August 7, 2020 - Mesra 1, 1736
Martyrdom of St. Apoli, Son of Justus
On this day, St. Apoli (Aboli), son of Justus, son of Emperor Nomarius, was martyred. This Saint was the crown prince of the Roman empire. He was away in war, and when he returned to Antioch, he found Diocletian had already established the pagan worship of idols. Although Apoli was capable of killing him and taking the empire over from him, he preferred the heavenly everlasting kingdom. St. Apoli came forward, and confessed Christ before Diocletian. In the beginning, Diocletian handled him gently, but when he failed to attract him to the worship of the idols, he banished him along with his father, Justus, and his mother, Theoclia to the city of Alexandria. He wrote to Armanius, its governor, to persuade them to offer sacrifice to the gods, and if they refuse, to separate them from each other. Armanius, knowing their royal positions, sent Justus (the father) to Ansena (Antinoe), his wife to the city of Sa, and Apoli, their son, to Basta. He also left to each of them one of their servants to minister unto them. When Apoli arrived in the city of Basta, he confessed Christ before its governor who tortured him severely. He beat him, burned him, and dismembered him. When the governor saw that many became Christians because of what they saw from the steadfastness of the Saint to the tortures, and that the Lord was healing him from his wounds, he ordered to cut off his holy head, and thus received the crown of martyrdom. May his prayers be with us. Amen.
Departure of St. Kyrillos V (Cyril), the 112th Pope of Alexandria
On this day also, of the year 1643 A.M. (August 7, 1927 A.D.) the righteous and honorable father Pope Kyrillos V, 112th Pope of Alexandria, departed. This father was born in the city of Tezment, governorate of Beni-Swaif in 1831 A.D. His pious parents named him John, brought him up well, and raised him up in the Christian morals. He had a strong desire to study the Holy Bible and the biography of the saints. When he was 12 years old, in 1843 A.D., he was ordained a deacon and carried the deaconate duties ardently. Because he was inclined at a young age to the life of asceticism, and solitary life, he left the world, and went to St.Mary's monastery (Known by El-Sourian) in Wadi El-Natrun. There he became a disciple to the spiritual elder, the hegumen, Fr. Girgis El-Far, the father of confession of the monks. When John's father discovered where he was, he came to the monastery and brought him back, but because of his love for the ascetic life, he did not stay long. He returned to the wilderness, and became a monk at El-Baramous monastery in the year 1850 A.D. He excelled in his monastic duties and became known for his asceticism, purity, and gentleness, and became a good paragon to the other monks. He was ordained a priest in 1851 A.D., then promoted to Hegumen (Archpriest) in 1852 A.D.
The number of monks in the monastery then was small and its income was very little. This Father worked hard in transcribing and selling books to churches. The income was used to buy the necessities of the monks, such as food and clothing. His virtues of knowledge, righteousness, and gentleness became well known. He was ordained a Patriarch, in the 23rd of Babah, 1591 A.M. (November 1st, 1874 A.D.) in a venerable celebration. He directed his attention to building churches, renovating monasteries, being merciful to the poor, and caring for the affairs of the monks. In 1892 A.D., he chose to be exiled, rather than to squander the properties of the monasteries. Anba Youanis, Metropolitan of El-Behara, Menoufia, and then the deputy of the See of St. Mark, was also exiled with him. Afterwards, both returned from their exile with much respect and honor. During his papacy the church was adorned by knowledgeable and holy men: among them was the great father, the man of purity, meekness, and charity, Anba Abraam, Bishop of El-Fayoum. This bishop's virtues had spread vastly, and his almsgiving to the poor had reached a point where he did not save any money. All the donations he received from the benevolent, he gave to the poor and needy. He also performed many wonders such as healing the sick and casting out evil spirits.
Another was the well learned, great theologian and skillful orator, the Hegumen (Archpriest) Philotheos Ibrahim El-Tantawy, rector of the great St. Mark Church. Also, the well learned father the honorable and the ascetic monk the Hegumen Fr. Abdel Messih Saleeb El-Baramousy, who was well educated in Coptic, Ethiopian, Greek, and Syrian languages. He also knew some French and English. He was characterized with immeasurable patience in research and examining religious books. In return, he left valuable publications which speak of his prominence. Pope Kyrillos appointed the late Habib Girgis, who was the dean of the theological seminary, to be his deacon. He dedicated his life to the seminary and its improvement. Mr. Girgis assisted the Pope in expanding its buildings in Mahmasha. Pope Kyrillos often visited the seminary and blessed its students. This deacon was a skillful speaker. He accompanied the Pope in his pastoral visits to Upper Egypt and Sudan. He translated many religious books from foreign languages to Arabic and published El-Karma periodical, to spread the facts of the faith in a positive way. He published many books, among them were: The Seven Sacraments of the Church, The Consoler of the Faithful, The Mystery of Piety, and many others. He taught and nurtured many generations of clerical men who flourished in the church and filled it with their sermons and religious publications. The Pope gave the utmost of his efforts to lift his flock to the highest spiritual level, as he was prudent in printing the church books. He departed in peace, after spending fifty-two years, nine months and six days on the Patriarchal chair. May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.