Thursday, December 26, 2013

Looking For God - St. Augustine






Looking For God


Lord,
my God,
my one hope,
hear me,
that I be not unwilling, through weariness,
to seek you,
but that I may always ardently seek your face.


Give me the strength to seek,
since you have made me in order to find you,
and you have given me the hope to finding you more and more. 


My strength and my weakness are known to you:
Preserve the one
and heal the other.


My knowledge and my ignorance are known to you:
where you have opened to me,
receive me as I enter;
where you have closed to me,
open to me as I knock.


May I remember you,
understand you,
love you.


Increase these things in me
Until you have wholly renewed me.



~ St. Augustine ~



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Friday, December 20, 2013

14 - I WANT NOTHING OF THE WORLD - By H.H. Pope Shenouda III






14 -  I WANT NOTHING OF THE WORLD         
By H.H. Pope Shenouda III

The following is a collection of articles entitled, "The Release of the Spirit" written by HH Pope Shenouda III for the Sunday School Magazine from the year 1951 before starting his monastic life.  

These articles were published in the form of a book in the year 1957 including some of his poems which were published in the magazine as well.. 

It was his first published book and it gained the approval of many and was reprinted many times.

14 -  I WANT NOTHING OF THE WORLD    

This is the first thing which the person ought to say if he likes to attain the release of the spirit.

I want nothing from the world.., for the world has nothing to be desired.. but only temptations for the beginners..

I want nothing of the world, for the world is too poor to give me.. If what I want is available in the world, the world would be a heaven.. But it is still an, earth as I see.. there is nothing in it except material things.. in fact I search for heavenly matters, for the Spirit, for God..

I want nothing of the world, for I am not of the world.. I am not dust as they think, I am a divine breath.. I was with God from eternity, and God placed me on the earth.. But I shall leave it after a while and return to God.. So I want nothing of this earth.. 'I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father"
(John. 16:28) 

I want nothing of the world, all that I want is to get rid of it, to be released from it, from the flesh and from the earth! I want to return to God-as before-to be again a holy breath not defiled by any worldly thing..

I want nothing of the world because I seek eternal immortal things and the world has nothing that is immortal.. All that is in the world is passing away, even the world itself will perish and come to nothing..I do not seek perishable things..

I want nothing of the world .There is He whom I ask to give me.. He who is rich and powerful, in whom I have found satisfaction and nothing is lacked .. He gives me before I ask Him, He gives me what is good and of benefit to me.. Since I have put myself in His hands I need nothing of the world.

I want nothing of the world, for the world does not give me benefit but with purpose to subjugate me.. Those who received what the world gave them became slaves to the world.. It gave them the pleasures of the body and took from them the purity of the spirit.. The world gave them the worldly enjoyment and took from them the blessing of the heavenly Kingdom.. Satan gave them all the kingdoms of the world and their glory to make them fall down and worship him.. He always gives all that he has to make people lose their souls.. As for me, “I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ" (Phil. 3:8) 

This world takes more than what it gives.. It subjects those who desire it... So I want nothing of it.. 

I want nothing of the world, for I am superior to it.. I am a son of God - in the image of God and after His likeness.. I am a temple for the Holy Spirit and a place of dwelling for God.. I am the only creature who partakes of His holy flesh and blood.. I am superior to the world and the world is asking me to give it.. for I have the keys of the heavens and earth.. I, whom God, in His loving-kindness and humbleness, willed to make me the light of the world and the salt of the earth. (Matt. 5:13,14) 

I want nothing of the world, because I want to live as my fathers did; those whom the earth was not deserving to trod on .. They lived so, received nothing of the world. On the other hand they were a blessing to the world.. For the sake of their prayers God sent water on the earth.. and for their sakes God preserved the world till today..

I want nothing of the world, because sin entered it and corrupted it.. In the beginning God saw everything and behold it was very good, as sin had not yet entered the world. Even the great sea creatures were blessed by God to be fruitful and to multiply.. But now, the marvellous picture which God has drawn is scarred. Therefore I reject the world which loves the darkness more than the light and I no longer desire anything of it.

I want nothing of the world, because I want You alone; You who loved me till the end and gave Yourself up for me; You who formed me out of nothing and was not in need of my service but it is rather I who was in need of your sovereignty.. 

Therefore I want to be released from the world and be united to You, who gave me the gift of knowing You.

 The Release of The Spirit
 By H.H. Pope Shenouda III


Also Please Refer To The Following Link





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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fathers Sayings







'Kingship, goodness and wisdom belong to God; 
he who attains them dwells in heaven.'

St. Thalassios the Libyan




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Monday, December 9, 2013

What Do I Love When I Love You?




It is not with doubtful but with assured awareness, O Lord, that I love you. Your Word struck into my heart and from that moment I loved you. Besides this, all about me, heaven and earth and all that they contain proclaim that I should love you, and their message never ceases to sound in the ears of all humankind, so that there is no excuse for any not to love you. But, more than all this, you will have mercy on whom you will have mercy and will show compassion to whom you show compassion (Romans 9:15). But if it were not for your mercy, heaven and earth would cry your praises to deaf ears.


But what do I love when I love you? Not the beauty of body nor the gracefulness of temporal rhythm, not the brightness of light so friendly to the eyes, not the sweet and various melodies of songs, not the fragrance of flowers and ointments and spices, not manna and honey; not limbs receptive to bodily embraces. It is not these I love when I love my God. 

