Archive

Next

Previous

THE NINETH MONTH
Ginbot 20
(May 28)

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

On this day died the holy and just man Caleb, King of Ethiopia.  This saint loved and feared God, and he was of the True Faith.  And when he heard that the Jews had killed the Christians in the city of Nagran, he was filled with divine zeal, and sorrowed greatly.  Then he rose up and went to the church wherein the kings of Ethiopia and the bishops are buried, and having come therein he stood up on the royal throne before the church, and he stripped off his beautiful and royal apparel, and dressed himself in rags.  And he laid hold upon the horns of the altar, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and prayed in the following words:  “O Lord, my God, the Lord of all created things, both those which are visible and those which are invisible, Whom thousands of thousands of angels praise, Whom myriads of myriads of archangels serve, Whom the Cherubim with their many eyes, and the Seraphim each with his six wings, serve and proclaim holy, ceaselessly, saying, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, God of Hosts,’ Whom the saints sanctify, the God of gods, the Lord of lords, and the King of kings, the Father of our Lord and God and Redeemer Jesus Christ, Who art decked with light as with a garment.  Thou art He Who was pleased to send forth Thy Son, that is to say, the Word, from Thyself, that He might bring back the men who were cast away, the Rational Lamb Who was not cast away, Who came down from heaven of His good pleasure (or, free Will), and was not separated from the Father and the Holy Spirit, and was made man by Mary, the holy Virgin, Who hast wrought for the salvation of the sons of men, and hast brought us out of the darkness, and hast led us into the light of the knowledge of Thee.  Behold Thou, O God, and see what the impious infidel hath done to Thy flock, how he hath seized and slain the sons of Thy Church like sheep and goats, and hath burnt in fire the children of Thy Church; and moreover, he hath plundered the Church, and destroyed the children of Thy people and Thine inheritance.  I believe on Thy Only Son, and on the Holy and Living Spirit, and I have laid hold upon the horns of Thine altar and taken refuge in the sign of Thy Cross, and I am strong in the Faith.  And behold, I will go out, and slay Thine enemies by the might of the Cross of Thine Only One and Thy Messiah, for I am jealous for Thee, and for my brethren, and for the believers my fathers.  O God, let me not be put to shame and disappointed in my hope, so that they who do not know Thy Name may not say, ‘Where is their God?’  If Thou wilt not hearken to my prayer, and wilt reject my petition because of the multitude of my sins and transgressions, slay me in this place.  O let not Thine inheritance fall into the hands of Thine enemies, the deniers of Christ, who know not Thy Name; for we are Thy people and the sheep of Thy pasture, and Thee we praise for ever and ever.  Amen.”  Then Caleb the king went out from his royal city, and he departed and destroyed, and killed all the Jews who had laid waste the city of Nagran, and he performed countless miracles.  And he returned to his royal city with great honor and joy not to be estimated, giving thanks to God at the same time.  Then he thought in his heart and said, “With what shall I pay back to God for all that He hath done for me?  But I have nothing whatsoever wherewith to reward Him, unless I offer my soul and body as a gift to my Lord Jesus Christ.”  Then he forsook the world, and abandoned his kingdom, and went out by night, and departed on foot, and came to the monastery, which was on the top of the mountain of Abba Pantaleon, wherein good monks lived.  And he entered the monastery and lived in a cell, the doors whereof he shut so that he might see no man, and he swore that he would never go outside the cell, and that he would never see the world again.  And he took nothing in with him except a mat to lie upon, an earthenware pot, and the apparel of the monk, which he wore; and his food consisted of nothing but bread and salt, and his drink was water.  His royal crown and his royal apparel, which were of great price, he sent to Jerusalem.  And he wrote a letter to Abba John, Archbishop of Jerusalem, asking him to hang up the crown above the doors of the Tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And after [this] he went into that rock and never spoke to anyone; and he pleased God and died in peace.  Salutation to Caleb.

