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The History of the Coptic Patriarchs (for that is what I prefer to call it)[1] is a monumental, historical work of the Coptic Church that covers the lives of its patriarchs from St. Mark the Evangelist, its 1st patriarch in the first century, to Cyril V, its 112th patriarch in the late nineteenth century (1896). The first part of this work, up to the Live of Patriarch Shenouda II (1032 – 1046), was written in Greek and Coptic, but later translated into Arabic between 1088 and 1094 Mawhub ibn Muffarij et al; the rest of the work was written in Arabic.

Although this work is often attributed to the tenth century famous Coptic writer, Sawirus ibn al-Mukaffa`(or Severus of Ashmunein), bishop of Al-Ashmunein (Hermopolis), the fact is that he has written no part of it. The History of the Coptic Patriarchs has been written by several writers in stages, and we know of at least ten of them. In this sense, the work is similar to the Old Testament – a compilation of several books by several writers.

The work has been brought to the attention of the West, and the wider world, by several European scholars:

–          The first to pay attention to it was Eusèbe Renaudot (1646 – 1720), the French theologian and Orientalist, who translated into Latin, in 1713, the lives of the Coptic patriarchs up to the end of the thirteenth century under the title Historia patriarcharum alexandrinorum jacobitarum (History of the Jacobite Patriarchs of Alexandria).[2]

–          Then Christian Friedrich Seybold (1859 – 1921) published in 1904 an edited Arabic text of the work under the title Historia patriarcharum Alexandrinorum by Sāwīrus ibn al-Muqaffaʻ, Bishop of el-Ashmunein, in Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium.[3] The reader can access this work (up to the live to the 52nd patriarch, Joseph I [831 – 849]) below:

–          Then the English historian Basil Thomas Alfred Evetts, or simply B. T. A. Evetts (b. 1858), published the lives of the Coptic patriarchs up to Joseph I under the title History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church of Alexandria, in four parts, in three volumes of Patrologia Orientalis (PO) (Tomes I, V and X), which appeared in Paris in 1907, 1910 and 1915, respectively. The edition includes the Arabic text and its accompanying English translation on each page:

  • Part I appeared in PO, Tome I, 1907, pp. 99-214, and covered the Lives of Patriarchs from St. Mark to Theonas (d. 300);

  • Part II appeared also in PO, Tome I, 1907, pp. 383-518, and covered the Lives of Patriarchs from Peter I to Benjamin I (d. 661);

  • Part III appeared in PO, volume V, 1910, pp. 1-215, and covered the Lives of Patriarchs from Agathon to Michael I (d. 766);

  • Part IV appeared in PO, volume X, 1915, pp. 358-551, and covered the Lives of Patriarchs from Mennas I to Joseph I (d. 849).

–          In the 1940s, the Société d’archéologie copte in Cairo decided to publish an English translation of the full History of Coptic Patriarchs. As the Lives of the Patriarchs from St. Mark to Joseph (b. 849 AD)[4] had already been translated by B. T. A. Evetts, the Société reprinted his work as Volume 1 of a four-volume set under the title History of the Patriarchs of the Egyptian Church : known as the History of the Holy Church / by Sawirus ibn al-Mukaffa`, Bishop of al-Asmunin; and it then went on to publish the rest of the Lives, which were translated by the British Coptologist, O.H.E. Burmester[5] (1897 – 1977) and others, including Yassa ‘Abd al-Masih, Aziz Suryal Atiya and Antoine Khater – work which continued from 1943 to 1974:

  • The Lives of Khaël II (c. 849) to Shenouti I (d. 880), which were translated by Yassa ‘Abd al-Masih & O.H.E. Burmester, and appeared in 1943 as Volume II, Part I.
  • The Lives of Khaël III to Senouti II (d. 1066), which were translated by Aziz Suryal Atiya, Yassa ‘Abd al-Masih & O.H.E. Burmester, and appeared in 1948 as Volume II, Part II.
  • The Lives of Christodoulus to Michael IV (d. 1102), which were translated by Aziz Suryal Atiya, Yassa ‘Abd al-Masih & O.H.E. Burmester, and appeared in 1959 as Volume II, Part III.
  • The Lives of Macarius II to John V (d. 1167), which were translated by Antoine Khater & O.H.E. Khs-Burmester, and appeared in 1968 as Volume III, Part I.
  • The Lives of Mark III to John VI (d. 1216), which were translated by Antoine Khater & O.H.E. Khs-Burmester, and appeared in 1970 as Volume III, Part II.
  • The Lives of Cyril II to Cyril V (d. 1894), which were translated by Antoine Khater & O.H.E. Khs-Burmester, and appeared in 1970 as Volume III, Part III.
  • Cyril III, Ibn Laklak (1216-1243), which was translated by Antoine Khater & O.H.E. Khs-Burmester, and appeared in 1974 as Volume IV in two parts, Part I and Part II.

Unfortunately, the translation into English is not good in all parts, and one can find several inaccuracies rendered in the English text. The Arabic text is also jumbled. The result is that this very important work, which we must look at it as one unit but with each section retaining its character, is not yet properly edited, whether in Arabic or English.

I reproduce below History of the Coptic Patriarchs as one unit, including all 12 parts (the 4 parts publisged by Evetts and the eight parts published by Burmester), and I hope it will be a base for further studies on this indispensable book for the study of the Coptic Church and nation.

I have taken all prefaces or introductions entered by Evetts and Burmester et al, and retained the historical text, including any prefaces, introductions or editorial notes by the Coptic writers of the monumental work.



[1] I find the title History of the Coptic Patriarchs more accurate and convenient to give to this work than any other title given such as History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church of Alexandria, which was given by B. Evett; History of the Patriarchs of the Egyptian Church, which was given byO.H.E. Burmester et al; or even History of the Holy Church, which is the direct translation from the original name in Arabic تاريخ البيعة المقدسة.

[2] The full title of the book is: historia patriarcharum alexandrinorum jacobitarum a d marco usque ad finem saeculi xiii cum catalogo (History of the Jacobite Patriarchs of Alexandria, from Mark until the end of the thirteenth century, with a catalog).

[3] Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, v. 52, 59; Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, Scriptores Arabici, ser. 3, t. 9; Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, Scriptores Arabici, t. 8-9. I could get hold of the text for the lives up to the 52nd patriarch, Joseph I (831 – 849 AD).

[4] His date of death remains a mystery.

[5] He later named himself, O.H.E. Khs-Burmester.



Severus of Al’Ashmunein (Hermopolis), History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic church of Alexandria  (1904) Part 1: St. Mark – Theonas (300 AD). Patrologia Orientalis 1 pp. 105-211 (p.1-113 of text).






  • First preface
  • Second preface
  • Third preface – by Severus, bishop of Al-Ushmunain
  • Fourth preface
  • The priesthood of Christ


  • Chapter 1 – St. Mark, the first patriarch
  • Chapter 2 – St. Mark
  • Chapter 3
    • Annianus, the second patriarch (62 – 85)
    • Avilius, the third patriarch (85 – 98)
    • Credo, the fourth patriarch (98 – 109)
    • Primus, the fifth patriarch (109 – 122)
    • Justus, the sixth patriarch (122 – 130)
    • Eumenes, the seventh patriarch (130 – 142)
    • Mark II, the eighth patriarch (143 -154)
    • Celadion, the ninth patriarch (157 – 167)
    • Agrippinus, the tenth patriarch (167 – 180)
    • Julian, the eleventh patriarch (180 – 189)
  • Chapter 4 – Demetrius, the twelfth patriarch (189 – 231)
  • Chapter 5 – Heraclas, the thirteenth patriarch (231 – 247)
  • Chapter 6
    • Dionysius the wise, the fourteenth patriarch (247 – 264)
    • Maximus, the fifteenth patriarch (264 – 282)
    • Theonas, the sixteenth patriarch (282 – 300)



In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, the One God.

This is the book of the Lives of the Fathers and Patriarchs. May God grant us the blessing of their prayers!

These patriarchs were the successors of the father and missionary, Saint Mark the evangelist, who preached the holy gospel and the good news of the Lord Christ in the great city of Alexandria, and in the region of Egypt, and in the regions of Ethiopia and Nubia, and in Pentapolis in the West, which is also called Africa, and in the neighbouring territories; for all these countries fell by lot to his preaching, through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

And after he had preached and proclaimed the good tidings, and written the gospel in Greek, and finished his course, he became a martyr in the Caesarium, a quarter of Alexandria, which is called in the Hebrew language the |106 city of Ammon 1. His biography, which records that which was done to him, and how he preached, and what befell him, is set forth in the first of the histories contained in this book.

And after him our orthodox fathers, the patriarchs, were the heirs of his doctrines which save souls from hell; and they remained true to that which he delivered to them, in the guardianship of the orthodox faith and in attachment to it, and in patience under persecution for its sake, at all times, to their last breath, that is to say till death. They sat upon his episcopal throne, one after another, each of them succeeding his predecessor; and thus all were his representatives, and the shepherds of his flock, and his imitators in his faith in Christ.

These histories here given were collected from various places by the care of the celebrated father, Abba Severus, son of Al-Mukaffa, bishop of the city of Al-Ushmunain, who relates that he gathered them together from the monastery of Saint Macarius and the monastery of Nahya and other monasteries, and from scattered fragments which he found in the hands of the Christians. And when these documents were put together by your |107

poor brother into this single volume, after research and trouble on his part, God gave him a long life, until a day came when he wrote out this history and set it in order; but it was not completed till the end of his eightieth year. And now I implore God’s help that we may understand what we read therein, and may obey these holy patriarchs, and carry out their precepts, and follow in their footsteps, and remain attached to their faith; for he is the God who hears and answers our prayers. Thanks be to him for ever and ever. Amen.


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, the One God.

Praise be to God, the origin and source of learning, the maker and creator of all things, who forms and brings into being all that exists : who guides and elects those whom he pleases, and raises those whom he desires among his servants to be his chosen ones and his holy people, whom he picks out and in whom he takes pleasure; who lifts up the poor from the ground, and the needy from the dunghill, that he may make him ruler over his people, and a prince to govern his servants and his land; and gives him as his inheritance the throne of power, that he may rule over the earth with justice, and among men with truth; that he may deliver the weak from the mighty, |108 and save the oppressed from the oppressor. This is the judgment and wisdom of God which none of his creatures can comprehend, for his mysteries are hidden from the wise and learned; and he raises up at all times those who shall gently guide his people.

The merciful, the compassionate one, the Lord Christ, who gave himself by the mystery of his Incarnation to save his creatures, and vanquished the mighty by humility and weakness; who speaks through the mouth of his prophets by the Holy Ghost; when it pleased him to manifest himself on earth and become incarnate, that he might save his creatures whom he had created after the likeness of the image of his majesty, appeared among them in a human body, born of the Virgin Mary, most excellent of women in creation. For he had elected her from among the offspring of Adam, the sinner and rebel against his Lord, who obeyed his enemy and broke the commandment of his Creator, so that it was necessary that he should die, as God had said to him when he warned him not to disobey; but Adam would not listen, desiring to be a god and similar to his Creator, and so was caught in the net of stumbling. Yet even then God the Word had mercy upon him in pity for him, and became incarnate, —-He, the uncreated in respect of his Godhead, the Man in respect of his Humanity, the pure from all sin. And the Virgin Mary bore him in her womb and brought him forth, by a mystery to which the intelligence of creatures cannot attain, and by which he exalted her above above all other created beings in heaven or on earth; above the Angels, the |109 Powers, the Principalities, the Cherubim and the Seraphim, and all whom God has made in heaven or on earth. For she became the throne of him who is Lord of the first and the last, without division or change, —- of him whom no space can enclose, and no time contain.

And when, in his unattainable wisdom, he established his dispensation, and the Union of his Humanity with his Divinity, the mystery of which is hidden from all in heaven or on earth, he chose his disciples, the apostles, and gave them the great commission, authorising them to bind and to loose. And so likewise their successors after them inherit this gift in all regions of the world, each one following his predecessor. Thus the inheritance of this power, which Christ gave to the great father and evangelist, Mark, the apostle, is carried on to his successor, the patriarch who sits upon his episcopal throne in the great city of Alexandria, in the midst of the regions where he preached.

Saint Mark, then, was the first patriarch who fed the flock of Christ; and in after times he was followed by the inspired fathers and patriarchs, generation after generation. This see of his is independent, and separate from all other sees. And no patriarch is promoted to it, nor does any obtain from God this glorious station and this high and sublime degree, save one whom he has proved and tried, and who has experienced such trouble and adversity and resistance of enemies and attacks of heretics that by these things he resembles Christ’s disciples and apostles, who were assisted by his Holy Spirit, —-those pure ones, those preachers of good tidings, who |110 suffered contempt and blows and scourging and stoning and crucifixion and shipwreck, and burning by fire, and wounds, and casting down from high places to the ground, and death by the sword, and all kinds of torment, which if we were to relate in detail, our narrative would be too long and the description of it would be too copious, and listeners would tremble at the hearing of it, and books and volumes would not contain even a small part of the history. Yet they lived in patience, enduring all these sufferings, and imitating their Lord, their Master and their Christ, who sent them to baptize all men and all nations, and draw them to faith in him. They taught men that by which they might profit through all ages and generations and times to the end of the world, namely the means of saving their souls in this world and the next; and they bequeathed their doctrines to their successors, the fathers and patriarchs, in every region to which their preaching was extended; for the patriarchs are indeed their successors and their followers. So they laid down their lives to preserve their trusted ones among the baptized, the faithful and orthodox. As the great apostle and excellent teacher Paul, the elect one and lamp of the Church of God, says 3, «Rather we glory in the tribulation that we suffer; for we know that tribulation perfects patience in us, and patience trial and probation, and hardships call forth hope, and hope disappoints not, because it pours into our hearts the love of God by the Holy Ghost». As he says in another place 4, «Verily if ye be allowed to wander free, and be left |111 without chastisement, and be not branded as the elect friends of God were branded before you, then are ye become strangers to God and are not near to him». And there are many similar testimonies in the books of the Church, from Paul and from others of the inspired apostles and fathers and teachers, since th evenerated prophets.

The patriarchs did not cease to repel the doctrines of the heretics, striving to refute them, resisting them, overthrowing their false tenets, revealing to men their misbelief and the corruption of their creeds. And they composed a homily on every text, until they filled the Church of God with their homilies and sermons and spiritual learning. They never abandoned the study of the scriptures and writings and commandments of God, reading all the ecclesiastical books and other works which they needed for the composition of their homilies, and searching out every jewel of the Divine Word and of other literature. So at last they attained their desire, and obeyed the summons of their Creator who called them, saying, each one of them, «Here 5 am I with the sons whom thou gavest me, for not one of them has perished!» Thus they obtained their high degrees, and the mansions, brilliant with happiness and light, the blessings of which are eternal and imperishable.

They did not in the time of their pastorate fear haughty princes. Their hearts and purposes never faltered in the love of God, nor in teaching men, both secretly and openly, the means of saving their souls. And while they governed the Church, they were never careless nor frivolous, |112 nor did they acquire aught belonging to this transitory world; but they were obedient to their Lord’s commands, and applied themselves to their duties of instruction and imparting discipline, and observed the canons and precepts of God. So in the eyes of their flock they were great and learned; and when one of their disciples, or one of those who resisted them and their doctrine, beheld them and their deeds, he glorified God for their works, because the words of the Gospel which Christ uttered were now fulfilled : «You are the light of the world. A city, when it is placed upon a hill, cannot be hidden, and a lamp, when it is lighted, is not set under a bushel, but on a candlestick, to enlighten all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven 6

As one of the wise men says : «He who mounts the steps of learning and public affairs becomes great in the eyes of the multitudes, and he whose nature is noble has his rights acknowledged; to him who despises money men’s hopes are directed; he who is reasonable ceases to be unjust; the just man’s judgments are carried out; the leader is he who defends his faith with his possessions, and does not defend his possessions by means of his faith». But the best is what is said in one of the jewels of literature as follows : «The good shepherd does good to his flock and with justice rules creation. He who is just in his government is independent of his assistants. He who excels among men by his rank of governor and his superiority as ruler is bound to |113 guard his rank by his good administration, so that his prosperity may continue and that he may be fortunate both in spiritual and temporal matters. He whom God has put into possession of his land and territory, and entrusted with his people and servants, and whose place and rank he has exalted, ought to give thanks to God in faith, and to preserve his religion, and embellish his life, and purify his thoughts, and make virtue his constant habit, and salvation his aim and object. But injustice slips on its feet, and draws down vengeance, and destroys happiness and makes the nations perish. The hasty man fails even when he gains; but the deliberate man succeeds even when he loses. He who relies on his own opinion falls into the net of his enemies. He who rides on haste comes to a fall. He who does what he pleases gets what is evil. The fall of dynasties is caused by the employment of the lowest of the people. He who asks help of the wise gains what he hopes for. He who asks the advice of the prudent walks in the right path. Good government is the light of sovereignty, but evil administration is the source of destruction. To favour the fool is the worst of baseness, but to employ the wise is the best of merits; for the employment of the wise leads to the establishment of wisdom, but the employment of the fool to the maintenance of folly. Every man inclines to his like, and every bird roosts with its fellow. Learn that the cause of the ruin of princes is to be found in the rejection of the virtuous and the employment of the base, and in making light of the counsellor’s advice, and in the deception that arises from placing trust in the flatterer. But God assists the right by his bounty and glory |114 and power and majesty. Verily, he can bring to pass all that he pleases. To him be glory for ever!»



The author of this history, Severus, son of Al-Mukaffa, the compiler, says thus :

When I, —- the wretched and sinful one, drowning in the seas of my transgressions, I, the penitent, who waste my days in sin, and grieve over my negligence and the loss of the months and years of my life in hopes and procrastinations, ruinous to my faith and my condition, —- learnt and ascertained the graces which the Lord Christ, the Saviour, has granted, to whose name worship is due, to all the baptized whom he bought with his precious blood; and how he gave his authority, and bestowed the Holy Ghost upon his disciples and followers, the chosen Twelve and Seventy, and upon those that came after them, such as Paul, the teacher of the Church, whom God specially called because he knew the strength of his faith and his zeal, and such as those whom he elected to the episcopal throne of his martyr and disciple and evangelist, whom he sent as apostle to his people, and as the first of the patriarchs of Egypt, and of Pentapolis, which is Barca and |115 Fezzan and Al-Kairuwan and Tripoli of the West and Africa, and of Ethiopia and Nubia, —- all of which countries fell under his preaching by the command of the Holy Ghost, —- whose martyrdom took place in the city of Alexandria, after he had preached the name of the Lord Christ, according to the evidence of his biography, of whose doctrines which save souls from hell our fathers, the patriarchs, became heirs, sitting upon his episcopal throne one after another, each one in succession to his predecessor, all being the successors of Saint Mark, handing down his authority one to another, and the shepherds of his flock, and imitators of his faith in Christ, —- of Saint Mark, the pure evangelist who saw Christ’s face, —- from whose successors, the patriarchs who came after him, descends to us the knowledge of their history and their names and the changing fortunes of each of them in his time and age, and the troubles and sorrows and struggles which fell to the lot of each of them for the name of his Lord and his Christ, and the preservation of his flock year after year and age after age, —-then, since I am one of those who are not fit to write down with their wretched, perishing hands any of the histories of these patriarchs, I requested the help of those Christian brethren with whose fitness I was acquainted, and begged them to assist me in translating the histories that we found written in the Coptic and Greek languages into the Arabic tongue, current among the people of the present day in the region of Egypt, most of whom are ignorant of the Coptic and the Greek, so that they might be satisfied with such translations when they read them. |116

And I implored him who gives speech to the stammerer, and opens the mouths of the dull, and calls those weighed down by burdens, as I am, in accordance with the words of the gospel, spoken by his own holy mouth, which say : «Come 7 to me, ye that are weary and carry burdens, that I may give you rest; and learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart, that ye may receive rest for your souls; and bear my yoke upon you, for my yoke is light and my burden is good. » —- 1 implored him to pardon my slips, and to forgive the progress which I make in indulgence towards my blameworthy deeds and faults and frequent sins. And I copied that which I knew not from the men of old, in agreement with the canons of the Church, according to that which is now about to be related, besides what tradition and history teach. And I added to the rest what I knew of the histories of the fathers and patriarchs whom I had myself beheld. And I asked God —- whose power is glorious —- to pardon me the superfluous eloquence and beautified language that the histories contain, and all that I can claim as the work of my sinful self in relating the accounts of those whose meanest disciple I am unworthy to be, and my description of the virtues of holy monks inspired by the grace of the Holy Ghost, partly from what I have myself beheld and partly from translations of histories.

Now I will make frequent prostrations on behalf of those who shall read what I have written, that they may pray for pardon for me for that which I have attempted and undertaken, and may beg for forgiveness and indulgence and absolution for me, through the intercession of the elect Lady of the first |117 and the last, the Throne of the Lord of the worlds; and through the intercession of the angels who stand beside him, and of the spiritual orders, and of the truth-announcing and inspired prophets, and of the pure and elect apostles, and of the militant martyrs, and of the holy and righteous fathers, and of the virtuous elders, and of all among the posterity of Adam with whose works God is well pleased. Amen.

O God, I pray thee to open the eyes of my heart and my sight, that I may understand thy words, and ray hearing, that I may hear and do that which is right. In thy mercy be not angry with me for that which I have written, but pardon and forgive the faults therein caused by my negligence. And shew thy favour to him who here speaks, relying upon God’s pardon.


In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, the One God.

Great is the Lord and exceedingly to be praised, and great are his works, and inscrutable are his mysteries and his wisdom; nor can any man comprehend any of God’s dealings, which are too high for the understanding of those that understand, or of the learned in the law. For these when they are questioned, humble themselves and say : O God, who hast created us and |118 favoured us, and given us commands and prohibitions, and by punishments made us fear to do what thou hast forbidden, and hast guided us towards the salvation of our souls and the good way; we have slipped in our thoughts, and have rebelled in our free-will. Therefore we implore thee, O long-suffering and beneficent and mighty and gracious One, who pardonest all that come to thee with honest purpose, to be gracious to us, and to be our starting-point and our assistance and our final perfection in the road by which we advance to thee; and to open the darkened eyes of our hearts and our clouded thoughts, so that we may observe and do what we read in thy holy books, and in the histories of those whom thou didst love, and didst choose from among thy followers, and didst elect, namely those militant ones, who overcame their desires, who abandoned the world on account of their love for thee, and their obedience to thy commandments and precepts; and to grant us a good end, so that our departure from this world may be the departure of thy chosen ones, who are saved from sins and iniquities, from which no man is free, and that we may be delivered from the terrible and dreaded place, if thou wilt have mercy upon us, and wilt liberate us from the power of the Devil, and from the service of sin; and to grant to us spiritual wisdom, with which we may trample down worldly desires by striving to keep thy commandments; and to let us go forth from this perishing world with provisions for the eternal life; and to give us words of welcome before thy dreaded and terrible tribunal. And among thy benefits to us, guide the course of our life in this world, that it may be passed in doing |119 what pleases thee and in obeying thee, and following thy guiding and life-giving Law; and lead us to thy directing Life, that our minds may be directed to thy kingdom, and that our actions may be ruled by the doctrines of thy holy gospel. Thou sayest, O Lord : «Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you 8». So I ask of thee, confiding in thy words, without an action that I have done that can please thee, and having no good deeds which I have offered to thee; but for the sake of thy name by which we are called, as the blessed David says in a Psalm 9 : «Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to thy name give the glory because of thy mercy and thy truth, that the gentiles may not say : Where is their God ? And our God is in heaven and on earth; all that pleases him he has done».O God deliver us and save us, and be to us in this world of ours a Protector and Saviour in all our affairs, whether small or great, whether glorious or mean. And be merciful, O compassionate one, and vouchsafe, O merciful one, to lead us to that which pleases thee, and remove us far from what offends thee. For thou sayest, O Lord : «Return to me, and I will forgive you, even if your sins are as numerous as the sands of the sea, and the stars of heaven». Therefore fulfil thy promise to us sinners, and do not ask of us repentance or works, but by thy mercy and pity and goodness, grant help to the prayer of thy sinful servant, although he neglects thy commandments, namely to him who writes these glorious histories, and hereby begins by saying : |120

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, the One God.

Let us begin, with the help of God and with his blessed assistance, to write the histories of the holy Church. The author says : That which I, the sinner, have written, I collected from the monastery of Saint Macarius, and the monasteries of Upper Egypt; and the religious deacon, Michael, son of Apater, was commissioned to make translations of some of the documents from the Coptic language into Arabic, as will be mentioned in its place. This was in addition to that which was found in the great city, and the abridgments of certain histories which were found, the first of them relating to Christ, my Help and my Hope and my Defender and my Salvation. For the first of these documents is that which was translated in the monastery of our Lady at Nahya, concerning the matter of the priesthood of Christ the Lord, whose name is glorious, and of his entrance into the temple. In the peace of God. Amen. Amen. Amen.


In the time of Julian 11, the unbelieving Prince, there was a man who was a Jew, and a priest of the Jews, and his name was Theodosius, and he was high in rank. There was also a Christian, a silversmith 12, who knew him; and there was a strong affection between the two; and the name of the Christian was Philip. And on a certain day Philip went to one of the cities of Syria |121 and moored his ship in the harbour, that he might sell certain goods which he had brought. There Philip met his friend, the Jewish priest Theodosius, and, entering into affectionate conversation with him, said to him : «O my brother, I would that thou wouldst become a Christian, so that our friendship might be a genuine one, and that thou mightest make profit out of this world and the next also». Then Theodosius answered, saying to him with great affection : or I have taken care for my salvation; and I have thought of something that I wish to reveal to thee; for I will not leave thee without the knowledge of the most high God, who bears witness to that which I tell thee. Therefore do not doubt it, for I tell it thee because thou hast shown me thy love for me. But I prefer that thou shouldst keep what I say in thy heart and not repeat it to anyone, and it is this : That he who was announced by the Holy Ghost and the Prophets is the Messiah whom you Christians worship, confessing that he indeed has come; and this I believe with an honest and pure heart, without any doubt at all. For thou art a brother and a friend, and therefore 1 disclose this secret to thee and certify it in thy presence, because thy love and desire of happiness and good things for me are so evident to me. Therefore believe me now, my brother. But my carnal thoughts hinder me from being baptized; for I am not humble, nor am I fit, for I am weak; and I am a priest to this people, and have acquired great renown and honour and high rank, and have gained by them treasure and wealth, and if I left them, I should lose all that. And not only my own people would abandon me, but the Christians also, according to what I have witnessed with regard to the Jews when they are baptized, as to the position that they hold; and I have heard also that you say : «When a Jew is baptized, it is as if one baptized an |122 ass». So how can I now be baptized? Moreover I see Christians sinning and angering God and neglecting the law, instead of walking in the straight path of discipline and in the truth which has come to them. And I have witnessed others who have seen them living thus, and whose hearts and faith have grown weak, so that they have imitated those careless Christians. When we enquire into the salvation which came to you from us, we recognise the Messiah indeed; and the apostles, who became your teachers, are also of our race; but you neglect the good tidings that they brought to you, and the doctrine that they taught you. And as the other nations have not been baptized and have not believed to this day, so also I have not been baptized, because of the glory of the world and the honours which 1 receive from my people, and because I see you neglecting the commands and admonitions which Christ gave you, and the exhortations of his disciples to you. Thus I refused to lose my glory and honour, and to become neglectful like you of that which has been given to you; and this is what hinders me from baptism. For the greater part of our Jewish community believe in the truth of the Messiah and in his miracles more firmly than you do; yet are they far from the salvation which came to you. And now I congratulate thee on the glorious mysteries which we have possessed from the beginning. And I declare this to thee, that we know and believe in Christ’s miracles and works more firmly than you Christians do, and we know truly that he is the Messiah who is come. |123

Hear then from me this mystery which took place in ancient times, and while the temple was still standing at Jerusalem. The Jews had a custom of establishing twenty-two priests in the temple by an obligatory law; and there was in the temple a book in which was written the genealogy of every man who became a priest, and the names of his father and mother, that it might be known that he followed the command of the most high God. And the Jews retained this custom.

Now at that time, when Jesus Christ was in Judaea, this book having existed before his appearance, one of the twenty-two priests died, and the rest assembled by themselves to choose whom they should promote instead of him. But their opinions did not agree as to whom they should appoint, and they persisted in opposing one another; and as often as a man was named he was rejected. Then they cast lots with a view of electing him upon whom their lot should fall, and, after electing him, to appoint him to the office, if there were no fault or infirmity in him, and no defect in his family, or other cause; for if they found one who had the correct genealogy but was not learned, they rejected him and would not promote him; and this was a dispensation from the most’ high God, because of their strife, so that none might be promoted except the Lord of the priesthood, who was worthy of this place, namely, Jesus Christ. And behold, after this, the Holy Ghost moved in one of the priests, and he became zealous for God and stood up in the midst of them, and said : «We have to day been assembled for ten days, and yet we cannot appoint any one. And I know certainly that our discussion is thus |124 prolonged because of him whom the most high God will appoint, and this is the reason of the disputing among us and the overthrow of our intentions. And this will be made manifest by the will of the most high God». Then they said to him : «If thou knowest anyone, mention him to us openly, and we will acknowledge it as a great favour on thy part». So he said to them : «Not till you make an agreement with me that you will not reject what I say to you, but will accept it from me; and then I will tell you who is fit for the place; but I know that you cannot reject him». So when all the priests heard this, they swore an oath by Truth and Sincerity 13 that, if one who was worthy was shown to them, they would accept and appoint him. When he was assured of them, he said to them : «O my brethren, the most high God has put it into my mind that he who is worthy of this place is Jesus, who is called the son of Joseph; for he is a man perfect in his pedigree and in his person and in his conduct, and is capable of speaking and acting before God and men. And know that you will find none like him among this people who has no deceit nor physical defect». So when the priests heard his words, and understood his discourse, they were confounded and perplexed because of the oath; and therefore they said to him with guile, thinking they could reject his proposal : «He whom thou namest is worthy, for we are seeking a good man; but he is not of the lineage of the priests, and the people speak calumniously of his birth, |125 because of the infants whom Herod slew with the sword on his account». Then he answered and said to them without anger : «Cleave fast to the truth; for indeed I will guide you to the right course with regard to him, so that you may not turn away from the most high God; for then we should go far from the truth, and should believe lies, since I know that if we enquire into the truth God will reveal it to us». Then they said : «Satisfy our minds, as thou knowest how, with regard to his birth and family, and we will consent to what thou sayest to us». So he said to them: «Enquire and you will learn that in the days of Aaron the priest there was an alliance by marriage between Aaron and the tribe of Juda, to which the prophet David bore witness. Now I have enquired much about Jesus, his tribe and genealogy, and 1 find that his mother Mary is connected with both tribes. And, she is also innocent of sin, through another great mystery. For this reason I desire that you make enquiries, that you may know with certainty that what I say is true, and may recognize that I speak honestly to you». But the priests thought that by this notion of theirs they would bring his counsel to nought. And they began to enquire about the family of Jesus, and found that Mary united the two tribes, and therefore they could not evade this point on account of the oath. So they began to dispute about the pedigree of Jesus. For they said : «There is a different opinion on this point. We wish to know how his birth was not adulterous, since they accused his mother Mary, when she was given to Joseph». And they all agreed on this subject. And they sent for his mother Mary to the Temple, and exhorted her gently to declare to them the matter of her conception of |126 Jesus, and whence he was. And the Law was in their hands, bearing witness against them with her, that they should not think evil of her if she spoke the truth; and they swore to her accordingly. And they said to her : «O woman, behold, thou seest us all assembled for good, not for evil, but for the business of God most high which we are settling. For we have come to one conclusion with regard to thy son, whom we find to be acceptable to God and men. And he is wonderful among men, and they all glorify God most high on account of him, for he at this time is among them like Solomon son of David, who was given to him by the wife of Uriah the Hittite; and therefore we have chosen him and selected him by lot, to establish him as priest on account of his virtues. But with regard to one report we are still in doubt; for we wish to know from thee whence he is, and by whom thou didst conceive and bring him forth; in order that the truth may be known from thee, so that no evil word be spoken of thee nor of the priesthood. For this reason we sent for thee, that we may know the truth, and may not remain in doubt; then thou wilt put an end to the dispute about the matter before us. And here is the Law before us, and we declare before God most high, the Invisible One, that no harm nor blame shall come to thee from us; but we shall thank thee greatly because thou hast not hidden the truth from us». But Mary thought that if she revealed to them the hidden mystery of her miraculous maternity they would not believe it on account of the difficulty which the matter would present to them; and that their minds would not admit the idea that a virgin could become a mother, and that there could be a son |127 without a father. So she said to them : «If I told you what I know, would you accept it? Nay if I revealed to you the mystery concerning my conception and wonderful maternity, you would not believe my words. Therefore the best thing for me is to be silent». But the priests, moved by their evil thoughts, said to her : «O Mary, in truth we desire to hear from thee whose son Jesus is. For his father Joseph is dead, and our hearts doubt with regard to him whether he was his father; and therefore we ask of thee the true account of the matter, for by giving it thou wilt stop the whole dispute about thy maternity. We beg thee to reveal to us this mystery truthfully and clearly; and do not fear anyone, for the right course is not concealed from us; but if thou hidest the matter, the Law decrees against thee a curse for ever». This they said to her, and the like. So Mary was troubled, saying : «I am perplexed in every way on account of the incomprehensible One, whom I bore; and behold the day is come for me to declare him. And I understand now the secret of my maternity, which you urge me to reveal. But when you hear it, you will not believe it, and you will not accept what I shall tell you. Even Joseph who, as you say, is dead, doubted of my conception, as you do, and asked me, saying : «Who has been with you?» So I swore that no man had ever touched me; yet he did not believe me until the angel of God appeared to him and satisfied his mind. But he is not living to bear witness for me before you to the truth of what I say. For the Law accepts the evidence of two witnesses more readily than the evidence of one. But I affirm before God and this Law that 1 brought forth my son Jesus, although I am a virgin; and I will relate to you how I |128 conceived him». Then they said to her : «Verily the thing is manifest; and we acknowledge before God and his holy Law that thou didst in truth bring forth this son; and this is a thing not to be concealed, for a woman who conceives and suffers the pangs of childbirth is she that rejoices more than others when she brings forth. Now thou hast confessed truthfully that thou didst bring him forth; and thus we, who for a long time have conversed with no one, are now sitting conversing with a woman. But we told thee that we would not reprimand thee, if thou wouldst tell us what it is lawful for us to hear and accept from thee». Then Mary began to think in perplexity and fear, bending her face towards the ground and weeping. At last she said : «Now I know that I brought forth Jesus as you say, and this I confess. But as for your suggestion that a man ravished me, indeed the seal of my virginity bears witness to me that I tell you the truth». When they heard this, they were troubled and said : «This is a statement that we will not accept, for it is a tale of wonder. How can we write the name of thy son in the genealogy, without the name of his father and of the tribe to which he belongs, as the current custom is?» When Mary heard the priests say this, she said to them : «I told you from the beginning that I know nothing of what you have said; therefore do what you wish, for I will not tell you what has not happened to me». So when she said this, not one of them |129 contradicted her; but they were moved by divine providence, and sent and summoned trustworthy women from among their midwives, and begged them strenuously and eagerly to clear up the matter with regard to her, whether she was a virgin, as she said, before God and the Law. So the midwives examined her, and said to the priests : «She speaks the truth; she is a virgin inviolate, as she said; and her virginity was not lost when she brought forth Jesus, for as you all know, he was born of her.» Then they inquired among her neighbours and acquaintances, to see whether they might find someone to deny the birth. But they found no one, for everyone confirmed the fact of her bringing forth a son, and the time at which she so wonderfully became a mother, by a mystery which was understood by none. Thus the priests found nothing which they could allege against her, or by which they could prove her false, but only the manifest truth. Then after that they sent for her, moved by necessity, in fear, and said to her : «We have inquired, and have found nothing contrary to thy words, nor to what thou didst relate to us. But it is not right that we should write down what thou sayest. Now therefore we adjure thee by God Almighty to make known to us who is the father of Jesus, by whom thou didst bring him forth, that we may write his name in the register 14and in the genealogy». And Mary was filled with the Holy Ghost, and said : «I will say nothing with guile or falsehood, and God, by whose name you have adjured me, is my witness». And she began to tell them thus : «The Angel Gabriel came to me, and |130 announced the good tidings to me». So she explained to them all that had happened to her. Then they were confounded and marvelled greatly, and prayed God to forgive them the unjust words which they had used against her. And one of them said : «Indeed this is the Messiah, of whom the Prophets prophesied that he would come of the house of David, and from Bethlehem of the tribe of Juda.» Then they called Jesus, and tendered the oath to him as priest, and wrote his name in the genealogy, with the day and the month and the year, describing him as «Jesus, the son of God, and the son of Mary the virgin, whom she bore while still a virgin. He is indeed a priest, and is worthy of the office». And this was a providential dispensation, as Luke the Evangelist, who is said to have been a physician, says in a passage of his Gospel 15, namely, that «When Jesus returned through Galilee in the power of the Spirit, his fame went forth through all the country, and he used to teach in their synagogues, and all glorified him; and he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up, and entered according to his custom into their synagogue on the Sabbath day. And the attendant gave him the book containing the prophecy of Isaias, in which it is written : The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and therefore he has anointed me and sent me to preach good tidings to the poor, and to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty those that are bound, and to announce the acceptable year of the Lord. Then he rolled up the book and gave it to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of those present were fastened upon him. And he began to say to them : To-day has this prophecy been fulfilled in your |131 ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth».

When Philip the Christian heard these words from Theodosius the Jew, he rejoiced greatly. Then the latter said to him : «I know these things and have spoken of them only because I am one of the teachers and readers of the Law; and it is the Law that has confirmed in my heart the belief that he whom Mary brought forth is the Messiah, and that in him and no other is fulfilled the prophecy of Jacob to Juda, his son, and that no other Messiah shall come after him. For it is assured to us that he it is whom the nations were expecting, and he it is that was to come into the world and to deliver those that believe in him. And there shall not be after him any chief or leader or priest in Israel, according to the words of the Prophet David concerning him in the 109th Psalm 16 : «The Lord sware and repents not, Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech». But who among the posterity of Adam is a priest who shall live for ever? For David also says in the 88th Psalm 17 : «Who is the man that shall live and shall not see death?» Therefore it is the Messiah of whom David said that he is the living and eternal priest.»

Then Philip answered and said to him : «It is right that thou shouldst know that thy concealment of this matter makes thee liable to judgment on the Great Day; and I should prefer to reveal what I have heard from thee to our religious prince, that he may send and bring to light the genealogy |132 written in the register, and the Jews’ want of faith, so that they may be openly condemned». But the Jew answered and said to the Christian : «Thou knowest that thou wilt bring a judgment upon thyself for breaking the promise which stands between us. Moreover the thing which thou thinkest that thou wilt succeed in doing, thou wilt not be able to do, but wilt be powerless therein; for when the Jews hear of it, they will stir up a great war, and events will take place by which many men will lose their lives. And if they are urged to show the genealogy, and that which is written therein, they will prefer to burn it in the fire, or all of them will be slain with the sword; but they will not show it. Then thou wilt be to blame, and the genealogy will be lost after all. And the Christians do not need it, because it is the register of the Jewish priests; but you believe in Jesus and know him through the words of the prophets and apostles, and have already assured yourselves of the facts of your religion. But this register will condemn the Jews for ever, so long as it remains with them. Why then dost thou desire to take it away from among them? Believe me, my friend, that every book which I have read of the Law and of the Prophecies of the Prophets with regard to the Messiah is literally in agreement with the genealogy in my eyes, and by it I confirm my faith in the Messiah whom you worship; and this is manifest to all the doctors of the Law. And I know that if thou shouldst mention it, thou wouldst cause its destruction».

Then I, Philip, in spite of many entreaties, at last yielded to his injunctions not to reveal this matter to the prince; for he made me afraid, and so I |133 restrained myself. For he assured me in the name of God, that this evidence proves that Jesus is the Messiah sufficiently to condemn the Jews, and to confirm us and our faith. I, Philip, wrote this report, and laid it before the assembly of the church, and before certain holy bishops and chosen monks. And when they learnt these things they were astonished at them,, and were assured of the truth of the Jew’s words and the testimony of his people to the Lord Christ in the matter of the priesthood, as it was written in the register. Then the bishops and the monks wrote treatises about the priesthood of Christ; for they found that Eusebius Pamphili mentions this matter in several passages in the histories of the Church 18. For Josephus brings the subject to light in the books of the Captivity 19. And this Josephus says that Jesus was seen to enter the temple with the priests at the time of the sanctification. Then is mentioned also the testimony of Luke the evangelist concerning the incident that we have already quoted, and concerning the fact that the Lord Christ also made a scourge of cords, and drove the traffickers out of the temple. This fact and all these testimonies prove that the Jew’s words are true, and that on account of his sincere friendship with Philip he reveal ed this secret matter to him, and bore witness of it to him. And when the Jew Theodosius had finished this true discourse to his friend Philip, he was baptized and became a Christian, and was sealed with the seal of baptism, and received the Holy Mysteries. And everyone was astonished |134 at the soundness of his faith in the Lord Christ, whose power is glorious. And I, Philip, had great joy with Theodosius the neophyte. And when many of the Jews saw this, knowing that he was one of the teachers of the Law among them, and that he was a ruler over them, and had acquired great honours among them, and had then abandoned all that, and become a Christian, many of them believed and were baptized. Therefore I, Philip, glorified God most high, because I had gained the soul of my friend, who was a Jew, but is now a Christian. And glory be to the Lord Jesus Christ with the Father and the Holy Ghost, now and at all times and for ever and ever. Amen. Amen. Amen. |135




In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, the One God.

The first biography of the history of the holy Church. The history of Saint Mark, the Disciple and Evangelist, Archbishop of the great city of Alexandria, and first of its Bishops 20.

In the time of the dispensation of the merciful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when he appointed for himself disciples to follow him, there were two brothers living in a city of Pentapolis in the West, called Cyrene. The name of the elder of them was Aristobulus, and the name of the other was Barnabas; and they were cultivators of the soil, and sowed and reaped; for they had great possessions. And they understood the Law of Moses excellently well, and knew by heart many of the books of the Old Testament. But great troubles came upon them from the two tribes of the Berbers and |136 Ethiopians, when they were robbed of all their wealth, in the time of Augustus Caesar, prince of the Romans. So on account of the loss of their property, and the trials which had befallen them, they fled from that province, in their anxiety to save their lives, and travelled to the land of the Jews. Now Aristobulus had a son named John. And after they had taken up their abode in the province of Palestine, near the city of Jerusalem, the child John grew and increased in stature by the grace of the Holy Ghost. And these two brothers had a cousin, the wife of Simon Peter, who became the chief of the disciples of the Lord Christ; and the said John whom they had surnamed Mark, used to visit Peter, and learn the Christian doctrines from him out of the holy Scriptures. And on a certain day, Aristobulus took his son Mark to the Jordan, and while they were walking there a lion and a lioness met them. And when Aristobulus saw them approaching him, and perceived the violence of their rage, he said to his son Mark : «My son, seest thou the fury of this lion which is coming to destroy us? Escape now, and save thyself, my son, and leave them to devour me, according to the will of God Almighty.» But the disciple of Christ, the holy Mark, answered and said to his father : «Fear not, my father, Christ in whom I believe will deliver us from all danger». And when the lions approached them, Mark, the disciple of the Lord Christ, shouted against them with a loud voice, and said : «The Lord Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, commands that you be rent asunder, and that your kind be cut off from these mountains, and that |137 there be no more offspring to you here for ever». Then the lion and the lioness burst asunder in the midst at that moment, and perished straightway; and their young were destroyed. And when Aristobulus, the father of Mark, saw this great miracle which was manifested by his son, through the power of the invincible Lord Jesus Christ, he said to his son : «I am thy father who begat thee, Mark, my son; but to day thou art my father, and my saviour and deliverer. And now, my dear son, I and my brother pray thee to make us servants of the Lord Jesus Christ whom thou preachest». Then the father of holy Mark and his uncle began to learn the doctrines of Christ from that day. And Mary, the mother of Mark, was the sister of Barnabas, the disciple of the apostles.

After this, the following event took place. There was in those regions, in a town called Azotus, a very large olive-tree, the size of which was greatly admired. And the people of that city were worshippers of the moon, and prayed to that olive-tree. So when the holy Mark saw them pray, he said to them : «As for this olive-tree, which you worship as God, after eating its fruit and burning its branches for fuel, what can it do? Behold, by the word of God whom I worship, I will command this tree to fall to the ground, without being touched by any tool». Then they said to him : «We know that thou workest the magic of the Galilean thy master, and whatever thou wilt thou doest. But we will call upon our god the moon, who raised up for |138 us this olive tree that we might pray to it». The holy Mark answered and said to them : «I will cast it down to the ground; and if your god shall raise it up, then I will serve him together with you». And they were satisfied with these words. And they removed all men from the tree, saying : «See that there be no man concealed in it». Then the holy Mark raised his face to heaven, and turned himself towards the East, and opened his mouth and prayed, saying : «O my Lord Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, hear thy servant, and command the moon, which is a second attendant on this world, and gives light by night, to let its voice be heard by thy decree and by thy authority, before these men who have no God, and to make known to them who created it, and who created all creation, and who is God, that they may serve him; although I know, O my Lord and God, that it has no voice nor power of speech, and that it is not customary for it to speak to anyone; so that its words may be heard at this hour through thy irresistible power, that these men who have no God may know that the moon is not a god, but a servant under thy authority, and that thou art its God. And command this tree, to which they pray, to fall to the ground, so that all may recognise thy dominion, and that there is no God but thou, with the good Father and the Holy Ghost, the giver of eternal life. Amen». And at that hour, as soon as he had finished his prayer, a great darkness occurred, at midday, and the moon appeared to them shining in the sky. And they heard a voice |139 from the moon, saying : «O men of little faith, I am not God, that you should worship me, but I am the servant of God and one of his creatures, and I am the minister of Christ my Lord, whom this Mark, his disciple, preaches; and it is he alone that we serve and to whom we minister». At the same moment the olive-tree fell. And great fear came upon all who witnessed this miracle. But as for the people who served and worshipped the tree, they were angry, and rent their garments, and seized the holy Mark and beat him, and gave him up to the unbelieving Jews, who cast him into prison. That night the holy Mark saw in his sleep the Lord Christ, saying to Peter : «I will bring forth all those that are in prison». So when he awoke from his sleep, he saw the doors of his prison open; and he and all those with him in the prison went forth; for the gaolers of the prison were asleep like dead men. But the multitudes who witnessed what took palace said : «There is no end to our work with these Galileans, for they do these deeds by Beelzebub, the chief of the devils».

And Mark was one of the Seventy Disciples. And he was among the servants who poured out the water which our Lord turned into wine, at the marriage of Cana in Galilee. And it was he who carried the jar of water into the house of Simon the Cyrenian, at the time of the sacramental Supper. And he also it was who entertained the disciples in his house, at the time of the Passion of the Lord Christ, and after his Resurrection from the |140 dead, where he entered to them while the doors were shut. And after his Ascension into heaven, Mark went with Peter to Jerusalem, and they preached the word of God to the multitudes. And the Holy Ghost appeared to Peter, and commanded him to go to the cities and villages which were in that country. So Peter, and Mark with him, went to the district of Bethany, and preached the word of God; and Peter remained there some days. And he saw in a dream the angel of God, who said to him : «In two places there is a great dearth». So Peter said to the angel : «Which places meanest thou?» He said to him : «The city of Alexandria with the land of Egypt, and the land of Rome. It is not a dearth of bread and water, but a dearth arising from ignorance of the word of God, which thou preachest». So when Peter awoke from his sleep, he told Mark what he had witnessed in his dream. And after that Peter and Mark went to the region of Rome, and preached there the word of God.

And in the fifteenth year after the Ascension of Christ, the holy Peter sent Saint Mark, the father and evangelist, to the city of Alexandria 21, to announce the good tidings there, and to preach the word of God and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is due glory and honour and worship, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the one God for ever. Amen. |141


Martyrdom of the holy Mark, and his preaching in the city of Alexandria 22.

In the time of the dispensation of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, after his Ascension into heaven, all the countries were allotted among the apostles, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that they might preach in them the words of the good tidings of the Lord Jesus Christ. And after a time it fell to the lot of Mark the evangelist to go to the province of Egypt, and the great city of Alexandria, by the command of the Holy Ghost, that he might cause the people to hear the words of the gospel of the Lord Christ, and confirm them therein; for they were in error, and sunk in the service of idols, and in the worship of the creature instead of the Creator. And they had many temples to their contemptible gods, whom they ministered to in every place, and served with every iniquity and magical art, and to whom they offered sacrifices among themselves. For he was the first who preached in the province of Egypt, and Africa, and Pentapolis, and all those regions. So when the holy Mark returned from Rome, he betook himself first to Pentapolis and preached in all its districts the word of God, and shewed many miracles; for he healed the sick, and cleansed the lepers, and cast out devils by the grace of God which descended upon him. And many believed |142 in the Lord Christ through him, and broke their Idols which they used to worship, and all the trees which the devils used to haunt, and from which they addressed the people. And he baptized them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, the One God. And so the Holy Ghost appeared to him, and said to him : «Rise and go to the city of Alexandria, to sow there the good seed which is the word of God». So the disciple of Christ arose and set out, being strengthened by the Holy Ghost, like a combatant in war; and he saluted the brethren, and took leave of them, and said to them : «The Lord Jesus Christ will make my road easy, that I may go to Alexandria and preach his holy gospel there». Then he prayed and said : «O Lord strengthen the brethren who have known thy holy name that I may return to them rejoicing in them». Then the brethren bade him farewell.

So Mark journeyed to the city of Alexandria; and when he entered in at the gate, the strap of his shoe broke. And when he saw this, he thought: «Now I know that the Lord has made my way easy». Then he turned, and saw a cobbler there, and went to him and gave him the shoe that he might mend it. And when the cobbler received it, and took the awl to work upon it, the awl pierced his hand. So he said : «Heis ho Theos»; the interpretation of which is, «God is One». And. when the holy Mark heard him mention the name of God, he rejoiced greatly, and turned his face to the East and  |143 said : «O my Lord Jesus, it is thou that makest my road easy in every place». Then he spat on the ground and took from it clay, and put it on the place where the awl had pierced the cobbler’s hand, saying : «In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, the One living and eternal God, may the hand of this man be healed at this moment, that thy holy name may be glorified». Then his hand at once became whole. The holy Mark said to him : «If thou knowest that God is one, why dost thou serve these many gods?» The cobbler answered him : «We mention God with our mouths, but that is all; for we know not who he is». And the cobbler remained astonished at the power of God which descended upon the holy Mark, and said to him : «I pray thee, O man of God, to come to the dwelling of thy servant, to rest and eat bread, for I find that to-day thou hast conferred a benefit upon me». Then the holy Mark replied with joy : «May the Lord give thee the bread of life in heaven!» And he went with him to his house. And when he entered his dwelling, he said : «May the blessing of God be in this house!» and he uttered a prayer. After they had eaten, the cobbler said to him : «O my father, I beg thee to make known to me who thou art that hast worked this great miracle». Then the saint answered him : «I serve Jesus Christ, the Son of the ever living God». The cobbler exclaimed : «I would that I could see him». The holy Mark said to him : «I will cause thee to behold him». Then he began to teach him the gospel |144 of good tidings, and the doctrine of the glory and power and dominion which belong to God from the beginning, and exhorted him with many exhortations and instructions, of which his history bears witness, and ended by saying to him : «The Lord Christ in the last times became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and came into the world, and saved us from our sins». And he explained to him what the prophets prophesied of him, passage by passage. Then the cobbler said to him : «I have never heard at all of these books which thou speakest of; but the books of the Greek philosophers are what men teach their children here, and so do the Egyptians». So the holy Mark said to him : «The wisdom of the philosophers of this world is vanity before God». Then when the cobbler had heard wisdom and the words of the Scriptures from the holy Mark, together with the great miracle which he had seen him work upon his hand, his heart inclined towards him, and he believed in the Lord, and was baptized, he and all the people of his house, and all his neighbours. And his name was Annianus.

And when those that believed in the Lord were multiplied, and the people of the city heard that a man who was a Jew and a Galilean had entered the city, wishing to overthrow the worship of the idols, their gods, and had persuaded many to abstain from serving them, they sought him everywhere; and they appointed men to watch for him. So when the holy Mark knew that they were conspiring together, he ordained Annianus bishop of Alexandria, and also ordained three priests and seven deacons, |145 and appointed these eleven to serve and to comfort the faithful brethren. But he himself departed from among them, and went to Pentapolis, and remained there two years, preaching and appointing bishops and priests and deacons in all their districts.

Then he returned to Alexandria, and found that the brethren had been strengthened in the faith, and had multiplied by the grace of God, and had found means to build a church in a place called the Cattle-pasture 23, near the sea, beside a rock from which stone is hewn. So the holy Mark greatly rejoiced at this; and he fell upon his knees, and blessed God for confirming the servants of the faith, whom he had himself instructed in the doctrines of the Lord Christ, and because they had turned away from the service of idols.

But when those unbelievers learnt that the holy Mark had returned to Alexandria, they were filled with fury on account of the works which the believers in Christ wrought, such as healing the sick, and driving out devils, and loosing the tongues of the dumb, and opening the ears of the deaf, and cleansing the lepers; and they sought for the holy Mark with great fury, but found him not; and they gnashed against him with their teeth in their temples and places of their idols, in wrath, saying : «Do you not see the wickedness of this sorcerer?»

And on the first day of the week, the day of the Easter festival of the Lord Christ, which fell that year on the 29th of Barmudah, when the |146 festival of the idolatrous unbelievers also took place, they sought him with zeal, and found him in the sanctuary. So they rushed forward and seized him, and fastened a rope round his throat, and dragged him along the ground, saying : «Drag 24 the serpent through the cattle-yard!» But the saint, while they dragged him, kept praising God and saying : «Thanks be to thee, O Lord, because thou hast made me worthy to suffer for thy holy name». And his flesh was lacerated, and clove to the stones of the streets; and his blood ran over the ground. So when evening came, they took him to the prison, that they might take counsel how they should put him to death. And at midnight, the doors of the prison being shut, and the gaolers asleep at the doors, behold there was a great earthquake and a mighty tumult. And the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and entered to the saint, and said to him : «O Mark, servant of God, behold thy name is written in the book of life; and thou art numbered among the assembly of the saints, and thy soul shall sing praises with the angels in the heavens; and thy body shall not perish nor cease to exist upon earth». And when he awoke from his sleep, he raised his eyes to heaven, and said : «I thank thee, O my Lord Jesus Christ, and pray thee to receive me to thyself, that I may be happy in thygoodness». And when he had finished these words, he slept again; and the Lord Christ appeared to him in the form in which the disciples knew him, |147 and said to him : «Hail Mark, the evangelist and chosen one!» So the saint said to him : «I thank thee, O my Saviour Jesus Christ, because thou hast made me worthy to suffer for thy holy name». And the Lord and Saviour gave him his salutation, and disappeared from him.

And when he awoke, and morning had come, the multitude assembled, and brought the saint out of the prison, and put a rope again round his neck, and said : «Drag the serpent through the cattle-shed!» And they drew the saint along the ground, while he gave thanks to the Lord Christ, and glorified him, saying : «I render my spirit into thy hands, O my God !» After saying these words, the saint gave up the ghost.

Then the ministers of the unclean idols collected much wood in a place called Angelion 25,that they might burn the body of the saint there. But by the command of God there was a thick mist and a strong wind., so that the earth trembled; and much rain fell, and many of the people died of fear and terror; and they said : «Verily, Serapis, the idol, has come to seek the man who has been killed this day».

Then the faithful brethren assembled, and took the body of the holy Saint Mark from the ashes; and nothing in it had been changed. And they carried it to the church in which they used to celebrate the Liturgy; and they enshrouded it, and prayed over it according to the established rites. And they dug a place for him, and buried his body there; that they might preserve |148 his memory at all times with joy and supplication, and benediction, on account of the grace which the Lord Christ gave them byhis means in the city of Alexandria. And they placed him in the eastern part of the church, on the day on which his martyrdom was accomplished (he being the first of the Galileans to be martyred for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in Alexandria), namely the last day of Barmudah according to the reckoning of the Egyptians, which is equivalent to the 8th day before the kalends of May among the months of the Romans, and the 24th of Nisan among the months of the Hebrews.

And we also, the sons of the orthodox, offer glory and sanctification and praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom is due laud and honour and worship, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the Giver of Life and Consubstantial one, now and for ever. |149



When the evangelist Mark, the apostle of the Lord Christ, died, Annianus was enthroned as patriarch after him. In his time the brethren and believers in Christ increased in numbers, and he ordained some of them priests and deacons. He continued twenty-two years, and went to his rest on the 20th. of Hatur, in the second year of the reign of Domitian, prince of Rome.


Then the orthodox people assembled and consulted together and took a man named Avilius, and elected him patriarch on the episcopal throne of Mark the evangelist, in the room of Annianus. This Avilius was a man of chaste life; and he confirmed the people in the knowledge of Christ. In |150 his time the orthodox people increased in numbers, in Egypt and Pentapolis and the province of Africa. He remained twelve years in the see; and the Church was in peace in his days. He went to his rest on the 1st. of Tut, in the 15th year of the reign of the above-named prince. When the priests, and the bishops, his suffragans in the land, heard that the patriarch was dead, they mourned for him. Then they assembled at Alexandria, and took counsel together with the orthodox laity of that city, and cast lots, that they might know who was worthy to sit upon the throne of Saint Mark, the evangelist and disciple of the Lord Christ, in succession to the Father Avilius; and their choice fell with one consent, by the inspiration of the Lord Christ, our Master, upon an elect man, who feared God, and whose name was Cerdo.


So they took Cerdo, and appointed him to the see of Alexandria. He was chaste, humble and innocent throughout his life. He held his office for eleven years, and went to his rest on the 21st. day of Baunah, in the ninth year of the reign of Trajan the prince. |151


After this there was among the orthodox people of Christ a man named Primus, who was chaste as the angels, and piously performed many good works. So they took counsel with regard to this man, and chose him, and appointed him to the evangelical see, as patriarch. He remained in possession of it twelve years, and there was peace in the Church in his days. He went to his rest on the 3rd. of Misri, in the fifth year of the reign of Hadrian the prince.


After this the people assembled, and their choice fell upon an excellent and wise man among them, whose name was Justus, and they appointed him patriarch. He continued for eleven years, and went to his rest on the 12th. of Baunah, in the sixteenth year of the reign of Hadrian, and was buried with his fathers. |152


And after that they appointed Eumenes patriarch in the see of Alexandria; and he remained for thirteen years, and was acceptable to God and to the Church. He went to his rest on the 10th. of Babah, in the sixth year of Antoninus, the prince.


So when the aforesaid patriarch departed, the people assembled and took a man who loved God, and whose name was Mark, and appointed him patriarch, and set him upon the throne of the evangelist Saint Mark. He occupied it for nine years and some months, living an admirable life, and went to his rest on the 6th of Tubah, in the fifteenth year of Antoninus, the prince.


There was in those days among the people a man who loved God, and whose name was Celadion. So the orthodox laity assembled, together |153 with the bishops who were at Alexandria in those days, and took Celadion, and appointed him patriarch, and placed him upon the evangelical throne. He was beloved by all the people. He remained fourteen years, and died in the reign of Aurelius and Verus, the two sons of the princes, on the 9th. of Abib. He was enshrouded, and buried with his fathers, the patriarchs, whose names have been mentioned above.


Then the people assembled again with one consent, and laid their hands upon a man of the congregation who feared God, and whose name was Agrippinus; and they appointed him patriarch, and set him upon the evangelical throne. He sat for twelve years, and died on the 5th of Amshir, in the nineteenth year of the reign of the princes already named.


There was a man who was a wise priest, and had studied the books of God, and his name was Julian; and he walked in the path of chastity and religion and tranquillity. So a body of bishops of the synod assembled, together with the orthodox laity, in the city of Alexandria, and searched |154 among the whole people, but could find none like this priest. So they laid their hands upon him, and appointed him patriarch. He composed homilies and sermons on the saints; and he continued in the see ten years. After this patriarch, the bishop of Alexandria did not remain always in that city, but issued thence secretly, and ordained priests in every place, as Saint Mark, the evangelist, had done. Julian went to his rest on the 8th. of Barmahat, or on the 12th. of Babah, as some say, in the fifth year of the reign of Severus the prince.



When the patriarch Julian was dying, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream, on the night before his death, and said to him : «The man who shall visit thee to-morrow with a bunch of grapes shall be patriarch after thee.» Accordingly, when it was morning, a peasant came to him, who was married, and could neither read nor write; and his name was Demetrius. This man had gone out to prune his vineyard, and found |155 there a bunch of grapes, although it was not the season of grapes; so he brought it to the patriarch. And the patriarch Julian said to the bystanders : « This man shall be your patriarch: for so the angel of the Lord last night declared to me.» So they took him by force, and bound him with iron fetters. And Julian died on that very day; and Demetrius was consecrated patriarch.

And the grace of God descended upon this man, and he was like Joseph, the son of Jacob; yea, and more excellent than Joseph, for though Demetrius was married, he knew not his wife. And if any should say : «How is it lawful that a patriarch should be married?» we reply that the apostles declare, in their canons, that if a bishop be wedded to one wife, that shall not be forbidden him; for the believing wife is pure, and her bed undefiled, and no sin can be laid to his charge on that account. And the patriarch is but bishop of Alexandria, with a right of primacy over the bishops of the different provinces subject to that city; for he is the successor of Saint Mark, the apostle and evangelist, who had jurisdiction over all Egypt and Pentapolis and Ethiopia and Nubia, through his preaching the gospel in those parts; and therefore the bishop of Alexandria also of necessity has jurisdiction over those countries. But the people were unjust towards this patriarch, Demetrius, saying that he was the twelfth of the patriarchs, counting from Mark, the evangelist, and that all of them were unmarried except Demetrius; and |156 they bewailed his fall. He had a gift from God, which was that when he had finished the liturgy, before he communicated any one of the people, he beheld the Lord Christ, giving the Eucharist by his hand; and when a person came up who was unworthy to receive the Mysteries, the Lord Christ revealed to him that man’s sin, so that he would not communicate him. Then he told that man the reason, so that he confessed his offence. And Demetrius reproved him, and said : «Turn away from thy sin which thou dost commit, and then come again to receive the Holy Mysteries.» When this practice had continued a long time, the faithful of Alexandria left off sinning for fear of the patriarch, lest he should put them to open shame; and each one said to his friend or his kinsman : «Beware lest thou sin, lest the patriarch denounce thee in the presence of the congregation.» But some of the people said : «This is a married man. How then can he reprove us, seeing that he has dishonoured this see? For none has sat therein to this day who was not unwedded.» Again others said : «His marriage does not lessen his merits, for marriage is pure and undefiled before God.» But it was God’s will to make his virtues manifest, that he might be glorified, and might not leave this great secret unknown. As he said in his holy gospel, by his pure mouth : «A city when it is set on a hill cannot be hidden,» so God made the merits of this patriarch manifest, that his people might increase in virtue thereby. Accordingly, on a certain night, an angel of the Lord came to Demetrius, and said to him : «Demetrius, seek not thine own |157 salvation by neglecting thy neighbour; but remember what the gospel says, that the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep». Then Demetrius said to the angel : «O my Lord, teach me what thou commandest me to do. If thou wilt send me to martyrdom, I am ready to let my blood be shed for the name of Christ.» Then the angel said to him : «Listen to me, Demetrius, and I will tell thee. The Lord Christ was incarnate only to save his people; and it is not right that thou shouldst now save thine own soul, and allow this people to be filled with scruples on account of thee.» So Demetrius answered : «What is my sin against the people? Teach me, my Lord, that I may repent of it.» Then the angel said : «This secret which is between thee and thy wife; namely, that thou hast never approached her. Now therefore make this known to the people.» But Demetrius said : «I pray thee that I may die before thee rather than that thou shouldst reveal this secret to any man!» Then the angel answered : «Know that the scripture says : He that is disobedient shall perish. Tomorrow, therefore, after the end. of the liturgy, assemble the priests and the people, and make known to them this secret which is between thee and thy wife.» When the patriarch heard this, he marvelled, and said : «Blessed is the Lord, who does not abandon those that trust in him.» Then the angel departed from him.

So on the morrow, which was the feast of Pentecost, the patriarch celebrated the liturgy, and bade the archdeacon give directions to the clergy and the people that not one of them should leave the church, but that they should |158 gather together round the patriarchal throne. The archdeacon, therefore, proclaimed to the congregation : «The patriarch’s wish is to speak to you all. Let none of you, therefore, depart without hearing what he shall say.» When they had sat down, the patriarch bid the brethren collect much fuel; and they did so, marvelling thereat and saying : «What is this that the patriarch will do ?» Then he said to them : «Rise and let us pray!» So they prayed, and afterwards sat down. And he said to them : «I beg you out of your love for me, to allow my wife to be present before you, that she may receive of your blessing.» Then they marvelled, and thought in their hearts : «What is this that he does?» And they all said : «Whatever thou biddest us do shall be done.» Then the patriarch commanded one of his servants, saying : «Call my wife, the handmaid of the saints, that she may receive their blessing.» So the holy woman entered, and stood in the midst of the congregation. And her husband, the patriarch, arose, where they could all behold him, and stood by the blazing logs, which had already been lighted, and spread out his cloak, and took burning embers from the fire with his hand and put them in his cloak; and all the spectators were astonished at the quantity of burning fuel in his garment, and yet it was not burned. Then he said to his wife : «Spread out thy woollen pallium which thou hast upon thee.» So she spread it out; and the patriarch transferred the embers to it while she stood there; and he put incense on the fire, and commanded her to incense all the congregation; and she did so, and yet her pallium was not burned. Then the patriarch said again : «Let us pray»; while the embers were blazing in his wife’s pallium, which yet was not burned. |159

You have now heard, my friends, this great wonder. This man had made himself an eunuch of his own free will, so that he was more glorious than those that are born eunuchs; and therefore the fire had no effect upon this saint, nor upon his garments, nor upon those of his wife, because he had extinguished the flames of lust. But now let us abridge our discourse upon this subject, and return to the history, glorifying God for ever and ever. So when the clergy had prayed, they said to the patriarch : «We beg of thy Holiness to explain to us this wonderful mystery.» And he replied : «Attend, all of you, to what I say. Know that I have not done this seeking glory from men. My age is now sixty-three years. My wife who stands before you is my cousin. Her parents died and left her when she was a child. My father brought her to me, for he had no other child than me, and she was the only child of my uncle. So I grew up with her in my father’s house, and we dwelt together. When she was fifteen, my parents resolved to many me to her, in order that their possessions might not pass to a stranger, but that we might inherit them. So the wedding was performed, as men do such things for their children; and I went in to her. And when they had left us alone, she said to me : «How could they give me to thee, seeing that I am thy sister?» So I said to her : «Listen to what I say. We must of necessity remain together in this chamber without being separated all our lives, but there must be no further connexion between us, until death shall part us; and, if we remain thus in purity, we shall meet in the heavenly Jerusalem, and enjoy one |160 another’s company in eternal bliss.» And when she heard this, she accepted my proposal; and her body remained inviolate. But my parents knew nothing of our compact. Then the wedding-guests demanded the customary proof of the consummation of the marriage, as you know is done by foolish men; but my mother said to them : «These two are young, and the days before them are many.» Thus we kept our purity; and when my parents as well as her parents were dead, we remained orphans together. It is now forty-eight years since I married my wife, and we sleep on one bed and one mattress and beneath one coverlet; and the Lord, who knows and judges the living and the dead, and understands the secrets of all hearts, knows that I have never learnt that she is a woman, nor has she learnt that I am a man; but we see one another’s face and no more. We sleep together, but the embraces of this world are unknown to us. And when we fall asleep, we see a form with eagle’s wings, which comes flying and alights upon our bed between her and me, and stretches its right wing over me, and its left wing over her, until the morning, when it departs; and we behold it until it goes. Do not think, my brethren and ye people who love God, that I have disclosed this secret to you to gain the glory of this world which passes away, nor that I have told you this of my own will; but it is the command of the Lord, who bade me do it, for he desires the good of all men, and he is Christ our Saviour.» |161

When Demetrius had finished this discourse, the people all fell upon their faces on the earth, saying : «Verily, our father, thou art more excellent than many of the saints; and God has shewn his mercy towards us in making thee head over us.» And they gave thanks to him, and besought him to forgive their evil thoughts of him. Then he gave them his blessing, and prayed for them; and they dispersed to their own homes, praising God. And after this, Demetrius bade his wife depart to her house.

Have you ever heard, you that listen to me, of such wonders? This holy, father dwelt so long with his lovely and virtuous wife, and yet endured the trial. Where now are the men who are married, and yet commit adultery also, while professing to be Christians? Let them come and listen to the Father Demetrius, the patriarch, saying : «I have known the face of my wife and no more», that they may be ashamed and confounded! O that valiant saint, fighting against his bodily desires! O that miracle! How could his heart remain unmoved when he beheld his wife’s beauty, and how could his senses remain unexcited before her loveliness! How wonderful was thy discourse, O thou saint, in thy bridal chamber! The archer whose arrows strike all men, namely Satan, was unable to strike thee. Demetrius said : «I am a man and have a body like all other men, but I will teach you how to answer the suggestions of the Devil. When my heart was troubled by evil thoughts, I remembered the |162 compact I had made with Christ; and if I broke it, I feared that he would reject me in the kingdom of Heaven, before the Father and his holy angels. Moreover, when I saw the beauty and grace of her form, I thought of the corpses lying in their tombs and the foulness of their odour, so to keep myself from strange words, through fear of the fire that is not quenched, and the worm that sleepeth not, in the other world, where none can open his mouth». O my friends, this Father was chosen by God, and in his courage and valour was braver than those that slay lions; as one of the doctors says : «The brave man is not he that kills wild beasts, but he that dies pure from the embraces and snares of women». Blessed is this saint, for his degree is exalted! Like Joseph in the house of the Egyptian woman, when she solicited him on every occasion that she could, so Demetrius fought against his desires every day and night until his battle was finished, and preserved his chastity and his right faith throughout his life.

Demetrius remained patriarch forty-three years. In his time there was a disturbance at Alexandria, and the emperor Severus banished him to a place called the quarter of the Museum; and there he died on the 12th. day of Barmahat, which, I believe, was the day of the manifestation of his virginity.

Now in the reign of the emperor Severus many became martyrs for the love of God. Among them was the father of a man named Origen 37, who |163 learned the sciences of the heathen, and abandoned the books of God, and began to speak blasphemously of them. So when the Father Demetrius heard of this man, and saw that some of the people had gone astray after his lies, he removed him from the church.

In these days also the martyrs Plutarch 38 and Serenus were burnt alive, and Heraclides and Heron were beheaded. Likewise another Serenus, and the woman Heraïs, and Basilides; and Potamiaena, with her mother Marcella, who suffered many torments and severe agonies; also Anatolius, who was the father of the princes, and Eusebius, and Macarius, uncle of Claudius, and Justus, and Theodore the Eastern; all these martyrs were kinsmen. There was also another virgin named Thecla. Now Basilides was a soldier, and he came forward of his own free will; and when they questioned him, he replied : «I am a Christian because I saw three days ago in a dream a woman who appeared to me, and placed upon my head a crown from Jesus Christ». Thus Basilides obtained the crown of martyrdom; and so likewise a great number were martyred; for Potamiaena was seen by them in dreams, and encouraged them to have faith in the Lord Christ, so that they receved the crown of martyrdom.

Now there had come to Alexandria, in the room of Pantaenus, a new governor 39, whose name was Clement; and he remained governor until those |164 days. And this Clement composed out of his own head books, in which he overthrew the received chronology. Then a Jewish scribe, named Judas 40, who had read in the book of the Visions of Daniel, in the tenth year of the reign of Severus, explained the years and dates mystically up to the epoch of Antichrist, on a system of his own, and declared that the time was at hand, on account of the deeds of Severus, the hostile prince.

And when Origen, whom Demetrius had cut off on account of his composing unlawful books of magic, and leaving the books of the holy writers, saw this, he wrote many treatises containing many blasphemies. Among these was his doctrine that the Father created the Son, and the Son created the Holy Ghost; for he denied that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one God, and that the Persons of the Trinity are inferior one to another in nothing, but have the same power and the same might. So, on account of his wicked creed, the Church abandoned him, because he was strange to her, and was not one of her children, for he taught corrupt doctrines. And when he left the Church and was deposed from his office, he departed from Alexandria, and travelled to Palestine, and there intrigued until he obtained priestly rank, and was ordained priest by the bishop of Caesarea in Palestine 41. Then Origen returned to Alexandria, believing that he would there be recognized as a priest, and would do just as he desired; but the holy Father Demetrius would not receive him, saying to him : «According to the |165 apostolic canon, a priest must not be removed from the altar to which he has been ordained. Return, therefore, to the place to which thou hast been ordained priest, and serve there in all humility according to the canon; for I will not break the canons of the Church to gain the approval of men». So Origen remained rejected. This was before the patriarch knew of Origen’s blasphemies and misbelief; and the thing became a scandal to all men, because he had made himself a teacher, although he was unworthy to be even a disciple.

Now Severus, the prince, reigned eighteen years, and then died. And Antoninus, his son, reigned after him. After this time lived many who were strong by the help of Christ, through the dispensation of God. One of these was Alexander, the confessor, and bishop of Jerusalem, who succeeded Narcissus 42. This Narcissus performed many miracles in his life time. For, when the church was in need of oil, Narcissus even bade them fill the lamps with water 43, during the vigil-service of Easter, and prayed; and the water was turned into oil, and the lamps were kindled. Such wonders he did many times, through his faith in the oneness of Christ; and all men bore witness to these miracles; and we have learnt his history from persons worthy of credit. But some men hated him in their, wickedness, and wished to kill him, and invented lies concerning him, swearing that he did evil. And one of |166 these wicked men began to kindle a fire, and was burnt thereby; and another’s bowels gushed out, so that he died; and another fell sick, and his body was consumed; and another became blind; so that men understood that their words 44 against Narcissus were lies, through the proofs that were given of his holiness. Then Narcissus was made bishop; and no evil befell him because he was pious and wise, and confessed the Lord Christ. It came to pass that he fled from the church, and retired into the wilderness, because the people were in disorder, and some of them accused him of intrigue. But the all-seeing eye would not endure this; for God punished those that held an evil and heretical creed and a false faith concerning him; and the first of these men died, with all his household, in a fire from a spark which fell upon them; and another was afflicted with pains from his head to his feet, with a violent fever; and a third tried to flee because of his evil conscience, but God overtook him, and he was struck with sudden blindness, and acknowledged his wicked conduct towards the holy bishop, before all, and was devoured by remorse, and repented, and wept over the loss of his sight. And as for Narcissus, the bishop, he lay hid in the desert, and none knew where he was for many days. But, because the churches over which he was bishop were left without any to govern them, circumstances made it necessary that they should appoint in his stead a man named Dius 45, who, however, occupied the see for a short time only, and then died. So they ordained in his place another, named Germanion 46. |167 After that, the glorious Father Narcissus was found, like one risen from the dead; and they begged him to return to his see; and the people were greatly rejoiced over him. But he had devoted himself to philosophy, and to the cultivation of the graces which God had granted to him; and therefore he would not return to serve his diocese. Now as for Alexander, who has been mentioned above, he was in possession of another see; but he saw in a dream the angel of God, who bade him go to help Narcissus, and serve God 47, for he had already been consecrated bishop in Cappadocia. So he went to Jerusalem at that time to pray, and saw the holy churches which he had desired to behold, and visited all the holy places. Then he was about to return to Cappadocia his native country; but the brethren prevented him; and he was warned in a dream. For they all heard a voice in the church, saying : «Go forth to the gate, and the first man whom you shall meet entering through it make your bishop.» This they did, and there they found Alexander; and they clung to him. But he refused to be their bishop, saying : «I will not consent.» So they appointed him by force, in the presence of an assembly of the bishops, in the city of Jerusalem, and by their command, with one purpose and one consent. And in the letters which Alexander wrote and sent to Antinoe, he spoke of Narcissus, and said that they had one faith in common, and were in agreement in all things in the church of Jerusalem. And in all Alexander’s letters, he said : «Narcissus, who |168 preceded me in this bishopric, salutes you. He is now with me and he encourages me, and fortifies me by his prayers, that I may be strong in this ministry. He has continued to serve God thus for one hundred and sixteen years 48. I pray you to be of one heart and mind.»

Among the holy men of this time was Serapion also, who was patriarch of Antioch; and when he died Asclepiades, the confessor, was appointed, and his degree was exalted. And Alexander wrote to the people of Antioch with regard to Asclepiades, saying thus : «Alexander, the servant of God, and believer in Jesus Christ, addresses the holy church in Antioch, in the Lord, with joy, by the hand of the chaste priest Clement. My brethren, I desire that you promote Asclepiades, who is worthy of that post.» So he was ordained to the see. Serapion also wrote to the people of Antioch a letter 49, in which he said that a Jew, named Marcian, had written books, which he attributed to Peter, the chief of the apostles, and in which the writer spoke lies, «Beware, therefore,» continued Serapion, «of these writings. We receive Peter and the rest of the disciples, as we receive the commands of Christ, because they saw him and heard his words. But these lying books we do not accept, but reject them, because they contain nothing of the doctrine of our fathers.» Now when the priest arrived at Antioch with the letters, he said to them : «Be confirmed in the true faith, and do not turn aside to the spurious writings attributed to Peter, for they are false and delusive, |169 and in them is the beginning of heresy; and for this reason I am come to you in haste, for we have learnt that this Marcian, the Jew, has led multitudes astray by his books, so that they have become heretics.» For this heretic wrote many books, and the history from which we are quoting contains an account of some of them. But because it would make our narrative too long, I think it needless to write down their names.

Now Demetrius, the holy patriarch of Alexandria, displayed much learning and wisdom, although he had formerly been ignorant and unable to read or write; and all his spiritual children were continually admonished by him. But when he found that he was growing old in his researches into the divine doctrines and scriptures, so that he was carried into the church in a litter, although he did not cease from giving instruction from morning to night, while the brethren went and came that they might profit by his teaching, then he named Heraclas as his deputy and successor. Now Heraclas was an elect man, learned in the scriptures of God 50, teaching the doctrines of the Church and the science of the word of God; and he knew the canons of the Church by heart.

So when Origen, whom Demetrius had excommunicated, saw that the Church had rejected him, he went to the Jews, and expounded for them part of the Hebrew books, in a new fashion; and he concealed the prophecies which they contain of the Lord Christ, so that when he came to the mention of the thicket in which the ram of Abraham, the Friend of God, was caught |170 by its horns, which the Fathers interpret as a type of the wood of the Cross, Origen even concealed and abandoned this interpretation. He wrote books full of lies and containing no truth. And there was with Origen another heretic named Symmachus, who was the cause of much dissension. He said that Christ was born of Mary by Joseph 51, and rejected the miracle of the wondrous birth; denying also that Christ, who was born without labour (for so he was born of the Virgin), is very God and Man, and One of Two; thus contradicting the true Gospel according to Matthew, and what he says concerning the Nativity. But the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. This heretic pretended that he was a Christian; and in one place he says that he was a philosopher, and had read the books of the Sabaeans and of the schismatics. Subsequently he contracted a friendship with Origen, and led astray many simple women. At this time there was a holy and excellent man, who possessed divine wisdom, named Ammonius; and he refuted them both, and exposed their false and unrighteous explanations of the Scriptures, and their lies. After this, Origen went to Caesarea in Palestine, where he had been made priest, and brought books back to Alexandria, in great abundance. But the Father Demetrius would not receive him, and banished him, because he knew what his conduct was. So Origen departed and went to a place called Thmuis in Augustamnica, and invented a plausible story for the bishop, whose name was Ammonius; so he placed Origen in one of |171 the churches. But when Demetrius heard of this, he went himself straightway to Thmuis, and banished Origen, and removed the bishop Ammonius who had received him, and in his indignation appointed another bishop in his stead; for having convinced himself that the bishop had received that heretic, although he knew his history and his false doctrine, he appointed in his place a bishop named Phileas, a man who feared God, and was full of faith. But Phileas said : «I will not sit upon the episcopal throne while Ammonius is alive.» So when Ammonius died, the aforesaid bishop, Phileas, sat after him; and he was martyred a long time afterwards 52, and departed to the Lord in peace. And Origen, the excommunicate, went to Caesarea in Palestine, ,and began to perform his priestly duties as if he were bishop there. So the Father Demetrius wrote to Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, saying : «We have never heard of a prodigal and heretic teaching in a place in which there were bishops duly established 53.» And he proceeds to blame the bishop of Caesarea, whose name was Theoctistus, and reprehends Origen who was living in his diocese, and condemns his conduct in this matter, saying : «I never thought that such a thing would be done at Caesarea, with this bishop.» For we have found this Origen saying in certain books that the Son and the Holy Ghost are created. So the bishop of Caesarea read the letter of the Father Demetrius in the church, for the hishop of Jerusalem sent it to him; and also he suspended Origen, and drove |172 him away from the diocese of Caesarea. Then Origen shamelessly returned to Alexandria.

On account of the many changes among the princes and patriarchs of Rome and Antioch; we have thought it unnecessary to give an account of them, with a view to brevity and to the avoidance of prolixity. Philetus became patriarch of Antioch, and in his days a heretic appeared, who wrote strange books. Then Philetus died, and Zebinus was appointed patriarch of Antioch instead of him. And Zebinus commanded that neither the works of that heretic nor those of Origen, who had been banished from Alexandria, should be read; for the writings of the latter had become celebrated 54.

Now these are the words of Origen 55 : «Let him who wishes to read the Scriptures read the books named below. The books of the Old Testament are as follows : The five books of the Law; the book of Josue the son of Nun; the book of the Judges; the book of Ruth the Moabitess; the books of Kings, the Paralipomena, the book of Esdras, the Psalms of the prophet David, the Wisdom of Solomon, the book of Isaias, the book of Jeremias, the book of Ezechiel, the book of Daniel, the book of Job, the book of Esther, the book of Samuel, the book of Machabees 56, the book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. The books of the New Testament are these : the Gospel of Matthew, which he wrote in |173 Hebrew on a roll, when he was at Caesarea, at the house of a man whose descendants preserve it from generation to generation; and it was translated into Greek, and rendered into all languages by the power of the Lord Christ. Then the Gospel of Mark, which he wrote in Greek, while Peter, chief of the apostles, was with him, and which was read in the assembly of the princes. Then the Gospel of Luke, the disciple of Paul, which he wrote in Greek at Antioch. The Gospel of John, the son of Zebedee, whom his disciples, after he had grown old, frequently solicited until he wrote it in Greek at Ephesus. The book of the Acts of the Apostles and Disciples, called Praxeis. The book of the Epistles of Paul the Elect, which contains fourteen epistles. The book of the Revelation of John the Evangelist, or the Apocalypse». There is also the book of the Didascalia, or Teaching of the Apostles, and Canons of the Church, written by the apostles before they dispersed to preach the gospel. These are the books delivered to the Catholic and Apostolic Church. After them come the books of the Fathers and Doctors, which they composed through the instruction of the Holy Ghost, such as the homilies and other writings; for they added nothing to the Scriptures, and took nothing from them. But the books of the heretic Origen are contemned by God, and there is nothing in them written with the Holy Ghost. As he said by Paul the apostle 57 : or We receive no spirit of this world, but the spirit that God has given to us.»

Now the glorious father, Demetrius, remained patriarch forty-three years, and went to his rest, as we have related. |174



This father had been, in the time of the patriarch Demetrius, a teacher in the Church, and gained distinction in the divine sciences 59. At this time Firmilian 60, who was bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, discovered that Origen had associated himself with the Jews at that place, and had lived amongst them for a time. When Alexander had ruled in Rome for thirteen years, Maximinus Caesar reigned after him. And this prince set up a great persecution against the rulers of the Church 61 only, because they were the teachers of those that were baptized; and many died in his days. And when Maximin died, Gordian reigned in Rome. And the patriarch of that city was Pontianus, who sat for six years 62; and when he died, Anteros 63 became patriarch after him, and occupied the see for one month. And they enquired of him whom they should appoint in his stead.

