint stretched his hands, raised his eyes to Heaven..and in a moment, the idols collapsed and fell to the ground!!. The crowds shouted “we believe in George’s God” At this, the Emperor and his men put an end to the lives of the new Christians, St. George, and Empress Alexandra in 23 Baramouda, 303 A.D.

St. George was buried in his mother’s home that was situated on the seashore at Lydda, in Palestine. Before long his fame was spread all over the world. King Constantine, who took over after Diocletian, considcred that St. George was the true model of the young christian man, and ordered a church to be built over his grave. In Egypt, the Copts call him, “The Prince of Martyrs”, and built over 200 churches named after him. Moreover he is a personal friend of the majority of the Copts, who believe in the power of his prayers for them. The Greeks call him “the Great Martyr”.

HIS FlGHT WITH THE DRAGON

Legends grew up about this Saint, but the most famous one is about his fight with the dragon, which was documented in a book called “the Colden l,egend” by James de Voragine, a bishop of Genoa. It happened when St. George was once stationed with the Roman army near Salone in Libya, North Africa. In that area a Dragon which was described as a huge crocodile with scaled wings, had eaten so many of the coun- try folks around Salone that the remaining lot fled to the town and took shelter behind its walls. There, the dragon was positioned outside the city gates, and nobody could get in or out. Moreover its poisonous breath was so lethal that as it snored over the city wall, people could actually drop dead in the nearby area. In order to keep the beast away from the walls, two sheep were tethered every day, some distance away. The system worked fine until they ran out of sheep and the miserable people could not think of any other alternative but to sacriSlce one child everyday.

One day the lot fell on the king’s daughter, Sabra, a girl of fourteen. sometimes called Cleodolinda. Dressed in her most splendid clothers, as for her wedding, the poor girl was taken outside the city walls. While she was waiting for the dragon, weep- hlg, George the tribune came up mounting his white horse. On hearing the story he decided to put an end to that tragedy, and decided to kill the dragon.

“Fair girl” he said, “do not be afraid for I will save you life with the aid of my I ord Jesus Christ”. When lhe dragon appeared George the hero got engaged with the wild beast in a great combat. Finally he managed to wound it with his lance so badly that it could fight no more. Now the two of them tied a rope around its neck, and dragged it to the town. There in the market place, George cut off its head in front of all the cheering hlhabitants, and the people of the whole town were baptized and became Christians.

The above story seems to be exaggerated, which is perhaps true, and it could have started by a fight between St. George and an ordinary crocodile. However, it became very popular all over the world, because of its spiritual meaning that St. George defeated the devil by the Cross and his righteousness in Christ.

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St. Abaskhiroun the Soldier

St. Abaskhiroun, from the city of Qalin, was  one of the soldiers ofArianus, governor of Ansena (Antinoe). When the Edict of Diocletian to worship the idols was issued, this Saint arose in the middle of the people present, exposed the infidelity of the Emperor, and cursed his idols. They seized him and shut him up in the prison, which was in the palace of the Governor, in Asyut. Five other soldiers agreed with him to shed their blood in the Name of Christ. Their names were: Alfius, Armanius, Arkias, Peter, and Cranius. When they came before the Governor, he cut off their girdles, tortured them, crucified some and cut off the heads of the others.

As for St. Abaskhiroun, the Governor tortured him with different kinds of tortures, but the Lord comforted him, strengthened him, and healed his wounds. The Governor brought a sorcerer, whose name was Alexander. He gave the Saint some deadly poison, saying; “O master of the powers of darkness, manifest in this Christian your powers.” The Saint took the poison, made the sign of the cross over it, and drank it, but no harm came upon him. The sorcerer marvelled, and he believed in the God of St. Abaskhiroun. The Governor cut off the head of the sorcerer, and he received the crown of martyrdom. The Governor became more enraged with the Saint. He tortured him extensively, then he ordered to cut off his head, and he received the crown of martyrdom.

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Prince Theodore (Tadros El Shatebi)

Prince Theodore was born in 281 in Achaea, a port city, on the Black Sea. Later, he lived in Herculea, in Asia Minor. His father John was a Christian Egyptian from a city called Shateb in Upper Egypt.

The Father was a soldier in the Roman army. He went to Antioch to fight against the Persians. And because he was a man of courage he was given the prince’s daughter Oussawaia to be his wife. Oussawaia gave birth to a child and named him Theodore. In the meantime Oussawaia tried 8c hard to attract her husband John to Idol worshiping, but John had a strong faith in our Lord Jesus. Nevertheless, his wife used to derogate him by saying that her father the prince bought him as a slave and gave him a princess (herself) for a wife, and that he was not grateful. John felt always humiliated and not welcome in his own house. He used to pray and ask for God’s help and guidance.

