16 ter 2013
The Ethiopian Synaxarium
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD. AMEN.
On this day Saint Philotheus, which name being interpreted is “lover of God,” became a martyr. This saint was a man of Antioch, and his parents worshipped a bull which was called “Maraged.” And they fed the bull on fine flour, which was boiled and mixed with fat, and seed-oil, and the honey of bees, and they anointed him with scented unguents thrice daily, and gave him wine and seed-oil to drink; and they built one house for him to live in during the winter and another for the summer. And they placed a collar of gold round his neck, and rings of gold on his fore legs and hind legs. Now this saint was of very goodly appearance. And when he was ten years old his parents talked to him, and told him that he must worship the bull, but he would neither listen to their words nor do this thing, and because of their love for him, and because they did not wish to annoy him, they let him alone. Now Saint Philotheus did not know Christ, and he thought that the sun was God. And he stood up before the sun, saying, “I beseech thee, O sun, if thou art God, to tell me so”; and a voice came unto him from above, saying, “I am not God, but I am the servant and messenger of God Whom thou knowest, and thy blood shall be shed for the Name of God--Glory be to Him!” And when God saw the integrity of heart of the boy Philotheus, He sent His angel to him at that moment, and the angel informed him about the mystery of God, and opened his heart so that he might understand what he said unto him; and when he had told him everything, beginning with the creation of the world, and ending with the Incarnation of our Lord Christ, the heart of the boy rejoiced and his spirit was glad. From that day he fasted, and prayed many prayers frequently, and he ate bread and
salt only, and he gave alms to the poor and needy. And when a year had passed his parents determined to give a feast to his friends and companions, and they required of their son to offer incense in honor of the bull, before they ate and drank. And the boy Philotheus stood up before the bull, and said unto him, “Is it true that thou art a god whom men worship?” And a voice came forth from the bull which said, “I am not a god, but Satan hath entered my heart and I have become a deceiver of men.” Then the bull rose up and attacked the parents of the saint, and he gored them with his horns, and killed them. And the saint commanded his slaves to kill the bull [and they did so], and they burnt him in the fire, and scattered [his ashes] to the winds. And the parents of the saint were lying there dead, and God gave grace to Saint Philotheus, and he prayed over them, and their souls returned to them, and they rose up straightway and told him how they had seen the punishments which were [inflicted] in Sheol. And after this Saint Philotheus and his parents were baptized with Christian baptism in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. And God gave him grace and power and he healed many sick folk by his prayer. And the report of him reached Diocletian the emperor, who sent and had him brought to him. And he said unto Saint Philotheus, “Cast incense to Apollo”; and he promised to give him many things if he would do so; and the saint rejected his promised things and his words. And the emperor commanded the soldiers to punish him with every kind of torture, [and they did so]. They first beat him with whips, and then they laid stones on his belly, and they did everything they could; but he was strong in the strength of God our Lord Jesus Christ. And he cursed the infidel emperor, and his unclean gods, until they smote him on the mouth, and cut out his tongue and broke his teeth; and when they had done all these things to him he would not hearken to the voice of the emperor. Then the emperor began to persuade him, and to use words of blandishment and flattery to him, but Saint Philotheus laughed at him, and promised that he would worship that idol; and the emperor rejoiced at this and imagined that he would really do so. And he commanded his servants to bring Apollo, and the men and priests of the idols, and a herald went through the city who cried out, saying, “Come, O all ye people, so that ye may see Philotheus worshipping Apollo”: and all the people gathered together about the tribune. And as they were bringing the idols along the road, Saint Philotheus asked our Lord Christ that the earth might open her mouth, and swallow up the idols and their priests. And straightway the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the idols and their priests, and there was a great outcry round about; and when the people saw this, many of them believed on our Lord Christ. And the emperor was wroth, and he commanded the soldiers to cut off the heads of them all with the sword, [and they did so,] and they received the crown of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens, and entered into life everlasting. As for Saint Philotheus, when the emperor was tired of torturing him he commanded them to cut off his head with the sword, and he received the crown of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens.
