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

367- Friendship amongst Contemporary Saints Image: Father Mikhail Ibrahim (1899-1975) during raising the incense prayer. صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: القمص ميخائيل إبراهيم (1899-1975)، خلاص صلاة رفع البخور. Image: Father Mikhail Ibrahim (1899-1975) during raising the incense prayer.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: القمص ميخائيل إبراهيم (1899-1975)، خلاص صلاة رفع البخور.

Our beloved Fr. Georgios Quolta recounted the astonishing friendship that bonds three contemporary saints:

* Pope Kiryllos (Cyril) VI, a man of prayers and praise, well known for performing wonders and miracles.

* Fr. Mikhail Ibrahim, father of confession of bishops, priests and many Sunday school teachers.

* Fr. Pishoy Kamel, the pillar and founder of the spiritual school designed and intended for the salvation of the souls through a living evangelical and ecclesiastical attitude.

It is rather surprising that all three of them departed from this world in March but in four years apart. Pope Kiryllos VI passed away on March 9, 1971. Fr. Mikhail departed on March 26, 1975 and Fr. Pishoy on March 21, 1979.

All three have in common a pragmatic, effective and active love that was associated with real and genuine modesty. Likewise, active ecclesiastical thinking, strong passion for salvation, struggle in praying, unlimited giving characterized all three and self sacrifice for the Lord Jesus.

All three were commonly known for their commitment to non-stop struggle in time of sickness, especially during the last hours of their life (at the brink of death). The following reveals their friendship and extraordinary modesty.

A priest from Upper Egypt once came to visit Pope Kiryllos and to receive his blessing. Fr. Mikhail was also present. Surprisingly enough, the Pope modestly reiterated, How do you ask me for blessings while Fr. Mikhail is present? Ask him for the blessing.

What an astonishing friendship and extraordinarily modesty. The Pope refuses to bequest his blessings in the presence of a saintly priest. The Pope used to comment when coming across some of those who used to serve with Fr. Mikhail by saying, How fortunate you are, serving with the all-blessed priest.

Fr. Georgeios also conveyed what happened to him prior to his ordination in priesthood:

On March 9, 1971, while at work I found out about the departure of our Pope Kiryllos. It was shocking news, which grieved me a lot, so I left for St. Mark Cathedral to pay my last respects. From there I went to St. Mark Church in Shobra to serve the needy brothers of Christ. I was there alone, reflecting over what happened and also unhappy because Fr. Mikhail had had a recent heart attack. The doctors had given strict instructions of no visitors allowed but I was summoned to see Fr. Mikhail (for an immediate meeting) via a message delivered to me by his grandson. His daughter, upon seeing me at the front door before ushering me in, asked me not to mention any news about the Pope passing away as it could worsen his health condition since a strong love bonded them.

With his known meek nature, Fr. Mikhail was inquiring about the needy, especially the students and asked me to get an envelope containing alms and donations from the wardrobe given to him by some of his beloved ones for the students. After finishing the paper work, as I was about to leave he asked me to stay for a while. We were talking about the various church services. Abruptly he stopped and said, Did you know that Pope Kiryllos has arrived into heaven?

I was truly overwhelmed by his remark. He avoided answering me when I asked him how he found out. Nobody had seen him or told him and it was only after four hours. I was sure that it was manifested to him through a divine revelation. I was even bewildered, as he went on joyously with a bright shining face saying, How happy and blessed he is! I fervently look forward to reach there. Image: Reverend Father Hegomen Abouna Bishoy Kamel (1931-1979) - click here for Fr. Bishoy photos

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: قدس أبونا المتنيح القمص بيشوي كامل (1931-1979) - اضغط هنا لصور أبونا بيشوي

I stumbled for a moment and went on asking God to keep and give him an enjoyable long life to serve his church.

His response was rather unearthly, full of faith and hope, As long as there is remaining oil we keep on shining but when that comes to an end we leave to go to Him. Do you understand?

After a while before leaving he asked me, a layman, to pray. He insisted and I had to obey asking for his blessings and left comforted praying for his speedy recovery and long life.

Once more, Fr. Georgios recounted the friendship that existed between Fr. Pishoy Kamel and Fr. Mikhail. Upon Fr. Mikhails departure from this world, his body remained in the church for two days. Fr. Pishoy stayed by his side throughout those days reciting psalms intoning midnight praise and celebrating the liturgy. I appreciated the enormity and extent of their love by looking at Fr. Pishoy eyes as if whispering, Well soon meet in the presence of God.

Only four years separated their meeting again with the multitudes of saints.

It is worth mentioning that Fr. Mikhail used to regularly spend the month of May in Mandara, Alexandria at Beit El Asdiquaa (The House of Friends), which is next door to St. Minas Church. Fr. Pishoy diligently used to go there and I was in his company, for confession seeking Fr. Mikhails advice in pastoral matters. Before leaving for Australia in 1975, we went to see him for confession for the last time. Yet, he asked us to say the Absolution. Upon refusal, he took Fr. Pishoys hand placing it on the top of his head and ordered him to say the Absolution.

→ English translation of the story here at صداقة بين قديسين معاصرين. Divider

 O Gracious God, give me that spirit of friendship for all living creatures,

To bond me with Your saints and to receive their blessings.

Teach me modesty and meekness and grant me a heart that is full of love,

To be able to meet with You, right at the end of all waiting.

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