On this day, St. Simon the Zealot, the apostle of our Lord (Whose name also is Nathanael, Jn 1:45-55), was martyred. He was born in Cana of Galilee, and was expert in the Law and books of the prophets. He had a fervor zeal, so he was called the Zealot, and he was righteous, pious, and did not show favor to anyone. So when Philip the Apostle said to him: "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote; Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." Nathanael, who realized that He knew the hidden secrets, answered and said to Him: "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
It was said that when he was a young man, he quarrelled with a man, killed him, and buried himunder the fig tree, and no one knew about it. It was also said that at the time of the slaughter of the children of Bethlehem by Herod, his mother hid him under a fig tree that was in her house. She nursed him during the night and hid him during the day, and continued to do so until the persecution of Herod died down. His mother did not tell him about this until he was fully grown and he never told anyone about this. When Jesus revealed that to him, he realized that He was the omniscient God, bowed before him, and was obedient to Him. He believed, followed Him, and became one of His twelve disciples.
After he had received the grace of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, he spoke with tongues, enlightened the world with his evangelism, and returned many to the faith in the Lord Christ. He preached in Africa, and in the country of El-Bejah which extended from Aswan to the Red sea. He also preached in the island of Bertanah, which was probably one of the islands by the shore of the Red sea. He preached there with the Name of Christ, and many tribulations befell him, but God added to his courage and strength. God manifested on his hands many signs, and finally he was martyred, crucified on a tree, and he received the crown of martyrdom.
May his intercession be with us. Amen.
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