1. On this day is the commemoration of the Crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ Incarnate, to Him is the Glory, for the salvation of the world. The Holy Bible mentioned that: "From the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land." (Matthew 27:45) The sun had hidden its light when it saw its creator incarnated, hanging with His own free will on the wood of the Cross, inclined His head, and yielded up His spirit.
The Holy Church teaches us that: " His Divinity parted not from His Humanity for a single moment, nor a twinkle of an eye, and He descended to the hades from the cross to save those in bondage therein." St. Peter also said: "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison." (1 Peter 3:18-19) In the heavens He was in His might, and on earth He was a savior. Praise the Lord, the omnipotent God, Who is in every place, He saved us by giving Himself up, and opened to us the door of His kingdom.
To Him is the Glory, Power and Dominion forever. Amen.
2. On this day also, of the year 392 A.D. the blessed father, the lamp of the wilderness and the father of all the monks the great saint Anba Macarius, departed. This Saint was born in the village of Shabsheer - Menuf, from good and righteous parents. His father's name was Abraham and his mother's name was Sarah and they had no son. In a vision at night he saw the angel of the Lord and told him that God was about to give him a son, and his name will be known all over the earth, and he will have a multitude of spiritual sons.
Shortly after, this holy man had a son and called him Macarius which means "Blessed." He was obedient to his parents, and the grace of God was upon him since his young age. When he grew up his father forced him to get married against his will, so he pretended that he was sick for several days. Then he asked his father if he might go to the wilderness to relax and that may make him recover from his illness speedily. He went to the wilderness and prayed to the Lord Christ to direct him to do what is pleasing to Him. While he was in the wilderness he saw a vision, and it seemed that one of the Cherubim, with wings, took his hands, and ascended up to the top of the mountain, and showed him all the desert, east and west, and north and south. The Cherub told him: "God has given this desert to you and your sons for an inheritance." When he returned from the wilderness he found that his wife, who was still virgin, had died, and Macarius thanked the Lord Christ. Shortly after, his parents departed, and he gave all what they had left to the poor and the needy. When the people of Shabsheer saw his chastity and purity, they took him to the bishop of Ashmoun who ordained him a priest for them. They built a place for him outside the city, and they went to him to confess and to partake from the Holy Mysteries. They appointed a servant to take care of his needs and to sell for him the work of his hands.
When Satan saw St. Macarius growth in virtues, he brought on him a severe temptation. He inspired a girl that had defiled herself with a man to claim that St. Macarius is the one who had defiled her. When her family heard that, they went to him, insulted and beat him severely, inflicting much pain on him, which he endured silently. Macarius reproached himself saying "O Macarius now you have a wife and a child, and it is meet for you to work day and night for your own food and for that of your child and your wife." He worked continually at weaving mats and baskets, and he gave them to the man who ministered unto him; and he sold them and gave the money to the woman. When the day of her delivery drew near her labor was exceedingly difficult, she continued to suffer for four days and did not deliver until she confessed her false accusation against the Saint and named the man that defiled her.
When the family of the girl heard that, they decided to go to ask for his forgiveness for what happened from them. When St. Macarius heard that, he fled away from them running from the vain glory of this world.
At that time he was 30 years old, and the angel of the Lord appeared to him and walked with him for two days until they came to Wadi El-Natroun and the Saint asked the angel: "Appoint for me O master a place to live in." The angel replied: "I have not marked out a place for you to live, lest you leave it in the future and transgress the commandment of God. Behold all the wilderness is yours, so wheresoever you wish, live there." St. Macarius dwelt in the Inner Desert, in the place of the monastery of Sts. Maximus and Domadius which is known now by the monastery of El-Baramous. He went to visit St. Antonios, who said about St. Macarius when he saw him: "This is an Israelite in whom there is no guile." St. Antonios put on him the Holy Eskeem, then St. Macarius returned to his place. When the number of monks increased around him he built a church for them. His fame was known all over the country and many kings and Emperors heard about the miracles that God performed on his hands. He healed the daughter of the king of Antioch that was possessed by an unclean spirit. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and took him to a place and told him to make this place his abode, for many people will come to him in that place. He built a cell for himself and a church.
He thought one day that the world had no more righteous people, so a voice came to him from heaven saying: "In the city of Alexandria there are two women who feared God." He took his staff, his provisions, and went to Alexandria and he asked around until he reached their house. When he entered, they welcomed him, washed his feet with warm water, and when he asked them about their life, one of them told him: "There is no kinship between us and when we married these two brothers we asked them to leave us to be nuns but they refused. So we committed ourself to spent our life fasting till evening with often prayers. When each of us had a son, whenever one of them cry, any one of us would carry and nurse him even if he was not her own son. We are in one living arrangement, the unity in opinion is our model, and our husbands work is shepherding sheep, we are poor and only have our daily bread and what is left over we give it to the poor and the needy." When the Saint heard these words he cried saying: "Indeed God looks to the readiness of the heart and grant the grace of His Holy Spirit for all those who wish to worship him." He bade them farewell and left returning to the wilderness.
There was an erring monk who strayed many by his saying that there was no resurrection of the dead. The bishop of the city of Osseem went to St. Macarius and told him about that monk. Abba Macarius went to that monk and stayed with him until the monk believed and returned from his error.
On the day of his departure, he saw Sts. Antonios and Pachomius, and a company of the saints, and he delivered up his soul. He was ninety-seven years old. St. Macarius had commanded his disciples to hid his body, but some of the natives of the city of Shabsheer came and stole his body, built a church for him and placed the body in it for around one hundred and sixty years until the Arab conquest and the rebuilding of his monastery, they returned the body to it.
In a manuscript in Shebeen El-Koum, was mentioned that St. Babnuda, his disciple, saw the soul of St. Macarius ascending to heaven, and he heard the devils crying out and calling after him, "You have conquered us O Macarius." The Saint replied "I have not conquered you yet." When they came to the gates of heaven they cried again saying "You have conquered us", and he replied as the first time. When he entered the gate of heaven they cried "You have overcome us O Macarius." He replied "Blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ who has delivered me from your hands."
May his blessing be with us. Amen.
3. On this day also St. Domicos was martyred during the reign of the infidel Emperor Julian. Sapor (Shapur) Arsakis II king of Persia was in peace with the Roman Empire, and he paid tribute to the lover of God Emperor Constantine. A dispute took place between Emperor Julian and Sapor king of Persia, and the later prepared an army to fight the Romans. Julian offered the sacrifices to his idols in the city of Casius which was about six miles from Antioch where was the idol Apollon. The enemy of God went along with the magicians, sorcerers, and the army to meet the Persians. On his way he passed by an isolated place, where he saw a multitude of men, women, and children.
When he asked about this multitudes they told him: "A monk who live in a cave in this place, perform miracles and heal the sick, and the multitudes that you see are the Christians that came to get his blessing and be cured from their illnesses." Julian became raged and sent a soldier to St. Domicos who talked to him in a threatening way saying: "If you are living in this cave to please God so why you are seeking the gratitude of men? and why don't you hide your self from them?" The Saint replied saying: "I have given my soul and body to the hands of God, the God of heaven and earth the Lord Jesus Christ, and spent many years in seclusion in this cave, as for those who come to me with a strong faith, I can not dismiss them." When the Emperor heard his answer, he ordered his soldiers to seal the mouth of the cave with a wall and the Saint was inside where he delivered his soul therein.
Thus this Saint ended his pure life and received the crown of martyrdom on the 27th. of Baramhat, year 78 A.M. (March 23rd., year 362 A.D.).
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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