September 4, 2023 - Mesra 29, 1739
Arrival of the Holy Relic of St. John, the Short, to the Wilderness of Scetis
On this day also, in the year 515 A.D., the body of the great saint Anba John, the Short, was relocated from Al-Qulzum (Red Sea) to the wilderness of Scetis. When Pope John (Youhanna), 48th Pope of Alexandria, was in the wilderness of Scetis, some of the monks expressed their wish to relocate the relics of St. John, the Short, to his monastery. The Grace of God moved the Pope, and he wrote a letter by the hand of the Hegumen Kosman and Hegumen Boctor, from the elders, and sent them to Al-Qulzum. They were not able to take the body because it was in the hands of the followers of the Council of Chalcedon. So they returned empty handed. Shortly after, a prince from the Arabs took charge of Al-Qulzum, and he was a friend of Anba Michael, bishop of Epla'os. Once again the Patriarch wrote another letter to the bishop expressing his wish to take the body of St. John and to send it with the monks carrying his letter. The bishop rejoiced with the letter, and informed the prince about the wish of the Patriarch. The prince asked, How could they reach the place? His scribe answered him, Let the monks put Arab garments over their own apparel, and let them come with us to the place. The monks came in, along with the Arabs, to the place where the body was. The monks carried the body and walked all night until they came to Misr, and then went to the wilderness. The monks of the monastery of St. Macarius went out carrying crosses and censers and met them with songs and hymns. They brought the body of St. John to where the body of St. Macarius was. They poured many perfumes and fragrant oil over him, then carried him to his monastery while they were chanting. The monks of his monastery received him with joy and happiness. When Pope Mark (Marcus), 49th Patriarch, was ordained, and went to the wilderness with the bishops of Lower Egypt and some priests, he visited the monastery of this saint. He uncovered the holy relic of the saint, and he was blessed by it. He covered him with the sackcloth that was covering him, then wrapped him in fine linens. The monks praised and thanked God, and sang many hymns and songs for this holy father. May his prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.