The Departure of St. Agathon, 39th Pope of Alexandria
On this day of the year 673 A.D., the holy father, the Patriarch Abba Agathon, 39th Pope of Alexandria, departed. He was a disciple to the holy father Abba Benjamin, 38th Pope. Abba Benjamin disappeared for a period of time from the face of his Chalcedonian persecutors and left Agathon to preach to the believers and establish them in the Orthodox faith. Agathon went around the streets and markets in the daytime wearing a carpenter's apparel, and during the night wearing a priest's uniform. He went around the houses also preaching and instructing the believers. He kept doing this till the Arab conquest of Egypt and the return of the father the Patriarch Abba Benjamin to his chair.
When Pope Benjamin departed, this saint was chosen to the honorable rank of Patriarch. He faced great tribulations for the sake of keeping the Orthodox faith. For example, a man whose name was Theodosius, a Malachite, went to the city of Damascus and came before Yazeed-Eben-Moawia, the Arab Governor of Damascus. He gave him much money and took from him an order to appoint him the Governor of Alexandria, Behira and Marriot. When he became in charge of this position, he afflicted our father the Patriarch and levied great taxes on him. Because of the excessive evil of the Governor, and what he did to the father the Patriarch, the people hated and avoided him. He put forth an order that any man who might find the Patriarch on his way should slay him. The Patriarch remained in his cell until God destroyed that evil Governor.
In the days of this father, the building of St. Macarius' church in his monastery at Wadi-El Natroun was completed.
One night the angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him about a holy monk from the monastery of St. Macarius whose name was John and who lived in Fayyum. The angel ordered him to bring him to help in preaching and teaching the people. The angel told him that he would be Patriarch after him. Abba Agathon sent and brought him and delivered to him the work of the churches, their organization, teaching the believers and preaching to them.
Abba Agathon remained in the papacy for 19 years and departed in peace.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
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