18 tekemet 2012
The Ethiopian Synaxarium
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD. AMEN.
On this day died the holy father, Theophilus, the twenty-third Archbishop of the city of Alexandria. He was appointed in the sixth year of the reign of Theodosius the Great. In his days lived John of the Golden Mouth (Chrysostom), of the city of Antioch, who translated the Gospel of John, the son of Zebedee, and he also translated the Book of Paul the apostle. He was appointed Archbishop of the city of Constantinople, when the days of this father were twenty-eight years, and he died in exile. And in the days of this father there lived also Epipahanius, Bishop of Cyprus; and in his days also died Abba Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem; and in his days also rose up (i.e., awoke) the seven children after they had been asleep for three hundred and seventy-two years. And this holy father was a disciple of Athanasius, the apostolic Archbishop of the city of Alexandria, and this Saint Theophilus was brought up in the cell of Saint Athanasius, and he learned from him all spiritual doctrine. When Abba Timothy the archbishop died, this father was appointed in his place. And he was prudent, and observant, and he learned the Books of the Church by heart, and he understood the interpretation of the same. During the days of his office he wrote great discourses, and many works of exhortation concerning love (i.e., charity), and concerning the Resurrection and the punishment, which is prepared for sinners, and other treatises, which tend to edification. And Saint Abba Cyril was the son of the sister of this father, and he brought him up most carefully and piously. And he sent him to Abba
Serapion so that he might instruct him carefully and thoroughly in spiritual matters, and father Abba Serapion taught him every kind of spiritual learning, and he learned by heart all the Books of the Church. When his education was complete Abba Theophilus sent and brought him to his cell. And used to make him read before him continually books concerning the people. When this father Abba Theophilus was with Abba Athanasius, he one day saw him lifting up his eyes to a hill, now he was [standing] before his cell, and he heard him say, “If I find good days I will clear away this hill, and I will build on the site thereof a church to Saint John the Baptist and Elias the prophet.” And when this Father Abba Theophilus was appointed Archbishop of Alexandria he remembered that hill concerning which he heard Abba Athanasius speak, and determined that he would do and carry out what he had heard Abba Athanasius say he would do. And in those days there was in the city of Rome a certain woman who was exceedingly rich; now her husband was dead, and he had left her much property, and she had two sons. And she took her two sons, and the money, which she had with her, and a picture of the angel Raphael, and she departed from the city of Rome to the city of Alexandria. And when she heard Abba Theophilus speaking about that hill, straightway she became moved by the zeal of the Spirit, and she spent much money and cleared away that hill, and there appeared underneath it a coffer which was covered over with a slab of stone whereon were written (or engraved) three characters which were O O O. As soon as Theophilus saw them he knew their mystery through the Holy Spirit, and he said, “Behold, the time hath arrived wherein this coffer should be brought to light, for the three characters upon it are O O O, and behold, they were gathered together at the same time. One O standeth for Theos, that is God; the second O standeth for the Emperor Theodosius, and the third O standeth for Theophilus the archbishop, that is to say a holy three (?).” And having said this he opened the coffer and found written inside it the date according to the Era of King Alexander, the son of Philip, the Macedonian, and it was seven hundred years, from the time when they closed [the coffer]. And the Archbishop Abba Theophilus sent to the Emperor Theodosius the Less, the son of the Emperor Arcadius, the son of Theodosius the Great, and he informed him about the coffer, and how he had opened it, and he said, “Come, that thou mayest see it.” And the emperor came to the city of Alexandria, and he looked at the coffer, and he gave half of the treasure inside it to the blessed Theophilus, and a half of it he placed in a ship and took to the city of Constantinople. And the blessed Theophilus built churches with the gold, which the emperor had given him. And he began to build first of all a church in the names of John the Baptist and Saint Elijah, and he translated their bodies and laid them in it, and this church is well known to this day in Demas. And at that time he also built a church in the name of our holy Lady the Virgin Mariyam, by the hands of the Melchites in the east of the city. And thirdly, he built a church in the name of the angel Raphael in Daset, and he built seven other churches; and then he appointed the sons of that widow bishops. When the emperor saw the love of the archbishop for building churches, he gave him all the houses of idols which were in the whole country of Egypt, and Theophilus pulled them down and built on their sites churches and lodging houses for strangers and pilgrims, and he endowed them with land and other property. And having followed in this good course of action, and pleased God, he departed to God and went to his rest from the toil of this world, after sitting upon the throne of Mark the evangelist eight and twenty years. When this father administered Christian baptism he used to see a rod of light before him making the sign of the Cross over the place of baptism. And this father and the Emperor Theodosius were cutting wood, and each of the two saw a vision on the same night wherein it seemed that one of them was to become emperor and the other
