Also on this day, of the year 617 A.D., the holy father Abba Andronicus, 37th Pope of Alexandria, departed. This father was from a rich family of great influence and his cousin was the chief of the imperial court at Alexandria. He was very well educated and he studied the holy scriptures and excelled in their interpretation. Because of his knowledge, his righteousness and his charity toward the poor, he was ordained a deacon. By consensus he was chosen to be patriarch, although he never lived in any monastery. He remained in Alexandria all the days of his papacy, not intimidated by the authority of the Melkites.
Shortly after the ordination of Abba Andronics, the Persians invaded the East and crossed the river Euphrates. They seized Halab, Antioch in Syria, Jerusalem, and many other cities. They killed and imprisoned many Christians. They captured Egypt and went to the City of Alexandria, around which there were six hundred inhabited monasteries. They killed all the inhabitants, plundered their possessions, and destroyed the monasteries. When the people of Alexandria heard what they had done, because of their fear, they opened the gates of the city for them.
The Persian King saw in a night dream someone saying to him, "I have delivered to you the city. Do not destroy it. But kill its heroes for they are hypocrites." He arrested the Governor of the city, and tied him up in chains. He ordered the elders of the city to bring forth the men, from 18 to 50 years old to come forward to give everyone twenty denari, and to enlist them as soldiers for the city. Eighty thousand men came forward and he killed them all by the sword.
Afterward, the Persian King went with his army to Upper Egypt. He passed by the city of Nikios. He heard that there were some seven hundred monks living in cells and caves around it. He sent men to kill them. He continued to kill and destroy until Emperor Heraclius conquered him and drove him out of Egypt.
As for Pope Andronicus, he lived a virtuous life. He remained on the throne of St. Mark for 6 years, then departed in peace.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
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