And on this day died the holy father Palladius, the fighter. This saint lived for fifty years in his cell without going outside of it, and he never looked upon the face of a woman. And the gift of prophecy and the power to work signs and wonders were given unto him in such a remarkable degree, that his fame was heard all through the country. And there was a certain merchant in the city of Mesr (Cairo), and he departed to make a journey in a ship, and the waves rose up and were about to sink the ship. And when hope failed, this merchant cried out, saying, “I take refuge in the prayer of Abba Palladius; if ever I escape from this death I will give him one hundred dinars”; and straightway he saw Saint Palladius steering the ship with his cross, and he brought it into port. And when the merchant arrived in the city he took one hundred dinars, and hired a horse and set out to go to Abba Palladius. And when evening fell upon him he arrived at a certain city, and he took up his abode in the guest house, and he found there a man whose name was Morik, and he told him everything which was in his heart. And Morik said unto him, “I know his place, and I will bring thee to him.” And on the following day the two of them set out, and they came to Abba Palladius, and saluted him, and the merchant gave him the gold which he had brought with him, and spread it out before him. And Abba Palladius looked at it and blessed him; and said unto him, “I have no need of this gold. Go and distribute it among the poor and needy so that thou mayest gain usury from it before God.” When the merchant heard this he fell down at his feet and begged and entreated him to accept it as a gift. When Saint Palladius saw that he made most earnest entreaty to him, he took one dinar, and said unto him, “I will accept this from thee as a blessing; as for the rest, do as I command thee, and distribute it among the poor.” And having taken the gold the merchant buried it in the ground. And when he came to the river, Satan entered into the heart of Morik, and he wanted to take the merchant’s money; and he leaped upon the merchant in anger and killed him. Then he carried away the dead body by night, and cast it down at the door of Abba Palladius. And on the following day he went to the governor and told him about the murder. When the governor came, he bound Abba Palladius in strong fetters, and he questioned him about the dead man, and Palladius said, “I did not kill him.” And when they brought him to the coffin containing the body, he took hold of the body and prayed for a long time, and he said, “I command thee, O dead body, in the Name of God to rise up and to declare who it was that killed thee.” And the dead man rose up and said that Morik had killed him for his money. When the governor saw this miracle he bowed down before Abba Palladius, and he was dismayed because he had entreated him evilly; and intending to kill Morik he released Palladius. And having fought strenuously Palladius died at a good old age.
And on this day also fifteen hundred soldiers [or, ten thousand five hundred] and their three prefects who were companions of Saint Philotheus became martyrs.
And on this day also two thousand and four soldiers [or, ten thousand four hundred] who were companions of Saint Cyriacus, and his mother Julitta became martyrs.
And on this day also is commemorated the blessed Saint Sahma, one of the Nine Saints, who fought a good fight, and pleased God.