And yet, when I love him, I do love a kind of light, melody, fragrance, food, embrace; for he is a light, a melody, a fragrance, a food, an embracement in my inner self – where that light shines into my soul which no place can contain, and where that voice sounds which time does not sweep away, and where that fragrance breathes which no wind scatters, and where that flavour is relished which eating does not diminish, and where that embrace is felt which is not severed by fulfilment of desire.

This is what I love when I love my God. 

~ ST.  AUGUSTINE 



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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Martyrdom of St. Mercurius




The Martyrdom of St. Mercurius 
Known as the Saint with the Two Swords

On this day, St. Mercurius, known as the saint with the two swords (Abu-Saifain), was martyred.

He was born in the city of Rome. His parents were Christians and they called him Philopateer, which means "Lover of the Father".  They reared him in a Christian manner. When he grew, he enlisted in the army during the days of Emperor Decius, the pagan. The Lord gave Philopateer the strength and the courage, for which he earned the satisfaction of his superiors. They called him Mercurius and he grew very close to the Emperor.

When the berbers rose up against Rome, Decius went out to fight them, but when he saw how many they were, he became terrified.  St. Mercurius assured him saying, "Do not be afraid, because God will destroy our enemies and will bring us victory."  When he left the Emperor, an angel appeared to him in the shape of a human being, dressed in white apparel. The angel gave him a sword saying, "When you overcome your enemies, remember the Lord your God." (That is why he is called, "of the two swords", "Abu-Saifain", one is the military sword and the other is the sword of the divine power).

When Emperor Decius conquered his enemies and Mercurius came back victorious, the angel appeared to him and reminded him of what he told him previously, that is, to remember the Lord his God.

Decius, and his soldiers with him, wanted to offer up incense to his idols and St. Mercurius tarried behind. When they informed the Emperor of what had happened, he called St. Mercurius and expressed his amazement at his abandoning of his loyalty to him. The Emperor reprimanded him for refusing to come and offer incense to the idols. The Saint cast his girdle and his military attire down before the Emperor and said to him, "I do not worship anyone except my Lord and my God Jesus Christ."

The Emperor became angry and ordered him to be beaten with whips and stalks. When the Emperor saw how the people of the city and the soldiers were attached to St. Mercurius, the Emperor feared that they might revolt. 

So instead, he bound him in iron fetters and sent him to Caesarea where they cut off his head. He thus completed his holy fight and received the crown of life in the kingdom of heaven.

His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.


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4 - HUMILITY IN THE TEACHING OF JESUS




"Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart. "
Matt. 11:29




We have seen humility in the life of Christ, as He laid open His heart to us: let us listen to His teaching. There we shall hear how He speaks of it, and how far He expects men, and specially His disciples, to be humble as He was. Let us carefully study the passages, which I can scarce do more than quote, to receive the full impression of how often and how earnestly He taught it: it may help us to realize what He asks of us.

I. The blessings of heaven and earth are for the lowly 

Look at the commencement of His ministry. In the Beatitudes with which the Sermon on the Mount opens, He speaks: "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth." The very first words of His proclamation of the kingdom of heaven reveal the open gate through which alone we enter. The poor, who have nothing in themselves, to them the kingdom comes. The meek, who seek nothing in themselves, theirs the earth shall be. The blessings of heaven and earth are for the lowly. For the heavenly and the earthly life, humility is the secret of blessing.

2. Perfect Rest for the Soul

"Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest for your souls."Jesus offers Himself as Teacher. He tells what the spirit both is, which we shall find Him as Teacher, and which we can learn and receive from Him. Meekness and lowliness the one thing He offers us; in it we shall find perfect rest of soul. Humility is to be a salvation.

3. Greatness in the Kingdom

The disciples had been disputing who would be the greatest in the kingdom, and had agreed to ask the Master (Luke 9:46; Matt. 18:3). He set a child in their midst and said, "Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, shall be exalted." "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" The question is indeed a far-reaching one. What will be the chief distinction in the heavenly kingdom? The answer, none but Jesus would have given. The chief glory of heaven, the true heavenly-mindedness, the chief of the graces, is humility. "He that is least among you, the same shall be great."

4. The Standard of Glory

The sons of Zebedee had asked Jesus to sit on His right and left, the highest place in the kingdom. Jesus said it was not His to give, but the Father's, who would give it to those for whom it was prepared. They must not look or ask for it. Their thought must be of the cup and the baptism of humiliation. And then He added, "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. Even as the Son of Man came to serve."  Humility, as it is the mark of Christ the heavenly, will be the one standard of glory in heaven: the lowliest is the nearest to God. The primacy in the Church is promised to the humblest.

5. The Only Way to Honor

Speaking to the multitude and the disciples, of the Pharisees and their love of the chief seats, Christ said once again (Matt. 23:11), "He that is greatest among you shall be your servant." Humiliation is the only ladder to honor in God's kingdom.

6. The Self-Abased Are Exalted

On another occasion, in the house of a Pharisee, He spoke the parable of the guest who would be invited to come up higher (Luke 14:1-11), and added, "For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." The demand is inexorable; there is no other way. Self-abasement alone will be exalted.

