July 31, 2020 - Epep 24, 1736
Martyrdom of St. Apanoub
On this day, St. Apanoub (Abba Nob) was martyred. He was born in the city of Nehisa (District of Talkha). His parents were pure and merciful and they reared him in the fear of God. When Diocletian incited the persecution against the Christian, St. Apanoub was twelve years old, and he desired to shed his blood for the Name of Christ. One day he went to the church, and he heard the priest teaching the believers, strengthening them in the Faith, warning them from worshipping the idols, and encouraging them to deliver themselves over to death for the sake of the Lord Christ. He returned to his house, and set before him all what his father had left him of gold, silver, and apparels and told himself it is written, The world is passing away, and the lust of it. (I John 2:17) Straightway he rose up, and gave all his money to the poor and needy, then went to Samanoud, walking along the river bank. He confessed the Name of the Lord Christ before Lucianus the governor, who tortured him severely. Then he hung him up upon the mast of his ship head downwards. The governor sat down to eat and to drink, and the vessel which was in his hand became a stone. The angel of the Lord came down from heaven, released the saint, and wiped up the blood that was running down from his nose and mouth. The governor and his soldiers were greatly disturbed. Strong winds blew, that made the ship to sail fast to Athribis. When they arrived, the soldiers unfastened their belts, and cast them before the governor, then confessed the Lord Christ and they received the crown of martyrdom. The governor of Athribis tortured St. Apanoub (Abba Nob) severely, then sent him to the city of Alexandria. There, he was tortured until he delivered up his pure soul and received the crown of martyrdom. St. Julius El-Akfahsi was present, he wrote the biography of St. Apanoub, took his body and sent it with some of his men to his hometown Nehisa. Many churches were built in his name. Many signs and miracles were manifested from his body which is now located in his church in the city of Samnanoud. May his prayers be with us. Amen.
Departure of St. Simeon the First, the 42nd Pope of Alexandria
On this day also, of the year 416 A.M. St. Simeon the First, 42nd Pope of Alexandria, departed. This Pope was Syrian in nationality, and his parents brought him to El-Zugag monastery, west of the city of Alexandria, wherein is the body of St. Severus, the Antiochian. He became a monk there, and he learned to read and to write, and he learned by heart the books of the Church. Pope Agathon ordained him a priest. When his virtues and knowledge became well known, they elected him for the patriarchate. He was ordained a patriarch in 23rd of Kiahk, of the year 409 A.M. (December 19, year 692 A.D.). He called his spiritual guide and delegated to him the management of the affairs of the patriarchate. He devoted himself to fasting, praying, and reading the Scriptures. He ate only bread, salt and cumin, and uncooked legumes, until he made the spirit of lust subjected to his rational and understanding soul. God wrought great signs and miracles by his hands, among which were the following: Some of the priests of the city of Alexandria, were resentful of him, and they plotted to kill him. They went to a magician who prepared a deadly poison for them and he gave it to them in a bottle. In turn they gave it to the Pope as if it was a medicine to use and bless them. Pope Simeon drank that drink after he had received the Holy Mysteries and no harm came to him. As they failed in their scheme, they worked up another deadly poison in some of the figs. Then they deceived the appointed one to prepare the Korban from making it that night, so the Pope would not be able to celebrate the Divine Liturgy and receive the Holy Mysteries. They went to the Pope in the morning and gave him the figs as a present. They pressed him until he ate some of the figs, which made him ill, and he was bed-redden for forty days.
When the Khalifah Abdel-Aziz came to Alexandria, the Pope could not go out to welcome him. The Khalifa asked about the Patriarch, the Christian scribes told him what had happened. He ordered to burn the priests and the magician. The Pope besought the Khalifa with tears to have mercy on them. The Khalifa marvelled at his gentleness and compassion, then he pardoned the priests and burned the magician. Since that time he increased in reverence and respect in the sight of the Khalifa, who allowed him to build churches and monasteries. He built two monasteries at Helwan, south of Cairo. This Pope appointed a priest whose name was Mina, to administer all the properties of the church, to take care of its funds, endowments, sacred vessels and books. Nevertheless, Mina mishandled his duties, to the point that he had denied what he had from the church's funds. Fr. Mina fell ill and was not able to talk. When Pope Simeon heard that, he was sorry and asked the Lord to heal him, lest the properties of the church's be lost. The Pope sent one of his disciples to the wife of that priest to ask her about the properties of the church. When he drew near to the house, he heard the crying and weeping, and he was informed that the priest had died. He went in and bowed his head to kiss him in salutation to his priesthood. Straightway, the dead man rose, sat up and talked, thanking the Lord Christ, and confessing that the prayers of St. Simeon on his behalf had raised him up from the dead. The priest came hastily to the Pope repenting and weeping, and returned all that he had from the church's funds. During the papacy of St. Simeon there were some who took concubines besides their wives, and he excommunicated them until they returned from their transgression. He remained on the Patriarchal Chair for seven years and seven months, then departed in peace. May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.