1. On this day the holy father Anba Isaac (Ishaq) departed. He was born in the city of Hourin - Shabas, from unblemished parents. His father's name was Abraham, and his mother's name was Susannah. His mother departed when he was a child, and his father, shortly after, married another wife.
In those days there was a famine, and his step-mother hated him. She only gave him a little bread, which he gave to the shepherds that he worked with. He fasted until sunset, although he was only five years old. When his father knew that, he went to see him to inquire into that. Knowing the matter, before his father came to him, he tied up three pieces of mud in his cloak, so that his father might think when he saw them from far that they were bread. When his father came and unrolled the cloak, he found three pieces of bread. The shepherds who were present testified that the boy had given them all what he had of bread, and others saw him tieing the pieces of mud in his cloak. His father marvelled and glorified God.
When Isaac grew up, he went and became a monk with a righteous man whose name was Elias, and he lived with him for many years. After the departure of Anba Elias, he went to the mount of Barnug and lived with an old man whose name was Anba Zacharias. His father went about everywhere trying to find him. When he found his son living with St. Zacharias, he asked him to return with him. His teacher Anba Zacharias advised him to obey his father and return with him.
He returned and stayed until his father's departure. He distributed all what his father left him to the poor and needy. He then built for himself a place out side the city, where he dwelt there alone. He went on asceticism and worship until he departed in peace.
They buried him in his place of worship, and the place was forgotten. After many years, God willed to reveal his body, and a great light appeared above his grave, which was seen by reapers for three consecutive days. The believers came, took his body, laid it on a camel, and journeyed with it until they came to a place between Horein and Nashrat. The camel stopped, knelt down, and would not get up again. They knew that this was the Lord's Will and they built a church for him in that place where they placed the body with great honor.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also of the year 44 A.M. (April 17th., 328 A.D.) the holy father Pope Alexander (Alexandros), 19th Pope of the See of St. Mark, departed.
This Pope was born in the city of Alexandria from Christian parents, and he grew up in serving the church. Pope Maximus ordained him a reader, Pope Theonas ordained him a deacon. Pope Peter (Petros the Seal of the Martyrs) ordained him a priest, and he was virgin and chaste.
When the time of Pope Petros (Peter) martyrdom drew near, Alexander and father Archelaus, who became Patriarch before him, went to him in prison, and asked him to lift the excommunication from Arius. Anba Petros excommunicated Arius again in their presence, and informed them that the Lord Christ had appeared to him and ordered him not to receive him again and that father Archelaus will be Patriarch after him and after Abba Archelaus, Pope Alexander will be ordained. He commanded that to the priests of Alexandria and ordered them not to accept Arius, and to have no fellowship with him. When Pope Archelaus sat on the Chair and received Arius, he only lived for six months and died. When Pope Alexandros sat, the lay leaders came and asked him to receive Arius, but he refused and added curses to what were already upon him. He told them: "Pope Petros had commanded Pope Archelaus and myself to do that, and when Pope Archelaus had received Arius, God speedily removed him from his office."
Pope Alexander expelled Arius from the country. Arius went to Emperor Constantine and complained of the unjust treatment of this Pope. Emperor Constantine assembled the Ecumenical Council of the Three Hundred and Eighteen in the city of Nicea. The council was presided by Pope Alexander. He debated with Arius and revealed his denial of Christ, then excommunicated him and those who follow his belief.
Alexander, along with the rest of the fathers, uttered the Creed, and drew up the Canon, the Law, and the Statutes that are still in the hands of Christians until this day. After he put down regulations for Lent and the feast of Easter, he returned to his Chair, victorious and triumphant. He shepherded his flock with the best of care. He sat on the throne of the See of St. Mark for 15 years, 9 months and 20 days, then departed in peace.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
3. On this day also, of the year 535 A.M. (April 17th., 819 A.D.), the blessed father Pope Mark (Marcus), 49th Pope of the See of St. Mark, departed.
This Pope was from Alexandria, and he a was chaste, learned, and honorable man. Pope John ordained him a deacon, and he was an eloquent speaker. His voice was sweet and all those who heard him rejoiced in him. The Pope handed him the administration of the papal place, and he did nothing without his advice. When Pope John put on him the garb of monks in the monastery, one of the elder monks shouted saying: "This deacon whose name is Mark shall, rightly and fittingly sit upon the throne of his father Mark, the Evangelist."
When pope John departed, the bishops unanimously agreed to choose him Patriarch. He fled to the desert, but they caught up with him, brought him back, and enthroned him Patriarch on the second of Amshir, 515 A.M. (January 26th., 799 A.D.).
He tended to the churches needs, and restored those that were in a ruinous state. He returned many of the heretics to the Orthodox faith, healed many of the sick, and cast out, of many of them, devils. He told them: "What had happened to you was because you dared to partake of the Holy Mysteries with irreverence, so keep yourselves henceforward from the evil words that come out of your mouth." In his days, the Muslim Arabs conquered the Greek Isles, captured many of their women and children, brought them to Alexandria, and started to sell them. The Pope gathered money from the believers, and beside the funds of the monasteries that he had, he was able to pay three thousand Dinars to save and free them. He wrote for them bills of manumission and set them free. He provided those who wished to return to their country with whatever they needed, and those who wished to stay, he gave them in marriage and protected them. He took thought for the church of the Redeemer in Alexandria and restored it, but some evil men burned it, so he restored it again.
When the Lord willed to give him rest, he became sick. He prayed the Divine Liturgy and partook of the Holy Mysteries. He bade the bishops that were present farewell and departed in peace after staying on the Chair 20 years, 2 months and 21 days.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
4. On this day also, of the year 567 A.M. (April 17th., 851 A.D.), the holy father Pope Michael (Khail), 53rd Pope of Alexandria, departed.
This father was a righteous monk, and he was ordained hegumen for the monastery of the saint Abba John. Because of his good conduct, they chose him Patriarch, and he was enthroned in the 24th. of Hatour 566 A.M. (November 20th., 849 A.D.).
When the Holy Fast came, he went to the desert of Scetis to keep the fast there. He remembered his earlier life in the wilderness, so he asked God with tears and supplication saying: "O God, you know how much I love solitary life and I have no aptitude for the position that I am in." The Lord accepted his petition and he departed in peace after the feast of Passover.
He stayed on the Chair one year, four months and twenty-eight days.
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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