7. Worship in Humility

After the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, Christ spake again (Luke18: 14), "Everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." In the temple and presence and worship of God, everything is worthless that is not pervaded by deep, true humility towards God and men.

8. The Essential Element of Discipleship

After washing the disciples' feet, Jesus said (John 13:14), "If I then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet." The authority of command, and example, every thought, either of obedience or conformity, make humility the first and most essential element of discipleship.

9. The Path in Which Jesus Walked

At the Holy Supper table, the disciples still disputed who should be greatest (Luke 22:26). Jesus said, "He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. I am among you as he that serveth." The path in which Jesus walked, and which He opened up for us, the power and spirit in which He wrought out salvation, and to which He saves us, is ever the humility that makes me the servant of all.

 Becoming a Servant of All

How little this is preached. How little it is practised. How little the lack of it is felt or confessed. I do not say, how few attain to it, some recognizable measure of likeness to Jesus in His humility. But how few ever think, of making it a distinct object of continual desire or prayer. How little the world has seen it. How little has it been seen even in the inner circle of the Church.





"Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant, 
even as the Son of Man came to serve."
Matt 20:27-28



"Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant." Would God that it might be given us to believe that Jesus means this! We all know what the character of a faithful servant or slave implies. Devotion to the master's interests, thoughtful study and care to please him, delight in his prosperity and honor and happiness. There are servants on earth in whom these dispositions have been seen, and to whom the name of servant has never been anything but a glory. To how many of us has it not been a new joy in the Christian life to know that we may yield ourselves as servants, as slaves to God, and to find that His service is our highest liberty,-the liberty from sin and self? We need now to learn another lesson,-that Jesus calls us to be servants of one another, and that, as we accept it heartily, this service too will be a most blessed one, a new and fuller liberty too from sin and self. At first it may appear hard; this is only because of the pride which still counts itself something. If once we learn that to be nothing before God is the glory of the creature, the spirit of Jesus, the joy of heaven, we shall welcome with our whole heart the discipline we may have in serving even those who try to vex us. When our own heart is set upon this, the true sanctification, we shall study each word of Jesus on self-abasement with new zest, and no place will be too low, and no stooping too deep, and no service too mean or too long continued, if we may but share and prove the fellowship with Him who spake, "I am among you as he that serveth".


Brethren, here is the path to the higher life. Down, lower down! This was what Jesus ever said to the disciples who were thinking of being great in the kingdom, and of sitting on His right hand and His left. Seek not, ask not for exaltation; that is God's work. Look to it that you abase and humble yourselves, and take no place before God or man but that of servant; that is your work; let that be your one purpose and prayer. God is faithful. Just as water ever seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds the creature abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless. He that humbleth himself (that must be our one care) will be exalted; (this is God's care).  By His mighty power and in His great love He will do it.


People sometimes speak as if humility and meekness would rob us of what is noble and bold and manlike. Oh that all would believe that this is the nobility of the kingdom of heaven, that this is the royal spirit that the King of heaven displayed, that this is Godlike, to humble oneself, to become the servant of all! This is the path to the gladness and the glory of Christ's presence ever in us, His power ever resting on us.


Jesus, the meek and lowly One, calls us to learn of Him the path to God. Let us study the words we have been reading, until our heart is filled with the thought: My one need is humility. And let us believe that what He shows, He gives; what He is, He imparts. As the meek and lowly One, He will come in and dwell in the longing heart.
Humility - Andrew Murray



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Friday, November 29, 2013

Fathers Sayings







"Rest assured and do not think 
too much about any matter. 

Leave it to God who is in control... 

Have you known anyone who has trusted 
in God and was let down? 

Heaven forbid."

Pope Kyrillos VI of Alexandria



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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Deal With Anger Biblically





“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.  You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Leviticus 19:17-18 ESV


This verse shows that it is very appropriate for us to tactfully reprove a neighbor or friend who offends us. But we must never hold any grudges or seek vengeance.  Vengeance is God's business-not ours! The unconscious motive for holding a grudge for any past offense is always vengeance, the subtle desire to "get even" with the person who angered us.

Holding grudges and a vengeful attitude are the primary root causes of depression, and both are sinful. Much anxiety comes our way when we repress our anger and are afraid to take a good look at our vengeful subconscious motives.

If we would only realize that getting angry is normal and that reproving the person who offended us (before bed-time, according to Ephesians 4:26) is a godly thing to do (and even commanded), it would be much easier for us to forgive people who upset us.  At the same time we might even help them change their offensive behavior.  


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Friday, November 22, 2013

Synaxarium - 12 Hatour - 21 November - 12 Hedar

Egyptian Synaxarium
THE THIRD MONTH

Hatour (Hator, Hatur, Hathor, Athor) 12 Martyr – Coptic Calendar – Martyr Calendar
21 November

Hatour 12 The Twelfth Day of the Blessed Month of Hatour

Day 12 of the Blessed Coptic Month of Hatour, may God make it always received, year after year, with reassurance and tranquility, while our sins after forgiven by the tender mercies of our God my fathers and brothers. Amen.


The Commemoration of the Honored Archangel Michael

On this day the church celebrates the feast of the honored Archangel, Michael, the head of the hosts of heaven, who stands at all times before the great throne of God, interceding on behalf of the human race.

