Wednesday, 22nd October 2014 --- 12 Babah 1731
Day 12 of the Blessed Coptic Month of Babah, may God make it always received, year after year, with reassurance and tranquility, while our sins after forgiven by the tender mercies of our God my fathers and brothers.
The Twelfth Day of the Blessed Month of Babah
Departure of Abba Demetrius the First,
the Twelfth Pope of Alexandria
day of the year 224 A.D. departed the father, the pure virgin, the fighter
of lusts, the vanquisher of anture, Abba Demetrius the First, the twelfth
Pope of Alexandria. This saint was an illiterate farmer, and was married.
He lived with his wife forty-seven years until he was chosen a patriarch.
They did not know one another as married people, but remained throughout
that period in their virginity and chastity, a fact which no one knew.
When the departure of St.Yulianus, the eleventh Pope drew near, the angel
of the Lord appeared to him in a vision and told him about this saint and
that he was to be a patriarch after him. He gave him a sign and told him,
"Tomorrow a man shall come to you having a cluster of grapes, seize him
and pray over him." Then he woke from his sleep. He told the bishops and
the priests who were with him about this vision.
So it happened on the next
day that St.Demetrius found a cluster of grapes out of season. He carried
it to St.Yulianus, so that he might be blessed by him. The father, the
patriarch, took him by the hand and told those present, "This is your patriarch
who will be chosen after me." Then he prayed over him and they held him
and kept him until the departure of Abba Yulianus, whereupon they finished
the prayers over him and he was filled with heavenly grace. The Lrod enlightened
his mind and he learned how to read and write. He studied the church books
and their interpretations. The words of grace flew from his mouth when
he preached. It was he who established the reckoning of the Epacts, by
which the dates of fasting were determined on a fixed basis. The Christians
used to fast the holy forty days right after the Epiphany, as the Lord
Christ fasted after his baptism. Then they fasted the Passion week separately.
The Christians used to celebrate Easter on the fourteenth of Neesan (April)
and that meant they celebrated with the Jews not recognizing that the Christian
Passover was to be in memory of the Resuurrection of the Lord Christ which
was after the Mosaic Passover. For that, Pope Demetrius took care to establish
fixed bases for fasts and Christian holy days. He joined the Holy Fast
to the Passion Week. He wrote in the respect to Agabius Bishop of Jerusalem,
to Maximus the patriarch of Antioch, to the patriarch of Rome and to others,
and all approved of it and continued to follow his rules up until the present,
with the exception of the Church of Rome which deviated from that and followed,
since the sixteenth century, the Gregorian Calendar. To the Popes of the
Coptic Church was the prime credit in determining the Easter Day; and they
thus sent their Easter messages all over the world, so that the Christians
would celebrate Easter on the same day forming a universal joy.
God was with this father
because of his purity of heart. He was given the gift that after he finished
the liturgy and the people came forward to partake of the Holy Mysteries,
he used to see the Lord Christ pushing forward with His Hand those of them
who were worthy. But if one came forward who did not deserve the Holy Communion,
he would see his sins and would not allow him to partake of it until he
confessed his sins and the father admonished him for them and said to him,
"Turn away from your sin and repent, after that come and partake of the
Holy Mysteries." His flocks were straightened during his time. Because
he rebuked the sinners much, and urged them to repent to lead a chaste
life, some of them murmured and said, "This man is married, how can he
rebuke us?" The Lord Almighty wished to show them his virtues, so the angel
of the Lord came to him at night and told him, "Demetrius, do not seek
your salvation and let others be destroyed with their doubt." The father
asked him to clarify this statement and the angel told him, "You must reveal
the mystery which is between yourself and your wife to the people that
you might remove the doubt from them." On the following morning, after
he had celebrated the divine liturgy, he ordered the people not to leave
the church. He took red-hot coal and placed it in his wife's veil and his
garment, then they went around in the church and their clothes did not
burn. The people were amazed at this miracle. He told them that he and
his wife did not know each other as married people till that day. the doubt
was removed from the people and they realized the purity of this father
and his virginity. During his time, some opposing men appeared whose name
were Aklemos, Origen, and Orianus and others who wrote forbidden books
and so he excommunicated them. During the days of his papacy, he did not
stop teaching and confirming the believers in the Orthodox Faith. When
he had grown old and became weak, they carried him on a litter to the church
to teach the people. He was one hundred and five years old, having spent
fifteen years unmarried, forty-seven years until he became partriarch and
forty-three in office, then he departed in peace.
May his prayers and blessings be with us all. Amen.
Martyrdom of St.Matthew the Evangelist
On this day also was the
martyrdom of St.Matthew the Evangelist. He was one of the twelve
disciples and his name was Levi. He was the one sitting at the receipt
of custom outside the city of Capernaum, when the Lord Christ said unto
him, "Follow me." He left all, rose up, and followed Him. He made
for the Lord Christ a great feast in his own house. That made the
Pharisees murmur against him saying to His desciples, "Why does your teacher
eat and drink with publicans and sinners ?" Jesus answering said
unto them, "They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are
sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
(Luke 5:27-32) He had preached in the land of Palastine and Tyre and Sidon.
Then he went Ethiopia and entered the city of priest adn converted them
to the knowledge of God. That was when he wished to enter the city, but
met a young man who told ihm, "You will not be able to go in unless you
shave off the hair of your head and carry palm branches in your hand."
He did as the young man told him. And, as he was thinking about that, the
Lord Christ appeared to him in the form of the young man who had met him
earlier, and He encouraged and comforted him, then disappeared. He realized
that this young man was the Lord of Glory Himself. Then he entered the
city like one of the priests. He went to the temple of Apollo and found
the high priest, and talked with him concerning the idols that they are
worshipping. He made clear to him how those idols did not hear or sense
anything and how the True Mighty Lord is He who created the Heaven and
the earth. The Lord made through him a wonder: a table came down to them
from heaven and a great light shone around them. When Hermes the priest
saw this wonder, he asked him, "What is the name of your God?" The apostle
replied, "My God is the Lord Christ." Hermes, the priest, believed in him
and many people followed him. When the governor of the city knew that,
he ordered to burn them. It happened at the same time that the son of the
governor died. St.Matthew the apostle prayed and made supplications to
God to raise the son and the Lord answered him and raised the child from
death. When the governor saw that, he and the rest of the people of the
city believed. St.Matthew baptized them and ordered a bishop and priests
for them and built a church.
After he had preached in
other countries, he went back to Jerusalem. Some of the Jews which had
been preached to, and had believed and been baptized by him, gathered with
him and asked him to write down what he had preached to them. He wrote
the beginning of the Gospel attributed to him in the Hebrew language but
he did not complete it. It was said that he finished his preaching in India,
in the first year of the reign of Claudius and the ninth year from the
Ascension. His martyrdom was effected by stoning by the hands of Justus
the governor, and his body was buried in a holy place in Carthage of Caesarea
with certain believing men.
May his prayers and blessings be with us all. Amen.
Commemorative Feast of Michael the Archangel
On the twelfth of each month
we celebrate commemorating the honorable Michael the Archangel, the head
of the Heavenly Hosts, who stands at all times before the throne of the
Divine Majesty on behalf of the human race.
May his intercessions and blessings be with us all, and Glory be
to God forever. Amen.
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