And on this day also died the holy father, the pure virgin, John, the forty-eighth Archbishop of the city of Alexandria. This father became a monk in his early years in the church of Saint Abba Macarius, in the desert of Scete; and he fought a great fight and devoted himself to fasting, and prayer, and vigil, and God elected him, and the Archbishop Abba Michael made him a priest in the church of Saint Minas the martyr, and he gave to him all his money and his land as a gift, and the votive offerings which the people brought to the church, and he followed peacefully a right course in that church. When Abba Minas, the archbishop who preceded him, died, the bishops, and priests, and learned men gathered together in the city of Alexandria to elect an archbishop, and they wrote down on pieces of paper the names of several men. And a certain righteous man said, “Why did ye make Saint John administrator of the church of Saint Minas?” And they all said, “Verily he is worthy of this office.” And one wrote his name on a piece of paper, which was thrust in among the other pieces of paper, and they laid them on the altar; and they continued in prayer and the singing of hymns for three days and three nights. And they brought a child from the church, and he drew a paper from among the papers, and they found that the name of this saint was written upon it. Then thy took that paper and thrust it in again among the other papers, and they brought another child, and he also drew that paper; and when a third child was brought he drew that same paper, and the name of this saint was found to be written upon it. Then straightway they knew that God had chosen him for his office, and they seized him and against his will they made him Archbishop of the city of Alexandria. And having been appointed he protected his flock, and he read to them frequently the Books of God, and he confirmed them in the doing of good in the True Faith, and his charities and alms to all men were very many. In his days a great famine took place in the land of Egypt, and they sold one measure of grain for two dinars in gold, and each day many poor folk of every nationality gathered together at the door of his house, asking for food. And he put his disciple Mark in charge of the money of the church, and he gave to all the poor what they needed both morning and evening, until God removed His wrath from men. And this father built many churches, and adorned them with suitable adornments. And because of the numerous works of charity which he carried out, and his alms and his gifts, this father was called “John the Merciful.” and indeed he was merciful to the poor, and the wretched, and the widows and the orphans. When the day of his death drew nigh, he told the priests the day whereon he would die. And he said unto them, “I was born on the sixteenth of Ter, and I was named archbishop on that day, and on that day I shall die”; and when he told the bishops this they wept, and they said unto him, “Our father, who will be appointed archbishop over us after thee?” And he said unto them, “Mark the priest, my servant, for our Lord Jesus Christ hath elected him to this office.” And on the sixteenth day of the month of Ter this father died, having sat as archbishop for twenty-three years. In his days died David who had been made Archbishop of the city of Antioch by force, and his predecessor George, having passed ten years in prison, was appointed. When this father was appointed Abba John wrote to him an Epistle on the True Faith, and when Abba George died a certain just man whose name was Yarikos was appointed in his stead. And he wrote a letter and sent it to Abba John, who received him in the Holy Spirit, and rejoiced in his letter, and sent to him an answer to the same.
And on this day also died Mar Daniel, the Syrian, of the city of ‘Amed. The father of this saint was rich in gold and silver, and when his father died Abba Dionysius, Bishop of the city of ‘Amed, brought him up, and taught him the Books of the Church, and then made him a deacon and priest, and arrayed him in the garb of the monastic life. And Mar Daniel continued in fasting and prayer, and he never ate food between one Sabbath and the next, and at length the gift of healing was bestowed upon him; and he made a vow to himself that he would never look upon a woman. When his mother heard of the report of him she came to him, and wished to see him, and when she sent a message to him he said unto her, “I have made a vow that I will never look upon a woman.” And she said unto him, “I am thy mother. Why dost thou treat me like other women?” When he refused [to see] her, she pulled off her veil and cursed him, saying, “God maketh me to see thee laughing, and two women wrapped up in a single garment shall look upon thee.” After a few days a certain man took three hundred dinars of gold to give them to Mar Daniel, and in the evening, when he arrived at the gate of the cell of the saint, his companion rose up against him, and slew him through his love of money. When the King of ‘Amed heard the story about a dead man being found at the door of Mar Daniel, he commanded [his soldiers] to bring the saint before him. And when the women who were bathing in the bath-house heard the story about Mar Daniel, two of them rushed out to see him, and because of their great haste they had only a single garment to cover them both. And Abba Daniel laughed when he knew that his mother’s curse had come upon him. When the king questioned him about the dead man Saint Daniel said unto him, “I did not kill him”; and through the prayer of Abba Daniel the dead man rose up and declared who had killed him. When the king and all the people saw this, they worshipped the God of Saint Daniel and they killed the murderer. Then the king gave unto Abba Daniel much money, and when he refused to accept it he built a monastery for him, and many monks gathered together therein. And then growing old and fighting strenuously, he became a little sick, and he died in peace. Salutation to Daniel who vowed that he would never look upon a woman.
Salutation to Julitta, the mother of Cyriacus. Salutation to the five thousand martyrs who suffered with Cyriacus.
Salutation to Philotheus. Salutation to the fifteen hundred soldiers and their three prefects, the companions of Philotheus, who suffered martyrdom.
Salutation to Palladius, and two-fold salutation to his disciple Theophilus. Salutation to John, the revealer of mysteries.
Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen.
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