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

67- Forgiveness, Not Authority


The creed(3) of the general assembly insisted upon changing the ruling that denied rights in managing church affairs. However, Botros Basha Ghali, the Egyptian Prime Minister, opposed this change. Elections took place in the Patriarchate where Botros B. used police force to bar all entry and evicted all workers, students, and teachers inside.

 The Pope expressed his disapproval of what had happened and appealed to the government. However, nothing changed. The assembly gathered to elect a substitute Patriarch and a president for the general assembly.

 None of the bishops accepted this position, except for Bishop Athanasius, Bishop of Sanabo in Upper Egypt. On his way to Cairo, he was obstructed by the Bishop and people of Beni Suef at the train station. As Bishop Athanasius looked out the window to greet them, he was reprimanded by the Beni Suef Bishop who warned him that if he did not get on the next train back home, he would be excommunicated by the Holy Trinity and by the Pope's words.

 The Bishop of Sanabo was officially received in Cairo, even though the Patriarchate was locked up as the people shouted, “You, the excommunicated! You, the excommunicated!”

 In Alexandria, the Bishops and Priests agreed upon excommunicating Bishop Athanasius. However, the wicked and worldly powers were successful in passing a law that would exile the Pope to the Baramous Monastery and the Metropolitan of Alexandria to the monastery of St. Paul.

 After delivering all the appropriate items to the Patriarchate, the Pope headed to the monastery without putting up any resistance whatsoever. He lived there working happily in his small plantation.

 The doors of the Patriarchate were opened to the Bishop of Sanabo and Fr. Philothaeus. On September 4, 1892, during his first mass there, the Bishop mistakenly read the story of Judas from the Bible. During the same mass, Fr. Philothaeus dropped the holy bread. At the same time, the priest in Alexandria dropped the wine. In addition, the censer was dropped the following week and some of the carpets of Alexandria's church were burnt. The people became concerned because of what was happening.

 The people decided to boycott all church services including masses, baptisms, marriages and funerals. Instead, they went to the Roman church where they were welcomed and prayed in Arabic. Image: A heart with a key, keep the faith - by Amgad Wadea. صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: مفاتيح القلب، حفظ القلب، الإيمان القويم - رسم أمجد وديع. Image: A heart with a key, keep the faith - by Amgad Wadea.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: مفاتيح القلب، حفظ القلب، الإيمان القويم - رسم أمجد وديع.

 On January 20 1893, the ruler of Egypt enacted a law to bring back the Pope and the Bishops, after realizing how critical the situation had become.

 The throngs of people received the Pope with singing and praising God, much to the surprise of the Governor in Cairo.

 The Pope declared his great love to everyone and out of generosity he forgave all his opponents. In addition, he promoted the Bishop of Sanabo. The people greatly appreciated their Pope who earned a higher evaluation not only from them, but in God's eyes as well


 He was not only strict with Botros Pasha Ghali and others, but also with the Bishop of Sanabo who accepted to run the Patriarchate when Pope Kyrillos was in exile. However, he showed much kindness after his return. He forgave all the wrong that was done and promoted the Bishop of Sanabo who was, in fact, a traitor.

Although he was strict with powerful people, he held a very intimate relationship with such a pious and pure young man. He cherished those, whose prayers shook the heavens and cared less about complementing powerful people.

→ English translation of the story here at عفو لا سلطة. Divider

God, grant me a heart that does not fear people or any evil powers.

Grant me not to depend on anyone,

But to ask for heaven's support.

Grant me love, not authority,

So that I do not abuse others, but love them.

Bend with love to wash their feet,

And carry them to the first row,

So that when I go back,

I find You waiting for me.


Footnotes and references for this page here at

(3) Also narrated by Fr. Antonius Younan and appeared in the history of the Coptic Church written by the then deacon Mansi Younan, 1982, pp.634.

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