In his sleep, he saw a vision. An angel appeared to him and said, “Do not be afraid John. Leave your pagan wife, and return to your country. Do not worry about your son Theodore. He will become a great Christian, and because of his strong faith, thousands will believe in Lord Jesus.”

John left his house and went back to Egypt, but he never stopped praying for his son. On the other hand, Theodore was always ead when he learned that his father had been kicked out of the house because of his faith in our Lord Jesus. One day he told his mother that his father’s God was crucified to save the world, but her idol was 80 weak that it could not even defend itself. Then he pushed the idol to the floor and the statue broke into pieces. A bad spirit came out of the idol in the form of a black giant and burned into smoke in front of them.

Prince Theodore was baptized by a priest called Oliganos at the age of fifteen. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and because of his boldness and courage in the battles, he became very famous. When Diocletian heard about him, he appointed him a commander over five hundred knights, and called him, Prince Theodore The Esphehlar (8rave Commander).

One day after Prince Theodore and his soldiers had fought a fierce battle in the desert, they ran out of water, and were about to die from thirst. Prince Theodore prayed earnestly and said, “My Lord Jesus who gave the Israelites water from the solid rock, please quench our thirst,” And suddenly, a strong wind blew, and heavy rain started falling. After the soldiers drank as much as they wanted, they knelt down before the Prince, and said, “Blessed is your True God Jesus, who answered your prayer with great might.” On that day they were all baptized in Jesus’ name.

Later, an angel of the Lord appeared to Theodore and told him to travel to Egypt to see his father. The prince was very happy to learn that his father was still alive. He took some of his faithful soldiers and sailed to Alexandria. Then they walked to Elbehna and went straight to the church of Shateb to ask about the prince’s father, John.

At that time the father was old and was lying sick in bed. Nevertheless, it was a very emotional reunion. Five days later, the father died, and the prince buried him. Theodore told the people of that city that his wish was to be buried beside his father, because he knew that he would soon die asXa martyr.

Prince Theodore left Egypt, and went back to Antioch. After his departure, the Egyptians built a pillar on the River Nile’s bank. On top of the pillar they hung the picture of the saint, whom they loved.

Shortly after, Prince Theodore went to fight the Persians and with him there was another saint called Prince Theodore E1 Mishriky. In the battlefield, the Archangel Michael appeared to encourage and support them. After they defeated the enemy, The Emperor proclaimed Prince Theodore EL Shatebi to be the Hero of the Roman Empire, and appointed him a ruler of the city of Otichos.

In Otichos a demon possessed dragon (maybe a large crocodile) lived in the nearby mountains. The people feared that dragon very much to the point that they used to throw children to nim to satisfy his appetite.

At that time, they took two children, from a Christian widow, to offer them as a sacrifice to the great dragon. The woman wept and prayed to God to save her children. Then, she heard a voice saying, “Dontt be afraid. Theodore iB capable of saving your children.” After the saint heard the woman’s story, he set of. immediately to kill the dragon. On his horse, he fought the dragon for an hour. Then, Michael the Archange] appeared to him and helped him until the dragon was killed. The people of the city were very happy to get rid of the evil dragon, and many were baptized in the name of Lord Jesus Christ.

The idols’ priests complained to Emperor Lucinius, who ordered St. Theodore to renounce Christ, or face death. When the saint refused to offer sacrifices to the idols, he was tortured in many cruel ways, but the Archangel Michael used to appear to comfort him, and remind him of Jesus’ promise, and the eternal glory that is waiting for him.

At the end, the king ordered the soldiers to cut his head by the sword, and to burn the body. The salnt prayed, “My Lord, God, and Savior Jesus christ, accept my spirit, and protect my body from the fire, 80 that everyone may know that You are the real God. To You is the power and the glory forever.”

Suddenly the Lord of Glory Himself appeared to the Prince in a cloud. He told him, “My beloved Theodore, come to your eternal rest in the Kingdom of Heaven. You have been crowned with the great crown of martyrdom. The fire will not burn your body, for miracles and wonders will be performed through your blessed body, and also through the mentioning of your name.”

After Prince Theodore died, his mother Oussawaia carried his body to Egypt, and buried it beside his father’s, in the city of Shateb.

Today, more than ever miracles do happen through the intercession of this great saint. May the prayers and the blessings of Prince Theodore the Martyr be with us all. Amen.

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