And they found a man in the fields upon whom a wonder had been manifested; for the Holy Ghost descended upon him 64 in the form of a dove. So they took him, and made him patriarch of Rome. And Zebinus died at Antioch, and Babylas was appointed after him. |175

So Heraclas was made patriarch of Alexandria after Demetrius, and was counted worthy to serve in the sanctuary. And Heraclas gave the direction of the studies at Alexandria to Dionysius, and entrusted to him all the affairs of the patriarchate. This man was of a noble family, and was a distinguished teacher; and he grew up in Alexandria. The cause of his being called, and entering into the orthodox faith was as follows. This Dionysius had formerly been a worshipper of idols, according to the religion of the Sabaeans, among whom he was a leader, and a philosopher. While he was sitting one day, behold there passed an aged widow, holding in her hand a book containing some of the epistles of saint Paul, the apostle; and she said to him : «Wilt thou buy this from me?» So he took the book, and studied it; and it filled him with admiration, and pleased him greatly, and took possession of his heart. And when he understood the book, he marvelled greatly thereat, and rejoiced over it exceedingly. So he said to the old woman : «What price dost thou ask for the book?» And she answered : «One carat of gold». So he gave her three carats, and said to her : «Go and search the place in which thou didst find this book, and whatever thou shalt discover bring to me, and I will give thee more than its full price». Then the old woman went away, and brought him three books; and he took them from her, and gave her nine carats. But when he had read the books, he became aware that a part of the contents was still wanting. So he said to the old woman : «If thou wilt find the rest of this book, |176 I will give thee six denarii». Then the old woman, when she saw his faith and courage, and knew that he had received the grace of the Holy Ghost while he was reading the books, replied : «Trouble not thyself. Go to a church, and beg for the book in its entirety from the clergy, and they will give it to thee, that thou mayest read it. I only found these manuscripts among the books of my fathers, who were readers and singers in the church». So Dionysius said : «But will the people of the church entrust this book to me?» And the old woman answered : «Yes. They will hinder no-one from knowledge, if he asks for it. They will give to all who seek, without demanding payment».

Then Dionysius went to Augustine, one of the deacons of the Church, who gave him the complete epistles of Paul. And Dionysius read them, and learnt them by heart through the power of his lively intelligence. Then he went to Demetrius, of whose death we have spoken above, and begged of him the second Birth; and Demetrius received Dionysius, and baptized him, and gave him the grace which he solicited; and Dionysius was attached to the patriarch’s person, and lived in the church. Thus after being a teacher among the idolatrous Sabaeans, he became a teacher in the Church 65, and many disciples came to him; and instead of teaching his former errors and receiving a transitory payment, he was afterwards removed by the Lord into the great see, in reward for his labours; and his house was made into a |177 church which exists to this day, and is named after him. The names of his disciples were Theodore and Gregory and Athenodorus 66. To these he had imparted in former days his strange philosophy; but, when he was baptized and advanced to the priesthood, he converted them to the wisdom of the Church, so that they were filled with the grace of the Holy Ghost. They lived with him for five years, after his ordination; and they also attained to priestly rank. Dionysius had also another disciple, named Africanus 67, who wrote five books with much labour; and when he heard of the wisdom of the patriarch Heraclas, he went to Alexandria to learn of him. And Dionysius used to say to him : «Know that no beast that eats bryony is profited or stimulated by it; and so every man that does not eat spiritual food is perishing. Formerly I was occupied with food that passes away and comes to an end, and neglected the bread of eternal life, until the Lord led me». And he attracted his disciple by these words to the heavenly doctrines, until through his talents he learnt the true harmony of the genealogies in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and found no discrepancies whatever in them.

Now Heraclas occupied the see for thirteen years, and went to his rest on the 8th. of Rihak, and was gathered to his fathers. |178



Of Dionysius, who was appointed patriarch after Heraclas, somewhat has already been recorded. Churches grew more numerous, and the faithful were multiplied in his days. And the churches were filled with the divine doctrines; and all was done openly, and in public. At this time certain men in Arabia 69 taught a heresy, according to which the soul dies with the body, and shall rise again with it on the Day of Resurrection. But the holy Church rejected this heresy, after the assembling of a council to examine into it. Another heresy 70 also arose, which taught corrupt doctrines; but it was extinguished and brought to nought by God’s help in the reign of Philip 71, who ruled the empire during seven years.

After Philip reigned Decius; and there had been between Philip and Decius a great enmity; and therefore the latter inflicted a great persecution upon the Church. The patriarch Fabian was martyred, and Cornelius became patriarch after him. Likewise Alexander, the patriarch of Jerusalem, twice confessed Christ, and showed forth his faith before the misbelievers, |179 and was thrown into prison, and there went to his rest after much suffering. Alexander was endowed by God with a great gift of holiness, patience and courage; and men heard him in the dungeon confessing and glorifying God until he died. After him, a patriarch named Mazabanes sat upon the episcopal throne. The patriarch of Antioch, also, Babylas, confessed Christ, and was imprisoned, and died in the dungeon; and Fabius sat after him. As for the patriarch Dionysius 72,he says : «I will record what I endured, and call God to be my witness. Decius, the prince of Rome, sought diligently for me, but God concealed me from him, and he could not discover my hiding-place. After four days, God bid me remove from that place ; therefore I fled with my disciples and a band of the brethren, and we wandered far. After four days, when the light had waned, and we were approaching Taposiris, the soldiers took us; and this was after four days of concealment. But Timothy, one of my disciples, escaped from our captors; and he returned to the house where we were, after meeting a countryman, who enquired of him what news he had to give him; so he told him what had befallen the patriarch.» And that rustic assembled his companions; and when they had rescued the patriarch Dionysius from the soldiers, they made him ride upon a bare-backed ass, as he relates of himself; but his disciples walked on foot. |180

Dionysius also sent a letter 73 to Fabius 74, patriarch of Antioch, and narrated to him the history of the martyrs, who suffered under Decius at Alexandria. He related that an old man named Metras was seized; and his captors said to him : «Wilt thou worship the idols?» But he refused; and so they inflicted upon him a painful beating, and wounded his face with styli 75. Then they led him out of the city, and stoned him until he died. Likewise a certain believing woman 76 was led in to offer worship to the idols; but she refused; and they beat her, and stripped her, and bound her feet together and dragged her over the stones so that her flesh was mangled, and her blood ran over the ground in the streets, while she was scourged all the time, until they had drawn her out of the city; and they killed her, and threw her body aside there. Then they returned to the houses of the faithful, and plundered them and wrecked them, and carried off all the gold and silver and furniture that they found in them. At this time Paul 77 of Alexandria was martyred, and received his crown with joy. And none could openly profess the knowledge of God. In those days also a faithful virgin, named Apollonia, received the crown of martyrdom. All her limbs were broken, and she was burnt in the fire while still alive, outside the city, because she would not |181 obey them by giving up her faith, and would not deny the Lord Christ. And she looked at the flame of the fire while they burnt her; and it did not terrify her, but she endured it patiently, and gave up her spirit.

And another man was taken, named Serapion, and was severely tortured, and thrown from the third story, so that his bones were broken; thus ho suffered martyrdom. And the faithful had neither a place of refuge nor a place of rest to go to, neither by day nor by night; and in this condition they remained for a long time; and this was the work of Decius the prince. And many were martyred whose names were not recorded. And the blessed Julian also was taken; and he was corpulent and stout in body, and was unable to walk, and therefore he had two men with him; so they led them all to the palace; and one of the two men apostatized, but the other confessed the faith together with the aged Julian; so they dragged 78 those two through the city, and burnt them in the fire. And there were many troops prepared for the punishment of the Christians; and they seized another man 79, who cried aloud, saying : «O Lord take me quickly to thyself!» Then his head was cut off, and he was burnt in the fire. And two others also were martyred with him; besides another man named Alexander, and a number with him, whom they drove to the prison, and afterwards brought forth thence; and they were put to death. And there was a woman 80 who left her children, and was slain. And another believing woman 81, in the greatness of her zeal for |182 the faith, defied the governor, who therefore put her to death. And a great multitude without number came forward to suffer martyrdom for the name of the Lord Christ with great joy, as a man hastens to his wedding; andlikewise many of the inhabitants of the towns and villages.

And a great multitude without number wandered among the mountains, having fled from the unbelievers; and many of them died of hunger and thirst, and from the heat. And an old man, a bishop 82, from the city called Malîj, of the province of Egypt, fled, in company with a woman, who followed him; and these two could not be found, nor were any tidings of them known. And many were captured by the soldiers, who afterwards took a bribe from them, and released them. But many wandered forth at random, and never returned.

«I, Dionysius, the patriarch, have not said all this to no purpose; but I have made known to thy Paternity, my brother Fabius, all the trials which have surrounded us, and what we have endured and encountered. And all those persons that I have mentioned to thee, my brother, merited the kingdom by their sufferings and combatings for the name of the Lord Christ. And many of those who apostatized in the persecution have returned to us, and we received them gladly, because we knew the joy of him who desires the repentance of the sinner, and not his death, so that he may be converted and live. |183

And because I am assured of thy fellowship with me, dear brother, I have expounded to thee what befell us; for we are of one spirit and one faith. And to you also, my brethren and my sons, I wish to relate this, for the sake of” my blessed children and their patience; that you may know of the struggles of your faithful brethren for the orthodox faith, and of the happiness to which they have gone, through their endurance for the sake of him who suffered for us and for them, and redeemed us all by his blood. For they were patient for his sake, and would not deny him in the assembly of the unbelievers; and, in their love for him, neither the edge of the sword, nor the plunder of their goods, nor burning in the fire could terrify them. For God showed forth their virtues in this world; and in the next they have a great reward, and a glorious return to him.»

Now there was a certain priest 83 a native of Rome, who said in his pride 84: «It is not lawful that we should receive any one of those who denied Christ in the time of trouble and persecution, even if he now returns to the Lord; for he fell and did not endure, but was made one of the misbelievers.» And this priest used to call those that had been constant, «the Pure 85»; and he was the head over their community. So a council assembled at Rome, consisting of sixty bishops besides priests and deacons, to try the case of this man and his followers; and they wrote to every place an account of what took place. And there was a man called Novatus, who assisted this |184 priest, out of hatred for the penitents, and helped him to repel from the Church all those that wished to return to her. Accordingly he began to forbid his followers to administer to the people the divine medicine, which consists in repentance and penitence and fasting and watching and weeping and humbly imploring God’s forgiveness. So the clergy of Rome wrote to the clergy of Antioch an account of what had passed; and the latter returned an answer to them; and they all agreed that they should receive those that relumed to the Church, and absolve them, and help them to repentance, because God himself receives them. Then they excommunicated the proud priest, who despised those penitent apostates; and they sent for the letters of Novatus concerning the conciliation of such men, and learnt what he wrote about them. After that, Novatus 86, unworthy as he was, usurped the title of bishop and remained in that office for three years, ordaining as priests ignorant men who knew nothing; and he made his followers believe that he was the chief of the bishops, and they honoured him accordingly; until the report of his deeds reached Rome, and there was trouble between the two parties in the Church and a great schism.

After that, a synod of bishops assembled, and cancelled all that Novatus had done by his lies, and proved to all those that had accepted him that they were simple men without knowledge, and that all his ordinations and other acts were invalid. Then one of those whom Novatus had ordained came forward and confessed his sin, and wept; and so the bishops received and pardoned him. And they wrote about Novatus to the various sees, |185 and warned the Christians not to receive any of his doctrines. And the number of those who published his teaching, and whom he ordained, was as follows : forty-seven priests, and seven deacons, and seven subdeacons, and seven readers and doorkeepers 87. And he had done many things that were invalid, but which it is unnecessary to relate.

Then the patriarch Dionysius wrote letters to all places, enjoining that those who returned from their apostasy should be received; and he made this a permanent canon for those who should repent of their error. He also wrote a separate letter to Conon, bishop of Al-Ushmunain 88, containing similar matter, besides those sent to the rest of the bishops.

And Dionysius warned the people who dwelt with him in Alexandria, telling them of all that Origen had done in all the churches, and putting them on their guard against him. Then he wrote canons, which he made perpetual in the Church, and which contained an exposition of doctrines and rules of legal discipline.

Then Dionysius, the great patriarch of the great city of Alexandria, wrote down what had happened to him, and what had befallen him during the period of his primacy; and we have learnt these things from his epistles and his instructions, which we have seen in all the churches, in every place. And altogether Decius did not reign two years; and on account of his |186 persecution of the children of the Church, and his putting them to death, he was slain with his sons, and his princely power was taken away from him.

And after him Gallus was enthroned as prince. And Dionysius wrote a letter to him. Gallus the prince had known all that Decius had done, for he had left behind him an idol 89 of stone which he used to worship, saying that this idol had given him the empire; and he slew the priests who used to pray to God for his salvation and the confirmation of his power.

Then Dionysius also wrote a letter to the patriarch of Rome 90, requesting of him the establishment of correspondence between them both, and the reception of those who had apostatized during the persecution of Decius, but had returned; informing him also of the entire cessation of the persecution which had been in his diocese of Alexandria, and of the coming of peace to the Church; and of the removal of the schism of Novatus, so that there did not remain an adversary to the Church, for he had only seized the pontificate for himself, and had never become an unbeliever. For Dionysius had examined the followers of Novatus on the unity of doctrine.

At that time «Demetrianus 91 was bishop in the city of Antioch, and Theoctistus at Caesarea, and Mazabanes at Jerusalem, that is Aelia, and Marinus at Tyre. And Alexander had gone to his rest at Laodicea. And |187 all the churches were in harmony in the orthodox faith and unity of Christ in every place and every region, rejoicing and magnifying God and at one in the true doctrines; with glory to God, the God of heaven, and our Lord Jesus Christ the Word, and the Holy Ghost, One God, wherever there is agreement in one creed, and love of the brethren.» These are the words of Dionysius.

Then he wrote also to Stephen concerning the baptism of those who had returned from their denial of Christ during the persecution, saying that they should settle this matter, because it was very important; and that the council of bishops who met together had spoken of this question, as we have heard; and that those who accepted instruction and abandoned schism and heresy must be washed, that they might become new by immersion, so that they might be purified from their commingling with the filthy.

Dionysius also speaks in his letter of the schism and heresy of Sabellius, because he was the cause of the mischief which led to blasphemy against God Almighty. And Dionysius says in his letter : «He sent word to me of those that desire to rebaptize all the heretics; and they are Helenus and Firmilian and many with them 92

And the Church remained in tranquillity for a short time, until the prince died, and there reigned after him an unbelieving prince named Valerian. |188 And by his command his deputies seized Dionysius, and imprisoned him. And they killed an innumerable number of martyrs; even ripping open the bodies of infants, and taking their intestines, and twisting them round musical instruments made of reeds which they sounded in honour of the devils 93. Then they tortured Dionysius the patriarch, and demanded that he should worship their idols. So he said to them : «We worship God most high; but you worship what you love. Our worship is offered to the Lord Christ, Creator of heaven and earth, whom we love.» Then the governor said to him : «Thou knowest not the measure of the patience of the princes towards thee. For if thou wilt worship our gods, we will honour and promote thee. But if thou wilt not do so, and disobeyest the command, and wilt not worship the gods, then thou shalt see what will happen to thee.» And the governor took many of the patriarch’s companions, and killed them, after exhorting him at length; and then drove him out, and banished him to a place, called the district of Coluthion, the interpretation of which is Chamberlain 94. But the inhabitants of that place treated Dionysius and all his companions, who would not worship the idols, hospitably. And after this they brought him back to condemn him to death; and they led him before the governor, who said to him : «We have heard that thou goest to a place apart, and performest the liturgy with |189 thy companions.» Dionysius answered : «We never cease to pray, night or day.» So the governor exhorted him at length, and then left him; and the patriarch returned to his companions and said to them : «Go to every place, and pray and celebrate the liturgy; and if I am absent from you in the body, yet I am with you in the spirit.» Then the patriarch was sent back to the place in which he had been in banishment, and his companions were sad because he was parted from them; but they said : «We know that the Lord Christ is with him in all his ways.»

Then an innumerable multitude of the brethren were martyred in those days for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, because they refused to worship the idols. And Valerian, the prince, made martyrs of many people in every region and every place. Afterwards a multitude of the Barbarians attacked him, and brought great trouble upon him. But he had a son who was very wise, and who remained in possession of the government; and he had been brought up in the days of persecution. And he gave to Dionysius and his companions a letter of release, and commanded that these words should be written in it 95 : «Publius Caesar, the reigning prince, who loves God, writes to Dionysius the patriarch, and Demetrius and the rest of the bishops, and commands that they be kindly treated. Let those that hate them depart from them, and let their churches be opened to them. Let them take courage from our letter; and let no chastisement touch them after this day, nor sadness |190 nor sorrow after this time; so that they may perform their service and their prayers to God; for we have set them free. And I have appointed Aurelius Cyrenius, and commanded him to guard the bishops safely, and treat them kindly. And let them say their prayers and celebrate their liturgies.»

This letter was written in Greek. And the prince wrote another letter to the bishops, bidding them resume possession of all their monasteries and dwelling-places.

At this time Xystus was bishop of Rome 96, and Demetrianus bishop of Antioch, and Firmilian bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, and Gregory bishop of Pontus, and his brother Athenodorus bishop of Caesarea in Palestine; and Hymenaeus was bishop of Jerusalem; and he it is whose head they took off because he confessed Christ.

So when Dionysius advanced in age, his body grew weak from the great hardships that he had endured; but nevertheless he did not cease for one night to read the holy scriptures. For since God most high knew his love for the holy scriptures, he granted him the faculty of sight, so that he could see as well as he used to in the days of his youth.

And since he could not go to the council 97 which assembled to settle matters concerning Paul of Samosata, he sent his envoys with a letter full of |191 wisdom and instruction to the bishops assembled on his account; for Paul was like the wolf that howls at the sheep. So the bishops of the council went in haste to Antioch for the glory of the Lord Christ. And among those present in the council were Firmilian, bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, and Gregory who has already been named, and his brother Athenodorus, and Helenus, bishop of Tarsus, and Nicomas, bishop of Iconium, and Hymenaeus, bishop of Jerusalem, and Maximus, bishop of Bostra; and with them a multitude of bishops and priests and deacons. Then they sent for Paul, and asked him concerning what he had said, and admonished him because he had blasphemed the Lord Christ; and when he would not retract his opinions, they excommunicated him and banished him.

At this time Dionysius, patriarch of Alexandria, went to his rest, after remaining in the see for seventeen years; and he died on the 13th. day of Barmahat. But in a copy in the Monastery of Father Macarius it is said that he continued upon the episcopal throne seven years. Said, son of Batrik, however, bears witness in the book of the annals that the period was seventeen years; and this agrees with the biography from which the present copy was translated. |192


After Dionysius, Maximus was placed upon the throne of Saint Mark in the great city of Alexandria, in the seventeenth year of the reign of Gallienus and Valerian, and he helped the brethren in the affairs of the Church in every place. And he drove out Paul the Samosatene from the Church, when he learnt that he was a heretic, because an account of all that happened in the council of Antioch with regard to Paul was written and sent to Dionysius, patriarch of Rome, and to Maximus, patriarch of Alexandria, when he took his seat after Dionysius. For the whole council subscribed with spiritual consent to the excommunication of Paul, and said that it was not fit that he should be named with the name of Paul the apostle. And they wrote to Dionysius, patriarch of Rome, and Maximus, patriarch of Alexandria 99, and to all the bishops of the inhabited world, and to the priests and deacons and all the baptized, and to the whole orthodox Church under heaven, naming the bishops, and saying in their letter : «Helenus and Hymenaeus |193 and Theophilus and Theotecnus and Maximus and Proclus and Nikomas and Aelianus and Paul and Protogenes and Bolanus and Hierax and Eutychius and Theodore and Malchion and Lucius, and the rest, who dwell in the cities near to us. We have written to you, our brethren, the holy bishops, and the laity who love the Lord Christ, the Son of God, calling upon you to pray to the Lord that he may cause to cease from among you the opinions of Paul the Samosatene, who teaches doctrines which beget death for him more than any other; that thus you may be of one mind with us, like Dionysius, patriarch of Alexandria, and Firmilian, bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, who wrote to us at Antioch, so that we overthrew the leader of the error, of whose evil teachings they knew nothing, because it was we who read in the council his writings, containing his corrupt faith; and we and those with us bore witness of this. And after that he promised us to repent; but that was mockery and treachery on his part; for his heart was hard, and he would not repent, but remained in his error, imagining vain things about the Lord in his discourses. So he apostatized and denied the Lord in his creed.

Now the condition of this Paul was of such a nature that he went over from faith to misbelief and error and perdition. And he was notoriously poor by birth, because he inherited nothing from his ancestors, and earned nothing by the work of his hands; but he became rich by the wealth of the church, and |194 used to rob the sanctuaries by the Law, and take bribes from the brethren when judging them; and if their adversaries offered him larger bribes, he turned round and took their side against the others. Thus he gained for himself vain riches by every kind of injustice. Yet in spite of that, he professed that he served God. And he used to walk with an escort, and to tyrannize over the poor, and to make a parade through the chief streets; and he loved to be called bishop, and troubled men by the multitude of his attendants. And he had letters with him, which he read while he walked, as if he was collecting taxes; and he made the people feel that he was a ruler; and he was accompanied by armed men before and behind him. And he hated spiritual teaching, and loved strange doctrines. And he neglected strangers, when he entered the church. And he sought glory from the rulers, and made plans for vain pomp of every kind, so that he even placed for himself a throne with a high platform; pretending to be a disciple of Christ, while in reality he was a stranger to the Church. And he made the women chant songs on the nights of the festivals and at the Easter assembly instead of the Psalms and hymns; but the faithful brethren stopped their ears when they heard them chant. And he would not accept any of the scriptures, nor confess that Christ was the Son of God, nor that he came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Virgin Mary; but he uttered many blasphemies, and |195 declared that Christ was one of us. In consequence of these things it was necessary that we should assemble in council and cut him off. And we have appointed instead of him a man who fears God, named Domnus, son of the blessed Demetrianus, who is now in the Church, and deserves her praise. Thus we have written these things to you in order that you may write to this new bishop, and may receive his letters in peace according to the custom of the Church. Paul the Samosatene then has fallen away from the Faith, and Domnus has received his bishopric in our presence at Antioch.» And the prince Aurelian began to raise a persecution against the Church 100, but the help of the Lord was not with him in what he intended to do; and alter six years he died. And after him was Probus the prince. In his time a wicked man named Manes appeared, and showed forth evil deeds, and blasphemed the Father Almighty, and the only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost who proceeds from the Father. And he dared to say that he himself was the Paraclete.

This man had been slave 101 to a widow woman, who had much wealth. |196 For there had formerly lived with her a great magician, a native of Palestine, who fell from the house-top and died. After that, the woman bought that wicked slave, and had him taught in the writing-school; and when he grew up, she gave him the books of that magician. And when he had read them, and learnt magic from them, he went to Persia, and visited the place where the magicians and diviners and astrologers dwelt. And when he was strong in the doctrines of sin, Satan appeared to him, and strengthened him, and encouraged in him the hatred of the Church. So he led astray many people by his magic; and money was brought to him; and he had youths and girls, who ministered to his evil desires, and whom he enslaved by his magic. And he led astray a multitude of people, saying to them that he was the Paraclete, whom the Lord Christ promised to send in the Gospel of John.

And there was a rich Christian man, named Marcellus, chief of a city in the province of Syria, where there was a bishop named Archelaus. And upon this chief was the spirit and blessing of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and he was a disciple of the church, and constant in his visits there, morning and |197 evening, like a poor man who possesses nothing. And he used to listen to the sermons of the bishop, as it was his duty to do, and to perform good works with his money among the people of this city. And his door was open to everyone who came to him, whether they were the poor or those oppressed by the taxes, or others; so that he was like the holy Job.

And at that time the Persians took captive the people of a village near the house of Marcellus, and laid waste the village, and killed many people. Then the prisoners sent to him, and asked him to perform an act of mercy towards them. Accordingly he consented to their request in charity, and interceded with the leader of the Persians, and received from him many of those that had been taken. And Marcellus, when he came before the Persian chief, offered money to him and to many who were with him, saying to them : «Take what you please in payment for these captives.» But when the Persians saw his good deed, they refused to do as he proposed, and said to him : «We will not do this, but give us what thou wilt as a ransom for the men who are with us.» So the affair was settled between the parties at three denarii for every person. Thus Marcellus delivered all that were in the hands of the Persians, and paid them the money, and presented to them as a gratuity something beyond the price agreed upon; and he received the captives from them, and remained with them seven days. And he tended the sick among those prisoners as if they were his own children; and he sent to their town, and buried those whom the Persians had slain of them. Then he rebuilt the houses of the living whom he had redeemed; and the hearts |198 of those who remained in the town were set at ease; and he rebuilt for them all the churches, and made them live in their town. And when the Persians went away from his country to their own land, they related all that he had done, and the greatness of his wealth, and the love of the people of his town for him.

Now when Manichaeus, the evil one, heard what this man, Marcellus, had done, he thought over it, and said to himself : «If I could gain this man over, and receive him into my sect, then the whole of Syria would be under my influence.» So he wrote him a letter, in which he said : «The Paraclete, Manes, writes thus to Marcellus. Verily I have heard of the excellence of thy deeds, and therefore I know that thou wilt be a chosen disciple of mine, that I may make known to thee the straight way, which Christ has sent me to teach to men. But now your teachers have led you astray, since they say that God, whose Name is glorious, entered the womb of a woman. And the prophets said untrue words of Christ; for the God of the Old Testament is evil, and wills not that anything should be obtained from him. But as for the God of the New Testament, he is good, and when they take aught from him he does not refuse.» And he said of Christ many words blasphemously, which it is not lawful to repeat; nor has Satan himself ever said the like!

And Manes gave the letter to one like himself, and sent him to Marcellus. But when the messenger came to Syria, none of the people received him on the way, to entertain him at his house; and he suffered greatly from hunger, |199 feeding only upon herbs, until he came to the house of Marcellus. So when Marcellus had received the letter and read it, he sent it to the bishop Archelaus; and having provided the messenger with a lodging, he waited. Then, when the bishop had read the letter, he tore the hair of his head, saying : «Would that I had died before reading this blasphemous letter!» And he sent to Marcellus, who brought the messenger to him; and the bishop asked him concerning the history of this Manes, and in what circumstances he was living. So the man informed Archelaus of those matters. And that messenger desired to remain with these two, when he heard their words, and saw their virtues and their excellence. Then Marcellus requested him to return to Manes with an answer to the letter, and gave him three denarii. But he said : «Pardon me, my lord, but I will not return to him.» Thereupon they rejoiced at the salvation of his soul from the snares of death. And Marcellus wrote to Manes an answer to his letter, and sent it to him bv one of his slaves. And the Father Archelaus said to that slave : «Take nothing from him, and neither eat nor drink with him.» Then he sent him on his journey. And after seven clays, Manes came to Marcellus, dressed in a habit of fine linen, with a striped tunic of fine material beneath it; and he was wrapped in a cloak descending over his feet, adorned with figures in front and behind; and with him were thirty-two youths and girls walking behind him.. So when he entered the house of Marcellus, he |200 went straight to a chair, and sat upon it in the midst of the house; and he thought that they would request him that they might receive instruction from him. So Marcellus sent to the bishop Archelaus, and when he saw Manes sitting on the chair, he was astonished at his want of shame. Then the bishop questioned him, and said to him : «What is thy name?» Manes replied : a My name is Paraclete.» Archelaus said to him : «Art thou the Paraclete of whom the Lord Christ said that he Avould send him to us ?» He said : «Yes; I am he.» The bishop asked him : «How many are the years of thy life?» He answered : «Five and thirty years.» Archelaus, the bishop, said to him : «The Saviour Christ said to his disciples : «Remain in Jerusalem, and do not depart, nor preach the gospel, until you are clothed with the power from on high, which is the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost. And after ten days from his Ascension into Heaven, as he said, the Paraclete descended, on the day of Pentecost, which was the completion of fifty days after the Pasch. But according to thy words, the disciples are still awaiting thee at Jerusalem; and yet by Christ’s command it is about three hundred years since they began to preach, and their voice went forth into all lands, and their words reached the ends of the world. If the event had been as thou sayest, they would not have preached, but would have remained alive |201 till now. And where didst thou see the Lord Christ, thine age being thirty-five years ? And he bade thee not to sit in the chief places at assemblies; yet, behold, thou hast taken the highest seat in the house.»

Then Manes enquired : «Does not the gospel say, I will send you the Paraclete?» Archelaus answered : «If thou believest in the gospel, he said to our Lady Mary, the Virgin : The Holy Ghost shall descend upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; and he whom thou shalt, bring forth is Holy, and shall be called the Son of God.» Then the bishop brought forth the letter of Manes, which he had sent to Marcellus, in which he denied the birth of Christ from a woman, and declared his disbelief in Christ’s death and resurrection from the dead. Thereupon Manes began to speak of his false doctrines, saying that there were two gods, one of them Light, and the other Darkness, and uttering similar infidelities. So the bishop Archelaus said to him : «If I refute thee according to thy lies, thou wilt still insist on thy doctrines before me. But behold, I will send and bring into thy presence people who do not know God, the God of Heaven, that they may put thee to shame in thy words.» Accordingly he sent and brought before him two men, one of them a philosopher and physician, and the other a scribe, and said to them : «Hear what this man says. Are there in your books some words which you accept, and other words which you reject?» They answered : «No; but we accept everything in our books, and we reject nothing in them. For if we separated part of our books from the rest, we should neither know how to read them nor how to accept them.» |202

Then the bishop answered and said to them : «This man preaches and says that he is the Paraclete whom Christ sent, and yet he neglects the commands of Christ.» Then they said to him : «We do not accept Christ nor do we touch anything of his.» And when Manes spoke, and the assembly heard his words full of blasphemy, they rushed upon him to kill him; but the bishop forbad them to do that, and said to them : «He will be slain by the hand of another than us.» Then he banished Manes from the city, saying to him : «Take heed that thou be not found in our province, lest thou die!»

When Manes went forth, he betook himself to a village where there was a hospitable priest, with whom he dwelt. And Manes remained for a month in the house of this priest, who did not, however, know who he was. At last he spoke to the priest of his wicked doctrines. So the priest said : «I have never heard of these words before; but I will send to the bishop Archelaus, that he may come and hear from thee what thou sayest, and then if it is good, we will accept it.» But when Manes heard the name of Archelaus, he was troubled thereat, because he knew his valour and the wisdom of God which was in him. Therefore he returned without delay to the land of the Persians, where he continued, as his custom was, to utter blasphemy. But the true Paraclete condemned him in his wisdom; for he delivered him into the power of the king of the Persians, who flayed off his skin, and cast him to the wild beasts, which devoured him. |203

At that time died Felix 102, patriarch of Rome; and Eutychianus was enthroned after him. And the length of time that Felix remained in the patriarchate was five years. And Eutychianus remained ten months, and then went to his rest. And after him sat Marcellinus. And at that time Timaeus received the patriarchate of Antioch after Domnus.

When Auxelian, the prince, died, Probus received the empire after him, and remained six years and died. Then, after him, reigned Cams and Carinus and Numerian; and they continued three years and then died. And after them reigned Diocletian, through whom a great persecution descended upon the Church, greater than those of his predecessors; for he destroyed the churches, and burnt the books, and slew the bishops and priests and many of the faithful.

And Socrates died at Laodicea, and Eusebius was appointed bishop of that city instead of him. This man had come from Alexandria on account of the council which had assembled at Antioch concerning Paul the Samosatene. His successor was Anatolius, who also had arrived in Syria from Alexandria, whither he had migrated, and where he had taken up his abode in order that he might teach the young people there. For he was skilled in learning, so that his fame reached as far as Rome. And when |204 an army marched from Rome to the city of Alexandria, and besieged it, Anatolius the teacher did not cease negotiating between the two parties, with all fairness until he improved the state of affairs, and established peace, and the war ceased. And the great men of the city were incensed against him, because he urged them to do what they did not wish. So he said to them : «Let the old men and old women and young children leave the city, for they are not required here; but do you do what you will with your city, for so you will retain the provisions which are in your hands, stored up among you.» Thus their hearts were appeased by this advice; and the next day the soldiers and the captains of the city assembled, and took counsel about this matter, and decided that it was right so to act. So they sent out the old men and old women and children; and many others escaped through the gates by night. After that, the emperor Claudius commanded to slay the troops of the city, because they had helped the people to depart from it; and the city was laid waste. And Eusebius also acted between the two parties as a physician or father who heals both sides alike. And this man was bishop of Laodicea, and he came to his see with the other bishop from Alexandria in excellent agreement. And after the fighting which took place at Alexandria, Anatolius wrote many instructions, and the people of the city profited by them. And he wrote for them a calculation of Easter also. |205

And on the 1st. day of the month after the council, which took place at Antioch to judge Paul the Samosatene, Theotecnus was established as bishop on the episcopal throne of Caesarea in Palestine, and the above-mentioned Eusebius over Laodicea. And Eusebius was a man powerful with the Lord, as also was Anatolius; for they were both inspired by the Holy Ghost to impart spiritual doctrine. Then they went to their rest, one after the other; and Stephen became bishop over Laodicea. He was a man full of wisdom, and everyone was astonished at him; and it was not merely wisdom of words, but the true orthodox faith; and he rebuilt the churches which had been destroyed in his city, and renewed them with the help of God given to him. And his successor, the bishop Theodotus, lived in the time of persecution, and was worthy of the two names by which he was called; for the interpretation of his own name is Gift of God, besides the name of bishop. And he was a lover of the people, and their shepherd and physician, skilful in doing good to their souls, so that it was said that there had been none equal to him in his charity. And Agapius, bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, was like him also, and had laboured among his people in great charity; for he loved the poor, and controlled his people like a faithful servant of God; and after this he merited the crown of martyrdom, with many of the priests of Alexandria. And there were martyred also with them Pierius; and Meletius, who had become bishop of Pontus, and was called Honey, on account |206 of the sweetness of his tongue, which was full of the doctrine and grace of God. Meletius loved to give alms to the poor, and grudged nothing; and all his teaching was from the gospel; and he lived in the time when men were scattered and persecuted, and yet was constant in doctrine.

When Hymenaeus, bishop of Jerusalem, went to his rest, Zambdas was appointed instead of him; and when Zambdas died, there came after him Hermon, who suffered hardships in the time of persecution.

And Maximus, patriarch of Alexandria, went to his rest on the 14th. of Barmudah, after he had remained eighteen years in the see.


When Maximus went to his rest, Theonas took his seat after him upon the episcopal throne of Alexandria, after the people had assembled, and had come to an agreement upon his fitness for the office. So they promoted him in the first year of the reign of Numerian, Carus and Carinus, the princes. And he built a handsome church in the name of our Lady Mary, which was called the Church of the Mother of God 104. For up to this time the people had celebrated the liturgy in caves and underground places and secret |207 resorts. And from saint Mark the evangelist to the third year of the patriarchate of Theonas were two hundred and nineteen years. And he went to his rest on the 2nd. of Tubah, after remaining nineteen years in the see. There was in the days of this Father, the patriarch Theonas, a holy priest, who had a pure wife; and these two walked together in the way of the Lord, keeping his commandments, and acting according to his precepts, cleaving to the canons of their religion, firm in the faith. But they had no child, and were sad at heart for this reason. And they multiplied fasts and prayers and alms, that the Lord might be gracious to them and grant them a child, by the sight of whom their eyes might be refreshed. When the least of the two glorious disciples, Peter and Paul, came round, on the fifth day of Abib, and all the faithful were present in the church, to keep their least, the wife of this priest, being present near the place where the picture of those two saints was, saw the faithful bringing their children forward, and anointing them with the oil of the lamp which was lighted before the two pictures. So she sighed, with a wounded heart, and prayed those two saints to intercede with the Lord for her. And she partook of the Holy Mysteries, and received the peace of God, and departed to her home, thanking the Lord of glory. And that night she saw in her sleep two persons in the dress of the patriarchs, who said to her : «Be not sad, for the Lord has heard thy petition, and has given thee a child with whom he will refresh |208 thine eyes. And he shall be a father to many people; and his name and his holiness shall appear like those of Samuel the prophet, for he is the son of a promise. Therefore when the morning comes, go early to the Father Theonas, the patriarch, and make this known to him, that he may bless thec; for God in his mercy will give thee a child who shall be blessed.» Accordingly, when it was morning, she told her husband the priest, and he said to her : «Go and make this known to Theonas the patriarch, as thou wert bidden.» So she went to him, and made the dream known to him; and he blessed her, and said to her : «The Lord will perform thy request, and answer thy prayer; for the Lord is true to his word, and his works are wonderful among his saints.» And she departed to her home. And a short time after that, she conceived; and she guarded herself in all purity, and in continual fasts and prayers night and day, until the day of the feast of Peter and Paul, on the fifth of Abib, when she brought forth a son. And the messenger of good tidings went to Abba Theonas, the patriarch, and informed him that she had become the mother of a son; and he rejoiced greatly thereat. And her husband, the archpriest, also rejoiced. And Abba Theonas, the patriarch, said to them : «Name him Peter.» And it was done so. And the child grew and waxed and increased, like John the Baptist, until he reached the age of three years. Then his parents carried him to the patriarch, and said to him : «This is the son of thy prayers.» So Theonas blessed them and the child, and baptized him. And when the child was five years |209 old, his parents gave him to be instructed. And he learnt wisdom in a very short time, and came to have a better memory than the rest of his comrades who were in the Church. And in his seventh year the patriarch made him reader; and he was filled with spiritual grace. And when he was twelve years old, he made him fully deacon; and he surpassed the other deacons in knowledge and piety, and in the spiritual and heavenly grace which God gave him. When he was fully sixteen years old, he was promoted to be priest, on account of the chastity and modesty and knowledge and piety, and true faith, and soundness of learning, and assiduous service of the churches, night and day, which the patriarch saw in him.

And in those days there had appeared a blaspheming man, named Sabellius, who preached a doctrine divergent from the faith; and this was that he believed that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the holy Trinity, were one Person, and not three Persons, but merely three names. Sabellius disbelieved in the gospel, and would not listen to that which is written therein, that our Lord Jesus Christ, when he was baptized by John, saw the Holy Ghost descending upon him like a dove, and heard the voice of the Father from heaven, saying : «This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.» So many, who heard the teaching of Sabellius, followed him, and he led them astray by his impiety. Then he assembled the members of his sect, and came to the church, when the father and patriarch, Abba Theonas, was present, on the day of a great feast; and he |210 stood at the door, and sent to the patriarch a messenger, who said to him : «Come out and discuss matters with me this day; and if thou art in the right I will follow thee, but if not I will make known to the people that thou art in error.» Then the father and patriarch said to Peter, the priest : «Go out to this misbeliever, and silence him, that he trouble us not.» So Peter went out; but when Sabellius saw him he said : «See the haughtiness and pride of Theonas; he has only sent out to me the least of the youths who attend him.» But Peter said to him : «Though I be young with thee, with my Father Theonas I am old. And the Lord will show thy misbelief hereby this day, for he will give me the victory over thee, as he made David victorious over Goliath the giant. For the Lord will bring his fate upon thee, and will punish thee, and destroy thee with thy companions, and bring thy doctrine to naught, and overthrow thy opinion, so that no word or syllable of thine shall remain.» And he had not finished his words before the face of Sabellius was convulsed, and his neck bent backwards, and he fell on the ground dead. And his followers fled in haste, and all those that were with him. So he perished, and his memory was lost, and his teaching was cut off, and no remembrance of him remained. This is the end of what happened to Sabellius.

And the Lord showed forth another sign by the hand of the holy Peter, which was as follows. There was a great feast in the city of Alexandria, at which the Father Theonas and all the clergy and people were present, glorifying God and keeping festival. And a man among them, in whom was |211 a rebellious devil, stood by the door, and began to throw stones at the faithful,and to foam at the mouth, and growl like a camel. So the people fled from him into the interior of the church, and made known to the patriarch the state of that madman. Theonas, therefore, said to the holy Peter : «Go out to him, and drive this devil out of him.» So Peter took a basin, and poured water into it, and presented it to the patriarch, begging him to make the sign of the cross over it; and he did so. And Peter went out, taking the vessel of water, to the place where the madman was. Then he said : «In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, who cast out the Legion of devils, and healed men of all diseases and sicknesses, go forth from him, Satan, by the prayers of my father Theonas, the patriarch, and return no more to him!» Then immediately the devil went out of him, and the man was healed, and became whole, and reasonable, and calm.

But if we were to describe the wonders which were manifested by this holy man, Peter, the exposition of them would be too long, and books would be too small to contain them.

And when Theonas came to die, so that he was to be gathered to his fathers, all the clergy and people were present with him, weeping and saying : «Alas our Father, thou leavest us like orphans.» Then he said to them : «You are not orphans, but this Peter is your father, and he shall be patriarch after me.» Thus Abba Theonas before his death appointed him to that office.

[Footnotes renumbered and moved to the end]

1. 1. Jer. xlvi, 25; Nahum iii, 8; cf. Ez. xxx, 14,15,16, Vulg.

2. 1. Preface II is wanting in CD and E.

3. 1. Rom. v, 3, 4.

4. 2. Hebr. xii, 8.

5. 1. S. John xvii, 12; xviii. 9.

6. 1. S. Matth. v, 14-16.

7. 1. S. Matth. xi. 28.

8. 1. S. Matth. vii, 7; S. Luke xi. 9.

9. 2. Ps. cxv, 1-3 (Sept. cxiii, 9-11).

10. 1. This chapter is wanting in CDE.  Cf. Suidas in v. Ἰησοῦς; Anecdota Graeco-Byzantina, ed. A. Vassilief, 1893, p. 60.

11. 2. The Greek versions have : τοῦ ἐν εὐσεβεῖ τῇ μνήμῃ γενομένου Ἰουστινιανοῦ.

12. 3. ἀργυροπράτης

13. 1. Urim and Thummim, Δήλωσος καὶ Ἀλήθεια, Doctrina et Veritas.

14. 1. κώδιξ.

15. 1. S. Luke iv. 14-22.

16. 1. Ps. cx, 4 (Sept. cix).

17. 2. Ps. lxxxix. 48 (Sept. lxxxviii).

18. 1. Cf. Eus., H. E., I. 3.

19. 2. Ἐν τοῖς τῆς αἰχμαλωσίας αὐτοῦ ὑπομνήμασιν.

20. 1. Cf. Bargès, Homélie sur saint Marc, Paris. 1877, p. 73-80 (premier appendice).

21. 1. Eus., H. E., II, 16.

22. 1. Cf. Bargès, loc. cit., p. 81-90 (second appendice); Acta SS.,Apr, 25.

23. 1. Τὰ Βουκόλου, Bucolia.

24. 1. Σύρωμεν τὸν βούβαλον ἐν τοῖς Βουκόλου.

25. 1. Τὸ Ἀγγέλιον.

26. 1. Eus.; H. E., II, 24.

27. 2. Ibid., III, 14. 21.

28. 1. Eus., H. E., III,21.

29. 1. Eus., H. E., IV, 1, 4.

30. 2. Ibid., IV, 4, 5.

31. 1. Eus., H. E., IV, 5, 11.

32. 2. Ibid., IV, 11.

33. 3. Ibid., IV, 11. 19.

34. 1. Eus., H. E., IV, 19; v. 9.

35. 2. Ibid., V, 9, 22.

36. 1. Eus., H. E., V, 22; VI, 2, 3, 8, 19, 26. Cf. Acta SS. Oct. 9.

37. 1.Eus., H. E., VI, 1.

38. 1. Eus., H. E., VI. 4, 5. Aquila ([Arabic])was the prefect of Egypt who carried on the Persecution.

39. 2. τῆς κατ’ Ἀλεξάνδρειαν κατηχήσεως καθηγεῖτο. Ib., VI. 6.

40. 1. Eus., H. E., VI, 7.

41. 2. Ib., VI, 8.

42. 1. Eus., H. E., VI, 8.

43. 2. Ib., VI, 9.

44. 1. Eus., H. E., VI, 9.

45. 2. Ib., VI. 10.

46. 3. Ib.

47. 1. Eus., H.E., VI, 11.

48. 1. Eus., H. E., VI, 11.

49. 2. Ib., VI, 12.

50. 1. Eus., H. E., VI, 15.

51. 1. Eus., H. E., VI, 17.

52. 1. Eus., H.E.. VIII, 9, 10.

53. 2. Cf. Eus., Ib., VI, 19.

54. 1. Eus., H. E., VI, 23, 24, 25, 32, 36.

55. 2. Ib., VI, 25.

56. 3. Σαρδὴθ Σαρδανὲ Ἔλ.

57. 1. I Cor., ii, 12.

58. 1. Eus., H. E., VI, 26, 35.

59. 2. Ib.., VI, 15.

60. 3. Ib., VI. 26.

61. 4. Ib,, VI, 28.

62. 5. Ib., VI, 29.

63. 6. Ib.

64. 7. I. e. Fabian. Ib.

65. 1. Eus., H. E., VI, 29.

66. 1. According to Eus., H. E., VI, 30, Theodore, or Gregory, and Athenodorus were two pupils of Origen.

67. 2. Eus., ib., VI, 31.

68. 1. Eus., H.E., III, 28; VI. 29,35, 40-42, 44-46; VII, 1.2,4-11,20-28.

69. 2. Ib., VI. 37.

70. 3. I. e. that of the Helcesaïtes, ib., VI. 38.

71. 4. Ib., VI. 39.

72. 1. Eus., H. E., VI,40.

73. 1. Eus., VI, 41.

74. 2. The Arabic and some MSS of Eusebius have here «Fabian».

75. 3. καλάμοις ὀξέσι, ib.

76. 4. Quinta, ib.

77. 5. A misunderstanding of the passage : [Greek omitted from online version] ib.

78. 1. Eus. καλήλοις ἐποχούμενοι, perhaps misread καμίλοις.

79. 2. Besas. ib.

80. 3. Dionysia, ib 

81. 4. Ammonarion, ib.

82. 1. Chaeremon, bishop of Nilus, Eus., H. E., VI. 42.

83. 1. Novatian.

84. 2. Eus., H,E., VI, 43.

85. 3. Καθαροί.

86. 1. The name here should be Novatian, but Eusebius also has Νοουάτος.

87. 1. These are the numbers of the Catholic clergy in Rome. Eus. has 42 acolytes. 52 exorcists, readers and doorkeepers, ib.

88. 2. τῆς Ἑρμουπολιτῶν παροικίας ἐπίσκοπος, ib., VI, 46,

89. 1. This passage is a mistranslation of Eus., VIII, 1.

90. 2. Stephen, ib., VII, 2-5.

91. 3. Ib., VII, 5.

92. 1. He is here writing to Xystus and speaking of Stephen, ib.

93. 1. A misinterpretation of the words : [Greek omitted from online edition] ib., VII, 10.

94. 2. Severus perhaps derives this name from ἀκόλουθος.

95. 1. Eus., H. E., VII, 13.

96. 1. Eus., H. E., VII, 14.

97. 2. ib., VII, 27.

98. 1. Eus., H. E., VII, 11, 28, 32.

99. 2. Ib., VII, 30.

100. 1. Eus., H.E., VII, 30, 31.

101. 2. The following account of Manes, Marcellus and Archelaus is taken from the Acts of the Dispute of Archelaus, now only existing in a Latin version, first published, according to the imperfect MS. from Bobbio, by H. de Valois, at the end of his edition of Socrates and Sozomen, Paris, 1668, and from the complete copy at Monte Cassino,by L. Zaccagni in Collectanea Monumentorum Veterum, Rome, 1698. There are, however, some variations in the Arabic summary here given. Fragments of a Coptic version of these Acts, and also of Eusebius (VII, 30, 32), coming from the White Monastery in Upper Egypt, and written in the tenth century, from which the Arabic version seems to have been translated, exist in the National Library in Paris (MS. copte 129 14). See Crum, Eusebius and Coptic Church Histories in Trans. of Soc. of Bib. Arch. Feb. 12. 1902.

102. 1. The rest of this life is from Eus.; H. E., VII, 32.

103. 1. Eus., H. E., VII, 32.

104. 2. Θεομήτωρ.




Severus of Al’Ashmunein (Hermopolis), History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic church of Alexandria  (1904) Part 2: Peter I – Benjamin I (661 AD). Patrologia Orientalis 1 pp. 383-518 (pp.119-256 of text).





  • Chapter 6 (contd)
    • Peter I, the seventeenth patriarch (300 – 311)
    • Achillas, the eighteenth patriarch (311 – 312)
  • Chapter 7 – Alexander I, the nineteenth patriarch (312 – 326)
  • Chapter 8 – Athanasius I, the apostolic, the twentieth patriarch (326 – 373)
  • Chapter 9 – Peter II, the twenty-first patriarch (373 – 380)
  • Chapter 10 – Timothy I, the twenty-second patriarch (380 – 385)
  • Chapter 11 – Theophilus, the twenty-third patriarch (385 – 412)
  • Chapter 12 – Cyril, the twenty-fourth patriarch (412 – 444)
  • Chapter 13
    • Dioscorus I, the twenty-fifth patriarch (444 – 458)
    • Timothy II, the twenty-sixth patriarch (458 – 480)
    • Peter III, the twenty-seventh patriarch (480 – 488)
    • Athanasius II, the twenty-eighth patriarch (488 – 494)
    • John I, the monk, the twenty-ninth patriarch (494 – 503)
    • John II, the hermit, the thirtieth patriarch (503 – 515)
    • Dioscorus II, the thirty-first patriarch (515 – 517)
    • Tomothy III, the thirty-second patriarch (517 – 535)
    • Theodosius I, the thirty-third patriach (535 – 567)
  • Chapter 14
    • Peter iV, the thirty-fourth patriarch (567 – 569)
    • Damian, the thirty-fifth patriarch (569 – 605)
    • Anastasius, the thirty-sixth patriarch (605 – 616)
    • Andronicus, the thirty-seventh patriarch (616 -622)
    • Benjamin I, the thirty-eith patriarch (622 – 661)




When Abba Theonas, the patriarch, went to his rest, the clergy of Alexandria assembled with the people and laid their hands upon Peter the priest, his son and disciple, and seated him upon the episcopal throne of Alexandria, as Theonas, the holy father, bade them; and that was in the sixteenth year of Diocletian the prince. And when Peter saw that the wicked Arians had filled the whole country with confusion through his unbelief, he cut him off and banished him from the Church.

And in the nineteenth year of the reign of Diocletian, his letters came to Alexandria and Egypt; and he brought trials upon the Christians, and destroyed the churches of God, and killed many persons with the sword; and those that believed in Christ fled into the wilderness, and into dens and caves. Then Diocletian established guards and watchmen in every place of the |384 province of Egypt and the Thebaid as far as Antinoe, and commanded them to kill all the Christians that they found. Afterwards those guards seized the blessed Peter 2, patriarch of Alexandria, and threw him into prison, and made known to the prince that they had seized him and bound him; and so the unbelieving prince commanded that they should take off his head. When the letter came to them with this order, they hastened to perform the prince’s bidding. But when they wished to bring Peter out from the prison that they might take him and kill him, the people assembled at the door of the prison, and sat by it, to watch over their shepherd, saying :«When we are all put to death, then his head shall be taken.» So those soldiers began to consider how they should bring him forth, so that a great multitude might not die on account of him; for all the people had assembled for his sake, the old and the young, and the monks and the women and the virgins, and were weeping abundant tears. And the soldiers agreed together that they should enter and bring him forth, and slay any of the people who opposed them, as the prince’s letter directed.

Now the reason of the prince’s command to seek and put to death this |385 father and patriarch was as follows. There was at Antioch a man named Socrates, who was one of the commanders of the troops which served at the palace, and was a comrade of Apater, who was martyred with his sister Irene. This Socrates was by birth a Christian, and was baptized; but he denied his religion, and came to hate the Christians. And he had a wife who was good and charitable and a Christian, by whom God granted him two children. So when they grew and were fit for baptism, the wife said to her husband : «I pray thee, my brother, to travel with me to Alexandria, that we may baptize our children, so that they may not die without baptism, lest the Lord Christ be angry with us for our neglect of them». Then the unbeliever replied : «Be silent; for thou knowest not the troubles which have come upon us in these days; lest the king should hear and be exceeding wroth with us.» Now his intention was to frighten her by this; so that she might leave her children without baptism. But when she perceived that he would not consent, nor travel with her, she took her two children and two trustworthy menservants whom she had; and she went out to the sea-shore, and prayed, saying : «O Lord Almighty, Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, if thou wilt make my journey easy, prepare for me a ship in which I may depart.» Then while she was praying, she saw a ship about |386 to set sail. So she called one of the sailors, and said to him : «Whither are you voyaging?»He answered : «To Alexandria». She said to him : «Carry me with you, and I will pay you a high fare». So he consented to that. And she embarked on that ship, taking her two children, and her two men-servants. And after two days a high wind rose against them, so that everyone in the ship was troubled. Then that believing woman thought : «Verily God will not hear a sinner like me; but that which has come into my mind I will do». Then she arose and spread out her hands, and turned her face to the East, and prayed, saying : «O God, who knowest everything before if takes place, thou knowest what is in my heart, and that I love thee more than life or wealth, more even than my children and my own soul. Behold, we die in the midst of the waves for thy holy name’s sake. O Saviour, O Lord, O my God and Saviour of my soul and my body, have a care for my children who are become orphans on account of thy holy name, and let them not die without baptism.» And when she had finished those words, she took a knife and said : «O Lord Almighty, thou knowest my heart». And she cut her right breast with the knife, and took from it three drops of blood, with which she made the sign of the cross on the foreheads of her two children, and over their hearts, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and she dipped them in the sea, saying : «I baptize you, my |387 children, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost». Then she embraced them, saying : «If death is to come to us, then let me die now, me and my two children.» So when the Lord saw her faith thus firm, he quelled that tempestuous wind; and there was a great calm. And they arrived after three days at the city of Alexandria.

So when they entered the city by the help of the merciful God, since that day was in the week of Baptism, which is the sixth week of the Fast, when infants are baptized, that woman went straightway to one of the deacons, and said to him : «My Father, I wish to have an interview with the patriarch». So he said to her : «What is thy business with the patriarch?» She answered : «My Father, I am a stranger, and I wish to baptize these two children of mine». The deacon asked her : «Hast thou no other business than this?» She replied : «No». He said to her : «Take thy seat in the church; behold the patriarch will come and baptize the infants, and will baptize thy children with them». So she did as he bade her; and when the time came, and the father and patriarch had finished the liturgy, they presented to him for baptism the infants who were to be baptized; and so he baptized them. Then they brought to him the two children of the woman of Antioch; but when the patriarch took the two infants to baptize them, the water was congealed, and became like stone. When Peter, the holy patriarch, saw this, he was astonished; and he commanded to set those two aside; but he told no one of the congealing of the water. Then he bade that |388 the other children should be presented to him, and when the other infants were brought the water was liquefied, and became as it was at first; and he baptized those that were presented to him. Then he gave orders that the two children of the woman should be presented a second time; but when they were brought to him, the water was congealed again, and became like stone. So he sent them back, and the infants of the city were offered to him again; and the water was unbound, and he baptized them. After that, he asked for the two children of the woman a third time; and the water was congealed again, and became like stone. Thereupon the patriarch bade the archdeacon of the church fetch their mother; and so he brought her before him; and he said to her : «Make known to me, woman, thy circumstances, and tell me what thy religion is». She replied : «I am of Antioch, and my family are Christians». The patriarch said to her : «Then what hast thou done? For behold, the Lord will not accept thy children for baptism». She replied : «Hear me, my Lord and Father, and be patient with me. For indeed thy Paternity knows how Christians are persecuted throughout the world in these days, and the worst of the trouble is at Antioch. And when these two children of mine grew up, and I found no way of baptizing them there, I asked their father to journey with me to this city, in order to baptize them here, but he would not. So I took these two children of mine, and went out with them to the sea-shore, and there we embarked in a ship; but afterwards |389 when we were in the midst of the waves, a tempest arose against us, so that the ship was near sinking. Therefore I took a knife, and wounded my right breast, and took from it three drops of blood, and made the sign of the cross upon the faces and hearts of my little ones, and dipped them in the sea, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, three times. For this reason the Lord withholds them from baptism. And this, by the truth of thy holy Paternity, is what I did». So the patriarch said to her : «Let thy heart be comforted, my daughter; fear not, for the Lord is with thee. When thou didst wound thy breast, and take from it the blood, and make the sign of the cross upon the faces of thy two children, in the faith of God the Incarnate Word, whose side was pierced on the cross with the spear, when the water and the blood came forth from it, he it was who made the cross over thy two children with his divine hand». Then the patriarch blessed those two among the baptized, but did no more to them; for he could not baptize them a second time, because the Lord had accepted them on the sea. For the patriarch said: «None can be baptized twice, for there is one baptism only; and these two have already been baptized once bythe intention and faith of their mother, and by what she did».

Then the patriarch composed on this subject a homily, beginning thus : «The mercy of God which descends upon men». And he gave to the two children of the holy Mysteries. And he took them and their mother into his |390 house until they had kept the Feast of the Holy Easter. Then they returned to their own city in peace.

But when her husband learnt what she had done, he went to Diocletian, the unbelieving prince, and said to him : «Know, my lord the prince, that my wife committed adultery in this city; and when I hindered her, she went away to Alexandria, and committed adultery with the Christians during many days; and she took my children, and performed upon them a rite called baptism. And behold, she has returned hither. What thinkest thou that I should do with her?» Then Diocletian commanded Socrates her husband to bring her and her two children before him; and he. did so. And when she stood before him, he said to her : «O woman deserving of death, why didst thou leave thy husband, and go away to Alexandria, and commit adultery there with the Christians?» Then that holy woman answered him : «The Christians do not commit adultery nor worship idols; but do whatsoever thou wilt; for thou wilt not hear another word from me». The prince said to her : «Make known to me what happened to thee at Alexandria.» But she would not answer him. Therefore the prince commanded that her hands should be fastened behind her, and that her two children should be placed on her lap, and that all three should be burnt in the fire. So the holy woman turned her face to the East, and her children with her; and thus they gave up their souls, and received the crown of martyrdom. |391

Then the prince asked her husband Socrates : «Who is it that does these things at Alexandria?» He replied: «It is Peter, the patriarch of the Christians». So when he heard this, he was filled with anger and wrath, because he was full of indignation against the holy Peter, the patriarch, on account of the writings which he had composed in refutation of the worship of idols. Accordingly he wrote to his deputies at Alexandria, commanding that they should take his head. And while the soldiers were zealously obeying the commands of the prince, and Peter was in prison, as we have said above, Arius, the unbeliever, learnt that they wished to kill the patriarch. Then Arius feared that Peter would go to his rest, while he would remain bound by his sentence of excommunication. So he went to certain priests and deacons and many of the laity, and begged them to visit the prison, that they might throw themselves at the feet of the patriarch, and pray him to set Arius loose from his bonds of excommunication. Now they thought that Arius made this request out of piety, and therefore they consented to his petition. So they entered into the prison, and cast themselves down before Peter, and prayed: Then they made prostrations to him, and besought him to loose Arius from his bonds. But the patriarch cried out with a loud voice : «Do you intercede with me for Arius?» Then he raised his hands and said : «Arius shall be at this time, and in the time to come, excluded from the glory of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ». When he had said this, a great fear came upon them, and not one of them dared to answer |392 a word. But when he saw that they were afraid of him, he comforted their souls. Then he rose up from the midst of them, and took with him the two old men, Achillas and Alexander, his two disciples, and went apart with them, and said to them : «God, the God of heaven, will help me to accomplish my martyrdom. Then thou, Achillas, the priest, shalt sit on this throne after me; and thy brother Alexander after thee. Say not that there is no mercy in me, for I am a sinful man; but Arius is full of hidden guile; and it is not I that have excommunicated him, but Christ. I tell you that this night, when I had finished my prayers and fallen asleep, I saw a youth coming in to me, with his face shining like the light of the sun, wearing a garment which clothed him down to his feet, but it was torn; and he took up the part where it was rent in his hands, and covered with it his breast and his nakedness. So when I saw him, I rose hastily, and cried with a loud voice, and said : O my Lord, who is it that has torn thy garment? He answered : Arius has rent it. Therefore receive him not, and have no fellowship with him. To-day there will come to thee some who will intercede with thee for him; but let not thy heart accept him, for I have forbidden thee to do so. Likewise charge thy disciples, Achillas and Alexander, who will sit after thee on the episcopal throne, that they receive him not. There my speech with him ended. And now I shall accomplish my martyrdom, having charged you as he commanded me. You, |393 my brethren, know how I have been all my time with you, and what trials I have encountered, and the conspiracies of the unbelievers and idol-worshippers; and how I was continually fleeing from place to place, from Mesopotamia to Syria, and to Palestine and Ramleh and the islands. Yet I did not cease to write to you two, secretly and openly, nor to comfort the people through the power of the Lord Christ, clay and night; and I neglected not the flock with which I was entrusted. And my heart was greatly grieved; but in spite of all this I did not neglect the care of Phileas and Hesychius and Pachomius and Theodore, who were imprisoned for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and merited grace from God; for I used to write to them, and to speak of them in my epistles from Mesopotamia. And I suffered great trouble and torment for their sakes, lest anything should happen to them together with the priests who were in prison; for more than six hundred and sixty souls became martyrs. Now, as you know, I have the care of you all; therefore, when I heard that they had been martyred, I worshipped and thanked him who strengthened them, Jesus Christ, who also counted them among his martyrs. So likewise I pray him to number me among them. Moreover you two know the evils which have befallen me from Meletius of Asyut, who divided the Church of God, which the Lord Christ, the Word of God, redeemed with his holy blood, when he laid down his life for it».

Then the father and patriarch, Abba Peter, began to teach those two, |394 and charge them to beware of the guile of the aforesaid Meletius, that they should not associate with him. And he said to them : «Behold, you two see me bound for the love of God, while I am awaiting his will; for the officers of Diocletian daily deliberate how to kill some of us, as you know, and they assiduously carry out what they are commanded to do. But I do not fear for myself, and only desire to finish the course which God has appointed for me, and my ministry, which I accepted from the Lord Jesus Christ, my God; and he will help me to complete it; henceforth, therefore, you two will not see my face in the body after this day. I testify to you that I have declared everything to you; and I am pure and free from sin. Therefore keep the flock which the Holy Ghost has entrusted to you, and guard the Church of God which he bought with his blood; for I know that, after I am separated from you, some of the people will arise and speak words of blasphemy, with the intention of dividing the Church, as Meletius has done, whom many of the people have followed; but I beseech you to be vigilant, for you will encounter trouble. For you know what befell the Father Theonas, who brought me up, and upon whose episcopal throne I sat after him, and the evil which he suffered from the worshippers of idols. And I hope that a grace like his will come to me, similar also to the grace given to the Father Dionysius, who hid himself in various places on account of the heretic Sabellius. What shall I say also concerning |395 Heraclas and Demetrius, the two blessed ones, and the disorders that they encountered, and the hostility which they endured from Origen, the madman, and all that took place through him; and concerning all our fathers, who were before us, and what they bore for the Church of God? But the grace of God, which was with them, was that which overshadowed them and protected them.

And now I commit you to God by the word of grace, which has the power to preserve you, and to preserve his flock».

And when the Father Peter had said this, he fell upon his knees and prayed and worshipped with those two, and gave thanks, and clasped them to himself, embracing them, and kissed them. And Achillas and Alexander kissed his hands and bade him farewell weeping, because of his saying to them that they would not see him after that day in the body.

Then he returned to the assembly near which he was standing, and remained among them and exhorted them, and comforted them, and prayed for them, and blessed them, and consoled them, and dismissed them in peace. And when they went away from him, they informed the people of what he had said, and of what he had done in the prison with regard to Arms. And when the people heard this, they marvelled, for they knew that God was with him, and had separated Arius from them. But when Arius learnt this thing, he kept silence and concealed himself and his opinions and his guile, because his hope in the patriarch Peter was cut off. |396

So when the Father Peter heard of the strife on his account between the troops and the people of the city, who prevented the soldiers from approaching the prison in which he was, he feared that some would be slain for his sake, and resolved to preserve his faithful people, and to redeem them with his own life. Therefore he sent word to the soldiers secretly, saying to them : «Come this night to the wall of the prison at the place where I will knock for you from within; and make a hole through it, and do what the prince has commanded you to do». And when they heard this, they accepted his words. Accordingly they went that night secretly to the place of which he told them, which was a cell where he was separate from the other prisoners, of which none of the people knew; and then he knocked at the wall from within, and when they heard him, they broke open the place where he knocked, and made an opening there. So he made the sign of the cross on his face, and put his head out to them, through the hole which they had opened, saying : «It is better that I should give up my life than that the people should perish for my sake». Thereupon the soldiers cut off his head, and went away. Behold then this most admirable deed!

Now there arose at that hour a violent wind, so that none of the people who were guarding the door of the prison heard the sound of those that pierced the wall; nor did any of the prisoners hear it. Thus this blessed father accomplished the words of the holy Gospel, and the words of the Jews which it reports 3 on the day of the blessed crucifixion, namely, that |397 it is better that one should die for the people than that the whole people should perish; and he was like his Lord, the Good Shepherd, who gave his life for his sheep. But the people meanwhile were sitting by the door of the prison, and knew not what had happened to him.

In another copy, however, it is said that he came out through the hole in the wall, and the soldiers took him and led him away to a place called Boucolia, the interpretation of which is Cattle-yard; and this is the place where was accomplished the martyrdom of the glorious father, Saint Mark the evangelist. But when the soldiers saw the holy Peter thus giving himself up to death, they were filled with awe, and dread fell upon them. So he asked them, and said to them : «I pray you that I may go and receive a blessing from the body of the father, Saint Mark the evangelist». Then they consented to his request, and said with shame and downcast looks : «Whatever thou desirest, father, do quickly». So he went to the place where the body of Saint Mark, the evangelist and bringer of good tidings, lay; and he prayed and received a blessing from the relics, and knelt by them, as if he were discoursing with the saint, saying : «O my father, evangelist and messenger of the Lord Christ, the Only-Begotten Son, who dost bear witness to his passion, thou art the first martyr and the first patriarch of this see. Thou, O pure and holy one, art he whom Christ, truly the most holy, elected. Thou didst preach his name in the land of Egypt, and in this city, and in the provinces which surround it, and didst diligently exercise the ministry which was thy work; and thou didst receive the crown of martyrdom. For |398 this reason, O father and evangelist, disciple and martyr, thou wast worthy to show forth thy faith in God, the Word and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thou didst elect the blessed Annianus because he was worthy; and after him was Avilius, and those who succeeded those two; then Demetrius and He-raclas and Dionysius and Maximus; and the blessed Theonas, my father, who brought me up until I came to the ministry of this see after him, though I am a sinner, unworthy of this honour which I received only by the greatness of his compassion. Therefore intercede for me, that I may be a martyr in truth, if indeed I be worthy to imitate Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection; and that he may fill me with the perfume of life-giving faith, so that I may be to him sweet-smelling incense, by the shedding of my blood for his holy name. For the time is come for my decease; therefore pray, O my father, for me, that I may not be divided into two hearts or purposes; and that the Lord may strengthen me, until I depart from this world. And behold, I leave to thee the flock with which thou didst entrust me, and which thou didst hand over to me, and to those who were before me also, for thou art our teacher, O our lord; therefore be with us and with our children, according to the charge which the Lord Christ gave to thee».

Then Peter rose from beside the tomb, and lifted up his hands to heaven, and said : «O Son of God, Jesus Christ, Word of the Father, I pray and beseech thee to make to cease from us this persecution which is upon thy people, and to grant that the shedding of the blood of this thy |399 servant may put an end to the oppression of thy reasonable flock». Now there was in the neighbourhood of the tomb a dwelling-place, where lived a young virgin with her aged father, and she was at that moment standing to pray; and when her prayer was ended, she heard a voice from heaven saying : «Peter was the first of the apostles; and now Peter is the last of the martyrs». So when the holy father had finished his invocation, he kissed the apostle’s tomb, and the tombs of the fathers which were there also. Then he ascended to the soldiers, who saw his face as it were the face of an angel of God, and so they were afraid of him, and did not speak to him; for God does not abandon those who trust in him. Thereupon the saint raised his hands to heaven, and thanked the Lord, and made the sign of the cross on his face, and said «Amen». And he took off his pallium, and bared his neck, which was pure before the Lord, and said to them : «Do as you have been commanded». But the soldiers feared that trouble would befall them because of him. So they looked one at another, and not one of them dared to cut off his head, because of the dread which had fallen upon them. Then they took counsel together and said : «To him that cuts off his head each one of us will give five denarii». Now they were six persons; and one of them had some money; so he took out five and twenty denarii from among the coins and said : «He that will go up to him, and cut off his head, shall receive this money from me and from the four others». So one of the men |400 went forward, and summoned up his courage, and cut off the head of the holy martyr and patriarch Peter; that day being the 29th of Hatur. Now Peter had sat on the evangelical throne for eleven years. But as for that soldier who cast in his lot with Judas Iscariot, he took the money and fled, he and his companions, in fear of the people. And the body of the saint remained lying as it was far into the day, until the people who were sitting before the prison learnt what had taken place, and saw the hole in the wall. Then they went in haste to the place where he was, and found his body covered with his garment, and the old man and the young virgin sitting there and guarding it. So they joined the head to the body, and spread over it a linen cloth; and they collected his blood; and they stood there weeping.

And the city was in confusion, and was greatly disturbed, when the people beheld this martyr of the Lord Christ. Then the chief men of the city came, and wrapped his body in the leathern mat on which he used to sleep; and they took him to the church, and placed him there on the synthronus, until the celebration of the liturgy. And, when the liturgy had heen performed, they buried him with the fathers. May his prayers be with us and all those that are baptized! Amen. |401


When the Father Peter went to his rest, and the people of Alexandria were thus deprived of his presence, they sent and assembled the bishops together. And they made Achillas, the priest, patriarch instead of Peter, as he had charged them before his death. Then, when Achillas had taken his seat upon the apostolic and evangelical throne, a body of the people came to him, and prayed him to receive Arius. Accordingly he admitted their request, and made Arius deacon. But since Achillas received Arius, and thus disobeyed the command of his father Peter, he only remained in the see six months. And he went to his rest on the 19th of Baunah.



When Achillas, the patriarch, went to his rest, the people assembled and laid their hands upon the Father Alexander, the priest, as the Father Peter, the last of the martyrs, had charged them; and he sat upon the |402 episcopal throne. And some of the people came to him, and prayed him to receive Arius. But when Alexander, the excellent, saw Arius, he rejected him, and would not receive him, and said to those who interceded with him for that man : «The Father Peter, while he was in prison, said to me and to my brother Achillas : The Lord Christ has anathematized Arius; therefore receive him not. And when Achillas, my brother, disobeyed the Father Peter’s injunction, he only remained upon the episcopal throne six months. Therefore I will not receive Arius at all, since he is separated from us». So Arius remained in banishment under sentence of excommunication for many years. After that he went to Constantinople, and laid a complaint before Constantius, son of the blessed prince Constantine, describing how he had been treated, and declaring that he had repented and renounced his false doctrine; and he swore to this. And thus he continued to hide his guile in his heart, until God revealed to him his power over him, and his bowels gushed forth from his body, and so he perished, as it shall be related hereafter. For it was on account of Arius that the holy council at Nicaea took place, at which he was anathematized, and the orthodox faith was established, and the days of the fast and the day of the feast of Easter were fixed. And our Father, the patriarch Alexander, was president of that council. And after that, he went to his rest, holding fast to the orthodox faith. His death took place on the 22nd of Barmudah; and the period of his occupation of the see was sixteen years. |403



So when the blessed Father Alexander went to his rest, the Church was widowed for a few days. Then the people assembled and took counsel, and appointed the Father Athanasius, and seated him on the evangelical throne. And he wrote excellent treatises and many homilies; and he was called during his patriarchate the Apostolic, on account of the nobility of his deeds, which were like those of the Apostles.

In his days took place the council of Galatia at which Basil the Great, author of the Liturgy, was present, and in which they excommunicated the Arians, in the reign of Julian the misbelieving prince; and Jovian, the patrician, presided over this council; and Julian, the prince, was slain by the hand of the glorious martyr Mercurius; and after him Jovian the patrician was enthroned as prince, and gave rest to the Church during his reign. And Athanasius, the patriarch, endured many trials, and was sent into exile; for evil snares were laid for him, so that he was forced to leave his see by the frequent persecutions that he underwent: and he fled to Upper Egypt, and remained there for many years, and feigned himself a |404 workman, and disguised himself as a hired labourer, and did not disclose that he was patriarch. And the misbelieving princes, Valens and Valentinian, reigned eleven years. So when it was the Lord’s will to restore Athanasius to his see again, through this patriarch’s holy and accepted prayers, he destroyed those princes by an evil death, on account of what they had done against orthodoxy. And the Lord set up a believing prince, named Theodosius; and the Church rejoiced in his days, and there was tranquillity and security and peace.

When Athanasius returned to his see there was joy and gladness in the land of Egypt at his reappearance, because the Lord had counted the people worthy of the return of their shepherd to them. And this good spiritual shepherd remained on the throne of Saint Mark the evangelist forty-seven years, until he went to his rest on the 8th of Bashans, governing the Church, and subduing those who rebelled against the truth, and resisted the orthodox religion, and wearing as a garment the honour of the Lord Christ. So the people mourned for this apostolic shepherd of whom they were deprived.

And as for his history, he quitted his diocese three times, on account of the persecutions which overtook him, when the heretics took possession of his see; and his absence the third time lasted eleven years. And he wrote |405 from his exile to certain virgins in the city of Alexandria, saying to them : «Verily your bridegroom is Christ, the invisible and immortal one, so that, as long as you remain obedient to his love, you will not be widows. Know that I used to act as scribe for my father Alexander; and he never read the gospel in his cell or elsewhere seated, but always standing, with the light in front of him; for God most high had made him love to read the scriptures. So while he was one night standing and praying and reading in the gospel, behold, some nuns came, and asked leave to see him. Then they came up to him, and prostrated themselves before him, and said to him : There are in our convent certain virgins who fast during six days of the week continuously; but they do no work with their hands, by which something might be earned to feed the poor. Now we desire of thee, our father, that thou shouldst bid them work, and direct that their fast be kept in moderation. So he said to them : Believe me my sisters, I have never fasted for two whole days together, without breaking my fast during the day; but I only ate in moderation, and neither wearied my soul nor punished my body. For it is good that fasting should be in moderation, and drinking in moderation, and sleep in moderation. For if a man eats as he ought, he is strong for prayer; and so likewise if he sleeps in moderation; but to food there should be a limit, and to drink a limit, and to sleep a limit. So tell them to break their fast in moderation, and to work, for everything is good in moderation, that words may not be multiplied, and the beginning of them may not be forgotten». |406

This is what Athanasius the Apostolic wrote and reported of his holy father, Alexander. He declared also that his words were like honey to those that heard them, for he was full of the grace of the Lord Christ; and that it was reported that Arius had come to this Father Alexander, and prayed that he might enter to him. But Alexander said : «Tell him thus : My father charged me that I should not receive thee, and that thou shouldst not enter to me, and that I should not associate with thee. For my father bore witness that the Lord Christ showed him in a dream his garment rent by thee, and commanded him not to receive thee. Or knowest thou not that it is thy tongue that has separated thee from him by what thou hast said concerning him ? Therefore pray to the Lord Christ, the Saviour, and confess thy sin to him; and if he receive thee, then he will command me to receive thee, as he commanded Peter, my father, not to receive thee. For Christ has commanded that we should forbid none of those that believe in him to enter the church. But if a man has committed an offence, and has sinned, then we forbid him, until he repents and is converted; and then if Christ receives him we receive him».

So when Arius heard this he was angry, and went away, and collected to himself a great body of followers, and composed blasphemous treatises, and denied his faith with his tongue that deserved to be cut out, saying that the Son of God was created. And the council at Nicaea was held on account of him; and there the heads of the four sees were assembled to judge him, |407 namely the patriarchs of Rome and Alexandria and Ephesus and Antioch; and Constantine, the believing prince, sat with them. And they finally settled the orthodox faith, and the time of the Fast and of Easter. And the prince said to the bishops in council : «I pray you to make the city of Constantinople a patriarchal see, because it is the city of the prince, and likewise Jerusalem because it is the city of the true, heavenly prince.» So when they saw his humility, they did this as he prayed them. And they cut off Arius the unbeliever; and Constantine, the believing prince, wrote the excommunication of Arius the unbeliever in his own handwriting, saying therein that he had caused those to perish whom Christ bought with his holy blood. Then Arius fled to Africa, and found no rest in the days of Constantine, the prince, and in the days of Alexander the patriarch.

Now Alexander had brought up Athanasius excellently well. For he was the son of a principal woman, a worshipper of idols, who was very rich; and he was an orphan on the father’s side. So when he grew up she wished to marry him to a wife, but he did not desire that. Then she intrigued against him, that he might fall with a woman who was a sinner, that she might involve him in the mire of matrimony; but he would not do it, for the Lord was keeping him for great things. And she used to take beautiful girls, and adorn them and perfume them, and make them enter to him into his chamber, and sleep near him and solicit him; but when he awoke he beat them, and drove them away. For her constant desire was to marry him and to establish him in his father’s possessions |408 and wealth, but he would never consent. And she sent for a man who was a magician of Alexandria, a wise man among the Sabaeans, and informed him of her circumstances with regard to her son; so he said to her : «Let me eat bread with him to-day.» Thereupon she rejoiced, and prepared a great feast. And the philosopher accompanied her son, and they ate and drank; but when the morning came, he went to her, and said to her : «Trouble not thyself, for thou canst have no power over thy son, for he has become a Galilaean according to the doctrines of the Galilaeans; and he will be a great man.» She said : «Who are the Galilaeans?» He answered :. «The people of the Church, who have ruined the temples and destroyed the images.» Therefore when she heard this, she said within herself : «If I neglect him, he will go away from me, and I shall be left alone.» So straightway she arose, and took him with her, and went with him to Alexander, and related to him the circumstances of Athanasius her son, and all his history. Then she was baptized, and her son also.

And after a time she died, and Athanasius remained like a son with the Father Alexander, who educated him quietly in every branch of learning. And Athanasius learnt the gospels by heart, and read the divine scriptures; and when he was fully grown, Alexander ordained him deacon, and made him his scribe, and he became as though he were the interpreter of the aforesaid father, and a minister of the word which, he wished to utter. |409

So when Constantine, the believing prince, died in a good old age, Constantius his son was enthroned after him, but did not remain firm in the orthodox faith, only fearing and respecting the people. Then Arms found his opportunity, and aimed at taking hold of the prince, and drew him to his own mind, and corrupted his heart, and induced him to incline the empire to his doctrine, and led him astray, till he sent and summoned Alexander from Alexandria to Constantinople. For the prince did not know the power of Alexander, nor the cause for which he had anathematized Arius and removed him from the Church. Now Alexander had grown old and advanced in years, although he was strong in sense and sound in faculties; and Athanasius was his interpreter and scribe and mouthpiece, through the power of the Holy Ghost, on account of his knowledge of the orthodox faith. So the Father Alexander took his seat in the presence of the prince, who then summoned Arius; and Arius uttered his impure discourse, and multiplied his vile phrases. But Athanasius confuted him by the arguments which he delivered, and brought his discourse to naught. Thereupon Arius was troubled, and broke up the assembly, saying : «We will have another sitting.» And since Arius knew that he had no power against Athanasius, he gave money to the attendants at the royal doors, and settled with them that they should prevent Athanasius from entering with the others into the next assembly. So when the morrow came the prince commanded to bring them in; but when Alexander entered, the doorkeepers prevented Athanasius |410 the Apostolic from entering. When the prince had taken his seat, the patriarch being present also, Arius spoke and delivered a long discourse. So the Father Alexander turned to the right and left, but could not see Athanasius, his scribe; and therefore he was silent. Then the prince said to him : «Why dost thou not speak?»Alexander replied : «How shall I speak without a tongue?» So the prince knew that he meant Athanasius, and commanded to bring him in. But when Arius saw that Athanasius had entered, he went out hastily, and would not remain. Then Alexander said to the prince : «Know, O prince, that the cutting off of this Arius took place at the council; and it was not I alone that cut him off, but thy blessed father, the prince, and all the members of the council cut him off, and the prince wrote his anathema in his own handwriting. Therefore if thou wilt look at the letter of thy father, thou wrilt find that it is in his handwriting. Shall I then say of him that was excommunicated by the prince Constantme and the members of the council that I will absolve him? Nay, that would be an act of heresy on my part. For thy father in truth wrote his anathema and his excommunication in his own handwriting, at the council which took place at Nicaea.» So when the prince heard this speech, he was afraid of his brother, that if he should break the command of his father, his brother would find in that a pretext for plotting against him; and therefore he dismissed the Father Alexander, and restored him to his see. Thus Arius justly remained anathematized, and bound by the censures of the |411 Church, for he had supposed that he would succeed in obtaining his desires by his power over the prince, and by giving money to the attendants.

And the Father Alexander went to his rest with his fathers, after he had charged the priests and the people, at the time of his death, that they should seat Athanasius after him upon the throne. So they rejoiced at that, on account of their love for Athanasius. When he sat upon the apostolic throne, he drove the sect of Arius out of the Church, and brought forth the letter of excommunication which was in the handwriting of Constantine, the prince, and the members of the holy council, and read it in the church before the congregation. But when Arius heard of this, he was exceedingly angry, and his pride blazed up like fire, and he went to the prince, and said to him : «If Alexander, patriarch of Constantinople, will receive me by thy command, I shall attain my object.» So the prince summoned the patriarchy and said to him : «Behold, the patriarch of Alexandria has refused to receive Arius, and has disobeyed our command. But thou knowest that we have raised thee, and seated thee as patriarch upon the throne of Constantinople; and therefore it behoves thee not to resist us, as others do., since thou art good, but to take Arius to thyself, and receive him.» The patriarch answered : «Nay, the Church will not receive him, and it is not right that we should receive any except those who agree with her faith. For this man has declared that one of the Trinity is a creature, and has been rightly removed from the Church.» The prince rejoined : «That he does not do, |412 but on the contrary he acknowledges the Trinity.» The patriarch said to him : «Then let him write for me a confession of his faith in his own handwriting, so that I may know what he believes.» So the prince sent for Arius; for this was a thing from God most high; and he wrote a confession of the faith in his own hand, concealing his heresy in his own soul. Then the patriarch asked him to swear that no doubt of the truth remained in his heart; and so he swore to him. Then the prince said to the patriarch : «What remaining objection hast thou against Arius after that?» So the Father Alexander, patriarch of Constantinople, said to the king : «Verily the Father Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria, has read afresh at Alexandria the anathema pronounced against Arius, written in the handwriting of the prince Constantine, thy blessed father, and in the handwriting of the fathers of the council of Nicaea, and has banished his sect from his church. But if no misfortune happen to this Arius from to-day till Sunday, then I will receive him, and will invite him to association with the priests. »

Then Arius went away, and waited for Sunday. So when Sunday came he entered the church, having put on splendid garments, and perfumed and scented himself, and sat by the door of the sanctuary, among the ranks of the priests. But the patriarch and his friends had remained all through the week fasting, and standing before the Lord Jesus, and beseeching him not to reckon to them the sin of Arius; for the prince had sworn to Alexander, saying : «If thou wilt not receive Arius on Sunday after his oath, I will exact from the church a large sum of money». So when the clergy and the |413 people were assembled on that day in the church, while Arius was present, the father and patriarch performed the liturgy, though he was sad. But when the reader read, the bowels of Arius were moved; and he went out to a corner at a distance, that he might relieve himself, and all his bowels gushed out from his body. And as he remained absent from the congregation, they asked after him, but could not find him. So they searched for him, and discovered him sitting rigid, empty, and shrivelled, with all his internal organs lying before him. Then they brought word of this to the father and patriarch, and he marvelled thereat, and was silent, and thanked the Lord Jesus Christ, and glorified him who had passed judgment upon Arius, and destroyed him swiftly, on account of his false oath and his corrupt faith. Then he showed to the prince and the congregation all the truth of what the Father Peter, the martyr, patriarch of Alexandria had said.