Joshua, the son of Nun, saw him in great glory and was frightened by him and fell on his face to the earth and said to him, "Are you for us, or for our adversaries?" So he said, "No; but as Commander of the army of the Lord... I have given Jericho into your hand, ... and its king." (Joshua 5:13-15, 6:2)

The Archangel Michael was with all the saints and martyrs. He strengthened them and enabled them to endure patiently until they finished their strife. Festivals of commemoration are held and alms offered in his name on the twelfth day of each Coptic month.

An example of one of his wonders: A God-fearing man whose name was Dorotheus and his wife Theopista, held a festival of commemoration for the honored angel Michael on the twelfth day of each month. It happened that this righteous family fell on hard times and had nothing to celebrate with for the commemoration of the honored Michael. They took their clothes to sell so that they might have a feast. Michael the Archangel appeared to Dorotheus and commanded him not to sell his clothes, but to go to a sheep-master and to take from him a sheep worth one-third of a dinar.

He was also to go to a fisherman and to take from him a fish worth one-third of a dinar but Dorotheus was not to slit open the fish until he came back to him. Finally, he was to go to a flour merchant and to take from him as much flour as he needed.

Dorotheus did as the Angel commanded him. He invited the people, as was his custom, to the feast honoring the Archangel Michael. When he went into his storeroom looking for wine for the offering, he found that all the containers had been filled with wine and many other good things. He marvelled and was astonished.

After they had finished the celebration and all the people had departed, the Archangel appeared to Dorotheus as before and commanded him to cut open the belly of the fish. He found 300 dinars of gold and three coins each is a third of a dinar. He told him these three coins were for the sheep, the fish and the flour, and the 300 dinars were for him and his children. God had remembered them and their oblations and had rewarded them here, in this world and in the kingdom of heaven on the last day. As Dorotheus and his wife were astonished at this matter, the Archangel Michael said to them, "I am Michael the Archangel who delivered you from all your tribulations and I have taken your oblations and alms up to God, you shall lack no good thing whatsoever in this world." They prostrated themselves before him and he disappeared and went up into heaven. This was one of the innumerable miracles of this honored Angel.

His intercession be for us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.


Ethiopian Synaxarium HEDAR 12
THE THIRD MONTH
HEDAR (Hidar, Hadar) 12 - Geez (Ge'ez) Calendar – Ethiopian Calendar
(21 November)

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD. AMEN.



On this day is celebrated the festival of the honored angel, Michael the archangel, the head of the hosts of heaven, the angel who is merciful to the children of men, who standeth at all times before the great throne of God speaking on behalf of the children of man. Joshua the son of Nun saw him in great glory like unto that of a general of the king’s army, and he was frightened at him and fell down and made obeisance unto him, and said unto him, “O my lord, art thou on our side or on the side of the enemy?” And Michael said unto him, “I am the tenth of the Chiefs of the mighty armies of heaven, and this day I will give Amalek into thy hand, and I will make thee king in the city of Jericho.” This angel it was who was with all the saints and martyrs, and he made them strong and enabled them to endure patiently until they finished their strife, [and it is meet] that festivals of commemoration should be held, and gifts offered in his name on the twelfth day of each month, for he beseecheth God for the fruits of the earth, and the descent of the rains, and the [flooding of the] rivers, and for good souls so that God may make perfect all of them in integrity. Now, there was a certain God-fearing man whose name was Dorotheus, and [he had a] wife whose name was Theopista, and they were wont to make festivals of commemoration for the honored angel Michael. And all the money of these righteous folk came to an end, and they had nothing wherewith to celebrate the commemoration of the honored Michael. And because they were exceedingly sorrowful about this they took their apparel to sell so that they might make a feast. And Michael the archangel appeared unto Dorotheus and commanded him to go to a sheep-master and to take from him a sheep worth one-third of a dinar. And he was also to go to a fisherman and to take from him a fish worth one-third of a dinar, and he was not to slit the belly thereof except inside the house. And he was also to go to a flour merchant, and to take from him as much flour as he wanted. And the angel said, “Do this, and do not sell thy raiment”; and Dorotheus did as the angel commanded him. And he summoned all the people according to his custom, and he made a feast in honor of the angel Michael. When he had gone into his store-chamber to see if, peradventure, he could find a jar of wine for the Offering, he found the interior of his chamber filled with wine, and much flour; and Dorotheus was frightened and he marveled exceedingly. When he had ministered unto all the company, and they had finished the feast, and all the people had departed to their houses, the honored angel appeared unto the blessed Dorotheus in the garb wherein he had appeared unto him before, and commanded him to cut open the belly of the fish. When he had cut open the belly of the fish he found therein three hundred dinars of gold, and three third parts of a dinar. And the archangel Michael said unto Dorotheus and his wife, “Set aside these three third parts of a dinar for the sheep, the fish, and the flour, and these three hundred dinars shall be for your own needs. God hath remembered you and the alms and oblations which ye have been wont to make, and hath rewarded you for the same here in this world, and at the last day He will make you to inherit the kingdom of heaven.” And as they were frightened at this matter he said unto them, “I am Michael the archangel who hath delivered you from all your tribulation, and it is I who have loved your alms and oblations, and have taken them up to God. Henceforward ye shall lack no good thing whatsoever in this world.” And they prostrated themselves before him, and he disappeared and went up into heaven. And the angel Michael worked so many miracles that they are innumerable. Salutation to thee, O merciful angel Michael whom I have feared from my youth up; hide me under thy prayers at dawn and at eve.

