January 26, 2020 - Toba 17, 1736
Departure of Anba Yusab, Bishop of Girga, Known as El-Abbah
On this day also, of the year 1826 A.D., Anba Yusab, the great scholar and honorable father, departed. He was the Bishop of Girga and Ekhmiem, and was known by the name El-Abbah. He was born in the town of Nekhila in Upper Egypt, to rich parents who were compassionate to the poor and the needy. When Anba Yusab was 25 years old, his parents wanted him to be wed, but he refused. Because of his inclination towards the monastic life, he went to the estate of St. Anthony's monastery in the city of Boash. He stayed there for some time, during which his humility and piety were evident. This convinced the abbot to send him to the monastery. When he arrived, the monks received him with joy, for they had heard of his virtues and his knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. Shortly after, they clothed him in the monk's tunic. When the reports of this father reached Pope John, 107th Patriarch, he called Anba Yusab and kept him with him. After the Pope verified what he heard of Anba Yusab' righteousness and knowledge, he counseled with the bishops who agreed to ordain Anba Yusab a bishop over Ekhmiem and Girga. Anba Yusab refrained from accepting this rank because of its responsibilities; however, he was ordained against his will.
When he arrived at his diocese, Anba Yusab found many heretics mingled with his people. He built a church, and made a great effort to gather his flock, to teach them, to restore those who were lost, and to guide many of the heretics to the faith. He wrote several articles on the Incarnation of the Lord Christ and explained several difficult issues and ambiguous verses in the Bible. He urged his people to forsake all the bad customs that they were engaged in, both inside and outside the church. He succeeded in putting an end to the quarrels and divisions from those who were in opposition to the truth. He was merciful to the poor, and never judged anyone by his appearance. He was fair in judgement, never took sides, and did not accept bribes. He sent whatever money he had left to his brethren, the monks, in their monasteries. He did not own anything except the clothes that he wore and those things which fulfilled his basic needs. He never uttered anything but the truth, and was not afraid of the mighty rulers of the land. He shepherded his flock with the best of care. When God wanted to take him away from this world, Anba Yusab became ill for a short period of time. While he was sick, he stayed some time in his diocese, and then in the cell of Pope Anba Peter, 109th Pope. Then he went to his monastery in the wilderness. The monks rejoiced to see him, and his blessed life ended there, and he gave his pure spirit into the hand of the Lord who loved him. He lived 91 years, 25 years before his monastic life, 31 years in the monastery, and 35 years as bishop. May His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.