So Alexander, patriarch of Constantinople, finished the liturgy on that day with joy and glory and praise, and sent to Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria, saying : «We glorify God and make known to thee, brother, that Arius has died a wonderful death, and his doctrine has been cut off, and his sect scattered.» But the prince was not satisfied with that, on account of the friends of Arius, namely Syrianus and George and their followers. These are they who made the assault upon the church of Alexandria. |414

For the prince gave to George five hundred horsemen of his army, and sent them with him, that they might make him patriarch of Alexandria. And he wrote to every city letters, in which he repeated the doctrine of Arius, that the Son of God was created; but not one in the land of Egypt would accept it, and the people continued to receive the communion from priests whom Athanasius had ordained. So this George entered into the church of Alexandria by guile; and many of the Christian people who followed the doctrine of Athanasius were killed by the soldiers who came with George, until the blood in the church rose up to their knees; and they plundered the vessels of the church, and violated the virgins who were in it.

Meanwhile Athanasius lay hid; and the people continued for a long time to communicate in caves and deserts and in the fields in all the provinces of Egypt as far as the Thebaid; for the Arians, who were friends of the prince, were spread over every place. And Serapion, bishop of Thmuis, wrote to the patriarch Athanasius and all the people, that they should keep themselves from the Arians. And after six years Athanasius showed himself, and went to the prince, thinking that he would kill him, and that he would receive the crown of martyrdom. So the prince commanded that he should be placed in a small boat, and that neither bread nor water should be given him, and that there should be no sailor with him nor anyone to guide the vessel, but that he should embark in it alone, and be sent out to sea; so |415 this was done to him. And the waves carried him, while God guarded and guided him, until he arrived at Alexandria unexpectedly on the third day. Thereupon the priests and people went out to him, and met him with joy and chanting, and so accompanied him until he entered the church, and expelled from it George, and those who believed in his corrupt faith. And Athanasius kept on that day a festival to the Lord; and the people rejoiced in all the provinces of Egypt.

And after seven years a man came whose name was Gregory, with whom were two thousand men who were soldiers ; and he pillaged the church, and remained in possession of the see four years. And Athanasius was arrested; and the prince delivered him to a man named Philagrius, an unbeliever and idolater, for he wished to kill him, and to kill Liberius, patriarch of Rome, and Dionysius, patriarch of Antioch, because those three were the fathers of the orthodox faith; but the Lord rescued them from his hand, and saved them. So Athanasius went away with Liberius to Rome, and did not cease to remain with him until Constantius died, and his son Constans reigned after him; and he was orthodox. And as soon as Gonstans took his seat upon the throne he commanded to restore Athanasius to his see.

At that time Cyril was patriarch of Jerusalem; and a great miracle was manifested by his hand, for a pillar of light appeared by the tomb of the Lord Christ our Saviour; and a multitude of the Romans witnessed it, for all |416 those that were in the city and its neighbourhood came and beheld it. And it remained from the third hour to the ninth; and the people hastened to see it from every place. And Cyril wrote to Constantius the prince, and informed him of this wonder. Now Constans the prince loved Athanasius; and when he returned to his see, he remained twenty-five years in tranquillity and peace, although before that time he had passed twenty-two years in the see, in exile and conflict and persecution.

And Constans died, and Julian, the misbelieving gentile and idolater, reigned after him, being the son of the sister of Constantine, the great prince, and began immediately to open the heathen temples. Julian lived at Antioch, because he was unworthy to dwell in the residence of the great Constantine; and when he went to the place of the idols, he took a hawk, which he gave to the priest of the idols, who offered it to Satan, and Julian took its heart and ate it. And he had a sister’s son named also Julian, an unbeliever like his uncle, who took the faithful priest Theodoret, and killed him, and then came to his uncle and informed him that he had put him to death. But Julian was angry with him, and said to him : «I did not desire that thou shouldst kill him; for the Christians take a pride in being slain, and say that they have become martyrs; but I am determined, if I return from fighting the Persians, that from everyone of the Christians shall be taken three ounces as a tax» ; meaning thereby that he would oppress the Christians, |417 so that they might worship his idols, because they would not be able to pay the tax. Now the Church was in those days rich, and had four pillars to sustain her, namely Athanasius the patriarch, and Anthony and Pachomius, the two monks, in Egypt, and Basil, the bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia; and Liberius was patriarch of Rome. And the aforesaid Basil was a friend of Julian, the prince, and was brought up together with him in the school; so when he heard his evil doctrine, he took with him two bishops, and went to visit him. So Julian looked at their garments and their beards, and then said to them : «What do you seek?» They replied : «We seek a good ruler to rule over us.» Julian said to Basil : «Where didst thou leave the son of the carpenter when thou earnest hither?» Basil answered : «I left him making thy coffin to put thee in.» The prince said to him : «If thou wert not my friend, and if I had not an affection for thee, I would cut off thy head forthwith.» Basil said to him : «Didst thou not love knowledge, and long after it? How then hast thou abandoned philosophy?» The prince replied : «I have studied it and learnt it by heart, and I have found it vile.» Basil said to him : «Thou hast not studied it well, nor learnt it by heart; for if thou hadst understood it, thou wouldst not have thought it base.» The prince answered : «I must imprison you until I return from fighting the |418 Persians, so that you may see what will happen.» Basil rejoined : «If thou go and return, God has not spoken in me.» Julian, the prince, said : «What have I to do with that lying Galilaean, who said, I will destroy the temple which the Jews built? For I will rebuild it as kings build; and it shall be evident to all men that his words, It shall not be built, are false.» Then he cast Basil and the two who were with him into prison.

So Julian marched into the land of the Persians; and when he passed by Jerusalem, he saw the temple in ruins, without a wall standing, for Vespasian, the prince, had demolished it when he destroyed the Jews, and took them captive. But Julian commanded that the ground should be cleared, and the temple constructed anew, and proceeded on his march after leaving behind him one to superintend the building. Then he who directed the work of rebuilding the place began by pulling down the remains of the temple, so that there was not left therein one stone upon another, as the holy Gospel says; and afterwards he began to reconstruct it as a heathen temple. And the builders used to work during the whole day until night-fall, and then they departed to their homes; but when they came on the morrow, they used to find all that they had built destroyed, though not by human hands; nay, they even found the walls torn up from their foundations, and cast down on the ground. So they went on for two months, without being able to rebuild anything. Then the Jews said to them : «Burn down these tombs, in which the Christians lie, and then the building which you erect will be strong.» This advice they followed, and set fire to the tombs, beginning with two |419 tombs, in which were the body of Eliseus, the prophet, and the body of John the Baptist; but the fire had no power over them at all, therefore they wondered greatly. And although the fire continued to be lighted for many days, yet it would not touch them. Then some of the faithful went to the governor, and offered him money, if he would empower them to take away the two bodies which were in the two tombs; and he accepted the money and gave them permission to do so. Then they carried away the two holy bodies, and sent them to the Father Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria; and when they were brought to him, he rejoiced over them, as if he saw them alive before him; and he took them, and concealed them in a certain place, until he should find means of building a church over them.

And while Athanasius was sitting one day, and many of the faithful were with him to hear his discourses which gave life to their souls, behold, he raised his eyes and observed certain mounds opposite to the place in which he was. So he said : «If I find an opportunity, I shall build upon these mounds a church to John the Baptist and Eliseus the prophet.» And Theophilus, the scribe of Athanasius, was sitting with him at the table, with others of the faithful, and heard him say these words, which therefore remained in his memory.

But as for Julian, the unbelieving prince, he marched on into Persia; and God delivered him into the hand of his enemies, on account of the saints |420 whom he had imprisoned and threatened before his march. His death was thus. He saw in the night an army which came down upon him from the air, and one of the soldiers struck him with a lance on the head so that it pierced him through the body. Then, knowing that it was one of the martyrs, he filled his hand with his blood, and threw it upwards, saying : «Take that, Jesus, for thou hast conquered the whole world.» And after blaspheming thus, he fell dead. Thus God delivered his people; and the Romans returned to their own country. And Basil, the holy man, three days before the death of Julian, being in prison, had awaked from his sleep, and said to the two who were with him : «I have seen to-night the martyr, Saint Mercurius, entering into his church, and taking his lance, saying : In truth, I will not suffer this unbeliever to blaspheme my God. And when he had said this, he disappeared from me, and I did not see him again.» Then both his companions said to him : «Verily I also saw the same thing.» So they said one to another : «We believe this firmly, that it is so.» And they sent to the church of the martyr, Saint Mercurius, that they might look for his lance which was kept there, to see whether it was still there or not; and as they could not find the lance, they were assured of the truth of the dream. And after three days the letters with the news of Julian’s death arrived at Antioch.

Then the chiefs of the empire assembled, and seated on the throne of the empire a man named Jovian, who was a believer and a holy man, fearing God from his youth. Accordingly at the moment of his election he released |421 the fathers from prison; and thus the saying of that pillar of the truth, Basil, to Julian, the unbeliever, was fulfilled, when he foretold that he would not return; as the prophet Michaeas predicted to Achab, the unbelieving king of the children of Israel; for God, the worker of miracles, was the God of both those men, namely of that prophet and of this holy father, and he accepted their words.

And Jovian, the prince, brought out the three fathers, and honoured them, and gave them many gifts, and sent them to their sees. And he used assiduously to attend the prayers in the churches. And he wrote to Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria, a letter, in which he said : «O true father and trusty shepherd, Athanasius, martyr of Christ who is God, my empire hopes much of you; therefore be of good courage, and take the priestly staff and drive out with it the ravening wolves from among the reasonable flock, namely those whose mouths are full of cursing and the bitterness of the poison of asps, for they are the slayers of souls.» This letter was read in the church at Alexandria, and Athanasius the patriarch sent it to the provinces of Egypt, where it was read in their churches, to comfort and strengthen the faithful. So the followers of Arius were driven away because they were hated; and they were filled with sadness; and after this some of them went to Jovian, the prince, and appealed against the Father Athanasius, but he would not attend to them because he knew their wickedness.

Then Athanasius grew old and advanced in age, after he had written |422 many homilies and treatises; and he wrote concerning Melchisedech, and concerning the Father Anthony, whose biography he related; and he wrote forty-seven Festal Epistles. He wrote also concerning the holy cross, how the Lord Christ was unknown to the devil thereby, so that he believed that he was a mere man; and when he came to him, the Lord pierced his nostrils with his finger, which is next to the little finger, and his thumb, putting them behind him : which means that he rent, shattered, and destroyed Satan’s power; showing us that he had overcome the devil’s strength by weakness, for the finger which is next to the little finger is one that a man never uses, and is the weakest of the fingers; for he did not kill him speedily, but weakened his power, as the Scripture says, in the 67th Psalm 4 : «Let God arise, and let his enemies be destroyed.» Athanasius also wrote many works on doctrine, and things that cannot be numbered. And he used to write to Basil; and Basil used to answer his letters, and used to address him as My Father. And he wrote also an epistle to Arsenius, to console him for Theodore his brother, when he went to his rest; and he said in it : «Would that all of us had obtained the place of Theodore thy brother, and would that our ship had anchored in his harbour!» And he wrote a treatise in which he proves that evil comes from the devil, (may God shame him!) and that there is no evil at all with God.

It is said that this Father Athanasius, the patriarch, was borne by an angel of the Lord on one of his journeys, when he was fleeing from the unbelieving princes, until he brought him to the place to which he desired to go, |423 as the angel carried Habacuc the prophet from Jerusalem to Babylon, and as Ezechiel the prophet was carried from Babylon to Jerusalem; for that is not difficult for God most high to do. And there was in Alexandria an idol named Serapis; and when Athanasius was consumed by fever, and his death drew near, he said : «If I find mercy with my Lord Christ, I will prostrate myself before him, and will not raise my face until the gate of this idol be shut.» Accordingly the priests of Alexandria bore witness that after seven days from the day of his death, the prince sent and blocked up the door of the temple in which the idol was.



When the patriarch Athanasius, the Apostolic, went to his rest, the bishops and clergy with the orthodox people assembled, and laid their hands upon a priest, named Peter, and appointed him patriarch. And many troubles |424 befell him through a misbelieving man named Lucius, the deaf-eared liar, who was appointed by the scribe Palladius, without authority from the prince. But after some time the matter reached the ears of the prince, and he despatched an officer who seized Lucius the unbeliever and Palladius the scribe, and sent them both into banishment; and they remained in exile until they died. And the Father Peter remained patriarch for eight years, and went to his rest on the 20th of Amshir.



And the people assembled, with the bishops, after the death of the Father Peter, and laid their hands upon a priest named Timothy, and made him patriarch. In his days took place the council of Constantinople, at which the number of the bishops who took part in it was one hundred and fifty; and they excommunicated Macedonius, the misbeliever, patriarch of Constantinople, where the council was held, and another, Eunomius, because those two had blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, and said, in their misbelief, |425 that he was created. This was in the time of Theodosius, the faithful prince. And Timothy remained all his days in tranquillity and peace. The period of his occupation of the throne of Alexandria was nine years and a half; and he died on the 7th of Abib, maintaining the orthodox faith.



When the Father Timothy died, the bishops and people assembled, and appointed Theophilus patriarch. He had been secretary to the patriarch Athanasius, and was righteous in his conduct before God and men. When he took his seat upon the patriarchal throne, news was brought to him that the idolaters had gone to Jerusalem, to open the house of their idols. So he sent some monks thither to drive them away; but the monks were unable to overcome the idolaters. Then Theophilus sent to the monastery of Pachomius in Upper Egypt, and fetched the religious thence, and despatched them to Jerusalem. And when they reached that city, they offered up prayers, |426 and the devils fled from the heathen temple; and that temple was made a habitation for the monks of Jerusalem. When the monks of Upper Egypt returned homewards, the patriarch Theophilus forced them to remain and eat with him by themselves, and entertained them from Sunday to the following Sunday; and he gave them a garden which had belonged to the patriarch Athanasius.

Then the Father Theophilus, the patriarch, remembered the words of Athanasius, which he uttered when he was eating with Theophilus, while he was his scribe. Athanasius said that it was his desire to clear away the mounds of rubbish which he saw, and to build on their site a church to the names of the Baptist and the prophet Eliseus. And at that time, a woman, who had two sons, cleared away the mounds, as his letter testifies, and a stone slab was discovered, upon which three thetas were inscribed; and her history is related in that letter, besides a story of Theophilus and the Angel Raphael, which is not written in this biography. And when Theophilus removed the slab, he found beneath it the money which he required; so he built the churches with it. He built in a certain spot beside the garden a church to which he translated the body of Saint John the Baptist, and the body of the prophet Eliseus; and many miracles were performed by them both on that day, and a number of people who had been sick were healed.

Theophilus wrote, in the course of his life, many homilies and treatises. |427 Now the emperor Valentinian had died after reigning twelve years; and Valentinian and Gratian, his two sons, reigned after him; and they were believers, and loved God, whose name is glorious. When Theophilus administered the sacrament of baptism, he used to behold a beam of light in the form of a cross over the font before him. But in a certain year, when he stood and blessed the font, during the week of baptism, the cross of light did not appear to him; and he was sad. And it was revealed to him that the reason was that he had not sent for the deacon Arsenius to pray with him, and that if he did not do so the light would not appear to him. So Theophilus dismissed the congregation that day, and sent to seek Arsenius, and found him in the neighbourhood of Ushmûn, and brought him to the church in haste. And the patriarch rejoiced greatly over the arrival of Arsenius, and was consoled; and the cross appeared once more over the font. Theophilus, when he saw the humility of this deacon, and his virtue, desired to ordain him priest; but Arsenius would not consent, and begged the patriarch to spare him that promotion, and to bless him, and let him return to his native country. So the patriarch granted the request of Arsenius.

Now Theophilus had a nephew, his sister’s son, named Cyril, whom he had instructed and brought up to the best of his power. And after some time the patriarch sent him to the Mount of Nitria, to the desert of Saint Macarius. And Cyril dwelt there five years in the monasteries, reading the books of the Old and New Testaments; for Theophilus urged him to apply himself assiduously to his studies, saying to him : «By these studies thou |428 wilt some day arrive in Jerusalem on high, which is the dwelling-place of the saints». For Cyril was the attendant of Theophilus in the patriarchal cell, and was ordained reader. The patriarch, when he sent Cyril to the desert, entrusted him to Serapion the Wise, and charged him to teach Cyril the doctrines of the Church, which are the true doctrines of God; so Cyril learnt all the Scriptures by heart. He used to stand before his teacher studying, with a sword of iron in his hand; and if he felt an inclination to sleep, he pricked him with the sword, and so he woke up again; and during most of his nights he would read through in a single night the Four Gospels, and the Catholic Epistles, and the Acts, and the first Epistle of the Blessed Paul, namely, that addressed to the Romans; and on the morrow after this, Cyril’s teacher would know, by looking at his face, that he had studied all night. And the grace of God was with Cyril, so that when he had read a book once, he knew it by heart; and in these years in the desert he learnt by heart all the canonical books. After this, the patriarch Theophilus sent to him and brought him back to Alexandria, and there Cyril dwelt with the patriarch in his cell, and read aloud in his presence; and the priests and learned men and philosophers were astonished at him, and rejoiced over him on account of the beauty of his form, and the sweetness of his voice which never changed, as it is written 5 : «I opened my mouth and drew in my breath». And all the people, when they heard him read, desired that he might never cease |429 reading, because he read so sweetly, and was so beautiful in countenance. And his uncle Theophilus loved him greatly, and thanked God that he had granted him a spiritual son who had grown in grace and wisdom. Cyril’s conduct was excellent, and his humility great; and he never ceased to study theology, nor to meditate upon the words of the doctors of the orthodox Church, Athanasius and Dionysius and Clement, patriarch of Rome, and Eusebius, and Basil, bishop of Armenia, and Basil, bishop of Cappadocia. These are the orthodox fathers whose works he studied. And he would not follow the doctrine of Origen, nor even take his books into his hand for a single day; but when he heard that one of the faithful had read Origen, he condemned and excommunicated him who had so read. When Cyril read in the Gospel the words 6: «Ask and ye shall receive; seek and ye shall find», he understood these words, and prayed to God for knowledge, and God gave it him. For he was like the bee, which goes forth to feed upon every plant and tree, and collects what is profitable for itself, until it has filled its bag with pure untainted honey.

Now the history of the Father Theophilus is very copious; for it contains the account of his dealings at Alexandria with Theodosius, the great prince; and the miracles which the Angel Raphael performed for him; and the affair of the widow and her two sons, whom he made bishops; and the three thetas |430 which were found written on the slab of stone which concealed the treasures that were discovered at Alexandria; and the wonders manifested by the Angel Raphael in the church which Theophilus built upon the island; and then the authority given to him by the prince over the property of the heathen temples, from Aswan to the confines of Syria, and in the provinces that lie between them.



When the patriarch Theophilus died, the Father Cyril took his seat upon the apostolic throne; and the bishops raised the Four Gospels over his head, and prayed over him, saying : «O God, strengthen this man whom thou hast chosen for us.» The first thing that Cyril did was to appoint priests to take charge of the churches throughout his diocese, so that they might not be drawn away from the spiritual food by which they were able to do that which pleases God; and he began his patriarchate full of the wisdom which gives life. And the prince, Theodosius the Younger, who loved God, followed the injunctions |431 of his fathers, and assembled the monks around him, and performed his devotions in their company; but he had no son, and his sister administered the empire. Now the patriarch Cyril never wearied of composing discourses and homilies by the power of the Holy Ghost, who spoke through him; so that most of the principal inhabitants of Alexandria appointed copyists to transcribe for them what the father composed. Then certain philosophers said to him : «Behold, here are discourses written by the prince Julian, in which he casts contempt upon Moses and all the prophets, and alleges that Christ was a mere man; and we used to read his books because it was the prince who wrote them. Julian says : The words of the Galilean will I make lies; for Christ said 7 : There shall not remain one stone upon another in the temple of Jerusalem that shall not be thrown down. But I will rebuild the temple, and falsify his words. Accordingly Julian destroyed what remained of the temple, that he might rebuild it; but after all he died without restoring any part of it. Thus the words of the Saviour were proved to be true, and we have learnt how great is his power and majesty because none of his words have been falsified.» Now when Cyril heard these things, he was much troubled, until he had found a copy of Julian’s works, and had read them; and he found them worse even than the works of Origen and Porphyry. |432 So when Cyril found that he was unable to collect all the copies of Julian’s works which were scattered here and there in the possession of different persons, he wrote to the prince Theodosius to inform him of this matter, saying : «If it is thy pleasure that Julian’s works be destroyed and his misbelief rooted out, order these books which he composed, and by means of which he led men astray, to be collected, and cause them to be burnt.» And the prince approved of Cyril’s letter, and glorified God, and acted in accordance with Cyril’s suggestions, and wrote a reply, in which he requested him to bless his empire. So the Father Cyril rejoiced, and composed homilies and discourses, in which he refuted the writings of the prince Julian, and condemned his actions, pointing out how the angel destroyed him in war like Saul; and much besides.

After this the news concerning Nestorius reached the ears of Cyril, and he was informed of the corrupt doctrine of that heretic. And Cyril was sad when he heard this, and said : «No sooner has the misbelief of Julian passed away, than the blasphemies of Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, have appeared.» So Cyril, when he had ascertained how false the opinions of Nestorius were, wrote to him as follows :

«Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria, addresses Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, with the salutation of the brethren in the true God, who has given us the grace which is one, setting all the world in agreement and |433 in one belief, by the shedding of his blood, which grace is the faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ».

The rest of the epistle is well known, and therefore has not been transcribed in this history. And Nestorius returned an answer which was full of blasphemies. So Abba Cyril wrote to the bishops, to inform them of the case of Nestorius; and they met the patriarch in synod, and said to him : «We have heard the reports concerning Nestorius, and there is a special difficulty in regard to his circumstances. For Arius and his followers, and Paul and Manes and the rest of the heretics were not patriarchs, and yet they led a multitude of men astray. How then can this man remain patriarch of Constantinople?»

Then the Father Cyril wrote to Nestorius a second letter in which he said many things, including the following words : «Verily I do not fully believe what is told me of thee». And he added exhortations and warnings, and taught Nestorius what is the right faith, and begged him to return from his heretical doctrine, and told him that he was not strong enough to oppose God who mounted the Cross for our sakes. The following is a transcription of Cyril’s letter:

«To my brother and fellow-minister. I did not believe at first what was reported of thee, nor that the contents of the letters, which came to me, and which were said to be written by thee, in reality proceeded from thee. For the lying doctrines which they contained were attributed to the saints; for they were letters full of blasphemy. And now I charge thee to cast away this blasphemy and these disputes; for thou hast no power to fight against |434 God, who was crucified for us in truth, and died in the body, although he was living in the power of his Godhead. For it is he that is sitting on the right hand of the Father, while the angels and principalities and powers worship him; and he is the eternal King, into whose hands the Father has given all things. And he is the Creator of all; so that thou hast no power to oppose him. I told thee what befell the Jews who withstood him, so that thou art not ignorant of it, and what befell the heretics, Simon Magus and the prince Julian and Arius. Behold what Job the truthful says 8: Look upon my wounds, and fear, and glorify God. I tell thee that the Church will not endure that thou insult her God; and she it is against whom the gates of hell shall not prevail; for thou knowest what trials she has undergone, and yet that no man has ever had power over her, because she is as a rock in her faith. Beware therefore what thou doest at this time. Farewell.»

When this second letter reached Nestorius, he wrote another answer like his first, full of blasphemies, and, when the Father Cyril received it, he again addressed an epistle to Nestorius, saying :

«If thou wert not a bishop, none would know of thee save thy neighbours and kinsmen; but since thou sittest upon the episcopal throne of the Son of God all know thee, through the fame of the Church. Thou hast attacked the Lord with words of blasphemy, which thou canst not confirm or prove. |435 For if thou searchest the Old Testament, thou canst not find therein that Christ is called a mere man, as thou pretendest; and in saying thus thou showest only that thou dost resist God thy Creator, who bought thee with his blood, namely God the Son, Son of God the Father. So he is called both in the Old and New Testaments. So he is called in the Gospel of John, which speaks of him as the Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of his Father 9. Matthew the evangelist also says 10 that Christ is Emmanuel, the interpretation of which is God with us, as Isaias says 11 in his prophecy. Mark testifies 12in his Gospel that when the high priest asked of Jesus : Art thou the Son of God? he answered : Yea, I am he; and hereafter you shall see the Son of God sitting on the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds to judge the living and the dead. Is not this testimony that of which Paul says 13 that it was the good confession which Jesus made before Pontius Pilate? This is the confession in which the Church perseveres, and for it myriads of martyrs have died, whose numbers cannot be counted. Hast thou not heard Gabriel saying 14 to our Lady Mary that he whom she should bear was of the Holy Ghost, and should be called the Son of God, who is over all, and glorified for ever and ever? Who is it that bears the sins of the world? Is it not Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, whom she bore for us, God the Word incarnate? If thou believest that he was a prophet like |436 Moses, yet neither Moses nor any of the prophets was able to bear the sins of the world; but it is the Prince of goodness, even Christ, who bears the sins of the world by his being raised upon the cross for our sakes. Hast thou not heard Paul, the apostle, saying 15 : He is not man, but he is God who became man? Again Paul says 16 that it was no angel or intercessor that saved us, but Jesus Christ; and God the Father raised him from the dead. Seest thou now how he confesses that he is God, and how he acknowledges the sufferings that he endured in his holy body? For if he be not God, how could Paul acknowledge that our salvation came not by a man nor from a man, nor by an angel or intercessor, but by God, even Jesus Christ, whose death he also acknowledges, when he says that the Father raised him from the dead? Thou seest now this wisdom, full of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. I have sent thee these letters, my brother, that thou mayest preserve them in the church. Thou art not without knowledge, so read the scriptures and learn from them these things and more besides. I have sent the brethren to thee, and have asked them to remain with thee, that thou mayest enquire diligently during a month, and search through the scriptures, and write to us of what befalls thee. Farewell.»

When Nestorius had perused this epistle, he would not receive the brethren who had brought it to him, nor would he accept the advice contained |437 in the letter or write an answer to it. So the messengers remained a whole month at Constantinople, as Abba Cyril, the patriarch, commanded them, and paid frequent visits to Nestorius; but he would not allow them to enter, and hardened his heart, as Pharao did.

Now Nestorius had been a friend of the prince Theodosius since the time when they were together in the school; and the prince used to say to Nestorius : «I have never heard any of the doctors of the Church teach according to thy doctrine.» But Nestorius would not listen to him. —- So the messengers sent to Nestorius by Cyril returned to him, and told him what had happened. Then Cyril availed himself of the weapons of his fathers, Alexander and Athanasius, and put on the breastplate of faith which his predecessors had handed down in the Church of Saint Mark the Evangelist; and he went out to war, as David did, with his heart strong in Christ who is God. And he wrote to the other bishops, and they sent a letter to the prince, begging him to allow them to hold a council to enquire into the teaching of Nestorius, and reminding him that his fathers, who had reigned before him, had at all times been supporters of the Church. «They constantly assisted the bishops to confirm the orthodox faith, that they might bless their empire. But now this Nestorius has divided the Church, and is not far from the error of idolatry, since he blasphemously teaches that Christ is a mere man, and no more than a prophet. Many prophets have come into the world, but none of them has ever been worshipped; so that if Nestorius |438 worships a man, he is become an idolater. When Peter said 17 to our Lord Christ : Master, it is good for us to be here, and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias, he said it because Christ was the Creator of those two and their God, and had manifested his glory to his disciples by bringing those two, the one from heaven and the other from the earth. Therefore we beg of thy imperial power that we may hold a council to enquire into this man’s doctrines. And we will pray for thee and for thy empire that thou mayest obtain salvation, O thou that lovest God!» When the prince had read this letter, he was moved by the power of the Lord, and, acting together with the patriarch, he summoned a council of the bishops to meet in the city of Ephesus. Accordingly, two hundred bishops assembled there from all the cities, each bishop taking with him two priests and a deacon from his diocese. They sent to Nestorius, demanding his presence; and they waited for him many days, but he did not appear; so they wrote to the emperor, informing him that Nestorius had not appeared but that they were waiting for him. And Nestorius requested the prince to send an official with him to protect him, saying : «The bishops are many, and I fear that they will kill me.» So the prince sent with Nestorius a patrician named Candidian, whose opinions agreed with those of Nestorius. When Candidian came to the council, he seized Cyril by night and imprisoned him in a place in which wheat was kept, together with his friends. And Cyril said to his friends : «What is this beneath |439 our feet?» They answered : «It is wheat.» «And he said : «Thanks be to God who has given us the victory; for they have put us into the house of life.»

Now Candidian had done this in order to support Nestorius, and to intimidate Cyril and the bishops with him, who had come together on account of him, that they might be scattered. But Candidian’s object was not attained, for the bishops had not met together without having devoted themselves to death, if it should be necessary, for the faith. So when Candidian was convinced of this, he released Cyril and his friends ; and as he was afraid lest the affair should reach the ears of the prince, who would cause him to be executed on account of it, he began to guard the roads, and prevented the reporters of news from writing to the prince any account of what had passed. Then the fathers continued for some time, in company with the bishop of Ephesus, assembling together and praying, while Nestorius remained separated from them, and would not join them. So they sent to him three bishops, requesting him to be present with them for prayer; but the soldiers under the orders of Candidian. would not allow these bishops to enter the house where Nestorius was. And as he thus held aloof from them, and the transactions lasted so long that the bishops were troubled at being so far from their dioceses, they were forced to expel that enemy of God from God’s Church. Accordingly they brought the four gospels, and also brought the blasphemous writings of Nestorius; and a learned deacon, namely Peter, who was the scribe of Cyril, and knew the blasphemous passages in the compositions of Nestorius, read them out briefly before the holy council; and when they heard them, his misbelief was proved |440 to them. So the bishops anathematized Nestorius and excommunicated him, and subscribed their signatures to the letter of excommunication, which was sent to him; yet he would not receive it, nor give up his misbelief. Then the bishops desired to send a copy of their letter to the prince, but were not able to do so because of those whom Candidian, the patrician, had set to guard the road. So they consulted together; and at last one of them took the letter, and put it inside a stout cane, and disguised himself, and started off and travelled to Constantinople. There he gave the letter to Dalmatius and Eutyches, the two monks. And they presented it to the prince; and the prince handed it to an eunuch, who received it from him, and gave it to the scribe that he might read it before the prince. And when he read it, the contents proved to be as follows :

«The Council assembled at Ephesus declares thus. We believe that Emmanuel is God Incarnate. But it is said that Nestorius does not share with us in this faith. Therefore he is a stranger to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, and a stranger to the tradition of the Apostles, and a stranger to the one Holy Church. Everyone who denies that Jesus is Emmanuel, that is to say, God Incarnate, is anathema. And everyone who denies that the Virgin Mary is the Mother of God the Word, truly Incarnate, is anathema. Jesus is the Creator, Jesus is the Conqueror, Jesus is the Saviour of all. To him belongs glory for ever. Amen.» |441

And when this confession of faith was read to the prince, he and all that were in his palace cried out, saying : «Jesus is Emmanuel, God Incarnate.» Then Eutyches, the monk, said to the prince : «Let thy majesty subscribe to his excommunication, and write to the bishops, commanding them to appear before thee, to salute thee and bless thy empire.» And the prince did so. Therefore the assembly of bishops journeyed to Alexandria, and thence to Contantinople. And the prince received them graciously, and sat in a lower seat than they, and prostrated himself before them, and received their blessing. But he commanded that Nestorius should be sent into banishment. So Nestorius was exiled in company with a chamberlain who conducted him to Egypt. And the bishops sent a letter to him before he started, in which they said : «Confess that the Crucified is God Incarnate, and we will receive thee again and obtain the repeal of thy sentence of banishment.» But Nestorius hardened his heart like Pharao, and returned no answer to them. And when he said to the chamberlain : «Let us rest here, for I am tired,» the chamberlain replied : «Thy Lord also was weary when he walked until the sixth hour, and he is God. What sayest thou?» And Nestorius answered : «Two hundred bishops assembled to make me confess that Jesus is God Incarnate, but I would not do so. Shall I then say to thee that God suffered fatigue?» And the chamberlain conducted Nestorius on his journey until he brought him to Ikhmîm in Upper Egypt; and there he remained in banishment, anathematized and excommunicated, until he died. |442

Now the holy Father Cyril wrote many epistles, among which was an epistle to Abba John, patriarch of Antioch, beginning thus : «Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth exult.» Cyril also wrote an epistle to Acacius, bishop of Malatia, beginning : «How sweet is an assembly of perfect brethren, who remind one another of spiritual doctrines.» And he addressed a letter to Valerian, bishop of Iconium, beginning : «The beloved brother and fellow-minister.» And he sent an epistle to the priests and deacons and monks and ascetes who remained firm in the orthodox faith after the excommunication and banishment of Nestorius; and an epistle to Eulogius, the Alexandrian priest who dwelt at Constantinople, beginning : «Men are wroth with us on account of the faith proclaimed by the bishops of the East.» And he wrote an epistle to Anastasius and Alexander and Martinian and John, and Paregorius, the priest, and Maximus, the deacon, beginning : «I greatly praise your love for learning.» And in every epistle Cyril makes mention of the orthodox faith, and exposes the errors of Nestorius and the corruption of his doctrine, pointing out that it is opposed to the faith of the holy fathers, and to that which is contained in the divine scriptures of the Old and New Testaments; and he proves this by genuine testimonies from the holy writings, in which the Holy Ghost speaks by the |443 tongues of the veracious prophets, the elect apostles, and the holy fathers and doctors of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Cyril also wrote letters to Nestorius, before his banishment, which are conceived in a spirit of benevolence, and in which Cyril exhorts Nestorius, and aims at conciliating and guiding him. Yet Nestorius would not listen to Cyril, nor return from his misbelief and hardness of heart and corrupt creed.



After the holy patriarch Cyril had departed to his rest, Dioscorus was made patriarch in the see of the city of Alexandria. He endured severe persecution for the orthodox faith at the hands of the prince Marcian and his wife; and they banished him from his see, through the partial action of the council of Chalcedon, and their subserviency to the will of the prince and his wife. It is for this reason that the members of that council and all the followers of their corrupt creed are called Melkites, because they follow |444 the opinion of the prince and his wife, in proclaiming and renewing the doctrine of Nestorius.

It was a custom of the ancients to write histories of their predecessors in every generation. In the time of the Israelites, Philo, the Pharian, and Justus and Josephus and Hegesippus wrote part of the life of Jesus Christ, and an account of the ruin of Jerusalem by Vespasian and Titus his son, and of what took place after them. And after that, Africanus and Eusebius wrote, and Mennas wrote of the trials and persecution endured by the pastors and their flocks in the days of the patriarch Abba Cyril the Wise, and what passed between him and Nestorius; also of what the Father Dioscorus after him suffered in the council of Chalcedon. But at that time the creeds were separated, and the sees were torn asunder, so that none was left to write histories of the patriarchs, and the practice of composing them was interrupted. But the Lord remains for ever. In this way no biography of the holy patriarch Dioscorus after his banishment has been found. He preserved the orthodox faith, which persists in the see of the evangelist Saint Mark to this day and for ever, until he received the crown of martyrdom in the island of Gangra, by the command of the prince Marcian; for it was in that island that Dioscorus died. |445


And after the militant Father Dioscorus, the patriarch, went to his rest, the Lord Christ raised up a patriarch, named Timothy, upon the episcopal throne of the city of Alexandria; and he suffered from hardships, and from warfare with the dissidents. He and his brother Anatolius were banished to the island of Gangra, like Dioscorus, for seven full years, but he returned by the grace of God, at the command of the prince, to Alexandria. His ordination took place in the days of Leo, the prince. He remained patriarch twenty-two years, and went to his rest on the seventh day of Misri.


So when Timothy went to the Lord, Peter the priest was ordained by command of God in the church of Alexandria, and was made patriarch. But the empire of the Romans remained established upon the ever-renewed memory of the impure council of Chalcedon; for it was not built upon the |446 foundation of the firm Rock, which belongs to God the Word who is Jesus Christ. And, after the consecration of Peter, patriarch of Alexandria, Acacius, patriarch of Constantinople, wrote to him many epistles which he sent to him, and letters to ask him to receive him to himself; for he rejected the council of Chalcedon, the members of which he called heretics, and the blasphemous Tome of Leo; and he likewise rejected the doctrine of Nestorius. Therefore Peter wrote letters to Acacius in order that he might be assured that his doctrine was sound to the core. And when they came to him he accepted them with joy and gladness, and showed them to those that wished among the believers in the orthodox faith; and then he wrote a synodical epistle and sent it to the blessed Peter. But there were certain bishops who were not present at the time when the letters were written by the two patriarchs, Peter and Acacius; and Satan (may God confound him!) stirred up trouble in the hearts of those bishops; and James, bishop of Sâ, became their chief, with Mennas, bishop of Munyat Tâmah. And they went to the city of Alexandria, and said to the patriarch : «How couldst thou receive Acacius, when he is one of those who were present at the Chalcedonian council?» So he answered them quietly and calmly : «I received him only because he abandoned that doctrine.» And he informed them of the epistles of Acacius which had come to him, which bore witness of his return to the truth, and of his confession of the orthodox faith; and he reminded them that he had sent the bishops to Acacius, that they might hear his expressions, according to the canon of |447 the Church. But they would not accept his words because pride was established in their hearts; and they separated themselves from the throne of the evangelist, Saint Mark, the apostle, saying in their ignorance, as the children of Israel said, that they had no portion with David, nor inheritance with the son of Isai 18. And since they were divided from the holy patriarch Peter, and would not enter under his obedience, the orthodox called them Those that had no head 19. Now the epistles written between the two patriarchs aforesaid formed fifteen books.

This Peter, when he became patriarch over Alexandria, met with trouble from the heretics. For they banished him, and delivered up his see to a man called Timothy, who is also named Anthony or Theognostus, and belonged to Canopus. Then followed John the Tabennisiote, whom they appointed after the death of Anthony. Subsequently, the patriarch Peter returned to his see with great glory; and the period of time during which he sat upon the patriarchal throne was eight years; and he died, in peace and great honour, on the 2nd of Hatûr. All his epistles are preserved in the Monastery of Father Macarius; and among them is an epistle of Zeno, the blessed prince, with the answer to it, in which are jewels of language, and words of holiness, and the confession of the orthodox faith. |448


When the holy Father Peter went to his rest, Athanasius was appointed. He had been priest in charge of the church of Alexandria; and now he was made patriarch over it. He was a good man, full of faith and the Holy Ghost; and he accomplished that with which he was entrusted; and in his days there was no disorder or persecution in the holy Church. He remained seven years, and went to his rest on the twentieth of Tût.


When Athanasius the Younger went to his rest, John the Monk was appointed, and made patriarch upon the evangelical throne; and he walked according to the lives of the excellent fathers who preceded him. The Church and the people and the inhabitants of the country-districts were in his days in security and peace through the grace of the Lord Christ. And he lived in the time of the holy Zeno, the blessed prince; and on |449 account of his faith and goodness the prince commanded in his clays that there should be carried to the monastery of Saint Macarius, in the Wadi Habib, all that the monks needed of wheat and wine and oil, and whatever they required for the furnishing of their cells. So Abba John, the patriarch, accomplished his ministry in security and tranquillity in the days of Zeno, the blessed and faithful prince, and went to his rest on the 4th of Bashans, after remaining eight years as patriarch, and was gathered to his fathers.


So when Abba John, the patriarch, went to his rest, there was appointed instead of him a man who was a hermit, called John; and this was by the command of God. This John was a kinsman of the departed patriarch. And he wrote in his days many books and homilies. And God shewed forth in his days a wonderful thing, and raised up royalty and priesthood together for the Church, in the persons of the prince Anastasius, the pious believer, and the patriarch Severus, the excellent, clothed with light, occupant of the see of Antioch, who became a horn of salvation to the orthodox Church, and who sat upon the throne of the great Ignatius. |450

And Severus wrote a synodical letter to the Father John, the patriarch, concerning the unity of the fnith, wherein he announced the agreement between them in the one orthodox creed of the holy fathers. So John, the patriarch, and his bishops accepted this letter, and read it in their churches throughout the land of Egypt; and they offered prayers and thanked the Lord Christ, who had restored the divided members to their places. And with great joy and spiritual exultation did John, the holy patriarch, write to the great Severus an answer to his letter in canonical language, full of the orthodox faith, which is that of the doctors of the Church, as the blessed Severus had written to him. And when the envoys of Severus returned to him with this gift, which was a fitting reward for his friendship, he rejoiced and was glad exceedingly. John remained patriarch eleven years, and went to his rest on the twenty-seventh of Bashans.


And when the Father John, the patriarch, went to his rest, he had a scribe whose name was Dioscorus, and who was a man perfect in all his |451 relations, humble and good; and there was none like him in his time. So they ordained him patriarch upon the evangelical throne. Then he wrote a synodical letter to the Father Severus, in which he informed him of the death of the blessed Father John, and announced that he had taken his seat after him upon the apostolic throne. So Severus wrote an answer to him, to console him, and to confirm him in the orthodox faith, and to charge him to teach the people, and not to cease teaching, and to encourage him in this work. And Dioscorus remained patriarch three years; though in another history it is related that he continued one year and a half; and he went to his rest on the twenty-seventh of Babah, and was gathered to his fathers.


Then Timothy took his seat as patriarch on the throne of Alexandria. And Anastasius the believing prince died; and they raised up after him an evil man, a heretic, whose name was Justinian, that he might govern the empire. When Justinian took his seat upon the throne, he employed all his efforts to make the orthodox believers return to the faith of the Chalcedonian council; and the first thing that he began with was that he seized the holy |452 patriarch Severus. And Justinian assembled a council in the city of Constantinople, on his own initiative, at which were present Vigilius, patriarch of Rome, and Apollinaris, whom the prince had made patriarch over Alexandria, and Eutychius, patriarch of the city of Constantinople, and the bishops who were under their jurisdiction. Moreover Justinian sent to fetch the Father Severus, the patriarch, and the bishops of the East; for he thought that he could conciliate the mind of the holy Severus, and incline him to his doctrine, so that all the bishops might obey him, because they firmly believed in Severus and in his faith, and so they might acknowledge the prince’s evil doctrine. But the great Severus paid no heed to the prince. And Severus, with his bishops, went to Constantinople that he might confirm the faith; for he thought that that unbelieving prince would be converted from his corrupt doctrine. So when the Father Severus arrived at Constantinople, then the prince at first honoured him greatly, and exalted his rank, and spoke good words to him, seeking from him that he should make concessions to him with regard to the Tome of Leo, by adopting his faith. But Severus, God’s champion, had placed in his heart the words of Peter the Apostle 20to Simon the Magician : «Let thy gifts perish with thee, for I see that thou art full of bitterness, even more than the serpent.» And Justinian the prince was like Nestorius; and one day he commanded that the bishops, falsely so called, should assemble for that council. But neither the Father Severus, the valiant one, nor any of |453 his bishops would be present with them, for he said : «If they will not first anathematize the Tome of Leo and the impure, contemptible council of Chalcedon, I will not consent with them to the doctrine of unbelief.» Then things were done by the prince which this book is too small to relate, lest the narrative should grow too long by recording them. So when the command of the prince reached Severus, and yet he did not meet the bishops in council nor go to join them, they brought trials upon him, and persecutions came upon him.

But after two years, at the request of the believing princess, Theodora, the prince left Severus alone, and gave him up to her; and so she sent him back to his see.

And in those days Timothy was at Alexandria. So when Severus, the patriarch, and his bishops, who were from the East, were driven away from Antioch, and came to Egypt, those bishops came to the city of Alexandria. And many nuns, who were virgins, were driven out of the monasteries. And the Father Severus, at the time of this trouble, was fleeing from city to city, secretly or openly, and from monastery to monastery. And he wrote to the bishops, his companions, who were at Alexandria, and consoled them, and encouraged them to have patience, and charged them to endure the persecutions with fortitude. And there was with them one who was no true bishop, whose name |454 was Julian. This man plainly showed that he was a partaker in the council of Chalcedon, because he divided the Lord Christ, who is One, into Two, arid made him into Two Natures after the Ineffable Union. And when he found an opportunity in the absence of the Father Severus, he wrote a Tomarion, with an evil purpose, addressed to certain sick and intoxicated people, in which he expresses his approval of the faith of Eutyches, the unbeliever, and Apollinaris and Manes and Eudoxius, the unbelievers; and he filled it also with the blasphemous creed of those who believe in the doctrine of the Phantasiasts, and deny the lifegiving Passion of Christ the Lord. And he sent this book ahout Egypt, and to the monks of the desert. And they received him, and fell into the snare, except seven persons, whose hearts God enlightened, and so they would not accept it; for they heard a voice saying : «This is the impure Tomarion.» Then those who had fallen into the error of Julian rose up against them, and killed two of them. So the rest were scattered, and began to celebrate the liturgy in their cells in the Monastery of Saint Macarius and in other monasteries. And this was the cause of their separation, and of the prevalence of error in the four monasteries and in the hermitages. Then by the power and grace of the Holy Ghost, assistance came to the five monks who remained of the seven, and so they prevented the other monks from accepting the Tomarion. But the source of this error, Julian, did not cease to send his writings into the country to lead men astray and draw them to himself. |455

So when the Father Severus learnt this, by the power of the Holy Ghost which dwelt in him, he wrote to every place, in order that a true account of the facts might be disseminated, and that Julian’s true meaning might be made known. For he informed men in his letters that Julian was an evil serpent, filled with blasphemy. And Severus bestowed his care on those that were afflicted with this plague, that he might heal them, and encouraged those that did not follow the Tomarion, from which there arose trouble and antagonism.

And meanwhile the Father Timothy, the blessed patriarch, went to his rest, being established in the orthodox faith. For he fought on its behalf, like the Father Severus, and refuted Julian and all his doctrine. The period during which Timothy remained patriarch on the throne of Alexandria was seventeen years; and he died on the 13th of Amshir.


By the command of God, the bishops and orthodox people assembled after the death of Timothy, and, by the dispensation of the Lord Christ, they ordained the holy Father Theodosius patriarch. He was a virgin, and a |456 master of the literary style used in ecclesiastical writings. But, after a short time, the hater of good raised up a trial for him, and stirred up trouble among evil people of the inhabitants of the city, the masters of vile arts. For there was a man who was old and advanced in age, and whose name was Gaianus; and he was archdeacon of the church of Alexandria; and he was standing, at the time of the ordination of the Father Theodosius as patriarch, among the bishops and priests and chief men of the city, until they had ordained him, and written his diploma of consecration, and promoted him to the degree of primate over the apostolic diocese, and ratified his appointment with the consent of all Christian and God-loving people. But after that, certain persons led the archdeacon astray, and changed his thoughts, in his simplicity, and gave him counsel, saying : «This degree and this promotion are thy due, and it is not lawful for anyone to be promoted before thee.» Thus they insinuated their evil suggestions into his mind little by little, until he accepted their advice. So they took him, and went with him to the house of a priest, named Theodore, who was an evil-doer and had much wealth; and there they ordained Gaianus, the archdeacon, as patriarch. And there was with them, assisting them, Julian, the corrupt of faith, in agreement with Theodore the priest; for Theodosius the blessed, when he became patriarch, had anathematized Julian, because |457 he was the refuge of the heretics. Then Gaianus went to the governor, and to the commander of the forces, and offered them bribes, and won their hearts by his many gifts, until they were induced to stir up great trouble against the Father Theodosius, the patriarch, and against the Church, and drove out the holy Theodosius from the see of Alexandria to Hierasycaminus, where he remained six months. And the governor hid from the prince what they had done to the patriarch, and also that they had ordained another in his place, and all that was done by Julian and Theodore and Gaianus, who joined together against him. But the wise Severus, the patriarch, used to call Theodosius brother and helper and partner in the one true evangelical work, and used to console and encourage him in his sufferings for the orthodox faith, comparing him to the great Paul the Apostle, when he was first chosen and first believed in Christ, and reminding Theodosius how Paul’s family and friends rejected him, and how the believers let him down from the wall in a basket, so that he could flee from Damascus. For the Father Theodosius suffered continual trouble and persecution from the heretics. And this was in the year 242 of Diocletian. Now Severus, the patriarch, was hiding himself from Justinian, the heretical prince, in a Christ-loving town, called Sakhâ, in Egypt, at the house of a man, named Dorotheus, who took care of the affairs of the aged monks who had rejected the error of Julian the unbeliever. And the said |458 man was allowed to visit the governor of Egypt, Aristomachus, and begged him to take pity on the aged among the monks who were in the desert, by granting them the favour of authorizing them to build churches and towers, instead of those that had been taken from them by Julian and his companions, that so he might give rest to the monks. Accordingly the governor gave orders to Dorotheus to do as he wished; and Dorotheus returned thanks to God most high.

Severus, the patriarch, had composed books in which he refuted the heresy of those that believe in the Two Natures, and brought to naught most of those that hold this view, by the glory of God, and through the instructions that he gave with his tongue, which was a spiritual sword. And he continued to teach concerning the books of divine wisdom, until he grew old, and the days of his removal from trouble to rest grew near. For he remained in the midst of struggles, and enduring persecution from the heretics for thirty years, upon the throne of Antioch, and amid opposition and distress for six years; and he did not cease from this life of fighting for the orthodox faith until death. So when he had accomplished his course, still preserving the true faith, he went to the Lord Christ whom he loved, and received the crown of victory with the holy fathers in the assembly of the heavenly virgins.

And as for the blessed Father Theodosius, he was greatly troubled by the heretic Gaianus and his followers. But John, the governor of |459 Alexandria, and others were struggling to save him from them: and so they consulted with the fathers, and took Theodosms secretly, and put him on board of a boat on the river, and conveyed him to a town called Malij, within the province of Egypt, and there he remained two years.

And the laity of Alexandria, and the clergy and officials of the city, were troubled because their patriach was taken away from them, and said to the governor : «Why hast thou removed the good shepherd Theodosius from us?» Then the governor was afraid of them, and dreaded lest the affair should be reported to the prince; and so he sent Gaianus, the heretic, out of the city. After that, one of the officials went to carry out some business which he had with the prince, and so he made known to the faithful princess Theodora that the blessed Theodosius had been banished from the city of Alexandria, whence she herself had originally come. So she went in to the prince calmly and wisely and humbly, and informed him of all that had happened, without his sanction, to the Father Theodosius, patriarch in the city of Alexandria. Then, when the prince heard that, he rejoiced in his heart at the trouble and conflict which the orthodox had endured, because they would not consent to share the corrupt and impure faith of Chalcedon, which he held. But afterwards, wishing to please the |460 princess, and to delight her heart, he gave her power to do by his authority in this matter whatever she desired. So she sent to the city of Alexandria, to enquire into the matter, and to restore the Father Theodosius, the patriarch, to his see; and she bade the messengers inform her how his appointment as patriarch took place at his ordination, and whether it was accomplished according to the canon of the Church. So when her messengers came to the city, according to what she commanded them to do, they enquired into what she bade them enquire into, and examined the circumstances of his ordination, and sought to discover whether it was accomplished according to the canon of the Church; and they also enquired how Gaianus, the archdeacon, had been appointed, and which of them was the first to be consecrated. Therefore the governor, and the commander of the forces, in return for the gifts and bribes which they had received, suborned certain persons who cried aloud saying : «Gaianus was the first to be ordained.» Their words, however, were not confirmed; for one hundred and twenty men, of the priests and officials of the city, subscribed their signatures to a statement that it was Theodosius who was the first to be ordained.

Then they assembled together, and the help of the Lord Christ was with them, and the officers and military chiefs of the prince, who were his envoys and trusted counsellors, were present, and all the Alexandrians were assembled with them in the holy church. And they brought the holy |461 gospels and the prince’s decree to which his seal and image were attached, and they introduced the Father Theodosius, the blessed patriarch, and the body of bishops who had been present at his consecration; and they separated them, and questioned them one by one, and wrote down what they said. And their confession proved true, in each case, for they all stated, without hesitation or discrepancy, that it was Theodosius, the blessed, who was ordained first, with the consent of the bishops and people, according to the canon of the Church; and that two months after that they heard that Gaianus had been made patriarch. Then Gaianus came forward before the assembly, and confessed to them that the statement was true, and asked pardon for what he had done. And the assembly begged of the blessed Father Theodosius to receive Gaianus, and prayed him to accept his repentance, on condition that he would write in his own handwriting that he had done this in contradiction to the ecclesiastical canon, and that he would remain in his office of deacon, becoming archdeacon again, as he had been before, and would humble himself and submit to the Father Theodosius, and obey him till the time of his death; and Gaianus consented to do all this. And they all set their seals to this statement as being true and veracious; and the whole assembly rejoiced, and glorified God, and thanked him because their good shepherd Theodosius, the patriarch, had returned to them, and had taken his seat upon his throne, to rule the Church and the people in peace. |462

And as for Julian and Theodore and Manes and all those that dissented, and their followers, the name of heretic was established as their due, for they did not repent; but Gaianus submitted to the obedience of Theodosius, the patriarch.

So when the affairs of the Church and the faithful Christian people were well established, the Father Theodosius rejoiced, and wrote letters in which he thanked the prince and princess; and these letters he sent by their messengers, namely Aristaenetus and Nicetas and Philodorus, whom he thanked for what they had done. And when the envoys arrived, and delivered the letters to the prince, and made known to him all that had happened, his thoughts were despondent and troubled. For he thought : «Behold, I have given up the throne of Alexandria to Theodosius; and yet, even if I bestowed upon him in addition all the provinces of Egypt and Africa and all other countries, he would never agree with me in the creed which I prefer, so that the whole Church might be of one faith.»

Then the prince Justinian, after that, took thought, and wrote to the governor and officials of Alexandria, and to the Father Theodosius, with the view of attracting him by the hope of reward, praying him to receive the Tome of Leo, and yield to him on that point, and promising in that case that he should have the two offices, both the civil patriarchate, and the civil governorship, and that all the bishops of Africa should be under |463 his obedience, and that he should have the command over all that territory; «but» added the prince, «if he will not obey nor consent, then let him be driven out of the Church, and depart whithersoever he will; for he that does not agree with me in my faith shall have no prelacy either over people or Church».

But when the blessed father and patriarch Theodosius, the confessor of Christ, heard the letter and proposals of the prince, he exclaimed in the presence of the assembly, and of the governor and envoys : «The holy gospel says 21 that the Devil took the Lord and Saviour, and led him to the summit of a high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of it, and said to him : All this is mine, and if thou wilt worship me I will give it to thee. So likewise what you promise me will be the destruction of my soul, if I do as you propose, and I shall become thereby a stranger to Christ, the true king». And he raised his hands before the envoy sent by the prince, and before the governor and that great assembly, and said : «In truth I anathematize the Tome of Leo and the council of Chalcedon; and whoever acknowledges them is anathema henceforth for ever. Amen.» Then he said to the governor and to all the prince’s troop : «The prince has no power except over my body; but the Lord Jesus Christ, the true and great prince, has power over my soul and body together. And now behold the churches are before you |464 with all that they contain, therefore do whatever you wish with regard to them. But as for me, I follow my fathers who have preceded me, the doctors of the apostolic Church, Athanasius and Cyril and Dioscorus and Timothy, and those who were before them, whose deputy I am, although unworthy.» Then Theodosius arose and went out, saying : «Let those that love God follow me. For I came forth from my mother’s womb naked, and I shall return to it naked. And he that loses his life at this time for the Faith, shall save it.»

So they took him to the palace, where they guarded him for a day and a night; but when the morrow came, they sent him away, as the prince had commanded in his letter, saying : «Let him go whithersoever he pleases.» Therefore he went out from the city, and the power of the Lord Christ guided him; for Aristomachus provided for his needs, and prepared for him all that he required, and carried him in a boat to Upper Egypt, where he remained teaching the people and the monks in the monasteries, and confirming them in the orthodox faith, and encouraging them to, endure the conflict until death.

And the prince’s envoy returned to him, and made known to him all that had happened, and how Theodosius, the patriarch, had gone forth from the city, and would not accept any of the offers made by the prince. When the prince heard that, he and all his attendants were astonished that the patriarch had rejected that post of governor, and had disputed the royal command, and remained firm in the faith. Then Justinian |465 thought within himself and said : «If I leave him where he is, then all the people will follow his faith, and he will not allow them to accept the Tome of Leo.» So he wrote a letter full of assurances and promises to the patriarch Theodosius, declaring that no pain nor damage should come to him from him, but all good and kindness; and he sent this letter by a scribe, to whom he said : «Treat him courteously until thou bringest him to me, and say to him : The prince desires to confer with thee.» So when the blessed patriarch had perused the prince’s letter, he prayed for the help of the power of the Lord Christ, and took with him of the clergy certain wise men, learned and excellent; and they embarked in a ship, and journeyed until they arrived at Constantinople. There Theodosius entered to the prince and princess, who, when they saw his serenity and humility and excellence, received him kindly, and lodged him in chambers which they had prepared for him and his companions. Afterwards the prince sent for him a second time, and a third time, until the sixth time, and each time he addressed him courteously, and desired of him that he should yield to him in confirming the council of Chalcedon, and gave him many marks of honour and priority and precedence. But Theodosius said : «Neither life nor death nor dearth nor nakedness nor sword will turn my heart from the faith of my fathers; nor will I abandon a jot or tittle of what my fathers, the inspired doctors, wrote before me, those shepherds of the reasonable flock of Christ, from Mark the evangelist |466 to the day on which I was made a deacon by the Father Timothy, after whom I became patriarch by the dispensation of God.»

So when the prince could not draw Theodosius to his doctrine, he left him and sent him into banishment in disgrace. But he showed favour to the clergy of Alexandria, and caused Mennas, patriarch of Constantinople, to ordain for them a man, named Paul of Tinnis, that he might be patriarch on the throne of Alexandria, and sent him, accompanied by a troop of soldiers, to the city of Alexandria. But when Paul arrived there, not one of the inhabitants would receive him; for they said : «This is the new Judas!» And he remained a year, during which none would listen to him, nor would any communicate from his hand, except the envoy who accompanied him, and the soldiers who arrived with him, and the governor and his attendants only. And the people of the city used to insult Paul, saying : «This is Judas the betrayer!» So he wrote to the prince to make known to him what had happened to him, and how they fled from him as sheep flee from a wolf; and he sent the letter by a patrician. Then the prince was enraged, and sent a letter by another patrician, in which he commanded that the doors of the churches in the city of Alexandria should be shut and sealed with his seal, and guards set before them, so that no one at all might enter. When that sinful letter arrived in the city, there was great sadness on account of it, and anguish and unbounded sorrow that cannot |467 be described, upon the orthodox people. And they remained in this condition for a whole year, without communion, or church to pray in, or place to be baptized in. But the letters of their blessed Father Theodosius came to them from his place of exile, reminding them of the faith, and consoling them, and encouraging them to patience. So when their trouble increased, an assembly of the orthodox met together, priests and laymen, and took counsel together as to building a church in which they might take refuge, so that they might not be like the Jews. And they did what they proposed, and built a church by the power of Christ, in the western part of Alexandria, in the place called the Pillars, or the Serapeum; and this church is the Angelion, which they built secretly at the hundred and five steps. And another congregation of the people also built another church, in the name of Cosmas and Damian, to the east of the amphitheatre, and a little to the west of the colonnade; and they finished it in the year 278 of Diocletian. When the prince learnt this, he sent and opened all the churches, and put them under the authority of the Chalcedonians. So when the blessed Father Theodosius learnt that there remained to him no other than these two newly-built churches, the church of the Angelion, and the church of Cosmas and Damian the Martyrs, he sighed and wept, because he knew the people of Alexandria, and that they loved pomp and honour, and he feared that they would depart from the orthodox Faith, with a view to gaining honour from the prince. And he used to pray, saying : «O my Lord Jesus Christ, thou |468 didst buy this people with thy precious blood, and thou providest for them; therefore remove not thy hand from them; but thy will be done!» And Theodosius remained twenty-eight years in banishment and otherwise, and in Upper Egypt four years, preserving the orthodox faith. And he composed of homilies and doctrinal treatises during his patriarchate, which lasted for thirty-two years, too many to be counted.

Theodosius was removed, in the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ whom he loved, on the 28th day of Baunah; and he received the crown of victory with the assembly of the saints in the land of the living for ever.

And let us, the believers who remain in the orthodox faith, and are counted worthy to be called Theodosians after his name, supplicate and implore God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, that we may have spiritual thoughts, and encouragement, while we keep the right faith without wearying, as it was kept by this holy father and prelate, who confessed before heretics, kings and princes and authorities who lived at that evil time, and that our life before him may be without offence, and that we may not turn aside from his will, and that we may have a full share together with him in the kingdom of heaven, by the grace and mercy and compassion of our God, the Lover of Mankind, Jesus Christ our Lord and |469 Saviour, to whom is due glory with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the Giver of Life, now and always, and for ever and ever. Amen.



When the patriarch Theodosius was banished by Justinian, the prince, there was set up instead of him, though he was still alive, Paul of Tinnis, who was appointed at Constantinople. So this custom began for the patriarchs of the Melkites, that they should be ordained at Constantinople, and then proceed to Alexandria. And after a short time the Lord destroyed Paul of Tinnis by an evil death; and they appointed in his stead Apollinaris, who also took possession of the church, by the prince’s authority; and he ordered that none of the believing bishops should be seen in the city of Alexandria. At that time there was union between the Church of Antioch and the Church of Alexandria in the orthodox faith and in Christian love; for Theodosius confessed before the prince, both he and those who were with him, that he was in union with the Father Severus, patriarch of Antioch, |470 and said : «I accept all that was said by Saint John the Golden Mouth, and by the wise Cyril.»

And when Theodosius went to his rest, Apollinaris, the hypocrite, rejoiced greatly, and made a great feast for the clergy and people of the city; for he thought that they would conform to his creed, because not one of the fathers and bishops was able to show himself, neither in Alexandria nor in Antioch, on account of what the heretical prince had commanded. But, by the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, Alexandria was governed by an excellent and philanthropic man, who had thrown in his lot with the orthodox; and therefore he commanded that they should ordain a patriarch for themselves secretly, in succession to the Father Theodosius. And he said to them : «Go out to the Monastery of Az-Zajaj, as if you wished to pray there, and appoint over yourselves him, whom you shall elect, as patriarch.» So they thanked God, and glorified the Lord Christ, and sent to the northern cities of the land of Egypt, and summoned three bishops, and went out with them to the Monastery of Az-Zajaj, where they ordained a man, who was a priest, named Peter, as patriarch. And the people received consolation through him, and their faith was strengthened; but they could not bring him into the city openly, through fear of the prince, and of Apollinaris, the patriarch of the heretics. So his residence was outside Alexandria, at a |471 distance of nine miles, at the church dedicated to the name of Joseph; and they used to carry to him all that he needed; but the prince knew nothing of him.

And after this the thing became known, that Peter had become patriarch instead of Theodosius the deceased; and when Apollinaris learnt this, he was exceedingly angry, and wrote to the prince to inform him of what had happened. But before his letter reached Justinian, the prince, at Constantinople, the Angel of the Lord smote him and he died; and his death was evil like the death of Herod.

And as for Peter, he was well formed and of beautiful countenance, adorned with every noble deed, loving those in whom was the knowledge of God. For this reason he sought a man excellent and learned in the holy canons, that he might be his scribe. So they pointed out to him a monk who was a deacon, and whose name was Damian, in the Monastery of Tôn Paterôn, and this man was a skilful writer; and the Father Peter, the patriarch, went to the monastery, and talked with Damian, and asked him to help him and labour with him in the works of the Church. And the patriarch begged him and persuaded him to remain with him in the monastery as if he were a bishop, since he could not reveal that he was patriarch, and was not able to enter into the city of Alexandria openly. And the deacon and monk, |472 Damian, consented to do this, and obeyed the patriarch in what he bade him accomplish.

And there were in that place six hundred flourishing monasteries, like beehives in their populousness, all inhabited by the orthodox, who were all monks and nuns, besides thirty-two farms called Sakatinâ, where all the people held the true faith. And the father and patriarch, Peter, was the administrator of the affairs of all of them.

When the orthodox people of Antioch heard of what the inhabitants of Alexandria had done, they also took a man whose name was Theophanes, and made him patriarch in succession to the blessed Father Severus, and seated him on the throne in a monastery called the Monastery of Aphtonius; because the heretics forbad the orthodox bishops to enter, any one of them, into the city of Antioch, as was done also at Alexandria. So the two patriarchs were in similar circumstances, living in two monasteries outside their respective cities.

Then Peter, patriarch of the city of Alexandria, fell sick and went to his rest, after finishing his course and his ministry which was pleasing to God. The period of time during which he remained patriarch was two years; and his death took place on the 25th of Baunah. May his prayers be with us! Amen. |473


When the holy Father Peter went to his rest, they enthroned in his place his scribe Damian, the deacon and monk, who was strong in deed and word and in the grace of the Lord which descended upon him. For he had been a monk from his youth in the wilderness of Wadi Habib, and was brought up by saints in the Monastery of Saint John, where he remained sixteen years, serving God according to the service of the holy ascetes, before he came to Pihenaton, to the Monastery of Tôn Paterôn, otherwise called Monastery of the Fathers. This was at the time of the rebuilding of the four monasteries in Wadi Habib, which were growing up like the plants of the field in security and guidance from God; and to their inhabitants was brought all that they needed, and they worked industriously at the building.

But there were among them the Meletians, I mean the followers of Meletius, who used to receive the Chalice many times in the night, before they came to the church. For this reason, when the Father Damian, the patriarch, was counted worthy to sit upon the evangelical throne, he wrote to the holy mountain, and commanded that the Meletians should be banished from it. And after a short time, a voice came from heaven upon that desert, saying : «Flee! Flee! » And when the inhabitants of the four |474 monasteries had left them, they were laid waste. When news of this reached the patriarch Damian, he was exceedingly sad. Now this holy father, the patriarch, was living in seclusion, in the Monastery of Tôn Paterôn, as we said at the beginning, in the condition of a suffragan bishop. And, by the wisdom of God which was given to him, he wrote the Logos, which is a discourse of wisdom. And he also wrote the Mystagogiae, besides the Festal Letters and the Catecheses. And the followers of the impure heresy came to him, and disputed about the Faith; but by the grace of the Lord which was with him he resolved their arguments, sweeping them away like a spider ‘s web; and he spoke courteously to them, and taught them to understand the mysteries of Christian doctrine, and made them like Achab before our Father Elias, the prophet.

In the eighth year of Damian’s patriarchate, a satanic thought fell into the hearts of the Acephali who were living in the east of Egypt. For there were four priests remaining over from that impure council, and they said : «What shall we do? We are perishing, and no bishop is left to us. Come therefore, let us make one of ourselves bishop, lest the remembrance of us perish from the face of the earth.» Then they chose the oldest among them, whose name was Barsanuphi, and the three priests took him and |475 made him bishop, and his heretical doctrine was named after his name.

When the people of the west of Egypt heard of this, they were exceedingly angry because they had done this without consulting them; so they separated from them, and would not join them. For this reason they had none to baptize them or give them communion or pray with them. So the others ordained a bishop for them. Now the prince at that time was Maurice, who loved money exceedingly, and rejected the orthodox.

When the Father Theophanes, the patriarch, went to his rest and departed to the Lord, the people of Antioch took one of the priests of the church, whose name was Peter, and made him patriarch. And he was coarse-minded, and sinful in his thoughts, and disturbed in his intellect, and opposed to the right faith, as that wise man in the Lord, Cyril, the holy patriarch, said with regard to the followers of Anatolius : «They are dark in their thoughts».

On account of the union between the two sees, Peter wrote a synodical epistle to the Father Damian, the patriarch, according to the usual custom. So when the synodical letter came to Damian, he rejoiced at it, and assembled the bishops. But when he examined Peter’s doctrine declared in it, he found in it an error in the confession of the Holy Trinity. Therefore he sought in his wisdom and gentleness to draw the said Peter to himself by kindness, that the Church might not be divided, nor the union between the two sees be |476 broken. So he wrote to him a homily in which he reminded him of all the heretics, and of the doctrine laid down by Severus, the patriarch, with the object of making him understand the faith, in order to guide his intelligence. For Peter said in his strange philosophy : «There is no necessity to name the Trinity». Yet all the Doctors of the Church, and Cyril the Wise, and those that came after him, till the days of Damian, in their writings confess the holy Trinity, declaring that it is Three Persons and One Nature and One Godhead, creating and containing nothing created; and that it is divided in Persons, and truly united in substance and in name. They declare that God is the Creator of the two great luminaries; for the sun is made to rule the day, and the moon, as the lesser luminary, to rule the night; and that the act of creation took place before the name was given; and that God said : «Let the waters be gathered together, and let the dry land appear» ; and God called the place of the gathering of the waters the seas, and called the dry part land; and that the act preceded the naming. «So likewise must thou understand this», adds Damian, «that the nature of the Creator is the one single nature which does all things. For who knows the thoughts of the Lord, and who can point them out; and who can give to him that he may seek from him a reward? For all things are from him. And glory be to the Holy Trinity, the consubstantial, the all-perfect, who accepts no new thing |477 and no new names at all; but his names are sure, and his deeds together with them».

This discourse the Father Damian, the patriarch, wrote to Peter, patriarch of Antioch. But Peter, patriarch of Antioch, was like the deaf asp 22 which stops its ears and will not listen to the voice of the charmer nor to the medicine which a wise man prepares; nay he remained obstinate in his erroneous ideas, confessing and saying with his tongue which deserved to be cut out : «What is the need of naming the Trinity?» Thus he divided the Undivided Trinity. So there was a conflict between the Egyptians and the Orientals on this account; and they remained thus for twenty years disputing without coming to an agreement, until God had mercy on his people of whom he has care at all times, and broke off the life of the heretic, and removed him from the world.

And Damian, the blessed patriarch, remained all his days composing letters and homilies and treatises, in which he refuted the heretics. And there were in his days certain bishops whom he admired, marvelling at their purity and excellence; and among them was John of Burlus, and John his disciple, and Constantine the bishop, and Cleistus, and many others who tended the vineyard of the Lord of Sabaoth. And the patriarch Damian did not cease to teach all the davs of his life. And through the multitude |478 of his fasts and prayers and conflicts, when his course was finished, he fell ill, and went to his rest in the peace of the Lord, after remaining patriarch thirty-six years, preserving the true faith in a good old age. And he departed to the Lord Christ whom he loved on the 28th day of Baunah.


And the Lord Christ considered his people, for he is the chief and leader of shepherds, and raised up a wise man adorned with virtues, whose name was Anastasius, an inhabitant of Alexandria and one of the priests of the, church there, learned in the scriptures and in the doctrines of the faith. So he was placed by the ineffable decrees of God upon the apostolic throne, and began to appoint the bishops and the priests according to the canon of the Church. Anastasius was brave of heart, and went to the city at all times, and entered therein, and ordained the priests there; for, as we have mentioned above, the orthodox bishops were forbidden to enter Alexandria; and he drew many of the people to himself by his wisdom, for he was a learned man, known through his appointment to the city-council. He had been presiding priest in the two churches that we have mentioned, |479 namely the Angelion and the church of Cosmas and Damian, and over the convents of virgins, and most of the monasteries.

Then Anastasius began to build church after church. And he took the church which is on a mound of ruins, and a church named after Michael. He had great trouble from the party of Tiberius and Belisarius, upon whom the name of Gaianus had come, and from the followers of the impure Chalcedonian council, and from another man who was called Eulogius. This man was exceedingly indignant against the Father Anastasius, and desired to bring upon him all evils and torments; but God did not deliver him into his hands.

In those days there arose a man from the palace, one of the chief officers, whose name was Phocas, and killed the prince, and sat in his place, and did wicked deeds; and he loved carnal pleasure, and corrupted all the daughters of the patricians; and he loved discord without fear. Therefore when Eulogius knew of this, and heard the report of these things, he wrote to the prince a calumnious letter, concerning the Father Anastasius, full of lies and folly. For he said that, when Anastasius preached in the church of John the Baptist, he anathematized him and the victorious princes and the Chalcedonian council, adding : «And I marvelled that the springs and |480 the waters were not dried up». This Eulogius wrote to the prince that he might stir up trials for the orthodox. So when Phocas, who had taken possession of the empire, heard this, he was troubled, and wrote to the governor in Alexandria, that he should take from the patriarch Anastasius the church of Cosmas and Damian and all its dependencies, and all that belonged to it, and give it to Eulogius, the misguided. Accordingly they seized that church; and the Father Anastasius, the blessed, was sad, and returned to the monastery with great grief and much sighing. And he desired that God might reunite the members of the Church which Satan had divided; I refer to the division of Antioch from Alexandria, the cause of which was Peter, patriarch of Antioch; and God heard his prayers; for Peter the aforesaid died, and there sat instead of him, upon the throne of Severus at Antioch, a man who was a monk and priest and scholar, named Athanasius, exceedingly wise, and pure in heart. And it was he who delivered a homily in which he spoke of the holy Severus; and everyone that read it knew that the Lord Christ was with him, and his wisdom was within him.

So when the Father Anastasius heard that Athanasius had taken his seat as patriarch upon the throne of Antioch, he hastened to write to him a synodical letter full of wisdom, in which he styled him his colleague and one who was brother and friend, and one turning his attention to the faith, and to the rectification of that which had been corrupted by Peter, the misguided one who was now dead. «For the whole of the spiritual Israel |481 is one flock», wrote Anastasius, «and thou shalt unite it, that thou mayest receive the crown of testimony and unity».

Now Athanasius was good fruitful ground, and therefore he received the spiritual seed with joy, and took the synodical letter which had come to him, and assembled the bishops under his see, and said to them : «Know that the world to-day rejoices in peace and love, because the Chalcedonian darkness has passed away, and there has remained this one light-giving and fruit-bearing branch of the true vine, which is the see of Mark the evangelist, and the province of Egypt. For we have been heretics and schismatics since the patriarch Severus, who was to us a guide and a way of salvation. And you know that Peter the apostle and Mark the evangelist had one gospel which they preached; and so also Severus and Theodo-sius had one faith, and lived in unity, and endured exile and conflicts to the end».

So, when the fathers and bishops heard his discourse, they rejoiced greatly and agreed to accept the synodical letter, and declared that the two churches should be one, and that the two patriarchs should be of one spirit, and a lamp illuminating the orthodox.

So the blessed Athanasius arose, and took with him five bishops, excellent and learned, and journeyed in a ship to Alexandria. But when they arrived, they were informed that the Father Anastasius was in the monasteries; and therefore they went out to him. Then, when he heard that the patriarch of |482 Antioch had come to him, he assembled the bishops and priests and monks, and arose in great humility, and went out on foot, until he met him, with chants and hymns and joy and gladness. And they entered together into the monastery which is on the sea-shore, to the north-east of the monasteries, and there they sat in peace and joy.

And the Father Anastasius sent at once and summoned all the clergy of Alexandria, that they might be present at the meeting of the fathers, and might celebrate the liturgy with them, and communicate of the Holy Mysteries. And Athanasius pronounced at that assembly a wonderful discourse, full of wisdom, so that everyone who was present marvelled; and at the end he said : «At this hour, O my friends, we must take the harp of David, and sing with the voice of the psalm 23, saying : Mercy and truth have met together; Athanasius and Anastasius have kissed one another. The truth has appeared from the land of Egypt, and righteousness has arisen from the East. Egypt and Syria have become one in doctrine; Alexandria and Antioch have become one Church, one virgin-bride of one pure and chaste bridegroom, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son, the Word of the Father».

And the Father Athanasius remained with the Father Anastasius for one month, while they meditated together upon the holy scriptures and profitable |483 doctrines, speaking of these matters and discussing them. Then Athanasius returned to his province in peace and great honour; and from that day there has been agreement between the see of Antioch and the see of Alexandria to this day.

And the Father Anastasius provided for the affairs of the Church with assiduity, and for spiritual learning, for the Lord granted him tranquillity. And from the first year that he sat upon the throne, he began from the first of the letters of the alphabet, and made each successive letter the first letter of that which he wrote every year in a book, whether mystagogia, or synodical epistle, or systatic epistle, or festal epistle, or homily. And he remained upon the throne, holding the orthodox faith, for twelve years, during which he wrote twelve books.

And during the forty days of the Fast before Christmas, the Lord Christ, who longs for those that believe in him, and who does wonders among his saints, looked upon him, and was pleased to translate him to the land of those that live for ever. So he went to his rest on the 22nd day of Kihak, in the year 330 of Diocletian, the slayer of the Righteous Martyrs. May their intercessions be with us ! Amen! |484


When Anastasius went to his rest, they seated upon the throne a learned man, a deacon of the church of the Angelion, a virgin and a scribe, whose name was Andronicus. He was very rich, much inclined to almsgiving, a leader of the people, loving mercy, and incessant in giving; and his family were leading people of the city, inasmuch as his cousin had been appointed head of the council of Alexandria. Therefore on account of the power of his authority and his eminence the heretics could not drive him out of Alexandria to the monasteries, as had been done before him; but he resided in his cell at the church of the Angelion, all his days.

Now there had arisen in Persia a king named Chosroes, who assembled a great host, and came with mighty power against the army of the Romans, and destroyed them utterly, and annihilated them. He took possession of the land of the Romans, and the land of Syria, and took captive the land of Palestine and Idumaea, and the land of Egypt, and trod them down as the oxen tread the threshing-floor, and collected their wealth and all that they had into his treasuries. And, on account of his love of money, he would kill a man for one denarius, or for something worth three denarii; for he had many subjects, and he knew not God, but worshipped the sun. |485

So when he took Egypt, and gained power, he made it his care to conquer the great city of Alexandria. And there were at Henaton near that city six hundred flourishing monasteries, like dovecotes; and the monks were independent, and insolent without fear, through their great wealth; and they did deeds of mockery. But the army of the Persians surrounded them on the west of the monasteries, and no place of refuge remained for them; and so they were all slain with the sword, except a few of them, who hid themselves, and so were safe. And all that was there of money and furniture was taken as plunder by the Persians; and they wrecked the monasteries, which have remained in ruins to this day.

And when the news arrived at Alexandria, the inhabitants opened the gates of the city. And the Persian governor, the leader of the war and lieutenant of king Chosroes, saw in his dream at night a personage who said to him : «I have delivered up to thee this city and its buildings and all that it contains. Therefore take heed that thou injure not the city, but let not its inhabitants be left within it; for they are hypocrites in religion». Now the Persians call their leader in their own language Salar, which means «commander» ; and it was this Salar who built at Alexandria the palace which is called Tarâwus, the interpretation of the name being «House of the Ring», and it is now named Castle of the Persians. So when he received authority over the people of Alexandria, he did in his cunning as follows. He commanded all the young men in the city, from the age of eighteen to |486 fifty, to go out and receive twenty denarii each. So all the young men of the city assembled, and their names were written down; while they thought that they would receive the gift which he had promised them. And when he knew that all of them had come out, and that not one of them was left within the city, he commanded his troops to surround them, and slay them all with the sword. And the number of those that were thus slaughtered was eighty thousand men.

And when the Salar had done this, he marched away to Upper Egypt. And there were in the city of Niciu, which is also called Ibshadi, certain persons who gave him information concerning the monks who lived on the mountains and in the caves, the number of whom was seven hundred, and told him how they were enclosed within a fortified wall, and that their deeds were reprehensible, on account of the greatness of their wealth. So when the Salar heard this report of them, he sent his troops and surrounded them. And when the sun rose, they entered and slew all of them with the sword, and not one of them remained.

And this Salar was the cause of many troubles, because he knew not God. But the time is too short to recount his deeds.

So when the patriarch Andronicus had accomplished six years in his patriarchal office, and had suffered from this nation of the Persians, and seen all these disasters, which he encountered and patiently endured, he went to his rest, and departed to the Lord in perfect peace, holding fast to the right faith, the faith of his fathers, on the 8th. of Tubah. |487


One year before the Father Andronicus died, there was a God-fearing and believing brother, whose name was Benjamin, in a monastery called the Monastery of Canopus, who came to it at that time and took refuge there with a holy old man whose name was Theonas. For the Persians had not destroyed this monastery among the rest that they had wrecked, because it lay to the north-east of the city, which Saitus was protecting. This brother Benjamin was a native of the province of Al-Buhairah, and came from a hamlet called Barshut. And he had longed after the monastic life and the practice of asceticism; and so he left his parents and all that they had, for they were very rich, and departed to the monastery, where the holy old man, Theonas, clothed him with the habit of the monastic life, and brought him up in the fear of God; and he grew day by day until his holiness and patience and self-restraint made great advances. And he learnt the scriptures by heart, until what happened to Paul happened likewise to him; for the great one Paul was brought up at Jerusalem with a man whose name was Gamaliel; and then his own assiduity and the grace of the Lord Christ raised him, until he became many times more capable and more excellent than his teacher. So also this Benjamin used to chastise himself |488 by ascetic practices, and took no sleep during the nights when there was an assembly in the church. And he read especially in the Gospel of the Blessed John, for he learnt it by heart.

And on a certain night he saw in his dream a man in shining raiment standing by him, who said to him : «Rejoice, O Benjamin, thou humble sheep, who art also the shepherd that shall feed the reasonable flock of the Lord Christ.» So when he heard these words he was troubled and vexed; but afterwards he rejoiced over the grace given to him from heaven; and he rose hastily and told his Father Theonas; and the old man believed his words with regard to this vision, but said to him : «Err not, my son; for Satan desires by this to cause thee to perish through pride. Go now therefore, and watch over thyself, and fall not by vainglory. For behold, I have spent fifty years in this convent without seeing any such vision, nor has anyone ever told me that he has seen any such thing». So Benjamin was silent and accepted his teacher’s words; and grace increased in him day by day, sent from the God of glory; and all his words and actions were assisted by heaven. And the old man Theonas, and all who knew Benjamin, were astonished at the grace of God which was upon him, and thought that he was beside himself, until the old man Theonas took him, and went to the Father Andronicus, the patriarch, and explained his circumstances to him. So he said : «Bring him to me that I may hear him speak». When Benjamin entered, he prostrated himself before the Father Andronicus, the patriarch, who saw the grace of Christ |489 which was upon him, and asked him quietly to make known to him what he had witnessed; and Benjamin confessed, and described the event to him; and the patriarch kept them both with him during that night.

And when morning came, Theonas asked Andronicus to allow them to depart to their monastery in peace. But the patriarch said to him : «As for thee, depart in peace; but the Brother Benjamin henceforth belongs not to thee, for the Lord has elected him to be a servant to himself». And straightway he took Benjamin, and ordained him priest. And Benjamin began to live with the patriarch, assisting him in ecclesiastical works, and in his general administration. And Andronicus rejoiced exceedingly over him, and when his death drew near, charged them that Benjamin should be patriarch after him; and so, when he went to his rest, they made the aforesaid Benjamin patriarch upon the evangelical throne.

And the Persians remained rulers of Egypt and its provinces for six more years after that. Then Heraclius, who had been chief of the patricians under Phocas, the misbelieving emperor, succeeded him on the throne, and devoted himself to the task of fighting the Persians. For by the grace of Christ, he marched against them, and slew Chosroes, their misbelieving king, and ruined his city and made it a wilderness, and carried away its wealth and captives in triumph to Constantinople. And when Heraclius obtained possession of the land, he appointed governors in every place. And he sent a governor to the land of Egypt, named Cyrus, to be prefect and patriarch at the same time. |490

So when Cyrus came to Alexandria, the angel of the Lord announced his coming to the Father Benjamin, and bade him flee. For the angel said to him : «Flee thou and those that are with thee here, for great troubles will come upon you. But take comfort, for this conflict will last only ten years. And write to all the bishops who are within thy diocese, that they may hide themselves until the wrath of the Lord pass».

So the Father Benjamin, the confessor, the militant by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, settled the affairs of the Church and put them in order, and gave injunctions to the clergy and laity, and charged them to cleave to the right faith even unto death. Then he wrote to the rest of the bishops of the province of Egypt, that they should hide themselves before the coming temptation.

