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Short Stories (Stories for the Youth), book by Father Tadros Yacoub Malaty

41- A Big Smile at the Altar


I heard this from Mr. H. who was a personal friend of Pope Kyrillos (Cyril) since the beginning of his service (Father Mina the Solitary). Mr. H used to attend with him, as a deacon in St. Minas church in old Cairo to pray the daily holy mass. He said:

I went with his holiness the pope to St. Minas monastery in Mariout, Alexandria and I attended with him the vespers prayers. The only attendees were his holiness the pope, a monk as the cantor, worshipers and I as the deacon. While the monk was saying the Doxologies, his holiness the pope stood silent at the Altar and suddenly he smiled such a big smile that almost made it a faint laugh.

I was really astonished by this scene as I lived with him all these years during which I always saw him strict with himself and others at the Altar. After the prayer I went to him and asked him, Tell me your holiness why did you laugh during the service? Ever since Ive known you, Ive never seen you laughing while in church.

Even though, he tried to evade answering me in every possible way, I insisted.

Finally he said to me, Ill only tell you if you promise that you keep it secret until the day I leave this world.

I promised him and he continued, I stood at the Altar with a bitter soul because of a problem concerning the Copts. Suddenly, St. Mina revealed himself to me and said, Why are you sad? I told him the reason and he replied, Do you think that youre alone? Were all with you and supporting you and then he stretched his hand and nudged me gently and I couldnt help laughing.

→ English translation of the story here at ابتسامة عريضة في الهيكل. Divider

Friendship with the Saints

Many a time do I suffer from bitter loneliness!

While You are inside me, even deeper than the depth of my soul.

You fill my depth,

And in my stupidity I think that I am without aid.

Your saints support me.

They share with me my feelings, they pray for me.

They are a cloud of witnesses that surrounds me.

Open my eyes O Hallowed of all saints, so that I may see You.

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