November 4, 2017 - Baba 25, 1734
Departure of the Saints Apollo and Abib
On this day, the righteous saints Abba Apollo, who was like the angels, and Abba Abib, the pious worshipper, departed.
Abba Apollo was born in the city of Akhmim. His father's name was Amani (Hamai) and his mother's name was Eyse (Isa). They were righteous before God, walking in His way, and loving to the strangers and saints.
They did not have a son. One night Abba Apollo's mother saw in a dream a shining man, who had a tree with him. He planted it in her house and it grew and bore fruit. He told her, 'Whosoever shall eat of this fruit shall live forever.' She ate from it and found it sweet and she said, 'I wonder if I would have a fruit?' When she awoke from her sleep, she told her husband about what she had seen. He told her that he had seen the same vision, and they glorified the Lord. They added to their works of righteousness and to their striving. They fasted for two days on only bread and salt. After a while she conceived, and she prayed fervently until the child was born. They called him Apollo and they advanced in their piety.
When the boy had grown up and studied theology, he longed for the monastic life. This longing grew when he met a friend called Abib. They went together to one of the monasteries and became monks there. They practiced many ascetic works. They lived a good life that was pleasing to God. The saint Abba Abib departed on the 25th of Babah.
Thereupon St. Apollo went to Ablug Mount and many gathered around him. He taught them the fear of God and the acceptable worship. On the 25th of Babah they celebrated the commemoration of the saint Abba Abib to fulfill the saying of the Holy Bible, 'The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.' (Psalm 112:6) Abba Apollo lived for many years after that and he had monasteries and many brethren.
He was a contemporary of St. Macarius the Great who, when heard about St. Apollo, rejoiced. St. Macarius wrote him a letter to comfort him and the brothers and to confirm them in their obedience to the Lord. Abba Apollo knew by the spirit that St. Macarius was writing them a letter. There were many around him speaking the Word of God. He said to them 'Listen my brethren, behold the great Abba Macarius is writing to us a letter full of comforting and spiritual teachings.' When the brother arrived with the letter, they received him with joy then read it and their hearts were consoled.
St. Apollo was the one who went to St. Ammonius and saw the holy woman who stood in the middle of the fire but did not burn.
When the Lord Christ wished to relieve him from the labor of this world, he departed in peace. May his prayers be with us. Amen.
Commemoration of the Consecration of the Church of St. Julius El-Akfehas
On this day also was the consecration of the church of St. Julius El-Akfahsee (Aqfahs). This saint was martyred in the city of Tewa. This took place after the perishing of Diocletian and during the reign of Constantine, a short while before he was baptized. When Constantine was baptized, the Christian kingdom spread and the churches were built in the names of the martyrs that were slain by the infidel Emperors.
Emperor Constantine heard the reports of St. Julius and how the Lord had chosen St. Julius and preserved him along with his men to care for the bodies of the martyrs. He carried their bodies, shrouded them, wrote their biographies and how they were finally martyred. He sent each martyr to his home town. The Emperor praised the strife of this saint and blessed his work. He sent much money to Egypt, and commanded that a church be built for him in Alexandria. The church was built and his body was transferred to it. The church was consecrated by the Patriarch Abba Alexandros with some bishops. A feast was arranged on this day. May his intercession be for us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.