2 ter 2015
The Ethiopian Synaxarium
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD. AMEN.
On this day died Abel, the righteous man, whose blood was shed by violence; and he was the first-born of the dead, whom Cain his brother slew. And the cause of this was the fact that Adam transgressed the command of God, and ate of the tree, although he was commanded not to eat of the tree, and death obtained dominion over him, and over his sons, and he became a slave of sin, and Satan was given permission to lead him astray forever. Then when he went out from the Garden, and descended into the low- [lying] land, he continued for one hundred years to weep and to lament, because he was stripped of the glory of his honor, and was driven out from his inheritance. When his lamentation was ended, he knew his wife Eve, and she conceived by him and she bore him Cain and Elyud his sister. And then he knew Eve again, and she bore him Abel and ‘Aklima his sister. And when the children were become young men Adam said unto Eve, “Behold thy children have grown up, let Cain marry ‘Aklima, who was born with Abel, and let Abel marry ‘Elyud, who was born with Cain.” And Cain said unto Eve his mother, “It is right that I should take my sister, who was born with me, and that Abel should take his sister, who was born with him”; now this [he wanted] because ‘Elyud who was born with Cain was more beautiful than ‘Aklima the sister of Abel, and she was like Eve her mother. And when Adam heard this, it was exceedingly grievous unto him, and he said, “This is against the Law, and it is not right for thee to do this thing, and to take to wife thy sister who was born with thee.” At that moment envy (or jealousy) entered into the heart of Cain, and he wanted to kill Abel. Then Adam said unto Cain and Abel, “Get ye forth and offer up an offering to God, and whichever He pleases let it be to Him.” When they had offered their offerings God looked upon the altar of Abel, and accepted his offering, and He rejected the offering of Cain. Then the jealousy and anger of Cain were increased, and Satan came upon him, seeking a pretext for killing him. And when he had gone down into the valley Satan visited Cain, and he said unto him, “Why art thou sorrowful?” And Cain said unto him, “Because my father hath commanded me to give my beautiful sister to my brother Abel.” And Satan said unto him, “Hear my voice, O my friend, and listen to my admonition. Rise up and follow thy brother, and thou wilt find him drinking water; smite him on his head with a stone, and when he dieth thou canst marry both thy sisters.” And the advice of Satan was good in Cain’s sight, and he burned with the lust for fornication, for he was the son of perdition. And then he took up a stone and smote the head of Abel, who died by the hand of his brother through jealousy of a woman. This was the beginning of sorrow, and the cause of death in the world. And concerning this God said unto Adam and Eve when they were in the Garden, “Ye shall not eat of this tree, for in the day wherein ye eat thereof ye shall surely die” (Gen. ii, 17); and these words referred to Abel before [he was born]. And God said unto Cain, “Where is thy brother Abel?” And Cain said unto Him, “Am I my brother Abel’s keeper?” And God said unto him, “The blood of thy brother hath come to Me. Cursed shall the earth be because she hath opened her mouth to drink the blood of thy brother; and do thou tremble, and be terrified all the days of thy life.” And this curse was exceedingly heavy upon Cain, and at length his seed was destroyed from off the face of the earth by the waters of the Flood, because of Abel. And Enoch saith, “I heard the blood of Abel crying out, and accusing his brother.” And our parents, the children of Adam, before the waters of the Flood, used to swear by the blood
of Abel, and our Lord said unto the scribes and Pharisees, “Which of the prophets did not your fathers kill? Therefore there cometh upon you the blood of all the righteous which hath been poured out upon the ground from the blood of Abel the Just to the blood of Zachariah the priest, the son of Berachiah, whom they slew in the midst of the sanctuary” (Matthew xxiii, 35). And Paul saith, “The sacrifice of Abel was better than [that of] Cain, by reason of the faith which he brought to God, and it became a witness concerning him that he was a righteous man, and the sacrifice which he offered to God also testified concerning him; and [although] he is dead it yet speaketh.” And he saith also, “Jesus, the lamp and guide of the new covenant, and the sprinkling of the blood of the prophet, which speaketh better than that of Abel” (Hebrews xi, 4; xii, 24). And then, when Adam missed Abel, his son, he said unto Cain, “Where is thy brother?” And Cain answered him angrily, saying, “How should I know where by brother is?” And Adam ran into the valley and found Abel, and he took Abel’s head in his arms, and said unto him, “Who killed thee?” and Abel said, “Cain killed me.” And Adam and his wife wept for Abel for four weeks of years. And as soon as Abel was dead angels came to Adam and said unto him, “Good tidings for thee, O father of the world! Thy son Abel reposeth in peace among the trees of thy Garden, and his soul hath ascended to God as a sacrifice, which hath been accepted. As thou wast the first to [bring in] death, so he is the first to enter into the holy place.” When Adam heard this he was comforted and he buried Abel in the Cave of Treasures. Salutation to Abel the accepted sacrifice.
