The Departure of St. Shenouda (Shenoute), the Archimandrite
On this day, the ascetic father, St. Shenouda (Shenoute), the Archimandrite, departed. This father was born in the city of Shandaweil (Shenalolet) in the district of Akhmim. His father was a farmer, who owned flocks of sheep.
When Shenouda grew up, his father entrusted him with the care of the sheep. He tended to the sheep, gave his food to the shepherd, and he spent his day fasting. His father took him to his uncle Anba Bgoul (Bigal) to bless him. Anba Bgoul laid the boy's hands on his own head and said, "You bless me, my child, for you will be a father for many peoples." His father left him with his uncle and returned home. One day he heard a voice from heaven saying, "Shenouda has become the Archimandrite." Since that time, he exerted himself with many worships and intense asceticism.
When Anba Bgoul (Bigal) departed, Shenouda replaced him. He followed the monastic communal rules that were formulated by St. Pakhom, and he added to them a pledge the monk had to sign before joining the monastery.
The number of monks during his days reached 1800 monks. That monastery, still standing west of the city of Souhag, has a church and is known as the monastery of Anba Bishoy. Anba Shenouda had built another monastery, the number of its monks reached 2200 monks, which is still standing and is known as the monastery of Anba Shenouda.
Once, an army commander asked Anba Shenouda to lend him his girdle to wear during the war so that God might make him victorious. The Saint gave it to him and the commander overcame his enemies.
Anba Shenouda became a shining light to all the world with his sermons, discourses, and canons that he put for the good of the monks, hierarchies, and laity, men and women. He attended the Council of the two hundred that gathered at Ephesus with the holy father Anba Kyrillos (24th), and he admonished Nestorius the heretic. Before his departure, he asked his disciples to support him so that he might worship his creator. He worshiped God and then commanded them to follow his footsteps and told them, "I commit you to God" then he departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
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