And on this day also died the holy father Philotheus, the sixty-third Archbishop of the city of Alexandria. In the days of his archiepiscopate the King of Ethiopia sent a letter to George, King of Noba, and he said unto him: “God is wroth with us because of what the kings who were before us have done. For they transgressed the commandment of God, concerning Abba Peter, the bishop, whom they drove out of his diocese, and they appointed in his stead Minas the liar, in the days of Cosmas the archbishop; and, behold, six archbishops have [not] appointed a bishop to our country. And because of this our country is destroyed, and all our men and beasts have perished through famine and plague. Our enemies have risen up against us and have carried away captive many men from our country and have plundered our cities. The rain hath been withheld and it falls not, and the earth will not give her fruit, and our enemies have burnt our cities, and plundered the churches, and driven us from place to place. I beseech thee to show friendship to me in this trouble, for God’s sake, and for the sake of the Orthodox Faith. And do thou write a letter to our father the Archbishop Abba Philotheus of Egypt, and entreat him for God’s sake to absolve us, and to open up our country, and to pray for us so that God may remove from us and from our country the tribulation and trial which have come upon us, and may have compassion upon us and may appoint us a bishop, and may send him to us according to what was always done for our fathers, so that the bishop may pray to God on our behalf to remove His wrath from us. And this which I am saying unto thee I say, O my brother king, because I fear [that if a bishop be not sent] the Christian Faith will perish from among us. And behold, from that time unto this day six archbishops have been enthroned, and they have neither remembered our country nor appointed us a bishop. And we have become like unto sheep which have been turned out, and have no shepherd. Our bishops, and priests, and kings have died, and our churches have been pulled down; but we acknowledge that this tribulation hath come upon us rightly in return for what we did to our Bishop Abba Peter.” And when the letter of the King of Ethiopia came to King George in Noba, and he had read it, he was exceedingly sorry that trials and tribulation had come upon the country of Ethiopia. And straightway George, King of Noba, wrote a letter and sent it to Archbishop Abba Philotheus, and in it described to him all the trials and tribulation which had come upon the country of Ethiopia, and he besought him to have compassion upon the Christian people of the country of Ethiopia and to appoint them a bishop. When the archbishop heard this he sent straightway to the desert of Scete, to a certain righteous monk, and that monk, whose name was Abba Daniel, came forthwith to him from the monastery of Abba Macarius, and he appointed him bishop of the Ethiopians and sent him to them. And when Abba Daniel arrived in Ethiopia the people received him with great honor, and he removed the wrath [of God] from them, and he made them to conquer their enemies who had rebelled against them in times past. And all his work was right during the days of this Archbishop, Abba Philotheus, and he made manifest many signs and wonders. Salutation to Philotheus the apostle.

Salutation to ‘Admas. [Omitted in the Bodleian MS.]

[On this day died Ba’eda Maryam I, King of Ethiopia, who died on Nov. 8, A.D. 1478.]

Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen.

HEDAR (Hidar, Hadar) 12 - Geez (Ge'ez) Calendar – Ethiopian Calendar = Hatour (Hator, Hatur, Hathor, Athor) 12 Martyr – Coptic Calendar – Martyr Calendar

Hathor - Coptic Calendar – Martyr Calendar = Hedar - Geez (Ge'ez) Calendar – Ethiopian Calendar - Hathor also known as Hatour is the third month of the Coptic calendar. It lies between November 11 and December 9 of the Gregorian calendar. The month of Hathor is also the third month of the Season of 'Akhet' (Inundation) in Ancient Egypt, where the Nile floods cover the land of Egypt and during this month the lands become lush and green. The name of the month of Hathor comes from Hathor, the Ancient Egyptian Goddess of Beauty and Love - Gregorian Calendar equivalent: November 10 to December 9


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Saturday, November 16, 2013

St. George The Prince of Martyrs





ST. GEORGE

St. George was born about 280 A.D. of a Christian family that was wealthy and of noble origin, in the city of Capadocia, a city of the Eastern Empire, in Asia Minor.

He followed the usual career of young nobleman and joined the Roman army, where his ability and charm brought him quick promotion. The Emperor heard about him and as a result made him a tribune or an officer in the Imperial Guard.

One story says that he was a friend of Constantine another officer, who later became the first Christian emperor. The legend says that St. George came with Constantine to Britain and visited some holy places as Glastonbury and Caerleon. On his return to Nicomedia, the capital of the Eastern Empire where Diocletian settled, he met the fierce storm of persecution.

Diocletian gave orders for the issue of a formal edict against the Christians on February 23, in the year 303 A.D., being the feast of Termhlalia.

The provisions of this edict which was published on the next day in the market place, were as follows: "All churches should be levelled to the ground. All sacred books to be burned. All Christians who hold any honorable rank are not only to be degraded, but to be deprived of civil rights. Also, All Christians who are not officials are to be reduced to slavery".

In great courage, the young man George, pushed his way through the market place to read the proclamation, and then in front of the awe-stricken crown, he deliberately tore down the Imperial edict and threw it away. Consequently he was arrested and brought to the presence of Diocletian.

