17 ter 2013
The Ethiopian Synaxarium
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD. AMEN.
On this day are commemorated the honourable Saints Maximus and Dumatheus, his brother, the sons of Lavendius, who was King of the country of Rome. And this king held the True Faith, and feared God, and he executed righteousness and judgement; and because of this God gave him these two saints, and from their youth up, by reason of their purity, and their humility, and their fear of God, they were like unto the angels of God. And they prayed and read the Books of the Old and New Testaments by night and by day. And they decided in their minds to reject this world, and to assume the garb of the angels, that is to say the garb of the monastic life. And they worked upon their father to allow them to go to the city of Nicea to pray in the place, wherein the Three Hundred and Eighteen Bishops who formed the Council assembled; and when they told him he rejoiced greatly, and sent them away with slaves and soldiers. And when they arrived in the city of Nicea, and had received a blessing in the holy place, they sent back the soldiers to their father, and they sent with them letters to him wherein they said, “O our lord the king, we wish to dwell here for a few days.” Then they opened their minds, and held converse with a holy and righteous monk, and they said unto him, “We wish to assume the monastic garb under thy direction.” And he said unto the, “I am afraid of the emperor your father. But go ye to the country of Syria, for there liveth there a righteous monk, a priest of the True Faith, whose name is ‘Agabius.” Having said these things unto them they accepted the counsel of that monk, and they departed to the country of Syria. And they came to Saint ‘Agabius, and revealed to him their minds, and he arrayed them in the garb of the monastic life, and they lived with him until he died. Before his death he spoke unto them, and told them that he had seen a vision wherein Saint Abba Macarius the Great came to him, and said unto him, “Command these two young men Maximus and Dumatheus to come to me in the desert of
Scete, and they shall be my sons before thy death.” And Abba ‘Agabius told them what he had seen, and he said unto them, “O my sons, I have long had the desire to see this father Macarius in the flesh, and behold, I have seen him in the spirit.” And he said, “After my death go ye to him.” And when he was dead they dwelt in the land of Syria, and God gave unto them the gift of healing the sick. And the report of them was heard in all countries through the merchants who traveled by sea and by land. And the saints learned to make the roofs (i.e. awnings) of ships, and they lived upon a small part of what they earned by the labor of their hands, and the rest they gave away to the poor and the needy. And by reason of the multitude of the signs and wonders which God performed by their hands, many of those who were possessed by many [evil] spirits, were cured immediately they heard the names of Saints Maximus and Dumatheus, by the might of our Lord Jesus Christ. And there was a very large snake which lived near the high road, and it destroyed very many men, and some of the men of the city came to Saints Maximus and Dumatheus, and asked them to deliver them from that venomous serpent. And Abba Maximus took a sheet of paper and wrote upon it as follows: “In the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, the Word of the Father, God of hosts, the God of Abba Macarius, the blessed, and our honourable father ‘Agabius, who was indued with the Spirit, the holy priest, when this paper cometh to the door of thy cave, thou shalt go forth and shalt die, and the fowls of heaven shall devour thee.” And a certain man took that paper and laid it at the door of the den of that serpent, and straightway it came forth and died; and all the people marveled exceedingly and they glorified God. And God performed very many signs and wonders by the hands of Maximus and Dumatheus. One day a certain nobleman went out to his father, who was near the sea-shore, and looking up at the awning of one of the ships, he saw written thereon the names of Maximus and Dumatheus, and he asked the captain of the ship, saying, “What are these names?” And the captain answered and said unto him, “These are [the name of] two holy monks and brothers, and because of my confidence in them I have written their names upon the awning of my ship, so that God may save me from sinking in the sea through their prayers.” And the nobleman said unto him, “What are they like in person?” And the captain said unto him, “One is perfect, and the other hath no beard”; and then the nobleman knew that the young men were the sons of the emperor. And he took that merchant and brought him to the emperor, the father of the saints, and he asked him about his sons; and the captain told them what they were like, and everyone knew that they were indeed his sons. And he sent their mother and their sister to them, and when they came to them, with many soldiers, and saw them, they cried out and wept freely and embraced them; and their mother asked them to come to her and to their father the emperor. And they said unto her, “We cannot destroy [our] covenant with God, for we have vowed ourselves to God, and we pray for thee and for our father, by night and by day, that God will deliver you from all harm.” And with these words they consoled her, and she left them and returned sad and sorrowful, and she wept because she was to be separated from them; and she told the emperor and the soldiers what had happened to them. And the emperor said unto his wife and his soldiers, “Let them alone so that they may become treasure with our God and Lord Jesus Christ, and may make entreaty to Him for us in their prayers; for everything which is in this world, and the glory thereof, passeth away like a dream, and they will gain a kingdom which doth not pass away.” And in those days the Archbishop of the city of Rome died, and the bishops and all the priests gathered together so that they might take counsel and appoint an archbishop. And they remembered the blessed Maximus, and they said, “Verily this man is well fitted for this office, for God hath given unto him the great gift of healing the sick, and God hath wrought many signs and