And after that he went forth by the road towards Mareotis, walking on foot by night, accompanied by two of his disciples, until he came to Al-Munâ. Thence he went to Wadi Habib. And the monks there were few in number, because it was only a short time after the ruin which took place in the days of the patriarch Damian; and the Berbers did not allow them to multiply there. Then Benjamin went forth from the monasteries in Wadi Habib, and departed to Upper Egypt; and he remained hidden there in a small monastery in the wilderness until the accomplishment of the ten years, as the angel of the Lord had told him. These were the years during which |491 Heraclius and the Colchian 24 ruled over the land of Egypt. And on account of the greatness of the trials and the straits and the affliction which the Colchian brought down upon the orthodox, in order that they might enter into the Chalcedonian faith, a countless number of them went astray, some of them through persecution, and some by bribes and honours, and some by persuasion and deceit. So that even Cyrus, bishop of Niciu, and Victor, bishop of the Faiyum, and many others denied the orthodox faith, because they had not obeyed the injunctions of the blessed Father Benjamin, and had not hidden themselves as the others did; for the Colchian caught them with the fishing-line of his error, and so they went astray after the impure Chalcedonian council. And Heraclius seized the blessed Mennas, brother of the Father Benjamin, the patriarch, and brought great trials upon him, and caused lighted torches to be held to his sides until the fat of his body oozed forth and flowed upon the ground, and knocked out his teeth because he confessed the faith; and finally commanded that a sack should be filled with sand, and the holy Mennas placed within it, and drowned in the sea. For Heraclius the misbeliever had charged them, saying : «If any one of them says that the council of Chalcedon is true, let him go; but drown in the sea those that say it is erroneous and false.» Therefore they did as the prince bade them, and cast Mennas into the sea. For they took the sack, and conveyed him to a distance of seven bowshots from the land, and said to |492 him : «Say that the council of Chalcedon is good and not otherwise, and we will release thee.» But Mennas would not do so. And they did this with him three times; and when he refused they drowned him. Thus they were unable to vanquish this champion, Mennas, but he conquered them by his Christian patience.

Then Heraclius appointed bishops throughout the land of Egypt, as far as the city of Antinoe, and tried the inhabitants of Egypt with hard trials, and like a ravening wolf devoured the reasonable flock, and was not satiated. And this blessed people who were thus persecuted were the Theodosians.

And in those days Heraclius saw a dream in which it was said to him : «Verily there shall come against thee a circumcised nation, and they shall vanquish thee and take possession of the land». So Heraclius thought that they would be the Jews, and accordingly gave orders that all the Jews and Samaritans should be baptized in all the provinces which were under his dominion. But after a few days there appeared a man of the Arabs, from the southern districts, that is to say, from Mecca or its neighbourhood, whose name was Muhammad; and he brought back the worshippers of idols to the knowledge of the One God, and bade them declare that Muhammad was his apostle; and his nation were circumcised in the flesh, not by the law, and prayed towards the South, turning towards a place which they called the Kaabah. And he took possession of Damascus and Syria, and crossed the Jordan, and dammed it up. And the Lord abandoned the army of the Romans before him, as a punishment for their corrupt faith, and because of |493 the anathemas uttered against them, on account of the council of Chalcedon, by the ancient fathers.

When Heraclius saw this, he assembled all his troops from Egypt as far as the frontiers of Aswan. And he continued for three years to pay to the Muslims the taxes which he had demanded for the purpose of applying them to himself and all his troops; and they used to call the tax the bakt, that is to say that it was a sum levied at so much a head. And this went on until Heraclius had paid to the Muslims the greater part of his money; and many people died through the troubles which they had endured.

So when ten years were over of the rule of Heraclius together with the Colchian, who sought for the patriarch Benjamin, while he was fleeing from him from place to place, hiding himself in the fortified churches, the prince of the Muslims sent an army to Egypt, under one of his trusty companions, named Amr son of Al-Asi, in the year 357 of Diocletian, the slayer of the martyrs. And this army of Islam came down into Egypt in great force, on the twelfth day of Baunah, which is the sixth of June, according to the months of the Romans.

Now the commander Amr had destroyed the fort, and burnt the boats with fire, and defeated the Romans, and taken possession of part of the country. For he had first arrived by the desert; and the horsemen took the road through the mountains, until they arrived at a fortress built of stone, between Upper Egypt and the Delta, called Babylon. So they pitched their |494 tents there, until they were prepared to fight the Romans, and make war against them; and afterwards they named that place, I mean the fortress, in their language, Bâblun Al-Fustât; and that is its name to the present day.

After fighting three battles with the Romans, the Muslims conquered them. So when the chief men of the city saw these things, they went to Amr, and received a certificate of security for the city, that it might not be plundered. This kind of treaty which Muhammad, the chief of the Arabs, taught them, they called the Law; and he says with regard to it : «As for the province of Egypt and any city that agrees with its inhabitants to pay the land-tax to you, and to submit to your authority, make a treaty with them, and do them no injury. But plunder and take as prisoners those that will not consent to this and resist you». For this reason the Muslims kept their hands off the province and its inhabitants, but destroyed the nation of the Romans, and their general who was named Marianus. And those of the Romans who escaped fled to Alexandria, and shut its gates upon the Arabs, and fortified themselves within the city.

And in the year 360 of Diocletian, in the month of December, three years after Amr had taken possession of Memphis, the Muslims captured the city of Alexandria, and destroyed its walls, and burnt many churches with fire. And they burnt the church of Saint Mark, which was built by the sea, where his body was laid; and this was the place to which the father and |495 patriarch, Peter the Martyr, went before his martyrdom, and blessed Saint Mark, and committed to him his reasonable flock, as he had received it. So they burnt this place and the monasteries around it.

And at the burning of the said church a miracle took place which the Lord performed; and that was that one of the captains of the ships, namely the captain of the ship of the duke Sanutius, climbed over the wall and descended into the church, and came to the shrine, where he found that the coverings had been taken, for the plunderers thought that there was money in the chest. But when they found nothing there, they took away the covering from the body of the holy Saint Mark, but his bones were left in their place. So the captain of the ship put his hand into the shrine, and there he found the head of the holy Mark, which he took. Then he returned to his ship secretly, and told no one of it, and hid the head in the hold, among his baggage.

When Amr took full possession of the city of Alexandria, and settled its affairs, that infidel, the governor of Alexandria, feared, he being both prefect and patriarch of the city under the Romans, that Amr would kill him; therefore he sucked a poisoned signet-ring, and died on the spot. But Sanutius, the believing duke, made known to Amr the circumstances of that militant father, the patriarch Benjamin, and how he was a fugitive from the Romans, through fear of them. Then Amr, son of Al-Asi, wrote to the provinces of Egypt a letter, in which he said : «There is protection and security for the place |496 where Benjamin, the patriarch of the Coptic Christians is, and peace from God; therefore let him come forth secure and tranquil, and administer the affairs of his Church, and the government of his nation». Therefore when the holy Benjamin heard this, he returned to Alexandria with great joy, wearing the crown of patience and sore conflict which had befallen the orthodox people through their persecution by the heretics, after having been absent during thirteen years, ten of which were years of Heraclius, the misbelieving Roman, with the three years before the Muslims conquered Alexandria. When Benjamin appeared, the people and the whole city rejoiced, and made his arrival known to Sanutius, the duke who believed in Christ, who had settled with the commander Amr that the patriarch should return, and had received a safe-conduct from Amr for him. Thereupon Sanutius went to the commander and announced that the patriarch had arrived, and Amr gave orders that Benjamin should be brought before him with honour and veneration and love. And Amr, when he saw the patriarch, received him with respect, and said to his companions and private friends : «Verily in all the lands of which we have taken possession hitherto I have never seen a man of God like this man». For the Father Benjamin was beautiful of countenance, excellent in speech, discoursing with calmness and dignity.

Then Amr turned to him, and said to him : «Resume the government of all thy churches and of thy people, and administer their affairs. And if thou wilt pray for me, that I may go to the West and to Pentapolis, and |497 take possession of them, as I have of Egypt, and return to thee in safety and speedily, I will do for thee all that thou shalt ask of me.» Then the holy Benjamin prayed for Amr, and pronounced an eloquent discourse, which made Amr and those present with him marvel, and which contained words of exhortation and much profit for those that heard him; and he revealed certain matters to Amr, and departed from his presence honoured and revered. And all that the blessed father said to the commander Amr, son of Al-Asi, he found true, and not a letter of it was unfulfilled.

Thus when this spiritual father, Benjamin the patriarch, sat among his people a second time, by the grace and mercy of Christ, the whole land of Egypt rejoiced over him; and he drew to himself most of the people whom Heraclius, the heretical prince, had led astray; for he induced them to return to the right faith by his gentleness, exhorting them with courtesy and consolation. And many of those that had fled to the West and to Pentapolis, through fear of Heraclius, the heretical prince, when they heard of the reappearance of their shepherd, returned to him with joy, and obtained the confessor’s crown. So likewise the bishops, who had denied their faith, he invited to return to the orthodox creed; and some of them returned with abundant tears; but the others would not return through shame before men, that it should be known among them that they had denied the faith, and so they remained in their misbelief until they died.

And after that, Amr and his troops marched away from Alexandria, and |498 the Christ-loving duke Sanutius marched with him. And on that night the father saw in his dream a man in shining garments, clothed in the raiment of the disciples, who said to him : «O my beloved, make a place for me with thee, that I may abide therein this day, for I love thy dwelling.» Now the place, wherein the patriarch dwelt, was a pure habitation without defilement, in a monastery called the Monastery of Metras, which was the episcopal residence. For all the churches and monasteries which belonged to the virgins and monks had been defiled by Heraclius the heretic, when he forced them to accept the faith of Chalcedon, except this monastery alone; for the inmates of it were exceedingly powerful, being Egyptians by race and all of them natives, without a stranger among them; and therefore he could not incline their hearts towards him. For this reason, when the Father Benjamin returned from Upper Egypt, he took up his residence with them, because they had kept the orthodox faith, and had never deviated from it.

And when the ships, containing the provisions and booty of the troops, and the baggage of the believing duke Sanutius and his companions, were about to set sail, his own particular ship remained motionless, and could not be got under weigh. Therefore a great crowd assembled near that ship, supposing that it had grounded, and fastened towing-ropes to it, and pulled at it with all their might; and yet it did not move at all. So they went to the duke, and made this known to him, for he was sailing with the commander. Then the duke was greatly astonished; and he anchored the ship |499 in which the commander Amr was, and returned accompanied by many people, and when he arrived at the ship, he saw by it an innumerable crowd of men who were unable to move it. So he said to them : «Turn the prow of this ship to the city.» And when they turned it round as if to enter the city, it sped towards it like an arrow. Then the duke said to them : «Draw it outwards,» So they drew it until it arrived at its former position, and then it stood still and motionless. Then they turned the ship inwards again, and it sped; and they drew it outwards again, and it stood still. This happened three times. Then the duke said to the captain of the ship : «Bring up to me the baggage of the sailors, that I may search among it, so that I may see what it is, and discover the cause which has forced this ship to stand still alone of all these ships». Then the captain who had taken the head of the holy Mark, the evangelist, was afraid, and threw himself at the feet of the duke, and confessed to him what he had done, and that the head was hidden among his baggage. So they brought up his baggage from the hold, and found the head among it.

Then they went in haste and made known to the Father Benjamin exactly what had taken place. So he mounted his horse at once, and took with him a body of the clergy, and came to the duke, and related to him the dream which he had seen that night; and thereupon they all said : «Truly this is the head of the holy Mark the evangelist». And as soon as the patriarch |500 Benjamin came to the ship and took the pure head, and so released the ship, it got under sail at once and departed in a straight course. So he and the duke and all the people knew the truth of the story, and bore witness to this miracle, and glorified God.

And the duke gave to the patriarch much money, and said to him : «Rebuild the church of the holy Mark, and pray to him for safety for us». And the Father Patriarch returned to the city, carrying the head in his bosom, and the clergy went before him, with chanting and singing, as befitted the reception of that sacred and glorious head. And he made a chest of teak wood with a padlock upon it, and placed the head therein; and he waited for a time in which he might find means to build a church.

And his care was bestowed night and clay upon the conversion of those members of the Church who had been separated from her in the days of Heraclius; and no other business made him neglect that; for he was filled with faith and the Holy Ghost; and the grace of the Holy Ghost, which was with Athanasius the Apostolic, was with him in his words and in his deeds; and, through his agency and through his prayers, the Lord shewed mercy to his people. By his intercession began the rebuilding of the monasteries of Wadi Habib and of Al-Munâ; and the good works of the orthodox grew and increased, and the people rejoiced like young calves, when their halters are unfastened and they are set free to be nourished by their mothers’ milk.

When Amr returned to Egypt, he departed thence once more to the army of |501 the prince of the Muslims; and a man named Abd Allah, son of Sa’d, was sent to Egypt instead of him. This man arrived, accompanied by many people; and, as he was a lover of money, he collected wealth for himself in Egypt; and he was the first who built the Divan at Misr, and commanded that all the taxes of the country should be regulated there.

And in the days of Abd Allah, son of Sa’d, a great dearth took place, the like of which had not been seen from the time of Claudius the unbeliever up to his time. For all the inhabitants of Upper Egypt came down to the Delta, in search of provisions; and the dead were cast out into the streets and market-places, like fish which the water throws up on the land, because they found none to bury them; and some of the people devoured human flesh. And if the Lord had not been compassionate, through the multitude of his mercies and the prayers of our Father Benjamin, the holy one, and speedily put an end to that dearth, all the inhabitants in the land of Egypt would have perished; for every day there died of the people countless myriads. But the Lord accepted the prayers of the patriarch, and had mercy on his people, and satisfied them with his good things, and sought out his heritage in his beneficence, as it is written 25 : «The eyes of all look unto thee, hoping for thee, that thou mayest give them their meat in its season; and when thou givest it them they live and are satisfied with good things.»

Now the holy Benjamin had with him a man full of grace and wisdom, meek like a dove, whose name was Agathon; and he was a priest in the |502 church, and was a native of Mareotis. And he used to disguise himself at Alexandria in the days of Heraclius in the garb of a layman, and went about at night, comforting the orthodox who were concealing themselves there, and settling their affairs, and giving them of the Holy Mysteries. And if it was in the daytime, he carried on his shoulder a basket containing carpenters’ tools, and pretended to be a carpenter, that the heretics might not hinder him, and that so he might find a means of entering the houses or lodgings of the orthodox, that he might give them of the Mysteries, and encourage them to patience, and console them. And 1 so he remained ten years until the time of the appearance of the Muslims. Then, when the blessed Benjamin returned to his see in peace, he adopted Agathon as his son in the administration of the holy Church.

Then the blessed Father Benjamin was attacked by a disease in his feet, besides the old age which had come upon him. And he remained thus sick for two years, until the saints prayed for him that God would release him from the prison of this world, so full of sadness, and would bring him to them in the place wherein is no sadness nor sorrow, but which is full of joy, in the land of the living. And God accepted their prayers, and sent to Benjamin three personages, namely Athanasius the Apostolic, and Severus and Theodosius the patriarchs, who were present at his death, and went before his holy soul, while the holy angels bore it on their pure wings, ascending with it to heaven with glory and honour, with the voices of praise and |503 glorification preceding it, until it reached the land of the saints, as the bridegroom enters his chamber, or the king his palace. So he departed to Christ his king, after finishing his conflict, and accomplishing his course, and keeping his faith, without losing one of his flock, on the 8th of Tubah, when he had been patriarch thirty-nine years, keeping the faith, wearing the crown of exile, which he received from the Lord Christ, to whom be glory with the merciful Father and the Holy Ghost, the Giver of Life. Amen. Abba Agathon says : «Those whose thoughts are in heaven are enlightened by the glory of God, who is the Father of Light; and the spiritual love of God is in them, as it is written 26 : Taste and see that the Lord is good. Such was the Father Benjamin, the patriarch, the teacher of the orthodox, who understood the interpretation of the scriptures, and dwelt in the desert, and grasped many mysteries; for he despised his body and cut off his desires, for the love of the Lord Christ our God who is above all. And as for me, |504 the sinner Agathon, I was the son of the Father Benjamin, and knew much of his virtues through my intimacy with him.

And he told me of the great mystery which he had seen manifestly at the consecration of the holy sanctuary of the glorious father, Saint Macarius, in Wadi Habib, and of the canons and rules which he had drawn up. And to that belongs the following account which he related to me :

When I was in my city of Alexandria, having found a time of peace and deliverance from persecution and from the warfare of the heretics, the festival of the Nativity of the Lord Christ arrived on the 28th of Kihak, and we assembled in the church of the Pure Lady Mary, the Mother of the Light, which is called the Porch of the Angels. And we offered many prayers, in the presence of the clergy, and of the chief men of the city, and of all the people old and young, to celebrate the praises of the Lady and Virgin, who brought forth God the Word, the truly Incarnate in this world, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, to whom is due glory with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the One God; and to observe at the same time also the festival of the Lord Christ, the Only-begotten Son, who was incarnate and was made man, and was born of the Pure Virgin at Bethlehem of Juda, one undivided Christ. Then I saw certain monks of calm and dignified appearance, like angels, who had entered into the midst of the congregation; and some of them were priests and some of them were from the desert of the holy Macarius; but they |505 could not reach me, on account of the multitude of the people. So one of the priests came towards me, and made their entrance known to me; therefore I said to him : I have seen them; and I bade him go to them, and he invited them to come to me. When they approached me, I enquired of them the cause of their coming so far. Then they said : We are come to thee with the object of praying thy Paternity, with a prostration, for God’s sake to undertake the trouble of a journey to the monastery in the Holy Mountain, Wadi Habib, the home of our father, Macarius the Great, in order to consecrate the new church which has been built to him at the foot of the rock among the cells; because many of the old and sick inhabit cells far away, which are near the water, and are wearied if they mount to the top of the rock. Be gracious then to us, O our father, and endure the fatigue, that the fathers and monks may receive thy blessing; for they all long to behold thy Holiness.

When I heard this, I said to them, in my poverty, with joy : Ah indeed may God make me worthy of that task! So they waited until we had finished the festivities of that day, and of its morrow, which is the 29th of Kihak, and of the third day of the feast. Then I said to thee, O Agathon, and to Cosmas, the scribe, thy companion : Provide for us what we need for the journey to Wadi Habib, that we may receive a blessing from the Father Macarius, and from the brethren and monks.

So we undertook this task; and we began our journey on the second day of Tubah. And when we arrived at Tarûjah, the inhabitants thereof met us |506 with great joy. Then we reached the desert of Al-Munâ, which is that of Abba Isaac, near the mountain of Barnûj; and the brethren who were there rejoiced greatly over us, and we remained there two days, after which they took leave of us; but some of them accompanied us to show us the way leading to the desert and to the mountain; and they were holy and excellent men. So they brought us to the extremity of the desert of the mountain of Nitria.

Then we turned to the Monastery of Baramus, or Maximus and Domitius, where we alighted at the Church of the Holy Isidore; and we abode there one day. Then the brethren and monks who had come to visit us in the city of Alexandria departed, and made our arrival known to the monks of the Monastery of Saint Macarius, save two of their priests who remained with us, together with the brethren who had accompanied us from Al-Munâ; and therefore some of the monks came out to us. And on the 7th day of Tubah we visited the rest of the monasteries, and received blessings from them.

Finally we proceeded to the Monastery of the holy Macarius. And when we drew near to it, the young monks met us with palm-branches in their hands; and after them came old men, carrying smoking censers, and a body of the clergy, chanting like angels, resembling those who came to meet the Lord Christ from Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

And they began to give to my weakness that of which I was not worthy. And there was with them the great teacher Basil, bishop of Niciu. So I glorified the Lord Christ because he had counted me worthv once more to |507 see this renowned desert, and these holy fathers and brothers, and the manifestation of the orthodox faith; and had delivered me from the persecution of the heretics, and saved my soul from the great dragon, the tyrant who drove me away on account of the right faith; and had vouchsafed to me that I should behold my children once more around me. Then all the monks, the priests and the brethren, went before me until I entered the newly built church of Christ. There I seemed to enter Paradise, the place of meeting of the angels, and the joy of the saints, and the abode of rest for the just.

When the morrow arrived, the 8th day of Tubah, I said : Bring to me the priest Agathon, who suffered with me for the faith, in the time of the troubles which came upon me, when the Colchian, that enemy of the truth, attacked my weakness. So when thou earnest to me, I said to thee : O my son, bring forth the books which are requisite for the consecration; and accordingly thou didst bring them forth for me. Then we began the prayers; and with me were Abba Basil, bishop of Niciu, and all the clergy surrounding me, and all the monks, as thou sawest. At that time, while I was thus performing the rite of consecration, behold, I saw an old man, with a great light and radiant brilliancy upon his face; and as I gazed upon him and considered him, I said within myself : This man is fit to be made a bishop, to rule over many people; and if the Lord be pleased, as soon as a see is vacant, I will set him over it; for this person is a holy |508 man, fit for that office. So, while I was thinking of this, I saw a seraph with six wings, who appeared to me, and stood beside me. And he said to me : O bishop, why art thou thinking of this old man? This is Saint Miacarius, father of the patriarchs and bishops and monks who have lived in this desert; and he has come for the consecration of this church. Thereupon I was confounded before him, and considered him while he was standing among his sons with great joy; and the voice of that seraph resounded in my ears, and I was afraid of him. Then he said to me : If his sons walk in the straight way in which he walked, then they will enter with him into the place of the king, and rejoice with him. But he that breaks his commandments has no lot with him, but shall be driven out of the flock and shall have no inheritance with him.

Then the holy Macarius said to him : Put not thy seal, O my Lord, upon my sons with these words; for if a single grape be found in a bunch, it shall not perish, because the blessing of God is in it; and so I also trust in Christ, the Lover of my soul, that if he find among my children a single commandment kept, namely the love of one another, or if they raise their eyes to heaven to the Lord Christ even once every day, he will not forget them in his mercy, but will deliver them from the punishment of eternal hell. For the Lord, the Lover of mankind, grants repentance to the sinner, and desires not his death, in order that he may turn and repent, that so he may receive him. |509

Thus when I heard the words of Saint Macarius to the seraph, I understood his love for his children. For the interpretation of the name of the Father Macarius is the Blessed one, honoured by God and man. He, the Father Macarius, the disciple of God the Lord, is the net which gathers together of every kind for the kingdom of heaven. Then I said, so that those that were near me might hear me : Blessed art thou, O Saint Macarius, and blessed is thy order and blessed are thy children, since they deserve that thou shouldst be a powerful intercessor for them before the judgment-seat of God our Lifegiver, when our Ring and our God, Jesus Christ, shall come at his second appearing, to reward everyone according to his works in truth. Thou, O Saint Macarius, art the great ark which carries so many souls, and brings them into the harbour of safety and salvation, and thou art the intercessor for us all. As David says in his psalm 27 : Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of hypocrites, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful! Thou art indeed the champion and the prince! Blessed is the womb that carried thee and brought thee forth into the world! Remember me, O thou true saint of God!

Then thou, O Agathon, didst say to me, and the bishop of Niciu said to me : To whom speakest thou, O our father? So I said to you both : I am addressing Saint Macarius, the father of this mountain. For there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. |510

And I went up to the sanctuary, and said the prayer over the chrism, and took it to anoint the holy sanctuary. And I heard a voice saying : Observe, O bishop! So when I marked the sanctuary with the chrism, I saw the hand of the Lord Christ, the Saviour, upon the walls, anointing the sanctuary. Therefore great fear came upon me and trembling, such as thou sawest in me; but thou and those present did not know the cause of it, nor what I had seen and heard. Then I said, with the Father Jacob 28 : Verily this is a dreadful place, and this is the house of God in truth, and this is the gate of heaven, and the resting-place of the most High.»

Agathon the priest says : «At that time we had looked upon him, and he was like fire, and his face shone with light; and not one of us could speak a word to him, but we were confounded at him. Then the Father Benjamin said : This is the tabernacle of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And he walked round the sanctuary three times, saying Alleluia. Then he chanted the eighty-third Psalm, saying : How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth and pineth after the dwelling-places of the Lord, thy altars, O Lord of Hosts, my King and my God 29. And he finished saying the psalm to the end.

Then, when he had completed the consecration of the dome, he went out into the body of the church, to consecrate its walls and columns; and at the end he returned and sat in the dome. And he said to us : I have been carried away to-day to the Paradise 30 of the Lord of Sabaoth, and I have |511 heard voices that cannot be uttered nor conceived in the heart of man, as the wise apostle Paul says. Believe me, my brethren, I have seen to-day the glory of Christ filling this dome; and I beheld with my own sinful eyes the holy palm, the sublime hand of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour, anointing the altar-board of this holy sanctuary. I have witnessed to-day the seraphim and the angels and the archangels, and all the holy hosts of the Most High, praising the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost in this dome. And I saw the father of the patriarchs and bishops and doctors of the orthodox Church, standing among us here in the midst of the brethren, his sons, with joy, —- I mean the Father Macarius the Great. Truly this sanctuary is beneath the throne of the Almighty. This sanctuary is that which Isaias the prophet describes, when he says 31 : There shall be an altar to God in the land of Egypt, and a platform, and five towns that speak the language of Chanaan.

Arise now, my children, and let us finish the liturgy, and obtain the blessing of the fathers, and glorify God most High».

Agathon the priest says : «The patriarch continued his narrative as follows. When I had finished the divine service and communicated the clergy, I saw again a great grace which I must not hide from thee. For when the old men came up for communion, I saw a vapour of incense ascending like perfume from their mouths, so that I thought that each one of |512 those fathers and monks carried incense when he came up to communion. Then the roof of the church opened, and that perfume ascended from it. And I observed their mouths as they prayed when they approached the Host, and I saw the words and the incense which issued from their mouths ascending to heaven. So I was assured then that it was their petitions and their prayers, which they uttered when they received the Holy Mysteries, which are the Body and Blood of the pure Lord Jesus Christ. And I saw the angels receiving those prayers of theirs, and carrying them up before the throne of the Lord. And, on account of the power of their prayers and supplications, I thought : Verily this is the golden candlestick holding the lamp; and this is the precious jewel; and this is the morning-star which rises and shines upon the whole world. And I sang the hymn of the three young men, Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, which they recited in the furnace of burning fire : Blessed art thou O Lord, God of our fathers, and praised and glorified for ever 32. And blessed in truth is the Lord, the , God of these saints, by whom and by whose like he directs the world. This is the meeting-place of the angels, and the harbour of all the souls which flee to God, the Deliverer of all souls. Then I glorified and thanked the Lord Jesus Christ, who made me worthy to witness what I saw.

And when I fell asleep that night, I saw standing before me a shining |513 personage who said to me : Awake, O bishop, and arise to set in order the canons of this church and this sanctuary together; so that every one, whether priest or deacon, may guard himself in his conduct therein in perfect patience and virtuous tranquillity, because Christ our Lord and all his angels are here; and write these canons as a memorial for this holy church for ever. For there will come a crooked generation who will love the praise of men more than the glory of God, and they will trample down this holy place shamelessly and haughtily, and will barter for gold the grace of the Holy Ghost which he gave to his people, and will break the apostolic canons. For who can desire to have an inheritance in this holy place who is without fear of the Lord and whose soul is not tried at the beginning? And the glory of this holy and renowned and venerated place shall be changed by such, who shall occupy as it were stalls for cattle at their entrance into it; for those who are of this kind have hearts like the hearts of cattle, and neither read nor understand. All of them go out of the way and become abominable; and their care is for their bellies, and their glory is in shame; and they go upon their bellies like serpents, and swell, and bite men, and are insolent, haters of their brethren, occupied with eating and drinking, as cattle which have no understanding or their like; and the Apostolic Church separates them from herself.


[1]. No priest shall ascend to this sanctuary until he has put on his pallium first, before he carries the incense into the sanctuary. |514

[II]. No priest or deacon shall communicate therein until he has vested himself in the epomis or a pallium.

[III]. No priest or deacon shall speak in this holy dome any idle words, nor sit therein to read any book. And he that shall break this canon shall be anathema.

[IV]. If any priest or monk shall enter into this dome, unless he be appointed for the service of this sanctuary, let him be anathema.

[V]. If any of the priests belonging to this place bring a strange priest from Misr or an official into this dome and holy tabernacle, for the sake of human glory, let him be anathema.

[VI]. If any man shall persist in entering into this holy dome, the Lord Jesus Christ shall cast him out.

[VII]. And if any man transgresses in order that he may have a lot in this holy place by means of money or bribe, then let him, and everyone who assists him to enter it for the sake of human glory, be degraded, especially if he be notorious for evil and pride.

Know, my brethren, that not one of these shall receive the lot of Jacob; and the power which dwells in this place and in this holy sanctuaiy will not consent to any of these things. But let a monk be humble, pure, peaceable, perfect in all the approved qualities, as the Teacher Paul testified in what he |515 said about this degree; for he says what is certain in his glorious epistles.

Then this shining personage, by whom I am unworthy to be addressed, said to me : Thy departure, O Benjamin, from this world, which is the separation of thy soul from thy body, will correspond to the day of the consecration of this church. And thou shalt depart to the Lord Christ whom thou lovest, that thou mayest rest in the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the predestined, together with all the elect. So I said to him : O my Lord, I trust that God may make me worthy of what thou sayest, and may receive me, his sinful servant; and that I may go to him on the said day. And blessed be my Lord Jesus Christ, the Lover of my soul and spirit, because his mercy is abundant towards me. Thereupon the seraph disappeared from me.

And the patriarch Benjamin said to us : Think not, my brethren, that I have written these anathemas for this generation. Nay, rather I have written them because there will come another generation in the last times which will deserve what I have written, according to that which the seraph announced to me, who talked with me. Therefore it behoves every believer to beware of following the praise of men; but let him do what is fitting for the glory of God, and love him with all his heart. And do thou my son Agathon, the priest, write down for thyself the date of this consecration; and remind me of it constantly and every day, that I may remember the words of the seraph on this day, that on the same day will take place my departure from this world, it being the 8th of Tubah, on which took place the consecration of the holy church in the name of the holy Macarius, our father. |516

Now we will record another miracle which took place on the same day. There was in the city of Niciu a great and eminent official, whose custom it was to enter at all times into the holy monasteries in Wadi Habib; and accordingly he was present on the day of the consecration of the church of Saint Macarius, accompanied by a son of his who was afflicted by disease, in whom was manifested another great and conspicuous wonder, worked by the blessed Father Macarius, who is the father of the holy mountain in Wadi Habib, and the comforter of all the patriarchs and bishops and monks and teachers in the whole world; for the odour of the incense of his works, and the beauty of his deeds have filled the land, and his lamp illumines all that come to him. And it was the custom of this official to come to the monastery always at the feasts of the Nativity and of the Baptism and of Easter; and thus he was present on the day of the consecration together with his son, whom he entrusted to the charge of a holy monk, with whom was a youth who served him. When the consecration and the liturgy were finished, and the people had communicated, the son of the official was sleeping in the holy church; and at that moment he cried out in his sleep so that he frightened the people who were present with his cries. But that monk took courage, and went up to the lad, and awoke him; and when he awoke, the congregation observed him, and behold, he was healed, and seemed like a new creature on that day. So they glorified God for this great miracle which had taken place. |517

The Father Benjamin, the patriarch, said : So when I had finished the communion, I called the official, the father of the lad, and inquired of him concerning the circumstances of his son, and he informed me of his sickness and all that had happened to him. Then I called the lad and said to him : O my son, explain to me what thou sawest in thy dream, and hide nothing of it from me. So the lad said : While I was sleeping, I saw a tall old man with a light beard descending over his breast, and he squeezed my body with his hands, so that I cried out with the pain. Then he grasped with his hand the edge of my garment and drew it up over my head, and I saw all my disease and sores adhering to my garment, and they were stripped off with it from my body. And he said to me : Be of good courage, my son, for behold, thou art cured. So when this father and monk had finished, I rose up healed. This is what happened to me, O my lord and father.

So I, Benjamin, beheld him with my eyes on that day, and he was healed; and I glorified the Lord Jesus Christ, who showed to me his power and wonders by the hand of the holy Saint Macarius, who heals souls and bodies by his intercession with God, and who is become a harbour for the salvation of the world. Blessed therefore is the Mountain of Nitria, which was worthy to be inhabited by Saint Macarius, the intercessor for us and for all who visit him. O mountain in which is the mystery of God! O mountain on which are assembled those elect ones who shine therein more |518 brightly than the light of the sun by day, and whose prayers ascend like a flaming fire! O mountain in which the spiritual fruit bears thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold! O mountain which salts souls, and restores them from sin, and purifies them by repentance, so that they are white like snow! Thou art the true mountain on which are assembled the kings and the rich men and the poor, to serve God there. Thou art the mountain of salt in truth, which salts souls that stank with sin and iniquity. It is thou that hast made robbers into teachers and martyrs and saints. Therefore may they pray now without weariness before our Lord Jesus Christ, that he may strengthen us in the orthodox faith, in his illuminating Church, that all of us who are baptized may exult at all times therein. And we pray him to deliver us from the persecutions of those who rule over us, and from the wiles of the hunter and enemy of the truth, Satan, the evil prince.

Glory and power and majesty be to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, now and always and for ever and ever. Amen.»

With the help of God is finished the first half of the first part of the book of the Histories of the Patriarchs in the great city of Alexandria, successors of Saint Mark the Evangelist. May God grant us the blessing of his prayers and of their prayers! And their number is thirty-eight patriarchs.

[Footnotes moved to the end and renumbered]

1. 1. Eus., H. E., VII, 32; VIII, 13; IX, 6. —- The seven mss. collated for the preceding fasciculus have been consulted also for the present one, the Paris ms. 4772 being here designated by the letter G. C. like E. contains an abridged text.

2. 1. See the three versions of the Acts of St. Peter, published by Baronius and afterwards Mai. Spicil. Rom., III, p. 673. Rome, 1840; Surius (25 Nov.); and Combefis, Illustrium Christi Martyrum lecti Triumphi, etc. p. 189, Paris, 1660. The last alone is in the original Greek, the others being Latin translations. Cf. Viteau (Greek text), Passions des saints Ecaterine, Pierre d’Alex., etc., Paris, 1897; Bedjan (Syriac version). Acta mart. et sanct., t. V, Paris. 1895, pp. 543-561; Hyvernat, Actes des Martyrs, tirés des Mss. coptes, etc.. Paris, 1886.

3. 1. S. John, xi, 50; xviii. 14.

4. 1. Ps, lxviii, 1 (Sept. lxvii).

5. 1. Psalm cxix, 131 (Sept. cxviii).

6. 1. S. Matth., vii, 7; S. Luke, xi, 9.

7. 1. S. Matth., xxiv, 2; S. Mark, xiii. 2; S. Luke, xix, 44; xxi, 6.

8. 1. Job, vi, 21 (Sept.).

9. 1. S. John, i, 18.

10. 2. S. Matth., i, 23.

11. 3. Is., vii, 14.

12. 4. S. Mark, xiv, 61, 62.

13. 5. I Tim., vi, 13.

14. 6. S. Luke, i, 32-35.

15. 1. Phil., ii, 6, 7.

16. 2. I Thess., i, 10; Hebr., i, 4-6, 13; ii, 5. 8, 9.

17. 1. S. Matth., xvii, 4; S. Mark, ix, 4: S. Luke, ix, 33.

18. 1. III Kings, xii, 16.

19. 2. The Acephali.

20. 1. Acts, viii, 20, 23.

21. 1. S. Matth., iv, 8-10. S. Luke, iv, 5-8.

22. 1. Ps. lviii, 4, 5 (Sept. lvii).

23. 1. Ps. lxxxv, 10 (Sept. lxxxiv, 11).

24. 1. Mukaukas seems to be the Coptic [Coptic], «Colchian» or «Caucasian», and to denote Cyrus, bishop of Phasis. appointed by the emperor Heraclius to be patriarch of Alexandria, and prefect of Egypt. See Dr. A. J. Butler, On the identity of Al-Mukaukis of Egypt in Trans. of Soc. of Bib. Arch. 1901.

25. 1. Ps. civ, 27, 28; cxlv. 15. 18 (Sept. ciii. cxliv.)

26. 1. Ps. xxxiv, 8 (Sept. xxxiii. 9).

27. 1. Ps. i. 1.

28. 1. Gen., xxviii, 17.

29. 2. Ps. lxxxiv, 1. 2. 3 (Sept. lxxxiii).

30. 3. II Cor., xii, 4.

31. 1. Isaias, xix, 19. 18.

32. 1. Daniel, iii. 52 (Greek).



Severus of Al’Ashmunein (Hermopolis), History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic church of Alexandria  (1910) Part 3: Agathon – Michael I (766 AD). Patrologia Orientalis 5 pp. 3-215 (pp.257-469 of text).





  • Chapter 15
    • Agathon, the thirty-ninth patriarch (661 – 677)
    • John III, of Samannûd, the forthieth patriarch (677 – 686)
  • Chapter 16
    • Isaac, the forty-first patriarch (688 – 689)
    • Simon I, the forty-second patriarch (689 – 701)
  • Chapter 17
    • Alexander II, the forty-third patriarch (705 – 730)
    • Cosmas I, the forty-fourth patriarch (730 – 731)
    • Theodore, the forty-fifth patriarch  (731 – 743)
  • Chapter 18
    • Michael I, the forty-six patriarch (744 – 767)




In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, the one God.

The second division of the histories of the holy Church, consisting of six chapters and the lives of fourteen patriarchs.

Agathon was the son of the patriarch Benjamin in the spirit, not in the flesh; and he is the thirty-ninth in the series of the patriarchs.

When the great champion and maintainer of the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and teacher of the orthodox creed, Abba Benjamin, returned from banishment, and resumed his seat upon the evangelical throne in the Church of God, he restored that which had been overthrown by Heraclius, and by the impure Chalcedonian Council, in the person of Proterius. For this Father Abba Benjamin reconstructed all things, and set them in order with the help of the Lord Christ, the Good Shepherd, who gave his life for his |4 sheep, according to his words in his pure Gospel 1 : «The Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep». So Benjamin walked in the footsteps of his Lord, and carried his cross and followed him, and endured trials and woes and great temptations till death for the right faith, but neither retreated nor turned backwards in his conflict, until he had finished it; so that he received his reward with the saints, his fathers, who preceded him. As David says 2 in the Psalms : «Precious before the Lord is the death of his pure ones».

So the Father Benjamin died. And the faitful God-fearing people, by the command of the Lord, took that God-fearing priest Agathon, and enthroned him as patriarch, according to the agreement of his name with his actions; for he was good and his conduct was good, adorned with every noble deed, full of the grace of the Holy Ghost and of the orthodox faith.

Now the Muslims were fighting against the Romans furiously. And the Romans had a prince whose name was Tiberius, whom they had made their ruler, and who possessed many islands. So the Muslims took the Romans captive, and carried them away from their own country to a strange land. Thus with regard to Sicily and all its provinces, they took possession of that island, and ravaged it, and brought the people captives to Egypt. And this holy patriarch Agathon was sad at heart when he saw his fellow-Christians in the hands of the Gentiles; and as the conquerors had offered many souls of them for sale, he bought them and set them free. But they |5 were followers of the impure and heretical sects, known as the Gaianites, who do not communicate with the orthodox, and as the Barsanuphians.

And Abba Agathon did not neglect to ordain bishops in every place, that they might bring back the sheep which Satan had led astray to the Church of the Lord Christ. Therefore Satan brought down upon him great trouble on account of his purity of heart and excellence of character.

In those days Alexandria was governed by a man whose name was Theodore 3, who was a chief among a congregation of the Chalcedonians, and was an opponent of the orthodox Theodosians. This man went to Damascus to the leader of the Muslims, whose name was Yazîd, son of Mu’âwiyah, and received from him a diploma giving him authority over the people of Alexandria and Maryût and all the neighbouring districts, and declaring that the governor of Egypt had no jurisdiction over him; for he had given Yazîd much money. Then Theodore returned and tyrannised over the father, Abba Agathon, and troubled him; not only demanding of him the money which he was bound to pay, and taking from him thirty-six denarii as poll-tax every year, on account of his disciples, but that which he spent upon the sailors in the fleet he also exacted from him. And whenever he wanted funds he required the patriarch to supply them. But the community of the Chalcedonians would not associate with this man. The |6 patriarch needed seven thousand denarii to satisfy the demands of Theodore the Chalcedonian, besides the taxes upon his property, and was prevented from leaving his cell by the governor’s cruel hostility on account of his orthodox faith, for he even issued a command, saying : «Whoever shall see the pope of the Theodosians going out by night or by day, may stone him to death, and I will be responsible for him». So the Father Agathon lay hid during the days of that impious official, praying for him according to the injunction of the Gospel 4 : «Love your enemies, bless those that curse you». In the days of Abba Agathon was built the church which was dedicated in the name of the Father Macarius. And the brethren multiplied so that they built the cells near the Marsh; and they increased by the grace of the Lord Christ, and the believing brethren assisted them. In those days there appeared at the monastery a man, pure in body and clean of heart, learned in the two kinds of wisdom, the ecclesiastical and the secular, whose name was John, a native of Samannûd. While he was making a pilgrimage to the desert he was attacked by a sore sickness, and none of the seniors believed that he would be healed. Then one night he saw a dream as if one in human form giving forth light and in great glory, sitting on the throne of the Seraphim and surrounded by a multitude, |7 alighted near the door of his cell. And he beheld a band of seniors, the holy fathers who live in the desert, going forward to receive the blessing: of him that sat on the throne. And he said in his own mind : «If I had some one who would take me, I also would go forward to this great heavenly king, and receive his blessing, and then perchance I should recover from this sickness and pain». At that moment there approached him one of those who had been standing around the throne and him that sat upon it, a man clothed in the raiment of the patriarchs and apostles, and holding upon his breast a book like the gospel; and he said : «Wilt thou that I bring thee to our Lord that he may grant thee the grace of healing?» Then John prostrated himself before that man with tears and prayed him saying : «Have pity on me, O my Lord, and take me to him, for I am in great trouble». So that holy one answered and said to him, for he was a priest : «O John, tell me that, if thou shalt be healed by the Lord, thou wilt be a son to me, and I will take thee to him». And he promised him in the vision that he would be a son to him until the day of his death; and that man took his hand and brought him to the Saviour of the world. Thereupon John fell prostrate at his feet, and the Saviour said to him : «O John, why love ye vanity, ye sons of men, and neglect the truth, and seek lies 5? Behold, didst thou intend in coming hither to build for thyself a cell of clay which will quickly disappear, or to lay up for thyself treasures in heaven, |8 and erect for thyself in the heavenly Jerusalem, the new city, a mansion which will not perish?» So he fell at his feet and prayed to be forgiven. And the Lord raised him up and said to him : «Now I grant thee the healing of thy sickness for the sake of Mark the Evangelist; therefore depart, and do all that he bids thee». Then the Lord ascended to heaven with glory and majesty.

After that John awoke from his dream, healed of his sickness. And he meditated, saying : «What is this that has now been done?» Then consolation descended upon him from that day. And he went to a monastery in the province of the Faiyûm, accompanied by his two disciples; and he concealed himself there.

Subsequently there appeared to Abba Agathon one who said to him : «Send to John the priest, who is of Samannûd, that he may help thee and assist thee; for it is he that shall sit after thee upon the throne». Accordingly the patriarch despatched some of the clergy to the bishop of the Faiyûm, Abba Mennas, and wrote bidding him send to him the priest John. Now that bishop loved John, and profited by his discourse, but he could not contradict the Father Patriarch. So he sent the messengers to John, and they brought him in a boat, and the bishop despatched him to Alexandria.

When the patriarch saw John he rejoiced over him. because he was very wise; and therefore he delivered to him his church, and gave him |9 authority over it and over the city. And some of the people prayed him to ordain John bishop over Upper Egypt, and others suggested some other see. But God was reserving him for his gentleness like David, that he might accomplish for him what had been promised in the vision in Wadî Habîb.

And that true father, Agathon, was occupied all his days in providing for the ordination of priests who were worthy of the laying on of hands and were fall of the fear of God; while men thanked God for his deeds. In his time lived the blessed bishop Gregory, bishop of Al-Kais, and a Syrian, whose name was Joseph. In his days also appeared the foul heresy of the Monk.

There was a commander among the Muslims, whose name was Maslamah, and he called together seven bishops, and sent them to Sakha on business connected with some people there, who were alleged to have burnt with fire some of the clerks employed there. The bishops were directed to try the accused; and, when they arrived at Sakha, they acted in concert with a man who was a magistrate there, named Isaac, and they corrected the state of affairs; and those men were healed from the burning. And the said Isaac came to an agreement with the governor of Sakha, and together they prevailed over Theodore the Chalcedonian who was at Alexandria. For this Isaac had received authority over the whole province on his account, because of the harm that he had done to the patriarch. |10

Then the patriarch Agathon finished his days in a good old age, and at the end he fell sick after remaining seventeen years upon his throne, and went to his rest on the 16th of Babah. And his body was placed, as it is written in the history of Saint Macarius, with the Father Benjamin. He died keeping the orthodox faith, and is now wearing the crown of righteousness with all the saints in the land of the living for ever and ever. Amen.


When the holy father, Abba Agathon, went to his rest, Theodore the Chalcedonian laid his hand on everything, so that they did not find even bread to eat on the day of the patriarch’s death; for he set his seal on all that belonged to Agathon, and on all that they had. But at last the Lord took vengeance on Theodore by a sore plague in his vitals, namely the disease of the dropsy; and he began to eat every day twelve pounds of bread and twenty-four pounds of meat and two baskets of figs, and to drink daily one skin of wine of Maryût; and yet neither his hunger nor his thirst was satisfied, nor was his belly filled. Thus he died an evil death.

And his son was appointed governor instead of him, and became like a son to our father Abba John, for he had confidence in him and love for him. Thus the Father Patriarch led him like a son. At the beginning of his |11 occupation of the see took place the slaying of Tiberius who was prince of Byzantium; and his son took the empire, and his name was Augustus. And when this man began to reign, he made war upon the coasts which the Muslims had taken, and recovered them. And he took many islands of which the Muslims had gained possession, and so likewise he restored Sicily.

At that time there arose one who was no true monk in the city of Constantinople, whose name was Maximus; and he stirred up disturbance and trouble in his country. For he said : «If you truly believe in the faith of Chalcedon, then confess the doctrine of two Natures and two Persons and two Hypostases and two Wills and two Velleities, which the council taught.» So many people followed him; and there arose a great dispute between the two parties. And Augustus the prince was angry with them, and sent this man who was no true monk into exile. And this prince went to Sicily after a time, and was killed there like a slaughtered victim by one of his two attendants.

After him his son Justinian ruled the empire instead of him, and he was a bold prince; and the fear of him fell upon the hearts of the Muslims as when a lion leaps out upon a pack of wolves.

But in those days, after the death of Yazîd, the son of Mu’âwiyah, there arose from the land of the Muslims a prince, whose name was Marwân, who rushed forth like a lion when he comes out of his den hungry, and |12 devours the rest or tramples them under foot. He took possession of the East and of Fustât Misr. And he made his sons governors over all the provinces. To the eldest of them, whose name was Abd al-Malik, he gave Damascus; and to the second, Abd al-Azîz, he gave Egypt.

And there was great enmity between Marwân and the Egyptians, because they had set their hopes on the arrival of another man, whose name was Ibn az-Zubair. But when he arrived, Marwân defeated him. And there were appointed for Abd al-Azîz two secretaries, trustworthy and orthodox, whom he set over the whole of the land of Egypt and Maryût and Marâkiyah and Pentapolis which is Libya. One of them was named Athanasius, and he had three sons, and was a native of Edessa in the land of Syria; while the other’s name was Isaac, and he and his two sons were natives of Shubrâ Tani, of a good and orthodox family.

And when Abd al-Azîz became governor of Egypt, the Father Patriarch wrote from Alexandria to Misr to the two scribes who presided over his divan, to make known to them what had been done concerning the seal, which was set upon all the places, and the trouble with the misbelieving Chalcedonians from which he was suffering. Thereupon the said scribes sent messengers to Alexandria with instructions that the seal should be broken in the places named, and that all the property of the Church should be delivered to the Father Patriarch.

Now this father was a saint, and the grace of God appeared in his face |13 as in Moses the prophet, so that none could look upon his face, nor discern its features nor the sockets of his eyes, on account of the great light which was upon it. And the Lord healed many of the sick through his prayers; and he was a virgin in soul and body; and he lived in peace with all men. And his deeds and wonders were manifested, so that even the prince and all in his palace heard of them, and sent gifts to him from Constantinople. And in the first year that Abd al-Azîz became governor, he went to Alexandria, according to the custom of those who were appointed governors, to receive its taxes, which were every day a thousand denarii in cash. Then much money was sent to the prince of the Romans; and there was a truce for ten years without war. When the governor arrived at the city, since his entry was not public but private, the patriarch did not go forth to meet him, because he did not know of his coming. Thereupon he was denounced by many people, misbelievers and heretics, whose leader was a man named Theophanes, the husband of the sister of Theodore the Chalcedonian; for they said that he did not go forth nor meet him on account of the greatness of his pride and haughtiness, and his great wealth. Then Abd al-Azîz sent in anger and summoned the blessed Abba John to the palace, and made him stand before him, and said to him : «What is the cause of thy stiff-necked pride and of thy delay in coming forth to meet me outside this city?» The blessed one answered and said to him : « God knows that I did not |14 do this on account of stiffness of neck, but on account of my weakness, and because I cannot always go forth from the city to another place». Then the Amir was angry and delivered him to certain officers until he should pay a hundred thousand denarii; and he was received into custody by the governor of a castle, who was named Samad, a man without mercy, hard of heart and full of evil. This man received the patriarch on the first day of the Great Week before Easter; and took him and brought him to his dwelling, to torment him until he should pay the money. Afterwards he made him stand before him; and there were with the patriarch two men of good families, namely Arâs the priest, steward of the property of the Church, a man of peace, adorned with every excellence, famous for his gentleness among the inhabitants of the whole city, and the deacon, his secretary, a wise man, loving his fellows, learned in the Scriptures, and virtuous. So when that evil man made our father, the patriarch, stand before him, he said to him : «I require of thee one hundred thousand denarii, which the Amir commands thee to pay». So he answered and said to him calmly and quietly : «Thou demandest of me one hundred thousand denarii, and I have not out of that sum one hundred thousand drachmae. But my God has not put in his law a command that I should save anything for myself, or gain money at all, for it is the root of all evil. Do therefore whatever it pleases thee to do. My body is in thy hands, but my soul and body are both in the hands of my Lord Jesus Christ». When the misbeliever heard this, |15 he was greatly indignant, and he gnashed with his teeth at the saint, and commanded that a brazen vessel full of coals of fire should be brought, and his feet placed in it until he should say that he would pay the money. But God, the ruler of his servants, sent down that night upon the wife of the Amir Abd al-Azîz a sore sickness, so that she was troubled and sent her eunuch to Samad, to say to him : «Take heed that thou do no harm to that man of God, the patriarch, whom they have delivered to thee; for great trials have befallen me on account of him this night». So Samad against his will released the patriarch, as well as his two good and excellent sons, until the morrow, that he might take thought as to what he should do with him.

Then at the time of cock-crow Samad went to the Amir and had an interview with him, and made known to him what had happened, and that he had not put the patriarch to the torture. So the Amir said to him : «Beware of touching his body, because of what has befallen us this night on his account. But whatever thou canst obtain from him, take it from him by gentle means, and if that be impossible, yet do no harm to him, for God has revealed to me that he is his servant».

So Samad returned to his house. And it was now Tuesday in the Great Week. So he summoned John, the holy patriarch, before him, and threatened him with many threats, and brought him the garments of a Jew, and swore that if he would not pay the sum of money that he had first |16 required of him, he would clothe him with those garments, and defile his face with ashes, and lead him round the whole city. But John was not at all afraid, but kept saying to him with a brave heart : «Even if the Lord my God does not save me from thy hand, yet thou hast no power to do aught to me except by his command». Then Samad the misbeliever said to him : «I will yield to thee fifty thousand denarii; and thou shalt pay fifty thousand denarii; and I will release thee to negotiate as thou canst, and raise that sum for me». The saintly patriarch answered and said to him : «The only things that I can dispose of are my garments which are upon my body». After that Samad did not cease to lower his demands until he reached ten thousand denarii. So the patriarch said to him : «I will not promise what I cannot perform». Then when the news came to the secretaries who administered the affairs of Alexandria that the sum demanded had come down to ten thousand denarii, they sent to Abba John and said to him : «Undertake to pay the ten thousand denarii, and we will divide the debt among the bishops and the secretaries and the divans in which we serve, so that nothing may happen to the Church».

Then they went to Abd al-Azîz, and prayed him to summon the patriarch, and hear from him what he had to say. And that day was the Great Thursday. So when the governor had sent for him, and raised his eyes to him, he saw him as if he were in the similitude of an angel of God. Then he commanded at once that an ample cushion should be brought for Abba John; and when it was laid down, he sat upon it. And Abd al-Azîz said to him : |17 «Knowest thou not that the governor may not be thwarted?» The saint answered and said to him : «The governor’s command is obeyed in what is right, but his orders are disobeyed when they are displeasing to God. For our Lord says in the Gospel 6 : Fear not those that kill the body, and have no power over the soul, but fear him who can destroy the soul and the body together : that is to say God, who alone can do this» Then the Amir said to him : «Thy God loves honesty and truth». The patriarch replied : «My God is all truth, and there is no lie in him; but he destroys all those that speak lies». The Amir answered and said to him : «Thou art honest with me. Therefore whatever the Christians shall give to thee, because I demanded it of thee, give it to me, and I will require no more of thee». So the secretaries said to the patriarch : «Do this». Accordingly the patriarch accepted that proposal, and the Amir released him with honour and joy, while gladness and rejoicing were spread among the orthodox, but sorrow and shame among the enemies of the Church.

And the blessed patriarch rode forth from the governor’s palace, amid the acclamations of the people, who walked before him, while he was mounted on his horse, with chanting and singing, until he entered the church. There he blessed the basin of water, and washed the feet of the people; and afterwards he celebrated the Liturgy, and carried the Holy Mysteries, and |18 communicated the people. Then he returned to his Cell, by the mercy and help of God.

Much shame and sorrow came to the heretics from this, and more to those who had accused him than to any other, and especially to Theophanes the governor of Maryût. For in those days the Amir arrested him suddenly, and delivered him to the secretary, who sent him to prison, and afterwards put him to death after severe torments. And he went to Hell.

God, the only worker of miracles, vouchsafed to the Father Patriarch acceptance and favour with the Amir, who commanded throughout the city that none should address the patriarch except with good words nor say any evil of him, and that none should hinder him in what he desired, nor in going out of the city nor coming into it. Then the magistrates and believing scribes and all the orthodox people found their opportunity, and assisted Abba John, until he had paid the Amir the sum that he had finally demanded of him. And after that they assisted him also in the rebuilding of the church of the glorious martyr and evangelist Saint Mark; and he completed it in three years with every kind of decoration, and bought for it house-property in Misr and in Maryût and in Alexandria. And he built a mill to grind wheat into flour for making biscuit, and a press for linseed oil, and many houses which he settled upon the church of the holy Saint Mark. And the Lord blessed him in every way in his deeds and words. In his days also the orthodox received into their community the people of Agharwah and the people |19 of the Xoite nome, who had been Chalcedonians. Thus the grace of Christ helped and strengthened him.

And he prayed the Lord to reveal to him who was fit to sit after him upon the throne. So when he heard of a brother, named Isaac, learned, excellent, clothed with every virtue, who was serving God in the monastery of the holy Saint Macarius in Wadî Habîb, and had been spiritual son to a bishop, named Zacharias, full of the grace of the Holy Ghost in his venerable character and dignity and humility and good deeds, then the holy patriarch John wrote and summoned that brother to himself, and guarded him like the pupil of his eye. And the brother Isaac was engaged in the works of God, and in writing and copying books; but the patriarch notwithstanding that commanded him to become his partner in administering the affairs of the Church.

Then there came a dearth in the days of the holy John, the said patriarch, which lasted three years; but God assisted this father in supporting the poor of the city during three years; for, if he had not done so, they would have perished in the famine. He gave them their food twice every week, and also gave them money; and the mill for biscuit did not cease working night or day, but continued to grind for those that were destitute. |20

And the patriarch’s eye was full of affection, and he was great in charity, and used to give alms as abundant as the sea; and he neglected nothing in his works which could please God, like John the Evangelist. At last he was attacked by a disease in his feet, arising from the gout, and he was greatly tormented by it, until the physicians treated him by the advice of his family and of the brethren who surrounded him.

At that time Abd al-Azîz journeyed to Misr, and Abba John travelled in company with him, until he arrived at the capital. There the patriarch suffered from a sharp pain in his side; and when the Amir was informed of it, he was sorry for him, and sent the secretaries to visit him; and they prepared a boat for him, that he might return down the river to Alexandria. And the writer of this history was with him, for he was his spiritual son. When he arrived at the city of Alexandria, the news was brought to the assembly of the bishops that he was prostrate with fever. So they entered to him. And there were in company with them Gregory, bishop of Al-Kais, and Abba John, bishop of Niciu, and Abba James, bishop of Arwât, and Abba John, bishop of Sakhâ, and Abba Theodore, bishop of Metelites, and a body of the laity: and they were all sad because they saw their shepherd called from earth to heaven. For indeed none remained in their generation |21 like him in his deeds. And when he came to the church of the holy Saint Mark the Evangelist, which he had rebuilt by the incomprehensible decrees of God, they carried him and brought him into the great altar. Thereupon he stood up by the power of the Spirit, and said the whole of the prayer of thanksgiving; and then he lost consciousness. After that they carried him and brought him into his chamber; and so he gave up his spirit into the hand of the Lord Christ in glory and honour.

The period during which he remained on the throne was nine years; and he went to his rest on the first day of Kîhak. And his body was laid in the place which he had built for himself before his death, in the church of Saint Mark the Apostle, with chanting and praises ascending to God. To whom belong glory and honour and praise and majesty and power for ever and ever. Amen.



This is the father, Abba Isaac, of whom it was revealed to the father, Abba John, that he should sit after him, by his prayers and wishes, |22 according to what has been related before. For the Scripture says 8 that the Lord visits his chosen ones. And it says also 9 : «None shall take an honour by himself unless it be given him by the Lord from heaven». And it says in the Psalm 10 : «Blessed is he whom thou choosest and receivest unto thee». For when Abba John departed to the Lord in good remembrance, the bishops assembled together under the presidency of Gregory, the bishop of Al-Kais; and James, bishop of Arwât, and John, bishop of Niciu, and a body of bishops and of the Christian laity took counsel with the clergy of Alexandria, and associated with themselves the secretary who was commissioner for the city; and they agreed that they should promote the deacon George, who was a native of Sakhâ, to the dignity of patriarch, without consulting the Amir Abd al-Azîz. For they said : «If he is angry with us or murmurs, we will tell him that Abba John, the patriarch, commanded us that this man should sit in his place after his death, and made us promise and swear to this, and so we could not oppose him». Then they took the deacon George, and ordained him priest, and clothed him with the monastic |23 habit; and they proclaimed in the church that on the morrow the patriarch would be consecrated, forgetting the words of the Scripture 11 : «The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought, and maketh the thoughts of the people to be of no effect, and hindereth the commands of princes». And when the morrow came, they clothed the deacon George with the vestment of the patriarchal office, and prepared what they needed, and brought him forth in pomp. But while they were intent upon his consecration, they met the archdeacon of the city, whose name was Mark, and who was a man of understanding, virtuous, and of high reputation in the city; and he forbad them, saying : «If you will not come to the church on Sunday, according to the custom prescribed by the canons, when all the people of the city shall be assembled, I will not assist in the ordination of this man». Now this was God’s command, that he might promote that man whom he had chosen at first, namely Abba Isaac, the monk, who was a native of Shubrâ.

For when the morrow came, some of the attendants of the Amir arrived and said : «Where is he whom they have appointed patriarch, and where are the bishops and the priests who appointed him, that we may take them to Misr under our charge?» So they took them and departed. Then, when they had enquired into the affair, they found that the documents bore witness that it was not George of whom Abba John had spoken during his lifetime. So the Amir Abd al-Azîz was angry, and cancelled George’s nomination, and commanded them to appoint Isaac. And the thing was |24 from God. So the bishops took him, and ordained him, and he sat upon the patriarchal throne for three years.

And the Lord was with Abba Isaac helping him, so that he repaired the Great Church of the Holy Mark, when its walls were sloping in, and also renewed the episcopal residence. And by his means the liturgies in the churches of the orthodox, where they could not be performed before, were restored. And he built a church at Hulwân, because at that place he used to go to visit the Amir Abd al-Azîz, who had commanded the magistrates of Upper Egypt and all the provinces to build, each one of them for himself, a residence at the town of Hulwân.

In those days the patriarch addressed letters to the king of the Abyssinians and the king of the Nubians, bidding them make peace together and praying that there might be no ill will between them; and he wrote this on account of a dispute which there was between the two. Thereupon certain intriguers seized the opportunity of slandering Abba Isaac before Abd al-Azîz, who was greatly incensed, and sent his officers to bring him that he might put him to death. But the secretaries wrote letters different from the patriarch’s letters, and gave them to the messengers whom he had sent to the Abyssinians, and took those first letters from them, in fear for the patriarch. This they only did lest evil should befall the Church. And before the patriarch was brought before the Amir, they informed him that the messengers were there, and the letters with them. So he sent |25 in haste to seek them, and took the letters; and when he had perused them, he found nothing in them of what had been told him. Thus his anger was pacified, and he sent at once, and bade the patriarch return to Alexandria, and did not cause him again after this to come up southwards.

Then he commanded to destroy all the crosses which were in the land of Egypt, even the crosses of gold and silver. So the Christians in the land of Egypt were troubled. Moreover he wrote certain inscriptions, and placed them on the doors of the churches at Misr and in the Delta, saying in them : «Muhammad is the great Apostle of God, and Jesus also is the Apostle of God. But verily God is not begotten and does not beget.»

Then the blessed one went to his rest and departed to the Lord in peace, keeping the orthodox faith, and wearing the crown of righteousness with all the Saints; and after his decease, his body was put in the place which he had prepared in the church of Saint Mark, with chanting and hymns. And the people and the priests took care as to whom they should promote after him upon the throne of the patriarchate. And a dispute took place between the clergy of Saint Mark the Evangelist and the clergy of the church of the Angelion in the city. For some said with regard to John, the Hegumen in the Monastery of Az-Zajâj, which is called in Greek To Enaton, that he was worthy of this office, because he was a learned man and a writer, |26 and he was also godfather to the government-secretary; but others spoke of a man, whose name was Victor, Hegumen of the Monastery of Taposiris, who was also an excellent person. When the people of the church of the Angelion were informed of John, they rejoiced, and the secretary supported them, because it was the Great Church, and there were one hundred and forty ecclesiastics attached to it. So Theodore, the magistrate of the city of Alexandria, wrote for them to the Amir Abd al-Azîz, to inform him of John, the Hegumen of the Monastery of Az-Zajâj; saying that the choice of the community had fallen upon him, that he should be patriarch.

Now the period, during which our father, the patriarch Abba Isaac, remained on the apostolic throne, was two years and nine months. And he went to his rest on the second day of Hatûr, and departed to the Lord Christ, keeping the faith, and ruling his flock. According to another copy, however, he is said to have remained in the patriarchal office three years. May the Lord have mercy upon us by his prayers, and the prayers of all whose works he approves! Amen. |27


There was with Abba John in the monastery a holy man fearing God, excellent, learned more than many in his generation, whose name was Simon, of the people of the East, whose parents had brought him to Alexandria in his youth, and given him as an offering to the Church like Samuel, for the sake of the body of the holy Saint Severus; for it lies in a shrine in that monastery, and the Syrians used to bring to it gifts and votive offerings. Then the aforesaid Theodore took Simon, who was then a deacon, at the beginning of the days of Abba Agathon, and brought him to Abba John, that he might teach him the art of writing, and the sections of the Scriptures. And by the grace of the Lord Christ who was with him he learnt the Old Testament and much of the New in a short time, for Abba John was excellent as a teacher. So, when Abba Agathon saw that Simon was good in his conduct, he ordained him priest, so that he was the second in rank in the monastery, after his spiritual father John. Then, in consequence of what has been related, the Amir wrote a letter, and sent to summon John, whose spiritual son Simon travelled with him, besides some of the clergy of Alexandria, and Theodore the magistrate in their company. When they arrived, they gave the Amir their letter, containing the name of John: and |28 so the Amir wished to see him. And when the Amir saw John, his heart inclined towards him, because he was a handsome person, beautiful in countenance. Then he asked the priests and bishops concerning him, and they answered : «Yea, he is fit».

But there happened on that day a wonderful thing, like the matter of Phares and Zara, or like Adonias and Solomon, the sons of David. And this was that, after the appointment of John had been confirmed, God raised up one of the bishops like Daniel at that time, without collusion or consultation with anyone, and he said : «This man shall not be our patriarch». Thereupon silence and wonder fell upon all the people, so that none answered him a syllable. So the Amir enquired : «Then who is fit, sayest thou?» Then the bishop said in the presence of the assembly : «Simon is worthy of this degree». So the Amir commanded that Simon should be brought before him. And when he saw him, he asked them and said : «Whence comes this man?» So it was told him : «He is a Syrian of the people of the East». When he learnt this, he said to the bishops : «Then can you not appoint one of your own country?» And they answered him and said to him : «Verily the man whom we chose we brought before thee; but the matter belongs to God, and in the second place to thee». Then he turned to the blessed Simon, and asked him whether he approved this |29 venerable John as patriarch. And Simon gave his assent and said to him : «There is not found in the land of Egypt nor in the East one who is as worthy as this man, and he is my spiritual father, and my master from my youth; and his life is as the life of the angels». So when the Amir heard this, he marvelled greatly. And there was a great multitude assembled; and a shout was raised among the magistrates and bishops and clergy, who cried : «May God prolong the life of the Amir for us many years! Deliver the see to Simon, for he is worthy to be patriarch. As was Abba Benjamin, so is Simon. Verily the Church supports them». When the Amir looked at them, and heard their words with regard to a foreigner whom they had not known at all for more than two days, then he bade them with God’s help take him and ordain him patriarch. And he commanded the greater part of the bishops to travel in his company. Accordingly they brought him to Alexandria, and enthroned him upon the apostolic throne in the Great Church, called the Angelion. Thus the orthodox people had great joy and peace and unity in the Church, and her affairs grew in prosperity day by day.

Then Abba Simon set his spiritual father John over the affairs of the |30 Church, while he devoted himself to the study of the holy Scriptures. And as long as John lived, the Father Patriarch did not occupy himself with any of the affairs of the Church, but gave all that up to John his father, in the same way that he used to do with him in the monastery, obeying him and calling him «My Father».

Then Abba Simon wrote a synodical epistle to Julian, patriarch of Antioch, at which the latter marvelled; and Simon sent it by certain bishops, and in it he reminded Julian of unity, and that this one faith and unity were between the two sees, Alexandria and Antioch. Then, when Julian studied it, he found it full of the wisdom of God and of the spiritual books, and he rejoiced greatly; and he preached in his church in the name of the father Abba Simon. He also wrote him an answer to his synodical letter, and sent back his envoys with rich gifts to Egypt.

When Simon had continued three years, his father John went to his rest in peace, and was counted worthy that the blessed Simon the Patriarch should lay his hand upon his eyes, and even shroud him with his own hand. Thus he received his father’s blessing and carried him to the monastery, and buried him, and remained beside him forty days, until he had built a tomb for him. And he laid his body in it, and made it large enough to contain his own body, when he should die, that he might be buried with him therein.

Then there came to Abba Simon a trial from God, who proves his elect and purifies them like one who purifies pure silver from dross, so that they |31 become like pure gold; and by the grace of the Lord Christ he endured until he obtained the crown. For he was a man salted with salt, like the salt of the Gospel, having no hypocrisy nor greediness of comfort or of meat or drink, but during his whole life his breakfast was bread and crushed salt with cummin and purslain or such like herbs, that he might weaken the force of his bodily appetites, and make the flesh the servant of the spirit. He used not to associate with the bishops or clergy, because he used to seek solitude so as to observe the times of prayer; and for this reason he was hated by the people of Alexandria. Therefore some of the clergy went to certain magicians, and gave them gold so that they made for them by their magic art a deadly poison, which they put in the vessel in which the Father Simon, the patriarch, used to drink, and brought it to him that he might take some of it. But he had communicated of the Holy Mysteries before he drank of it, and therefore, when he swallowed it, it did not injure him. Then those parricides did the same thing a second time, but it did not hurt him nor do him injury. So when the magicians saw this, they were amazed at what had happened to this saint. Then indeed they took fair figs out of season, and put deadly poison in them, and charged the priests, and said to them : «Give him these to eat, while he is fasting without food, and has not made his communion, and then he will burst asunder in the midst». So they brought him the fruit with cunning and |32 hypocrisy, and begged him and entreated him to eat of them; and there were some who pointed them out to him, and induced him to swallow of the poisoned figs. Accordingly his bowels were moved that night, and he remained forty days in great anguish, so that every one thought his death inevitable. But the Lord who gives life raised him up, and showed forth a miracle in him. And there appeared to him in a vision one who said to him : «For what cause dost thou endure these trials?»

So when the Amir came to the city, he looked upon Abba Simon, and his appearance was changed through that which had happened to him; and when the Amir asked the reason of this change, he was told by the scribes that four of the priests had given the patriarch poison to drink. Thereupon the Amir commanded that they should be burnt alive, and the magician with them, outside the city, on the north side of it, in a place called Pharos. But when they were about to burn them, the patriarch fell upon his face with many tears before the Amir, and interceded with him for them, saying to him : «If anything happens to them on my account, I must be suspended from my office, for it is not right that I should be patriarch after that». Then the Amir marvelled at the goodness of his acts, and commanded that the ecclesiastics should be released, but that the magicians should be burnt alive on account of their former deeds. So they were burnt in the fire.

After this, Abba Simon committed to Abba John, bishop of Niciu, the management of the affairs of the monasteries, because he was conversant |33 with the life of the monks, and knew their rules; and he gave him authority over them. At this time the monks were industriously rebuilding the cells, while the officials took charge of their maintenance. Then, however, some of those who were given up to their appetites took a virgin out of her monastery, and conveyed her to Wadî Habîb and committed sin with her secretly. When this was made known among the monks, there was great distress among them, the like of which had not been heard of in that place. So the bishop took the monk who had committed the sin, and inflicted a painful beating upon him; and ten days after his punishment that monk died. Then when the affair became known, all the bishops in the land of Egypt assembled in secret and enquired of the bishop what had happened to the monk, so he informed them concerning the event, and confessed that it was he who had beaten him; and therefore they condemned him to be deposed, because he had transgressed the limit of what humanity required in him. So they deposed him, and he was silent while they did so; and they had said to him : «It is unlawful for thee henceforth to approach any of the vessels of the sanctuary, but thou shalt receive the Mysteries like a mere monk». Then he cried and said to the people : «Since you have deposed me unjustly, the Lord, the God whose name I know, shall make you |34 all, O ye bishops, strangers to your sees until the end of the time during which you have condemned me». Then they appointed another man, named Mennas, of the monastery of Saint Macarius, to be bishop in his stead; yet he was a man held in honour, powerful in words, loving the brethren.

But after a few days the saying of this holy bishop was fulfilled upon the bishops who assisted to depose him, and upon all the bishops; for a calamity came upon them. There were at that time men who were like the Gentiles, and abstained from their lawful wives, and took unlawful mistresses, showing their subjection to their passions; and yet they said that they were Christians. But the bishops rejected them, and repulsed them from the Holy Mysteries. So some of them went to the Amir and said to him : «We are forbidden to marry, and they have cast us out so that we are forced to commit fornication». Then he was angry, and assembled the bishops from their sees to Alexandria. Accordingly sixty-four bishops were gathered together, but they knew not why they had come nor the cause of their meeting; and they used to pay their respects to the Amir every week. And the heretics, who were no true bishops, also met there, namely, Theophylact, a bishop of the Chalcedonians, and Theodore, who was one of the Gaianite adherents of Eutyches; and of the followers of Barsanuphi there was George, besides a number of others who were called bishops, and who had also been called together. |35

Then when it was Sunday, news came to the Amir that the army of the Romans had risen against the prince Justinian, and deposed him, and had appointed Leontius instead of him. So the governor at once commanded that the magistrates of every province should be gathered together, and the people of Alexandria and the bishops and the Muslims, that he might make known to them the disaster of the Romans. So a great multitude was then gathered together, and they said : «It has always been the custom of. the Romans that one prince is deposed and another takes his seat». Then the Amir commanded on that day that the Liturgies of the Christians should be forbidden. For the Muslims said that the Christians were in error, giving God a wife and a son, and uttering many falsehoods in their religion; and the Amir rebuked their want of agreement in the doctrines of religion.

Then he turned to Theodore the bishop, chief of the Gaianites, and said to him : «Of these three bishops, which is nearest to thee, and whom does thy soul receive?» He answered : «Abba Simon». Then the Amir turned to Theophylact, the bishop, leader of the Melkites, and said to him : «Which is nearest to thee, and whose religion preferrest thou?» So he said : «I prefer the religion of Abba Simon.» Then Abd al-Azîz said to George, the Barsanuphian : «Which is the nearest to thee of these bishops, and whom does thy soul receive?» He replied : «My religion and the religion of Abba Simon are one, and it is he whom my soul loves». Then |36 he turned lastly to the father, Abba Simon, the preacher of the truth, and said : «Which of these is the nearest to thee, and the one whom thy soul loves?» So he answered and proclaimed in the assembly in a loud voice, saying : «Not one of these is near to me, nor do I love one of them, but I excommunicate by writing and by word of mouth them and their vile doctrine and their fellowship; and those who favour them and those who communicate with them I contemn as Jews». Then the people cried with a great voice, saying : «Abba Simon confesses the truth without error». Thereupon those men were overwhelmed with shame.

After this there came a priest from the people of the Indians to Abba Simon, to ask of him that he would ordain for him a bishop for the Indians. Now the people of the Indians were not subjects of the Muslims. So the patriarch said to the Indian priest : «I cannot ordain a bishop for you without the command of the Amir, who is governor of the land of Egypt. Go to him, and make thy need known to him. Then, if he bids me, I will do for thee what thou requirest, and thou shalt return in peace to thy country with companions». So the priest went from the patriarch’s house to go to the Amir. Then some of the Gaianites met him. and took him to Theodore, the chief of the Phantasiasts. and told Theodore the cause which had |37 brought the priest from his country. Therefore Theodore said to him : «I will do what thou needest for thee». Then Theodore took a man of Maryût, and ordained him bishop for him, and ordained two priests for him, and sent them away secretly to India. But after they had travelled twenty days, the guardians of the roads, who were employed by the Muslims, seized them, and sent them to the caliph, whose name was Abd al-Malik. The Indian priest, however, escaped, and returned to Egypt; but they brought the three others bound to Abd al-Malik. And when the caliph knew that they were of the land of Egypt, and from Maryût, and were travelling to a foreign country, he cut off their hands and feet, which he sent to Egypt, to Abd al-Azîz, to whom he wrote, reproaching him with incapacity, and saying : «It seems that thou knowest not what takes place in thine own country, namely that the patriarch of the Christians, who lives at Alexandria, has sent information of the affairs of Egypt to India. Now, when thou readest this letter, thou must inflict upon him two hundred stripes, and take from him one hundred thousand dinars, and send the money to us forthwith by the envoys who come to thee, without delay».

Now the patriarch, Abba Simon, was at that time at Hulwân, accompanied by a bishop. When the letters came to the Amir from his brother at the second hour of the night, he sent some Slavonians and summoned the holy Abba Simon, and his two spiritual sons, that is to say, his scribes. And |38 the Amir said to him : «Fear God, and take heed of thyself, and let no lie come forth from thy mouth with regard to that on which I shall question thee». So the patriarch answered : «I fear my God, and govern my soul in my conduct so that it may be saved by doing good at all times; and as for lies, not only to-day, but during my whole life I have despised them, for they come from Satan, the enemy of mankind. Thus I am ready either for death or life. With regard to the truth as far as I know it, I will tell it before God and thy authority». Then the governor’s anger blazed less furiously, and he said to him : «Didst thou indeed appoint a man to the bishopric of the Indians?» So he answered and said to him : «There came to me a priest from, their country, and requested this thing of me, but I sent him away, telling him that, unless he would bring me an order from the Amir, I could not do this thing. Then I wrote for him to the secretaries, that they might inform thee of his business; and he left my house, when I was at Alexandria, and has not returned up to now». When the Amir heard these words, he imagined that the blessed one was afraid of death, and for that reason concealed the truth; so he said to him : «Woe to thee! Behold the hands and feet of thy friends, which the caliph has sent to me. And he commands also that I take from thee one hundred thousand dinars, after inflicting upon thee five hundred stripes. Thou hast concealed the truth, therefore I will destroy thee, and kill the bishops with the sword, |39 and pull down all the churches. Yet now this is my sure promise to thee. If thou wilt tell me the truth, I will pay the money instead of thee from my own treasury, and no harm shall befall thee from me. Now be honest with me».

Now this was at night. Then the holy man answered without fear and said to him : «It is the glory of the prince that he love justice, and the lips that are moved in hatred shall be despised. And now, as I think, if a voice came from heaven, bidding me deviate from the truth, I would say no otherwise. But thou wilt not believe me because of what is between us with regard to the coming of the letters to thee, concerning the people whose limbs were cut off, and the men by whom they were cut. Yet now they and the letters will bear witness to me and show the truth. So if I find grace before thee, write that the men may be sent to thee, that the truth of the matter may be known from them and from the letters which were found intheir hands, and that they may tell you who sent them. Then if anything appears which contradicts my words, do what thou wilt». But the Amir answered and said to him ; «How shall they bring hither men whose hands and feet are cut off? thou think that there is any other patriarch of the Christians in the city of Alexandria besides thee? Why dost thou |40 dispute with me?» Then the holy man Simon answered and said to him : «I am pressed on every side. Thou dost not accept the truth from me, but thou desirest to force me to accuse myself of that which I have not done. Yet by the love of God in thy heart grant me a delay of seven days, and thou shalt know all that took place according to the truth». So he said to him : «Perchance thou desirest to flee or to kill thyself. But this monk, what is he in relation to thee?» The patriarch replied : «He is my son». The Amir enquired : «Hast thou confidence in him?» He answered : «Yea he is as my own life». So the Amir said to him : «As my brother did to the men who were taken while they were travelling to India, so I will do to thee if thou dost not tell me the truth». The holy man answered and said : «Behold, we are before thee with God, therefore do whatever thou wilt. For I have told thee already what took place with me». Then the Amir was silent for a time, and at length said : «I will grant thee a delay of three days. Therefore depart, and beware what thou doest, and perchance God will let know me the truth».

So he went out from his presence and prayed to God humbly with tears, and begged him to show the Amir his innocence of the charge which he laid against him in this matter. And at sunset on the second day his spiritual son, the monk, looked towards the river bank, and saw walking there that black Indian priest and monk, who had come to Abba Simon and asked |41 him to ordain a bishop for him, and who did not know anything of what had happened since then, because he had been a fugitive. So he went to that Indian, and grasped him and brought him to the holy patriarch, and said to him : «O my father, God has accepted thy prayer, and exposed the unjust treatment that we suffered». And he made known to the patriarch that he had taken the Indian priest, and he brought him in. And the Indian told Abba Simon what had taken place, and how Theodore the Gaianite had ordained for him a bishop and priests. So when the morning of the third day came, he took him to the Amir, guarding him and taking thought how to save him, and to save Theodore also from death. When the Amir saw him, he said to him : «Perchance thou wilt now tell the truth without lies». So the holy Simon answered him, after adoring God upon his face, and said : «The authority of men comes from the authority of God, and he who exercises authority in this world must be long-suffering, and willing like God most high to grant respites with generosity. Now I desire that thou give the promise of God to me and to those present with me in regard to this occurrence, that them wilt do them no harm, but wilt pardon them for God’s sake; and then the truth shall be made known to thy lordship». So he gave him his hand that he would do him no evil. Accordingly he brought before Abd al-Azîz the Indian priest, who made known to him all that had |42 happened, and that Simon was innocent of this occurrence. When the Amir learnt this, he sent the Indian to prison, and commanded that Theodore should be taken and crucified. And he thanked the holy man, Simon the patriarch, and rejoiced over him, and acknowledged his honesty. He wrote also to Abd al-Malik, his brother, to inform him of what had happened and that the patriarch of the Christians in the city of Alexandria had nothing to do with this matter, but was innocent of it; and he praised him to the caliph, and recounted his goodness and uprightness and chastity. And Abd al-Azîz performed for Abba Simon what he had promised, by sparing for his sake Theodore and the Indian priest; for he had learnt that there was no deceit in him.

And after three years Abd al-Azîz dismissed the bishops to their sees, and commanded them to build two churches at Hulwân. And the bishops spent of their own means upon the building of them; and the governor deputed Gregory, bishop of Al-Kais, to superintend the building of them. Now the Amir loved building, and therefore he built Hulwân, and constructed reservoirs there; likewise at Misr he built houses and market-places and baths; and so he did in every town on the river from Misr to Alexandria. He commanded also to dig the canal of Alexandria on the north of the city near the pool of Nicetas; and he ordered that milestones should be set up along it as far as Alexandria. So also he did in the city itself, for he restored her streets after they were ruined. For he made use of men as |43 Pharao did in his time; and there are many things which he did, but which this biography has no room to relate, for fear of making it too long. Meanwhile this holy man Simon was striving all his life to prevent difficulties between the Christians and the Muslims, so that none might suffer loss through him. And through him the Lord used to show his wonders. He had an oeconomus whom he entrusted with the care of the diaconicon, and who was a priest, and in his charge was all that belonged to the church. And the patriarch used to exhort him at all times and say to him : «O priest Mennas, see that thou be not careless with regard to the church, in leaving in thy house a book or anything that belongs to it, for otherwise trouble will come upon thee». But Mennas was not pleased with these warnings. And the Lord gave this priest no child, as he smote the firstborn of Egypt in ancient times; yet though he thought of repentance he was not converted. Then God sent down upon him suddenly a disease through which his tongue clove to his palate, and his reason left him, and he used to bite his tongue while he was sleeping upon his bed. And three men took him on account of what he did to himself, and carried him to his house. And the Father Simon, the patriarch, was troubled about him and about the property of the church, because it was in his charge, and no one besides him knew the amount of it. So he remained awake, and prayed the Lord Jesus Christ to raise Mennas up from this sickness for the sake of the church. Then when midnight came, news was brought to the Father Patriarch that |44 the priest Mennas was near death. So he sent his son to him, and bade him ask his wife if he had said anything to her about the property of the church; but before the patriarch’s messenger arrived at the house, there was heard the voice of one crying that the priest was dead. And when he expired, they dressed him in the priestly garments, and laid him on his bed, according to the custom of the Alexandrians, vested in his liturgical vestments. Therefore when the patriarch’s son came to the house in which Mennas was laid out, with a great number of the clergy around him, because of his priestly office and his rank, the brother bent over him to kiss him. And the priest sat up and clasped his hands round his neck, and said : «God is the One, the God of the blessed Abba Simon». So when all those who were around him saw him, they fled in fear from that brother whom he had embraced. Thereupon he said to him : «Be confident and of good courage, and be patient, O priest Mennas». Then he answered and said to him : «Through the prayers of my Lord, the Father Patriarch Abba Simon, God has given me life a second time». Then the brother called the clergy and the rest of those who were in the town, and made known to them that the priest Mennas had spoken; and the priest Mennas said to them as they stood astonished and amazed : «Verily I died like all men who die, |45 and two shining men led me before the throne of Christ, the great and mighty King; and I saw the fathers and patriarchs in their ranks, beginning with the Father Isaac back to the Evangelist Saint Mark. And they reproved me saying : Why didst thou hide the property of the church and all that belongs to it from our successor Abba Simon? Then I was placed before Christ the King, and he said : Take him into outer darkness. And while they were dragging me away, the holy patriarchs prostrated themselves before the Lord Christ, saying with supplications : Have pity on our son, this servant, and release him this time, because he has not given an account of the property of the Church, and this our brother Simon is praying for him. Therefore Christ commanded that I should be brought back a second time, and he said to me : Thus thou diest and art worthy of death, but for the sake of our chosen one and vicar, Simon, I release thee this time. Yet if thou repentest not and takest not heed to thyself, thou shalt return hither, and I will accept no prayers on thy behalf». Then Mennas arose and stood upright, and he had recovered from his sickness. Afterwards he brought forth all the property of the church, and delivered it to the holy Father Abba Simon; and the Father Patriarch delivered it to his spiritual son. And Mennas remained with him to the time of his death in the fear of God. And all the people glorified God, the doer of wonders among his saints, on account of this great miracle.

