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

475- The Three Thetas


(True Story from the Synaxarium on 18 Babah)

 Pope Theophilus, who was pope at the end of the fourth century, was looking now and then at the big piles of dirt outside his cell. He always wished to remove them and build a Church in the name of St John the Baptist. That was a dream of his teacher and predecessor Pope Athanasius the Apostolic. That dream appeared to be impossible for lack of money, but the pope believed that nothing is impossible with faith in Gods work. He prayed to God to give him wisdom, direction and good arrangement.         Image: Saint John the Baptist icon صورة: أيقونة حديثة تصور الشهيد يوحنا المعمدان Image: Saint John the Baptist icon.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: أيقونة حديثة تصور الشهيد يوحنا المعمدان.

A widow coming from Rome with her two sons heard about the Popes wish. She was wealthy so she gave of her money to the Pope to remove the piles of dirt and build the Church. The Pope started the work with great joy, realizing the amazing support of Gods hand. He did not stop and think about how to build the Church, since the money was enough to remove the dirt.

The surprise was that the workers found a very big treasure dating from the time of Alexander the Great buried under the piles of dirt. They also found a stone on which thetas were engraved.

The workers ran to the Pope with news of their discovery. He looked at the stone and lifted his heart to God who is wonderful in his management of all the Churchs needs even the financial one.

One of the priests from Alexandria inquired, How do you explain the three thetas on the stone?

Gods amazing hand confirms that all that happens is not by chance, as some people believe. God previously sets all our affairs for our benefit.

Our father the Pope, what do you mean by that?

God wanted to confirm that this treasure was preserved for the countrys service and for building its Churches.

How was that done?

The letter theta is repeated thrice to confirm that the treasure is from gods providence to be announced in the time of the emperor Theodosius. The first letter theta is God: Theos; the second theta is for the emperor Theodosius; and the third is for my humble self Theophilus.

All the priests and believers were rejoiced in the work of God who plans all for the benefit of the people, even financially. Refusing to handle the treasure, the Pope sent to the emperor to inform him of the news. As he presented the treasure to the emperor, the latter gave of it generously to build a Church in the name of John the Baptist and seven more Churches and for caring for the needy and the poor.

→ English translation of the story here at الثلاثة حروف ثيتا. Divider

Oh God in heaven, You care about all the little things that affect my life.

You promised me to hold me in Your Hands,

To shelter me with Your Wings,

And to plan all my life.

I have no one but You to trust for You are the Leader of my life.

You are omnipotent, wise and full of compassion.