12 tekemet 2012
The Ethiopian Synaxarium
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD. AMEN.
On this day is celebrated the commemorative feast of the glorious angel, Michael the archangel. On this day God sent Michael to Samuel the prophet whilst he was in the sanctuary, and commanded him to go to the house of Jesse, the father of David, in Bethlehem to anoint his son David king over the children of Israel. And Samuel went to Jesse, and he said unto him, “Bring hither all thy sons”: and Jesse brought them [all] with the exception of David, who was tending the sheep in the fields. When Samuel raised the horn of oil of kings over the heads of the sons of Jesse, [he saw that] God was not pleased with them. And Samuel said unto Jesse, “Doth there not remain unto thee some other son?” And Jesse said unto him, “There remaineth the youth, the youngest of them, who is herding the sheep in the fields.” And Samuel said unto him, “Bring him hither”; and Jesse brought him. And straightway Samuel took up the horn of oil of kings, and anointed him, and God was pleased with him, and he reigned over the children of Israel. And on this day also God sent Saint Michael the archangel to David the prophet, and he helped him and gave him strength to slay Goliath, the giant of the Philistines, and deliver the children of Israel. For this reason the doctors of the Church have commanded and ordained that the people shall keep a festival in honor of Saint Michael on the (twenty-second?) day of this month. Salutation to Saint Michael.
And on this day Saint Matthew the apostle and evangelist, one of the Twelve Apostles, became a martyr, after he had preached in the cities of the priests, and converted them to the knowledge of God. Now it happened that when he wished to go into the city of priests, he found a certain young man who said unto him, “Thou wilt not be able to go into this city unless thou shavest off the hair of thy head and thy beard, and carriest palm branches in thy hand.” And he did even as the young man commanded him, and as he was sorrowing because of this, straightway our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him under a form, which he knew, that is to say, the form of the young man who had spoken unto him; and He encouraged and consoled him and then disappeared from him. When Saint Matthew had entered into the city, he made himself unseen by the people, like one of the priests. And he went to the temple of Apollo, and found the high priest, and talked with him concerning the gods, and Saint Matthew made him to know that they were not gods; and he wrought miracles and wonders before him, and light rose upon them, and a table came down to them from heaven. When Hermes the priest saw this wonderful thing he said unto Saint Matthew, “What is the name of your god?” And he said, “The Name of my God is Christ,” and straightway Hermes the priest believed on our Lord Jesus Christ, and many people believed with him. When the king of this city heard this thing he commanded his soldiers to burn them in the fire. And at the moment the son of the king died, and Saint Matthew made supplication to our Lord Christ, and he raised the king’s son from the dead; and straightway the king and all the men of the city believed. Then Saint Matthew appointed a bishop and priests over them, and he built a church for them, and he went forth from the city to the cities, which were outside, and he converted them and brought them to the knowledge of God. Before this Saint Thomas had been to the City of the Blessed, and he saw our Lord coming to them at all times, having with Him the souls of babes, which were in number eighteen thousand. And on the first day of every feast our Lord Christ cometh to them, and with Him are His angels. And these blessed ones are they to whom Simas the desert priest went, and he was witness of their strives, and of their marvelous works. After this Saint Matthew the apostle and evangelist went to the city of Jerusalem, and the land of Judah, and he wrote his Gospel in the Hebrew language. Then he went to the city, which is outside, and he found therein a certain man who was in prison; now Saint Matthew used to visit those who were shut up in prison. And the man had to pay back to his lord the money, which he had given him to trade therewith, together with a profit thereon, but he dropped it into the sea and lost it. And Saint Matthew the apostle said unto that man, “Go thou to such and such a place, and what thou findest therein take, and give to thy lord.” And the man went and he found a bag full of gold, and he took it and gave it to his master and was saved. And the story of Saint Matthew’s [act] was heard throughout the city, and many men believed on our Lord Jesus Christ. When Justus the governor of that city heard that many men believed on our Lord Christ, he was exceedingly wroth, and he ordered his soldiers to cut off the head of Saint Matthew, and to cast his body to the fowls of the air. And they cut off his head with a sword, and certain believing men came and took his holy body and laid it in a holy place. Salutation to Matthew whose voice compelled the deep to restore from its depths a certain man, the gold, which had sunk in it.