Then the Father Patriarch, Abba Simon, chose spiritual men, brilliant |46 in their deeds, deeply learned in the scriptures and in wisdom and sciences, and ordained them bishops over every place. And the first of these sons of his was the Father Abba Zacharias, bishop of the city of Sakhâ; and he made Abba Ptolemy, the spiritual brother who was his brother in the monastic life, bishop over the see of Upper Manûf. And there are many others whose names are forgotten. These he ordained and distributed the dioceses among them that they might feed the reasonable sheep. And he remained patriarch nine years and a half. Then he fell ill on the day of Pentecost, and recognised that it was a mortal sickness. So he said to his son : «Let us travel to the holy valley, Wadî Habîb, that I may receive the blessing of the holy fathers and the monks; for I shall not see them again after this time in the body». So he went down from Hulwân, for he had gone thither from Alexandria for the sake of the bishops, until he had dismissed them to their dioceses. And he went down to Wadî Habîb, and received the blessing of the holy fathers, the monks; and then he went on to Alexandria. And he was removed by the incomprehensible decrees of God to the land of the living on the 24th of Abîb, which corresponds to the 18th of July according to the Roman months, in the year 416 of Diocletian, the unbelieving prince, the slayer of the Martyrs. And he bad his sons lay his body in the Monastery of Az-Zajâj, in the place where the body of his |47 father John was laid. Accordingly the monks of the monasteries assembled together at Henaton, until they had finished the prayers over him. And his body was lowered into his tomb with hymns of worship and praise to the Lord Christ, to whom glory and honour are due, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the Giver of life, for ever and ever. Amen.

Here 12 ends the sixteenth chapter wherein the History of the Fathers is completed, as far as the life of Abba Simon, the forty-second patriarch. May God grant us the blessing of their prayers! Hereafter will follow that which we have translated from the documents in the Monastery of Saint Macarius, namely the history of ten patriarchs, from Michael 13 the Last to Sinuthius the First. We also translated in this monastery the lives of nine other patriarchs, in the year 796 of the Martyrs. This is written by Apacyrus, the deacon, and Michael, son of Apater, of Damanhur. Through the grace of God, which enabled us to find the histories in the Monastery of Saint Macarius, with the help of the brother Theodore, the steward, son of Paul, on Sunday the 6th of Ba’ûnah, in the year 797 of the Righteous Martyrs. We have compared the manuscripts with one another, and found them |48 corresponding to what we copied; and so we assured ourselves of their authenticity.



We must now record the events which took place after the death of the glorious, venerable, and blessed father, the good shepherd Abba Simon, who heard from the Lord Jesus Christ the words : «14 O thou faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over little, I will set thee over much. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord». When his death was made known to the Amir Abd al-Azîz and to the scribes at Misr, these latter were afflicted with grief and sadness because all the Christians had lost their shepherd, at a time of difficulty and trials, caused by the civil governors. But the Lord Christ did not cease to govern the Church. And Athanasius, the believer, was president of the Divân; and he protected the interests of the churches. On this occasion he and the scribes went to the Amir with one consent, and said to him : «The property of the Church at Alexandria obliges her to pay |49 a heavy tax. Therefore we pray thee to despatch the bishop Gregory to Alexandria, to watch over the possessions of the Church and everything connected with it. So may God lengthen thy life, O Amir!» Then Abd al-Azîz consented to what Athanasius asked for, and despatched Gregory, bishop of Al-Kais, to Alexandria, and gave him authority over the property of the churches and the establishment of the patriarch, with free power of administration; and accordingly he wrote a decree for him to that effect. So Gregory took the decree and departed. And they began to take thought as to whom they should promote to be patriarch, in accordance with their desire for a man known for wisdom and learning. So they waited three years in this state, until it was the Lord’s will; and at length the heart of the civil governors was well disposed in this matter, after much supplication. Then by the will of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who knows whom he will choose from among the pure and chaste and clean of heart, they brought forward the priest Alexander from the Monastery of Az-Zajâj. He was a monk, a virgin, humble, without defect, learned in the Scriptures from ins youth. And they brought Alexander to the Amir, who saw the grace in his face, and so allowed them by the will of God to promote him to the patriarchal office. |50

So the orthodox laity agreed together, in the presence of an assemblage of bishops and priests and the secretaries of the divan. Then the Father Alexander was consecrated patriarch on the festival of the holy Saint Mark, namely the last day of Barmudah, in the year 420 of Diocletian. And the land of Egypt rejoiced greatly, and especially the orthodox, because the Church had been left in solitude three years, and they were therein like orphans. And the Lord was with the Father Alexander, making all his affairs easy, on account of his humility and chastity and trust in the Lord alone as his ruler. Then when a short time had passed, during which he remained in peace, Satan stirred up strife against the bishops, as we will relate.

Abd al-Azîz, the governor of Egypt, had a son, the eldest of his sons, called Al-Asbagh, and he thought that he would sit in the seat of government in his father’s room when he died. So he made him ruler over the whole country as wâli and receiver of the revenue, and all ranks obeyed him with fear, because he was the Amir’s son, and because of the authority which he had given him. Now Al-Asbagh was a hater of the Christians, a shedder of blood, a wicked man, like a fierce lion. At that time a deacon, |51 named Benjamin, became attached to him and grew intimate with him; and Al-Asbagh loved him more than all his companions. And he treacherously revealed to Al-Asbagh the secrets of the Christians, and even expounded the Gospel to him in Arabic as well as the books of alchemy. For Al-Asbagh sought out books that they might be read to him, and so for instance he read the Festal Epistles, in order that he might see whether the Muslims were insulted therein or not. And he did not shrink from any cruelly that he could inflict upon the Christians. For as the damned heretics were in the habit of calumniating the Christian monks and saving that they did nothing but eat and drink, he sent one of his trusted friends, named Yezîd, accompanied by another, and mutilated all the monks in all the provinces and in Wadî Habîb and on Mount Jarâd and in other places. And he laid a poll-tax upon them of one dinar from each individual, and commanded that they should make no more monks after those whom he mutilated. Now this tax of the infidel Al-Asbagh was the first poll-tax paid by the monks.

After this, Al-Asbagh compelled the bishops of the provinces to furnish a sum of two thousand dinars besides the taxes on their lands, and this sum they paid every year. And he acted proudly, and compelled the people to pray as he bade them. And Benjamin, the monk and deacon, was a |52 worse enemy to the Christians than any other, and excited his friend to every kind of persecution. So he forced many persons to become Muslims, among them being Peter, governor of Upper Egypt, and his brother Theodore, and the son of Theophanes, governor of Maryût, and a body of priests and laymen not to be numbered on account of their multitude. But the Lord Jesus Christ did not long respite Al-Asbagh, and in a short time hurried him out of the world, because he hated the Christian people. This took place as follows. On the Saturday of Light he entered into the Monastery of Hulwân, and looked at the pictures being carried in procession according to the rule. And there was a picture of our Pure Lady Mary and of the Lord Christ in her lap; so when he looked at it and considered it, he said to the bishops and to several people who were with him : «Who is represented in this picture?» They answered : «This is Mary, the mother of Christ». Then he was moved with hatred against her, and filled his mouth with saliva, and spat in her face, saying : «If I find an opportunity, I will root out the Christians from this land. Who is Christ that you worship him as a God?» And that night God sent down vengeance upon him. For in the morning he came to his father, and found him sitting, surrounded by a body of Muslims and Christians. And the day was Easter Sunday. So Al-Asbagh sat down and said to his father; «O my Lord, the devils have chastised me this night». His father said to him : «How, |53 my son?» He replied : «I looked, and there was One sitting on a great throne, exceedingly awful and terrible; and his face shone with light brighter than the rays of the sun; and round him were thousands and tens of thousands bearing weapons, and their garments were white as snow; and I and thou stood behind him, bound with iron chains. And I asked one in a low voice : Who is this who has taken the government of the land of Egypt from my father? He said to me : Hast thou not known him till now? So I asked him in the dream : And who is he? Then he answered and said : This is Jesus Christ, the King of the Christians, who is more glorious and higher than all the kings of the earth. This is he whom thou didst mock, and in whose face thou didst spit. He shows thee thy weakness in this dream, thou wretched one, together with thy father; and he shows thee his glory and majesty». And while he was saying this to me, behold, one of those bearing weapons came to me, I being naked, and he struck me with a spear in my side, and did not take it out again until I had given up my spirit to them; and they were the devils who mocked me». When his father heard this tale he was very sad. And the young man was immediately seized with a violent fever, and was carried away forthwith; and they laid him upon his bed, and he did not open his mouth after that, nor did he eat or drink. So at the second hour of the night he died. And he was buried; and none could comfort his father because of him. And |54 after forty days his father also died, according to the dream which his unbelieving son had seen.

When these things had happened, Athanasius, the believer and lover of Christ, went with his sons to the sovereign prince Abd al-Malik at Damascus. But Abd al-Malik arrested Athanasius there, and called him to account, and took from him all the gains that he had acquired in Egypt since the collection of the taxes had been left to him. Then the prince sent one of his sons, named Abd Allah, to govern the land of Egypt; and when he came to Egypt, he also did evil deeds; and all the officials feared him on account of the deeds to which Satan tempted him. For he made instruments with which to torture the people, and was like a fierce wild beast; so that often when he sat at table men were put to death in his presence, and perchance their blood spurted out into the dish from which he was eating, and he took pleasure in that. In those days the blessed Alexander went forth, and travelled to Misr to salute Abd Allah, according to the custom among patriarchs and governors. But when Abd Allah saw him, he said : «What is this man?» They replied : «This is the father and patriarch of all the Christians». So he took him, and gave him over to one of his chamberlains, to whom he said : «Humiliate him in whatever way thou wilt, until he shall pay three thousand dinars». So he took him, and he remained with him three days. And the Christians continued to petition |55 the governor that he would remit part of what he had said, but he would not. And all the people in the country were in great distress on this account; and great fear fell upon the bishops and monks on account of the money which he tried to extort from the patriarch. So when George the deacon, a native of Dimru, saw this, that Abd Allah would not set the patriarch free until he had received the money, he went to him and said to him : «O our Lord, dost thou desire the life of the patriarch or money?» He answered : «I wish for the money». So the deacon George said to him : «Trust me with him for the space of two months, that I may go down with him to the North, to beg for him from the officials and Christians, and I will pay thee for him three thousand dinars». So the governor gave the patriarch up to him, and he went round the cities and villages with him, and visited those who believed in Christ, until he had collected the money and brought it to Misr. And he used to assemble to himself the bishops and principal men and monks, and then mock them, and speak proudly with hard words, saying to them : «You are to me like the Romans, and if a man slays one of you, God will pardon him, because you are the enemies of God». And when he received from the people the taxes which they were accustomed to pay, he demanded the double amount from them, requiring a dinar and two thirds from those who were bound to pay one dinar, so that many churches were ruined for that cause; for he loved money greatly. |56

Then Abd Allah commanded that of the youths of his country all those should be gathered together that were twenty years old or under. So they went and assembled together; and the leaders whom he appointed were two men, friends of his, named Asim and Yazîd, and with them a body of officials; and they brought down great trials upon the people, and many were killed on this account. And they branded the strangers whom they found, on their hands and foreheads, and sent them to places which they did not know. Thus there was trouble and confusion in the land. The governor also gave orders that no dead man should be buried until they had paid the poll-tax for him; and he appointed a man named Muhammad over this business, so that even the indigent, who could not buy bread, were not buried when they died, except by his command. How great then were the sadness and misery and sighing in the provinces of Lower and Upper Egypt on account of the deeds of these men, until the Lord took vengeance suddenly on Abd Allah, after he had continued for two years to do such deeds! For the Lord took away the life of his father, Abd al-Malik, whose eldest son, named Al-Walîd, became ruler in his stead. When Al-Walîd took his seat on the throne of the empire, he began to remove the provincial governors, and to nominate others from among his friends. So he appointed as governor of Egypt one named Kurrah. But that infidel Abd Allah did not know of this change; and while he was sitting in his |57 official residence, the governor appointed to replace him arrived unexpectedly, and took his seat in his place. Thus great ignominy and shame came to him on this account.

And Kurrah brought down great trials upon the friends of Abd Allah, both Christians and Muslims, and cast them into prisons where they remained for a year. And there was in his days a man of the orthodox faith, named John, a native of Damirah, who had authority to command or forbid. But Kurrah caused trials among the churches and the monks, as shall be described.

Meanwhile the Roman monarchy was like a game for children. For when the Romans had deposed Justinian the prince, they made Leo their ruler in his place. But Leo was put to death before he had completed the third year of his reign; and after him reigned Apsimarus, who put many patricians to death at Constantinople; and he also killed the patriarch. When Apsimarus came to the throne, he released many captives from his country, and they returned to their own homes; and he provided each one with three dinars for the expenses of the journey. After him reigned Philippicus. Then after two years Anastasius was made prince of the Romans, and is still reigning. (N. B. By 15 saying «still» the writer means at the time of composing the history.)

Now the president of the divan of Alexandria in those days was |58 Theodore; and there was great hostility between him and the Father Patriarch, Alexander. For when Kurrah came to Misr, the Father Patriarch went according to the custom to congratulate him on becoming governor, and to salute him. But Kurrah arrested him on his arrival, and said to him : «Thou must pay me a sum equal to that which Abd Allah, son of Abd al-Malik, took from thee». The Father Patriarch said to him : «Our Law bids us not to lay up treasure and not to multiply gold or silver, but that we spend something day by day on account of what we need for daily use and for the poor and the needy. Abd Allah acted as he did towards me only through the calumnies of evil men, because of which he treated me unjustly and exacted three thousand dinars from me. But he found none of that money in my possession, so that he sent me out into the country like a beggar asking alms, until God gave me what I needed; and even now I owe five hundred dinars. So whence shall I get anything?» Then the Amir said to him : «Wilt thou swear to me then that thou hast no gold?» The patriarch answered : «God has commanded us not to swear at all. Believe me therefore now that the taxes on my property which must be paid are beyond my means, and God knows that I have no gold». Then the Amir said : «These words will not avail. If thou must sell thine own flesh, thou must pay me three thousand dinars, and if not, thou shalt not escape from my hand». So when he saw that he could not escape from him, he begged him |59 to let him travel to Upper Egypt, and whatever God allowed him to collect by the alms of the people he would send it to him. Then Kurrah released him, and he went up to Upper Egypt, and went round the cities and villages, and begged. And the Lord Jesus Christ healed many sick persons by his prayers, and every one rejoiced in him, saying : «Since the time of the Father Benjamin we have not seen a patriarch in Upper Egypt until this father». But he suffered fatigue and trouble and the miseries of travel, and at last Satan, who hates the good, did this thing of which an account follows. There was a hermit, named Petubastes, who dwelt on a rock with two monks, his sons. One day their father, the hermit, bade them clean out for him a place away from the rock; and while they were clearing it and digging, they found five brazen pots full of money in Roman coin. So they hid one of the pots, and showed the other four to the hermit. So the old man said to them in his simplicity : «Is this all that you found?» And when they said that it was all, he was glad at that. Then he said to them : «The Lord has disposed this money for the Father Patriarch, because he is required to pay what he does not possess». Afterwards he sent to the patriarch’s steward, whose name was George the monk, and to his scribe, and summoned them both, and delivered to them the four pots, and said to them ; «Take these and give them to the governor for the father Alexander, the patriarch ». So they took the pots and went |60 away and buried them dishonestly. And the Father Patriarch was absent collecting money in Upper Egypt. So the monks, the sons of the hermit, took the pot of money, and divided it between themselves, and began to act impiously; for they abandoned the monastic life, and bought fine raiment and maidservants. So the governor of the town and the clerk seized one of them and said to him : «Whence hast thou this money?» And when he was chastised, and the stripes caused him anguish, he said to them : «Promise me that you will do me no hurt, and I will make everything known to you». So they promised him, and he informed them of the affair of the five pots, and that he and his comrade had taken one of them, and that the other four pots were in the possession of the patriarch’s steward and scribe. Then they at once informed Kurrah of this, and he commanded that the patriarchal residence should be shut, and all the vessels and gold and silver and books and cattle in it seized. And he brought down great trials upon the friends of the patriarch, and took the four pots of money, besides the vessels of the church and the goods found in the patriarchal residence, and he sent to Upper Egypt, and summoned the patriarch, and was minded to slay him because he had sworn that there was no gold in his possession. And when he took from them the four pots, all the friends of the patriarch fled like the apostles at that time. Then when they brought the patriarch before Kurrah. he gnashed his teeth upon him and wished to slay him, but the Lord restrained him; so he |61 loaded him with iron fetters, and cast him into prison, where he remained seven days. Then after that he compelled him to pay the three thousand dinars, and great trouble and distress came upon him, until one thousand dinars were paid to him after two years; and many trials came to the holy father, but he endured them patiently. Afterwards wicked people went and accused him falsely of having men in his house, who coined dinars, and alleged that he possessed a die for stamping coin. And while he was sitting at the ninth hour of the day, on a certain day, breaking his fast, and ignorant of what was to happen, before he knew anything, they had surrounded the patriarchal residence, and the people of the city of Alexandria with the town-clerk, by command of Kurrah, had seized the patriarch and his companions; and they threw him to the ground, and beat his companions, who were tortured till their blood flowed on the ground, and they almost died by the torture; and after all they found what they had accused him of to be false. And they did not cease from these persecutions till the second day of Amshir, in the year 430 of Diocletian.

Then after these persecutions which the father suffered, the people and clergy of Alexandria rose against him, and demanded that he should pay them some of the dues and church-rates on the third day of the Feast of Easter, but he had nothing to give them. And he said to them : «O brethren, you have seen how we have been robbed of all the property of |62 the church, even of the cups in which the Pure Blood is offered; so that we have been forced to make chalices of glass and patens of wood instead of the gold and silver vessels, because Kurrah has robbed us of them». But they reviled him with many hard words, while he patiently endured their abuse, and prayed to the Lord Christ, the chief shepherd, that he would receive his people from him and grant them salvation.

And the Lord Jesus Christ did in his days wonderful things, because he cares for the salvation of each one among men. For there was a man named John, an official, to whom God gave favour with the governors. So he went to Kurrah and said to him : «It is right that thou shouldst know that the taxes weigh heavily upon the monks and bishops in every place. Here then is an easy matter, for some of them are rich; while others have not the means of nourishment; and we know the state of all the Christians; if therefore thou thinkest fit to set me over their affairs, I will collect the taxes». So he set him over the bishops and monks. And when Kurrah gave him authority, he said to him : «There are among them some who do not believe in the faith of the Coptic Christians, and yet will not pray with the Muslims. What then thinkest thou that I should do to them?» The governor answered : «Do to them according to the law of the Christians, and take a double poll-tax from them». Accordingly John went out from before him, by the dispensation of God, and went first to the |63 diocese of Sa, which was his own diocese, where there were certain heretics, Gaianites and Schematics, living without the blessing of God. He therefore put a stop to their foul heresy, and baptized them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, enlightening them with the illumination of baptism; and their souls were filled with joy. Then John went to Al-Munâ, where the bishop of the diocese was Abba Hor, and baptized the monks there, after they had abjured their heresy; and thus the Gaianites and the Barsanuphians, who were there, were led by him into communion with the orthodox. When he left that place, he journeyed to Wadî Habîb, where also the heresy of the Gaianites had existed during a hundred and seventy years, from the time of the schism caused by Julian; and he brought them also back to the orthodox faith. Thus he united all the churches in one body by the grace of the Lord Christ who helped him; not only these, but those in every place in which he found roots of bitterness, that is to say, foul heresies among the monks or others. For in the city of Banâ and Busir and Samannûd and the neighbourhood, and at Rosetta and Damietta, the Lord rooted out their false principles and cast them away; and he united the whole land of Egypt in one faith with true agreement, and brought all the foul heresies to nought. |64

And the Amir Kurrah was a great lover of money; and whenever an official died, he seized all his goods. Thus on the death of the chief of the Divân of Alexandria, and of Apacyrus of Tinnis, who was a clerk, and of an innumerable multitude of officials at Misr, he confiscated their property; and he even took away the endowments of the bishops. By these means he added a hundred thousand dinars to the established revenue of the country. And men began to flee from place to place with their wives and children, but no place would harbour them because of the troubles and the exaction of taxes; and his tyranny was greater than that of any of his predecessors.

Then Kurrah appointed a man, named Abd al-Azîz, of the city of Sakhâ, who collected the fugitives from every place, and brought them back and bound them and punished them, and sent everyone to his own place; and the people endured heavy trials. After this, God sent a great plague upon Egypt, and the number of those who died daily was not known ; but the majority of those who died were Muslims. At last the plague entered the house of Kurrah, and his wives and his pages died; and he fled from place to place in fear of death, until he finished the term allotted to him, and then died suddenly a painful death.

Now Julian had been patriarch of Antioch, and had charge of the church from the days of John, patriarch of Alexandria, to the days of the Father Alexander; but he had gone to his rest, and departed to eternal |65 happiness. So the bishops of the East assembled in order to appoint his successor; but their prince, whose name was Al-Walîd, would not allow them to do this. For he said : «I will not permit a patriarch to be appointed in my days». And the bishops were sad because of this; and therefore they took a God-fearing bishop, filled with the grace of the Holy Ghost, named Elias, and seated him upon the throne in the church of Antioch. And he wrote a synodical letter according to the law of the ancient canons, and despatched it by a bishop, named Stephen, to the Father Patriarch Alexander, because of the agreement between the two prelates. But the holy Alexander was visiting various places, so the bishop found him in Wadî Habîb, and delivered to him the synodical letter from the bishop Abba Elias, whom they had seated on the throne of Antioch. And Alexander found the letter in accordance with the orthodox faith, and. therefore he accepted it with joy, and summoned the chief men of the provinces, and made known to them what had happened in the East, and how the prince had forbidden the faithful to appoint a patriarch, but that the bishops had given the late patriarch a successor, so that he might consecrate the bishops until the season of wrath should cease. And a similar occurrence had happened in the time of Gregory Theologus and our Father Theophilus with the Arians and Acacians, and the distress lasted until they called the aforesaid Gregory to Constantinople, and the church was delivered |66 to him. Therefore the bishops of Egypt and the patriarch were consoled, and he wrote an answer to the synodical letter, and gave it to Stephen and his companions; and Stephen departed in peace to his own country. And when Theodore undertook the government of Alexandria in the reign of Al-Walîd and in the days of the Father Alexander, there was there a physician, a native of the city, named Onopes, which means Ass’s face. When this man gained influence, he begged the Amir to command Theodore to appoint him patriarch of Alexandria; and he was a Roman, and a blasphemous Chalcedonian. The Amir accepted his petition; and a certain clerk named Anastasius, a native of Alexandria, gave to the Amir a thousand dinars, and so induced him to establish this false Chalcedonian patriarch in the city of Alexandria. And he opposed the right faith and derided Abba Alexander, especially when he was enduring trials at that time. After that the people wished to depose the Chalcedonian, and rose against him; so he fled, and went to the Father Alexander, and prayed him humbly, and begged to be excused for what he had endured through him, and requested him to receive him into the orthodox faith. Therefore Alexander received him with Christian charity, and obeyed the |67 commandments of God, who says 16 : «If thou seest the ass of thine enemy lying under his burden, turn not from him until thou hast raised him up». And he did not cease to hold the orthodox faith.

Then there arose trials in the Church, and a wicked edict was issued that the coloured pillars and the marble which were in the churches should be taken away, and they were all carried off. And the Father Patriarch was sad for the sake of his church, because it became a ruin through that which was done with him. But in spite of this he gave thanks to God, and was bravely patient.

At that time two serious disasters happened, in the year 431 of Diocletian, in the 13th year of the Indiction, on account of our sins and our evil deeds. For after the death of Kurrah, Al-Walîd sent to Egypt as his successor a governor named Usâmah. This man, when he arrived at Al-Fustât, demanded a description of the boundaries of all the provinces, and wrote it down in Arabic; and he was a man of great intelligence. Then, when he had begun this, there came a great dearth, the like of which had not been heard of since the earliest ages; and more died in that dearth than had died in the plague, for all the rich and the poor were threatened with death. Afterwards a great abundance came, till wheat sank to twenty-five ardebbs for one dinar. But after a short time the plague returned, and destroyed the people; and |68 if the Lord had not taken pity on those that remained of them on the earth, not one would have survived.

And the Amir continued to do evil, while all the Muslims and Christians feared him. For he commanded that no one should lodge a stranger in the churches or at inns or on the wharfs, and the people were afraid of him and drove out the strangers that were in their houses. And he commanded the monks not to make monks of those who came to them. Then he mutilated the monks, and branded each one of them on his left hand, with a branding iron in the form of a ring, that he might be known; adding the name of his church and his monastery, without a cross, and with the date according to the era of Islam. Thus there was, in the year 96 of the Hegira, trouble among the monks, and oppression of the faithful. If they discovered a fugitive or one that had not been marked, they brought him to the Amir, who ordered that one of his limbs should be cut off, so that he was lame for life; and the number could not be counted of those whom he maimed for this cause. And he shaved off the beards of many, and slew a great multitude, and put out the eyes of many without mercy, and killed many under punishment with scourges. And out of love for money he commanded the governors to put the people to death, and bring him their money; and he wrote to them, saying: «I have delivered up to you the lives of the people, therefore collect all the wealth that you can, from bishops or monks or churches or any of the |69 people, and bring stuffs and money and cattle and all that you find belonging to them, and respect no one. And whatever place you visit, pillage it». Accordingly the officials laid the country waste, and carried off the columns and the woodwork, and sold what was worth ten dinars for one dinar, until silver sank to thirty-five dirhems for a dinar, and wheat to forty ardebbs for a dinar, and wine to forty wineskins for a dinar, and oil to a hundred kists for a dinar. And everyone who possessed anything was afraid to show it, lest he should be put to the torture; and through anguish and distress men were minded to sell their own children. Yet when the Amir was informed of these things, his heart was not softened, and he had no mercy, but increased in his wickedness. For he wrote and said : «Wherever a man is found walking, or passing from one place to another, or disembarking from a boat, or embarking, without a passport, he shall be arrested, and the contents of the boat confiscated, and the boat burnt». And if any Romans were found on the river, they were brought to him; and some of them he slew, and others he impaled, and the hands and feet of some he cut off. At last the roads were made impassable, and no man could travel or sell or buy. The fruits of the vineyards were wasted, and there was no one to buy them for a single dirhem, because their owners remained within their houses for two months, awaiting the passport to release them thence. If a mouse ate a man’s passport, or if it were injured by water or fire or any accident, whether part |70 or the whole of it remained to his possession, if its lettering were damaged, it could not be changed for a new one until he paid five dinars as a fee for it, and then it could be changed for him.

Now there was a poor widow who received a passport for her son, who was her only one and fatherless, and to whose labour she trusted for her sustenance. So she departed from Alexandria to go to Aghrawah. But when the young man went out to the river to drink water, a crocodile devoured him with the passport which was fastened to him. And his mother wept and mourned for him, and then returned to Alexandria, where she informed the unbelieving Amir of what had happened to her; but he had no pity on her, and kept her prisoner until she paid ten dinars for the passport, because she had entered the city without a passport. And she sold her garments and all that she had, and went about begging, until she had paid the ten dinars. And Satan, whom the Amir resembled in heart, suggested evil to him all day long. After this he sent his officers to inquire into the state of the monasteries, and found there many monks who had no mark of a ring on their hands; so some of them were beheaded, and some died under the lash. Then he nailed up the door of their church with iron nails, and demanded of them a thousand dinars, and assembled the superiors of the monks, and tortured them, and required a dinar from each one of them, And he said : |71 «If you do not pay this, I will destroy the churches, and turn them into ruins, and make you serve on board the ships of the fleet». So the seniors of the monks were troubled; and they longed for death, and knew not what to do, and could only assemble in the churches, and pray, and humbly entreat the Lord Christ in grief and sadness that he would have pity on them. At last the gracious and merciful God heard their supplication, and delivered them suddenly; for Sulaiman, son of Abd al-Malik, who was at that time the sovereign prince, died and was succeeded by Omar, son of Abd al-Azîz who had been governor of Egypt. And by the will of the merciful God, Omar at once sent a governor to Egypt, who fastened a mass of iron to the feet of Usâmah, the evil one, and a block of wood to his hands, and put him in prison; and he was kept in darkness until he should make up his mind concerning him. Then he took him, and brought him out from Alexandria to Misr. But God took away his life on the way in a grievous and painful manner, as he deserved.

Yet this Omar, son of Abd al-Azîz, though he did much good before men, acted ill before God. He commanded that there should be no taxes upon the property of the church and the bishops, and began to set the churches and bishops free from the impost on land; and he abolished the new taxes, and rebuilt the ruined cities; and the Christians were in security and prosperity, |72 and so were the churches. But after that be began to do evil; for he wrote a letter charged with sadness to Egypt, in which were written the following words : «Omar commands saying, Those who wish to remain as they are, and in their own country, must follow the religion of Muhammad as I do; but let those who do not wish to do so, go forth from my dominions». Then the Christians gave him all the money that they could, and trusted in God, and rendered service to the Muslims, and became an example to many. For the Christians were oppressed by the governors and the local authorities and the Muslims in every place, the old and the young, the rich and the poor among them; and Omar commanded that the poll-tax should be taken from all men who would not become Muslims, even in cases where it was not customary to take it. But God did not long respite him, but destroyed him swiftly, and granted him the government no longer, because he was like Antichrist.

Then Yezîd reigned after him; but we have no wish to relate nor describe what happened in his days, on account of the miseries and trials; for he walked in the path of Satan, and deviated from the paths of God. As soon as he undertook the government, he restored the taxes of which Omar had relieved the churches and bishops for one year; and he required great sums of money from the people, so that everyone was distressed in his dominions. And he was not satisfied with this only, but he even issued orders that the crosses should be broken in every place, and that the pictures |73 which were in the churches should he removed. For he commanded this, but the Lord Christ destroyed him for this reason, and took his soul, after he had endured before his death many sufferings. And the time during which he reigned was two years and four months.

And after him reigned Hishâm his brother, who was a God-fearing man according to the method of Islam, and loved all men; and he became the deliverer of the orthodox. For when he learnt that we Christians had had no patriarch in the East since Julian, the late patriarch of Antioch, in whose stead the bishop Elias had taken his seat, and that Elias also had died, he took a man named Athanasius, full of every spiritual grace, who also was a bishop, and gave him the patriarchate of Antioch. So the bishops laid their hands upon him in turn, and made him patriarch. This Athanasius wrote a synodical letter with learning and great humility to the blessed Father Patriarch Alexander, saying : «Verily I am unworthy of this degree on account of my sins; yet I have not been promoted by my own will, but by that of the prince». For he had known him before this time. So Alexander received the letter with joy, and then wrote an answer to it, asserting the unity of the faith, and containing good wishes and salutations. At the end he wrote thus : «We bless the prince Hishâm, and pray that he may enjoy |74 a reign of many years, and overcome his enemies, so that he may do that which is right before the Lord». And he dismissed the envoys in peace.

After this, Hishâm wrote to Egypt, commanding that a receipt in his name should be given to everyone who paid the taxes, so that none might be unfairly treated, and that there might be no injustice in his dominions. So God gave him a prosperous reign, and he continued to rule for twenty-two years; and no war continued against him, but everyone that rose up against him was delivered by God into his hands, through the prayers of the two glorious patriarchs, Alexander at Alexandria and Athanasius at Antioch. Now the orthodox church at Damascus was adjoining the palace in which Hishâm resided. Then he commanded that the patriarch should build his house next to the prince’s reception-hall, because of his great love for him, so that he might hear him pray and read. For he often used to say to him : «When thou beginnest to pray at night I receive great comfort, and I cease to trouble about the affairs of the empire, and then sleep comes to me restfully». And Hishâm loved Athanasius greatly for that reason; and he gave great gifts to the churches and the Christians. And there was at his court a Muslim who greatly loved the orthodox churches, and he was named Ubaid Allah. And when the prince Hishâm saw him act so, he rejoiced greatly, and made him governor of Egypt, and commanded him to act with kindness towards all baptised Christians. When Ubaid Allah came to Egypt, he commanded that the people and the cattle should be numbered, |75 and the lands and vineyards measured with measuring lines, and accordingly this was done; also that a leaden badge should be placed on the neck of every man, from the youth of twenty to those who were a hundred years old; and he had them numbered, and wrote down the names of all of them, and the number of their beasts, young and old, and an account of the bad lands, difficult of cultivation, which produce coarse grass and thorns. And he set up milestones in the midst of the enclosed lands, at the boundaries and on the roads, throughout the land of Egypt; and he doubled the taxes.

So after Ubaid Allah had accomplished all that we have related, and had committed much injustice which we have not related, when he came to Al-Fustât, he went to the city of Memphis and remained there four months. And he commanded that the chief men of the towns should assemble at Memphis. And he had the mark of a lion put on the hands of the Christians, according to the words of the Book, which John the Son of Thunder uttered, saying 17 : «None shall sell or buy except those upon whose hand is the mark of the lion». Then, when he had accomplished this, he wrote to the provinces of Egypt, saying thus : «If anyone is found in any place without the mark on his hand, his hand shall be cut off, and he shall be heavily fined, because he has disobeyed the commands of the prince and acted rebelliously towards him». Now he had two sons, one of whom he |76 despatched to the South, and the other to the North, and there was great distress and perturbation in all the land of Egypt. Then Ubaid Allah arrived at Al-Gizah, and built a large house for himself there; and he wrote to the provinces of Egypt, commanding that a body of men should be collected for him, that he might set them to work as long as he wished. And he built at Al-Fustât, until the men perished through fatigue from the great labours which he imposed upon then. In consequence of these things, when the forced labours and the payment of the taxes which he had doubled became grievous, war broke out between the Christians and Muslims, so that much blood was shed in the land of Egypt between the two factions, first of all in the city of Banâ and the city of Sa and the city of Samannûd and their neighbourhood, and in many places in Lower Egypt; and there was likewise fighting on the roads and mountains and by the canals; but if we were to relate the history of it the account would be too long. When the governor of Alexandria entered that city to mark the people, he seized the patriarch in order to brand him, but he refused to be so treated. Yet the governor would not release him, and, though the patriarch requested to be allowed to go to the prince, would not consent to that. Then after a time he sent the patriarch to Misr, with a troop of soldiers who were to bring him to Ubaid Allah; and accordingly, when he appeared before him, he made known to him the cause of his arrival. But Ubaid Allah would not let him go without branding him. Therefore when the Father Patriarch Alexander saw that he |77 could not escape, he said to Ubaid Allah, the Amir : «I pray thee to grant me a delay of three days». So he consented to this, and granted him the respite. Then the patriarch entered his private chamber, and prayed the Lord not to suffer him to be branded, but to remove him from this world speedily; and when God saw the thoughts of his servant that they were good, he visited him; and accordingly he fell sick on the third day, and the sickness increased each day upon him. When he knew that the Lord Christ had heard him and received his prayer, he sent trustworthy persons and certain chiefs of the orthodox, his children, to Ubaid Allah, to beg him to release him, that he might depart to his see before his death. But he would not allow him, suspecting that this was a ruse, and that he was not sick. So when four days had passed, the father said to the brethren : «Prepare the boat at sunset that we may depart, for to-morrow the Lord Jesus Christ will visit me». Accordingly they departed; but not one of the bishops was with him, except Abba Shamul, bishop of Wasîm. Then when they had descended the river in their flight, they reached Tarnût by the morning; and at that hour the blessed Alexander went to his rest at that place. When Ubaid Allah learnt that the patriarch had escaped without |78 leave, he despatched an officer to bring him back with his companions; but when he came up with them and took them into custody to bring them back in wrath, he found that the Father had gone to his rest. So he left him alone, but seized Abba Shamul, and conducted him to Ubaid Allah, who said : «The truth is that thou didst induce him to flee, therefore thou must pay a thousand dinars to the government treasury». But Abba Shamul was poor, in want of sustenance from day to day, and went thinly clad; and he was sweet of countenance and virtuous in conduct; and he used to exhort sinners, and they listened to him; and likewise he confirmed those who were weak in the orthodox faith. So he swore to the Amir that he could not pay a single dinar, and did not possess one; but he would not accept this excuse, and gave him up to two officers of police. Then when those two Muslims, whose names we will not record, had taken him, they gave him up to some Berbers, like lions in their actions, who hauled and dragged him away through the midst of Misr, until they brought him to the door of the church of Saint George, trailing him along. And there was there a great crowd assembled of sellers and buyers; and many began to run after him through Misr. And they demanded a thousand dinars of him in spite of the exiguity of his possessions; and they began to torture him that day without mercy, and stripped him of his garment, and clothed him in a hair-cloth, and hung him up by his arms, thinly clad as he was, while all the people looked on, and scourged him with whips of |79 cowhide until his blood ran on the ground. And the multitude beheld him and what befell him at the hands of the police ; but they continued for a week to torture him in this way until the people collected for him three hundred dinars. But when there came down some of the friends of Ubaid Allah to interview him, while the chiefs of the Christians said to them : «He is near death, and he is guiltless of any fault in this matter according to what we know», then upon that they released him after severe torments, for he was near death.

Thus when the Father Alexander, a saint indeed, went to his rest in a good old age, great sadness fell upon the Christians because of his death. For he had remained for twenty-four years and a half upon the throne. And there were during the days of his life certain very holy men in the land of Egypt, in the deserts and monasteries, who wearied themselves in the service of God, and by whom wonders and signs were manifested. For there was a man, who was a priest and at the same time a fisherman, in the province of Isnâ, who laboured with the nets, while he followed the rule of the monastic life. And after a long time he departed and built a monastery on the mountain, and many became monks with him there; and they lived in virtue and poverty. And the fame of that old man went forth through the outer country; and his name was Matthew, and he was a native of Asfant. So God manifested by his means many wonders among the sick and the |80 lepers; and he healed those in whom were unclean spirits, and raised the dead in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And after some days a great miracle took place in his presence. There was a Copt at Asfant, who had two sons and one daughter, all of whom he kept in his house; and they were pure virgins, serving God. But Satan led the three astray by a vile deed, namely that he entered into the elder of the sons, and said to him : «Since thy father will not give thee a wife, go in to thy sister, and sleep with her, for she will be sufficient for thee for a time». And he made this deed seem pleasant to him, so he committed it. Likewise he tempted the other younger brother to sin with her also. Thus the two brothers did with their sister that foul deed; but the one did not know of the other; and that perverse girl kept this secret, until she speedily became pregnant. And her parents kept her on account of the shame, and they did not know what had been done; so she remained many months without bearing a child. Then they set her upon a beast, and took her to the holy Matthew; and when they drew near to the mountain, the old man came forth, fleeing and tearing the hair of his beard, until he met them at the foot of the mountain. Thereupon the parents made known to him what had happened to her, and wished to give him gifts, that he might pray over her, that she might bring forth; so he bade them take her gently down from the back of the beast; and she alighted, being in great agony. Then he said to her : «Make known to me what thou hast done, thou vile woman!» So she made known to him what we have recorded, |81 and more also. Thereupon he raised his hands to heaven, and prayed; and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed her up. And many were present, and witnessed this; and one who was present bore witness to us, being a truthful and trustworthy man, of the children of the Church, that that spot became like a dark well, descending into the depths of the earth, and remained so six months, while fire ascended from it into the air, and an evil smell came up from it, so that none could approach it. The place was at some little distance from the monastery, about twenty-five bowshots.

Likewise in the monastery of the holy Abba Sinuthius on the Mount of Adriba, you know that many of the saints were confirmed there, and especially the blessed Archimandrite Abba Seth. For he was a man who walked in a good path during his life; and after his departure to the Lord, we beheld with our own eyes his tomb, which was built over him in gratitude for the many miracles and the healing and the cures, which take place through his holy body to this hour, and are innumerable from their multitude ; for wonders are worked by it every day.

In the desert of Wadî Habîb also there were holy men who saw visions and revelations, to whom God disclosed that which took place in the world, so that they beheld it as if they were present everywhere. For to some of |82 them the Lord Christ and the holy Apostles appeared, and raised them up in their poverty and devotion; and to some of them the angels appeared. And there was among them an old man in the monastery of Saint Macarius, named John, a native of Shubrâ Maisinâ, which is also called Arwât. Him the Berbers seized three times, and took, prisoner; and they made him a slave, and ill-treated him and caused him to suffer. But the Lord looked upon his patience continually, and restored him to his holy monastery. After this he became hegumen, for he was a priest; and this was a rule in the desert of Wadî Habîb, that every monk who attained the rank of priest was appointed hegumen. And he never communicated of the Holy Mysteries without seeing the Lord and Saviour in his vision, with our Lady the Virgin; and great secrets were made manifest to him. And there were holy men with him of this desert, whose history we need not relate. And he had a disciple, named Epimachus of Arwât, who was counted worthy of the office of hegumen after him, and was like him in his heart in all his actions; and upon him was much grace, like Moses the prophet in his time; for he healed the sick, and cured every disease, and lived for more than a hundred years.

And the grace of the Holy Ghost descended upon him, and he learnt glorious matters, so that he even knew what he had neither seen nor heard |83 before anyone questioned him upon it. He had two spiritual brothers, one of them being Abba George and the other Abba Abraham, and they were holy and famous for virtuous living and great deeds; and trustworthy men bore witness of them, that they walked in the way of the great Anthony, and brought it to perfection. Now the lay monks at that time worshipped God zealously; and these two holy men beheld the baptized people in the church like white sheep, both old and young. But lo, one of the community became slothful, and went back from the good service of God; and so these two old men beheld him with his colour changed to black in the midst of the brethren. And when the priests had dimissed the brethren, those two went to the cell of that brother, and said to him : «Turn from thy sloth». And they exhorted him and comforted him. So on the morrow, when he came to the church, those two looked upon him, and he had become whiter than all the brethren; and therefore they praised God for his mercy to the race of men, In this way, if thou wilt that I record the deeds of the saints, they would be too many for the time, and too numerous for the pens, and too many for the sheets of paper. Glory be to God for ever and ever! |84


When the Father Alexander went to his rest, they appointed instead of him a man named Cosmas, who was a holy monk of the desert of Saint Macarius, and a native of Banâ. So they seated him on the throne against his will; but he did not cease to pray night and day to the Lord Christ that he would receive him to himself. And at the end of fifteen months he went to his rest with glory and honour, on the last day of Ba’unah.

Now there was outside Maryût a monastery called Tamnûrah, in which there was an old monk, holy and spiritual, and also a young monk; and they used to chastise their bodies with iron and with chains. For the superior, whose name was John, was endowed with grace and the power of prophecy, and saw wonders many times, and he had a disciple who served him and was named Theodore; and this man envied his deeds, and imitated his life and all his works with spiritual love, and surpassed all in the monastery in his conduct, in the diaconicon and at the table of the brethren and in all the affairs of the monastery and its service, seeking abasement at |85 all times. For Theodore used to follow the words of Christ to his disciples 18 : «He among you who desires to be great, let him be to you a servant». And he acted in this manner until he grew old, as he said to us with his own holy mouth when he was counted worthy of the patriarchal dignity; for he taught us and incited us to humility at all times. And in the lifetime of Alexander, his spiritual father said to him prophetically : «O my son Theodore, believe that I do not lie». He answered : «Yea O my father, I have never heard the name of a lie from thy mouth». The father said to him (another copy reads, The old man said to him) : «O believer in God, verily in the year in which Alexander dies, I in my meanness shall die with him, and thou shalt sit upon the throne of the glorious Father Saint Mark, not after the Father Alexander, but after him who shall follow him». And the words of that orthodox old man, the Archimandrite, were fulfilled.

For the people of Alexandria, the priests and officials, were taking thought as to whom they should appoint in the room of Abba Cosmas, until the Lord recalled to their minds the memory of the holy father and monk Theodore. Therefore they journeyed to the monastery, and took him and brought him to Alexandria. |86


And an assembly of the holy bishops met together and consecrated the holy Father Theodore patriarch by the command of the Lord Christ. And the affairs of the patriarchate and of the orthodox church grew and prospered during all his days, until they returned to their former state, and became still more flourishing, so that it seemed as if the church had never been plundered. And Theodore was a good man, tranquil, full of charity towards all men, beautiful in countenance like an angel of God; and in his days nothing evil was done.

But Ubaid Allah, the ruler in Egypt, brought punishments and trials and losses upon the people of Egypt, and added an eighth of a dinar to every dinar of the taxes; and through his oppression of the people the dinar grew rare and rose in value. Yet when he continued long in this course, God would not suffer him, but raised up against him some of the chief among the Muslims, who went to Hishâm the prince, and made known to him the evil which he did, and the troubles that he had caused in Egypt. Therefore Hishâm was filled with wrath against Ubaid Allah, and wrote at once to remove him, and despatched an officer with many attendants to Egypt in great anger. And he commanded that he should be banished with his younger son, Isma’îl, to the land of the Berbers in the province of Africa, |87 and that Isma’îl should be exiled thence to the land of the Setting Sun, and punished because he did not do what was commanded him. So this was speedily done to him. Hishâm made Ubaid Allah’s elder son, Al-Kasim, governor in Egypt, and set him over her affairs instead of his father, who was banished to the Berbers. When he had remained there a short time he ruled over the Berbers in Africa, where his son Isma’îl was, until he was banished whither the prince commanded. For Ubaid Allah wrote to Hishâm, seeking to conciliate him, and expressing repentance of what he had done, and begging him to make him governor of that country; and so he was made governor over the Berbers in Africa. Yet his deeds were again evil, for he seized the daughters of rich men and the daughters of the chiefs and officers, and sent them to Hishâm the prince as maidservants, writing to him that they were slave-girls whom he had bought for him as maidservants. Likewise the sheep, when they- were near parturition, he ripped them open, and took out the lambs just covered with wool, and took their skins and made pelisses of them, and sent them to Hishâm, saying that he had bought them for him; so that he destroyed large numbers of sheep from that country. Therefore the Berbers conspired against him, forming a plot to kill his son Isma’îl and the people of his house; and they seized Isma’îl and his wives and concubines and all that belonged to him, and killed them all in his presence, while he looked on. And they ripped the women open, and took the infants from them, and threw them down before him. |88

Then they brought Isma’îl to Africa, taking him bound to his father, and killed him in his presence while he looked on, after ripping him open and striking his father on the head and face with his dead body; and afterwards they drove his father away from their country, following and insulting him, while he was sad and weeping. And our father Theodore lived to see all these things.

Then the Lord visited him, and he departed to him in a good old age and in the grace of the Lord Christ. And the Church was growing, without adversaries or internal divisions, all his days. He remained upon the apostolic throne eleven years and a half, and went to his rest on the seventh day of Amshir.



As the Scripture says in the 77th Psalm 19 : «What we have heard we have seen, and our fathers have told us»; and as Moses the Prophet wrote |89 history, for he described what had happened on the earth from Adam the first man to his own time; and after him were the prophets who prophesied what should take place; and after them the holy apostles preached what they themselves had witnessed : so those who followed them did likewise. Then there were the teachings of the inspired fathers of the Church, and the words which confirmed the faith and the baptized brethren who put on the garment of light; and the divinely assisted fathers who gave strength to the firm foundation and to the immovable pillar 20. And we have the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour, who delivered us and saved us from our sins by his Incarnation of the pure Virgin, and graciously granted to us the opening of our hearts and understandings by the hearing of his holy Scriptures. Philo and Justus and Josephus, the Jews, were the first who related the destruction of Jerusalem. Those who composed for us the history of the holy Church were Africanus and Eusebius and Sozomenus, who showed us the good and the evil, and the trials which befell the saints and shepherds of the flock of the Lord Christ, and the troubles which they underwent for the sake of the Church and the orthodox people at the hands of the secular governors at all times, not only in Egypt, but also at Antioch and Rome and Ephesus. There appeared the heresy of Nestorius, whose tongue deserved |90 to be cut out at the root, and the false teaching of the other heretics at that time; but God dispersed them all, like the dust before the wind, that is to say, by means of the young lion, Cyril, who excommunicated Nestorius with the rest of the heretics, and whose writings were placed in all the orthodox churches of the world. This is shown to us by that book which begins with the names of the patriarchs as far as the true confessor and champion, Dioscorus, who anathematized Leo, the soul-devouring lion, as his name implies, and excommunicated the six hundred and thirty, assembled at Chalcedon, and Marcian the prince and the vile princess Pulcheria, and all the followers of Leo, and was deposed by command of the princes, and sent into exile, where he finished his fight. Dioscorus brought back many souls to the Lord Christ by his action. And all that happened was written down for us to that point in the twelfth part of the histories of the Church. And for the first history of events subsequent to that, from the time of the Father Cyril when he was in the monastery of Ablah, down to the days of the father and confessor Alexander, we may consult the teacher and scribe in his time, who was the archdeacon and companion and secretary of the Father Patriarch Abba Simon, patriarch of Alexandria, namely |91 the monk, Abba George. For he wrote that history on the mountain of the holy Macarius in the Wadî Habîb, and informed us of what happened in the time of Marcian, the unbelieving prince, and the trouble that overtook our fathers and those that came after them, down to the time of Sulaiman, son of Abd al-Melik, prince of the Muslims, after whom reigned Omar, son of Abd al-Azîz, who drove away Usâmah, the unbelieving governor, who had been before his reign in Egypt. Therefore I, the vile sinner, beg you to pray the Lord Christ for me, that through your prayers he may loose the bond of my feeble tongue, and open my darkened heart, and give me knowledge of words, so that perchance I may be able to show to you, my brethren and my father, what you ask of me, although it exceed my power, not as a teacher and guide greater than you, but as a scholar, since I saw that of which I have written with my own eyes, and its importance imposes a debt upon me, and my hand touched it, besides what I heard from friends older than myself, such as I could trust and believe. God forbid that I should act according to the words of the true gospel 21, concerning the servant who buried his Lord’s silver in the ground. I declare to your Holiness, vile sinner among men as I am, that I follow the words of David, when he praises the Creator in the 112th Psalm : «Who raises the poor from the earth and the needy from the dunghill, and sets him with the rich of the people 22». He it is who has seated me among the holy fathers, so that |92 I witnessed what befell them in my heart, that I might write it down, although unworthy; for they became shepherds upon the earth, and in many cases gave up their lives for the name of Christ. Let me then record a few of their deeds, for the rest of them the Lord Christ alone knows, with all that took place in former times. But indeed the Lord Christ knows that we have added nothing to the facts, having related what took place down to the death of the blessed Father Theodore, patriarch of Alexandria, and the affairs of state in his days, to the end of the seventeenth chapter of the History, completed above. Now, by the will of God and your holy prayers, we will write the eighteenth chapter of the History of the Church.

When Ubaid Allah left Egypt, Al-Kasim, his son, became governor after him, and was much more wicked than his father, according to the words of the holy gospel; «Every evil tree brings forth evil fruit 23». This man did evil before God and men in his time of government, and walked in the bad path, as I will relate further on. Solomon, the wise son of David, says : «Woe to the people of a kingdom which is ruled by a child 24!» Now this Al-Kasim was a child in age and conduct; and when an ignorant prince rules, all his companions will be like him. The first beginning of his acting thus was that he loved evil and loved women, like horses which neigh one |93 after another. He obtained for himself female slaves of every race without number, and his heart was exceedingly pleased with them, as we witnessed with our own eyes many times. For he used to send for the blessed patriarch Theodore, acting like a wolf in sheep’s clothing; and the Father Patriarch was accompanied by my spiritual father, the bishop Abba Moses, who went to bear him company; and the governor loved my father more than all the bishops. Then the governor brought his young female slaves to the patriarch that he might bless them; and I myself saw them; and he said to the Father Patriarch : «These are thy children; lay thy hand upon them and bless them, and give them a benediction, for I bought them recently». This he did on several occasions with the Father Patriarch. Once when we visited him according to custom, the bishop Abba Abraham, bishop of the Faiyûm or Arsinoites, was there on account of important business. And when we also appeared, Al-Kasim called one of his female slaves, who was a native of the West, and said to our father Abraham : «This is thy daughter». And he placed the bishop’s hand upon her hand, for his heart was as the heart of babes. And he said to the bishop : «Thou knowest that I have loved thee greatly since my father’s |94 time, and all that thou didst ask of my father, I will do for thee». Then the holy Abraham said to him : «It is good». So Al-Kasim continued : «I desire of thee three hundred dinars». Thereupon the father gave directions to the archdeacon Simeon, who was his steward and had come with him, and who was counted worthy of the bishopric in succession to Abba Abraham. And the bishop said to the archdeacon : «Bring the three hundred dinars». And he forthwith brought the money, and the bishop handed it over to Al-Kasim. For he had much property belonging to the churches, since he possessed in his diocese thirty-five monasteries in the Faiyûm, of which he was the administrator; and he was bound to pay a tax of five hundred dinars, which were due to the Public Treasury upon this property. He had authority over all these monasteries, and the merchants of Egypt sold to him and bought of him. Then after the bishop had paid the three hundred dinars, Al-Kasim said to him : «I do thee this great honour that I have even made my wife a daughter to thee, and yet thou wilt not give her anything to honour her therewith». Accordingly the bishop gave her a hundred dinars into her hand, and Al-Kasim reckoned them as part of the taxes due from him.

And Al-Kasim walked in the path of ignorance continually, and the oppression of the people was doubled in his days. He appointed subordinate governors throughout Egypt worse than himself, men who amassed money from strangers from Aswan to Alexandria; and he caused great trouble to |95 the people throughout the land and in all the provinces, both great and small. The great man devoured the small man, and the strong devoured the weak, like the fishes of the sea; and those who collected the strangers’ money devoured the poor and seized their property, until everyone was in distress.

After that, Al-Kasim made boats like the castles of kings, and when he had furnished them, he embarked in them his wives and his slaves, and sailed through the land of Egypt, and took them with him to Alexandria and Tinnis and Damietta, in order to take the money of the merchants and of the people and of the officials in those places. And he went up the river to Upper Egypt as far as Aswan, doing the same thing. And a body of troops and armed men travelled in his company; and they entered the theatre at Ansina.

And on a certain day Al-Kasim arrived at the Monastery of Saint Sinuthius, and went up with great pomp, taking with him one female slave whom he loved more than all the rest, besides his mamelukes; and he made her ride a mare, while he rode another mare at her side. He was accompanied also by an old man, who was a chief among the Muslims, named Rayân, son of Abd al-Azîz, the former governor of Egypt. So, when they reached the door, the aged superior of the monastery came out to meet them with all his sons, that they might do honour to the governor on account of his office. After Al-Kasim had passed through the second door, which |96 is in the fortified wall which surrounds the church, while he remained on horseback, then he came to the door of the church, and began to prepare to enter it, still mounted. But the aged superior of the monastery cried aloud and said : «Dismount, O governor! Enter not into the house of God in such pride, and above all in the company of this woman who is with thee; for no woman has ever entered this church, and come out of it alive. Nay she will die on the spot». Yet Al-Kasim gave no heed to his words, but entered, accompanied by his soldiers. Now the church was very large, and capacious enough to contain thousands of people. So when he reached the middle of the church, still riding, the mare on which the female slave was mounted plunged, and fell to the ground by the power of God; and the female slave died on the spot, both she and the horse that was under her. And as for Al-Kasim, there came upon him an unclean Satanic spirit which threw him down and choked him and buffeted him, so that he foamed at the mouth and gnashed with his teeth like a wild boar. But when he recovered a little, he saw that the old man, the superior of the monastery, was grieved for him; and he gave to the church four hundred dinars as a votive offering, as well as the horse which he was riding. And there was in the monastery a chest of teak-wood, inlaid with ivory, fitted with shelves, above which was the body of Saint Sinuthius. This chest had been |97 made for the sake of the votive offerings, for the convenience of those who should put their votive offerings in it; and the books also were placed therein; and it was of handsome workmanship, admirable and beautiful. So Rayân, who was travelling together with Al-Kasim, admired it, and wished to take it away with him. Now Saint Sinuthius had spent much money on it. So they said to that man : «Thou canst not take it, for he who placed it here forbad its removal.» But he answered : «I must take it, either for a price or as a gift.» Then he bade ten men lift it up, but they could not. Then he called thirty men, but they could not move it. So when he saw the miracle, he gave the monks three hundred dinars. Then they all went away in fear and trembling and wonder. And the unclean spirit did not depart from Al-Kasim until the day of his death, but continued to torment him.

Then God sent down a great dearth upon the land of Egypt, on account of the sins of Al-Kasim. In the first year the land was blasted by the scirocco, and so provisions were scarce, and there was no wheat to be found; and many men and cattle died. Afterwards, in the second year, there came a pestilence upon Egypt, such as had not been before. But in spite of all this the wickedness of Al-Kasim did not diminish but increased, and he doubled the taxes laid upon the people. And when a person went to sleep at night he dreaded the light of morning, and yet he could not wish for night that |98 he might rest from his many troubles. After the second year of famine came the third year, in which there was a scirocco, and the Nile did not rise at all; and the people saw no prosperity in the days of that governor, but the years passed in turn in this manner by God’s command, a year of plague followed by a year of scirocco, until the end of the year in which the government was taken from him, namely the seventh year. And the plague lasted from the beginning of Hatûr each year until the twenty-second of Baunah, and raged chiefly at Misr on account of the multitude of sins committed there. And from the eighth of Bashans to the first of Baunah the mortality among the people was so great that not even a part of those who died could be counted; for on one day two thousand perished, and another day twelve hundred, and another day two thousand four hundred at Misr and Al-Gizah, among the people who inhabited those places and traders sojourning there; so that the burial of the dead was interrupted, and there were no tombs to hold them. And no male might be buried until the authorities knew of his death; and then his name was written down, and the name of his father, even in the case of young infants. Then our holy fathers prayed to the Lord, and the rich and the poor did likewise, and they besought him with fasting and prayer and weeping and supplication, until the Lord had pity on them, and took away the plague. |99

After this the merchants sold wheat to the people, and there was an abundant supply of it. So some of the corn-merchants went to a deacon, who practised magic, and lived at Memphis, which is the ancient Misr; and they gave him much money, and begged him to enable them by his magic arts to sell their wheat at a high price. So he began to exercise his art in such a manner that God was angered, and to practise his vile sorcery. For there was with him an orphan boy, the son of a widow who had no other children. And he said to the widow : «Thou hast nothing to eat or to feed thy son withal. Give him to me that I may make him my son, and teach him my art». So she delivered her son to the magician with joy. Now that unbeliever had visited many magicians in divers places, until they taught him to practise profound witchcraft; and thus he was able to do that by which the wheat became dear. Then indeed that miscreant took the widow’s son, and led him into a chamber, and shut the door upon him, and hung him up by his hands and feet above the ground, and did to him what made God angry; for he did not cease gradually to flay the skin of the youth from his face to the back of his head daily, until he came to his shoulders. Then wheat became rare and scarce, and whereas it had been sold at the rate of fourteen ardebbs for a dinar, and then at two mudds for a dinar, at last it was not to be procured at all. At that time the monitor of the boys in the school went to the widow woman, and said to her : |100 «Thy son has not attended our school for many days. Where then is he?» So she went to that miscreant and enquired after her son, but could not find him. For he said to her : «I have not seen him for many days. He left my house, and returned to thine, and I know nothing about him». Therefore when she heard this from him, she departed in great grief. But the boy was not dead even then, but was still fastened up and partly flayed. And the young monitor saw the magician, his master, entering hour after hour into the closet in which the boy was fastened. So he said in his heart : «What does my master do in these days, entering this closet and coming out?» And he was a sagacious youth. So when the master entered, he followed him secretly. Then he heard that boy, the widow’s son, weeping and sighing and imploring his master; but he took no pity on him. And he uttered words in the sadness of his heart such as these : «Alas for thee, my mother, widowed and mourning as thou art, for thou knowest not what has become of me! Alas for thy womb which bore me, and thy breasts which gave me suck! Where dost thou behold the torments of thy orphan son? Would that I had died when thou didst bear me in thy womb, and would that thou hadst never brought me forth upon earth, so that I should fall into this grievous torment! Where are thine eyes beholding me, longing to see me and gaze upon me, who am in this torment?» And the boy said many things like these, in the hearing of the young monitor. So the monitor went away quickly in |101 great terror, stumbling and raising himself again in the extremity of his fear, until he reached the house of the widowed mother of the bov. So he said to her : «I have found thy son.» Then she came speedily, after he had repeated to her what he had heard from her son’s mouth, and went to the governor, and repeated to him what had happened and what she had heard. So the governor despatched with her some trustworthy Muslims, and some officials with them, to the house of that miscreant, and they found him within the closet, in which the boy still was, fastened up and flayed from his neck to his shoulders. So they carried the lad away, and led the magician bound before the governor. For at once they fastened his hands and feet, and his ears were cut off in the presence of the governor, and then he confessed all that had been done by him. And they brought in the boy, and beheld him in that state. And they wrote at once to Al-Kasim governor of Egypt; and when he had read the letter, he gave orders that the magician should be stoned and burnt in the fire.

But, in spite of all these things, Al-Kasim did not desist from his evil ways and his love for the amassing of gold. And he used constantly to change the subordinate governors, who acted as his deputies. Now there was a tribe in the mountains in the eastern part of Egypt, from Bilbais to Al-Kulzum and the sea, consisting of Muslims who were called Arabs. And there were among them more than thirty thousand horsemen, roving through those deserts and districts, and they had chiefs in command over them. |102

Al-Kasim, therefore, appointed as their governor a steward of the palace, named Abu Jarah; and his tents were near a monastery named after Our Lady Mary, near Tinnis. In this monastery there were many monks and priests, adorned with good works, and a holy hegumen named Epimachus, who had come from Wadî Habîb, from the Monastery of Saint Macarius, and who was afterwards counted worthy to be made a bishop. And there were with him, among the monks in this monastery, Abba Mennas, who became bishop of the city of Memphis, and Abba James the priest, and many others. And the steward of the palace had two brothers, whom he took up to the monastery; and he entered the church with them, and drove out the monks; and they plundered the church, and seized everything in the monastery, whether stuffs or provisions or furniture. And the steward’s younger brother was worse than he. For there was in the cell of the hegumen a cross erected at the east end, with which he drove away the devils who frequently appeared to him. So that youth entered the cell and said to the hegumen : «What is the purpose of this cross?» Whereupon he answered : «It is the cross of Christ, my God.» He said to him : «Dost thou adore him?» The monk answered : «Yea». So the young man spat upon the cross, and treated it insultingly, and reviled the aged hegumen. And the old man went forth from the monastery in great sorrow, saying : «If God do not requite this youth for his deed, I |103 will never return to this church all the days of my life.» Then he departed to another place, and remained there; and he said within himself : «I will wait ten days, and see what will take place; and if nothing occur, I will depart.» So, on the eighth day, that young man went and sat in the privy place, and his bowels gushed out, as it had happened to Arius the unbeliever. Therefore when his brother, the steward of the palace, beheld that punishment, he was afraid, and departed from the monastery; and fear came to all who heard or saw.

Afterwards the steward went round through that district until he found the holy Epimachus, whom he brought back to the church, after entreating him with respect and honour; and he restored to him all that had been taken away. And great fear fell upon the Muslims and long remained among them.

During all this time, the church of Alexandria remained widowed, without a patriarch. Therefore the orthodox Theodosians assembled, and called the bishops together. And a number of the heretical Chalcedonians met together; and they formed a council at Misr. And three men were brought forward, that one of them might be chosen, and enthroned as patriarch. But it did not please the Lord that one of them should receive that degree, but he kept it for him whom he had selected and marked out from the womb, as shall appear further on in our discourse. |104

And God took away the government from Al-Kasim; for the caliph sent to him one who arrested him and carried him away to his master under guard and restraint. And when he reached Bilbais, together with those in charge of him, who were conducting him to the caliph, the bishops and a body of Christians came to him at Bilbais, and begged him to allow them to appoint a patriarch. Then he demanded of them that they should give him money; but they would not give it, and so he refused permission, and would not allow them to appoint a patriarch. Then Abba Theodore, bishop of Misr, who was the chief of the bishops at that time, and was the first of three bishops named Theodore who successively occupied the see of Misr, said to my spiritual father, Abba Moses, bishop of Wasîm : «Behold, Father, the conduct of this Al-Kasim, and the evil that he has done among men, such as thou hast never seen before this day, but which I have beheld during the greater part of my time!» The bishop Abba Moses replied : «Pardon me, my Lord and Father. If this man return to Egypt, then God has not spoken by me the sinner. But thou shalt hear what God will do to this wicked wretch».

After this the commissioners conducted Al-Kasim on his journey. And he never returned to Egypt, but all his goods were seized, while he was |105 tortured and imprisoned. And the caliph sent to Egypt, and seized his male and female slaves, who were carried away to the caliph.

Then the bishops returned with their attendants to Misr, where they found that the Chalcedonians had anticipated then, having chosen a follower of their sect, a man who made needles in the market-place, named Cosmas. For they had collected among themselves gold and silver and plate, and had given them to that perverse governor, Al-Kasim, before he departed; and he had given orders that they should appoint him patriarch. So the Chalcedonians took that man Cosmas, and ordained him patriarch for themselves, and triumphed over the orthodox, because they had elected a patriarch, whereas the latter had not nominated one for themselves.

The governor of Egypt who succeeded Al-Kasim was a man named Hafs, son of Al-Walîd, a native of Hadramaut, of high rank in the army of the Muslims in Egypt, and a Sunnite according to their religion. In those days a council of bishops assembled at Misr, in the year 459 of Diocletian, on the 28th day of Misri. And there were with them the clergy of Alexandria and the chief laymen, who brought men with them, so that the election might fall upon some one. And one of the bishops mentioned a certain name secretly; but God, who knows all, had reserved this degree for him who was worthy of it.

These are the names of the bishops assembled to appoint the patriarch : |106 Abraham, bishop of the Faiyûm; Moses, bishop of Wasîm; Mennas, bishop of Tmai; James, bishop of Busîr; Theodore, metropolitan bishop, bishop of Misr; Victor, bishop of Malîj; James, bishop of Sahrajt; Isaac, bishop of Samannûd; Abraham, bishop of Bilbais; Peter, bishop of Tarnût; Michael, bishop of Atrib; besides the clergy of Alexandria. Then they went to the governor, Hafs, and prayed him to allow them to appoint a patriarch. And he said to them : «When your choice is fixed upon some one, keep him until I have seen him.» So they went out from before him, and proceeded to the church of Saint Sinuthius at Misr, and prayed, and took their seats according to their rank in agreement with the canon of the church, each one sitting with his father and bishop, while the clergy of Alexandria sat in front of the bishops. And all were tranquil and dignified, and none spoke a word unless the bishops commanded; and the faces of all were bent upon the ground, both small and great. And when the sixth hour had passed, the aged bishop, Abba Mennas, bishop of Tmai, lifted up his face, and said in a low voice to Abba Abraham, bishop of the Faiyûm : «O my Father, pardon me. What thinkest thou that we are about, and |107 for what reason are we assembled?» He answered : «My Father, the Lord Christ will settle all matters, and so will Saint Mark, and all of us also, for the chief Shepherd of our souls and bodies is with us.» Then all the people and. the assembly cried with a loud voice together saying : «The Lord Christ will accomplish this matter according to his will.» Thereupon they stood up and prayed; and when they had finished the prayers, they agreed to meet on the morrow; and each one of them departed to his own place. Now some of the bishops, from the North, had mentioned the name of one whom they had selected; and Abba Abraham, bishop of the Faiyûm, heard of it. So Abba Peter, bishop of Tarnût, who had lived all his days in the desert of Father Macarius, and was beautiful in his conduct and excellent in his actions, said to them : «I warn thee not to lay thy hand on him whom they shall bring forward to thee, until the opinion of the assembly shall be unanimous concerning him; for he is not fit for this degree.» Now Abba Peter had grown weak through his great age, and was kept apart from the rest.

And on the second day they assembled and prayed and took their seats. The clergy of Alexandria being present, the archpriest exclaimed : «Bring this matter to a settlement, my Lords and Fathers.» So Theodore said to them : «Who is it that you have chosen, that we also may know him?» Thereupon the archpriest said : «Such and such an one, and here is his name written down.» Then Theodore said to them : «If the assembly approve of |108 him, he is fit.» The archpriest replied : «This affair regards us, not the bishops, who have nothing to do except to lay their hands upon him, and no more; for it is we who elect the patriarch.» Then Abba Abraham, bishop of the Faiyûm, said to them : «Your bishops also may propose to you him whom they choose. Yet if you have proposed one who is worthy, we will ordain him; but if he is not worthy, we shall reject him.» Thus a discussion took place between the two parties on the second day; and after prayer they dispersed. And they continued to act in this way till ten days were over. During this time there was peace between them, and there were many discussions by day and by night; yet they would not give up their views, nor would the bishops of Upper Egypt adopt their opinion in this matter, but remained separated from them, saving : «If this man were the only man possible, we would not appoint him.» But some of the bishops of the northern dioceses were in agreement with the clergy of the Alexandrians with regard to his appointment. Then on the 4th day of the new month, namely Tût, Satan began to sow dissension among them, so that sadness and weeping came to them on account of it. For the bishops who were in agreement with the Alexandrians cried and said : «If we do not elect this man whose name we have written, we will not elect anyone.» But the Lord Christ, who cared for all these matters, was displeased at their words; while the man whom he approved for this ministry was kept |109 in reserve. Thus there was a quarrel between them that day, as there had been over the matter of the Barsanuphians. And while they were in this plight, God put it into their hearts at that hour to send for the two bishops, Abba Moses of Wasîm and Peter of Tarnût; for they said : «If you do not bring the two aforesaid, there will never be peace between us.» Now Abba Moses was very weak, because he had been confined by sickness for six months in the Monastery of Nahyâ, and Abba Peter likewise at the church of Our Lady on the Holy Mountain of Wasîm, in the Monastery of Nahyâ, which stands on the bank of Al-Gizah to the west of Misr. So the bishop of Misr and the bishop of the Faiyûm went to those two, and informed them of what had occurred. But Abba Moses could not mount a beast or sit upon it on account of the great pain which he was suffering; so the fathers contrived a plan, and had him carried on the bier on which the dead were borne, for they found nothing else there. And some of the faithful bore him on their shoulders, till they brought him to Al-Fustât. But they made Abba Peter ride on a horse; and there was a great company with hiM. When they arrived, the assembly met together on the 8th day, and the clergy of Misr and the officials with them, that they might settle this business by the will and help of God. And there were with them the archdeacon of the church of Saint Sergius, and the aged officials Mennas |110 and Paul, and many of the Christians of Misr. So they prayed and took their seats, and began to attack one another with words, as at the beginning. As the strife increased, the bishops of the North said : «Wilt thou not appoint this man whose name is written down?» But Abba Abraham, bishop of the Faiyûm, said : «We have no part or lot with him.» Then Abba Abraham said : «If you would listen to me, we would all of us beseech God, as the canons command, and pray him to raise up for us whom he will, that so the Church may not be divided into two parties». Then some of the Northern bishops signified their approval of this proposal, and took their seats with the bishops of Upper Egypt. Now the blessed Abba Moses, bishop of Wasîm, was lying in the midst of the assembly, on account of the severity of the pain which he suffered, and when he heard them speak of schism, he rose up by the power of the Holy Ghost which was with him, and beckoned with his hand to the clergy of Alexandria, so that they drew near to him. Then he said to them : «What are you saying?» They answered : «What Abba Mennas, bishop of Tmai, says, that is our opinion; for it is we that appoint the patriarch, and you have nothing to do with this matter.» Now there was by his side a staff for him to lean upon on account of his infirmity, so he called to mind what the Lord did in the Temple, when he drove out the money-changers therein with the scourge of cords; and he rose up and drove out the clergy of Alexandria, and pursued them, striking |111 them with the staff, till he had forced them out through the door, saying to them : «Depart from the midst of us! Ruin not the church of God through the desires of your hearts!» Then he turned to the bishop Abba Mennas, and the bishops with him, and said : «What have I to do with this man who is not chosen by the Lord Christ, but whom thou desirest and delightest in? If thou knowest any of his virtues, recount them in the midst of the assembly. Then, if they approve of him, it is a thing from God, and he may be appointed.» When Abba Mennas heard this, he said to Abba Moses : «The books forbid this, therefore leave him; but if you know the virtues of any man, then appoint him.» Then he made a prostration, and departed, saying : «Let there be unity and concord among you; I am innocent of this mischief.» Then they separated on that day, after the prayer of the Sixth Hour, in sorrow and great grief, because they had not found anyone to appoint. For the names of many were mentioned, but they would not agree to any one of them.

But at midnight a deacon in the company of Abba Moses awoke and said to him : «Pardon me, my Father, I know one worthy of this office.» He said to him : «Who is he my son?» The deacon answered : «He is the holy and precious one, the priest Michael at the church of Saint Macarius, a pure virgin, brought up in the desert». Then the bishop Abba Peter cried and said : «He who speaks by this deacon is Christ. O my son, verily this priest Michael is worthy of this rank». So on the morrow they assembled, and there was a discussion among them, according to their custom; and |112 then they mentioned the priest Michael, the aforesaid. So all the people cried out, old and young with one voice, saying : «In truth that man is worthy». And before this he had seen a holy man, who received revelations from the Lord, for he bore witness to him of that and said : «I heard a voice from heaven, while I was in the church of the holy Saint Macarius, saying : The priest Michael is worthy to be patriarch».

Then they all rose up and proceeded to the palace, and made known to Hafs what had taken place, and what they had agreed upon, and prayed him to write a letter to the seniors and priests of Wadî Habîb, that they might give up the said Abba Michael to the bishops and clergy. So the governor wrote letters for them, and they took them and went out of his presence. Now the Lord Jesus Christ had already moved the superiors of Wadî Habîb for a certain cause; and they had come forth from the desert with the aforesaid priest Michael in their company; and the reason was that they had met together and taken counsel, saying : «Al-Kasim, the tyrant, increased our land-tax and poll-tax beyond our power to pay. Now a new governor is come, therefore let us go and visit him and pray for him, and congratulate him on his appointment; and let us have |113 confidence in God, and beg the governor to remove these unjust exactions from us». So they arrived at the Island on the 13th of Tût. And on that day the messengers of the council had started with the letters on their way to the desert; and when they had crossed the river, they met the superiors of the monks, and with them Abba Michael, on whose account they had undertaken their journey. Therefore, when they saw him, they were greatly astonished, and wondered and rejoiced exceedingly; and each one of them marvelled at what the Lord Christ had done. So they took him, and conducted him to the governor’s palace, with all the clergy of Misr acclaiming him and chanting before him, till they reached the palace. And they said : «The Lord has sent us the trusted shepherd, the new Mark». Then when they informed Hafs of what had happened, he marvelled greatly; and he clapped his hands together and said : «Let us bless the God of the Christians, who has done deeds at which we wonder». And he said to them : «This man is he whom God has chosen for you, to be a father for you. Take him, and depart with him in peace». And Abba Theodore, the bishop of the diocese, went forward and approached the governor and prayed for him, and then departed with the patriarch. And the people cut off pieces of Michael’s garments for the sake of a blessing.

And on the morrow, which was the 14th of Tût, the bishops embarked |114 in the boats, and went down the river to Alexandria, which they reached on the night of the 16th of Tût; and many people came forth to meet the patriarch. But as they entered the streets of the city, carrying candles and crosses and books of the gospels before him, rain began to descend upon them; and it lasted three days and three nights, pouring in torrents. And all the tribes in Alexandria said : «This man is from God. Two years have passed without a fall of rain in this city. Blessed is the entrance of this man into our city!» And they consecrated him on the 17th day of Tût. Now we would fain relate a few of his deeds in the monastic life, and his miracles before he became patriarch; but we fear to be tedious, for everything has a measure, as the Scriptures say. Moreover I have related these matters in the book of his biography, apart from this history.

At that time the blessed Athanasius at Antioch departed to the Lord. And Hishâm, the prince, appointed after, him a trustworthy man, named John. Then Hishâm died, and the government of the empire was undertaken by a man named Al-Walîd, son of Yazîd, son of Abd al-Malik. Since, however, his people hated him, he began to build a city named after himself in the desert, for he gave his name to it; but the water was fifteen miles distant from it. He collected workmen from all quarters, and built that city by means of forced labour; and on account of the multitude many died every day from the scarcity of water; for though the water was carried thither by twelve |115 hundred camels daily, yet this was not enough for them; the camels being divided into two bands, six hundred carrying water one day, and six hundred the next. Then Al-Walîd was attacked by a man named Ibrahim, who killed him, and seized the government instead of him. Ibrahim released the enslaved workmen, who departed each one to his own place; and he appointed a new governor in Egypt, named Hassân, son of Atâhiya; and this Ibrahim was a cousin of his. (But according to another copy the governor’s name was Isa, son of Abu Atâ.) The new governor had been secretary to Usâmah, and he was acquainted with all that Usâmah had done. Now Egypt, before Hassân was governor, abounded in gold; and a dinar was as common as a dirhem among the people at that time. But when he arrived, a great pestilence broke out in the land, until a young calf was sold for twenty dinars. When Hassan’s commissioners and friends informed him of this, he observed : «I know what the people of Egypt do. If I live, I will make them buy a bull for two dinars». And at this time the Egyptians suffered great losses, and trials and troubles were brought upon them, so that the people offered their cattle and their children for sale.

And there was at Misr a young man, a Muslim, named Rajâ, who |116 assembled a body of followers, and seized the government, with the assistance of Hafs the former governor. And they went to Hassân, and wished to kill him; but he fled from them to Damascus. And Hafs commanded that everyone in the provinces of Egypt should pray according to the laws of the Sunnite ritual, and proclaimed that all those, who would give up their own religion and become Muslims, should be exempted from the poll-tax; for that was an impost due from all of them. By means of this procedure Satan did much harm to many people who gave up their religion; and some of them enrolled themselves among the soldiery. And the patriarch, Abba Michael, saw these things with sadness and tears, because he beheld men denying the Lord Christ. And for these causes the bishops left their sees, and departed into the desert, and entered the monasteries, where they humbled themselves before the Lord in prayer.

At that time the Father Moses, bishop of Wasîm, was detained by his spiritual children in his see, and they would not let him depart from it to any other place; but. he prayed for his flock that the wolf might not carry them away from his Church. And he remained at Al-Gizah and in the neighbourhood of Misr, constantly superintending the affairs of his children. And behold, some of the orthodox officials of Misr came to his house in sadness, and said to him : «Father, pray for us earnestly. For we have counted those who have seceded to the religion of Islam from among our brethren, the baptized Christians, in Misr and its neighbourhood, through the |117 persuasions of this governor, and they amount to twenty-four thousand persons». So the father said to them : «My children, be assured that this month you will see with your own eves this unbelieving governor Hafs burnt with fire in the midst of Fustât Misr; and Rajâ will be slain with the sword». And the father’s prophecy was speedily fulfilled. Morever this holy man used to heal the sick in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and gave to men the gift of repentance.

Then the prince sent a general to Egypt, accompanied by five thousand fighting men, that they might make war upon Hafs. The name of this general was Hautharah; and he gained possession of Egypt, and caused Hafs to be burnt in the fire, and killed Rajâ with the sword, and seized all their goods, as the blessed one had prophesied. So the prince took away the government from those two, because they had driven Hassân away from the country, and had taken the power into their own hands without his orders. And Hautharah sent their property to the prince. And the government was restored to Hassân for these reasons; and he was a wise judge like Solomon, and loved the churches and the bishops and monks; and he loved the patriarch Abba Michael, and used to admit him, and converse with him often, when he visited him, from the first days of his patriarchate. And as for Hautharah, after what had happened, he remained in Egypt with his troops. And he loved the orthodox; and, as he resided at Wasîm with all his army for three years, he used to consult the Father |118 Abba Moses about the salvation of his soul. But there was much disturbance in the outer provinces, and fighting among the Muslims, and they killed one man after another, so that even their governors did not remain in office for a whole year but were slain before it was over. At last there arose a man named Marwân, prince of those Turks; and he brought his army, and seized the empire by force, and ruled it with a strong arm like Pharao; and none could withstand him, but he destroyed them with the sword; and every year he shed much blood of those who fought against him. And there was in Marwân’s house a Chalcedonian deacon, named Theophylact, who was a goldsmith and wrought in gold for the prince’s household; and he prayed them to gain promotion for him from the prince, by making him patriarch over his fellow-countrymen, the Greeks; for they had no patriarch at that time. So this was done for him speedily; and they appointed him patriarch over the Chalcedonians.

Now peace and prosperity continued in Egypt for five years. Then the governor was removed from Egypt, and a man named Abd al-Malik was appointed. He was a son of Musa, son of Nasir, of the family of Hassân the Jew, who had overrun part of the West. And this governor hated the Christians greatly, and was exceedingly proud, and caused much trouble |119 to the people of Egypt, and gave rise to much disturbance in the country, seizing for the benefit of Marwân the gold and silver and copper and iron, and everything that he could find. This he did by the advice of an evil man, who had learnt these deeds from Satan, and was director of all the arsenals of Egypt, and of the affairs of the government, and was named Abd ar-Rahîm. His labours at last produced results unheard of before, namely that he took linen rags and smeared the ships of the fleet with decoctions of herbs which he mixed up together; so that, when the fire was thrown by the Romans upon the ships, they did not burn. And this I saw with my own eyes; for the ships caught lire, but yet did not burn; and the fire was at once extinguished.

And merchants came from the country, bringing their wares, and collected money among themselves, and gave it to Marwân, and prayed him to allow them to rebuild the churches of Misr; and so he consented to their request. But the friends of Theophylact the Chalcedonian, who was also called Cosmas, said to him : «Verily there are many churches of ours in Egypt, of which the Theodosians, that is to say the Copts, took possession, when the government of the Romans was overthrown; and now we have no church there. We beg the prince to write for us to Egypt, and send by us letters commanding that the church of Saint Mennas at Maryût be handed over to us, so that we may communicate there. » For that church was famous for many |120 miracles, and had been endowed with property in many places. So Theophylact took to Abd al-Malik, son of Musa, son of Nasir, letters which directed him to settle the dispute between the Jacobites and the Chalcedonians, and ordered that the truth concerning the founders of that church should be ascertained, and that it should be handed over to them. And when Abd al-Malik had read the letters from Marwân, he despatched an officer to Alexandria, and commanded that the two patriarchs, the Jacobite and the Chalcedonian, should be brought before him. Now the fast was at hand, so he commanded that they should be summoned.

And when Abba Michael reached Wasîm, the bishop, Abba Moses, went out to meet him, and travelled with him until they came to Abd al-Malik. And there was with us the bishop Abba Theodore, bishop of Misr, who, before he became bishop, had been archdeacon of the church of Saint Macarius in Wadî Habîb. And we attended at the palace together with the Chalcedonians every day, and this we continued to do during the forty days of the fast, from early morning to the end of the day. And the bishop of the Romans, and their patriarch Cosmas went with us. Now the said bishop hated the people of his religion; for he said : «I have not gone so far as to add a fourth Person to the Trinity.» His name was Constantine, and with him was a deacon, named Anastasius, of the church of the Melkites at Alexandria. And Abd al-Malik assembled the Melkites, and read the decree to them, and enquired into the truth of the allegations. And the dispute carried |121 on before him had great results; for the orthodox with their arguments from the Holy Scriptures prevailed over the Chalcedonians, so that Abd al-Malik marvelled. Then he summoned the chief of his Divân, who was a Muslim with two Divâns under his authority, and another man called Isa, son of Amir, and handed them over to him, that he might thoroughly investigate the matter, and make it known; and he ordered that each party should expound its claims in a letter. But the Chalcedonians went secretly to the house of Isa, and offered him bribes, that he might favour them in their claims. And the patriarch, Abba Michael, assembled his bishops, and wrote a letter full of all wisdom and of the grace of God, and of the words of the holy Scriptures of God, giving an account of the foundation of the church of the martyr, Saint Mennas, and of the troubles and banishments endured by our fathers, the patriarchs, at the hands of the Chalcedonians, and of the taking of the churches from them by the hands of the princes of the Romans; and that report was written down in Coptic and in Arabic. Afterwards they assembled together, and gave that report to the aforesaid Isa, who read it and marvelled at the patriarch’s eloquence. Then the Chalcedonians sent him a letter a span long, with two words in it; and, when he had read it, he laughed and shook his head; and the two letters were read in public, and all present heard their contents. Then our father the patriarch, Abba Michael, said to Isa : «My Lord Secretary, it is not right that we should allow our enemies, who have no God, to hear our words, so that they |122 may take them as a proof hereafter.» Isa replied : «I will read the letter.» But he only did this in guile, and in his care for the interests of the Chalcedonians, because of the bribe which he had received from them.