Some historians believe that St. George was not the young man who tore the proclamation, but as the edict was proclaimed and the great church in Nicomedia was ransacked and destroyed by the pretorian guard, he liberated his slaves, distributed all his wealth to the poor and prepared himself for martyrdom. he entered Diocletian's palace and rebuked him for his behaviour against the Christians.

The Emperor tried to seduce him by promises that he would be granted a higher position in the Empire. But as these promises failed to attract him, the Emperor began to threaten him with unbearable tortures that he will inflict on him. Lastly he put him in prison.

ST. GEORGE'S CHASTITY

Diocletian knew that nothing, except sin, could destroy the strength, and demolish the integrity of this Saint. Thus he arranged for a very beautiful woman to spend the night with him in prison and try to debauch him. St. George who could only look forward to heavenly joy, began to pray and within a short while he managed to swing her heart to the christian faith. Soon she seriously began to inquire about salvation, and by the morning she declared that she found her true Bridegroom Jesus Christ. With great courage she announced her Christianity to the emperor and his men, and joined the other saintly martyrs.

ST. GEORGE'S SUFFERING 

His body was torn by a special instrument that had metallic teeth, and our Lord Jesus rose him, after his death and many pagans were converted. He was put in an active lime, and thill water was poured on it. Again the Lord returned him back to life. The emperor became very agitated, imagining that the Saint was using magic. He called his top magician, Athanasius and requested him to prepare a lethal poison to kill St. George. The Saint signed over the cup with the sign of the cross before drinking it, of course no harm came to him. The Emperor's councillors informed him that St. George's magic was in fact contained in the sign of the Cross itself. Another cup was also given to the Saint, but this time with his hands tied behind his back. The Saint signed it by his head saying: "shall I drink it from here or here or here or here!!!"

During all these tortures, although the Saint had enough pain and suffering of his own, but nevertheless kept on talking to Diocletian about the powers of the Christian faith. At the end the Emperor asked him if he could raise a dead man he knew of. St. George prayed to our Lord and the dead man came back to life. The result of that was the conversion of both the dead man and the magician as well as many others. They all were martyred.

IN THE EMPEROR'S PALACE

When all methods failed to incite St. George, the Emperor invited him in his palace to entertain him. He offered him an appointment as a prince if he only sacrificed once to the idols. The Saint replied "Tomorrow you will see the powers of your gods"

At the palace, St. George met Empress Alexandra, who had a fair idea about the Saint's God. She spoke with him, but the conversation quickly changed its course and the Saint began to preach to her about Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.

On the following day many people went to the temple to witness St. George's sacrifice to the idols. The Saint stretched his hands, raised his eyes to Heaven.. and in a moment, the idols collapsed and fell to the ground!!. The crowds shouted "we believe in George's God" At this, the Emperor and his men put an end to the lives of the new Christians, St. George, and Empress Alexandra in 23 Baramouda, 303 A.D.

St. George was buried in his mother's home that was situated on the seashore at Lydda, in Palestine. Before long his fame was spread all over the world. King Constantine, who took over after Diocletian, considered that St. George was the true model of the young christian man, and ordered a church to be built over his grave. In Egypt, the Copts call him, "The Prince of Martyrs", and built over 200 churches named after him. Moreover he is a personal friend of the majority of the Copts, who believe in the power of his prayers for them. The Greeks call him "the Great Martyr".

HIS FIGHT WITH THE DRAGON

Legends grew up about this Saint, but the most famous one is about his fight with the dragon, which was documented in a book called "the Golden legend" by James de Voragine, a bishop of Genoa. It happened when St. George was once stationed with the Roman army near Salone in Libya, North Africa. In that area a Dragon which was described as a huge crocodile with scaled wings, had eaten so many of the country folks around Salone that the remaining lot fled to the town and took shelter behind its walls. There, the dragon was positioned outside the city gates, and nobody could get in or out. Moreover its poisonous breath was so lethal that as it snored over the city wall, people could actually drop dead in the nearby area. In order to keep the beast away from the walls, two sheep were tethered every day, some distance away. The system worked fine until they ran out of sheep and the miserable people could not think of any other alternative but to sacrifice one child everyday.

One day the lot fell on the king's daughter, Sabra, a girl of fourteen. sometimes called Cleodolinda. Dressed in her most splendid clothes, as for her wedding, the poor girl was taken outside the city walls. While she was waiting for the dragon, weeping, George the tribune came up mounting his white horse. On hearing the story he decided to put an end to that tragedy, and decided to kill the dragon.

"Fair girl" he said, "do not be afraid for I will save your life with the aid of my Lord Jesus Christ". When the dragon appeared George the hero got engaged with the wild beast in a great combat. Finally he managed to wound it with his lance so badly that it could fight no more. Now the two of them tied a rope around its neck, and dragged it to the town. There in the market place, George cut off its head in front of all the cheering habitants, and the people of the whole town were baptized and became Christians.



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Thursday, November 14, 2013

About Abba Moses The Black






When Abba Moses the Black Was Struggling 
With The Temptation of Fornication


Unable to stay any longer in the cell, he went and told Abba Isidore. Abba Isidore exhorted him to return to his cell. But he refused, saying, "Abba, I cannot."

