April 17, 2021 - Baramouda 9, 1737
Departure of St. Zosimus (Zocima)
On this day in the middle of the fifth century the ascetic father and the struggling monk Abba Zocima the priest, departed. This Saint was born about the middle of the fourth century from Christian and holy parents, who were from Palestine. When he was five years old they handed him to a righteous old monk, who raised him in a Christian manner and taught him the doctrine of the church, and shortly after they ordained him a deacon. He became a righteous monk and grew in virtues.
He was continually praising God and he read the Scriptures day and night and during work also. When he had completed thirty five years in the monastery they ordained him a priest. Then he increased his ascetic labors and struggle. After spending thirteen years in this struggle the enemy sowed in his mind the evil thought that he was superior to all his contemporaries in virtues and righteousness. But the Lord willed to turn him away from this thought. He sent an angel to him and commanded him to go to the monastery which was near the river Jordan. He rose up and went to the monastery and he found therein righteous old men who were more perfect in their contending than him. He realized that he was far from what he thought in himself and he stayed there with them.
The custom of those monks during the Holy Lent, was that after they had fasted the first weak they partook the Holy Communion, then they left the monastery singing the twenty six psalm, and at the end of it, they prayed together. Then the abbot blessed them and they bed farewell to each other. Then they dispersed in the desert of Jordan and each of them carried out his spiritual fight by himself. St. Zosimus used to go out with them each year wondering in the desert asking God to show him who was more perfect than him.
As he was wondering about he met Mary the Egyptian (Coptic). He learned from her about her life history and the reason for her wondering in the desert. She asked him to visit her after one year to give her the Holy Mysteries. He came to her in the next year and gave her the Holy Communion. In the year after he revisited her again but he found her had departed and he buried her and told the monks of the monastery concerning her strife. After he had lived ninety nine years he departed in peace. May his prayers be with us. Amen.
Commemoration of the Wonder that took place with Pope Sinuthius (Shenouda I) the Fifty-Fifth Patriarch
On this day also a great sign was made manifest through our holy father Pope Sinuthius (Shenouda I) the fifty fifth Pope of Alexandria. This Pope went to the desert of Scetis in order to fast the Holy Lent with the fathers the monks. On Palm Sunday many Arabs came to the desert of Scetis to plunder the monasteries. They stood on the rock east of the church of St. Macarius. Their swords were drawn in their hands ready to kill and steal. The bishops and the monks gathered together and decided to leave the desert before the Holy Feast of Resurrection (Easter) and they took counsel with Pope Shenouda who told them; 'As for me I will not leave the desert until I complete the Pascal week.' On Maundy Thursday the situation became worse. The Pope took his staff that had the sign of the cross on it and he wanted to go out to meet the Arabs saying: 'It is better for me to die with the people of God' but they prevented him from going out, but instead, he strengthened and comforted them. Then he went forth to meet the Arabs with his staff in his hand. When they saw him, they retreated and fled away as if they were pursued by an army of soldiers and from this day onwards they never came back to do any harm. The prayers of this father be with us and glory be to God forever. Amen.