Now behold, we will cite a part of the contents of the letter written by the blessed Father Patriarch : «Michael, by the grace of God bishop of the city of Alexandria and of the Theodosian people, to the governors, with regard to the church of the glorious Saint Mennas at Maryût. At that time reigned the faithful and pious princes, Arcadius and Honorius, in the days of the holy father, the patriarch Theophilus. He began to build the church of John the Baptist, and when he had finished it, he built the church of Saint Mennas at Maryût, and another church named after Theodosius, son of Arcadius the prince, who helped him to build the churches. When Theophilus was dead, all his successors added to that church, little by little, until the days of the patriarch Timothy; so that it was he who completed it. After that time there came a diabolical prince, named Marcian; for it was he who divided the church through his corrupt creed, and banished the glorious father, the patriarch Dioscorus, who fought for the right faith of his fathers. And Marcian invented a vile new creed, being assisted therein by Leo, patriarch of Rome, who was anathematised by the patriarch Dioscorus together with his impure writings, which were full of heresy. And the aforesaid prince did wicked deeds against the children of the |123 orthodox church, and was exceedingly tyrannical; for he slew some, and drove others away into exile; and they suffered severely at his hands. Nor did they cease to be oppressed in like manner, until the government was transferred to our lords the Muslims. And to this day we continue to dispute with the followers of that new creed.»

This is a little out of much contained in the letter of the glorious father, Abba Michael the patriarch. But as for the Chalcedonians, they wrote and said : «In the beginning the power was in our hands, and the churches with all their property were ours. But the Muslims, after their conquest of Egypt, handed them over to the Copts».

Isa however, for the sake of the bribe which he had received from the Chalcedonians, was desirous of proving them in the right, and of convicting the Copts of falsehood. So he said : «Neither you nor they have brought any proof of your words. Go therefore and write two other letters besides these two, and bring them to us.» So we did as he said. Then he said again ; «These are no arguments. Go therefore and write something besides these two letters.» And he did not cease to put us off for a whole month. Then one of those present said to Abba Moses, bishop of Wasîm : «My advice is that our father, the patriarch, should give something to this man, that he may deliver us from these adversaries who oppose and resist us.» But Abba Moses answered : «My son, it is not right that patriarchs and bishops should offer bribes to anyone, nor is it right that they should |124 take bribes from anyone. And we have not had to endure persecution for a year or two years or thirty years, like our fathers; but we are now living in our own homes, and our churches are in our own possession, and God does not forsake us nor cease to help us.»

And during that week God requited those heretics through the prayers of our father. For the governor deprived Isa of his office of secretary and his Divân; and there came another in his place, a man of the sons of the judges of the Muslims, named Abu ‘l-Husain, who was an old man, tranquil, not given to showing favour to anyone, nor to taking bribes; and he was wise in his discourse, and just in his judgments. So they delivered us to him, that he might judge between us. And at the beginning of his judgment he said : «Which among you is the father of the Jacobites?» So those present pointed to Abba Michael, and said : «Behold him here!» Then he said : «The father of the Melkites?» And they showed him the other. Thereupon he said to Abba Michael : «Thou holdest the faith of James, bishop of Jerusalem, one of the disciples of the Lord Christ.» He said : «Yea, that is my belief.» Then he turned to the other and said : «Make known to me, Sir, who is thy father, and what is thy creed.» The patriarch of the Melkites said to him : «I hold the faith of Marcian the prince». Upon that the judge rejoined : «Thou believest in the prince, and |125 not in God?» And he continued : «Tell me who is the father of thy sect, and whence he came, that I may know and judge between you.» The Melkite answered : «My father, who first laid the foundation, was Nestorius. A council was assembled at Ephesus, at which the leader was Cyril, the spiritual father of this man. They had with them a monk from the Mount of Adriba, in the province of Ikhmîm, and they drove Nestorius out of the Church; for they were assisted by the princess at that time. But after that, God speedily raised up Marcian and the patriarch Leo, who agreed with Nestorius and his followers, and everywhere took possession of the churches, over which bishops have ruled up to this day. But our bishop at Alexandria, Proterius, was slain by the Alexandrians; and therefore the prince commanded that an army should be collected, and sent it to Alexandria, and bade the soldiers slay with the sword; and so they killed thirty thousand in one hour.»

When the judge heard that, he clapped his hands together, and said to those around him : «How cruel and tyrannical was that deed!» Then our spiritual father answered and said to the judge : «Behold, we have been occupied with this matter for two months. The governor delivered us over to Isa, son of Amir, as thou knowest, O judge, whom God loves on account of thy just judgments; and we wrote reports and gave them to Isa, but he would not settle our case, but asked of us more than we know». So the judge commanded to bring forth the reports of the Jacobites and Melkites; and he read them and understood their contents, and was filled with |126 astonishment at the difference between them; and he took the documents, and carried them to the governor, who read them, and was also astonished, and commanded him to pronounce his sentence, and dismissed him. Accordingly the judge came forth, and said to Cosmas : «Thou art a man without religion or God. For behold, the reports bear witness against thee that the church belongs to Abba Michael. We understand all that you have written; therefore go and write other reports besides these, and bring them to me».

So we went out from his presence. But the Chalcedonians recognised that they were vanquished, and therefore they invented among themselves words of guile, and sent them to us. And Constantine, bishop of Misr, was with the messengers; and so he said to Abba Michael : «Thy Paternity knows what has happened to us at Alexandria for the sake of the faith; and to this day the dispute about our creed continues Therefore we desire that there be an agreement between thee and us concerning the church, and we wish to make a compact with thee, and to become one flock together. Send a message therefore to the father concerning this matter». Then the blessed Abba Michael said to the bishops : «What do you say on this question? Shall we send a messenger to him, to hear his proposals?» But they said : «He is acting thus with guile deceitfully». And Abba Moses said to them : |127 «O my fathers, in their hearts are seven thoughts, as it is written 25. They think of things that they cannot bring to pass. But let us try them». Then Abba Michael ordered a priest who was his scribe, and me the sinner, the writer of this history, and sent us to the Chalcedonian patriarch to hear his words. So when we arrived, they came out to meet us with joy; and when we had taken our seats, and the priest Mennas had addressed Cosmas with words of Scripture, for he was learned, then Cosmas heard from him the words of the patriarch. For Mennas began with the creed of our fathers, the Three Hundred and Eighteen, and Athanasius and Cyril, and confirmed the matter with a great and terrible oath, before the Melkite patriarch and Constantine, the Melkite bishop of Misr; and they made their confession. And Constantino the Melkite bishop of Misr said : «This was my faith before to-day, and I will hold it to my last breath ; one Union, one God, one Lord, one Nature, namely the Lord Jesus Christ. He who does not believe thus is a Jew; and he who says that there are Two Natures in the One Christ, after the Union, is a stranger to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, and his lot will be with Judas the Traitor. This then is my creed». But when Anastasius heard that, he was angry and could not speak, and he waited for what was to happen after this. Then we departed to the fathers, and told them all that had taken place, and so they sent us |128 back to them, saying : «This that you have said you shall write down in a letter in your own hand». So when we returned to them, Cosmas their patriarch said : «I have another word which I desire to speak to you». The priest answered : «Hide none of thy thoughts from us, for God looks at the heart, not at the face». So he continued : «If unity be established, what will you do with me?» The priest Mennas replied : «Make known to us what thou desirest». Cosmas answered : «I desire, if unity be established, that my church and your church should be one at Alexandria. And when your father, the patriarch, is present on the days of liturgies, I should be with him; and when he had finished the prayers, each of us should go forth to his own place; and none should hinder me from visiting any of the churches; and so likewise with regard to him». Then the priest said to him : «These are words containing deceit». Cosmas answered : «”What thinkest thou?» So he said : «I will depart to my father, and bring the answer back to thee». Then when the bishops heard this, Abba Moses cried aloud and said : «Our Lord Christ charges us not to call any father upon earth. But now if you approve what they say, then I will speak». The patriarch said to him: «Speak now». So he said : «If he consent to be made by us bishop over the whole of Egypt, and to become our brother, not our father, since Christ will keep thy Paternity that thou mayest guard his holy Church, then we will do it». Then they went to Cosmas |129 and informed him of this their decision; and he rejoiced, and his soul was satisfied. And Anastasius said : «You will surely make me also bishop of some see». But the priest Mennas answered : «Knowest thou not that no man who seeks another degree for himself is fit to be a bishop? But the people of Misr will assist thee in this matter». So Anastasius said to him : «If you do not consent, then be not troubled nor speak at all of this matter». Then we went out from their presence.

After this we all visited Abd al-Malik, who had written a letter at that time to all the provinces of Egypt, commanding that the scribes and officials from every town should assemble before him; and when he admitted them, the palace was crowded with people in such numbers that none could hear anything through the multitude of voices. So we too entered, surrounded by many people. Then, when we had taken our seats, the bishop Constantine separated himself from the Melkites and sat with our bishops, begging them to receive him as one of themselves, and give him a see; and the assembled multitude and the people of the country around us were observing us, wishing to know what would be settled, and looking at the bishops, both orthodox and Chalcedonian. But after a while some of the people from Upper Egypt rushed upon Constantine, when they learnt that he was a Chalcedonian, that they might drive him away, until the |130 orthodox bishops cast some of their garments over him, and surrounded him among themselves; for otherwise the people of Upper Egypt might have killed him. Then the latter cried and said : «Remove the wolves from the midst of the sheep! Flee from the ravenous lions that devour souls! Drive away the foxes that destroy the vineyard of the Lord of Sabaoth! Remove Judas from among the disciples of Christ! Let not your garments touch these unclean ones, O servants of Christ!»

Meanwhile Cosmas hid himself until their anger had abated; and then, after much questioning of our fathers, the people began to be a little pacified. Moreover when our bishops made it known to the people that Constantine had prayed them to receive him among the Theodosians, they rejoiced and cried in the midst of the palace : «Constantine has confessed the right faith, the faith of our orthodox fathers». Then suddenly Ibrahim al-Mâhiki, the official who was governor of Alexandria, appeared, for he had been sitting in an apartment of the palace, and with him a band of heretics, including the deacon Sergius, the patriarch’s son, and two of the teachers of the heretics. So the people ran back and wished to flee. But there was a man of Damietta who had been exceedingly wicked, and for that reason I, the sinner, admonished him with a word that I had heard; and he leapt into the midst of the assembly, and stood and reviled me, and blasphemed the Holy Trinity. Then I and all those present saw his garment rent from |131 the top to the bottom in three pieces, and everyone in the palace cried, both Muslims and Christians : «There is no faith except the faith of the father, Abba Michael». And there was a great shouting in the palace, and men rushed to see what had taken place, so that some of the people and the soldiers were injured or killed through the great press. Then Abd al-Malik commanded that all should be sent out of the palace.

And on the morrow he commanded the judge to decide the matter in question, saying: «Settle their affair, and let them depart.» Accordingly the judge sat down with the members of the Divâns, namely the scribes and the chief personages of the government. When they had taken their seats, they said to the patriarch, Abba Michael : «Wilt thou swear that this church rightfully belongs to thee and thy fathers?» The patriarch answered : «Our Law commands me not to swear, whether truly or falsely; but I will write a report, and declare the truth to thee therein». Then the judge said to the heretic Cosmas : «Wilt thou swear that this church is thine, that I may give it over to thee?» So he replied : «Yea, I will swear». Then the judge shook his head, as if mocking him, and said to him : «Where hast thou a witness to this statement that it belongs to thee, even if thou shalt swear to it?» Then he said to our father, Abba Michael : «Hast thou anyone to offer testimony that this church belonged to thy fathers?» He replied : «Yea, I have one who will be my witness to that fact, from the day that it was built until now». The judge asked : |132 «How many days is it since it was built?» Abba Michael answered : «Three hundred and fifty years» So the judge said to him : «And do the witnesses live to this day from that time? Thou speakest to me in parables. Make the truth known to me». Then the patriarch answered and said : «Verily my father Theophilus and his successor Timothy were the builders of this church, and it is they also who testify to me that Theophilus founded it and set up its rows of pillars, for there is his name written upon them; and, when he died, Timothy erected the remainder, since there is his name inscribed. These are my witnesses who testify to this day». Thereupon the judge sent his confidential friends, accompanied by the secretaries and the interpreters, and they ascertained what was written upon the pillars, and found that it was as Abba Michael had declared. And the judge enquired carefully into the truth of the matter, and reiterated his questions concerning it, and discovered that the patriarch’s account was correct. So, when he had tested the truth of his words and proved it, he delivered the church to us, and dismissed us with congratulations and honour. Thus we recovered our church once more.

Now our father John, patriarch of Antioch, who had been a bishop, had a dispute during many days with his bishops, and could not make peace with them; therefore he wrote letters to the prince. And he had written a synodical epistle, but had not been able to find means of sending it to Egypt |133 till this time. So when the messengers arrived, and the Father Abba Michael had received the synodical and other letters from them, he read them, and was greatly distressed by the disagreement between the patriarch and his bishops. For they said that he was a mere bishop and no patriarch, and that they had not been able to give him the title of patriarch in the days of Hishâm. Then Abba Michael summoned all the seniors among his bishops in the land of Egypt, and the letters were read to them. Thereupon they said : «We will not write a letter nor despatch it thither, for this is a difficult matter. If they desire to expel their patriarch, the prince will say to them : Nay, for he is a bishop. But if we write and advise them not to depose him, the bishops will be divided, as they have said in their letters. Rather leave the matter, Father, remaining as it was». And accordingly he did so.

Now I desire to record a little out of much that the Lord did by the hand of the bishop Abba Moses, and concerning the gift of prophecy and of the healing of diseases which he received from the Lord. Therefore believe my words with a pure heart!

We were travelling to Alexandria in order that the Father Abba Michael might take possession of the evangelical throne of Mark, and the holy synod disembarked on the way. When we walked through the Christ-loving |134 city of Wasîm, there was in the church a youth, who had been paralysed in his hands and feet from birth. He was now fifteen years old, and the martyr Saint George had appeared to him, and said : «Thou shalt not be healed except by the hand of the bishop, Abba Moses». So this youth came, and would have touched my father’s garment; but the multitude around him prevented him. Therefore he cried, saying : «Make the sign of the cross, my Father, over my paralysed limbs». Then the bishop made the sign of the cross over his hands and feet, and we went on our way. But when we returned according to the will of God, that youth came out to meet us, walking and leaping with the people of the city, and recounting what had happened to him, and glorifying God, and thanking his good servant, the bishop. And this bishop also cleansed the lepers, and cast out devils, and did mighty works, like the Disciples.

Now there was in those days great trouble in the East on account of the bishops. Moreover at that time great hosts came against Marwân, and they met in battle; and much blood was shed among them. Then Abd al-Malik assembled the officers of his army at Misr, and imprisoned them for seven days, and also confined the secretaries of state, and the chiefs of the towns and superintendents of inherited property, and required them to send in their accounts, and to pay what they owed. Then he summoned the Father, Abba Michael, to Misr, in order that he might pay the taxes on his churches. But when we came before Abd al-Malik, he demanded of us |135 what we could not pay, and therefore he commanded that we should be put in prison, and that a great block of wood should be fastened to the patriarch’s foot, and a heavy iron collar to his neck. And there was nobody with him except Abba Moses, bishop of Wasîm, and Abba Theodore, bishop of Misr, and Abba Elias Paul, son of Abba Moses in the Spirit. Then they put us into a dark chamber, where we could not see the sun, and which had no window, for it was hewn in the rock. And our father, the patriarch, was greatly tormented through being thus loaded with iron, from the 11th of Tût to the 12th of Babah, seeing no sunlight all that time. While he was in the prison, there were besides him three hundred men; and there were women also imprisoned, in greater straits than the men; and there was sadness and weeping, and much distress at the end of the day, when the governor of the prison shut the door upon us, and went away; and he did not return till the seventh hour of the day. The sick used to come to the patriarch in prison, that he might bless them, and then they rejoiced; and Christians and Muslims, and even Berbers, came to him, and confessed their sins which they had committed; and so did the prisoners, some of whom said that they had been in prison three years, and others four. And he consoled them and exhorted them to patience, saying to them : «If you vow to God that you will not return to your former deeds, God will |136 receive your repentance and save you before the end of this year». Then they swore to him that they would not return to their sins. And they were all accordingly rescued from prison before the end of the year by his prayers.

As for our fathers, the bishops, they could not change their garments nor their caps for the space of seventeen days, while they remained close by the father patriarch; for they were chained to him by their souls though not by iron. And the superintendent of the governor’s table was a believer and a good man, who provided for the patriarch; and he used to visit us, and brought for us into the prison what we needed; while I, the sinner, was engaged in ministering to those three bloodless martyrs night and day.

And that year there had been a great pestilence among young infants at Misr, so that they all died. And while I was lying at the feet of the patriarch one night, and he was teaching me from the Scriptures, and answering all my questions about them, I asked him concerning the death of the infants. And I said to him : «Thinkest thou, Father, that God takes them on account of the sins of their parents or for some other cause?» Then he answered : «Do not suppose, my son, that this is the cause. But God beholds the human race, and sees that most of them do the will of |137 Satan by their vain devices, and that Hell is full and Paradise empty; and so he takes the infants who are without sin to Paradise, the place of mercy.» Then I asked him : «Why did God expel Satan from Heaven before he created the world or men?» He answered me : «O my son, who am I, the vile sinner, to deal with this problem, that thou shouldst question me about it?» But as I persisted all the more in questioning him on this subject, he said to me : «The holy Gregory Theologus says that Satan was, from the time when he was first created, in the habit of slandering his companions the angels before God; but God granted him a term of trial and was patient with him. Then when God created a new heaven and a new earth, and formed man in his own image and likeness 26, since it lay in God’s foreknowledge that Satan loved pride, he bade him behold Adam and the beauty of his countenance. So Satan took with him the host over which God had made him leader, and went to the place where Adam was; and, when he saw it he was filled with admiration of it. And he said to his lollowers : I desire to set up for myself a throne upon the clouds, and the high mountains shall be beneath me, and I will be like the Most High; and the whole world shall be under my power, and I will rule over it. Then when he ascended again to heaven, God said to him : Admirest thou what thou hast seen, and art thou pleased with the world that has been created? For he knew his secret thoughts. Then God said to Satan : I have made |138 thee lord over the world. And God said this to Satan in order that he might not fall from the glory in which he was. But Satan kept evil in his heart, and in his thoughts there was wickedness; and after that he considered and said : I desire to know the nature of the Godhead, so that when I go down to the world I may act accordingly, and may no longer have need of God. For this was the design that Satan had conceived. And, wishing to behold the Godhead, he entered into the midst of the Angels suddenly; but God commanded ten thousand of the heavenly angelic Powers to cast him down to the lowest Hell in outer darkness, him and all his companions. This is what God revealed to Gregory Theologus, who wrote it down for us. Glory be to God for ever and ever. Amen».

Then I questioned the patriarch again, saying : «Will God have patience with these unbelieving rulers who commit these crimes against us at all times, and will not release us from these bonds?» He answered : «Be patient, my son, and be of good cheer. When we go forth from this place, we shall fall into worse misfortunes than this. Therefore be patient now, for none shall receive his reward without suffering; but he who endures to the end shall be saved. And thou wilt see what shall take place hereafter, for in these two rulers there is no good».

Then when seventeen days of the before mentioned month were over, while we were still in this distress, the governor commanded that he should be brought before him. So we came into his presence, and he demanded the money of the patriarch, saying to him : « None of thy |139 churches pays taxes, and I require of thee that which is rightfully due from them.» And he pressed him sorely. Then the patriarch answered : «If it he so, permit me to depart to Upper Egypt; and whatever the Christians may give me and supply me with I will bring to thee.» Then the governor released him, and we quitted his presence, and journeyed to Upper Egypt. At that time we suffered greatly from the cold; for there was hoar-frost at night, and heat in the day-time from the sun. And the people of Egypt had perished through oppression and poverty and taxation. And the father, Abba Michael, was fatigued during our journey, and suffered much. While we travelled, he healed many that were sick, merely by making the sign of the Gross; and he cast out unclean spirits from among the people,and converted many who had gone astray from the orthodox faith, for God helped him. Then we returned to Misr on the night of the 21st of Tubah, the night on which our Lady, the Virgin Mary, went to her rest. And that night there came great wrath from God, for there was a great earthquake in the land, and many houses were ruined in all the cities; and none was saved from them, not a single soul; and likewise on the sea many ships were sunk on that night. This happened all over the East, from the city of Gaza to the furthest extremity of Persia. And they counted the cities that were |140 wrecked that night, and they were six hundred cities and villages, with a vast destruction of men and beasts. But the land of Egypt was uninjured, except only Damietta. And at Misr there was only great fear, without any death or ruin of houses; for though the beams in the doorways and walls were moved out of their places, they went back again to their places after two hours. We were assured by one whose word we trust that none of the churches of the orthodox nor of their dwellings was destroyed throughout the East. But the father, Abba Michael, bade all the inhabitants of Misr and the neighbourhood prolong their fasting and prayers. So when the misbeliever, Abd al-Malik, saw what had taken place through the wrath of God, he accepted the alms given by the Christians to the patriarch, and released him.

Now I have omitted much without writing it down, that the history might not become too long and weary the reader, but I am constrained to record briefly a matter which must not be passed over. That is that there was at Dongola, a city of the Nubians, a king named Mercurius, who was called the New Constantine, for he became by his beautiful conduct like one of the Disciples; and the Lord gave him a son whom he named Zacharias. When king Mercurius died, Zacharias did not choose to become |141 king, but occupied himself with the word of God and the salvation of his soul, and gave up his rank as king, and appointed to the kingly office a kinsman of his named Simon, who was orthodox, and walked in the excellent path of Mercurius. When Simon died, Zacharias adopted a valiant youth attached to the palace, named Abraham, and made him king; but he was proud and wicked. And the bishop of the capital city used to warn him and instruct him, but he paid no heed to him, and therefore a dispute took place between the king and the bishop. So the king wrote a letter to the father patriarch, Abba Michael, in which he said with an oath : «If thou do not excommunicate Cyriacus, I will make all my country worship idols». For he had written concerning that bishop absurd calumnies and false testimonies. But when the patriarch had read this letter, he wrote letters of peace to the king. Yet the king was not satisfied, but wrote other letters worse than the first, full of false testimonies, and despatched them to Alexandria by Cyriacus, the holy bishop. So the father assembled the bishops, and formed a synod in the city of Alexandria. And when they had met together, he produced the letters, which were read aloud; but the bishops recognised that their allegations were absurd. Then indeed they spoke a word concerning the king of that country, fearing lest Satan should bring corruption upon it: and therefore they prayed the bishop Cyriacus to reside |142 in one of the monasteries of Alexandria, until the wrath of the king should subside; but he refused to do that. So, when they saw that he would not listen to them, they said : «Depart whithersoever thou wilt, in order to abide there.» But they would not allow him to celebrate the Liturgy in the churches of Egypt. And they ordained him whom the king had sent to them, a man named John, saying to Cyriacus : «If this matter is not from God, thou wilt see what will happen, and wilt return to thy see once more. For we have not removed thee from thy see by excommunication, but on account of the wickedness of the king, and his evil intentions».

But when they rose up to depart, each to his own place, there appeared a great wonder. For there was a great board over the throne of the patriarch, Abba Michael, on which was a painting of John Chrysostom; and, after the bishop had been removed from his see, the cords of the picture broke, and it fell into the midst of the bishops, and continued to move and leap until it had passed beyond them. Therefore they went and took it up, and restored it to its former place. Then it did the same thing a second and a third time; for as often as they hung it up it fell again, until it reached a certain place in the church and remained there. Now that bishop resembled the picture of John Chrysostom, for his cheeks were almost free from hair, so that he seemed to have no beard, and this was one of the characteristics of John Chrysostom’s face. And the bishop Cyriacus was an old man, eighty |143 years of age on that day; and his appearance was like that of an angel of God. Then the bishops dispersed to their own districts; and Cyriacus departed to one of the monasteries of Nubia, while John, the new bishop, went to the capital city. Now trustworthy persons have testified to me that no rain fell upon that city during the remainder of the life of Cyriacus, the bishop, and that every year the people were visited by a pestilence, and that those who bore false witness against him were suddenly struck blind. And he lived to be one hundred and four years old. Then he prayed God to remove him from the body; and, when he was dead, the people of his country visited his tomb, and prayed him with many tears to beseech God to send down rain upon them; and this took place so that their country was fertilized, and the pestilence ceased from them.

So when king Zacharias saw these things, he banished king Abraham to an island in the midst of the river, and appointed a king named Mark instead of him; for Zacharias had been father of the kings up to this time. Then the friends of Mark went secretly with guile, to slay Abraham in his place of exile. But, when the partisans of king Abraham learnt this, they conspired against king Mark; and, while he was praying in the church before the sanctuary, they slew him, in the sixth month of his reign.

Then they set up a king named Cyriacus, an honest and virtuous man, who has remained king to the day on which I write this history. |144

Now letters had been sent to this king from Egypt, and had reached him while the father, Abba Michael, was in prison with us. And Abd al-Malik heard of these communications, and therefore he seized the patriarch, and kept him in custody. Then king Cyriacus marched forth from the land of the Nubians towards Egypt with a great army, including a hundred thousand horsemen, with a hundred thousand horses and a hundred thousand camels. And we were informed by one who had witnessed it with his own eyes that the horses which the Nubians rode used to fight with their forefeet and hindfeet in battle as their riders fought upon their backs, and that they were small horses, no higher than asses. And when they approached Misr that they might capture the city, and had encamped at the Pool known to this day as the Pool of the Ethiopians, they plundered and slew and made prisoners of the Muslims. And they had already treated the Muslims of Upper Egypt in like manner. And the king before he reached Misr had sent an envoy, called the Eparch, one of the great men of the kingdom, to Abd al-Malik, bidding him release the patriarch; but Abd al-Malik seized that envoy and imprisoned him with the patriarch. But when the governor heard of the arrival of the king before Misr, not having any means of resisting him, and being, greatly afraid of him, he released his envoy, the Eparch, from prison. So the latter went forth to meet the king, having, previously made an engagement with Abd al-Malik, and sworn to |145 induce the king to return with his army to his own country, and not to let him approach his fortresses nor besiege him. Now the Muslims were in the habit of kidnapping the Nubians, and selling them as slaves in Egypt. So the king, after carrying off much plunder from the Muslims, led back his army, because the Eparch informed him that the patriarch had been released, and had been kindly treated by Abd al-Malik, and himself bade the Nubians return homewards with his blessing.

Now many of the tribe of Al-Kais worshipped an idol named Salkit, and therefore the king of the Nubians conquered them and plundered them, and his army carried off the booty which they had taken from them. Then Abd al-Malik sent to the patriarch, bidding him write to the king of the Nubians. So Abba Michael wrote letters of peace to Cyriacus, in which he prayed for him, and blessed him and his followers; and the king returned without fighting a battle. Now these events took place in the hundred and thirtieth year after the foundation of the empire of the Muslims. And there were under the supremacy of Cyriacus, king of the Nubians, thirteen kings, ruling the kingdom and the country. He was the orthodox Ethiopian king of Al-Mukurrah; and he was entitled the Great King, upon whom the |146 crown descended from Heaven; and he governed as far as the southern extremities of the earth, for he is the Greek king, fourth 27 of the kings of the earth; and none of the other kingdoms stands up against him, but their kings attend him when he passes through their territory. And he is under the jurisdiction of Mark the Evangelist, for the patriarch of the Jacobites in Egypt exercises authority over him, and over all the kings of the Abyssinians and the Nubians; and he has in his country an orthodox bishop whom the patriarch ordains as metropolitan, and who ordains for the king the bishops and the priests in that land. And when the metropolitan dies, the patriarch of Alexandria appoints another for him, whom he chooses, and ordains him for that people.

Now when we came out of prison, many people came together to us, and prayed the father patriarch to celebrate the Liturgy for them, and to give them with his holy hand the communion of the Body and the Precious Blood. So they conducted him to the church of the two Martyrs, Sergius and Bacchus ; and he celebrated the Liturgy for them that day, and communicated to them the Holy Mysteries, and gave them an exhortation and instruction |147 And there came a man seeking to communicate, as soon as the brethren began to make their communion; but the patriarch refused him, and, though he returned, would not give him the oblation. And when. Abba Michael had dismissed the congregation, and sent the people away in peace, that man appeared before the father, weeping, and said : «I desire thee, Father, to tell me for what cause thou didst refuse me communion». The spiritual father answered and said to him : «My son, I also am a sinner. None but the Lord Christ refused thee communion. He it was who forbad thee to receive it. Therefore declare now what thou hast done in the midst of this assembly of thy brethren, lest any of them do like thee». Then that man cried aloud, saying : «I pray thee, my Lord and Father, if it was a sin which I committed, forgive it me, for I will not be guilty of it again». The father said to him : «Thou must confess it». So he said to him : «I have been accustomed to break my fast in my own house, and to come after my breakfast to the church to communicate. Thus I did to-day. And afterwards when I heard that thou wouldst give communion to thy people, I said in my heart : I will go and receive the communion from his holy hand. And I did so out of love for thee in my humility. Now I have declared this to thee who didst refuse me. But in Upper Egypt there are many who do this without knowing that it is a sin». When the Father heard that, he commanded that letters should be written to every place, ordering that none of the faithful should communicate unless fasting, and that none should make |148 his communion twice in one day ». Then he gave his blessing to that man, who departed glorifying God, who does wonders by his saints.

But Egypt found no tranquillity nor rest during the government of Abd al-Malik, for not one of the family of the princes of the Ishmaelites who ruled over them was like him. And he did to the monasteries what was not lawful, because he hated the Christians; for as he pleased to do, so he did. Yet the Lord Christ, in whose hand are the hearts of princes, turned his heart to love Abba Michael the patriarch; therefore he invited him to his palace, and we accompanied him; and he begged the patriarch to pray for him. And the governor’s daughter, who was four years old, was possessed by an unclean spirit, and so her father requested the patriarch to pray over her. Then Abba Michael took oil, and blessed it, and anointed her with it; and the devil went out of her immediately. Thus the governor began to love the Christians, because he loved the father patriarch; and he also loved the bishops, and showed them honour.

Now our father, Abba Michael, was sweet in speech, beautiful in countenance, perfect in stature, decent in his attire, well-formed and dignified; and his words were like a sword against the rebellious, and his teaching was like salt to people of virtue and modesty. And the hand of God was with him in those hardships which he endured through Abd al-Malik. And |149 the church at Alexandria had suffered greatly in the time of the late patriarch Alexander, when its marble and glorious woodwork, which were priceless, were taken away from it. So the Father Michael provided money for it, and restored it, and improved it. And he built other churches to the east and west of the town, and his buildings were completed in his lifetime.

And on a certain day the governor of Alexandria desired to launch the ships of the fleet on the sea. And there was a congregation of the orthodox in the Church of our Lady Mary, of about ten thousand persons. And a young man of the Muslims saw, painted on the wall, a picture of the Lord Christ upon the Cross, while the soldier with the spear was piercing his side. So he said to the Christians, tempting them : «What is this man upon the Cross?» They answered : «This is the sign of our God Christ, who died upon the Cross for the salvation of the world.» Thereupon that young man took a rod, and mounted to the upper gallery, and pierced the picture in the other side, namely the left, mocking and blaspheming at the Christian’s words. And immediately the form of the young man became stretched, as if he were himself crucified, after the likeness of the picture which he had pierced, and a great pain seized him, as if he had been pierced in the side in like manner, and his hand clove to the rod with which he had pierced it, and no man could take it out of his hand; and he remained fixed in the midst of the congregation, between heaven and |150 earth. So he continued all day, crying aloud : «O ye people, I am pierced in the side.» Then the Muslims cried to the Christians with a loud voice, glorifying God, the doer of wonders, and begged them to pray to God for the man’s release. So the Christians prayed, saying Kyrie eleison many times. But that young man could not descend from the place where he was, until one of the Muslims said to him : «Verily unless thou shalt confess the faith of the Christians, and say that this picture is the likeness of Christ, the Son of God, and profess their creed, and believe like them, he will never let thee come down.» Then he accepted the words of that Muslim, and confessed that it was the picture of Christ, and said : «I am a Christian, and will die in the religion of Christ.» After that confession he descended into the midst of the assembly, and departed to the monasteries, and was baptized there.

Now the prince at that time was Marwân, who ruled from Persia to Spain. His hand was very heavy upon his soldiers, and for a time the Muslims fought one against the other, and shed one another’s blood, so that on one day twenty thousand or thirty thousand or even seventy thousand were slain. And they did not cease from war during the seven years of Marwân’s reign, because he had usurped the government over them. And in the seventh year a young man named Abd Allah had a dream, in which the |151 voice of a certain one said to him three times : «Fight against Marwân, fight. By God thou wilt overcome him.» This young man, Abd Allah, was a Bedouin, and lived in tents in the desert; and his father was an old man, named Abu Muslim, to whom the same vision came in a dream as to the young man, Abd Allah; and the old man wrote an account of the dream, and fastened it on the door of his tent. Therefore, when the Muslims saw it, they came together to him in order to know what had happened; and, when he told them, they said : «We will help thee; and, if God shall give thee the victory, we will make thee prince over us.» Accordingly, many of the tribes assembled to him, when they heard of this; and twenty thousand horsemen gathered together with him. But they had no weapons, and so they cut branches from the palm-trees, and fastened spear-heads to them, and went forth to fight, the power of God being with them. Thereupon Marwân came out against them, accompanied by a hundred thousand fighting men, well equipped, and provided with weapons and coats of mail and helmets; and the two armies met. Then Abd Allah divided his army into two parts; and when Manvan saw them, he said, as Goliath the giant said to David 28 : «Hast thou come out to meet me like a dog?» Then Marwân sent out against Abd Allah forty thousand horsemen in many-coloured |152 garments, wearing cuirasses and iron armour, whereas most of Abd Allah’s soldiers were footmen. Yet Abd Allah’s men slew Marwân’s men with God’s help, so that not one of them was saved; for God gave to the former the victory over the latter, as the prophet Moses says 29 : «One man, if God helps him, shall put to flight a thousand, and two shall terrify a host.»

And Abu Muslim saw the angel of the Lord, with a golden rod in his hand, on the top of which was a Cross, putting his enemies to flight; for, wherever the Cross approached, he saw them fall dead before it. So the followers of Abd Allah and Abu Muslim took the horses and weapons of the enemy.

Then Marwân again sent another forty thousand horsemen against them, at the fourth hour of the day, from behind rocks; but God delivered them into their hands, and they captured their horses and weapons. So, when Marwân saw that, he fled. And he executed the following stratagem. He brought out what he possessed of money and vessels and furniture, and put the gold in bags, and scattered it along the road, while he was fleeing, accompanied by twenty thousand horsemen, who remained with him. But Abd Allah and Abu Muslim did not understand his deceit, and so, as they pursued him, they busied themselves with seizing the money and the weapons for seven days, so that Marwân escaped and crossed the Euphrates. |153 But many of his followers were drowned, and he set fire to the boats, and none reached the shore but he and eight thousand men with him.

So the old man Abu Muslim bade his soldiers make crosses of every kind, and place them on their breasts, saying to them : «By means of this sign God has given us the victory, and it has conquered the empire for us.» And his followers multiplied, for men came to them from every place at which they arrived : from Khorassan and Sidon and the Euphrates and the land of the Romans; and all that heard of them in distant lands. And at every city which they captured, their followers established a camp.

But as for Marwân, he set fire to every place that he reached in his flight, When Abu Muslim and Abd Allah came to the Euphrates, and saw the burnt boats, they put on black garments, and left their heads unshaven, and neglected their wives, and continued to fast and pray for six months, until God gave their enemy into their hands. Then they took the boats that they could get, and crossed the Euphrates, and pursued Marwân. And when they reached a place where there were Christians, they marked it out by the sign of the Cross, which they also had marked on their tents and garments. And the Muslims among them wore black garments. And him who was without these two signs they put to death, because the followers of Marwân were Persians, and therefore did not approve of these things. And so, when they found them, they killed them, |154 and ripped them open. And they used to rip open their pregnant wives, and kill the babes, saying : «We will leave them no offspring on earth to go about the world as beggars.»

Then Marwân went into the public treasury at Damascus, for that was the capital of the Omeyyads, and brought forth much money and jewels and treasures, and burnt the rest with fire. And he went on doing thus, till he had laid waste seven provinces with fire. When Abd al-Malik, the governor of Egypt, heard the news, he feared that Marwân would summon him to fight, and therefore he wrote to him a letter with guile, inviting him to Egypt, and saying : «Thy enemies cannot enter this country.»

Accordingly, Marwân marched thither, slaying the chiefs of the towns and provinces through which he passed, and seizing their money. So also he did in the monasteries of the monks, which he wrecked and robbed of their money. And there was in Palestine a clean and decent monastery, which entertained thousands of travellers, and contained a thousand monks; and it was called Dair Mût, and in Coptic, the Monastery of Abba Harmanus. Maximus and his brother Domitius were first received here; and it was Abba Harmanus who took the Tome of Leo, and went to the tombs of his fathers, accompanied by the soldiers of the prince, and cried over their tombs with a loud voice, saying : «Think not that you are asleep, and that this does not concern you! As the Lord lives, if you answer me not, I will |155 take out your bones and burn them with fire. Tell me what you think. Shall I receive the Tome of Leo, or the Faith of Nicaea? Tell me plainly and speedily.» Then they all answered with one voice, crying and saying: «Cursed be Leo, the misbeliever, the soul-devouring lion, and his foul Tome! And cursed be Marcian, the misbeliever, and the vile Pulcheria! And cursed be the Council of Chalcedon, the six hundred and thirty heretical bishops; and cursed be all that receive them. And cursed be those that make Christ the Son of God into Two Natures after the Union.» So, when the blessed Abba Harmanus heard this, he fell upon the ground. And when the noble who brought the Tome saw him, and heard their words addressed to him, he shaved his head, and became a monk with many others. Afterwards this saint was counted worthy of martyrdom; for when Marcian, the prince, was informed of what he had done, he sent and put him to death. And since that time there has been a body of the orthodox remaining in that glorious monastery. So when Marwân arrived at the aforesaid monastery, he demanded of them a sum of money amounting to three weights; and he severely chastised the superior of the monastery and his assistant, for he killed those two; and he plundered the monastery, and continued his march, accompanied by his army. Then, when they were at a short distance from the monastery, there was a hermit upon a pillar, a very old man, who had been there many years, an orthodox Theodosian. |156 So one of Marwân’s friends said : «Verily all that this old monk says comes to pass, for he speaks the truth.» And he came up to that hermit, and asked him what would be his fate. So the old man said in a low voice, like the voice of Jeremias the prophet 30 : «If I tell thee the truth, thou wilt slay me; yet will I declare what God has revealed to me. That which God has told me of thee is this. With the measure with which thou hast measured it shall be measured to thee. As thou hast made mothers childless, so shall thy mother be childless. And thy path shall be very terrible to all that behold thee; for thy children and thy wives and all that are thine shall be taken captive; and he who is now pursuing thee shall take thy empire, and none of thy family shall reign after thee for ever. And thine enemies shall put thee to flight, until thou comest to Arsinoites, to Cleopatra. All this shall befall thee this year in the month of Misri.» When Marwân heard this, he commanded that the pillar should be overthrown; and he brought down the old man, and burnt him alive in the fire.

Then Marwân arrived in Egypt on the twentieth day of the month of Baunah, in the year 467 of the Martyrs. And before these things happened, some of the Bashmurites had rebelled against Abd al-Malik, under their |157 leader Mennas, son of Apacyrus, besides other insurgents, inhabitants of Shubrâ near Sanbat. And they seized that province, and refused to pay taxes to Abd al-Malik or to the chief of the Divân of Misr; and at last the Lord visited them, and gave them the victory. For Abd al-Malik brought out an army against them, but they put him to flight by the power of God, and slew his soldiers with the edge of the sword. And he despatched another army, and a fleet of ships on the river, and by the power of God they put all his men to flight or slew them. And when Marwân reached Egypt, all this was made known to him. So he wrote letters and a decree of pardon for those rebels; but as they would not accept him, he despatched against them a great army of Egyptian Muslims, and of those who came in his company from Syria. But this army could not reach them at all, because they fortified themselves in marshy places, which could only he approached by men marching in single file; and if a man’s foot slipped from the path, he would sink into the mud and perish. And as the troops watched the Bashmurites from a distance, the latter marched out against them at night by ways which they knew, and took the soldiers by surprise, and killed those whom they could, and carried off their goods and their horses; and as the troops grew tired of these attacks, they marched away and left them. |158

Then Abd Allah, the prince, arrived with a great army in the province of Damascus, and divided his troops between two brave commanders, one of whom was named Sâlih, son of Ali, and the other Abu Aun, his friend, saying to them : «If you shall find Marwân and capture him, I will promote you two to be princes; and to Abu Aun I will give Egypt.» Then he sent with Sâlih sixty thousand horsemen and sixty captains; and he gave to Abu Aun forty thousand horsemen and four hundred officers. So the two arrived at Damascus, the governor of which was Marwân’s son-in-law, having married his eldest daughter; but, as he submitted to them, they retained him in office. Then they marched on to Egypt. When they arrived at Gaza, the inhabitants told them : «The people of Damascus have not put on the black, nor remained obedient to you.» So they returned in wrath, and slew a great number of the chiefs of the people of Damascus, and killed the governor, Marwân’s son-in-law, and took the daughter of Marwân prisoner. And when the news reached Marwân, he reviewed his troops, and found that those who had come with him were eight thousand in number. Then he gave orders to his subjects, the natives of the land, saying : «If any of the people of Egypt refuse to enter into my religion, and to pray as I do, and to adopt my creed, I will slay him and impale his body. But whoever shall enter with me into my religion I will clothe with a robe of honour, and I will mount him upon a horse, and will place his name in my |159 Divân, and make him rich.» In consequence of these words he was soon followed by a thousand persons, who recited his prayer; and accordingly he gave to each one ten dinars. Then two thousand Muslims of Egypt joined him, besides those whom he had released from prison, and those who served him of the troops of the army of the empire. And he sent his sister’s son to Alexandria, accompanied by one of the chiefs of his army, and commanded him to enlist the Ishmaelites, on condition that they recited his prayer. For there was at Alexandria a chief man and leader of the Muslims, named Al-Aswâd, to whom many men had gathered while the Muslims were fighting the Romans; and Marwân had commanded those whom he sent thither to kill him and ten of his officers, because he had not come to him at Misr; but Al-Aswâd had a friend at Misr in attendance on Marwân and an associate of his, who heard of this and wrote to Al-Aswâd to make known to him what had been done, before those men arrived at Alexandria. When the Alexandrians learnt what Marwân intended, they swore fidelity to Al-Aswâd; and he and they became of one heart, and so when Marwân’s envoy and his companions arrived, the Alexandrians arrested them, and cast them into prison. Al-Aswâd gathered a large body, from Alexandria and Maryût and Al-Buhairah, of Muslims who lived in those districts, and placed them outside the wall of Alexandria to keep the roads. Therefore when Marwân was informed, he sent a great army under an Amir and |160 chief, named Kauzârâ, who was like a wild beast in form and character, and of great courage, and with him were five hundred fighting men; and Marwân commanded them to lay Alexandria waste. So they encamped at a place named Bakûm at a distance from Alexandria. When Al-Aswâd heard this, he sent against them his brother and five hundred men with him, to reconnoitre; and when Marwân’s followers saw them, they thought that they were an army from the town, and that there was none left therein who would fight them except these. So they rose up against them, and killed most of them, and the remainder fled and returned to the city, while the enemy pursued them. When they reached Al-Aswâd and his companions, they cried saving : «Our city is taken.» So they all fled, their number being thirty thousand, and Al-Aswâd escaped and hid himself. And Marwân’s army entered the city with Kauzârâ, and took possession of it, and killed many of the inhabitants, and plundered its officials, and their children and wives were taken prisoners, and their goods were seized. And the Father Abba Michael was captured; and Kauzârâ said to him : «How couldst thou permit thy children, the Christians, to fight against us?» By this he meant the Bashmurites. And he reproved the patriarch with many words, and demanded money of him. But, as Abba Michael had nothing, he put him in prison, and fastened a mass of iron to his feet. And. the patriarch’s |161 disciples and some of his priests had fled on account of what had happened at Alexandria, and none remained save Abba Mennas, the priest, who was the oeconomus of the church of Saint Mark the Evangelist and Disciple, and Valentinus, the deacon and secretary of the Cell, and Bartholomew, the monk of Samannûd; for they were bound together with Abba Michael. Then Kauzârâ also seized Cosmas, patriarch of the Melkites, and put his feet in the stocks, together with the feet of our father and patriarch. But after five days, Cosmas raised from his congregation and his church the sum of a thousand dinars, and paid them to Kauzârâ, who thereupon released him. And Kauzârâ sent to our father, and said to him : «Do likewise, and I will release thee.» But he answered : «There is nothing in my church; therefore I give myself instead of the money, and thou must do with me what thou wilt.» Then he pressed him sore, till the end of nine days. After that he sent for him, and laid his hand upon him, and dragged him on his face, and threw him on his knees. And there was a rod in his hand, so he struck him with it two hundred times on his head with all his might and main. But the Lord Christ was Abba Michael’s helper and protected him, so that he suffered no hurt. Then Kauzârâ commanded that the patriarch’s head should be cut off; and they dragged him along like a dumb sheep. And when they had gone a short distance from that misbeliever, Abba Michael drew down his cap over his face, so that his head might be taken off, and then he readily with joy stretched out his neck. |162

And the swordsman put forth his hand, and drew his sword, and cried, saying : «Shall I take off his head?» For it was according to custom that he should ask permission three times. And, when he asked permission for the second time, the Amir gave it to him. Then God put a thought into Kauzârâ’s heart, and he said : «How does it profit us to kill this old man? For he forbad the Bashmurites to fight with us, and wrote to them, but they would not listen to him. Rather let us carry him with us to Rosetta, and make him write to them again, and tell them that all that which has happened to him is on their account.» So Kauzârâ commanded that the patriarch should be released.

When the Bashmurites heard of these events, they attacked those who were besieging them, and slew them or routed them, they being at a distance of a two days journey. And those who escaped death went to Marwân, and made known to him what had happened to them. And when Marwân learnt that his enemies were coming after him, and had killed his son-in-law, his daughter’s husband, the governor of Damascus, he sent a letter by those who had fled to him in order to escape from the Bashmurites, saying to his followers : «Come to me speedily, for I have need of you. And pillage every town that you reach, and slay the inhabitants». Therefore those miscreants marched into Upper Egypt, and killed many of the officials, and carried off their goods, and took captive their wives and servants and children. And they burnt the monasteries of the monks, and carried off the |163 nuns, until they came to the Eastern district. And there was in those parts a convent of nuns, virgins who lived there as the brides of Christ, thirty in number. So Marwân’s troops took them prisoners. And there was among them a young maiden, who had entered the convent when she was three years old; and when they saw her they marvelled at her beauty, saying : «We have never beheld among human beings a form like hers.» So they took her, and removed her from the midst of her sisters, and consulted together as to what they should do with regard to her, some saying : «Let us cast lots for her,» and others : «Let us take her to the prince.» And, while they were saying these things, the maiden asked of them : «Where is your leader, that I may let him know of something that is worth money, so that you may let me go? For I am a servant of God, and it is not lawful for you to profane my service. But, if I make known to you that thing by which you shall gain money, you will send me back to my convent.» So their commander answered her, saying : «I am he.» She said to him : «My fathers were fighting men, brave and strong, and gave me a medicament, with which they used to anoint themselves when they went out to fight, so that iron did them no hurt, but swords and spears became like wax candles before them. If then thou wilt let me go free, I will give this drug to thee. And if thou dost not believe my words, I will anoint my neck in thy presence; then bring the best sword that thy men have, and let the strongest among them strike me, and I shall not be cut at |164 all, so that thou mayest know the truth of my words. » But she only said this because she desired to die by the sword, that she might not be contaminated by the defilements of those miscreants, nor her pure body be: polluted by them. Then she entered her chamber, and brought out a phial containing oil, which the holy men had blessed, and which was preserved in her possession; and she anointed her neck and face and all her body with it, and prayed kneeling upon her knees, and stretched out her neck. So those ignorant men thought that the thing was true, and knew not what was in her heart. Then she said to them : «Let him that is strong among you, and has a sharp sword, display his strength upon me; for you will see the glory of God in this medicament.» Thereupon a young man sprang forward with a sword of which he was proud. And she covered her face with her pallium, and laid down her head, saying : «Strike with all thy. might, and spare not.» So he struck at the holy martyr, and her head fell. Then they recognised what her aim had been, and that she had eluded them; and so they repented and were exceedingly sad, and great fear overwhelmed them. And after her they touched no more of the nuns and virgins, but left them in peace and departed glorifying God.

Then Marwân wrote to Kauzârâ, whom he had despatched to |165 Alexandria, bidding him hasten to him without delay; but, when he reached Rosetta, he was informed that the Bashmurites had slain the Muslims in the town and laid it waste, and burnt it with fire, and also that the enemy was at hand. So he delivered the father patriarch to one of the officers, that he might conduct him to Marwân. Then I journeyed and informed my father, Abba Moses, of what had taken place, on account of the power of prophecy which God had given him, and the miracles which he worked. Therefore ye must believe truly in that which I am about to say, for I saw it with my own eyes. That is that before Marwân came to Egypt, and before there was any fighting there, Abba Moses had made known, by revelation from God, what would become of the princes, and what would happen to the churches and faithful people of Christ. For it was said to him in vision : «Prepare, for thou wilt be with the fathers in the battle.» And that year he multiplied his prayers and devotions and sleepings upon the ground day and night, and his continuance in prayer and sadness and weeping and copious tears. So when I, the sinner, saw him, I begged and implored him to tell me the cause of his doing thus with himself. Now that holy father hated vain glory, and he said to me : «O my son, my sins are many; and, when I remember them, I weep and repent, and offer prayers to God, praying to him for pardon.» But since I, the sinner, enjoyed some freedom with Abba Moses, because I attended him night and day, |166 I grasped his feet and kissed them, and my tears ran over them, and I said : «I will not rise nor lift my face until thou shalt make known to me the truth of this matter.» So he answered : «If thou must know, thou also wilt share my lot with me; —- for none will be safe in the days of this government; —- above all in the harm that the people will do to the Church. But I know that the Lord Christ will not abandon her finally, but that she will be delivered from her trouble. For this government will perish with all its armies, and there will be a new government after it.» Thus I heard much from him of these and other matters. And I know that every word he said was true and is fulfilled in its season; and I continued to meditate on this and what would come after it. And after that day, Marwân and his government were driven out, and he came to Egypt, as has been related. For I was pondering and wondering what would happen to the Church of God in the time of peace and prosperity, and other things; and while he was conversing with me, behold, the father patriarch arrived, escorted by the soldiers, at the door of the holy church in the city of Wasîm, on the morning of Sunday, the 10th of Abîb. When my holy father Moses saw them, he said to me : «My son, this day which I was expecting, and of which I spoke to thee, has arrived, and seeing is better than hearing. Now therefore let him who is willing to give up his life follow me. I rejoice to day, because |167 I have long desired this, although I confess that I am not worthy to shed my impure blood in return for the pure blood shed for us. But great is the sadness in my heart, because the generation of the saints is scattered, and we are become exceedingly poor, since we cannot find a man to share with us in this ministry, as I bore witness at the time of the synod.» And my father Moses, in spite of his fasting and prayer and virtue, said : «Woe to me, the sinner! I believe that Christ will not forsake me, but will help me.» After this the soldiers began to molest us. Then we received the holy communion from the hand of the glorious father, Abba Michael, the holy patriarch and chosen martyr. Meanwhile we saw flames ascending from Al-Fustât; and we were informed that Marwân had set fire to the storehouses ot provisions and cotton and straw and to the supplies of barley. So, when the soldiers learnt this, they troubled us much, and cried out upon us with great indignation. And my father Moses laid his arm on mine, and put on an outer garment, and I supported him, and he left all that was in his church, and went out. And there was not one of the bishops or ecclesiastics with the patriarch save me alone and one reader of the church of Saint Macarius, named James, a native of Bilbais.

Now Marwân had commanded that the trumpet should be sounded at Misr, and a proclamation made during three days, saying : «If after three |168 days I find man or beast remaining in Misr, I will put that man or that beast to death, for I will set fire to the whole city of Al-Fustât.» So all the people passed over to Al-Gizah and the Island and other parts, escaping in the boats; even the carefully guarded girls, who had never been out of doors, went away with their families; and the people left all their goods behind. And the caliph caused Misr to be set on fire from the south to the north, until it reached the Great Mosque of the Muslims. And a countless number of men and beasts were drowned in the river, because they could find none to carry them across, when they fled from the fire. For brother fled from brother, and friend from friend; and the blind found none to lead him; and the cripple and the paralytic and the sick and the old man about to die and the aged woman unable to move, —- all these were burnt in the fire. And people were lying in the streets and lanes and gardens in the district of Al-Gizah like corpses, in consequence of all that they had suffered in their great misery and hunger and thirst. And they found no food on account of the multitude of people; for Marwân had burnt the supplies of provisions in Misr. So the soldiers went to Kauzârâ, whose name in another copy is |169 Hautharah, and reported our arrival to him; and he commanded a man named Azrak to take charge of us, until he should settle what was to be done. At that time Marwân was informed that his enemies, the Khorassanians, had arrived at Al-Faramâ. So he sent troops in boats to the north to every district, that they might burn all the boats that they found on the river; and this purpose they carried out. And he despatched other troops by land, with orders to burn the cities and villages and vineyards and water-wheels and every thing that they could find. So they marched on till they reached Atrib, which they were minded to burn. And there were there five streams of water running westwards, besides canals flowing from the river called Gehon 31, which is the River Nile. And Marwân thought that he could remain on the western side of the Nile, while the Khorassanians were on the eastern bank, and that, when they found the country laid waste, they would retire, because it was empty of men and beasts and provisions and stores, and that they would not find in the land anything to repay their trouble, nor boats by which they might cross over to him, and so that they would not remain there, but would turn upon their heels. But afterwards he learnt that his enemies were approaching near, and that there were fords in the river by which they might reach him. And when this was made known to him, he sent a messenger to bring back those whom he had despatched to Atrib; and therefore they did not burn that town, because they returned speedily to |170 him. And on the 18th of Abîb, in the year 470 of the Martyrs, Marwân burnt a fort at Misr on that night. For he crossed in the boats, he and all his army, and encamped on the bank of the river until he had burnt the fort. But he did not burn the boats which were with him on the western bank. And when the soldiers came to him every day, he said to them : «Take care of the boats.» And wherever he marched he took us about with him, we being in great distress through the multitude of people and beasts, and the crowd and throng.

And at sunset, on the 18th of Abîb, the Khorassanians reached Misr, and he beheld them from the western bank; and he commanded his followers to assemble that night. The Khorassanians marched into Misr next day, heaping foul insults upon Marwân and his sons. These strangers formed a vast host, and they pitched their tents to the north of Al-Fustât, at a place called the Stable; and their camp extended from that spot to the mountains. Thus their vanguard were on the bank of the Nile, while their rearguard reached from Al-Faramâ to Gaza; for these who had arrived at Misr were their scouts.

When Marwân encamped for a time during the night of the 20th of Abîb, being then on the march, he ordered that we should be brought before him; for he was filled with anger and wrath against us on account of what |171 Hautharah had told him of us. How great were the grief and the anxiety which settled upon us at that hour! When I think upon what took place, I fear and tremble for those who would not weep if they beheld what happened to us, nor grieve for what we underwent. For the words of David the Prophet, in the 37th Psalm, were fulfilled upon us, where he says 32 : «My acquaintances stood far from me.» All the disciples that had been around us fled with the others, and none remained with us save the priest Mennas, archpriest of the church of Saint Sergius, and the hegumen Theodore, who was afterwards counted worthy to be made a bishop, and the deacon who was the patriarch’s secretary, because he had been at Misr. These had left their wives and children and goods, and followed us, saying : «We will die with you.» So, when the Father Michael saw the goodness of their thoughts, he blessed them, and bade them return and not follow us, but this they would not do; and they continued to march with us. And I was wearing the habit of the monks, although unworthy. And my Father Moses, the bishop, took the father’s left arm, and I took his right arm.

And when we arrived at Marwân’s tent, the swordsman came out to us, and he was very terrible; and he conducted us within by order of the prince. So when Marwân beheld us, he said : «Which of you is the patriarch?» |172 When he was told which was he, he commanded that they should bring the patriarch forward before him; and they delivered my father to soldiers who were devourers of men’s flesh; but they set us apart on one side. Then the father, Abba Moses, was thrown upon his knees, and they lifted up his feet, and beat him with brazen clubs upon his sides and neck, saying to him : «Give us money, and we will release thee.» But he answered not a word, for he knew not what they said to him, except what I understood of their words, and repeated to him word by word. And he was prostrate on the ground, thanking God and praying him to make him worthy to suffer for the Church of God. And the officer did not address a single syllable to me, for they considered my dress disgraceful. Now the holy father, Abba Michael, the patriarch, was standing with his face towards Marwân, whose eyes were turned towards Misr, where he saw his enemies; while the Khorassanians were looking in his direction, and all the people of Misr on the bank of the Nile were insulting Marwân, as we said before. And behold, one of the Khorassanians shot an arrow towards the western bank, while we were looking at him. And those that were left of the Christians at Misr said to the Khorassanians : «There is our father, the patriarch, standing before Marwân, the misbeliever; and we know not what he will do with him.» The Bashmurites also had met the Khorassanians at Al-Faramâ and said to them : «Marwân has seized our patriarch, with intent to kill |173 him, because we fought against the prince, and slew his soldiers before you came.» Meanwhile Hautharah, the misbeliever, was with Marwân, and was saying to him : «This patriarch said : Be of good courage, for God will take away the government from Marwân, and deliver it to his enemies.» And many words like this were uttered by him. So when Marwân heard these accusations, his interpreter said to the father patriarch : «Art thou the patriarch of Alexandria?» For that was Marwân’s question. Abba Michael answered : «Yea, I am thy servant.» And I heard him say this, because I was near him. So Marwân said to him : «Tell me, art thou the chief of the enemies of our religion?» Then the holy patriarch answered and said : «I am not the chief of wicked men, but of good men; and my people do not work evil, but they have been ruined by troubles, so that they have even been forced to offer their children for sale.» After that, I did not hear another word from his mouth. Then Marwân commanded the officials who were holding him to stretch forth their hands to him forthwith, and pull out the hair of his beard from his cheeks; and they cast his hair into the river, and I saw it with my own eyes floating on the water. Now his beard had been full and handsome, flowing over his breast like the beard of Jacob Israel. And the Khorassanians on the eastern bank were observing what Marwân did to the patriarch; and if they had found means of crossing over |174 to Marwân, they would have killed him because of the tyranny and hardness of heart which they saw in him; but they could not find any boats at all in which to cross. The river, however, did not rise at all before the 1st of Misri; and the western branch had sunk so low as to be without water; and in the other branch, namely the eastern, there were a few places that could be forded, but the Khorassanians did not know them; and Marwân guarded them because he knew of them; and no boat from the western bank approached Misr.

The sixth hour passed that day while the father patriarch was standing before Marwân beardless with bare cheeks. And while my father Moses was all the time undergoing the torments which we have mentioned before, the Lord opened the eyes of his heart, and he beheld the two martyrs, Sergius and Bacchus, with the grace of God surrounding them, in the likeness of two horsemen of the army of the prince; and they crossed the river, riding their horses, while no man saw them but he alone, until they stood opposite to Marwân, and said to him : «Why dost thou sit here paralysed, when thine enemies have crossed over to the west?» But no man beheld those two, except my father, the bishop Abba Moses, and Marwân, and no other. For the father patriarch was still in the hands of the officials, and they were tormenting him. Then the two holy martyrs disappeared. |175

And Marwân forthwith broke up his camp, and commanded the troops to follow him, ordering that we should be kept till the morrow. Thus we remained the rest of that day on the bank of the river, exposed to the sun, in consequence of the command which the caliph had given to the soldiers, until I thought that my father would not live till sunset, after the severe torment which they had inflicted upon him. Then, on the morrow early, we were visited by bishops, and monks from Wadî Habîb, who had come to see what had been done to us; and subsequently they remained with us. Then Marwân appeared, for he was riding; and he took his seat, and commanded that we should be brought before him early in the morning. So when the sun rose he summoned a swordsman, and sent for our father, Abba Michael, alone, that the officer might bring him into his presence. Accordingly the swordsman took his hand and led him in, saying to us : «Stand here till he calls you». But my father, Abba Moses, cried out, saymg : «As the Lord lives, I will never be separated from my father, but will follow him whithersoever they take him!» Then I also hastened with them, in order to find out what would become of them. But, when the swordsman saw me, he said : «The prince ordered that the patriarch alone should enter.» The bishop said to him : «I have told thee that I cannot |176 be separated at all from my father, for I only came here for his sake; therefore do whatever thou desirest, but I will never be parted from him.» Then the swordsman was angry and said to him in fury : «It is not lawful to disobey the prince; yet thou wilt not hearken». Now he had in his hand a brazen club, which weighed twenty pounds, and he raised it to strike my father upon the head; and he offered his head to him. But when he was about to strike him, a body of his companions, who were in attendance, cried out upon him, and would not let him strike. And all the soldiers said in their language and speech : «Verily what an excellent servant this bishop is to his master!» Then there came a messenger saying : «Bring them all in, for the prince summons them.» So we all entered; and found Marwân sitting on the bank of the river. Then first the blessed father went forward alone, as Marwân ordered; and the prince made him stand before him all that day for about ten hours, confronting him ; but the patriarch’s heart was with Christ, while his hands were stretched out, and his very limbs seemed to pray; and he made the sign of the cross over his face, without fear of the prince who hated the sign of the cross. And the caliph did not address a single word to him; and there were around him many drawn swords and weapons of war. |177

As for us, Marwân commanded his men to set us on his left hand in a place apart; and again he ordered that we should be brought forward and delivered to certain soldiers, other than those who had conducted us from Alexandria; so they handed us over to men who were like wild beasts. And he bade one of his companions take charge of us, namely Yazîd, a leader of certain men with him, who was braver than any other of his followers. Our number on that day was ten, besides the father patriarch, Abba Michael; and Yazîd put with each one of us three soldiers, who oppressed us sorely. Then, when the sun was burning, that officer prepared for us various instruments of torture; for they had not agreed as to what kind of death they should make us suffer; upon which I and my father Moses begged the father patriarch to say over us the Prayer of Absolution, according to the canon of the church; and so he did. Afterwards we prayed one for another, and the younger of us said to the elder : «If thou shalt find mercy with Christ, remember me.» And we turned our faces to the East and prayed, while the people were looking at us from the eastern bank, and also on the western side, and many of the Muslims wept for us; and Marwân’s eldest son, named Abd Allah, was weeping for us also, together with the people.

Then Marwân lifted up his eyes towards the eastern bank, and saw |178 the Khorassanians in great numbers; and he was dismayed for this and said : «How shall I fight them?» For he knew not what to do. Now Abd ar-Rahîm, the misbeliever whom we mentioned before, had discovered a mixture with which he smeared the boats, so that fire could not injure them. Therefore Marwân caused the boats to be thus anointed, and embarked on each boat eighty men, and bade them fight the people; so they threw fire over them, and burnt all the boats that they found. But a boat which was approaching the eastern bank, where stood Sâlih and Abu Aun and their companions, was upset with its occupants, and all were drowned except one man; and the people of Misr picked up the corpses, and took what was on them and the ammunition and money that they had. And the living, who were not drowned, they took as prisoners, and bound them together two and two, with iron chains round their necks, and dragged them to land and delivered them to the Khorassanians. Now the Khorassanians had brought many boats with them to Misr.

And when the tenth hour of that day had passed, Marwân ordered Yazîd, in whose charge we were, to take us to the north of the Island of An-Nuzahât. So we prayed upon the edge of the river, in the enclosure Then, when they took us away, they hurried us along in great wrath. But |179 the Lord beheld our secret thoughts and our faith, and he put into the heart of Abd Allah, the elder son of Marwân, the wish to intercede with his father, Marwân, weeping with copious tears; for he begged his father to let us go, saying : «Behold, thou seest our enemies surrounding us; while we are preparing, if things go hard with us, to escape to the land of the Blacks, who are, as we have been told, the spiritual children of this old man; so that, if thou slayest him, they will not welcome us, but they also will rise up against us and slay us.» When Marwân had heard these words of his son, we were taken back to prison. Now there were in that place four prisons. So, when they brought us into the prison, they made us fast with wood and iron, and we were in great distress. And the first to be fettered with iron was the holy father and patriarch; and after him the bishop, Abba Moses, and I, his son John, the poor sinner and deacon, upon whom he had laid his holy hand without any merit of mine. Then followed the bishop of Tunbuda, Abba Mennas, the patriarch’s secretary, and Abba Zacharias, bishop of Atrib, and his spiritual son, the bishop of Busîr, whose name was Peter, and who had recently taken possession of his see, and the deacon George, the son of the spiritual father who received the see of Al-Basrât, and Athanasius, archpriest of the church of Saint Macarius, and Abba |180 James, who was also counted worthy of the bishopric of Sanjâr, and his spiritual brother, the son of the Father Peter of Samannûd. And they fastened to the feet of each one of us eleven a mass of iron, exceedingly heavy, weighing half a Khunjûr; and they put us behind three wooden doors without light or air or means of rest, one looking to the east and another to the west; and the narrow space in which we were oppressed us more than the iron, so that we almost died from crowding, and the gaolers were pitiless; for that misbelieving prince, Marwân, had given orders that we should be closely confined. And our father’s sadness on our account was greater than his care for himself; but he encouraged us with the word of God and the holy canons of our ancient fathers. So not one of us hid anything from the others, but we were all one soul, as Paul says 33, awaiting the end; and we prayed God to send it quickly, that we might lay down our lives for the people, rather than that one of them should perish. When the father discoursed to us, he spoke a spiritual language like the music of a harp, while the breath of life came forth from his mouth with spiritual praises; and he persevered in fasting and in prayer day and night.

As for my father Moses, in the first hour after they brought us into the prison and put us in fetters he prophesied to us, saying : «They will not |181 slay us this time; yet we shall not be released from the prison as long as Marwân is alive.» And it was as he said. And when we wished to break our fast, a man named Ibn Kustus sent to us provisions for breakfast; but we had no room to eat, and could not turn to the right or left on account of the narrow space. And there was a great dearth in the district of Al-Gizah through the multitude of people; for wheat was not to be found at all, nor barley, after a waibah had been sold at a high price; but in spite of the distress salt was sold at the usual rate.

Then Marwân, after these troubles which he had brought upon every place, ordered his followers to slay and take prisoners and pillage; and they obeyed him. And he sent to Upper Egypt, and slew all the Christians there; the leader of that business being a man named Marwân, son of Abd al-Azîz the founder of Hulwân. And they laid waste the country from Memphis to the city of Theodosia.

But when the Lord desired to take vengeance upon them, he endured them no longer, after the crimes which they had committed in corrupting and violating women, and polluting many of the virgins. Accordingly there came some men who knew the fords of the river, and made them known to the Khorassanians, whom they guided thither, thus conducting them across to the western bank. And the Khorassanians divided their army |182 into four parts : one part with a man named Sâlih, told off to guard Misr; and one with a man named Abu ‘l-Hakam, who was in high favour with the prince; and one in the lower parts of Shatnûf and its neighbourhood, to prevent anyone from crossing the river; and one with Abu Aun, who encamped beside a ford, where the water was low. Then Marwân despatched Hautharah and his men to take up their position opposite to the Khoras-sanians, intending to prevent their crossing. But Marwân’s boats were seized by the Khorassanians of the black-robed party, who had destroyed the church of the Martyr Apater. Meanwhile we, in spite of all these events, remained in the prison at Al-Gizah, in bonds and in distress with our companions ; and all men were hindered from enquiring after us by fear lest we should be put to torture; but, whenever a man desired to come to us to receive the blessing of the fathers, he bribed our gaoler heavily. After that they oppressed us even more cruelly, as they did to Ignatius, the saint and martyr, when they delivered him to the ten lions. So they acted even when our brethren did good to them, for they tormented us yet more. At that time then we remained with the patriarch ten days and ten nights in this fashion; but when the deacon and reader of Bilbais saw our distress he hastened away to the Monastery of Saint Macarius, in Wadî Habîb, and |183 assembled all the holy fathers and monks; and they began to fast and pray in the church night and day, crying to the Lord Christ to look upon us, and to take away our misery and all that men were suffering by captivity and slaughter and pillage, and 1o put a stop to the lamentations of young and old. So the gracious God heard them, and raised up the Khorassanians to help them : for Abu Aun crossed the river with his army to the western bank; and when Hautharah and his troops, Marwân’s followers, saw him, they took to flight. And the Khorassanians pursued and fought them, and did not cease slaughtering them until they reached Wadî Habîb, in answer to the prayers of the saints; for the army of the Khorassanians crossed over the river on the day on which the monks assembled in the church, which was Saturday, the last day of Abîb. And they slew so many of Marwân’s army, that of eight thousand men whom he led out of Misr only four hundred survived and no more.

When Marwân learnt that his enemy’s troops had been divided into four parts, he fled two days before they crossed the river, carrying his wives and his goods with him; and thus he escaped secretly. And of the followers of Yazîd three hundred were slain, for he fled from Shatnûf in the direction of Mount Wasîm; and then his own men killed him, and killed his horse that he rode, and went over to the other party, and swore allegiance to them. |184

But the two sons of Marwân were at Al-Gizah when their father fled, and they knew not whither he had gone. For he had sent his younger son to the north of the Island of An-Nuzahât; and he was very wicked like his father. But as for the elder, Abd Allah, our fathers had prayed for him that he might not meet with trials nor troubles because of what he had done for them; and so it was. Now the younger son was fifteen years old; and he fled to An-Nuzahât, accompanied by four hundred horsemen; and he found there a certain oil, called dogs’ oil, in marble jars, and he upset it into the river; and after setting fire to An-Nuzahât, he joined his father Marwân. And although he released those that were in the prisons at that place, we were not released, but he wished to burn us in the fire. Then he went into the midst of the boats of the fleet to burn them; and a voice was heard, crying mightily : «Behold, thy enemies are come!» So he and his companions fled quickly., And those who remained at An-Nuzahât of its inhabitants extinguished the fire, and set us free at sunset from the prison, and released us from the irons on our feet. God be witness that some of the Muslims who were on horseback dismounted, and took off the iron from us; and men took women’s dresses and put them on, and hid themselves in the storehouses and cellars, through fear of that terrible voice which they had heard. And they took us and led us away to Saint Peter’s church at |185 Al-Gizah, while some of the faithful walked with us, it being the night of the first Sunday in Misri.

Now there was no water at all in the canal of Al-Gizah, for it was dried up by God’s command; nor did the water rise or stir at all until the day when we crossed over it on our feet. And when the Khorassanians learnt that their enemy had fled, they embarked in the boats that night and crossed to Al-Gizah, taking their horses also on board. So they pursued Marwân. And every man that they met, who was not wearing the black garments, they put to death. And that night the van of the army, which had crossed with Abu Aun from Shatnûf, came southwards with their drawn swords in their hands, and all wearing iron cuirasses, purposing to fight Marwân and to capture him. And as for us, we felt no inclination to sleep that night. For the Khorassanians stayed three days and three nights, joining their forces at the beginning of Misri, and marching onwards; while we beheld them as one host from the mountains to the river. Then Hautharah begged for a safe-conduct; but they would not accept him, saying : «If thou wilt not deliver to us the enemy of God, Marwân, thou shalt have no safe-conduct from us.» So he departed and took Marwân, and acted deceitfully with him, saying : «Behold, our enemies have drawn near to us. Arise, let us take our women and children and goods, and let us embark |186 secretly in the boats, and descend the river, and escape to the Romans; for, if we fall into this man’s hand, he will destroy us.» Marwân answered: «Ah Hautharah, thou art acting treacherously with thy master!» And thereupon Marwân took his sword, and cut off Hautharah’s head and killed him. And none opposed the Khorassanians nor stood before them, after Hautharah was slain. Then they called upon every man who was a Christian to fasten a cross of gold or silver or copper upon his forehead, or upon his garment, and upon the door of his house, and whoever did not do so was slain; but this was no fault of ours. And the Khorassanians also had crosses of gold and silver on their horse’s necks. Then the army of which Sâlih was leader overtook Marwân and his son, after pursuing him for a whole day, and, when they met, the fighting did not cease between them from evening till morning, so that many were slain. And they followed him as far as Mount Abbah to the west of Cleopatra, the city founded by Alexander the Macedonian, the place concerning which the prophecy was uttered by the holy old hermit, whom Marwân burnt alive in the fire, and who told him, before he burnt him, that he would be killed at that place. And with Marwân was killed also Rayân, son of Abd al-Azîz; but the two sons of Marwân |187 escaped. And the Khorassanians took possession of Hulwân and all that was therein, and slew the women, and seized all the money of Egypt that was at Hulwân. And the Persians, Marwân’s followers, were slain with the sword; and the enemy seized all that belonged to them, and carried it away in the prince’s boats.

And now the Nile began to rise, although it had been sinking till the Khorassanians had crossed over to the bank of Al-Gizah, and had destroyed Marwân, After that it increased again, from the first day of Misri, and rose every day about a cubit, till finally it reached eighteen cubits that year, for which reason men said that the hand of God was with the Khorassanians. Whenever the latter found men bearing the sign of the cross, they lightened their taxes, and behaved kindly to them, and did good to them, in whatever part of the country they might be.

But they impaled Marwân head downwards, after they had killed him. For they took him prisoner at a place called Dâwatun, and we were witnesses of this event; and they cut off the head of his vizier. And when those princes, the leaders of the Khorassanians, inquired after us, we went to them; and they set the holy father and martyr, Abba Michael, free, and honoured him greatly. And his beard had grown again and was more |188 comely than before, by the power of the Lord Christ; and we and all who had witnessed these occurrences glorified God. And the father, Abba Michael said : «Verily I saw a personage while I was in prison, who touched my face with his hand, and my beard grew again handsomer than it had been before.» When the father, Abba Michael, requested of the governor to protect the property of the churches in all the provinces, he complied with his request. And as for the Bashmurites, he made them free of taxation, and gave them other revenues as a gift. Now Marwân had burnt all the books and accounts of the Divâns, so that they did not know the amount of the revenues, whether paid in cash or in kind. In those days great events took place in Egypt; but Sâlih departed with his army to Palestine.

When we were set free, each one of us departed to his own place. And Abu Aun was made governor of Egypt. And a short time afterwards there came to Egypt two men, officials of the divans, sent by the prince. They were Muslims, and one of them was named Atâ, son of Shurahbil, and the other Safi; and they were far from the knowledge of God. And Abu Aun laid before them all the accounts of Egypt, and brought the country back into the state in which it had been under Marwân. Although they were driven away from the palace, the prince sent them back; and they imposed two fresh |189 duties upon Lower Egypt, and one upon Upper Egypt. This was in the second year of security and prosperous government. And they instructed the governor, and taught him how to cause great trouble, through their hatred of us, the Christians, and their love of money; for authority was given to them to do what they would. Now of the revenue of Egypt, after deducting the soldiers’ pay, and the expenses of the government offices, and what was needed to carry on the administration, what remained over and was carried to the Public Treasury altogether every year amounted to two hundred thousand dinars 34, apart from the necessary outlay and expenses and what we have already mentioned. And in the third year of the rule of the Khorassanians they doubled the taxes, and exacted them from the Christians, and would not fulfil their promises to them. For the two secretaries aforesaid find the Khorassanians forgot that it was God who had given them the government, and neglected the holy Cross which had gained them the victory. And Abd Allah, the prince, sent letters over the whole of his empire, declaring that every one who would adopt his religion, and pray according to his prayer, should be exempted from the poll-tax. So in consequence of the cruel extortions and burdens imposed upon them, many of the rich and poor denied the faith of Christ, and followed Abd Allah. Then the father patriarch, |190 Abba Michael, went to Abu Aun, the governor, and addressed him with reference to the troubles which had been caused in Egypt, instead of the good administration which he had purposed; and he answered : «The prince gave those orders because wicked men bore witness to him, saying : If the people of Egypt find rest for one year, they will conspire against thee, and make war upon thee, as the Bashmurites made war upon Marwân.» Then Abba Michael prayed the governor to relieve the churches of Alexandria by lightening the taxes on the land which is cultivated for them only; so Abu Aun gave orders to those two secretaries, telling them to do what the patriarch desired; yet they would not obey him, but began to incline his heart to evil. So the father patriarch, and my father, Abba Moses, with him, and I, the mean one, remained for more than a month attending at the palace and interviewing those miscreants. And there was there an old Ishmaelite, who beheld us daily at this business; and he feared God. And he related a story to our father, Abba Michael, saying : «As we, the Muslims who serve God, have grown poor, so I know that you also will be like us.» The father said to him : «Thou speakest truly; but I desire a fuller explanation of the meaning of thy speech.» So the old man replied :

«In my youth, my parents entrusted me to two friends, Ishmaelite merchants, that I might carry goods with them to Africa, to sell them there. |191 When we had journeyed as far as the Five Cities, with our camels laden with the rarities of Egypt and the East, we halted by a lake that was very deep. And each one of us had tied to his belt a purse, containing four hundred dinars. And in consequence of the fatigue of the journey and the heat, one of us stripped off his clothes, that he might go down into the water and bathe. So he threw his belt to his comrade, that he might keep it until he came up from the water; but it slipped from his friend’s hand into the water unnoticed by anyone else. The man who had dropped it stripped himself, and went down to seek it, but could not find it. So when he came up again, he gave his comrade his own girdle, instead of that which was lost, without telling him that it was lost. And we journeyed onward into Africa, where we sold our merchandise, and bought other wares suitable for Egypt. Then the elder of my companions said to the younger : Give me the four hundred dinars which thou hast, that I may buy merchandise with them. But he answered : What we have bought is enough for us this time. And though the other insisted, he did not tell him what had happened. So the other bought certain goods with the four hundred dinars which he had. When we returned to the lake, the same thing happened as before; for the elder, to whom the lost money belonged, stripped himself and went down to bathe. And he found his belt, which had been lost; and when he looked at it, he recognised it as his own. So he said to his friend : |192 Tell me what thou hast done. Then his friend made known to him what had happened, and how he had dropped the girdle. But the other did not tell him that he had found it, until they arrived at Misr, and sold their wares. Then the elder gave to the younger the interest of the four hundred dinars as well as the principal, saying to him : God gives thee this money of thine, and thou must also have the interest of it. When he had done this, his comrade discussed with him what had taken place between them; and the thing became known to the governor, and all men marvelled thereat. And both of them took some of their money, and gave it as alms to the poor; and after that they devoted themselves entirely to religion, and I imitated them; and not one of us either sells or buys any more. But at the present day, O holy man, behold, thou seest how all men love injustice, and have set evil as a crown upon their heads; and thou art a witness to this, and knowest that it is true.»

When he had related this tale to us, we departed to our own places. And God did not endure the Khorassanians, but raised up wars against them from every side. First there was Abd ar-Rahman, son of Habîb, brother of Al-Aswâd before mentioned, who seized Africa. For Abd Allah, the prince, sent troops to Africa in order to take it, in the fourth year of his |193 reign; and in the year 470 of the Martyrs he marched from Egypt at the beginning of the month of Abîb. Yet his army did not dare to enter Africa, but remained in the desert, where most of them perished with thirst. And in that year God destroyed Abd Allah, and his son sat upon the throne instead of him. And great fighting took place in Egypt between Sâlih and his brother, who now began to govern. Then the prince sent Sâlih into Egypt to seek his troops, and rescue them from the hand of his brother. Then he brought back the army which he had sent into Africa, and entered Misr on the 19th of Babah. And he marched to Palestine, that they might fight Sâlih’s brother. And Abu Aun was there also; and many of his soldiers were killed. And the war continued between them without interruption, for God requited them for the evil which they had done in the land Egypt; and they destroyed one another without the interference of a stranger, and did not cease fighting until Sâlih went away to the sovereign prince in Al-Irak, and Abu Aun returned to Egypt, and Sâlih’s brother fled, and did not appear again, after they had destroyed the troops between them. At that time Abba John, patriarch of Antioch, went to his rest, after he had continued in reconciliation with the bishops for three years. And God hindered the water from rising while Abu Aun was in Egypt; for its |194 highest level was below fourteen cubits, where it stopped, whereas the height required by the government for its revenue was sixteen cubits. But God only held back the water on account of those two secretaries, who were like Antichrist in their deeds. And this check to the water took place by God’s will, that he might show his wonders which he manifests at all times, and prove the truth of the Christian religion. The bishops had come from their sees to the patriarch, that they might meet together in his presence at the Feast of the Cross, according to their custom of assembling before him and forming a synod twice in the year. So the bishop of Misr and the others went to him. Now God had revealed this matter to my father the bishop, Abba Moses. And orders were given that none should go that year to Alexandria for the synod according to custom. So the bishops assembled at Misr before the patriarch. And on the 17th of Tût, the day of the Feast of the glorious Cross, the clergy of Al-Gizah and An-Nuzahât assembled with most of the people of Al-Fustât, and the old and the young of the laity : and they bore the gospels, and censers with incense. And we entered into the great church, the Catholicon, named after Saint Peter, the foundations of which were laid in the river. But the church could not contain the people through their multitude, so that they stood in the fields and places |195 around. And the patriarch lifted up the cross; while beside him stood Abba Mennas, bishop of Memphis, bearing the holy gospel. And he led us all forth, carrying crosses and books of the gospels; and we stopped upon the bank of the river, it being before sunrise. And the father patriarch prayed, and Abba Mennas, the bishop, prayed; and the people did not cease to cry Kyrie eleison until the third hour of the day, so that multitudes of the Jews and Muslims and others marvelled at our cries to God, the Glorious and Exalted. And he heard us, praised is his glorious name! For the river rose and increased by one cubit; and all glorified and gave thanks to God. And when the news reached Abu Aun, he marvelled and feared, he and all his troops. And by God’s inspiration he said to his soldiers and to the people of Misr : «We desire to know which of the religions is the true one». So he gave orders that the Muslims dwelling at Misr should assemble, and go forth to the mountain to the east of Misr. Therefore they gathered together, small and great, old and young, slaves and freemen; and not one of the people of his faith and religion was left; and the multitude were assembling from midnight till the. fourth hour of the day. And they prayed and offered supplications to God, saying thus : «O God, the Only One, who hast no fellow, O Creator of heaven and earth, thou knowest that we associate no other with thee, and worship none besides thee, and that we say not, as the Christians do, that thou hast a Son, or that thou wast |196 born, but we confess thee to be One, and worship thee in Unity. We desire this day to see thy wonders, which thou dost work, that we may know and prove that there is no religion like ours, which we inherit from our fathers; and we pray thee to work a miracle for us, as thou didst yesterday for the Christians, who are our enemies and the enemies of our creed, for they set beside thee another God, begotten by thee from the beginning, whom they call Christ born of Mary, saying that he is thy Son, with the Holy Ghost, and that thou art the Third of them, with many such doctrines. We pray thee to give us a sign and miracle in this water.» And while they were thus employed, behold, one of the men who measure the water ran up and said to them : «The water has sunk just as much as it rose yesterday.» Then great sadness came upon them, and the governor knew not what to say; and the people went away to their own places in great grief. Then Abu Aun ordered that the people of Misr should be tried, and bad the crier proclaim that the Muslims were to go out to the mountain to pray. And on the morrow they all issued forth. And the Jews and the Samaritans went out the second day; but the water neither rose nor sank, but remained as it was. So Abu Aun, the governor, remained in sadness and without faith. But he said : «So that I may see the end of the matter»; and he remained in perplexity, saying : «By the prayers of the Christians the water rose, and at our prayers it sank.» Then he ordered on the third |197 day that no one at all should go out, and that none should ascend to the mountain nor pray. And the water did not rise during the three days at all. After that he gave orders to bring the Christians who were at Al-Fustât, and certain tribes whose names we do not remember; and he commanded Abba Moses to pray, him and his people. So they recited the prayers, and gave thanks to God till the sixth hour of the day, and went down and walked round Misr, and came to the bank of the river, and prayed for the rest of the day. And that night the river rose three cubits, so that altogether it completed seventeen cubits. Then all the people rejoiced greatly, and thanked God and glorified his name.