And on this day also Hellanicus, the bishop [of Weshim], became a martyr. When the Emperor Diocletian, the infidel, heard the report that Saint Hellanicus was teaching the people to reject his gods, he sent envoys to seize him, and to torture him severely. And when the blessed Hellanicus heard of the arrival of the envoys of the emperor, he gathered together the people who were in his city Weshim, and he consecrated the Offering, and administered unto them the Holy Mysteries, the Body and Blood of Christ, and then he said unto them, “After this time ye will never again see my face.” And they all wept with a bitter weeping, and they were unable to hold him back against his will. Then he went out and delivered himself up to the envoys of the emperor, and they took him and gave him to the governor of Antinoe to torture. And the governor tortured him severely, and God gave him strength and enabled him to endure the torture; and then the governor took him with him to the city of Edku and there also he tortured him severely. And when he was tired of torturing him he commanded the soldiers to cut off his head with the sword, and to cut through his body to the shoulders; and they cut through his head down to the shoulders; and the governor took him with him to carry him to the city of Tukh. And as they were traveling in the boat, the saint, knowing that his death was near, commanded one of the sailors, who was a believer, saying, “When we arrive at the port (or quay) and I am dead, cast out my body on a hill”; and having said this he died. And they arrived in port, and straightway the sailor took the body of the saint and cast it out on a hill. And immediately certain believers, who had been commanded to do so by the angel of God, came and took his holy body, and swathed it for burial, and hid it among them until the end of the days of persecution. And they built a church, and laid his body therein, and great signs and miracles took place [therein] through it. Salutation to Hellanicus whose shoulders were cut through.
And on this day also died the holy father Theonas, the sixteenth Archbishop of the city of Alexandria. This saint was learned, and wise, and strong in the True Faith, and good in every action of his life; and all men loved him because of his learning and wisdom. And he built in the city of Alexandria the church of our holy Lady the Virgin Mary; [until that time] the Christians and the believers were only able to pray and to receive the Eucharist in cells (or caves) secretly because of their fear of the infidels. And this saint persuaded the people until they let him build beautiful churches, and he converted many of them, and baptized them with Christian baptism. At the end of the [last] year of his office he baptized the blessed Peter, who became archbishop after him; in the fifth year of his office he made him a reader, in the twelfth year of his office he made him a deacon, and in the sixteenth year of his office he made him a priest. In the days of this saint there appeared in the city of Alexandria the infidel Sabelus, who believed and said that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one Person; and this father anathematized him and brought his evil faith to naught. And in his days Cosmas, and Damianus, and their mother suffered martyrdom. And this father finished a good life, and pleased God, and having sat for eight and twenty years he died in peace. Salutation to Theonas, who baptized Peter.
And on this day was consecrated the church of our holy Lady the Virgin Mary, in the monastery of Abba Sinoda. Salutation to the consecration of thy church, O Mary.
And on this day also nine thousand seven hundred souls became martyrs with Philotheus, and Sabela the daughter of Hercules, the interpreter of dreams.
Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen.
Thaddeus the Apostle