And on this day also died the holy father Abba Ammonius, of Dabra Tona.  When this saint was a young man, he saw a vision in which it seemed that Saint Abba Anthony called him to the monastic life.  When he awoke from his sleep he rose up straightway, and went to Saint Abba Isidore, who arrayed him in the garb of the monk, and Ammonius dwelt with him.  And after this he returned to Dabra Tona, and he built himself a cell and he fought a strenuous spiritual fight by day and by night.  And Satan the accursed became jealous of him, and he came to him in the form of a woman, who was a nun.  And when Satan knocked at the door of his cell, he opened unto him, and he did not hide himself from him because the knocker was Satan, the Enemy.  And the saint asked him to pray with him, and Satan refused and revealed his iniquity, and he changed his form and became like a flame of fire, and then he said unto him, “I will bring upon thee still more strenuous warfare.”  And Satan, the Enemy, departed.  And he entered into the heart of a certain young woman with a beautiful face, and he moved her to attempt to make the saint to fall into sin.  And she dressed herself in fine linen and came unto him at the time of evening, and she began to knock at the door of his cell and to say, “I am a woman on a pilgrimage, and I have strayed from my road, and arrived [here], and the evening hath overtaken me; leave me not outside so that the wild beasts may not devour me, and I be punished for my sins.”  And when he opened the door to her, he knew that she was a trap of Satan, the accursed, and that it was he who had sent her.  And he began to admonish her from the Divine Books, and he caused the fear of Hell to rise up in her, and dread of the punishment, which is prepared for sinners.  And he told her of the joy and gladness, which are prepared for the righteous; and at that moment God opened her heart to understand what he said unto her.  And she stripped off her fine apparel and cast herself down at his feet, and she wept and begged him to receive, and to save her soul; and he shaved off the hair of her head, and dressed her in sackcloth of hair.  And she practiced many ascetic excellences, which excelled in strictness the excellent works of the great saints.  Thus she prayed twelve hundred prayers in a night and a day, and she fasted two days or three days, or seven days, at a time, and the devil was put to shame by work of this kind.  And she became like a monk in appearance, and used to go into all the monasteries [at will].  And a certain wretched man told [the brethren] that Abba Ammonius, after great ascetic labors, lusted for and desired a woman, and that she was living with him in his cell, and that he had put the monks to shame, and had disgraced the garb of the monk.  And when Abba ‘Ebelo, who was like the angels heard this, he rose up straightway, and taking with him Abba Joseph and Abba Bohe, they came to Saint Ammonius in Dabra Tona.  And when they knocked at the door of his cell that woman went out to them, and they talked together, and said, “In truth, is what that monk told us true?”  Now Saint Abba Ammonius had called that woman “Sadji,” that is to say, “the meek.”  And having entered into the cell and prayed, Abba ‘Ebelo, and Abba Joseph, and Abba Bohe sat down and talked until the evening concerning the greatness of God.  And Abba Ammonius said unto them, “Rise up, and let us go and see Sadji making a little bread for us.”  And when they had gone in they found her standing in the red-hot oven, with her hand stretched out towards heaven, and praying; and when they saw her they marveled exceedingly at this great miracle, and they glorified God.  And after this she brought them bread, and they ate.  And that night the angel of God made known to Abba ‘Ebelo concerning the spiritual fight of Sadji, and to Saint Abba Ammonius, and that God Himself had brought them that day to witness the death of Sadji.  And when the third hour of the night arrived, she was seized with violent fever, and she made one prostration to God and at that moment she delivered up her soul; and they swathed her carefully and buried her.  And Abba Ammonius began to describe to them her excellences, and he said unto them that Sadji had dwelt with him for eighteen years, that she had never once raised her face, and that she had not seen his face nor he hers; and their food was bread and salt.  And a few days after Saint Abba Ammonius also died.  Salutation to the blessed Ammonius of Tona.  Salutation, salutation to Sadji, the disciple of Ammonius.

And on this day also died Abba Hor, the disciple of Abba ‘Amoni (Ammonius), and Abba Darama.  And on this day also are commemorated those who became martyrs with Heroda, and Zacharias of Antioch.

Salutation to Hor, and to Abba ‘Amoni (Ammonius), who was an ascetic for forty years, and an adorer of Mary, who appeared unto him.

Salutation to Abba Darama.

And on this day also died the holy father Abba Batra (or, Zatra) Wangel, the Abbot of Dabra Libanos, the sixteenth of the learned fathers.  This holy man was from his early youth arrayed in innocence, like the angels, and he loved humility and meekness.  After he assumed the garb of the monk, he fought a good fight, and he was appointed shepherd of the flock of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Then he died at a good old age, as on this day the twentieth of Genbot.

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