And as for Abu Aun, for this reason he increased his benefits towards the Christians and their churches, and lightened their taxes. And from that day the Father Patriarch and the bishops, with those who were baptized and the whole Church, lived in security and peace, in great joy and gladness, in the land of Egypt and the Five Cities and all the places under the see of the evangelist, Saint Mark, because of the miracles of the Church which the governor beheld, and her mighty works. And the governor said that the Christians were of one heart, living in agreement together. For the conduct of the fathers in that generation resembled the works of the spiritual |198 angels; for one cured diseases, and another showed forth wonders, and another expounded the scriptures and taught and exhorted, and another exercised his body in works and labours; and all the laity were filled with admiration of them, and sought their blessing. And the father, Abba Michael, for this cause was happy in his bishops and all his flock, and used to go round among them, and enquire into all their circumstances with care, and exhort them with his life-giving words, like the apostles and fathers at the beginning, and like the dwellers in the deserts and caves, encouraging them and teaching them how to fight the Satanic spirits. And to the monks of the monasteries he taught humility and mutual love; and the faithful laity he led to that which God approves, and to those of little faith he taught the doctrines of the gospel, and those who were engaged in disputes he conciliated together, and calmed their malice, and appeased their enmity by his instructions in the Holy Scriptures.

But if we did not aim at abridgment, books would be insufficient to contain the deeds of this holy father, Abba Michael. Now there were two parties of heretics, the followers of Meletius, who lived in ancient times, and of Julian. So the father sent messengers to them, and wrote to them; but they would not answer him. Then he went himself to visit them, but could not bring them back to a right heart. For they denied that they were heretics, and they remained dissidents, some of them in the monasteries and some in |199 the deserts. So he raised his hands to heaven, and said : «If these are they who have denied thee and done evil deeds, show forth a sign speedily without delay, so that all may see them, and glorify thy name.» Accordingly, after a short time, the Lord destroyed them, and caused them to disappear, as he destroyed Sodom. And at the monastery wherein there were three thousand persons, there no longer remained any save ten souls, who were believers and did not walk in their path. And 1, the mean one, addressed them, and visited them, when the wild beasts had dwelt in their habitations through the prayers of the holy father, Abba Michael, during the governorship of Abd Allah. And if anyone, ignorant of the history, asks : «What was the sin of those men, for which they perished?» I will answer you with God’s help.

In the days when Dionysius the Wise was patriarch of Alexandria, there appeared the misbeliever, Paul of Samosata, who was patriarch of Antioch, and who angered God by his foul deeds. So, when Dionysius heard of him, he wrote to the pious and faithful princes, to inform them of the news that had reached him concerning Paul the heretic. Therefore they drove him away, and none knew how he escaped. And anyone who desires to know |200 of his foul deeds will find an account of them in the epistle of Athanasius the Apostolic, which he wrote concerning them, and then he will understand and know that matter. And when Abba Moses was first ordained there were many monasteries in his diocese of Wasîm, belonging to those followers of Meletius, in which they dwelt. So he banished them all. But some of them had received the habit from his hand, when they put it on, and became united to us; and for this reason there was friendship between me and them, during the time when I was a layman. So when they stripped off them the spiritual habit, received from my father’s hand, there was no longer any affection between me and any of them. And I questioned him about their former deeds, when he was calling them sorcerers and the children of Satan; and he answered me : «I will tell thee of another thing done by those men, who were not worthy to enter among the people of God nor into his kingdom, namely, that they bewitched children, and led them out into the desert, and bound them where none could see them, and sat down near them to guard them; and if they complained of thirst, they gave them nothing to drink; and when their thirst became severe, they poured water over their heads and bodies; and when one of them was near death, and his eyes started out of his head, and his tongue clove to the roof of his mouth, they cut off his head with a knife before he died, so that Satan might speak through those heads without falsehood, and they might |201 lead men astray with their devilish and shameful deeds». Now there was a holy priest in our company, living in the Cell at Wasîm; and on Friday, during the Fast, while I was with him in the Cell, but Abba Moses was seeing no man, since he was employing himself in prayer and self-discipline, except on Saturdays and Sundays, then that priest saw a great dragon in his cell. Therefore he made a cross of silver, and placed it on the spot where he had seen it; and on the morrow he found the dragon dead beneath the cross.

Is there then any power greater than the power of those who worship God with a pure and honest intention and a firm faith?

And there was in those days a great dearth, and so a man came to An-Nuzahât to ask alms, and stole something thence. And another man saw mm, who was a believer; and he wished to reprimand him, so that he might repent of the theft, but was prevented from doing so by his kindness and charitable thoughts. Afterwards that man went again, and stole some corn from his neighbours, and buried it, that he might take and eat it. Then the owner of the corn visited my father Moses, who read to him from the Scriptures, and charged him not to reward evil with evil, but to recompense evil with good. Accordingly he did so, and followed his advice, and therefore God increased his wealth until all who knew him marvelled at him. |202

I have mentioned to you, my brethren, the fate of the accursed people of Palestine, that you might hold yourselves aloof from them. Now I desire to relate another miracle, shown forth by the Father Epimachus, the bishop. One day he was teaching his people in the city of Al-Faramâ, and exhorting them to avoid heretics, and never to associate with them in anything. And behold, a priest of the Chalcedonians appeared before him to tempt him with guile; and the bishop delivered a long discourse, at the end of which the priest said to him : «I believe in thy creed and confess it.» But the bishop Epimachus took holy oil from the body of the holy Severus, the patriarch, and anointed the face of the heretical priest, saying to him : «If thou mockest the Lord, let his power appear in thee!» And immediately a spirit of an unclean devil leapt upon him, and threw him down, and choked and tormented him, so that he foamed at the mouth; and it did not cease to possess and torment him till the day of his death.

Then the bishop gave orders that his flock should never have a stranger as sponsor, but only members of their own family or their parents. And there were there some heretics, who would not obey him; but God requited them speedily, so that every one marvelled at the doctrines of the Lord. And there was a wealthy woman, who took a man who had committed sin with her, |203 and made him godfather to her child. When they returned to their town, while they were on the way, they came to a desert place, and sinful desires were stirred in them according to their custom; so they laid down the child with the garments of baptism upon him, and entered an inn by the way side, and committed their sin; and so the house fell down upon them, and they were killed. And the bishop testified to us that he had beheld those two still together, when the stones were removed from them, and their heads were as they had been, the face of the man and the face of the woman. And many people saw them, and feared. And the news was spread abroad among all men, and the people published it. So the bishop’s theology was confirmed among our fathers, and from that day they forbad all men to take a stranger as sponsor, but only their own kinsfolk. And none alter that took a stranger as sponsor. But I in my youth saw many commit sin with their sponsors, during my own lifetime, in consequence of which their lives were cut off and their habitations laid waste.

Now the bishop, Abba John, bishop of Sarsana, used to cast out unclean spirits through the grace given to him for his virginity and asceticism. For he remained monk and bishop all his life, and died in a good old age. So also Abba Cyrus, bishop of Tânah, to whom during his monastic life a wonder was manifested, namely that a heretic deceived him on account of the faith, and took his hand to lead him into the furnace at the baths, but could not |204 induce him, and he escaped from his hand. Then the bishop took his mantle, he being a monk, and threw it into the fire, and it was not burnt.

Now I know that I have made my discourse long, but my only object has been to teach you what took place, that you may understand it. And as for what is said about the deeds of Abba Zacharias, bishop of Atrib, he dwelt from his youth up in the desert, continuing in prayer; and his tears flowed like streams of water, and weeping was sweet to him; and he was assiduons in alms-giving to the anchorites, and everyone loved him; and his spiritual sons walked in his path. So likewise the blessed Stephen, bishop of Shutb, and his fathers who were before him over that see, who were excellent in their lives above the rest of the bishops of Egypt, among whom was the bishop Abba Hesychius, the great Theomantis and confessor, who spoke of divine matters. And to Stephen, who walked in his path, God granted the gift of healing the sick, and knowing what was to happen before it took place; and he showed forth many wonders. Now there was in his diocese a priest, whose wife was pregnant when he died; and she was a pure woman. Yet after his death, her elder sons cast her out, saying that she had conceived by another. But the bishop said to them : «Leave her alone until she brings forth.» So when she was delivered, he took the babe and baptized it, and carried it on his shoulder in the presence of all the people of his diocese, and bade the babe speak before the people, and say who was its father. And immediately it spoke with its tongue, as if it |205 were a lion’s cub, saying : «I am the son of such an one, the priest, by whom my mother conceived me nine days before his death, although none knew of that but God who created me. And my brothers wished to cast my mother out wrongfully.» Then the bishop made the sign of the cross over its lips, and bade it speak no more, until the proper age of speech. And so it was. Like these was the aged Abba Paul, bishop of Akhmim, who had been the second superior of the Monastery of Sinuthius, the saint, the star of the desert. There was a magician, who took a maiden, and turned her into an ass by his wicked arts, in the presence of all who saw her. And she remained with him three years, as she related. And when he took her out into the desert, he made her a woman, that she might serve him, and he might commit sin with her. But when he entered the city, he rode upon her, as if she were an ass. Then on the 7th of Abîb, the feast of the holy Sinuthius, the excellent prophet, the aged Abba Paul met that man, when she was with him, and took her from him, though none knew of her except the accursed misbelieving magician. And Abba Paul took the magician, and gave him up to the governor, who caused him |206 to be burnt in the fire, after he had been put to death. Then the bishop loosed the woman from the bonds of Satan, and delivered her to the superior of the convent of nuns. For there were among them many women of the laity, living with them.

These then are the fathers whom we saw, and whose words we listened to, and whose glorious deeds cannot be counted. And one of them, Abba Cyrus, who was of Jaujar which is the chief of four sees, had been married in his youth, and lived long with his wife in great devotion and reached the age of a hundred and five years. And those two were two pure virgins, sleeping on one bed for a long time; and their food was barley bread and salt; and all that they had or found they gave in alms to the poor. Then, when they advanced in years, Abba Cyrus gave up his pure wife to the convent of nuns. Another of them was the Father Abba Isaac, bishop over the see of Samannûd, and we know what he endured of torments and fighting with the Barsanuphians, until he brought them back to the faith in the see of Saint Mark the Evangelist.

Now the church of Antioch was widowed and without a patriarch. And a man named Abd Allah Abu Ja’far, who belonged to the family of the first princes, was now reigning, and Abu Muslim was called his uncle. And Abu Aun was in Egypt, and Sâlih with Abd Allah. And the Church was prosperous and at peace in the days of the holy patriarch, Abba Michael, in consequence of the troubles and struggles which he had endured, and some of which we |207 have related, until his ministry was ended and he went to his rest, and departed in peace to the merciful Lord Christ, as we have described at the end of this history. And the church of Antioch remained without a patriarch after the decease of Abba John, on account of the wars and the armies, until the Khorassanians took possession of the land. At the beginning of their rule, Isaac, bishop of Harran, went to Abd Allah, and petitioned him concerning the patriarchate of Antioch; for Abba John had died, as his two sons informed us, when they came to visit us. They said that Abd Allah was a native of Harran, and bis wife was barren; and she saw in a dream one who prophesied to her : «Seek Isaac, the bishop, that he may pray for thee, and the Lord will give thee a son.» And this woman served and feared God; and when Abd Allah solicited her to marry him, she made a condition with him that he should marry no other wife besides her, and should take no concubine. For she said to him : «We know that God created us in the beginning male and female, and, if thou wilt not make this compact with me, I will not marry thee.» So he made the agreement with her, and kept it till the day of her death. Therefore they summoned the bishop Abba Isaac to her, on the morning of the next day, and she made known to him what she had seen in her dream. So he appointed a week between her and him, and prayed God to fulfil her request. Then he departed to the monastery in which he had been a monk, and informed the brethren of the matter; so they |208 assembled in the church before the body of the founder of the monastery, and prayed him to intercede with God on her account. And three days afterwards, while they were fasting, the woman saw two men standing near her bed, who resembled Abba Isaac the bishop and the Father of the monastery, saying to her : «Verily God has heard the prayers, and this night thou shalt conceive a male child.» Then they disappeared. So she told this dream to her husband, and they were exceedingly glad. Then she conceived and brought forth a son. And for this reason they loved the bishop Abba Isaac, until God gave the government of the empire to Abd Allah, and then the prince gave Isaac authority to be patriarch of Antioch and the East, and commanded that whoever should oppose him should be slain with the sword. Afterwards indeed the prince slew two great metropolitans of this country, because they said to Abba Isaac : «Thou art bishop of Harran. How canst thou break the canons, and accept the support of the government, in taking the patriarchal throne by violence. Thou forcest us to excommunicate thee, for the canons decree that all who take advantage of the government shall be excommunicated.» Abba Isaac therefore laid a complaint before the prince, who gave orders that those two metropolitans should be slain; and there was great trouble in that country. Then Abba Isaac received a |209 decree from the prince for Abu Aun, governor of Egypt, in which he said; «Obey all that the patriarch, Abba Isaac, writes to thee, and do it for him». Isaac also wrote a synodical letter in his own name to the blessed Abba Michael, patriarch of the city of Alexandria, and sent it, accompanied by gifts, by two sons of his, a priest and a deacon, who were his scribes, and two of the chiefs of the metropolitans, one of them being metropolitan of Damascus, and the other metropolitan of Emesa, that they might receive an answer for him. Therein he wrote salutations to the patriarch of Egypt and his bishops, requesting him to exalt his name among them according to custom and for the sake of unity. He also wrote a letter from himself to Abu Aun, the governor, asking that, if the patriarch refused to comply, he might be sent to Abd Allah, the prince. When the letters reached Abu Aun, he sent to Alexandria and summoned Abba Michael, the patriarch, to Misr by himself; and when the letters and the decree were read to him, he answered, saying : «Do not force me to this, until I have assembled the bishops, and they have taken counsel upon this matter, according to our canons and laws». Then the governor conceded this to him, and allowed him a delay; and the patriarch took up his residence at Misr, and wrote to the bishops of the north and south and of the farther and nearer parts of Upper Egypt, bidding them all assemble to him, and look into this affair, and write him an answer, When they arrived, |210 they answered, saying to the patriarch : «He is thy equal, Father, and thy partner in the ministry; therefore do what seems good to thee with him; for, as for us, we have nothing to do with this matter.» And there was great trouble among them. And there was with him Abba Theodore, the second bishop of Misr of that name, who had been hegumen of Al-Fustât, and priest of the church of Saint Sergius : he and my father Abba Moses, bishop of Wasîm, alone. So they sent to me, the sinner, because they knew that I was one of their members, as it is written 35, not by my knowledge, but by spiritual love. So I went to them as a son, after a month, while they were holding converse with the envoys, in order to seek for answers, and for the sake of the decree of confirmation, that is say, the systatic letter. Now these envoys from the east were men in whom were found religion and charity. So when they saw me, I was wearing the habit of monks, though my conduct was far from that which a monk’s ought to be, and they pointed to my fathers, saying : «Art thou here present alone with us, because thou art acting as deputy for thy brethren?» Then when they beheld me sitting with the bishops, and arguing with them in the discussion, they marvelled and said : «We never saw a monk argue with the patriarch, like this man». And the metropolitans said : «His tongue is like a sword, and cannot be opposed.» Then my fathers said to them : «He is in the position of a bishop.» So |211 they marvelled. Then one of the metropolitans said to me : «How many children hast thou in thy diocese and province?» I answered : «I have ten villages in each of which are ten adults, so that they produce every year about fifty human beings.» Then they said : «In truth we see thee worn and weak in body.» And one of them said : «I have under my see nine hundred hamlets, besides cities and villages and small dioceses; and our provinces are few.» And much discourse passed between us; for they were men imbued with religion and charity.

And in the second month they assembled in the church of our Lady, and the affair was settled with the patriarch, Abba Michael, who said : «Sword or fire or casting to lions or exile or captivity, —- these are things that trouble me not; but I will not enter into what is not lawful, nor incur my own excommunication, which I subscribed with my own hand and initiated, to the effect that no bishop shall become patriarch. For the excellent fathers excommunicated him who shall take a degree in the hierarchy by the help or lavour of the government, and the bishops wrote to me from Antioch, in the time of Abba John, the patriarch, that any bishop who should be established on the throne after him should be excommunicated, and I subscribed my name to that declaration in my own handwriting. How then is it lawful for me to excommunicate myself, and to declare lawful to day what I anathematized yesterday, and to approve to-day what I condemned yesterday, and the holy fathers condemned before me?» Then he broke off the |212 discussion. So they proceeded to Abu Aun, the governor, and said to him : «Wilt thou send the patriarch with us to our own country, as the prince commanded?» But Abu Aun did not wish to send the father, because he loved him and the Christians; and he had found favour before God through them, and through God’s acceptance of their prayers for him. So he said to the patriarch : «Thou art advanced in years, and the way is very long. Therefore depart and take counsel with thyself for a few days; and if the matter appears easier to thee, well and good; but if not, thou mayest go or not as thou wilt.»

So we went out from his presence. Then the metropolitans and envoys troubled us, and discoursed with the patriarch concerning the accomplishment of the command to journey with them, and would not leave us. So the father patriarch took thought for the journey, being sad at heart, and saying to my father Moses : «Wilt thou accompany me on this difficult road?» So my father Moses prepared to travel with him, besides Abba Theodore, bishop of Misr; and so also did I, John, the sinner. But when we were ready to start, the news that night arrived at Misr that Isaac, the bishop, who had usurped the throne of Antioch by the help of the government, had died at Antioch, and the see had been occupied by a man named Athanasius, who took his seat that very day before sunset, but died himself also the third day, and both were buried. When the metropolitans |213 and their clerical companions heard this news, they fled, and we knew not how they departed, only that we never beheld them again after that day.

Now I will tell you what was told us concerning this Athanasius. He was one of the chief bishops and a metropolitan, and exercised jurisdiction from the boundary of Harran inwards; and his province was very extensive, so that he used to travel over mountains and rocks and sharp stones on foot, wearing iron sandals, that he might go round every district. And they told us that he was very strong, tall in stature, stout in body; and the privilege had been granted him in synod to ordain the bishops, on account of the distance of the province from Antioch. But as soon as he usurped the patriarchal throne, he died.

And there came to us a Chalcedonian, named George, who was a good man; and he entered with us into the orthodox faith. So the choice of the synod fell upon him, and they made him patriarch of Antioch. But, a little time after he had established himself there, he was attacked by a bishop, named Abba David, whose mother had been nurse to Abu Ja’far al-Mansur, prince of the Muslims. This bishop accused him of that which may not be mentioned in the history of the Church ; for our misdeeds and sins require no addition to them. After this the prince arrested this George, and fettered him with iron and wood, and put him in prison in the eighth |214 year of his reign. And from that time to now no synodical letter has reached us, and no such letter has gone from us.

Now I will tell you the strange story of the patriarch of Constantinople, and the prince, and a Chalcedonian, in the year 480 of the Martyrs. There was a man of high rank at Constantinople, named Philip, whom the patriarch persuaded to attack the prince, saying : «If thou fightest against him, thou wilt conquer him, and take possession of the government.» But when the news reached the prince, he banished that patriarch to a distant town, where he was cast into a narrow dungeon; and another was made patriarch. Now this prince committed deeds not fit to be named, and removed the pictures from the churches. And I have related this to you, only that you may know that these things were general, and did not take place at Antioch alone, but throughout the empire. Thus the two patriarchs of Constantinople and Antioch were imprisoned at the same time.

Now we have related a little of the good fight fought by the Father Patriarch, Abba Michael. And there was none who remained with him in. his distress and weakness to assist him, except the father and bishop, Abba Theodore, bishop of Misr, and Abba Moses, bishop of Wasîm. And when he was advanced in age, he prayed God mercifully to remove him |215 from this world, that he might rest with the saints; and God answered his prayer, and he gave up his soul after all his struggles and the good works that he had done, on the 16th of Barmahât. And he remained upon the evangelical throne, according to the statement which we found in the library in the Monastery of Saint Macarius, twenty-three years and a half; and his holy body was deposited with the bodies of our holy fathers, in glory and honour. May their prayers be with us! Amen.

[Footnotes moved to the end and renumbered]

1. 1. S. John. x. 11.

2. 2. Ps. cxvi, 15 (Sept. cxv. 6).

3. 1. Some mss. have «Theodosius».

4. 1. S. Matth., v. 44; S. Luke. vi. 27, 28,

5. 1. Ps. iv. 3.

6. 1. S. Matth.. x, 28: S. Luke, xii. 4, 5.

7. 1. Cf. Amélineau, Histoire du patriarche copte Isaac, étude critique, texte copte et traduction, in Bulletin de correspondance africaine, Paris, 1890. and Bulletin de l’Institut Egyptien, 2eserie. n° 6 annee 1885. Le Caire. 1886.

8. 1. Gen., L, 24: Exod., xiii. 19.

9. 2. Hebr., v. 4.

10. 3. Ps. lxv. 5 (Sept. lxiv).

11. 1. Ps. xxxiii. 10 (Sept. xxxii).

12. 1. This note was apparently added in the time of Mauhub, son of Mansur, one of the compilers of the history.

13. 2. Michael III. A. D. 881-913.

14. 1. S. Matth., xxv, 21. 23; cf. S. Luke, xix. 17.

15. 1. This note is evidently added by the translator.

16. 1. Exod., xxiii, 5.

17. 1. Apoc, xiii. 17.

18. 1. S. Matth., xx, 26-27; S. Mark, x, 43, 44.

19. 1. Ps. lxxviii, 3 (Sept. lxxvii).

20. 1. I Tim., iii. 15.

21. 1. S. Matth., xxv, 25: cf. S. Luke, xix, 20.

22. 2. Ps. cxiii, 7 (Sept. cxii).

23. 1. S. Matth., vii. 17.

24. 2. Eccl., x, 16.

25. 1. Prov., xxvi, 25.

26. 1. Gen., i, 26.

27. 1. Daniel, vii, 17 ff; viii. 21 ff; x, 20; xi, 2, 5 ff.

28. 1. I Kings, xvii, 43.

29. 1. Deut., xxxii, 30: cf. Lev., xxvi, 8; Jos., xxiii, 10.

30. 1. Jer., i, 6.

31. 1. Gen., ii, 13; Eccli., xxiv, 27 (Vulg. 37; also Jer., ii, 18, Sept.).

32. 1. Ps. xxxviii; 12 (Sept, xxxvii).

33. 1. Rom,, xii. 16; xv, 5; I Cor., i, 10; II Cor., xiii, 11; Phil., ii, 2: iv. 2. etc.

34. 1. The copyists have added another word, making it 200,000,000.

35. 1. Rom., xii, 5; Ephes., iv, 25.


Severus of Al’Ashmunein (Hermopolis), History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic church of Alexandria  (1910) Part 4: Mennas I – Joseph (849 AD). Patrologia Orientalis 10 pp. 359-551 (pp.473-665 of text).





  • Chapter 19
    • Mennas I, the forty-seventh patriarch (767 – 774)
    • John IV, the forty-eighth patriarch (775 – 799)
    • Mark III, the forty-ninth patriarch (799 – 819)
    • James, the fifthieth patriarch (819 – 830)
  • Chapter 20
    • Simon II, the fifty-first patriarch (830)
    • Joseph, the fifty-second patriarch (830 – 849)

A = Paris, arabe 301.

B = Brit. Mus., add. 26 100.

C =          —- or. 1338.

D = Vatican, arabe 620.

E =          —-             686.

F = Paris, arabe 4773.

G =           —- 4772.




It is our duty to make enquiries and researches into the whole history of the Church, as our forefathers used to do. For Philo and Justus and Josephus, the Jews, narrated the events that took place at Jerusalem on account of Christ. And those who wrote the history of the orthodox Church were Africanus and Eusebius and Sozomenus; and after them again Mennas the scribe. These men related that which happened to the Church until the time of Dioscorus, the great father, who confessed Christ, and declared the truth, which saved us from the second deluge, and from drowning in the bottomless abyss, and from the six hundred and thirty assembled at Chalcedon, and the miscreant Leo, lord of Rome. An account of such matters has been written for us, in the twelfth part of the History of the Church, by those whose names we have mentioned because |360 they concerned themselves with these things. And so in every generation God has not left us without a record. Thus there was the archdeacon, the spiritual parent of our father, the holy father Abba Cosmas, patriarch of Alexandria, who was his kinsman. And Abba Macarius also, and Macarius the monk. And after them John, the spiritual son of Abba Moses, bishop of Wasîm.

And I, poor sinner, was ordered by my father the monk through a dream which he saw, for he was a holy old man; and he bade me and commanded me to write the history of my blessed fathers, both what I had witnessed and what was reported to me by trustworthy persons. For I was ministering to my father Abba Joseph, and slept at his feet; and he was my spiritual father and was advanced in age. And likewise the father patriarch, Abba Sinuthius, bade me write. So I prayed to the gracious God, and said like David 1 : «O Lord open thou my lips, that I may relate that which happened to the blessed fathers with profit to those that shall read it, and with benefit to those that shall hear it. »

When our blessed father, Abba Michael, fell sick through old age, and went to his rest in glory and honour, his body was carried up |361 to be with the bodies of his fathers at Alexandria, in the church of Saint Mark the Evangelist, amid proofs of respect and veneration, while all the people wept for him. And they prayed and besought God to raise up, as successor to Abba Michael, a patriarch who should rule as he did. So the assembly met together, with the bishops, to appoint him whom God, who knows the secrets of all hearts and gives grace to those that are worthy of it, should choose. Then mention was made of the priest Mennas, the monk, of the church of Saint Macarius. Mennas was a man who excited general admiration by his sense and conduct. He had been a monk from his youth, and was the spiritual son of the father Abba Michael, and superintendent of his habitation in the monastery of Saint Macarius. So he was promoted to the patriarchal dignity by God’s dispensation, amid the joy of all. And God vouchsafed to his Church this faithful shepherd, who had lived with Abba Michael, witnessing his works, because he was with him from his youth.

When Abba Mennas had taken his seat upon the apostolic throne, he imparted the spiritual doctrine, so that everyone marvelled at the mighty grace which was descending upon him, and at his admirable teaching. And the Lord, who had selected him, gave to the Church increase and protection in all her provinces, until men forgot all that had happened to them in the days of Abba Michael, now at rest; and peace continued in the Church. |362

But after a time Satan, the hater of good, raised up a trial for the blessed father. For he spoke by the tongue of a deacon and monk named Peter, in whom he took up his abode, that he might suggest to him great crimes of which Abba Mennas and the bishops under his see might be accused. This deacon and monk was a native of a village called Dasimah, and had been spiritual son to Abba Michael, now at rest, and was brought up in his cell, And the hater of good put into his heart the thought of soliciting a bishopric, though he was not worthy of it, from our father, Abba Mennas. But the father answered him as Peter the Apostle replied to Simon the magician, saying 2 : «He has no lot nor share with us.» Then the deacon would not endure this treatment, but embarked in a ship, and departed to Syria. And when he arrived there, he composed letters, falsely purporting to be addressed by Abba Mennas to the patriarch of the Syrians, Abba George, patriarch of Antioch, and to his bishops and metropolitans, saying in those letters that great trouble and persecution and distress had been caused to the Church in Egypt by the governors. For Peter was skilled in the art of writing letters to patriarchs and metropolitans and bishops. So when the patriarch of Antioch had read the letters, he received Peter with great joy, because he said that he was the envoy of the patriarch’s brother, the patriarch of Alexandria. And the patriarch |363 collected money for Peter, and gave him letters addressed to all the metropolitans and bishops subject to Antioch, bidding them also make collections for him and honour him with much attention; for the patriarch was infatuated with him. As soon as a sufficient sum had been raised to give him the assistance that he needed for his evil deed, and the means of reaching the princes, the hater of good still walked with him. And after some days Peter arrived at the capital city, and began with his heart full of wrath and cunning to write letters, containing false reports of the patriarch Abba Mennas. For Peter said in his report that the prince’s treasury was empty of money, in spite of all that he needed for the expenses of the army and the administration of the government; while in Egypt there was a person, a great patriarch among the Christians, who knew how to practise alchemy for the permutation of substances into gold; and that by such means he had filled his churches with vessels of gold and silver, in which the holy offerings were presented. «But thou, my prince and my lord», he added, «hast the right to possess in thy storehouse these splendid golden vessels, which are in the churches of Egypt, and with which things displeasing to God are done». When this foul sinner had written this report, he waited for a day on which he might find means of laying it before the prince; and he gave bribes to all the attendants of the prince, in order that they |364 might introduce him. And Satan worked a great wonder for him, as he does for his favourites and followers, like the conjuring of the witch when she raised up the prophet Samuel from the tomb for Saul. Far be Samuel from this imagined likeness! We are only pointing out to you how Satan causes semblances and illusions in all ages.

These events were in the reign of Abû Ja’far Abd Allah, nephew of Abû Muslim, whom we have already mentioned in the eighteenth chapter of the History of the Church. He was the first who took possession of Khorassan. He had married a chaste wife while he was at Harran before he began to reign; and afterwards, when he became caliph, he lived at Damascus. This woman feared God; and she was of high rank in her tribe and nation; and she had made her husband swear, when she was married to him, that he would marry no other wife while she lived, so that she might keep the Law of God. But when he married her, God gave him no child for many years. Afterwards, however, she saw in a dream one who said to her : «Send for Isaac, bishop of Harran, that he may pray for thee; for God will accept his prayers on thy account and give thee a son.» Therefore she obeyed the vision with faith, and caused Abd Allah, her husband, to send and fetch the bishop. And before he arrived, she saw in a second dream a personage, who announced to her that God had heard |365 her petition and would fulfil her desire through the prayers of the bishop Isaac. Then, when he came, he prayed over her, and blessed her. So she conceived and bore two children. And for this cause the bishop stood high in favour with Abd Allah and his wife. So when Abd Allah began to reign, the father and bishop Isaac begged of him authority over the patriarchate of Antioch and the East; and the prince granted his request. And this was the cause of Isaac’s fall, because he broke the canons. But since God would not endure to leave him upon the throne, as the holy gospel says 3 : «Behold the axe is laid at the roots of the trees, therefore every tree that bears not good fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire», thus it happened with this Isaac; when he acted foolishly and broke the law of God, and took his seat as patriarch by the power of the government, and transgressed the injunctions of his fathers, God cut off his life from the earth, and he died suddenly before the end of the year. And another man, named Athanasius, sat upon the throne by force on the day of Isaac’s death; but he also died that very night, as it has been related in the eighteenth chapter of the History.

When the two sons of Abd Allah and of his chaste virtuous wife, before |366 mentioned, had grown up, one of them died. And the prince was exceedingly sad for him, and his mother mourned with all the household; for they were greatly grieved on his account. And the courtiers knew how much his mother loved her son, so that she never ceased to weep for him one single hour by night or by day, while the prince was very sorrowful. Now the death of this young son of the prince had taken place before the arrival of the deacon Peter, unworthy of that name. And the prince went out of the palace one day with his guards, and rode round the city, seeking distraction from his grief for his son according to the custom of men and princes. And he chanced to look aside and see that unworthy Peter, whom Satan transformed in the prince’s eyes into the likeness of his son who was dead, so that he seemed to be the very same, in no wise differing from the young man’s appearance even in the hair of his head. Therefore the prince, as soon as he perceived Peter, with joy caused him to be summoned, and embraced him, and kissed his mouth and eyes as if he were his son indeed. And in the excess of his gladness he returned to the palace, and with haste went in to his wife and said to her : «If thou couldst see the living image of thy son, wouldst thou cease from this weeping and sadness?» She answered : «Whence can he come to me?» Then the prince commanded that the deacon in whom Satan dwelt should be brought in to her; and Satan made him in her eyes like the form of her son. So when she saw him, she rose up |367 quickly and went to meet him rejoicing, imagining that he was her son; and more wonderful than this is the fact that Satan removed from her heart the grief that she had felt for her son. Therefore Peter remained with the prince and his wife in the palace some months, while they looked upon his face and were consoled by his presence. And God granted him favour with them, so that the prince said : «If thou hast any need, make it known to me, that I may satisfy it for thee». Then Peter told him what we related above, and after a stay of three months in the palace prayed the prince to send him to Egypt, and to write a decree for him appointing him patriarch over Egypt, and to give him authority over the patriarch Abba Mennas and his bishops, that he might do with them what was wanted. In compliance with this request, the prince drew up for Peter a document, addressed to the governor of Egypt at that time, whose name was Ibn Abd ar-Rahmân, directing him to do for Peter whatever he might bid him do. Then Peter gave orders that a cap should be made for him of splendid and priceless material; and his name was written upon it in Arabic letters thus : «Peter, patriarch of Egypt». And besides his own name the name of the prince also was written upon it; for Peter added in his folly, after putting his own name first : «And servant of the prince».

As soon as Peter arrived at Misr, he gave the document to the governor, who, after he had read it, sent and summoned the holy patriarch Abba |368 Mennas and his synod. When the governor’s messengers arrived at the frontier-city of Alexandria and informed the patriarch of what had happened, he was sad and cried to the Lord from the depths of his heart, saying : «O Lord, save me from this snare which is secretly laid for me, for thou art my God; and give me not up to those that oppress me, for false witnesses have risen up against me. And behold, thine eyes, O Lord, are upon those that fear thee and trust in thy mercy, that thou mayest deliver their souls from death». And he did not cease to pray and weep the whole night long until the morning. Then the messengers appeared before him, and urged him to start upon his journey. Therefore he arose, and said with cheerfulness : «O Lord, make me worthy to suffer for thy name’s sake; for thou alone art my hope, O Lord my God, and therefore I fear not what man can do to me». And he continued to repeat these words during his journey from Alexandria, until he arrived at Fustât Misr.

Then the governor was informed of the patriarch’s arrival, and gave orders that he should be brought before him, and rejoiced when he saw him. For the governor loved the Christians, and had been friendly with the holy father, Abba Michael the patriarch, now at rest. So he said to the father, Abba Mennas : «Thou shalt receive all fair treatment from me, according to that which I used to do for the deceased patriarch who was thy predecessor. But the prince’s mandate has arrived, bidding thee obey the bearer of it, who is a follower of thy faith and creed, and forbidding |369 thee to dispute with him concerning that which he shall command thee to do.» Thereupon the valiant one, who had no fear of the awfulness of earthly princes, the truth-speaking Abba Mennas, looked up into the face of the new Judas, I mean Peter the deacon, who relied upon worldly power, and believed himself to be invested with the authority of the patriarchate, and said to him : «Good is that which the true gospel 4says concerning thee : None shall receive honour from himself unless it be given him from heaven by God. But hear what God says concerning thee and those that act like thee, declaring what thou deservest, where our Lord Christ says with his pure mouth 5 : Every tree which my heavenly Father plants not shall be cut down and rooted up. So this name shall be taken away from thee, and thou shalt die in poverty an evil death». Then that fool answered him, and said to the holy father : «Do now what I command thee, that thou mayest escape the punishment, which I shall otherwise inflict upon thee, until I learn that thou dost resist the prince’s mandate». And the vile wretch turned and said to the governor : «Instead of answering that as he hears so he will obey the prince’s command, behold, he utters words which mean that he prays God to strip me of the authority which the prince has conferred upon me.» Then the governor answered and said to the patriarch : «Do not oppose the command of the prince, but perform what he ordains.» Mennas replied : «I will do so with joy, that |370 I may carry out the Law which bids me obey the king as I would obey God; for it says 6: He who resists and disputes authority, resists God, his Lord.» When the governor heard these words, he was pleased with the patriarch’s answer, and said to the wretch : «Bid him do whatever thou desirest.» So he said : «Let him send and summon all the bishops under his jurisdiction, that I may give them in his presence the orders that are necessary.» Then the father begged of the governor that he might be allowed a delay of some days, till he could assemble the bishops. But that heretic said : «Let us send him away to prison, so that I may enter the churches in Misr and go up to their altars, as the patriarchs do. »

So the patriarch was imprisoned with Theodore, bishop of Misr, and ordered the secretaries to write letters to all the bishops, that they might come to him. For that heretic Peter believed that they would obey him and do for him what he had planned, though it was contrary to the canons of the Church. The letter which the father patriarch wrote was full of sadness and grief, but he did not explain any matter to the bishops lest he should discourage them, so that they would shrink from the struggle. The contents of the letter were as follows : «Satan does not at any time leave the Bride of Christ, the Universal Church, without opposition, but raises |371 up persecution and disorder with the object of vanquishing her in the war that he wages against her. But her Bridegroom, Christ the Truth, crushes Satan’s power by the words which he said to Peter, chief of the apostles 7, that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against her. You know now that it is the Lord Christ who is the conqueror. Therefore advance to the combat and dispute not, but trust in the Lord; for he will abase our adversary and bring his counsels to nought, and glorify his Church which is his Bride. Let us also rejoice because we have armed ourselves like warriors for battle in this campaign, that we may obtain the heavenly crown, according to the summons which he gives us at all times, as Paul, the sweet-tongued, says 8 : A man will not obtain the crown unless he fight. Hasten therefore now, that you may gain that reward, O my friends whom I love in the Lord.»

When the bishops had read the patriarch’s letter, so full of consolation for them, they journeyed with all speed, and assembled at Fustât Misr. As soon as that erring son of Satan learnt that they were gathered together in the church on Sunday, he arose in his obstinacy, escorted by a troop of soldiers from the governor’s palace, and proceeded without fear, and ascended into the sanctuary, intending to say the prayer of thanksgiving and the prayer of peace like the patriarch, wearing on his head the cap on which the name of the prince was written. But when the fathers and bishops saw him do this, they joined together in the Holy Ghost; and Abba |372 Mennas, bishop of Sanabû, rushed upon him, with Abba Moses, bishop of Wasîm; and they seized the cap and threw it down, and cast him out of the sanctuary, crying : «Ah thou second Julian, the churches of Egypt do not deserve to be defiled by thy presence !» At first that foul wretch was filled with confusion, but afterwards gave way to anger and commanded his escort to lead all the bishops away to prison, and to put irons upon their necks and feet. And when the holy father patriarch beheld them, he welcomed them and comforted them, saying : «O my friends, he who fights for us is greater than he who fights against us; and the Lord will rescue us from our enemies, and save us from those that rise up against us, and deliver us from the workers of iniquity.» The bishops, hearing these words, exclaimed : «Our father, we are ready to die with thee, and we believe and trust that we shall obtain salvation by thy prayers !»

Thus the bishops passed a few days in prison while that foul wretch was considering what evil he should do to them and to the patriarch; and then he ordered the governor to bring them out of confinement and make them stand before him; and the governor did so. Thereupon that miscreant said to the father patriarch : «I will do nothing with thee that thou fearest, such as others in my place have done to others in thy place before thee, from the time of the patriarch Abba Agathon; for he was compelled to build ships for the fleet. So Theodore the Chalcedonian, the governor of |373 Alexandria, treated Agathon in the reign of the caliph Yezîd, son of Mu’âwiyah. Come, bring forth from the church the vessels of gold and silver, that they may be carried to the prince’s treasury. For this is the purpose for which I am come». On hearing this the patriarch said within himself 9 : «The pains of death have surrounded me, and the terrors of Hell have fallen upon me». This he said because he knew that there was nothing in the churches such as Peter demanded of him. For notorious misfortunes had happened to the fathers before Abba Mennas, and none of the vessels of the churches had been left among their possessions; for the Copts had been robbed of every thing time after time by the adversaries who hated them. And when this glorious father was consecrated and enthroned, nothing had been restored, so that in the city of Alexandria no vessel was found, from which the people could receive the Communion, except a chalice of glass and another of wood. Therefore the holy father answered that miscreant, saying : «Thou knowest not the condition of the church from that time till now». But the wretched infidel replied : «Lo, I know that thou hast a book by means of which thou canst speedily become rich; for it teaches the art of making gold». The spiritual father said in answer to him : «I know nothing of that of which thou speakest. But I will do whatever thou mayest choose to command, and my trust is in |374 God; for I know that there is nothing in the church such as that which thou namest. And thou hast told lies to the prince». Then Peter said to the patriarch : «I will act generously towards thee, nor will I compel thee to spend any sum of money upon the fleet. But, by the prince’s truth, none shall work at the task of pitching the ships but thou and thy bishops, with your own hands». Abba Mennas replied : «I will do that gladly, for so I shall act according to the words of Paul the Apostle, who says 10 : I work with my own hands. Paul says also : They revile us and we bless them; they drive us away and we bear it patiently; they defame us and we entreat them».

So the father Abba Mennas and the bishops who were with him went out to perform the task allotted to them every day in the arsenal at Misr, working with their own hands at all that was needed for the ships for a whole year, while their faces were exposed to the sun all day during the summer. Thus the patriarch and bishops were labouring among the workmen and the ash-heaps in Fustât Misr, with tears and sighs. At the end of the day the father and all the bishops were taken back to the prison. And all the time Peter continued to demand of them the vessels of the churches, saying to them : «I came hither from the prince’s court for this purpose only». But when some days had passed, while they were still in |375 prison, and he repeated his claims, at last the Lord looked upon the sighs of his pure ones, and worked a miracle; and he who has the power to repay took vengeance. We have already remarked that the governor favoured the Christians. Yet although he saw that contemptible person persecuting the patriarch and bishops, he could not hinder him, because he feared the prince, but could only urge upon him that it was not lawful for him to act so with the chief of the Christians. At last Peter answered : «Dost thou also call that man the head of the Christian community, and ignore the prince’s decree? Then I will go to the prince, and let him know that thou hast deprived me of the dignity which he conferred upon me». Then, when Peter said this, the words 11 of Solomon the Wise were fulfilled in him : «A fool’s tongue is a snare to him». For the governor exclaimed : «Thou desirest to depart to the prince, in order to tell lies to him against me, and present a calumnious report against me in accordance with what thou hast said and done with regard to this old man who fears God. Now after this day I will no longer suffer thee to behold the light of the sun, but all men shall know that God has exacted justice from thee for this old man». Accordingly the governor gave orders that very hour that Peter should be taken away to prison, and thrown into the dungeon, and that his hands and feet should be fettered with iron, and he be kept there |376 in a narrow place. So Peter remained in this condition three years. At the same time the governor gave orders to release the militant patriarch and bishops from punishment. And they began to praise God and to say : «As the prophet Isaias 12 says : God destroys the counsel of the adversaries and hypocrites; and the Lord will not forsake those that trust in him, those who fear God. Now is fulfilled the word of the prophet Malachias 13 in us : Ye who fear my name, upon you the Sun of Righteousness shall shine. Go forth, rejoicing like calves released to their mothers. And ye shall tread down the hypocrites».

Then the father departed to Alexandria; and there he entered the church with joy. And the Alexandrians glorified God with public thanksgivings. And Abba Mennas occupied himself with the care of Christ’s flock and the administration of the Evangelical See, through the grace which was with him. Yet in spite of all this he was sad on account of that poor miserable sinner, who had given up his soul to death by sin. And Abba Mennas prayed to God, saying : «Thou art the merciful God who saidst 14 : I desire not the death of a sinner, so much as that he should return and be converted. Therefore thou, O Lord, wilt save the soul of this other man, that he may not die in sin. Rather save him, that he may repent and weep for his error, |377 so that his soul may live. For Satan at all times drags down to Hell those who obey him».

Now Satan, the hater of good, filled him who was in prison with evil designs and bad notions, and suggested foul thoughts in his heart concerning the patriarch and concerning the bishops and the Church for his sake. And at the end of three years, while Peter was still in prison, Ibn Abd ar-Rahmân, the governor, was removed from Egypt, and another was sent thither. When the new governor arrived at Al-Fustât, he examined the prisons that he might learn what was the offence of every prisoner; and so, as soon as the case of Peter was reported to him, he commanded that Peter should be brought before him. And the governor recognised Peter on seeing him, and said to him : «Art thou not he whom the prince despatched to Egypt at such a time?» He replied : «Yes, I am he». Then the governor asked him : «What befell thee, and cut off the memory of thee from before the prince, so that thou becamest as one dead?» Thereupon Peter answered by accusing the patriarch and Ibn Abd ar-Rahmân, the governor lately dismissed, of committing great crimes, and added : «For he left the prince’s edict without effect, and kept me in prison three years». And Peter brought many charges against the Christians and the Church. The governor said to him : «Thou shalt depart to the prince’s court. I will send thee to him». Peter replied : «That is well; for such is my |378 desire, in order to accomplish that which is in my heart». So the governor despatched him in haste, bidding him take with him a letter, in which an explanation of what had happened to him was given. Thus Satan, the hater of good, drove Peter back to his former circumstances, and raised in the prince’s heart a greater love for him than before. This was especially because Peter said to him : «I wish to enter into thy religion, and to return to Egypt and claim my rights from my enemies». At this the prince rejoiced. Then the foul wretch denied the name of Christ the Saviour, and confessed the religion of Islam; and for that the prince gave him many gifts on that day, garments and money and horses and female slaves, and named him Abu’l-Khair 15.

But the Lord, whose name is blessed, purposed to give rest to the holy father Abba Mennas, that he might not undergo any punishment from this renegade. For God showed forth a miracle, when he looked upon him who was called Abu’l-Khair, but was in reality father of all mischief and guile. The prince gave him the letters to the governor that he asked for, and he journeyed to Egypt, believing that he was about to do all the harm to the patriarch that lay in his power. Before he arrived in Egypt, however, Abd Allah, the prince, died. So when the wretch learnt that his hopes were thus frustrated, the words 16 of the prophet were fulfilled in him : |379 «Contemptible is the man who trusts in a man.» For in shame he departed to his native town; but as soon as his family and kinsmen and acquaintances saw him, he was hated and detested among them like the Jews who slew their Lord. And they began to reproach him, saying : «Ah thou that art become a son of Satan, and hast strayed from the way of life, where hast thou left the fear of God and of Hell, and the voice of our Creator pronouncing the terrible sentence 17 : Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I deny before the Father who is in Heaven ? Thou hast rejected this true voice, and therefore thou shalt hear instead of it 18 : Take him away to the fire which is not quenched and the worm which sleeps not. This shall be the reward of thy apostasy. To thee will be spoken also his words addressed to those like thee 19 : Depart from me, ye cursed, into the fire kindled and prepared for the Devil and his hosts. Then it will be said to thee that, instead of the bishopric which thou didst demand, there is the gain of rebellion, and instead of the Spiritual Paradise thou hast earned the foulness of apostasy.» And Peter had to listen to many such reproaches every day, filled with sorrow and shame. At last he went away to the bishops of Egypt, whom he had afflicted with such torments; and he begged them to pray to God for him |380 that he might save him from this error, professing that his heart was right. Then he heard from the mouth of the bishops, as the Lord said 20 to his disciples at that time concerning Judas Iscariot, that none should perish except the son of perdition.

After these events it was God’s will to give rest to the father Abba Mennas, and translate him to Jerusalem on high from this world full of misery and trouble. So he went to his rest, after occupying the see seven years, on the last day of Tubah, and brought his teaching to a close, preserving the faith of his lathers; and he departed in peace to the Lord Christ, whom he loved, and received the crown of victory together with the assembly of his militant brethren, and entered into joy with them in the land of the living. And after his decease, that rebel returned to the town where he was born, and died there a bitter death in sin and poverty, as our father Abba Mennas had prophesied concerning him. Thus all who witnessed his fate marvelled and glorified God, saying : «That which the father Abba Mennas foretold by the Holy Ghost against this man has come to pass.» And they said, as David, the servant of the Lord, says in the Psalm 21, that he humbles the proud as one that is wounded. David says also in the 118th. Psalm 22 : «Cursed are all those that swerve from thy commandments.» |381

So the Church remained a widow without a pastor. But the Lord visited his sheep, whom he had bought with his blood; and the bishops assembled in the city of Alexandria, and consulted together, and prayed the Lord to shew them a faithful shepherd. Many names were mentioned, and they continued to discuss this matter during several days, while the Lord was reserving his chosen one, whom he was about to elect and anoint with the oil of his mercy, that he might be called to the patriarchal office, because it belonged to him. Now our fathers, when they met together in order to come to an agreement upon the appointment of a patriarch, were accustomed to write many names on small sheets which, they laid in the sanctuary. Then the bishops and priests and orthodox laity used to pray to the Lord with a sincere intention, and cry Kyrie eleison. Afterwards they brought a young child, ignorant of sin, which put forth its hand and took one sheet from among the number. And him whose name was drawn they promoted to the patriarchal dignity.

Now they had begun to carry out this procedure. And there was in charge of the church of Saint Mennas a priest named John, the son of the father Abba Michael; and his birthplace was at Bana Busir, and he had become a monk in Wadî Habîb, and had then been, entrusted with the office of oeconomus under the father Abba Mennas, lately gone to his rest. This man was named by an aged deacon of pious character, one of the |382 clergy of Alexandria, who said to the assembly : «Have you remembered the priest John, in charge of the church of Saint Mennas, so as to write his name down?» Now they had not remembered him, but the Lord recalled him to memory by the mouth of the old ecclesiastic. So they wrote down his name, and prayed, and did three times what we have described above. And the name of John was drawn each of these three times. Then all those that were present marvelled; and they cried aloud saying : «Truly he is worthy!» So they appointed John, and he sat upon the throne.


After the father Abba John had been enthroned, he wrote a synodical letter full of wisdom to the blessed father, George, patriarch of Antioch, to make known to him his unity with him in the faith and the circumstances of his taking his seat upon the throne. Now a report had been presented to the prince, against this George of whom we speak, by one of his bishops; and in consequence of this report the prince arrested George, and put him in fetters and imprisoned him. And the bishop who accused him sat upon the throne, but had written no epistle nor announced a decree of |383 appointment to the patriarch of Alexandria. Then that bishop died, and George returned, having been released from prison, and sat upon the throne of Antioch with glory and honour, after an absence of ten years. George, therefore, having read the letters of the blessed patriarch, Abba John, upon the arrival of his envoys at Antioch, welcomed those envoys and rejoiced over them; and so likewise the synod of metropolitans and bishops, assembled with their chief, glorified the Lord Christ, with great joy and spiritual gladness, on account of the agreement of the doctrine of the two patriarchs concerning the orthodox Faith, and their common accord after the days that had passed. And George with his metropolitans and bishops composed an epistle in answer to the synodical, and sent it to the father, Abba John, according to the ecclesiastical canons, which are exempt from error.

Now Abba John was beautiful in form, perfect in stature, inspired by God in all his affairs. And everyone desired to behold his welcome form; and it was granted to him to be acceptable to all princes and governors, like Joseph the Truthful, with whom God’s hand was, and whom God saved from all his sorrows, and to whom he gave grace and wisdom before Pharao. And the father John was assiduous in doing good, and provided means for the building of a church and a patriarchal residence, which he adorned with all beautiful ornaments. He also embellished the churches |384 at Alexandria with all decoration and adornment. The times were propitious towards him, and the authorities respected him, and enabled him to carry out his desires, and accepted his opinion, and did not hinder him from anything that he wished; and the orthodox people obeyed him, and the Church enjoyed tranquillity and peace in his days. He did not cease from doing good, and his chief care was for the building of the churches of Alexandria, so that he raised a great monument to himself in this city. His conduct was admirable, so that the heretics at Alexandria were jealous of him, according to the custom of those accursed ones in dealing with the orthodox, even in matters relating to the Faith, especially in the days of this holy John, because they beheld his good works in the Church and in all the churches at Alexandria with glory and honour.

The liar, who was at that time the father of the heretics, was a person named Politian. He was a skilful physician, and the prince’s of Islam used to treat him with favour on account of his art. And he did not cease to speak of our father John with words of jealousy. But God, who knows that which is secret, was raising up this man day after day, and the sweet odour of his teaching reached all the people. Therefore those who loved God took thought and said : «We will hand over to him our money, that he may build with it the churches of Alexandria, as a memorial for us and for |385 those that shall come after us». Accordingly they used to bring to him, that saint adorned with virtues, large sums of money and gifts, and to pray him to provide for the building of the churches, until that which is said 23 of the prophet David was fulfilled in Abba John : «The zeal of thine house has eaten me up.» And he accepted those gifts from the people, because he knew how great were their charity and their sacrifice of their wealth and their goodness and right faith in God.

And there was with Abba John a deacon, who loved God, and was very vigilant and full of faith and spiritual wisdom. This deacon was named Mark, and was an Alexandrian; and he had grasped with zeal the helm of the Ark, which is the Church, the Ark of salvation from the deluge of the devils. Our father Abba John had known him from his youth. Mark was in charge of the church of Saint Mennas, and the patriarch, because of his acquaintance with him and his family, made him deacon; and wherever the patriarch celebrated the Liturgy or was present, Mark used to chant the gospel, with a voice of tenderness and moving tones, so that the hearts of listeners were touched by their music. For this reason the people used to come early to the church in order to hear his chanting and his beautiful voice, and because he understood the art of chanting, and for |386 the sake of his beautiful countenance; and when he chanted he put every word in its right place. He was also learned in the Scriptures and in the study of all the Mystagogia. So men used to say : «Blessed is the Lord God, who has given a wise son to David 24, as it is said.» The faithful laity used to say, glorifying God : «Blessed is God, who has raised up for us this deacon Mark who loves God. Blessed is the Lord who has made this branch to flourish for us from this blessed tree, —- our holy father John and his son Mark. Happy is our city which has merited this grace!» And when our father the patriarch beheld this deacon and his actions, he rejoiced over him and thanked God, who had given him this gift for the Church, and had left Mark to him as an adviser in all his circumstances. And Mark, in each step to which the patriarch promoted him, grew more and more humble towards all, both small and great; and more excellent than this was his obedience to the father in all that he commanded him. to do. Then Mark, when he was filled with grace, begged our father to hold him worthy of the Angelic Habit, that is the monastic estate. So Abba John, when he saw Mark’s desire, took him with him, on the 27th. of Barmahât, which is the day when Saint Macarius went to his rest, to the monastery of the illuminating father, Saint Macarius, the meeting-place of monks, and the home of high wisdom and of prayer, continuing night and day with |387 glorification of the Holy Trinity. And when Mark had put on the habit, an aged monk, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, looked at him and said : «This deacon, whose name is Mark, is worthy to sit upon the throne of his father, Mark the evangelist.» And Mark began to increase in humility and purity and holiness, till there was accomplished in him that which God says 25 : «To whom shall I look, except to the humble of heart who fears me?»

Now when you hear these words from me, brethren, be not angry with me because I have left the discourse of the blessed fathers, and the building of the church in the city of Alexandria, and the narration of their history in spite of its importance to us; for likewise is it incumbent upon us to mention the humble sons, who were saved by their works, and pleased the fathers by their conduct, in order that future generations and peoples may hear of them, and that they too may grow in the grace of the Holy Ghost, according to that which Paul the sweet-tongued wrote 26, where he says in the Spirit : «I am jealous» ; and therefore I do not leave this unsaid. The interpretation of the words : «I am jealous», is that they mean jealous in spiritual works.

Hear how our father, the patriarch Abba John, began to take thought for the building of the church, in accordance with the request of those two |388 blessed ones who loved God, Cyrus and Barnabas, when they saw that Christ’s people desired this. And the churches possessed endowments. So Abba John called the deacon Mark, and said to him : «My son, it shall be to thee a reward from God that thou shalt superintend the building of the churches; for thou art acquainted with the city and the workmen and their trades. And I know that God is with thee, and I believe and trust that the good care which thou shalt bestow upon this matter in thy faith will be returned to thee in perfection». Mark replied : «Thy Holiness knows that the accursed heretics have many arguments with which they will oppose us. But it would be a sin upon my conscience if I resisted the Holy Ghost who dwells in thee; and now, my father, thou desirest to do a good deed». Then he made a prostration before the patriarch, and said to him : «Pray for me, my father!» And the patriarch answered : «The Lord bless thee and be with thee, until thou shalt complete the building of his holy house, so that thou mayest rejoice in it after we are gone». Thereupon Mark said to the patriarch : «Thy Paternity commands me to lay the foundation as God shall give me light».

Therefore the patriarch supplied all that was needed for the fabric, and assembled the workmen and overseers. And he said prayers, and laid the foundations of the church and of the surrounding habitations. And he delivered all that church needed into the hand of the pious deacon Mark, that he might provide for the construction. Thus Mark was entrusted with the building of the holy church; and God was helping him with grace, and |389 the building grew and advanced daily. Then Satan whispered to the [heart of the lying heretic, the chief of the believers in the Two Natures, that he should accuse the father, Abba John, before the governor of occupying buildings belonging to the government and turning them into churches. This charge was brought by that heretic in envy, that he might stop the building, like the Chaldeans who desired to put an end to the building of the holy house of God. But the father, Abba John, endured patiently and suffered greatly through that which was done to him by that liar, and was forced on account of it to pay a heavy fine to the government. And the wretch rejoiced thereat, and accused Abba John of all sorts of evil deeds and of lies. And as often as his enemies beheld him growing and increasing day by day, while his people were orthodox, and his teaching was uninterrupted, and his churches were flourishing, and he also continued to build and restore in the churches, then they grew yet more wrathful. But they could not resist the power of God, and were as the Chaldeans with regard to the temple of Jerusalem, when God brought their efforts to nought; for so he did likewise in this case, scattering the counsel of the heretics, those new Jews. For by the mercy of the Lord Christ, he put it into the heart of the governor to command the father, Abba John, to finish the church and furnish it as he desired. So he completed the church in the space of five years, and consecrated it in the name of the Archangel Michael. This |390 church is called at the present day, in the city of Alexandria, the church of Repentance. And there was with our father the patriarch a scribe and deacon, named John, who was counted worthy of the bishopric of the see of Sakhâ after the decease of the father, Abba John.

After the completion of the church of the Angel Michael, by the Lord’s inscrutable decrees a great dearth came upon the city of Alexandria and Upper Egypt, so that the price of wheat rose to a dinar for three waibahs, and many persons perished. And our father was sad on account of the dead and the mortality that he saw, and prayed with tears, saying, like the prophet Isaias 27 : «Thou hast turned away thy face from us, and given us up because of our sins. And now, O Lord, thou art yet our Father, and we are all dust and the work of thy hands. Deal not with us according to our sins, and be not angry with us for ever; and remember not our offences, but turn to as, O Lord, for we are thy people». And he continued in prayer night and day, saying : «O Lord, have mercy on thy creatures and the work of thy hands; deal not with us after our sins. We deserve indeed all chastisement, for we have not walked in the way of thy commandments. But now, O Lord, chastise us not with the rod of thy wrath, and remember not our transgressions before thee».

And the patriarch beheld the distress of the people from the severity of |391 the dearth, and his pity excited him to pray. Then Abba John called his son and partner in his works, the deacon Mark, and gave him authority to distribute alms among all the inhabitants of the city; and the storehouses and the accounts of the church were under his superintendence, for the father, Abba John, had entrusted him with the charge of them, making trial of his conduct. So Mark began to assist all those that were starving, giving them their food morning and evening every day. And he used to see at the patriarch’s door many people of every race, whom he would supply with provisions out of the stores of the church; for she had at that time an abundance of good things. Thus the sweet perfume of his good deeds spread, and filled all places. Basil and Eusebius, the two bishops, were those who made almsgiving their uninterrupted occupation, making more of it than of the fulfilment of any other commandment. In the same way this holy man acted as they did, emulating their excellence until he resembled them in that point; but though he did thus, yet he did not neglect any of the precepts of religion: And he visited the officials and the rich men, and said to them : «Be merciful to the needy». And he urged them to alms-giving with arguments from the holy scriptures, saying to them : «Profit by this time and this grace which is glorious before God». |392

And he began to exhort them in the words of the prophet David to his son 28 : «Turn not thy face from the poor, and then the Lord will not turn his face from thee». He quoted also the saying of another prophet 29 :«Alms saves from death, and raises from Hell, and does not suffer a man to enter into darkness». He reminded them also of that which Paul wrote to Timothy his son, saying to him 30 : «Charge the rich in this world that they be not proud, but that they place their trust in God, who gives riches to each one, that they may have enough of all things, and may lay for themselves a foundation, in order that they may take hold of the true life». And he admonished them with these and other words, until the rich men and the officials emulated his works, and began to do as he advised them with their money; and none of them was backward in giving alms, nor in visiting the widows and orphans and prisons and taking to them food and clothing; and so also they did for the clergy and the poor. And many of the officials had fallen into poverty at this time, and they also were assisted. And Mark used to entertain strangers. But at last the Lord took pity on his people and relieved them of the dearth, through the prayers of the holy father, Abba John.

At that time the patriarch of Antioch, Abba George, went to his rest. And a holy man, named Cyriacus, was appointed in his place by a |393 dispensation from God, and through the united votes of the metropolitans and bishops and of all the laity of Syria and the East. He was full of the Holy Ghost, and when he heard of the works of the holy father, Abba John, he summoned his metropolitans and bishops, and said to them : «We must not delay writing to the father, Abba John, who occupies the evangelical throne in the great city of Alexandria, which is an inheritance of ours from our fathers, since the time of the father Severus and of Theodosius, who both fought for the orthodox faith.» Now I have already mentioned the deceased father, Abba George, and observed that in the past years, during which he was in prison, no synodical letter came from him to Egypt to the father Mennas, on account of Abba George’s troubles and confinement, and because Abba Mennas also did not write, being otherwise occupied through the persecution which he suffered at the hands of the excommunicated deacon Peter, the apostate unworthy of his name; until the patriarch and bishops escaped from durance, and then the correspondence took place as we have related above. Therefore the father Cyriacus said : «If we should not write, we should be guilty of an offence and a sin, on account of the agreement and unity which exist between us. In the time of our forefathers, they agreed with us in the true faith and in charity; and they commemorate our fathers’ names in all the sanctuaries of Egypt. For this reason |394 let us not interrupt the Christian charity and spiritual concord which we share with them. » Accordingly, our father, Abba Cyriacus, patriarch of Antioch, addressed to Abba John, patriarch of Alexandria, a synodical letter, full of the grace of the Holy Ghost, and despatched it by the hand of Anastasius, metropolitan of Damascus, who was accompanied by two bishops of his province. In this epistle Cyriacus spoke of the orthodox union existing between the two sees of Antioch and Alexandria, and announced how he had taken his seat upon the throne of Ignatius, the Wearer of Divinity. And when the letter reached Abba John, and he had read it, he rejoiced greatly, and glorified the Lord Jesus Christ, who always cares for his Church and for his people, whom he bought with his precious Blood.

Afterwards our father, Abba John, commanded that the letter should be read before the people, who marvelled when they heard its eloquence, and because it was a long time since a synodical had arrived; and they gave thanks to God for it. And when the envoys, Anastasius and the two bishops, visited the church at Alexandria, they were filled with admiration of its paintings and decoration, and the marshalling of the patriarch and bishops and clergy, and the seven ecclesiastical orders, and the dignity of all of them and their serenity and piety. And the Syrians wondered and glorified God for the magnitude of the grace which rested upon the clergy of |395 Alexandria, through the holy favour of Saint Mark the evangelist. Therefore, beholding these things, they said what David says in the psalm 31 : «As we have heard, so have we seen.» And they rejoiced with a great spiritual joy, according to that which is written in the Acts 32 : «A report came to the ears of the Church in Jerusalem concerning them, so they sent Barnabas to Antioch, and when he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced.»

The envoys remained with the holy father John a few days, and then he bade them farewell with respect and honour, after he had written for them an answer to their letter. So they departed to their own country glorifying God for what they had witnessed.

I desire, my holy fathers, to bring to an end my discourse concerning the deeds of our blessed father Abba John. This I do, not because my faltering tongue could not relate a few more of his actions; but, while I record the names of the holy men who lived in his time, I must describe for your Paternities their good works and their prophecies, that your hearts may be gladdened, as it is written 33 : «When the righteous are commemorated, the people rejoice.» There was in those days at Al-Burlus a holy old man, named George, who was beautiful in his conduct. And |396 through the Holy Ghost, he used to see that which was about to happen far away by a great mystery, before the event took place so that he might know it, on account of his excellent virtues. Now Abba George, bishop of Misr had gone to his rest at that time; and he was a holy man, merciful and generous in alms-giving; and he had lived long among the people of Misr, ruling them in purity and justice. Therefore the faithful people mourned for him, and met together and took counsel, and wrote to the father, Abba John, praying him to appoint his son Mark, the deacon, bishop over them at Misr, in the place of George now at rest. When the patriarch read the letter, he was willing that they should obtain their desire because of his pastoral care for their souls; and he commanded that Mark, the deacon, should be promoted to their see. Mark, however, refused the dignity which was offered to him. Thereupon the patriarch caused iron fetters to be placed upon Mark’s feet, and ordained him priest, intending to complete his consecration as bishop. But this proceeding was against Mark’s will, and he was weeping and sad, saying : «O Lord, thou knowest that I am not fit for this post; therefore I pray thee, O my Lord, to save me from this burden which I cannot bear.» And the Lord, who loves mankind, and chooses those whom he elects for his grace before they are born, heard him; for he said to that faithful one : «Rise, leave this place in which thou art.» So he arose at that moment; and the irons fell from his feet, and |397 the door opened for him, and he escaped; and none of those who were guarding him awoke as he went out. When morning came, the patriarch sent for Mark, but found that he was gone. And Abba John, though he gave orders to enquire after the fugitive, could not discover him, and therefore was indignant. Then the patriarch appointed a son of his, named Cosmas, and ordained him for the people of Misr; but after a short time he died. And there was a person called Michael, of virtuous life; therefore Abba John consecrated him bishop for them.

And the patriarch was angry with Mark the deacon, because he had escaped and disobeyed his father’s command. So he wrote a letter to the holy father George at Al-Burlus, whom we mentioned at the beginning of this narrative. The letter was written in order to let him know that the patriarch was displeased with his son Mark, on account of his disobedience to his father, and flight from him, and because Mark had lowered the patriarchal dignity in the eyes of the people of Misr. To this the holy George, the prophet, answered, saying : «Let not thy Paternity be angry with thy son because he resisted thee. For thou didst desire to oppose God’s decree, since that which thou didst purpose for Mark was not from God. But God has reserved him, that he may receive thy see and thy primacy after thee.» When the father patriarch heard this prophecy, he marvelled; for he believed all that the holy old hermit said to him. And when Mark learnt this, he returned to the patriarch, and prostrated himself before him and |398 asked his pardon. And he was no longer displeased with Mark, who from that day enjoyed high estimation with the patriarch, and was never separated from him again, but accompanied him wherever he went.

Then the patriarch betook himself to Fustât Misr, on account of the taxes which were imposed upon the Church property; and this was the last time that he went thither. And Satan, the hater of good, contrived that certain persons should attack Abba John. For Satan said : «This old man resists me, and builds churches and memorials; I also will cause his remuneration to be scanty.» There was at that time a governor who hated Christ; and Satan suggested to him that he should demolish some of the churches of Misr. But the Lord who loves mankind speedily took vengeance on that man, and he suddenly died an evil death. And after him there was appointed in his room a person who favoured the Christians. So he directed them to clean out the churches, which his predecessor had begun to pull down; but he did not bid them rebuild. Now the patriarch was at Misr, where he had accomplished all his duties, and was intending to return to Alexandria. But it was the feast of the Lord, the 28th. day of Kîhâk. So the bishops and laity begged him to celebrate the Liturgy for them, and to communicate them, before he separated from them. And this prophecy was current among them, that they should receive the Holy Mysteries from his hand before his departure from this world. |399

And when he entered the church, he saw that it had no roof. Therefore he sighed, saying : «O my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, thou saidst to Peter, the chief of the disciples : I will build my church upon the rock, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against her. And though some of the hypocritical princes have oppressed her somewhat, yet according to thy word she shall never be destroyed. Proud princes like Diocletian and Julian and such as resembled them have been repulsed, but the Church is exalted in every age, and faith is perfected. O Lord, I pray and implore that thou wilt renew the Church by grace, and overthrow all the hypocritical princes that oppose her, and show them their weakness speedily, and bring their counsels to nought. And grant me a governor, seeking the truth, who will command that the churches be rebuilt, and restored to their former condition of decency and beauty, by making thy light to rise among them.»

And while he was praying with these and similar words, he heard, like the blessed David, a voice saying : «As for thee, I will take thee to myself, and give thee rest from the troubles of this world. But he who shall come after thee is he that shall build and restore the churches.» When the patriarch heard these words, he began the liturgy; and as soon as he had finished the service, he communicated the laity of the Holy Mysteries, and gave them the salutation of peace. Afterwards the bishops returned to their dioceses. At that time our father, Abba John, was attacked by fever, and |400 he began to suffer from pains in his head. Now the fathers and bishops hoped that he might attain his desires, and that his heart might be satisfied; and they said to him : «Our father, let not thy heart be troubled because the church is wrecked! The Lord will raise up for it one who will rebuild it, so that it shall be better than it was before, in return for thy prayers and thy holy life.» But the patriarch did not heed their words, for his heart was occupied with the voice that he had heard, telling him that he was about to depart from this world. So he prayed the bishops, saying to them : «Take me to my city, the place which the Lord chose for me, that I may worship the Lord upon the throne of my father, Mark the evangelist, before my soul leaves my body.»

And they obeyed him, and carried him to a boat. And there were with him of the bishops Michael, bishop of Misr, and George, bishop of Memphis. And on the day of their departure from Misr, a new governor, named El-Laith, son of El-Fadl, was appointed over Egypt; and he was a good man and favoured the Christians. And while we went down the river, the patriarch began to address us, as he sat in the boat, saying : «A thought has come into my mind, which I will tell you for the sake of your holy lives; and I will reveal to you what lies hid from you. You know what trouble I have encountered, and how I have endured even to the shedding of blood. But now I am about to be removed to the place where my fathers dwell. For I prayed God not to take me away suddenly without fruit, but to leave me for one year, and to grant to me that I might turn |401 to him with my whole heart, and repent and weep over my sins. And I prayed him to let me see a just governor in the land of Egypt, who would favour the Christians. And God did not refuse me this request, but granted me life for one year, the end of which will be in these few days. And the tidings has reached me that a governor has been appointed, and that he does all that is good to the churches and the brethren. But I am about to depart to God, and you will see me no more in the body; for my time, of which I have been warned by God, is at hand. Therefore listen now. When I am dead, hasten and place him whom God shall choose upon the throne.»

The fathers and bishops, on hearing these words, were assured of the patriarch’s approaching death. Therefore they gave vent to sighs, and could not endure their grief through the abundance of their tears, on account of his saying : «You will see me no more in the body.» And they said to him : «Our father, when God revealed thy departure from this world, of whom did he make known to thee that he would sit upon the throne after thee?» Abba John replied : «It is he whom God has preserved till now, and whom he has chosen to rule his people. I indeed desired to make him a bishop; but it was God’s dispensation to keep him for this ministry. It is, namely, my son, the priest Mark.» This the patriarch said, while they were descending the river on the boat. And when he arrived at the city of Alexandria, his sickness and fever grew heavy upon him. And here is another wonder which God manifested to our holy father, |402 Abba John, and which must not be left unnoticed. For on the 16th. day of the month of Tubah, the feast of the holy martyr Philotheus, which was the birthday of this father, as it is generally related, and also the day on which he was ordained patriarch, —- on that very day he gave up his soul to the Lord.

Abba John remained upon the throne twenty-four years, and his death took place in the year 515 of the Martyrs. So the grief of the orthodox laity was great that day on his account. And when the prayers and the liturgy had been said for him, his holy body was laid with his holy fathers, the Theodosian patriarchs. And the Lord received his pure soul; and he was numbered with the saints in the land of the living. Glory is due to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his merciful Father and to the Holy Ghost, the Giver of life, now and at all times and for ever and ever! Amen.


Then the two bishops returned in haste to Misr, namely Abba Michael, the bishop of that city, and George, bishop of Memphis, that they might |403 forward the appointment of a successor to Abba John. So when the bishops and orthodox laity assembled at Alexandria, and took counsel together as to whom they should nominate, the bishops said : «We have heard that our father, Abba John, mentioned the name of the priest Mark, and said that it was he that should sit after him.» Then all the clergy cried with one voice : «He is worthy indeed of this rank. He is the saint who has been approved by the Holy Ghost, and was approved by our blessed father John all the days that he remained with him.» Then all the bishops and clergy wrote a letter, addressed to Michael, bishop of Misr, saying thus : «Thy Paternity knows the state of orphanhood into which we are fallen, through the departure of our blessed father, Abba John, to the Lord at this mournful time, and also how the princes are changed. And thy Paternity knows that a flock of sheep without a shepherd is entered and scattered by the wolf, and that every city without a wall is destroyed by the enemy. For this cause we have assembled in the Great Church of Alexandria with the fathers and bishops, and have written with one consent that our hearts approve the priest Mark, that he may be a father to us. For we know that the Lord has chosen him, and that our departed father informed you of this before his death. Therefore we say, as the blessed David said 34 : Instead of the fathers there came sons, whom thou shalt make rulers over all the land.» |404

This letter was conveyed to its destination by some of the bishops and the archdeacon of the city. But when the priest Mark received the news of the letter, which had been written concerning him, he was much grieved, and immediately rose up and fled to the monastery of Saint Macarius in Wadî Habîb. Now the desert was at that time like the Paradise of God, inhabited by holy and spiritual men, one of whom prophesied of this saint that he was worthy of this ministry, as we related above. Then when the father, Abba Michael, bishop of Misr, read the letter, he recalled the words of his teacher, Abba John, the deceased patriarch. Therefore Michael summoned all the chief men at Misr, and they went to the governor. And the bishops, that is Abba Michael and the envoys, entered into the governor’s presence, for he admitted no other. And he said to them : «What is your business?» Abba Michael replied : «We make it known to thy lordship that our father, the chief and father of our religion, whom we had, is dead.» Then the governor asked : «What then do you desire?» They answered : «May God lengthen thy days! There are heavy taxes upon the property of the Church, and therefore we desire to appoint a successor to him, who may administer the affairs of the Church and the people.» Then the governor enquired : «And what is his name ?» They said that it was Mark. So he ordered that Mark’s name should be written in the Divan, and then gave them permission to appoint him in the place of Abba John. And they went out from his presence. |405

After this the bishop, Abba Michael, learnt that the priest Mark had fled. Now the bishop, Abba Michael, was superintendent of all matters concerning the monasteries. So he at once despatched the bishops and clergy, and bade them fetter Mark, and conduct him to Alexandria. And this they did to him on the 2nd. day of Amshir, the feast of the Father Longinus; and Mark arrived at Alexandria on a Sunday. And among the bishops was George, bishop of Memphis.

And Mark was ordained on the aforesaid day in the city of Alexandria. When he had taken his seat upon the evangelical throne, while all the people bore witness of him that he was worthy, then he read before them the Exegesis, which is called among the orthodox the Logos, in which he declared that he was acquainted with their works. And this Logos was full by the grace of the Holy Ghost of the doctrines of the orthodox; and he demonstrated therein how the Council of Chalcedon had fallen and was rejected; and he explained their error as consisting in the worship of a man. He also refuted those who deny the sufferings of Christ our God, who endured them for our sake by his own will in the body, which according to their teaching was a phantom. And when Abba Mark had performed the service of the Liturgy according to custom, he communicated all the congregation of the Holy Mysteries of the Body and the pure Blood. And |406 when all was accomplished, a week after his consecration came the week of carnival; and therefore he departed to the holy monastery, the Monastery of Az-Zajâj, in order that he might live in retirement there for prayer during the days of the Fast. After he arrived there, he received letters from Abba Michael, bishop of Misr, advising him to repair to Misr after the holy feast of Easter, in order to pay his respects to the governor. This was a dispensation from God, because some of the churches were in a state of ruin up to that time, and therefore the people mourned.

Accordingly, when the feast of Easter was over, the father patriarch, Abba Mark, made his entry into Fustât Misr, that he might salute the governor. And when he reached the city, its bishop, the father Michael, and the people were informed of their patriarch’s arrival, and went out to him, carrying books of the gospel and crosses and censers, and met him with great rejoicing and shouting and chanting; and they said : «Happy and blessed is thy arrival amongst us, O Mark, son of Mark.» Then he proceeded to his lodging to rest, for it was the end of the day. And on the morrow the patriarch and the bishop Michael, and the rest of the bishops assembled with them, arose, that they might pay a visit to the governor. And when they reached the governor’s house, and asked permission to see him, the governor commanded that the patriarch should enter. Then he went in and saluted the governor, who welcomed him; and afterwards |407 the patriarch prayed for him; so that the governor admired the sweetness of Abba Mark’s voice and his gracious words and the grace with which he. was surrounded. So God put good will towards the patriarch into the governor’s heart, and he bade Abba Mark sit beside him, and conversed with him on equal terms, and said to him : «Take courage and be of good comfort, for I will perform all thy needs, and enable thee to obtain all that thou desirest of me.» The patriarch answered : «God will exalt thy authority and make thy days prosperous, and bring thy subjects into accord with thy rule.» And he went out from his presence in peace.

When they afterwards considered the governor’s discourse with Abba Mark, and the interest which the former manifested with regard to the churches, Abba Michael, bishop of Misr, said : «We must take measures for the rebuilding of the churches now, because the governor evidently favours the Christians.» Accordingly, on the morrow the patriarch again visited the governor, and saluted him. And the governor showed respect and honour to Abba Mark, and raised him from the ground and gave him a seat, and addressed him as follows : «I told thee yesterday that I would perform all thy needs, but thou hast asked nothing of me. Now therefore, mention to me whatever thou requirest, and it shall be carried out by me, because I have an affection for thee ». Then the patriarch said to him with soft |408 words : «May the Lord preserve thy days, and exalt thee yet more, and increase thy power! Thou knowest that thy servant has not been made ruler over money and revenue, but over souls and churches. I request then of thy highness, —- for we have here churches, some of which were demolished by the tyrant before thy arrival in Egypt; and so the Lord demolished his houses, and cut off his life from the earth. If then thy wisdom sees good to order that we rebuild our churches, so that we may pray in them and intercede for thy highness, the matter lies in thy hands». Then God quickly put it into the governor’s heart that he should give orders for the restoration of the churches;and accordingly all the churches of Fustât Misr were rebuilt. And all the orthodox rejoiced greatly, and praised God for the great mercy which he had granted to them, and their sadness was turned into joy. And our father Mark uttered praises in the spirit, and sang with David 35 : «Blessed is the Lord who has not rejected my prayer, nor removed his mercy from me».

Then Abba Mark returned to Alexandria, and occupied himself with maintaining the unity of the two sees of Alexandria and Antioch. For he wrote according to custom a synodical letter, which was full of all wisdom, and sent it to Cyriacus, patriarch of Antioch, informing him therein of the decease of the father, Abba John, and relating how he himself had taken his seat upon the evangelical throne. And Abba Mark in his epistle reminded Abba |409 Cyriacus of all the heretics, and of the war waged by our fathers for the true Faith, and renounced all schism and all heretics and the impure council of Chalcedon, as being the cause of doubt throughout the world, and abjured the sect of Nestorius, composed of the new Jews. And Abba Mark declared the concord of the two sees, and called Cyriacus Father and Partner in the ministry. This letter he sent by two bishops who understood how to pronounce an oration in Greek, one of them being Mark, the wise bishop of Tinnîs, and the other also Mark, bishop of Al-Faramâ, besides the deacon George, superintendent of the church of Alexandria.

When they had delivered the synodical to the patriarch Cyriacus, and he had read it, he mourned over the departure of the Father John, and rejoiced at the appointment of the father, Abba Mark, and over the holy bishops. And when the letter was read in the church of Antioch, the souls of the people were filled with joy, as they heard Abba Mark’s words and the wisdom, full of spiritual perfume, which flowed from his heart, full as he was of the Holy Ghost; and they blessed the Lord, and praised the fathers who were counted worthy to sit upon the throne of Mark the evangelist. Then they admired the bishops, who had brought the synodical from Egypt, for their comely faces and garments, and their humility, and the eloquence of their speech and the sweetness of their words. And the bishops stayed a few days with the patriarch, until he dismissed them with gifts worthy of the patriarchal dignity; and he sent by them a letter of salutation, |410 glorifying our holy father, the patriarch Mark. When they reached Egypt, and the letter of the patriarch Cyriacus was read in the churches of Egypt, the people glorified God and rejoiced over the union of the two patriarchs, the one with the other.

We will now record another work done by the Lord in the days of our father Mark, that your hearts may rejoice, and that you may know that he resembled the father Severus and Cyril and Dioscorus, those men who repulsed the heretics in their time. There was a community in Egypt named after Barsanuphi, and also called Those that have no head; and this sect continued a long time, from the days of the patriarch Peter, who held the see after Timothy the confessor, in the time of Zeno, the pious prince; and afterwards they remained in their opposition to the truth. Therefore the father Mark, who concerned himself with the salvation of men’s souls, was sad, and prayed to the Lord for them, saying : «O eternal Lord of hosts, unattainable and inscrutable Light, whom none beholds nor approaches, who seest thy creatures drowned in the depths of sin through their disobedience, thou hast offered us salvation by an incomprehensible mystery, and made earth like heaven by thy death and holy resurrection. As the wise |411 Paul says 36 : That he may gather the nations to himself in peace by the power of his Cross, which destroyed the enemy, and announced peace to us, both those that are near and those that are afar off. Who also didst go to the mountain, until thou hadst brought back the sheep that was lost 37, and saved him from the mouth of the cruel wolf, rescuing him not by sword nor scourge, but by thy great mercy. And thou wast not content with his return, but didst summon the heavenly hosts and the sublime orders of the angels to rejoice with thee, saying to them in thy gospel 38 : Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost. Now, O Lord, hear the prayer of thy servant, and let my prayer enter before thee on behalf of these lost sheep; and let the members of thy Church be gathered together, that they may be one fold and one Shepherd according to the true words of the gospel 39». So the Lord heard his prayer speedily, and moved the hearts of the chiefs of that sect. Now their leader was a man named Abraham, whose father in the flesh was a bishop of theirs. And the patriarch taught those two to recognise the error in which the Barsanuphians were living, having left the fount of the water of life flowing from the evangelical see, and dug for themselves a well of error, as the prophet Jeremias says 40.So they rose up quickly, and visited the patriarch, Abba Mark the Younger, and cast |412 themselves down prostrate before him, saying : «Blessed is God, who has enlightened us by the teachings of thy Holiness, which have come to our ears, and converted us from the error which has kept us in darkness during this long period of time. Now we shall be reckoned among thy sheep, as children of thy evangelical see, which is the see of Saint Mark». Then when our father, the patriarch, saw that they had abandoned their former tenets, and had returned to the spiritual flock, he rejoiced greatly and glorified God for that conversion, and uttered the praises that were fitting in the words of David, where he praises God in the Psalm 41 : «When the Lord turned again the captivity of his people, we became as those that are consoled. Let Jacob rejoice, and Israel sing praises!»

And through the grace of God, shining forth in our holy father, the patriarch, he desired to prove and examine the faith of the two men, whether they were humble as befits those that wish to return to Christ, or were clothed with pride on account of the high offices which they had occupied. Then he said to them with humility and kindness : «Hear what was said by him in whom was the fount of mercy, Paul, the sweet-tongued, in one of his epistles 42 : What portion has the believer with the unbeliever, and what pleasure has Christ in Satan? Therefore now think not that you two will remain in this office which you hold, and which you received from |413 your heretical sect, without ordination according to the canons. For the Holy Ghost did not come down upon you, as he descends upon bishops at the reading of the canonical prayers, established for them by the apostles.» When the two men heard these words of the patriarch, they replied with humility, through the grace which had come to them by the prayers of the holy father, and said to him : «Our holy father, henceforth we are not worthy to be in office nor to remain in it. But we came to thee that we might be under the shadow of thy prayers. Only there is one thing that we beg of thee, that thou wilt pray the Lord to forgive us the offence of our former error and negligence.» This they said in the power of faith and confession. And they requested him to give them ink and paper, as they sat before him; and they wrote in their own handwriting a declaration that they would never, under pain of anathema, solicit of him a bishopric or any clerical office in any place whatsoever. So when he saw how strong their faith was, and that they had returned to the orthodox belief of our holy fathers, who were clothed with light, he blessed them from the depths of his heart, saying like the apostle Paul 43 : «May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, that you may abound in the right faith by the |414 power of the Holy Ghost!» And according to the custom of charity, and the manifestation of good at all times, and the rewarding of it, God soon declared himself to those two men.

