Caliph Abd-El-Aziz (the ruler of Egypt) delegated his ruling powers over Egypt to his son El-Asbagh. The young ruler was noted for his enmity and hatred towards Christians. He used to persecute the Christians and destroy their churches.
The church of St. Demiana that was built in the fourth century by Queen Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine and consecrated by Pope Alexandros (the 19th Pope) was among those demolished. He built himself a palace on its site. The salty waters of the Mediterranean flooded and reached the boundaries of a church at Samenoud on the western side of the old citadel. The flood submerged the palace and ruined part of the embankment. King Hassan Ben Attahyia was saddened to hear the news. That part of the country, El Zaafran in the Eastern Delta next to El Borollos Lake, an herb growing area, was a revenue-generating area. It was brought to the king’s attention that he could call in Pope Khaeel the First, the 46th Pope (743 - 767 A. D.) to pray for the uplifting of the adversity.
Through the divine providence the Pope, assisted by St. El Toufahy and some priests, prayed inside the church at Samenoud. As the Pope went out of the church holding the cross up and chanting, “Kyriyalaisson: Lord have mercy,” the water receded before the multitudes, and the Pope followed by El Toufahy, the priests, the king, his court and the congregation. They proceeded and the waters went on receding until they reached El Zaafran, where they lodged their tents close to the palace, part of which was ruined by the floodwaters. Pope Khaeel and all those present continued on praying and kneeling to the ground. A strong wind started to blow and an abundance of sand accumulated giving rise to an embankment stronger than the old one.
In gratefulness the king received the Pope. The king agreed to assist in building a church on the site of those forty virgins who were martyred in the company of St. Demiana, as a sign of gratitude. The king also decreed that nobody should bother the Christians and peace reigned over Egypt all the days of the king’s life.
Amidst torment and suffering O benevolent God,
Your miracles are visibly manifested.
Your love for Your people is always evidently declared.
Joy in times of agony reigns,
And utmost peace is bestowed.
The Strange Fellow
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