July 17, 2020 - Epep 10, 1736
Martyrdom of St. Theodore, Bishop of Pentapolis
On this day, St. Theodore, Bishop of Pentapolis (Five Cities) was martyred. He was ordained by Pope Theonas (16th) a bishop for the Five Cities (Pentapolis). One year after his ordination, Diocletian incited the persecution against the Christians everywhere. He appointed a prince called Pilate, governor of Africa and its provinces. He heard that this bishop was confirming the Christians in their Christian Faith, so he brought him and ordered him to offer a sacrifice to the idols. He replied, I offer daily the sacrifice for the Creator of the idols. The Governor asked him, Is there any other god beside Artemis and Apollo? The Saint replied, Yes, Jesus Christ the creator of all things. The Governor became angry from his answer and ordered his torture. They spent forty days torturing him by beating and crucifying him. When he did not return from his true faith they cut off his head and he received the crown of martyrdom. May his prayers be with us. Amen.
Martyrdom of St. Theodore, Bishop of Corinth, and his companions
On this day also, of the year 299 A.D., St. Theodore, Bishop of Corinth, three women, and two governors, one called Lucianus and the other Dagnanius, were martyred. When some evil men accused the Saint before these two afore-mentioned governors, that he was a Christian, and bishop of Corinth, the governors brought him and asked him about his belief. He confessed that he was Christian. They tortured him by beating and dragging him in the streets. He admonished them for their forsaking the true God, and worshipping the hand made stones. They ordered to cut out his tongue. They cut off his tongue and threw it away. A believing woman took it and handed it to the Saint who placed it back in its place, and by the power of God it healed as it was. He started again to explain the invalidity of the worshipping of idols. Those gathered marvelled and many of them believed as the governor Lucianus also believed. Dagnanius the governor became enraged and he killed St. Theodore as he killed three women who were following him as he was going to the place of execution. Shortly after, Lucianus convinced Dagnanius and he also believed in the Lord Christ. Both went to Cyprus, confessed the Lord Christ before its governor. He cut off their heads and they also received the crown of martyrdom. May his prayers be with us. Amen.
Departure of Anba Gabriel VII, the 95th Pope of Alexandria
This day also, of the year 1561 A.D., marks the departure of the great Saint Anba Gabriel VII, 95th Pope of Alexandria. He was born in the area around the monastery of El-Mouharraq, and at a young age he became a monk in the wilderness of St. Macarius. Because of his good conduct and his great righteousness, they ordained him Patriarch after the departure of Pope John XIII (94th Pope). That was in the year 1518 A.D. after the Ottoman conquest. He remained in the papacy about forty-three years, preaching and teaching the flock. Some of his important accomplishments, were the renovation of the monasteries of Anba Antonius, and Anba Paul, the first hermit, in the Eastern desert, and the monastery of El-Mouharraq in Upper Egypt. Some people in authority asked him to approve things against the welfare of his flock. The Pope chose to leave his Chair and he went to the monastery of St. Antonius, for he desired to keep what the Lord said: Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) The Lord examined him but he endured thankfully, and received the blessing that the Lord gave for those persecuted for the sake of righteousness. Then, he fell sick for a short illness, and departed in peace. May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever, Amen.