1. On this day of the year 221 A.M. (April 29th., 505 A.D.), Pope John the first, the twenty ninth Pope of Alexandria, departed. This father was born in Alexandria to Christian parents, and was attracted since his youth to the monastic life. He became a monk in the wilderness of St. Macarius, and he was chosen Patriarch after the departure of his predecessor Pope Athanasius the second. He did not accept but was taken by force by the bishops, priests, and lay leaders and ordained him on the first of Babah of the year 213 A.M. (September 29th., 496 A.D.). After his enthronement, he gave special attention to education and preaching for the edification and the steadfastness of the faithful in the Orthodox faith. He was the first Patriarch to be chosen from among the monks.
The Roman Emperor in Constantinople, at that time, was the righteous Emperor Zenon. For this reason the hand of the Patriarch was strengthened in spreading the Orthodox faith in all of Egypt. The Emperor sent all the needs of the monasteries from wheat, oil, wine and money to renew the buildings of their cells and to restore their churches. All the days of this pope were days of peace and tranquility. When he finished his good course, he became sick for a short time, and then departed in peace, after he had been on the throne of St. Mark for eight years and seven months.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
2. On this day also of the year 882 A.M. (April 29th., 1166 A.D.), Pope Yoannis the fifth, the 72nd. Patriarch of Alexandria, departed. He was John the monk from the monastery of Abu-Yehnis (John). He was enthroned on the 2nd. of El-Nasi (Intercalary days), year 863 A.M. (August 25th., 1147 A.D.) He was a holy, righteous, and pure man. In his days, the Copts (El-Nasarah - Christians) were persecuted by the Moslem governors (Emams) and Khalifas, and many were killed or sold as slaves. A monk named "Bashnouna" from the monastery of St. Macarius was martyred on the 24th. of Bashons year 880 A.M. (1164 A.D.) and his body was burned for he refused to change his faith. The bones of this Saint were preserved in the church of Abu-Serga. They also destroyed the church of St. Mina in Haret El-Rome, and the church of El-Zohari and many other churches in different parts of Cairo after they plundered what was in them. But God permitted these churches to be rebuilt by the Coptic layman Abu El-Fakher Salib Ebn-Mikhail.
The Patriarch was arrested during the days of El-Aadel Ebn El-Selar and was imprisoned because he refused to ordain a Metropolitan for Ethiopia instead of its Metropolitan who was still alive. The metropolitan name was Anba Michael El-Atfihi who was ordained by Pope Macarius. The Pope was released two weeks later because of the death of El-Aadel.
During the days of this Patriarch, the words "Life-giving" was added to the confession which became: "This is the life-giving Flesh that Thine Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, took from our Lady ..."
He departed after he had been on the throne of St. Mark for 18 years, 8 month, and 4 days.
May his prayers be with us and glory be to God forever. Amen.
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