archbishop; and it came to pass to them even as they had seen in the vision. In the first year wherein this father was made archbishop, the Emperor Theodosius commanded that each of them should write down their belief in books, and that they should bring them to the emperor, and they did as he had commanded and brought the books to the emperor. When they had drawn nigh unto him, the emperor rose up and prayed, and then he laid the books on the altar. And God revealed unto him that there was nothing in them about the Orthodox Faith except that they said and believed that “the Son with the Father and with the Holy Spirit is One God.” And the emperor commanded [his servants] to cast forth all the books wherein evil belief and words of doubt (or hypocritical words) were written, and the emperor expelled all those who were in doubt about their belief from his kingdom. And John of the Mouth of Gold multiplied his reading in the Books of ‘Awgaryos (Abgarus), and this father Theophilus sent a message to Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus, and to all his own bishops, ordering them to anathematize the Books of ‘Awgaryos (Abgarus), and they anathematized them even as did Theophilus the archbishop. When John of the Mouth of Gold heard that Abba Theophilus the Archbishop of the city of Alexandria had anathematized the Books of ‘Awgaryos (Abgrus), he abandoned them and never read them again. And [he died] the seven hundred and twenty-first year of King Alexander, the Two- horned (A.D. 410). Salutation to Theophilus who was worthy to sit upon the throne of Mark the evangelist.
And on this day also died Romanus the martyr in the days of Asclepianus, the governor who persecuted the Christians. This Romanus had been a monk from his earliest years, and he devoted himself strenuously to fasting and prayer. When he heard that the governor was persecuting the Christians, he came into the church, and he gathered together the priests and the deacons, and admonished them in the Faith of Christ, and strengthened them with his own confidence. When Asclepianus heard this he commanded that Romanus should be summoned, and when Romanus stood before him, he said unto him, “Is it true that thou art the son of Feyum?” Romanus said unto him, “What doth glory of kin profit me? My glory is Jesus Christ.” When Asclepianus heard this he commanded his soldiers to hang him up and to scrape his limbs piecemeal [and they did so], and when the governor saw his patient endurance, he commanded them to slit his cheeks so that he might not be able to talk. And Romanus said, “Behold, my God hath uncovered my mouth so that I may admonish thy madness. If thou wouldst know the truth of the matter, command thy servants to bring hither a child, and he will tell us whether it is right for us to worship God or the gods.” And the governor commanded them to bring a little child, and he said unto him, “Tell me is it right for us to worship God or the gods.” And the child said, “It is right for us to worship God Who created all the world with one word”; and having heard him the governor commanded them to hang up the child. When they had hung up the child his mother came to look at him, and the child said unto his mother, “Give me water, for I am thirsty.” And his mother said unto him, “Nay, O my son, thou must not drink water [here], but go to the water of life.” When the governor heard her words he commanded them to cut off the head of the child; [and they did so], and his mother came and took away his body. And the governor commanded them to cut out the tongue of Romanus at its roots so that he might not be able to argue with him. And Romanus having received by the grace of God a tongue of the Spirit, he wrote with his blood, saying, “Blessed are those who do not deny our Lord, for the Son will confess them before His Father.” When Asclepianus heard this he imagined that the tongue of Romanus had not been cut out, and he called to the prefect, and said unto him, “Why didst thou not cut out his tongue at its roots?” And the soldier said, “Command them to bring the soldiers and I will cut out his tongue before thee, and thou shalt say if he speaketh.” And straightway they brought the soldiers and they cut out his tongue, and he died forthwith. When the governor saw him he commanded the soldiers to bring him into the prison house, and there they hanged (or strangled) him; thus he finished his martyrdom. Salutation to Romanus the martyr.
And on this day also are commemorated John the martyr, and ‘Adrani, and ‘Artematewos, and Hephaestus, and Luderius, and ‘Asmanit, and his seven children.
Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen.
Philip the Apostle