Then Abba Isidore took Moses out onto the terrace and said to him, "Look towards the west." He looked and saw hordes of demons flying about and making a noise before launching an attack. Then Abba Isidore said to him, "Look towards the east." He turned and saw an innumerable multitude of holy angels shining with glory.

Abba Isidore said, "See, these are sent by the Lord to the saints to bring them help, while those in the west fight against them. Those who are with us are more in number than they are."

Then Abba Moses gave thanks to God, plucked up his courage, and returned to his cell.


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Saturday, November 9, 2013

St. Mark The Apostle and The Evangelist





St. Mark

The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark, also known as John Mark (Acts 12:12), was one of the Seventy Apostles, and was also a nephew of St Barnabas (June 11). He was born at Jerusalem. The house of his mother Mary adjoined the Garden of Gethsemane. As Church Tradition relates, on the night that Christ was betrayed he followed after Him, wrapped only in a linen cloth. He was seized by soldiers, and fled away naked, leaving the cloth behind (Mark 14:51-52). After the Ascension of the Lord, the house of his mother Mary became a place where Christians gathered, and a place of lodging for some of the Apostles (Acts 12:12).

St Mark was a very close companion of the Apostles Peter and Paul (June 29) and Barnabas. St Mark was at Seleucia with Paul and Barnabas, and from there he set off to the island of Cyprus, and he traversed the whole of it from east to west. In the city of Paphos, St Mark witnessed the blinding of the sorcerer Elymas by St Paul (Acts 13:6-12).

After working with the Apostle Paul, St Mark returned to Jerusalem, and then went to Rome with the Apostle Peter. From there, he set out for Egypt, where he established a local Church.

St Mark met St Paul in Antioch. From there he went with St Barnabas to Cyprus, and then he went to Egypt again, where he and St Peter founded many churches. Then he went to Babylon. From this city the Apostle Peter sent an Epistle to the Christians of Asia Minor, in which he calls St Mark his son (1 Pet 5:13).

When the Apostle Paul came to Rome in chains, St Mark was at Ephesus, where St Timothy (January 4) was bishop. St Mark went with him to Rome. There he also wrote his holy Gospel (ca. 62-63).

From Rome St Mark traveled to Egypt. In Alexandria he started a Christian school, which later produced such famous Fathers and teachers of the Church as Clement of Alexandria, St Dionysius of Alexandria (October 5), St Gregory Thaumatourgos (November 5), and others. Zealous for Church services, St Mark composed a Liturgy for the Christians of Alexandria.

St Mark preached the Gospel in the inner regions of Africa, and he was in Libya at Nektopolis.

During these journeys, St Mark was inspired by the Holy Spirit to go again to Alexandria and confront the pagans. There he visited the home of Ananias, and healed his crippled hand. The dignitary happily took him in, listened to his words, and received Baptism.

Following the example of Ananias, many of the inhabitants of that part of the city where he lived were also baptized. This roused the enmity of the pagans, and they wanted to kill St Mark. Having learned of this, St Mark made Ananias a bishop, and the three Christians Malchos, Sabinos, and Kerdinos were ordained presbyters to provide the church with leadership after his death.

The pagans seized St Mark when he was serving the Liturgy. They beat him, dragged him through the streets and threw him in prison. There St Mark was granted a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who strengthened him before his sufferings. On the following day, the angry crowd again dragged the saint through the streets to the courtroom, but along the way St Mark died saying, "Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit."

The pagans wanted to burn the saint's body, but when they lit the fire, everything grew dark, thunder crashed, and there was an earthquake. The pagans fled in terror, and Christians took up the body of St Mark and buried it in a stone crypt. This was on April 4, 63. The Church celebrates his memory on April 25.

In the year 310, a church was built over the relics of St Mark. In 820, when the Moslem Arabs had established their rule in Egypt and oppressed the Christian Church, the relics of St Mark were transferred to Venice and placed in the church named for him.

In the ancient iconographic tradition, which adopted symbols for the holy Evangelists borrowed from the vision of St John the Theologian (Rev 4:7) and the prophecy of Ezekiel (Ez. 1:10), the holy Evangelist Mark is represented by a lion, symbolizing the might and royal dignity of Christ (Rev 5:5).

St Mark wrote his Gospel for Gentile Christians, emphasizing the words and deeds of the Savior which reveal His divine Power. Many aspects of his account can be explained by his closeness to St Peter. The ancient writers say that the Gospel of Mark is a concise record of St Peter's preaching.

One of the central theological themes in the Gospel of St Mark is the power of God achieving what is humanly impossible. The Apostles performed remarkable miracles with Christ (Mark 16:20) and the Holy Spirit (Mark 13:11) working through them. His disciples were told to go into the world and preach the Gospel to all creatures (Mark 13:10, 16:15), and that is what they did.

Troparion - Tone 4
From your childhood the light of truth enlightened you, O Mark,
and you loved the labor of Christ the Savior.
Therefore, you followed Peter with zeal
and served Paul well as a fellow laborer,
and you enlighten the world with your holy Gospel.

