July 31, 2020 - Epep 24, 1736
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.