And on this day also died the holy father, the pure virgin, the fighter of lusts, the vanquisher of natural appetites, Abba Demetrius the twelfth Archbishop of the city of Alexandria. This holy man was a man of the people (i.e., of lowly origin) and he knew not letters, and he used to work in a vineyard. His parents gave him a wife in his youth, and he lived with her until he was appointed archbishop--forty-eight years. Both husband and wife remained virgins, and no one knew about them except God, Who knoweth souls and hearts. When the time drew nigh for the death of Saint Julian the archbishop, the predecessor of Demetrius, the angel of the Lord appeared unto this holy man and told him that Demetrius was to be archbishop after him. And he gave him a sign concerning him, and said unto him, “Tomorrow a man shall come unto thee having a cluster of grapes with him; seize and pray over him, and appoint him archbishop.” When Saint Julian woke up from his sleep, he told the bishops and the priests who lived with him what he had seen, and what the angel of the Lord had said unto him concerning Demetrius the archbishop. When the morning had come this Saint Demetrius, the archbishop, found in the vineyard a cluster of grapes, which had ripened before their time, and he took it to Abba Julian the archbishop, so that he might be blessed by him. And Saint Julian took him by the hand, and said unto the bishops and priests, “This is he who shall be archbishop after me.” And they prayed over him, and they took him and bound him until Abba Julian died, whereupon they finished the prayers over him and made him archbishop. And he was full of heavenly grace, and he was versed in many kinds of learning, and he knew by heart all the Books of the Church and the interpretations thereof, and he read many abstruse works. It was he who regulated the reckoning of the Epact, for the Christians used to keep the festival of the Baptism, and on the following day [began] the fast of Forty Days. And at the octave of His Passion they celebrated the festival of the Passion of our Lord by itself, and this they did from the days of the Apostles until the days of this father. And this father proclaimed the reckoning of the Epact by the Holy Spirit, and he regulated the reckoning of the Holy Fast. And he sent out letters [concerning it] to the Archbishops of the city of Rome, and of the city of Ephesus, and of the city of Antioch, and of the city of Jerusalem, and they rejoiced thereat, and they ordered [the Holy Fast] even as it is at this day. And God was with this Father Demetrius because of his sincerity (or purity). He used always to look for our Lord Jesus Christ at the time of the consecration of the Offering as he was administering the Holy Mysteries to those who were meet for them; and he drove away sinners, and said unto them, “Go ye and repent, and afterwards come and ye shall receive the Holy Mysteries; ye shall not receive them whilst ye are in sin so that ye may not go into Gahanna.” And Saint Demetrius used to reveal their sins to the people, those that they committed in secret, and he would rebuke each one of them for the sins, which they committed. Because of this believers were afraid of him, and the members of his congregation did not commit sin because of their exceedingly great fear of him, and because they did not wish him to put them to shame before the congregation. And some of the people whom he used to rebuke for their sins would say among themselves, “This man is married, and his wife is with him at this present, why should he rebuke us especially? None but a virgin should be appointed to the throne of Mark the evangelist.” One night an angel of the Lord came to him and said unto him, “Demetrius, permit not thyself only to do as thou pleases, and permit not thy neighbor to be destroyed. Remember that our Lord Christ saith in the Holy Gospel, ‘The good shepherd giveth his life for his flock.’” And Demetrius said unto him, “What is it that thou wouldst say unto me, my lord?” And the angel said unto him, “Reveal the mystery which is between thyself and thy wife to the people.” On the following day the festival of Pentecost was celebrated, and this holy Father Demetrius consecrated the Offering, and he commanded the archdeacons to tell the priests and all the people who were there that they were not to leave the church, but to stay together therein; and the archdeacons did as the archbishop had commanded. When the priests and the people were assembled he commanded that much wood should be brought and that a fire should be made of it, and [when] they had done so, this Abba archbishop rose and stood up in the midst of the fire whilst all the people were looking on. And he prayed for a long time, and then he spread out his garment and took some of the fire with his hand and placed it in it. Then he called his wife, and she came unto him, and he said unto her, “Spread out thy woolen head-cloth,” and he cast some red-hot charcoal into it, and then he said unto her, “Stand up that we may pray.” And the red-hot charcoal continued to burn in the woolen head-cloth, and the cloth was not burned; and they remained in this position and prayed for a long time. After this the priests and the people asked him, saying, “We require thy holiness, O our father, to make us know what this mystery is.” And he said unto them, “I have not done this seeking for the vain praise of this world, but behold, I have lived with this woman for eight and forty years, until this day. Now this woman whom thou seest was the daughter of my father’s brother. Her relatives died and they left her, then a little girl in my father’s house, and I was brought up with her. When I was fifteen years of age my father gave her unto me in marriage. When we entered the marriage-chamber in our house, she said unto me, ‘Why have they given me in marriage to thee, seeing that I am thy sister?’ And I said unto her, ‘Dost thou wish us to live together in one house, and never to separate from each other, and to preserve our virginity undefiled, and that there shall be nothing between us?’ And she said, ‘Yea.’ And I have lived with her in one place for eight and forty years, and we have lain in the same bed on one bedstead. And the Lord God Who is judge between us, and Who knoweth what is hidden and the thoughts of hearts, He knoweth that I have never known her as a woman, and on her part she doth not know me as a man, but we have passed all these days just lying side by side. When we lift ourselves up we see as it were a face, which resembleth that of an eagle in our bed, between me and between her. And he layeth his left wing over her and his right wing over me, and this he doeth from the time we lie down until the morning, and then he disappeareth. Now do not think, O Christian people, that I have revealed this matter unto you because I am seeking the praise which men desire in this world, but God hath commanded me to reveal unto you this mystery, for He wisheth what is good for all men--the Christ, the Redeemer of all the world.” And in the days of this father certain evil men appeared whose names were Kalemos and ‘Aganos, and others with them, and they wrote a lying book; and Demetrius anathematized them and excommunicated them. And during the days of his office he taught and encouraged the Christian people, and all believers, every day regularly. When he was grown old and feeble they used to carry him on a litter, and set him down in the church, and he taught the people all day long from sunrise to sunset, and all the people pressed eagerly to hear his doctrine. And all the days of his life were one hundred and five (six?) years. Of these were fifteen during which he was unmarried, and eight and forty years passed before he was appointed archbishop, and he held office of archbishop for three and forty years; and he died in peace. Salutation to Demetrius.
And on this day also are commemorated the righteous men Peter, and Dionymus (or Diyonas), and the strife of Ya’ekob, and Abu Tefa, and Theodore.
Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen.
Matthew the Apostle
Abba Samuel from Waldeba