The Departure of Pope Sinuthius (Shenouda I), 55th Pope of Alexandria
On this day, of the year 596 A.M. (April 19th., 880 A.D.), the great father Pope Sinuthius (Shenouda I), 55th Pope of the See of St. Mark, departed. This holy father was a monk in the monastery of St. Macarius. He advanced in righteousness and worship, and was ordained archpriest for the monastery.
Shortly after, he was chosen for the Patriarchate with the recommendation of the people and bishops. He was enthroned on the 13th. of Tubah 575 A.D. (January 8th., 859 A.D.), and great tribulations and severe persecutions befell him. God performed through him many signs and healed many grievous sicknesses.
Once there was a drought in the city of Mariout for three years, the wells dried up and the farm land became barren. This father came to the church of St. Mina, celebrated the Divine Liturgy, and supplicated God to have mercy upon His creation. At the setting of the sun of that day, the rain began lightly then ceased. This father entered his room and stood up praying and he said: "O My Lord Christ, have mercy on Thy people with the riches of Thy compassion, and let them be filled with Thy good pleasure." Before he finished his prayer, mighty thunders and lightnings started, and the rain descended like a flood, until the wells, the vineyards, and the farms were filled with water. The people rejoiced, glorifying God the wonder worker.
When this father was in the wilderness visiting the monasteries, the Arabs of Upper Egypt came to the desert of Scetis to plunder the monasteries and kill the monks. The Pope took his staff that had the sign of the cross on it and he went forth to meet them, when they saw the Cross they retreated and fled away. (The account of this wonder is mentioned in the ninth day of the month of Baramoudah).
Some men, in a village called Boukhnessa, one of the villages of Mariout, said that He Who suffered for us was only a man and that the Divinity had departed from Him. This Pope wrote a letter and sent it during the Holy Fast (Lent) to be read in all the churches. He said in it, "God the Word suffered for us in His Body, and His Divinity was not separated from His humanity, not for a twinkling of an eye. The pain and suffering did not touch and affect the Divinity, as when you hammer a red hot iron, the iron suffers from the hammering but not the flame. For the passion of the Humanity to be of value, the Hypostatic union with the Divinity was a must, and through this passion Christ redeemed all the humanity."
Also, some men from the city of El-Balyana, and their bishops, said that the Divine Nature died. When the father heard that, he wrote to them saying: "The Nature of God, the Word, is unknowable, intangible, and impassable for it was impossible for the pain to affect its essence. The participation of the Divinity with the humanity in passion is moral participation, to give a value to these sufferings, to pay the debt of the humanity to God the Omnipresent, and that would only be possible if the Divinity would participate morally without affecting His essence. So we say "Holy God, Who was crucified for us, have mercy upon us." When his letter reached them, they turned from their error, and the bishops came and confessed the true and right faith before the Pope and asked for forgiveness.
Pope Shenouda I, cared greatly for the churches, their buildings, and their needs. He also cared for the places wherein pilgrims sojourned, and what money has left to him, he gave to the poor and the needy. When he finished his good course, he departed in peace. He stayed on the Chair of St. Mark for 21 years, 3 months and 11 days.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
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