Kontakion - Tone 2
When you received the grace of the Spirit from on high, O Apostle,
you broke the snares of the philosophers and gathered all nations into your net,
bringing them to your Lord, O glorious Mark,
by the preaching of the divine Gospel.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

13 - BE RELEASED FROM THE INFLUENCE OF THE SENSES - By H.H. Pope Shenouda III





13 -  BE RELEASED FROM THE INFLUENCE OF THE SENSES    
By H.H. Pope Shenouda III


The following is a collection of articles entitled, "The Release of the Spirit" written by HH Pope Shenouda III for the Sunday School Magazine from the year 1951 before starting his monastic life. 

These articles were published in the form of a book in the year 1957 including some of his poems which were published in the magazine as well..

It was his first published book and it gained the approval of many and was reprinted many times.

13 - BE RELEASED FROM THE INFLUENCE
        OF THE SENSES    


You trust your five senses to a far extent and if your spirit opposes these senses, you reject your spirit.. When will you be freed from the influence of your senses and attain the release of the spirit..

You only believe the thing which you see with your eyes, hear with your ears, or touch with your hands.. You suspect anything else.. What is the reason for this!! The reason is simply that you still live in the flesh and believe in the flesh and its senses.

You look here and there and when you find no one to see or witness you, you commit the fault which you avoid to commit in the sight of others.. But do you think that really no one sees you! There are certain eyes which look on you in compassion and censure.. You do not see those eyes because you still live in the body... It is God who observes you and you do not see Him.. If you are in the Spirit, released from those deficient senses, you will be able to say along with Elijah the Prophet, "As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand... "  (1 Kings 18:15)

Whenever you are encompassed with dangers, you look to the right and to the left and seeing yourself alone, you become afraid and terrified... In fact God is at your right hand that you may not be shaken (Acts 2: 25). You do not see Him because your eyes cannot see everything, for they are material and cannot attain the spiritual matters.. I wish, dear brother, that you would release your spirit from the influence of such bodily senses.. This spirit of yours, to "..searches all things yes, the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2:10). Let is soar freely to see God at your right hand and whisper joyfully, "... though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me." (Ps. 23:4)

The poor Gehazi, the servant of Elisha was very afraid seeing the great army of the enemy nearby and there was no hope whatever.. But Elisha who lived in the spirit was confident.. He saw with the spirit things which no eye could see and heard what no ears could hear.. He felt pity towards the young man and prayed to the Lord to open his eyes... "Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (2 Kings 6:17).. So he was comforted..

Do not trust your senses for they are weak and cannot comprehend the matters of the spirit. The widow of Zarephath of Sidon, saw with her human eye only a handful of flour in the bin and a little oil in the jar.. She thought that was only sufficient to make a cake for her and her son that they might eat it and die... But Elijah, the man of God saw something else with his spirit.. he saw that neither the bin of flour nor the jar of oil would dry whatever she took from them.. This actually happened as we see in 1 Kings 17:14-16

Elisha was standing at the River Jordan. His bodily eyes saw a river were one would drown if one walked through .. But his spiritual eye was not confined to this vision.. He saw the Jordan as a ground fit for walking through. So, Elisha took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him while he went up in the chariot of fire and struck the water. The water was divided and Elisha crossed the river(2 Kin 2:14). The bodily eye would see the mantle of Elijah just as a mantle but Elisha saw it with the spirit as a great power given by God and not a mere garment.

My dear friend, your eyes are deficient even regarding material things.., for there are some substances which you cannot see.. Though they exist, they defy your weak eyes.. You may only see them through a microscope..

If there is not a microscope available, and you cannot see such tiny bodies with your naked eye, would you then deny their existence, merely because you do not see them? If this is the case regarding material things.. what would you say concerning spiritual matters?
With respect to spiritual matters, let your spirit guide you, and do not force it to submit to the body.. Let it soar freely and swim in a world of divine matters as it is said: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29)

Certainly, my beloved brother, you have heard before of the visions in which the spirit swims in the world of the angels and saints and see things which no mortal can see.. In such cases, the spirit is released from the influence of the body and uses the members of the body merely for its spiritual purposes.. Hence, the senses yield to the spirit and not the spirit to the senses..

One day, someone told me that he had heard that St. George appeared in a certain church but he did not believe. He went to see by himself and to prove that it was only a false superstition and he went and saw nothing..

I do not want to make any comment concerning this story but I only present a point of view ie. such a person and others like him cannot see any visions because of their weak faith. They want to subjugate the spiritual matters to the senses of the body, while God reveals to the simple only the mysteries of His Kingdom.


 The Release of The Spirit
 By H.H. Pope Shenouda III


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Saturday, November 2, 2013

GOD - The Unity of God




The Father of all is far removed from the emotions and passions which are common to men. He is simple, uncompounded, without diversity of parts; wholly identical and consistent; since he is all understanding, all spirit, all thought, all hearing, all seeing, all light, and the whole source of all that is good. 

It is best for us to begin with the first and greatest principle, that is with God the Creator … and to show that there is nothing above him or beyond him. It was of his own decision and free act that he made all things, not moved by anything; since he is the only God, the only Lord, the Only Creator, the only Father, the only Sovereign, and it is he who bestows existence on all things.

How could there be any other Totality beyond him: or another Principle or Power or another God? For God who is the totality of all these must needs include all things in his infinite being, while he himself cannot be included by any other thing. If there is anything outside him he is then not the totality of all things, nor does he contain all things.  

 ~ St. Irenaeus of Lyons  


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