wonders by his hands. And although he is young in days, still Christ dwelleth in him, and he is perfect in knowledge and in good works, and in all the Law of the Church.” When his father and mother heard this they rejoiced exceedingly, and they sent certain officers together with their troops, and they sent with them a letter which they had written to the governor of the country of Syria commanding him to send Maximus and Dumatheus to the city of Rome. When the saints heard this they were exceedingly sorry, and they remembered what their father, the monk Abba ‘Agabius, had commanded them. And they rose up straightway, and they changed their apparel, and they departed, not knowing where they were going, and they wandered to the shore of the Red Sea. And being athirst God changed that bitter water and made it sweet for them, and He sent forth power from Him, and it carried them from the country of Syria and brought them to the desert of Scete; and they came to Saint Abba Macarius, and told him that they wished to dwell with him. And when he saw that they were sons of grace, he thought that they would not be able to live in the desert, and he told them about the difficulty of the desert, saying, “Ye will not be able to dwell here.” And they answered and said unto him, “O our father, if we cannot live here we will go away.” Then he taught them how to plait palm fiber, and he showed them a valley wherefrom they could obtain the palm leaves, and he helped them until they had built a cell for themselves. And he brought to them a certain native to buy from them the objects which they made with their hands, and he brought them bread. And they lived in this way in the desert for three years, and they held converse with none, for they would go into the church holding their peace, and received the Holy Mysteries, and return to their cell. And our father Saint Macarius wondered at their behavior and why they had neither come to him nor visited him during this period of three years; and he asked God to reveal the matter of them to him. And he rose up and went to them, and they rejoiced in him exceedingly, and he dwelt with them that night. And when he rose up to pray he saw Saints Maximus and Dumatheus rise up to pray, and when they prayed he saw as it were a rope of fire which went up from their mouths to heaven. And Satans thronged about them like flies, and the angel of God drove them away from them with a sword of fire. When the morning had come he arrayed them in the garb of the angels, and he departed from them, saying, “Pray for me”; and they bowed low before him, saying, “Bless us, O our father, and pray for us.” And when they had finished their fight, and God wished to give them rest from the labor and sorrow of this world, Maximus fell sick of fever and his body became like fire. And he sent a message to Abba Macarius asking him to come and see him, and when Macarius arrived he found him sick. And Maximus said unto him, “Bless me, O my father”; and he blessed him, and said unto him, “Fear not, for this illness shall depart from thee.” And Maximus said unto him, “O my father, I know that this day I shall depart from this poor body of mine; I ask thee to pray for me, and I shall find help”; and having said these words he wept bitterly. And at that moment Abba Macarius saw the Company of the Saints, Prophets and Apostles, and John the Baptist, and the Emperor Constantine, and they came and surrounded Saint Maximus, until his soul went forth in honor and glory. And Abba Macarius wept and said, “Blessed art thou, Maximus.” And Dumatheus wept bitterly for his brother, and he asked Abba Macarius, saying, “Pray for me that God may take my soul and bring me to my brother.” And three days after Saint Maximus was buried, Dumatheus fell sick, and one told Saint Macarius about him, and he rose up to go to him. And as he was journeying along the road, he saw the saints, and he saw the Company, who came and received the soul of Saint Maximus, take the soul of his brother Dumatheus, and carry it up to heaven. And when Abba Macarius arrived at their cell he found Dumatheus dead, and he took him and buried him with his brother Maximus,
in the same grave. The death of Maximus took place on the fourteenth day of the month of Ter, and that of his brother on the sixteenth day of the month of Ter. And Saint Abba Macarius commanded that monastery to be called by their names, and similarly that monastery is called to this day Dabra Barmos (Baramas). And they have everlasting remembrance in the kingdom of heaven, and in all the ends of the world. Salutation to Dumatheus and his brother Maximus.
Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen.
James the apostle
ሐዋርያውያዕቆብ ወልደ ዘብዲዮስ
Apôtre Jacques fils de Zébédée
Abba Gerima (one of the Nine saints)
(Stephen the Martyr) - the First Martyr and Archdeacon