May 22, 2020 - Bashans 14, 1736
Departure of St.Pachomius (Pakhom), the Father of the Spiritual Communal Monastic Life (Cenobitic Life)
On this day, of the year 64 A.M. (348 A.D.), Abba Pachomius, the father of the spiritual communal life (Cenobitic life), departed. He was born in Thebes (Luxor) from pagan parents, who forced him to worship idols. He rejected and mocked this worship, then became a monk with St. Balamon (Palaemon). He lived in submission to him for many years, and he mastered well the ways of the monastic life. Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him and commanded him to establish a communal and holy monastic life. Many monks gathered together to him, and he built for them many monasteries and established for them a system of manual labor, the times of prayers, and eating. He was the father of them all, with an Abbot in every monastery. He visited all the monasteries, from Aswan to Edfu to Donasa to the end of Upper Egypt to the north. He did not permit any one of his sons to become a priest for the sake of the vainglory of this world, and not to overlook the purpose of their monastic life of worship by being away from the world. He invited a priest from outside for each monastery to officiate the Divine Liturgy. When Pope Athanasius wanted to ordain him a priest, he fled from him. St. Athanasius asked his disciples to tell him that he who built his house on the rock that can not be shaken, and fled from the vainglory of the world, is blessed, and his disciples are also blessed.
He desired once to see Hades, and he saw in a night vision the habitation of the sinners and places of torment.
He remained the father of the Cenobites for forty years. When the time of his departure drew near, he called the monks, strengthened their faith, and appointed someone to take over his place after him, then departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
Martyrdom of St.Epimachus (Ephimachus) of Pelusium
On this day also, St. Epimachus was martyred. He was born in Pelusium (Farma). He was a weaver along with his two companions: Theodore and Callinicos. When he heard that 'Youlamis' the governor of Egypt, had come to torture the Christians, he preached his friends explaining the vainglory of this world, then he bade them farewell and went to El-Bakroug, which was near Demera. He came to the Governor who was torturing a woman, and then threw her in a furnace. The fiery furnace became like cool dew to her. The Governor then took her out of the furnace and cut off her head.
When Epimachus saw that, he came before the Governor, and confessed the Lord Christ, to Him is the glory. The Governor tortured him severely. He was twenty-seven years old. Then he ordered him to be squeezed on the wheel, and a drop of his blood splashed on the eyes of a blind maiden, and right away she was able to see. Her family believed in the Lord Christ. They were all martyred and received the crown of martyrdom. The Governor became angry and ordered him to be crucified, and then his head to be cut off. The executioner drew his sword but his strength failed and was unable to raise his sword. The same thing happened when another executioner tried and so with fourteen other executioners. When they failed to cut off his head, they tied a rope around his neck and dragged him until he delivered his soul into the hand of the Lord and received the crown of martyrdom.
One of the soldiers, who was deaf and dumb, carried the body to cast it away. When he touched the body, instantly he heard and spoke. Some of the believers from the city of Edku came and took the body and many signs and wonders took place from it.
When the people from Demera came to console his family and saw the signs and wonders which were revealed through him, they believed and were baptized. They numbered one thousand, seven-hundred and fifty, men, women, and children. His kinsfolk carried him to El-Barmoun with great honor. The Governor of El-Barmoun shrouded him with expensive shrouds from his own money and they built a church after his name.
May his prayers be with us and glory be to God forever. Amen.