Then Abba Mark commanded that those two men, George and his son Abraham, should be received. And after the patriarch had ascertained their intentions, he ordained them bishops, and read the canonical prayers over them, and clothed them with the episcopal vestments in the church of the martyr, Saint Mennas, at Maryût, on the day of his glorious feast, which is the 15th of Hatûr, when all the orthodox people were assembled to keep the martyr’s festival. And the congregation stood upon tiptoe, that they might see what was taking place. And they glorified God, who performed wonders by the hand of this holy man, saying : «Glory be to thee, O Lover of mankind, who hast saved the souls of these two men from the service of Satan, the seducer.» Then when the patriarch had finished the celebration of the holy feast, he returned to the city of Alexandria, accompanied by all the people with great rejoicing; for they praised him because he had presented this offering to the Lord. And he took those two bishops to himself, and attached them to his person. But after a little while two bishops died among those in the land of Egypt, one of them being Apacyrus, bishop of Tunbudha, and the other, Mennas, bishop of Atrîb. Then the patriarch |415 appointed Abraham to Atrîb and George, his father, to Tunbudha; and these two bishops became his elect ones to the day of their death. Glory be to the Lord Jesus Christ, who rejoices over those that return to life!

The Barsanuphians of Egypt, mentioned above, when they saw that their chiefs had returned to orthodoxy, and that no foundation remained for their community, wrote to Abba Mark, praying him to visit them and consecrate their churches. And when he read the letters, he rejoiced exceedingly, and left all his work, and went in haste to Misr, and consecrated their churches and monasteries for them, and established liturgies for them according to the ecclesiastical rule, and gave them the Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, our God. So there was at Fustât Misr great joy and spiritual gladness.

And the Lord Jesus Christ did for our holy father Mark all that he asked of him. And all the congregations assembled to hear his discourse and his salutary doctrines. Thus after a few days he found that the church which he had consecrated for the Barsanuphians, the followers of that doctrine, would not contain the congregation, when he went thither to celebrate the liturgy. Therefore he called the workmen, and spent money upon it from his own resources, so that it was rebuilt and became a handsome edifice. For this reason it is called the patriarch’s church to the present day. |416

And this wonderful grace increased in his days. But the Enemy would not be patient, when he saw this prosperity and these sublime events, and how the patriarch established the divine precepts in the hearts of the faithful, and the liberation of the captives who returned through his prayers. Therefore Satan discharged his arrows against the Church of the east. For he influenced one of the metropolitans of Cyriacus, patriarch of Antioch, named Abraham, so that he spoke perverse words of the mysteries of Christ, such as we should have no desire to record, were it not necessary, lest the hearing them should defile the ears of the faithful and pure. For I know that you are surrounded by grace at all times through that Light of men, Saint Mark; since by the prayers of our father the evangelist there will never be a lack of grace. The error into which that metropolitan strayed was by blaspheming against the mysteries. Then when our father Mark heard of it, he was greatly grieved and said : «What should we gain if we were at all times of one accord in the faith, when this strange doctrine appears in the Church of Antioch? This grief of mine is on account of the union of the orthodox fathers, to which we and they cleave; and above all on account of Paul’s words 44 : «If one member of the body suffers, all the |417 members suffer; and if one member of the body is glorified, the whole body rejoices with it.» This the holy Mark, the patriarch, said, while he was praying to the Lord. And because he cared greatly for the Faith and for union with the Antiochenes, he wrote to the Father Patriarch Cyriacus a letter of which here is a copy : «A report has reached us of the seed that Satan has sown in your holy Church in the error of Abraham. Therefore our Church mourned; and we assembled together on that account, because we never heard before these days of anything out of harmony with our union in the orthodox Faith, and with that which the Lord joined together, when he brought us all into the true light. And now we have become like those who have taken a prisoner, and offered him as a gift to the king; but while he is making provision for him, he is attacked by a strange nation, which takes possession of the captive. But I trust in that king, with whose weapons we are armed to fight his enemies, that he will speedily put his enemies to shame, and deliver the captive from their hands. Therefore, O blessed father, neglect not to seek out the erring one, and feed him with the food with which the sick ought to be fed, namely the word of God. As the teacher Paul wrote to us, saying 45 : Receive the weak in the faith, and help them, not with disputations on opinions, but by the exercise of the art |418 of healing. Human bodies are cured by those who understand their sickness. Through proper treatment of the sick, they are restored to health and grow strong. Thou art now a physician of souls, and, by the power of the doctrine of our Lord Christ, thou wilt remove the disease implanted by the enemy. Salutation to our holy and blessed Father! Amen. »

When this letter reached Cyriacus, patriarch of Antioch, he admired the solicitude shown by this holy man, and strove with all his might to bring back that sinner, but had no power over him. For Satan continued to incline Abraham’s heart; and finally a number of his brother bishops in the regions of Antioch joined him, and went astray with him in this error. Then the people of the east called them Abrahamites; and they separated themselves from the Church and the orthodox Synod.

When our father Mark returned to Alexandria, after the building of the church known by his name, the orthodox rejoiced and were all filled with divine emulation. And Solomon, the pious magistrate, and a band of Christians with him, visited our father, and prayed him earnestly, saying to him : «The whole land of Egypt is filled with joy through the building of the churches, especially that church which thou hast built at Misr. And thou, our father, knowest that during the lifetime of our father, Abba John, we begged him to rebuild the church of the Lord and Saviour, and to enlarge it and increase it, because it stands in the midst of the city. But |419 the work was not done, and the church has remained as it was till now. Therefore we ask thee to let us see this joy in thy days.» But the good shepherd answered and said to them : «You know the jealousy of these neighbours of yours. When we begin to do the work that you have mentioned, they will present petitions to the governor against us, and complain of us; and so we shall fall into trials such as we endured many times from them, I and my father John, during the building of the church of Michael the Angel, also called the church of Repentance.» Nevertheless as often as he spoke to them thus, they begged him again and urged him still more, saying : «Thy holy prayers will be a strong wall for us, so that this monument may be completed». And when he saw the strength and ardour of their faith, he consented to their request.

Then Abba Mark gathered together a body of workmen and architects. And he laid the foundation in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And this church stood in the midst of the city. So the patriarch used to rise at the time of prayer and at cockcrow, that he might witness and superintend the progress of the building, as if he were one of the architects; for the Lord had granted him all wisdom. And Abba Mark counted his labour rest, because he loved good works and the building of churches. And while he went on building the aforesaid church, through the grace of the Lord which |420 descended upon him, he adorned it with all kinds of decoration, until it became a sadness to the Chalcedonian heretics, and a joy and delight to the faithful orthodox.

And on the 17th. day of Tût, the feast of the Cross, the bishops who were in the district of Alexandria, with other neighbouring bishops of Egypt, assembled together; and the church was consecrated in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. How great was the joy on that day, with the singing of hymns and pronouncing of blessings and glorifying of God, as the heavenly orders do in the highest! And the patriarch gave large alms on that day to the poor and needy. How many were the works of the glorious father, Mark the patriarch! For they cannot be counted, nor can my feeble tongue describe them.

In those days the father appointed a superintendent over the patriarchal service. But that superintendent was full of jealousy and malice against all men, and especially against a secretary of our father Abba Mark, whom he accused of all wickedness, in order that our father, the patriarch, might cast out that secretary, and commit the care of the church to the superintendent by himself alone. And although our father restrained him, and forbad him to say such words, yet he would not receive the medicine from the physician. So on a certain day, namely the 16th. day of Tubah, when the holy father was about to commemorate the death of the father John, who went to his rest on that day, that wicked man appeared, and began to calumniate the brother and secretary, as Joseph’s brethren did to him. Then the |421 patriarch said to him : «Now is thy malady dangerous. Now we have tried upon thee every means of saving thy soul; but instead of checking thyself thou growest worse. Therefore now let thine injustice rest upon thine own head, as the prophet says in the psalm 46». And there was near them a picture, in which the glorious Lady Mary was painted with the Lord Christ in her lap; and it was set up in the chamber where the patriarch sat. So that superintendent looked upon it, and, stretching out a finger of his right hand, he said : «By her power, if I have told a lie in that which I have related, may this picture take vengeance upon me!» Now hear the bitter fate that befell this wretch according to the denunciation of that holy prophet, who spoke with authority. For he uttered against him words full of terror, like the words of Daniel 47the prophet to the two old men who contradicted the testimony of the chaste Susanna, saying : «O thou that art grown old in wickedness, the angel of the Lord shall strike thee and cut thee in two, as he did to those who bore false witness against Susanna». And at that moment, when the words which came from his mouth were ended, that wretched man fell at the patriarch’s feet upon his right side, that being the side of his right hand, which he had stretched out towards the picture with evil intent; and he was struck with paralysis of one side, which lasted to the day of |422 his death. Therefore, when men saw this miracle and this terrible occurrence, they all feared the patriarch’s words, which were like the words of the prophets.

Now my lords and fathers, and ye children of the orthodox, I told you at the beginning that I could never give a perfect account of the deeds of my fathers, as the greatness of those deeds deserves; for I am like the gleaner after the reapers. And I have no illuminating wit, because I am plunged in the darkness of my sins. Yet from reliable and truthful persons, who were constantly ministering to our holy fathers, we have heard the narratives which we are relating in part. I will therefore give a further description of that which was manifested by this father, the patriarch Abba Mark, that you may marvel and glorify God for the mercy and compassion which he shows to his elect. As Paul says 48 : «For those that love God he does every excellent work».

There was in the time of this saint a great plague of locusts, which appeared in the province of Al-Buhairah and near Alexandria, and devoured all the fruits of the earth and of the vineyards. As it is written in the Psalm 49 : «He spoke, and locusts and grasshoppers came, and ate up all the green things on the earth». So the father was sad when he was informed of this calamity. And he bade the orthodox people proceed forth with incense |423 and crosses and books of the gospel, and pray the merciful God to remove from them the wrath which had descended upon them. And the father went out with them and besought God in his heart with abundant tears. Thus they marched outside the city to the place where the locusts were, as Abba Mark directed them. There they saw the locusts, which had flown up high into the air; and there were so many of them that the air was darkened. And the tears of the people were mixed with their prayers. Then the patriarch said : «O Lord of mercy and pity, destroy us not for our sins and offences, but turn away from our transgressions for thy mercy’s sake. As thou didst hear the people of Nineve, hear, O Lord, our supplication, and accept our petition. And as thou didst hear the prayer of Moses in ancient times, and drive away the locusts from the land of Egypt, so hear our request to-day, and look upon the tears of thy people and their sighs which come from the depth of their hearts, and remove this wrath from us». If we did not abhor prolixity, we would fully report all the prayers and humble supplications that they offered, and their ardour and their weeping. And God is the Mighty one, who hears the prayers of his servants, and delivers those that cry to him. How great was that miracle, in no respect less than that which took place in the days of Moses! How great was the power of Christ in our father the patriarch! For at that very hour the locusts flew away over the heads of the people, and afterwards |424 came down again upon the waves of the sea, where they all perished, through his prayers.

Hear now, my fathers and brothers, a thing at which your hearts will rejoice on account of the gift of divine mercy, which God gave to this father. After this event, while he was returning from Misr, and was making a visitation of the people, he passed through a town now called Agharwah, but in former times Aghra. And the clergy came out to meet him according to the custom, that they might chant before him, with a body of the laity, chief men and leaders of the people; and he blessed them and prayed for all of them. And there came out among the others a person possessed by a devil, which threw him down in the midst of the people, and choked him until foam flowed from his mouth. So our father, when he saw that man, pitied him and was sorry, and being filled with the Holy Ghost, said to the people : «Bring him to me.» Then Abba Mark signed that man’s face with the sign of the Gross, and said : «O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Word of the Father, who didst confound the devils and free thy creatures from them, thou art he whom the devils recognised, and thou art he who didst cast them down to Hell, wherefore they cried 50 : What have |425 we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God, art thou come to destroy us before the time when we shall be chastised? Now, my Lord Jesus Christ, drive away this unclean devil, and cast him out of this man!» And when he had said this, the man fell upon the ground, and became unconscious and tranquil as if he were asleep; and when he arose, a moment afterwards, the devil had left him through the patriarch’s prayers. So that man threw himself at Abba Mark’s holy feet, and thanked God for the deliverance thus granted. Then the father repeated to him the words, addressed by Jesus in the gospel to the man with the withered hand, after he healed him : «Thou art made whole, therefore sin no more, lest worse things than this befall thee 51. And beware how thou goest up to receive the Holy Mysteries, and learn that the punishment which overtook thee was because thou didst communicate of the Holy Mysteries unprepared. Therefore guard thyself from vain words, which come forth from thy mouth.»

You have seen then, my friends, this excellent grace of which our father, the patriarch Abba Mark, was counted worthy, and that by the word of his mouth he cast out devils by command and with authority, like the pure apostles and disciples of Christ. He also anointed many of the sick with oil in the name of the Lord Christ, and prayed over them, and they quickly recovered their health. And if any objector say : «Why did he |426 not cure himself of the painful sickness from which he suffered?», let him read in the scriptures, and he will find that God declares that he tries his elect by sicknesses and trials. So, for example, he tried Job the truthful by leprosy; and Joseph by his being cast into the pit by his brothers; and Daniel with the fierce lions; and the three youths in the furnace of fire; and Isaias with the wooden saw. But the prophets and good men of this class are many, and if we were to relate all that each of them suffered, the volumes would not contain it. For if the shadow of the apostle Peter 52 passed over a sick man in the way, he was healed of his sickness; and therefore the sick used to sit in the road which Peter would traverse, and then his shadow passed over them, and they were healed. And Paul 53 had a pustule in his leg, from which he suffered, and which he could not cure; but God only tried him thereby in mercy to him, lest he should magnify himself when he was working miracles in the name of Christ. Simeon, the hermit, also suffered from inveterate ulcers, which he could not cure; although by his prayers he healed the blind, and cleansed lepers, and did many works; and he continued in his sickness three years. And our holy |427 father, Abba Mark the patriarch, continued in his pains twelve years. Yet he used to give thanks to God, saying : «I thank thee my Lord and God, because thou hast counted me worthy of these sufferings like Lazarus the beggar.» And the people and all the land of Egypt remained in peace and prosperity all his days.

But Satan, the hater of good, would not endure patiently, because he saw Abba Mark’s works and wonders, which increased every day. Therefore he began to raise up seditions against the land of Egypt, and there was mourning in every place, including Alexandria. And great trouble came upon the patriarch, such that no man who hears of it can refrain from weeping. Now therefore I will relate to you that which happened.

In those days Hârûn ar-Rashîd had died at Bagdad; and his son Muhammad, called Al-Amîn, sat in his father’s place. The cause of offence was that Hârûn ar-Rashîd before his death had assembled the chief personages of the empire, and said to them : «After me, the caliphate belongs to my son, the lord Al-Ma’mûn.» But when Muhammad al-Amîn heard of this, he was filled with anger, and gathered a host together, and made war upon his brother. But Al-Ma’mûn killed Al-Amîn, and sat upon the throne of the empire. When the strife broke out between the two brothers, a certain rebel arose, and assembled an innumerable army, and kept the road between |428 Egypt and the East. And he robbed those that were journeying to Misr or Upper Egypt or Abyssinia or Nubia of all their goods; so that travelling was interrupted on the roads and all the tracks through fear of him. This attack upon Egypt lasted long on account of the disturbed state of the government of Bagdad. And the insurgents rose against the government in Egypt, and gathered the taxes for themselves. There was among them a man, called Abd al-Azîz al-Jarawi, who seized the land from Shatnûf to Al-Faramâ, with the eastern province of Egypt, Bilbais and its territory. And there was one named As-Sarî, son of Al-Hakam, who took the country between Misr and Aswan. These two men took possession of the revenues. Moreover those that are called Lakhm and Judhâm, the two tribes, seized the western part of Egypt and the districts of Alexandria and Maryût, and ruled over the whole of Al-Buhairah. These two tribes were generally at war one with the other, and plundered one another; and the country suffered greatly from them. So when they reduced the city of Alexandria to extremities, the inhabitants prayed, and implored the Lord’s help, and begged him to deliver them from this tyrannical people.

Now there was in those days to the west of Alexandria a monastery, known as the Monastery of Az-Zajâj, at which there was an aged hermit, endowed with grace to see through the Holy Ghost signs and visions; and his name was John. And he said to the Alexandrians prophetically : «I see that you are distressed by this people. In the same way, believe |429 me, a nation will come from the west, and will destroy without mercy this people and this city, and plunder all that it contains.» And after he had said this, Alexandria was invaded by a host of those who are called Spaniards, laden with much booty from the islands of the Romans. And they continued to make raids from Egypt, as they had done elsewhere, upon the islands of the Romans, plundering them, and bringing the captives to Alexandria, and selling them as slaves. Therefore when our father Mark saw these captives, he was grieved because human beings were sold, as if they were cattle; moreover many of them became Muslims. And because his heart was compassionate he redeemed many of them, such as monks and priests and deacons and virgins and mothers of children, until he had bought as many as six thousand souls. When he purchased one of these prisoners, he wrote a deed of emancipation for him on the spot, and gave into his hand a letter which set him free. And Abba Mark said to those whom he liberated : «If any of you wish to settle with me, he shall be as my son. But to him that desires to return to his native country I will give the means of bringing him to his own people.» And many of them, when they saw his deeds, settled with him. And he placed them with teachers, who taught them the Psalms and the doctrine of the Church. But to those that preferred to go back to their people he gave provisions for the journey and all that they required. Then the report of him and what he did was spread abroad in the kingdoms and among the officials |430 of the various states, and he gained a fair fame among them. Therefore Satan was filled with envy against him on account of his deeds, and brought trials upon him and showed the sting of his wickedness.

There was in the city of Alexandria in those days a governor of high lineage among the Muslims, named Omar son of Mâlik. But the tribes of Lakhm and Judhâm and Madlajah rose against him and sought to slay him, that they might take possession of the city. So they began to fight with him, but could not prevail against him. And there was among the Spaniards a very old man who had come to Alexandria in his youth, and was skilful in all guile and deceit; and he acted as mediator between the tribe of Lakhm and the Spaniards, in order that the latter might assist the former to kill the governor; and they all came to an agreement upon this matter. Accordingly the Spaniards joined the Lakhmites on the 10th. day of Ba’ûnah, in the year 530 of the Martyrs; and, after the old man’s suggestions had been accepted by them, he acted as their guide in this deed. Then they killed the governor and took possession of the city. And that which happened subsequently is such as to sadden and grieve us. For on the day after the murder of the governor, namely the 11th. of Ba’ûnah, there was a quarrel between the Lakhmites and the Spaniards; and instead of peace hostility and war broke out. And there was an encounter between |431 them, and the fighting did not cease till night, when the Spaniards were victorious. When the Alexandrians saw these things, they drew their swords and marched into the streets and lanes and baths and houses, and killed any of the Spaniards that they found in any place; and the number of those whom they slew was eighty souls. When the combatants parted, and the Lakhmites fled, the Spaniards enquired after their comrades; and, having been informed that the Alexandrians had slain them, were filled with fury like fierce lions, for they were very courageous, and drew their swords, and sallied forth raging through the city, and killed all the townsmen that they met, whether Muslims or Christians or Jews. And wherever the Spaniards found one of their comrades who had been slain, they burnt that place with fire. Thus when they reached the church of the Saviour, which is called the Soter and was rebuilt by our father Mark, they found some of their nation lying at its doors, because the Muslims had killed them there in the houses, and carried them out and cast them by the door of the church. This sight exasperated the Spaniards; and at that moment there appeared a wicked old man, looking down upon the street from the roof of the houses; and he was Satan who appeared in that form. And he said to the Spaniards : «I saw the master of this church kill your comrades.» Then they |432 set fire to the church; and the conflagration spread so far that it consumed buildings at a distance from the church.

When our father heard of this calamity, he wept bitterly and was exceedingly sad. For those men slew a countless number of people, and pillaged and burnt many buildings. After this narrative we now desire to speak of the sufferings which entered the heart of our father, the patriarch Mark, especially with regard to the church of the Soter. He lamented in the words of the Psalm 54 : «O God, the heathen are entered into thine inheritance, and have defiled thy holy temple. They have turned Jerusalem into ruins like the darkness of a prison. They have made the dead bodies of thy servants food for the birds of the air, and the flesh of thy saints for the beasts of the earth, and have shed their blood like water around Jerusalem, and they have none to bury them». Then he descended from his throne, and sat on the ground, and continued this lamentation, as the blessed Job says 55: «I was in peace and he scattered me abroad, and stripped my garment from me, and shot his arrows at me». These and similar words he uttered, and did not break his fast that day nor that night; and none could make him sit upon his throne nor even on a mat; but he lay upon the ground mourning. Then at midnight he arose to pray according |433 to his custom. And early on the next day he went out in company with two of his sons. And he said : «O holy city, in which much slaughter has been committed, and of which the enemy has taken possession! O throne on which I believed that I should never sit! O home of my holy fathers, clothed with light, where they died in joy and gladness, while I have become a stranger therein for my sins!» This he said; and then he went forth from the city, and journeyed from place to place, crossing rivers of waters and passing over difficult ground. In this state of distress he remained during five years after his departure from the city, like one who has been taken captive. Yet all this time he used to thank God day and night.

What trials befell the children of the church at that time, and the fathers and bishops, and the chief of the laity! But they used to come to the patriarch, and console him, and consult him; and each of them begged to be allowed to entertain him as a guest, in order to receive his blessing; but he would never consent. And the pious official Macarius, son of Seth, a native of Nebrûwah, was of the diocese of Samannûd. Therefore when he heard what had happened, he arose and went to the residence of Abd al-Azîz, who was in possession of the eastern provinces, and solicited his protection for the father patriarch, Abba Mark, saying : «The tribes which have conquered Alexandria have robbed him of all his goods, and he has left his |434 see, and is come to live beneath the shadow of God and thy shadow. Therefore, if I have gained any favour before thee, write him a letter in thine own name, that he may be encouraged by thy command to dwell in his place in confidence».

Then Abd al-Azîz wrote an urgent decree, as the pious official requested. At that time the official acted the part of Dorotheus, the magistrate of Sakhâ, with whom the holy father Severus lodged until he died; for he sent messengers from his house with the decree of the Amir to the father patriarch, praying him to come and live in the dwelling of that official. So our father the patriarch arose and prayed, and journeyed till he arrived at Nebrûwah. And the official came forth with all his household to meet the patriarch, in honour of his primacy, and, on seeing the father, prostrated himself before him in the power of his faith, saying : «The Lord has done for me to-day a merciful deed in bringing thy Paternity to lodge at the house of thy servant. For I believe that thy coming to us will be a blessing and a healing to our souls». Thereupon he conducted him to the church, with chanting before him, as the rule for the patriarchs is. Afterwards he established him in a place befitting his primacy, in a building erected by that magistrate’s parents, and dedicated to Saint Macarius of Wadî Habîb.

But in spite of all these troubles the holy father did not relinquish his care for the holy churches at Alexandria, and the patriarchate, and the |435 church of the martyr Saint Mennas at Maryût, nor for the union of the separated members of the church of Antioch, who had been led astray by the metropolitan Abraham and his followers. While Abba Mark was taking thought for these matters, the Lord removed the father Cyriacus of Antioch, and he went to his rest. After him an excellent person, named Dionysius, was elected. When he took his seat upon the throne, he began to make gentle advances to Abraham, and brought back many of those who had erred in his company; and they showed signs of repentance, and confessed their error. As soon therefore as our holy father Mark heard of this, he rejoiced greatly, and hastened to write a letter to the father Dionysius, patriarch of Antioch, expressing interest in the conversion of the erring. The opening of the letter was thus : «Blessed be the Lord and God of glory, who has never ceased to care for his flock, that is his Church, those whom he bought with his pure Blood and taught at the beginning. Verily thy Paternity will become by his holy name, as he testified of Paul 56 : He shall be for me a chosen vessel in my Name before kings and gentiles. So by his holy will he has elected thee especially at this time to which we have been assigned, and which is the end, as the blessed apostle says 57. Now I beg thy Paternity to offer many prayers and supplications to the merciful Lord Christ, our God, that he may guide us and his Church, since we are in |436 great poverty; for by his inscrutable decrees he will finish what he has begun». Abba Mark continued : «The gentiles have entered his inheritance, and defiled our holy temples, and made the great city of Alexandria like a prison, through the fighting that has taken place therein between the tribes. At last the slain found none to bury them; and many of their corpses became food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth». Such were the thoughts which he expressed, because these events were like that which is written concerning Jerusalem in the Lamentations of the prophet Jeremias, with reference to the fate of that city after the Resurrection of the Lord Christ, when, in punishment for the sins of the misbelieving Jews, God sent against them Titus, prince of the Romans, the miscreant Magian, to do to them what is described in the second part of the writings of Josephus, son of Cyrtus, who undertook to compile the history of the Jews. «For this reason,» pursued the patriarch, «we quitted the city because of what we had witnessed therein. For they refrained not from slaying and plundering and burning. And there was none to hinder them. Therefore we have chosen to live in exile, and to pray to the Lord Christ our God. These things we desired to make known to thy Paternity. But there is great sorrow on account of those that have separated themselves from the Church, through the fault of him that is called Abraham! |437 Therefore when we heard recently that some of them have sought repentance, and are returning from their errors, we rejoiced greatly, and forgot the griefs which surround us. For if there were unity in the holy Church, and she remained at peace, graces would be doubled among us. Now, my holy Father, we know the mercy of the Lord Christ, our God, who came into the world not for the sake of the good, but for the sake of sinners. Therefore open to them now the door of repentance, and lead them to the way of truth, that the heavenly orders may rejoice at their return, because they are numbered among the children of light».

When this letter reached the father Dionysius, he, as well as the whole Syrian people, was much pleased by the forethought and goodness of our father, Abba Mark. And by this means the patriarch brought back those that had gone astray in those days, when they heard his letter, all but a few who continued to adhere to Abraham, the source of their error, and who are called Abrahamites to this day. So the Church of Antioch rejoiced greatly.

Then the father Dionysius, patriarch of Antioch, wrote a synodical letter to the father, Abba Mark, to show him the bond of charity which existed between them, and to thank him for his love and care for the salvation of all men. For this there was great joy in the land of Egypt and in the East, on account of this unity; and they glorified God. |438

But when God’s favour had thus been shown, Satan, the perpetual adversary of peace and supporter of evil, would not endure it. Therefore he began to bring great trouble upon the desert of Wadî Habîb, which is a place where the Arabs dwell. Now the desert of Wadî Habîb had been like the Garden of Eden. But the Arabs plundered it, and took the monks captive, and demolished the churches and the cells there. And the holy seniors were scattered in every part of the world. When therefore the father, Abba Mark, saw such a calamity, this saint and mine of spiritual charity, whence love and faith abounded towards all men, especially those in the holy desert of our fathers, meditated on these things. And he could not bear this grief, but besought the Lord from the depths of his heart, repeating the words of David in the Psalm 58 : «My heart is disquieted within me, and in my reins a fire is kindled. O Lord, let me know my end; for my hope is vanished, and I have no harbour of safety where I can be secure. For the joy of Egypt has ceased, and Wadî Habîb, the Holy of Holies, has become a ruin, the dwelling of wild beasts. The homes of our blessed fathers, who passed their nights in prayer, have become the resort of the owl and the dens of cruel foxes, namely this |439 foul tribe.»Thus our father did not cease to weep night and day for the distress and grief which had come, and especially for the ruin of the holy monasteries and their churches.

So when the Lord saw these trials and griefs which this holy man was enduring, he desired to give him rest from the treachery of this world. Accordingly he was attacked by a fever during a few days. Then Mark the evangelist appeared to him in a dream on the 17th. day of Barmûdah, which was the Sunday of Easter that year, and said to him : «Rejoice, O Mark, my trusted successor; rejoice, O champion of the Truth! Behold the Lord Jesus Christ grants thee this favour, that he will transfer thee to his eternal mansions on the day of his holy Resurrection. Be ready to meet him this night, when thou shalt be parted from this body. And this shall be a sign to thee. When thou shall partake of the Holy Mysteries, God will receive thy soul to himself.» Therefore the holy father on awaking said to the bishops sitting with him : «Hasten to celebrate the Liturgy in honour of the Resurrection of Christ our Lord.» But as the fathers and bishops saw him much agitated, they did not wish to leave him; nevertheless, after he had made the sign of the Cross over them, they did as he desired, and said the Liturgy. And when the Liturgy was finished, they brought the Chalice to him; and he partook of the Body and Blood of Christ our God. Afterwards, having said to them : «I |440 commend you all to the Lord», he opened his mouth and gave up the ghost. O how great was that sorrow which fell upon all the orthodox! Thereupon they gathered around his body, and read the appointed office over him, and enshrouded him, and laid him in a wooden coffin, which they placed in the church of Nebrûwah, until God should permit its removal to Alexandria. Abba Mark had occupied the see twenty years and seventy days; and he died on the 22nd. of Barmûdah, in the year 535 of the Martyrs, ruling the holy Church. He wrote during his pontificate twenty one books of Mystagogia, and twenty Festal Letters. And he went to dwell with the Saints in the Land of the Living. Glory belongs to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen.


Before the decease of the holy father, Abba Mark, the holy desert of Wadî Habîb had been laid waste; and this devastation had so tried the |441 said father, that he besought the Lord to remove him from this world, and not to leave him to the sorrow which he endured for those monasteries, because of what they suffered at the hands of the miscreant Arabs, through their having taken possession of them and driven out our holy fathers who dwelt there, and killed many, and burnt the churches and the manshûbahs 59, that is to say, the cells, with fire. In consequence of this slaughter, the monks were dispersed among the cities and villages and monasteries, in the various provinces of Egypt and the two Thebaids. Thus none was left in the cells of Wadî Habîb save a few persons, who chose death, that they might redeem the life of their brothers by their own life, and so inherited eternal life by their endurance. And God protected them, so that none did them any further hurt or injury.

At that time there was in the monastery of our father Macarius a priest, called James, who shed light around him by his conduct. When the devastation of the monasteries began, he quitted them and departed to a monastery in Upper Egypt, that he might serve God there, while awaiting a time when he might return to the holy mountain of Mîzân al-Kulûb, or Wadî Habîb. And the Lord, the Lover of mankind, who knows the hidden secrets, which he reveals to his saints at all times, working his will among them, |442 performed a wonderful thing concerning this holy priest James, whom we have named, since he was counted worthy to receive a revelation. For while he was in his cell at prayer according to his custom, he saw a marvellous vision, in which our pure Lady, the Mother of the Light, appeared to him standing beside his head at night, wearing a great crown, and shining with a very great light, and accompanied by two angels. And the Queen of Truth said to him : «O my son James, what harm have I done to thee? It is I that have brought thee up from thy childhood, and preserved thee till now, since my beloved son elected thee from the time when thou wast in thy mother’s womb, to set thee over his household; and yet now thou hast departed from me. Do not so, but rise up and return to the place which thou hast quitted. For thou shalt be chief over a great congregation, namely those who have been chosen for the place of rest; and that time is near and not far off». Then a great fear fell upon him. But he had not two minds nor any manner of doubt concerning the dream which he had beheld; nay, he rose up quickly, and returned to the holy desert, Mîzân al-Qulûb. As soon as he arrived there, the Lord desired that he should be comforted, and caused the spiritual father Macarius to appear to him, saying : «Blessed is thy coming hither, O thou in whom the Lord has confidence! See now, be not of two minds, and doubt not concerning the dream which thou hast seen, for through thee my sons shall reassemble in their dwellings, from which Satan has scattered them». |443

Thus James continued among the monks who had remained in their places, comforting and consoling them day after day. After he had seen that dream, he grew in devotion and in good works, until he witnessed great and sublime wonders; and all those that saw the light that shone around him knew that God had chosen him. At that time God granted him a wonderful communication. While he was standing in prayer at night, and spending the rest of the night working with his hands according to his custom, fear and dread came over him, and he wept sore. His companions said to him : «What has befallen thee, my holy Father, art thou not asleep?» And he replied : «My sons, my thoughts have been caught up to high places, and I heard things concerning our holy father, Abba Mark, that he would remain patriarch forty years. But afterwards I heard another thing from the Lord, that he will take our father the patriarch to his rest this year. Therefore I wept with a burning heart. Then I prayed the Lord to choose him whom he will seat upon this throne for his merit». After these words he was silent. And only a short time passed after he had seen that vision before the holy father Mark first fell sick of his mortal sickness, as we have related that he prayed the Lord to remove him to himself. And there were with the father Mark bishops, who prayed him humbly, |444 saying : «Our blessed Father, we beg thee to tell us what the Lord has revealed to thee. Who is worthy to sit after thee upon the evangelical throne?» But the holy father would not reveal nor declare to the bishops that he knew aught of this matter, only answering them thus : «The Lord has lighted the lamp, and set it on the candlestick, that it may give light to all in the house, which is his Church». But one of the bishops, in whom was a firm faith in the father patriarch, stood up and began to beg and adjure him, in the name of the Lord and of the holy see, to declare who it was that the Lord had chosen to sit after him upon the throne. Then he answered in a low voice and said to that bishop : «The holy James of the church of our father, Saint Macarius, is the man adorned by his deeds». And he commanded the bishop not to disclose this secret to anyone, and made him swear this for the sake of the Church, that they might see the glory of God perfected in him. After that the holy father died, as we have before related. O the great glory of the throne of Saint Mark the evangelist, and of all that sit thereupon! For by the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Fire, they are chosen and elected through his descent upon each one of them. As the Lord said to his disciples and apostles 60: «Behold, I am with you all days even unto the end of the world». |445

Now I would recount to you a few of the deeds of the holy James, the priest, while he was a monk, before he was ordained priest, and before he sat upon the throne, if I did not know my incapacity, and that I cannot at all attain to an adequate description of the magnitude of his actions, and of the glory of the Trinity which surrounded him. For this reason I will abridge my discourse. As for his ordination and that which he endured at first, those things were a profit and a blessing to all the orthodox.

When our father, the patriarch Abba Mark, went to his rest, the Church and all the people mourned for him deeply, and above all the God-loving city of Alexandria, because they missed the sight of their father among them, and because of his absence from them. After a time the fighting and conflict ceased in Alexandria and Egypt, and among all the tribes of the Spaniards and Lakhmites and Madlajites. Then the people began to pray and beseech God to remember his Church, which he bought with his Blood, and to show them their shepherd, who should feed and console them in their trouble. So the bishops and the Christ-loving laity gathered together, to seek one who was worthy of this degree. And they mentioned many names, and among them that of the illuminator, James the priest. This was a dispensation from God, who placed this name in |446 their mouths because James was the one worthy of this primacy. Then the blessed bishop, to whom the deceased patriarch Mark had spoken of James, the pillar of light, mentioned this fact, and made the secret known to the assembled bishops. Therefore they cried with one voice : «He is worthy, he is worthy, he is worthy, whose deeds are as the deeds of the angels. He is of earth, and yet he is of heaven». So they hastened, and came to the desert, to the church of Saint Macarius, and took the priest James suddenly, before he knew. And they conducted him to the city of Alexandria, while he wept, saying : «Blessed is the Lord! Alas for me, who am unworthy of this great honour! For I am unfit for this office and the great glory to which I am promoted». And he prayed God the whole of that night and day to remove him from this world, before investing him with this dignity. And behold, while he was weeping and praying for this release, he saw a wonderful dream, as he often did; for God consoled him, and said to him, as he said to Jacob 61, the ancient father : «Fear not James, for behold I go with thee to Egypt; and I will strengthen thee and be with thee in thy conflict, that thou mayest deserve the crown like thy militant brethren Severus and Dioscorus, whose life thine own resembles». Then he awoke trembling. Afterwards he was brought |447 into Alexandria, and consecrated archbishop with full authority and valid ordination. And he was counted worthy of this —- that an aged monk, who had come out of the desert, when the open book of the gospels was held over the head of Abba James, beheld two forms, one of them like the picture of Dioscorus and the other like that of Severus, which grasped the gospels on this side and on that; and the name of the patriarch James was between them. After he had witnessed this wonder, and while he was thinking upon it, he saw men conversing together, who said : «This man’s conduct indeed resembles the conduct of these two men».

O my fathers, the life of this saint was virtuous like the life of the holy Severus! Moreover Abba James was an admonition to the heretics, because they stood in awe of him, and because of the excellence of his faith, and his confession and his office; and they held his words in reverence. For when he was enthroned, he delivered an admonitory discourse, in which he anathematized all the banished heresies, and the impure council of Chalcedon, and the Phantasiasts, that is the Gaianites, who deny the |448 lifegiving Passion of God the Word, which he accepted in the flesh. On a certain day the patriarch communicated the people, and then came to his residence. Now it was the custom of the Alexandrians that the heretics used to pray with them, in order to see their festivals and the glory of the patriarch. And they used to do this, that the orthodox might show the glory that God had given them to the heretics, and the works which he manifested for his people of the fathers, who came and sat upon the throne of Mark the evangelist. So the heretics did the same thing with the father and patriarch James; for a company of them were present, and saw him full of the grace of the Holy Ghost, while they were mixed with the orthodox. Thereupon he exclaimed, like Paul the apostle 62 : «What fellowship has truth with error, or light with darkness? Or how does Christ agree with Satan? Or what share has one that believes with a heretic?» Then he added : «Let these heretics and their congregation remain far from this faithful and blessed assembly! For as they have no share with us in spiritual things, so they shall have none in material things!» So all the heretics went out in shame and confusion through |449 the door of the church. And there was among them a rich man, who had been set over the collection of the taxes at Alexandria at that time, and had authority and superintendence among the Spaniards. Therefore that man quickly departed, and informed the superintendent of the revenue of what had happened, and accused the father patriarch, Abba James, declaring that he had excommunicated them. The heretic, on hearing this, was filled with wrath against our father, the patriarch, and uttered violent words, and sent a message to the father, saying : «I will make thee turn round in the church, when thou sayest Peace be with you, and not find a person to answer And with thy spirit». But our father, when he heard these words from the heretic, answered by the grace of the Holy Ghost thus : «Well did Isaias 63 prophesy against this heretic, saying that his wrath and fury and imagination should return upon his own head. And thy violence and anger have come up to me, and therefore I will fasten thee with a bridle between thy lips. And he shall not remove from his place till this judgment be executed upon him; and so his fate shall be. And I tell you truly that I shall not enter the church of the Lord before God shall swiftly carry out this sentence upon him». After that, a lawsuit was brought against this man, and he was put to death, and everything that was in his house was seized, and nothing was left that belonged to him. Therefore, when the heretics of Alexandria saw this wonder that had |450 taken place, and the fulfilment of that which was said by the father, who was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost, not one of them could say a word against him. And their own patriarch respected and feared him, and would not oppose him. And the good works of Abba James increased and grew more than those of his monastic days. And he did not look for the praise of men, but worked the works of God; and his mind was set on high like that of Paul the apostle 64, who did not cease to proclaim and preach the name of Jesus Christ, and to praise God.

And Abba James said to his people : «I hear that there are among you vain idlers. But I pray you to do your work quietly, and eat your bread, according to the words of the apostle Paul 65 : I served with my own hand, and was not a burden upon you. And it is good to improve the lot of the needy». And he did not take from anyone, and little of this world’s goods sufficed him; nor did he take up arms against misfortunes, as men do; but he ate his bread with tears. Yea, his works shone forth in his face. And all that he asked of God he gave him. And his word was sharper than a two-edged sword.

Now I will inform you, my brethren, that in the days of this blessed father, Abba James, there was a near relation of his, named Macarius, who loved Christ; and he was a prominent official at Nebrûwah. This man, |451 when he heard that Abba James had been enthroned, rejoiced greatly, and glorified God who chooses his elect, and increased in almsgiving and in charity towards his brethren, and sent to Alexandria what was needed by the churches, on the ground that he was a kinsman of the patriarch. And Macarius honoured the bishops and respected them.

But famine and plunder began to reappear at Alexandria; and the patriarch could not find that which he was wont to give to the churches, for nothing was left to him. And the visits of the faithful from all parts to the church of the martyr Saint Mennas at Maryût were interrupted; and with them the patriarch used to trade. The cause of all this was the war and fighting that took place between the Egyptians and the Madlajites and Spaniards; and the scene of these disturbances was at Alexandria. And there was a deacon, named George, who was one of the chief of the clergy of Alexandria, and superintendent of the church of Alexandria. But he began to speak against this father, Abba James, and even said to him : «Thou shalt give us what we need according to custom, or else go back to the desert whence thou earnest». When the father patriarch heard this rebel speak thus, and perceived that he stood in no awe of the patriarchal dignity, but increased in his insolence, he said to him : «Henceforth thy foot shall never again enter through this door into this chamber». And the deacon went out in great wrath from his presence, and departed to |452 his own house, and did not beg for absolution from the holy father, nor did he repent. And a fever, accompanied by shivering fits, attacked him; so that they had to hold him on account of the violent convulsions which seized him; and he died on that very day. When the patriarch was informed, he lamented deeply, and prayed God to absolve the soul of the deacon George from the bonds of excommunication with which he was bound, and to absolve him also from sin. And from the day on which that deacon died, death and dissolution visited all his household, and none of them has remained to this day. Therefore when the multitude saw this wonder, and that the word of Abba James had authority like that of the apostles, they were awestruck, and trembled with tear; and none dared to rebuke him, for he was among them as a prophet.

On the approach of the Forty Days, the holy fast, the father resolved to visit the desert of Saint Macarius, that he might comfort and console the brethren and monks, and remain among them till the feast of holy Easter, as the custom of the patriarchs was. When he reached the desert, the monks rejoiced, and met him, crying : «Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord». And all the fathers and seniors came from their caves and from |453 the mountains, running like deer which long for the waterbrooks 66. And they received his blessing with great gladness. And this desert was like the Paradise of the Lord, through the prayers of the father patriarch and the assistance of the baptized Egyptians. The patriarch had a great affection for the desert, more than the monks had. And he acted there as Cornelius 67 did in his time; for he sent a message to all the fathers and to the cells, saying : «If anyone need anything for his cell, let him come and take it». For the barbarians had robbed them of all their goods, and wrecked the churches, and burnt the cells with fire. So when the monks came together again, they praised the Lord for the renewal of his favour upon them, and glorified God for these mercies. The father also rejoiced, seeing that the doves had returned to their former nest. In the days of his priesthood he had begun to build a sanctuary in the name of Saint Sinuthius, to the south of the sanctuary of Saint Macarius; and there the monks began to assemble instead of the ruined churches. Now he finished it, and restored the other churches. And they praised and glorified the Trinity, as the angels do.

But when Satan saw this, he roared like a lion, and prepared arrows to discharge against the patriarch and the Church. Now the patriarch had at that time a deacon, who was attached to him for his service, and who did |454 what he liked without taking advice. This deacon punished one of the disciples by a severe beating for something that he had done; and the blows were so many that the disciple died. And this accident was caused by the snares of the Enemy, the Devil. When therefore the Madlajites, the protectors of the monastery, heard of this crime, they seized the father patriarch, and troubled him on account of the death of that person, and demanded of him that he should deliver the deacon to them, that they might put him to death in retaliation for the murder. But the father strove hard to save the life of the deacon, whom he had brought up from his youth, and had intented to promote to a higher degree among the clergy. Thereupon the Madlajites, seeing that the father was greatly interested in that deacon, and would not give him up to them, grew violent in their demand, and required a large sum of money. But the patriarch had nothing with which to satisfy them, and therefore the bishops and the God-loving people assisted him, and contributed a sum of money, and so saved him from the hands of that tribe.

After this the blessed father James departed to Upper Egypt, to make a visitation of the people and the monasteries. And whenever the people and the monks came out to meet him, they glorified God, saying : «Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord». And they marvelled at his works, |455 and said : «Blessed is our father, the new Elias». He remained among them a few days, and then returned. But they continued to boast of his deeds and excellent virtues.

And our father remembered the unity and charity and bonds between himself and Dionysius, patriarch of Antioch, and desired to see him either by bodily presence with him or by interchange of letters. But he was hindered in this by the wars, carried on in the land of Egypt and on the roads to Syria; for they lasted fourteen years. And ho used to pray God to confirm the love between the two glorious sees, the Alexandrian and the Antiochene; and he implored God to join them together by personal intercourse and by letters. And God did not disregard the prayer of this father, but granted it by allowing him to behold the father Dionysius in the body. I will give you an account of this event, and of the trouble and distress that came upon the land of Egypt and upon the father James, the patriarch.

The Spaniards had possession of Alexandria, and Abd al-Azîz al-Jarawi ruled over part of the country. And the father was praying and weeping over the devastation of the land and the long continuance of the wars and fighting, and because the bodies of men became food for the birds of the air, and because Al-Jarawi did not cease to slay the people and take their goods. Al-Jarawi used to bury in the ground by night the money that |456 he had seized; and when he had buried it, he killed the men who had helped him to bury it, so that none might be left, who knew where his buried treasures lay. So in him the words of the prophet Michaeas 68 were fulfilled, where he says : «These are they that meditate evil and wickedness; for they raise their hands to this, and take fields, and oppress orphans, and seize a man and his house and his heritage. Therefore, saith the Lord, I will bring evil upon their tribes, and what they purpose shall not be accomplished». For the judgment of God, the high and mighty One, came upon this man in the following way. He had collected the wheat from the whole of Egypt, and stored it in the granaries which were under his own authority, saying : «I will cause a dearth throughout Egypt, and gather in their money, as Joseph’s Pharao did, so that all my adversaries will submit to me.» And he did this, and there came a great dearth, so that wheat reached the price of a dinar for one waibah. And he refused to send wheat to Alexandria, aiming at the destruction of the Spaniards, who had taken possession of the city. So a waibah of wheat was sold at Alexandria for two dinars and one dirhem; and the people in the land of. Egypt found nothing to buy, and therefore they perished, especially at Alexandria. Then that proud man heard that the people had perished, and he opened his mouth and said a word, |457 which God did not say : «I will make them sell wheat at a kadah for a dinar». But in him the words of the prophet Nahum 69 were fulfilled, where he says : «God declares : To me belongs vengeance upon my foe, and I will destroy my adversaries and my enemies swiftly». For the Lord pitied the sighs of men, and the dearth which he beheld, and the condition of the people, and took vengeance on that man Abd al-Azîz, as we will now relate. For he departed with his army to Alexandria, to fight the Spaniards; and they fled from him within the walls, and shut the gates. And the blockade lasted until they were driven by hunger to devour the flesh of their horses. Meanwhile Abd al-Azîz was beating upon the walls with catapults, in order to demolish them; and it was his intention to destroy all the inhabitants of Alexandria with the sword. At the same time he was in pursuit of the patriarch, to whom he had sent a message, in order to intercede for a certain person, and to request the patriarch to make that person a bishop. But the patriarch refused to break the canon of the church. Nevertheless the pious Macarius, seeing how angry Abd al-Azîz al-Jarawi was, wrote to the father patriarch, and begged him to ordain that person bishop; and the patriarch consented to do so. Still Al-Jarawi was eager in pursuit of the patriarch, and declared that he would demolish the churches and slay the bishops everywhere, if the patriarch would not meet him. Then Macarius, |458 the magistrate of Nebrûwah, having heard of this threat, wrote a letter to the patriarch, saying : «Thou canst not avoid consenting to an interview with this man; for otherwise he will destroy the churches and kill the people». Macarius also swore to Abba James, saying : «I will give all my money for thee, that thou mayest suffer no distress». Thereupon the patriarch repeated the words of the prophet Isaias : «My life is not precious to me, but belongs to God; therefore let the Lord see to my salvation, for I trust in him, and fear not what men can do to me 70». So he went out to meet Abd al-Azîz. And there was with them a priest, who loved God, named Joseph, of the church of Saint Macarius; and this priest was counted worthy to sit upon the apostolic throne; and we shall record his virtues in this history. So while the patriarch was on the way, after he had finished his prayers, he said to the priest Joseph : «I trust in God, my son, that this man will not see us, nor we see him alive». And when morning came, a stone from the wall fell upon Abd al-Azîz, and his eyes were struck out of his face, and the top of his skull was fractured, and so he died. Thus on him was fulfilled the word of the prophet Zacharias 71 : «He purposed evil, but did not attain to the performance of it». And he was extricated from the stones; and when his companions saw this, they carried his body away, and buried it in one of the hamlets. And they stopped their noses for the odour of him and the stench of his corpse. And when the news came to the |459 father, his friends who had been with him glorified God; and, as they had heard what he said to them before the event, they exclaimed : «Our father, what thou didst foretell has been accomplished!» He answered : «My children, God has punished this man thus, because he desired to kill human beings by starvation».

Then the son of Abd al-Azîz became governor after him, and his name was Alî; and he did not act according to the deeds of his father. So there came a great abundance, such that men forgot the dearth, from which they had suffered. Therefore they said : «We praise thee, O God, on this day according to the words of the prophet Isaias 72. For thou hast been angry with us, and then didst turn thine anger from us and have mercy on us ; for thou art our Lord and our Saviour, and we trust in thee». At that time God looked upon the dispersion and separation of the monks, the sons of Saint Macarius, in every place, and so he brought them back to their holy dwellings. For this cause the father patriarch gave thanks to God, and glorified him, saying like the prophet David in Psalm 73 83 : «Thou hast brought us back to life. Thy people rejoice in thee. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy and grant us thy salvation». And again : «He speaks peace concerning his people and his saints». Now the father, Abba James, saw |460 that the sanctuary of Saint Sinuthius was not large enough to contain the congregation of the monks; and therefore he rebuilt the church which is named after Saint Macarius, and which is the sanctuary of Benjamin. For it was in a state of decay, but Abba James adorned it with every kind of ornament, and, when it was completed, he consecrated it on the first day of Barmûdah. And this edifice became a monument to the patriarch, and a glory to the Lord.

Now Macarius of Nebrûwah, the magistrate, desired to see the father patriarch and congratulate him in his own dwelling, and therefore came to his house. A son had been born to Macarius, in whom he took delight; and he remained with the patriarch, and gave large alms, and did works of charity. And it was God’s purpose to glorify the patriarch on this occasion; and so he manifested the following miracle. For after a few days the child fell sick and died. Then his father took him in faith, and brought him to the patriarch’s cell, like the ruler of the synagogue, whose daughter Christ raised. And the magistrate said to the patriarch : «Help thy servant, for my son is dying». The patriarch replied : «Bring him to me». So he brought the child, and the patriarch received him, and made the sign of the Cross on his breast and heart and forehead, saying : «O Lord Jesus Christ, who givest life and bestowest grace from thyself, restore this infant to life for his father». Thereupon the breath of life returned to the child, and he |461 opened his eyes and moved his hands and feet. So our father said in a loud voice to Macarius, the father of the child, as the Lord Christ said to the ruler of the synagogue : «Thy son is not dead, but was asleep». And when the magistrate saw this great miracle, he was struck with profound awe of the patriarch, and glorified God, who works wonders among his saints. And at that hour the magistrate increased in his almsgiving and doing good; and his alms flowed from his hands like a running and overflowing river, and he gave a third of his wealth to the widows and orphans, and clothed them with garments, and did all that it was right to do. And a report of these things reached the city of Jerusalem, whither Macarius the magistrate sent, and built a church there, which is now to this day the place of refuge of the orthodox, and of those who make pilgrimages to that city, in order to pray there. Macarius built this church as a monument of himself for ever; and it is called the church of the Magdalene. Therefore God blessed the work of his hands, and doubled his wealth, as he did to the holy Job. Moreover it was God’s will to show this man a great and wonderful mystery for his abundant faith and charity, that God might give him the hope of eternal life. And on a certain day Macarius took an oath that he would carry out two resolutions, namely that he would never repulse any one who begged of him, nor shut his door in the face of any one.

Hear now what happened to him! He used to put faith and hope in the |462 intercession of Saint Theodore, who guided him in his conduct, and satisfied his wants. Now under the caliphate of Hârûn ar-Rashîd the taxes which Macarius had to pay were very heavy, because of his large fortune and extensive possessions. So he left his home and went to the prince, in order to pay what was due from him, and was away so long, that he spent all the money that he had with him. For Macarius did not refrain from almsgiving, and could not have an interview with the prince. But there came a day when Macarius was proceeding to the prince’s palace, and he perceived on the way a large mansion, highly adorned, which he had not seen before that day. So Macarius said to his servants : «We have missed our way, for we have never seen this house on our road before to-day». And he became like a person bewildered or without his senses. Then he beheld a shining personage, resembling one whom Macarius knew in Egypt, who came out of the house, and said to the official : «O Macarius, many days have passed since thou camest hither, and yet thou hast not visited me». And the magistrate, in the presence of those who accompanied him, answered his acquaintance, who approached and embraced him; and they kissed one another. And the master of the house took the magistrate’s hand, and led him into the building through many doors, and brought him into a chamber containing much money, which looked like kings’ treasures, and said to him : «Take all that thou needest for thy expenses, and when thou shalt return to thine own country thou shalt repay me. Moreover today I will accomplish what thou requirest with the prince, and do all that |463 is necessary for thee». Accordingly the official, having received the money from the house of that bright being who was conversing with him, went out and handed it over to his servants, who had accompanied him and were standing at the door. And the man mounted his horse, and rode off in haste before the magistrate. So as soon as the latter approached the palace, the courtiers began to call for him, saying : «Where is Macarius, the Egyptian?» Then they took his hand and led him to the prince, who addressed him, saying : «Ask for all that thou needest and whatever thou requirest, so that I may accomplish it for thee this day». So the prince brought to pass that which Macarius desired. But the shining personage, who had accosted him, after having conducted him through the palace, and brought him outside, disappeared from beside him. The magistrate, seeing him no longer, supposed that he had returned to his own house, where the two friends had first met one another. When, however, Macarius reached the spot where the mansion had stood, he found no trace of it at all. Thereupon the man gazed around, and lost his understanding for a moment. But after a time he comprehended that his benefactor was the great martyr Theodore, the commander of the troops, who had acted thus because Macarius had a devotion for him. Therefore Macarius glorified God and increased in charity and almsgiving and good works, and remained steadfast in this way of life until God removed him from this world.

Now let us proceed with the history of the patriarch Abba James. For |464 our only purpose in relating these incidents in the life of Macarius, the magistrate, was to show the value of the orthodox laity, since God does not desert them in this world nor in the world to come. As Paul the apostle says 74 : «Cease not to do good, so that thou mayest reap what thou hast sown. As long therefore as our time lasts, let us do good to all men, especially to our brethren, the people of faith». Again he exhorted Timothy, his son, saying to him more concerning the doing of good to the faithful. For he writes 75 thus to him : «Charge the rich of this world that their hearts be not proud, and that they set not their hope and trust on the rich, for there is no profit in riches; but let their trust be in God, who gives us all things richly; and let our actions be good, and let our riches be in laudable works, that we may be upright and loving, so that we may have a firm foundation in the time to come, and may lay hold on the true life». Therefore accept my excuse, and hear from me the remaining deeds of this holy and inspired father, who was a prophet, and to whom God granted the gift of seeing hidden things from afar.

When God remembered the sick land of Egypt, that he might make wars to cease therein, he revealed the matter to the holy father, that it was near and not far off. So Abba James, as he had learnt that his archdeacon was |465 acting against his will in certain matters, called him and said to him : «My son, a governor will come soon to the land of Egypt, and rule over Misr and her chiefs and over Alexandria and all her province. Therefore when we come to Alexandria with the peace of God, beware of listening to any man, or of raising thine eye to anything that belongs to this world. For in that case thou wilt sin against the works of God, and we shall be abased before the heretical tribe, which God has abased before us with their wicked leader. Know then that if thou shalt neglect my advice, the Church of God will fall into great trials». Shortly after he had said this, there came to Egypt from the prince of the Muslims an Amir, named Abd Allah son of Tâhir, who was a good and merciful man in his religion, and loved justice and hated tyranny. Therefore God subdued all rebels under him, and humbled before him the tribe of the Spaniards who were at Alexandria. And he remained some days in Egypt until public affairs were settled.

Now let us return to the story of Abba James and his relations with Dionysius, patriarch of Antioch. Abba James had been unable to send a synodical letter on account of the wars in Egypt and the East. In this way the father patriarch Dionysius, since he was hearing of the works of the father patriarch Abba James, desired to salute him, while he was still in the body. Therefore when this Amir, on his way to Egypt, made an |466 agreement with the patriarch Dionysius, he travelled in his company as far as this country. Our father, Abba James, on seeing Dionysius, rejoiced with a great spiritual joy, and met him with the best of welcomes. And the whole land of Egypt exulted when those two beheld one another. And the Egyptian clergy chanted before them from the words 76 of David : «Mercy and justice have met together, truth and peace have come to us». Then the father Dionysius, patriarch of Antioch, remained many days with the father, Abba James the patriarch, that each of them might be satisfied with the holiness of the other. But the bishops of Egypt began to lay complaints before the father Dionysius concerning the archdeacon of our father Abba James, «because he imparts to him all that we undertake or say». Upon this the father Dionysius began as one who wished to remind this holy man, Abba James, that he should reprove the archdeacon, and that he ought not to be a cause of distress to the bishops, nor to address them unless he were required by the canons to do so. But when the pillar of light, Abba James, heard this, the spirit of prophecy flowed forth from him, and he said to the father Dionysius : «How could the bishops send this message, and accuse one who is the elect of God and preaches him? But blessed is he, like him who worked for one hour in the vineyard 77, together with him |467 who had worked eleven hours, and received the wages for the whole day». When the patriarch Dionysius heard the words of the father, Abba James, and saw the Holy Ghost shining forth in his face, he prostrated himself before him and said, like the prophet David 78 : «As we have heard so have we seen. I believe that I have beheld a man who holds with God the post of intercessor for the land of Egypt». Then he prayed our father the patriarch James to let him depart to his see. So Abba James gave him splendid gifts in proportion to his primacy, and then with the bishops bade him farewell in peace, glorifying and blessing God, because they had witnessed his holiness and comeliness and dignity and chastity. And when Dionysius reached the East, the land of Syria, he discoursed on what he had witnessed of the holiness of our father Abba James, and thanked the Lord Jesus Christ, who glorifies his elect.

The Amir Abd Allah, son of Tâhir, on arriving in Egypt, appointed an Amir, who was one of his companions, as governor of Alexandria and collector of taxes there and in the neighbouring districts. And the name of him whom he thus nominated was Elias, son of Yazîd. At that time the |468 deacon of our father James, mentioned above, neglected the advice which he had formerly given him, namely that he should not raise his eyes to any of the things of this world, for he went to certain villages and levied a rate upon them, thinking that he would gain something for the Church thereby. For he did not know that the prophecy of the father James would be accomplished; and therefore both the father and the deacon fell into great sorrow through the taxes which they were compelled to pay, when they had not the means of paying them. And the blessed father repeated to that deacon the words of Paul, the wise apostle, saying : «It was not right for thee, my son, to make for thyself an argument, but to obey what I enjoined thee to do, in faith and love of the Lord Christ. Hast thou not heard, my son, what Paul said 79, that those who desire to be rich fall into trials and errors and foolish longings, which do not profit at all, but cast men into destruction and perdition? For the root of all evil is the love of money, which many have loved; and so they have gone astray from the faith, and drawn upon themselves great cares». Thereupon that deacon wept and begged the patriarch to pardon his disobedience.

Now that Amir began to act harshly towards the father in demanding taxes when he had nothing with which he could pay, as we related, through |469 the poverty of the Church, arising from the interruption of the pilgrimages to the church of Saint Mennas, the Martyr, in consequence of the continual wars. When Abba James found no means of paying the taxes, he brought forth the vessels of the church, to give them to the miscreant tribe. But the Lord, who loves mankind and shows his wonders at all times in his Church, and makes her victorious over princes in all ages, manifested a miracle, at which we must marvel. While the Amir was sitting one day that he might break up the vessels, and the goldsmith was breaking up one of the holy chalices, much blood flowed over his hands, like the blood of a Lamb 80 that had been slain. So when they saw this miracle, great fear fell upon them, and the Amir and all these that were present were afraid. And the Amir commanded that none of those vessels should be broken; and after that he feared to place them in his treasury, and therefore he ordered that they should be restored to the father. But he demanded the taxes with greater severity than before, and the patriarch was in great difficulties before he could pay the taxes that he owed.

Afterwards the Amir in the city of Alexandria was removed, and departed to his own country, where he was attacked by a mortal sickness. Many days later he remembered the great miracle of the issue of blood from the Chalice; and at that time he commanded his sons with insistence to send |470 to Egypt the money that he had taken from the patriarch, that it might be handed over to him who should be found to be patriarch of Alexandria. So his sons obeyed him. And this miracle was accomplished in the days of one who deserved that it should come to pass in his hands, as we will show to your charity at the end of this history.

Now hear another wonder which was also manifested in the days of this holy man, Abba James, the patriarch. While the Amir Elias was governor of Alexandria, a bishop, who held the see of Fau in Upper Egypt, died; and a person was sent to the patriarch, that he might consecrate him as successor to the deceased. But this man feared lest God should make his conduct known to the patriarch, who would then refuse him. Therefore he went to the Amir, and gave him money, and prayed him to command the father patriarch, Abba James, to appoint him. In consequence of this the Amir requested that the appointment might be made; but the father patriarch refused, because his faith and his attachment to the canons were strong. Those that were present, however, asked him, saying : «Wilt thou consent to the request of the Amir, lest evil befall both thee and the Church?» Thus they did not cease to cajole him until he appointed that man. But when the newly made bishop departed, Abba James uttered concerning him the following words, like those of Peter to Simon the Magician in his time; for he said : «In the place where this bishop expected to gain wealth, he shall disappear after a little while, and the wealth which he has acquired |471 shall be far from him». And when that bishop drew near to his diocese, he fell sick on the way; and he died before he could see his diocese. Who now will not fear these wonderful works, and glorify God, who shows them forth in this chosen one? But if we were to record a few out of the many miracles and the noble struggles that we have heard related of this holy man, the account would be long. And we cannot explain such things, because our darkened understanding is too weak to deal with them. Yet we will relate what must be related, and describe the end of his conflict, for the profit of those that listen, and as a blessing to them.

When Abba James proceeded to the eastern provinces, to visit the churches and the people, and came to a village called Bait Tashmat, they brought to him a young man possessed by a devil, which had made him dumb and deaf; and they begged the patriarch to lay his hand upon him. Then the father took a little oil from the lamp which hung over the bones of Saint Severus, and anointed the youth therewith, making the sign of the cross on his face and ears, and saying : «In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who delivered his creatures from the service of Satan, may this young man be healed, and may the bonds of Satan be loosed from him!» And the young man was healed on the spot, and his mouth and ears were opened, and he both spoke and heard; and all that saw him marvelled, |472 and glorified God in truth. Now this father was in his holiness like the disciples, through the trials that he endured and the miracles performed by him; for he brought the dead to life, and cast out devils, and cured many that were sick. And our Lady, the Mother of the Light, appeared to him before he became patriarch, and the Lord Christ also, and the Saints whom he was counted worthy to see.

Then Abba James desired to remain a few days in the city of Tandâ, when he passed by it. And when he stayed there, one of the bishops, an honourable and trustworthy man, bore witness to us, saying : «I went to him, to pay him a visit and receive his blessing. And when I stood at the door of his chamber, I heard him say something in a low voice; and the words were : O my Lady, Mother of my Lord, I pray thee to pardon me, for I am ready to carry out what thou commandest me, and to observe it to my last breath». The bishop continued : «And when I was intending to show myself through the door within which he was, and before I could enter, he cried aloud at what he saw, and I was afraid through my respect for his dignity, and turned back. But I heard him say : God pardon thee, my brother, for having hindered me from beholding the glory and light of my Lady, and allowed her to depart from me.»

After the blessed patriarch had seen these great mysteries which were shown to him, he bore witness that no patriarch sits upon this throne except |473 those whom God chooses, but that Satan resists their advancement and hinders their doing good. There are indeed men who say in their hearts : «If we advance so far as to receive this degree, that is on account of our birth». But it is not so, for it is the Lord of glory who chooses. And the father Abba James said this before his death, that it is God who elects the man whom he will appoint; and although Satan tries to oppose him, it is God who prevails.

It was the custom of this patriarch, when he purposed to appoint bishops, to watch and fast strictly, so that God might reveal their deeds to him. He used also to observe the anniversaries of the death of the fathers, from Mark the evangelist to Mark, his own father in the Spirit. On such days he used to keep festival in their honour, and put on his vestments, and celebrate the Liturgy, whether he were in the city or in the monasteries, or in the villages, to the glory of our Lord Christ, and in commemoration of his fathers.

And when God willed to give him rest from labour and translate him to the heavenly mansions of the illuminated, the Lord appeared to him, seated on a cloud of light, and accompanied by the twelve disciples, and said to him : «Have courage, thou good servant, who hast made use of the talents of thy Lord, and gained a profit. Now will I take thee to myself, and give thee rest from thy labours ; and thou shalt sit with thy companions, who carried on the warfare like thee, for thou hast become perfect like them». Now before this marvellous vision, Zacharias, bishop of Tandâ, had died; and the archdeacon, whom we have before mentioned, and of whom we said that he |474 would be a chosen vessel of God, had been enthroned in his stead. So our father James fell sick, and his strength diminished; and on the 14th. day of Amshir he went to his rest, that being the day of the death of the holy father Severus. And at the fourth hour of the night they heard him saying : «Happy is your coming, my fathers Severus and Dioscorus». And again he said : «The whole world is absolved through the prayers of the saints». Thereupon he gave up his spirit into the hand of the Lord. And a sweet perfume exhaled from his body, and filled the whole chamber.

When morning came, they enshrouded his body. And they offered the Sacrifice in commemoration of the two blessed fathers, Severus and the father James. Thus the holy monk’s vision of the two figures, which he saw consecrating Abba James with the gospel, was fulfilled. And so his life ended in a good old age, when he had held the evangelical see during ten years and eight months. He committed his flock to the Lord of Sabaoth, strong in the faith; and he was worthy to hear the voice saying 81 : «Come to me, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you before the creation of the world». |475

The brother, who had prophesied of him, he ordained bishop; and he was firm and strong, and did not lay by for himself a single dirhem, but was rich in the works of the Lord, and in spiritual writings. He was counted worthy to close the patriarch’s eyes, and to receive his last blessing. And in the strength of his faith he laid the body of Abba James in a coffin, and kept it in his city of Tandâ, that he might be blessed by its presence, and offer intercessions at its feet. And after a short time the bishop died, through the prayers which his father offered for him before the Lord Christ. To whom belongs glory, with his Father and the Holy Ghost, the Giver of life, the Consubstantial, now and for ever. Amen.



After the going to rest and departure to the Lord of the holy and glorious father, the patriarch Abba James, the chosen and elect of the Lord, and the pillar of light, through whose prayers God had scattered the armies and the wars and the ceaselessly fighting tribes, which prevailed over Alexandria and the provinces of Egypt, then a short time after his decease |476 they appointed as his successor, by the command of the most high God, a deacon and monk, whose name was Simon, a native of the city of Alexandria of good family. He was a son of the father, Abba James, and dwelt in his cell; and he had been brought up from boyhood with the late father Abba Mark.

Abba Simon remained upon the evangelical throne five months and sixteen days. And he went to his rest on the third day of Bâbah. During the whole time that he occupied the see he was afflicted by the disease of the gout, from which he suffered greatly until he died.

May the Lord have mercy upon us through the prayers of all of these saints!


So after the father Simon went to his rest, the orthodox people met in the city of Alexandria, and deliberated together with a view to the appointment of a patriarch, since the see was vacant. For it had remained without a patriarch after the father, Abba James, during a long interval; but then they had received consolation in the appointment of the father, Abba Simon. Then upon his death, their trouble increased; and they said, like the |477 prophet David 82 : «Remember not, O Lord, my first offences, but let thy mercy reach us soon, for we are become very poor.» And all of them went about the city, and the community of the Alexandrians and the bishops sought and enquired who was lit to sit upon the throne. You are acquainted with the people of Alexandria, and are aware that they love material pleasures. Accordingly they devised an evil plan in those days, contrary to the canons of the Church. For there was at Fustât Misr at that time a man of family and wealth; and he and his kinsmen possessed gold and silver and furniture. He was the chief of the Divan of the governor of Egypt; and his name was the lord Isaac, son of Anthony. So, when the Alexandrians saw his position and his wealth, together with the consideration in which he was held, they wrote him a letter, saying : «We will not elect any man, to appoint him patriarch, except thee». But he was a layman and married to a wife. So some of the bishops held aloof from this transaction of the hypocritical Alexandrians, who followed this man for the sake of human glory, not remembering that which is written 83 in the fifty-second Psalm of David : «The Lord shall scatter the bones of those that act hypocritically towards men.» And again he says : «They are ashamed because the Lord |478 brings them to nought.» At that time some of the bishops visited Isaac, and paid court to him, saying : a We can have no patriarch except thee». The names of these bishops were Zacharias, bishop of Wasîm, and Theodore, bishop of Misr. These two men next persuaded Isaac to write a letter to Alexandria, promising to confer many benefits on the clergy and people there, when he should become patriarch. For he said : «If I take my seat upon this throne, I will rebuild your ruined churches for you, and restore the dwellings attached to the churches. And I will relieve you of the taxes as long as I live, by paying them out of my own money for the clergy and the poorer laity». And he promised them many other things. Therefore when they heard all this, they were inclined to him, and desired him, forgetting the words 84 of the gospel : «No man takes an honour of himself, unless it be given him from heaven from God».

But there were at that time holy bishops, such as speak the truth, and are filled with grace. Such were Abba Michael, bishop of Bilbais, and Abba Michael, bishop of Sâ, and Abba John, bishop of Bana; and there were many like them, perfect in faith and religion. And when they were informed of what the two bishops and the assembly of the Alexandrians had |479 done, the grace of God stirred within them, and they called together a synod concerning those two. And they proceeded to Alexandria, as the canon prescribes. Having subsequently verified the design of the Alexandrians, they said to them : «Where have you left the fear of the Lord, since you have broken the canons so far as to have recourse to a layman married to a wife, in order to seat him upon the throne of Saint Mark the evangelist, in opposition to custom and to the canons?» Thereupon the people were silent, knowing their fault, and uttered not a syllable in answer to the bishops. Then by the inspiration of God, who visits his people at all times, and makes his face to shine 85 upon his heritage, mention was made of a holy man, perfect in good works; and his name was confirmed in the assembly by the dispensation of God’s grace. This man was the shining lamp Joseph, the priest and superintendent of the church of Saint Macarius in Wadî Habîb. And when he was named, my heart rejoiced, and my tongue sang praises.

Now I should desire to relate a little of his life and the works which he did while he was a monk, only I fear to interrupt the description of the events which took place at his enthronement. Yet will I relate those things subsequently, that the hearts of those that hear the history of this holy |480 man may rejoice. When the assembly, together with the bishops and clergy, had accepted him, because they knew him when he was a lamp to the father, Abba Mark, then they sent some of the bishops and Alexandrian clergy to the Wadi. And while they were on the journey, they said thus : «If the Lord approves the appointment of this person, we shall find the door of his cell open». So when they reached the monastery on the morrow, and presented themselves at the door of his cell, they found him standing there, for he had come out to shut the door after his sons, who had gone to draw water. Upon this they marvelled, and looked one at another, saving : «What we said on the way is fulfilled. The Lord has made our journey easy; and we believe that God has chosen this holy man.» When this blessed one, steadfast in purity and humility, saw the visitors, he made obeisance before them, and saluted them, and at once conducted them into his cell. As soon as they were within his chamber, they laid hands upon him, and put the iron fetters over his feet, and said to him; «Thou art indeed worthy of the patriarchal office». But he began to weep profusely, saying : «What is the use of an incompetent man, who takes upon him this heavy yoke?» On hearing these words, they consoled him and pacified him. And they assembled in the church, and partook of the Holy Mysteries; for it was the feast of the Angel Michael, the 12th. of Hatûr. And Joseph received the benediction of the holy fathers, and |481 begged them to pray for him, that God would bring his course to an end. So they all prayed for him, and blessed him from the depth of their hearts, and bade him farewell, weeping because they had lost from their monastery a holy man, full of the Spirit of God.

So they started on their homeward journey. When they reached the top of the rock, Joseph being with them, they heard a voice behind him saying : «The Lord will be with thee, Joseph, and strengthen thee, that thou mayest endure the troubles which will befall thee, and by which thou wilt obtain the crown of life». The holy man and his companions, hearing this great voice, but seeing no one, marvelled and were amazed, and knew that great trials and bitter griefs would come upon him. Then they arrived at the city of Alexandria. And the multitude, as soon as they heard that the envoys had returned, came forth to meet them, singing praises and glorifying God. Then the people learnt from the envoys what had happened to them on the way, and how they had found the door of Joseph’s cell open, and how they had taken him prisoner, and of the voice which they had heard behind them near the road of the Cherubim on the top of the rock. Therefore the people glorified God, who alone works wonders at all times.

After this they informed the Amir, who was governor of Alexandria, and was called Abd Allah son of Yezîd, that they had brought this holy man, in order to obtain the governor’s consent and order, according to the perpetual custom before they consecrated the patriarch. But the governor |482 refused, and would not authorize them to appoint Joseph, saying : «Isaac, the son of Antony, of Misr, has sent to me, and promised me a thousand dinars, if he shall sit upon this throne. Therefore, if you have elected this man, give me the same sum that Isaac has promised me». Thus Abd Allah prevented them from ordaining Joseph for some days. But the bishops continued to visit the governor’s house, begging and imploring him to give them his consent. Yet he refused, because he loved money. Then the bishops from the eastern provinces assembled, and said to him : «We are not under thy authority. Therefore, if thou wilt not grant our request, we will go to Fustât Misr and ordain him there.» So when he saw their firmness, and understood that they would do what they said, he gave them his permission.

So they met together in the Church of Mark the evangelist, as it is customary, on the 21st. day of Hatûr in the year 547 of the Martyrs. And they recited all the prayers in the sanctuary, and inaugurated the elevation of Joseph to the rank of patriarch, blessing and glorifying God.

Now I desire in this place to record the life of that blessed saint from his youth, so that all who hear it may glorify God, before I describe the end of his consecration, and the troubles which befell him, and which he patiently endured. This holy man was of a good family of repute in the city of Upper Manûf, and his fathers were well known among the chief men |483 of Egypt. When his parents were dead and the saint was left an orphan, an official, named Theodore, who had the rank of metwalli in Egypt, and was a native of Nakyus, saw Joseph in this condition, and took him to himself, that he might make him his son for the love of Christ, and on account of his honourable kindred. So the child remained with that magistrate a long time. Then Joseph thought within himself : «Behold, I am now an orphan; therefore there is nothing better for me than the holy desert which is a place of refuge for orphans». So he went to the chief in whose house he lived, and who had brought him up, and begged him humbly for permission to depart to the holy desert. But Theodore replied : «O my son, thou art of an excellent family, and hast been brought up in the midst of wealth. Thou wouldst therefore be overcome by weariness in the desert, and couldst not endure its hardships.» Thus Theodore would not allow him to depart thither, but sent him to the city of Alexandria to the father patriarch, Abba Mark, to whom the magistrate wrote a letter, in which he recounted the history of Joseph’s life, and confided him to the patriarch as a pledge.

So the holy Mark rejoiced over him, and put him under the care of a deacon, who had charge of the sons of the Cell at that time and was a learned man, that he might teach the youth to write in the Greek language. And God’s assistance was with Joseph, and did not allow him to forget |484 his desire to retire to the monasteries. Accordingly, after a short sojourn with the holy Abba Mark, Joseph made a prostration before him, and prayed the patriarch to send him to the holy mountain. And the patriarch observed how he longed to go thither, and knew by revelation from God that the youth had found grace. For this reason Abba Mark speedily despatched him to the monastery of Saint Macarius, and placed him in charge with a holy priest and hegumen named Paul, whose mode of life was admired by all. For God revealed secrets to him, and enabled him to prophesy. So Paul, when he looked upon the young man, was pleased with him and with his good conduct and humility, and did not cease to nourish him with the holy teachings of the monks, and blessed him by night and by day, especially on seeing his modesty. Then Joseph was counted worthy to be made a deacon, and shortly afterwards to be ordained priest by the father, Abba Mark, the patriarch. As the hegumen Paul grew old, he fell sick of various diseases, and Joseph, the young saint, served him day and night in hope and faith, in order to obtain his blessing. And the old man laid his hand upon Joseph’s head, invoking upon him great blessings without number, and, on the approach of death, began to say to this young man, upon whom his spirit rested : «Behold, Joseph, the Lord grants thee his grace and his inheritance that thou mayest inherit it». Afterwards the |485 hegumen added, using the words of the Lord 86 to Peter : «Return some time, thou also, and strengthen thy brethren, who have become thy partners in the labour of this ministry, and promote them among the clergy». For Paul had sons with him, who ministered to him, besides Joseph. And Paul’s words were fulfilled when Joseph was seated on the throne, and those brethren of his in service were counted worthy of the grace of the diaconate and the priesthood for a time in the church of Saint Macarius. I have related this incident, that it may be profitable to all who hear it among the young monks, that they may learn that God chooses those who serve him with an honest intention.

Now I will return to the continuation of the history of this holy man, the glorious father Abba Joseph. When he had taken his seat upon the evangelical throne, since the Church had no real property, he began to make monuments, vineyards and mills and oil-presses, which were to belong to the Church. But Satan, the hater of good, as he is wont, would not endure this peace, and stirred up, at the beginning of Abba Joseph’s pontificate, a great war in the eastern and western parts of Egypt, which led to universal plunder and slaughter. For there was much fighting throughout the country. In the words of the prophet Amos 87 : «This is what the Lord, the Ruler, says. There shall be lamentation in all places». |486

So when the holy father saw these calamities, he mourned, and besought the Lord to protect and preserve the Church and the orthodox people, wherever they were. For the patriarch prayed, saying, like David in the 73rd. Psalm 88 : «O Lord, remember thy congregation, which has been from the beginning. And thou hast delivered the rod of thine inheritance, mount Sion wherein thou hast dwelt. Raise up thy hand against their pride for ever, for many are the wicked deeds that the enemy has done». Thus Satan did not cease to stir up wars and murder. Two men at that time were overseers of taxes, one of whom was named Ahmad son of Al-Asbat, and the other Ibrahîm son of Tamîm. These two men, in spite of the troubles from which the people were suffering, persisted in demanding the taxes without mercy, and men were increasingly and incalculably distressed. Their greatest trouble arose from the extortion practised by the two overseers of taxes; for what they could not pay was required of them. After this the merciful God by his righteous judgment sent down a great dearth upon Egypt, so that wheat reached the price of one dinar for five waibahs. Many of the women and infants and young people, and of the old and the middle-aged, died of starvation, in fact of the whole population a countless number, through the severity of the famine. And the overseer of taxes was doing harm to the people in every place. And most of the |487 Bashmurite Christians were severely chastised, like the Israelites; so that at last they even sold their own children to pay their taxes, because they were greatly distressed. For they were tied to the mills and beaten, so that they should work the mills like cattle. And their tormentor was a man named Ghaith. So, after long and wearisome days, death put an end to their sufferings.

But afterward the Bashmurites, seeing that they had no means of escape, and at the same time that no troops could enter their country on account of the abundance of marshes which it contained, and because none was acquainted with the roads except themselves, began to rebel and to refuse to pay the taxes. And they came to an agreement and plotted together over this matter. Now the prince at that time was Abd Allah al-Ma’mûn, son of Hârûn ar-Rashîd. When the state of Egypt and the conduct of the conquerors and the overseers was reported to him, he sent an army thither under the command of an Amir, named Al-Afshîn. Then this man slew the conspirators and rebels, from the eastern parts of Egypt until he reached the great city of Alexandria. He even wished to kill all the inhabitants of Alexandria, since they had not fought, because they had allowed the enemy to enter their city. But God prevented his doing this on account of the tears of the faithful and the prayers of the patriarch, Abba Joseph. For Al-Afshîn used even to put the innocent to death for |488 the fault of the guilty, so that he would have allowed no one that he could see to escape slaughter. And he killed many of the chief men of the Christians in every place.

The patriarch Joseph was grieved by these troubles that he witnessed : the plague and the famine and the sword. Meanwhile the Bashmurites developed their plot, and prepared weapons for themselves, and made war against the government. For they bound themselves not to pay the taxes; and they rose up against any one who came to them for the purpose of acting as mediator in their affairs, and put him to death.

When our father, the patriarch Abba Joseph, saw this rebellion, he mourned over those weak ones, for they had no power to withstand the government, and had deliberately chosen destruction for themselves. And since he was full of anxiety for the salvation of his people, and was their true steward, he began to write to the Bashmurites letters full of fear, and reminded them of the fate that would befall them, hoping that they might return and repent, and give up their disobedience, and cease to resist authority. But they refused to return to their obedience. Yet he continued to write to them every day, and quoted for them passages of the scriptures, saying : «Paul, the sweet-tongued, declares 89 that whoever resists the power |489 resists the ordinances of God, and he that resists him shall be condemned». When the patriarch’s letters by means of his bishops were conveyed to the Bashmurites, those wicked men as soon as they saw the bishops assaulted them, and robbed them of all that they had with them, and treated them with ignominy. Therefore the bishops returned to the patriarch, and made known to him what had been done to them. Then he said : «Destruction will not be slow in coming to those men. Yea, the words of the prophet Isaias 90 will be fulfilled upon them, where he says : I will give you up to the sword, and ye shall all fall by slaughter; because I called you, and ye listened not to my words, but disobeyed and did evil before me».

On account of these troubles and sorrows which have been mentioned, the father patriarch was unable to write a synodical letter to his partner in the ministry and in the faith, the patriarch of Antioch. This omission caused Abba Joseph more auxiety than the trials which befell him. For indeed he did not find rest for a single day after he was enthroned, so that he could address to the see of Antioch a letter containing assurances of union in charity and unswerving orthodoxy. Nevertheless the Lover of |490 mankind did not leave him thus in his sadness, for the sake of the union of the two sees, Alexandria and Antioch; for he ordained a wonderful thing, namely that the father Dionysius, patriarch of Antioch, should come to Egypt, and that the two patriarchs should behold one another, as we. will relate hereafter.

The commander Al-Afshîn, seeing that the Bashmurites continued long in their hostility, and would not change their conduct, wrote a letter to the caliph, Abd Allah al-Ma’mûn, to inform him of the events that had taken place.

Listen now to this also. There was on the episcopal throne of Tinnîs a bishop, named Isaac, against whom his people had repeatedly brought serious accusations. They said to the father Joseph : «If thou wilt not remove this bishop, and take him away from us, we will forsake the religion of orthodoxy». There was also at Misr another bishop, named Theodore, and his flock spoke of him in a similar manner. For the inhabitants of Misr wrote to the patriarch, saying : «If thou wilt not remove him and take him away from us, we will stone him to death». The holy patriarch, seeing this rising of the people, was much grieved and troubled, saying : «What shall I do in this distress?» And he prayed, saying : «O Lord, confirm thy people in loyalty to their pastors, and let there be no disaffection in my days! » Moreover he continued to send letters to the people at the two |491 cities of Tinnîs and Misr, saying, from the words of Paul 91 : «Why are you glad when we are sick and you are strong ? This is what I pray for on your behalf, that you may be saved. And I write this to you, being absent from you, as if I were present with you. I will not pronounce a sentence of excommunication nor suspension, since the Lord commands me to build up and not to pull down». But the people persisted in their conduct, saying with one voice which they never altered : «If these two bishops are not removed, not one of us will remain in the orthodox faith, but we will join the dissident party; and thou art responsible for our action». When Abba Joseph heard this, he hastened to Tinnîs, and begged the people to cease from their wrath; but they refused, and grew still more furious. So also did the city of Misr with its bishop. When the patriarch saw this, he sent and gathered together the bishops from every place, and made the matter known to them. And he said to them : «I and you are innocent of this offence at last. Let us therefore write and suspend the two bishops, Isaac, bishop of Tinnîs, and Theodore, bishop of Misr». |492 Accordingly they deposed those two men from their dignity, and removed them from the rank of. bishop. Yet our charitable father did not cease to pray continually, nor to shed profuse tears, nor to give vent to sighs over the cutting off of these two bishops.

Now Al-Afshîn at Misr was awaiting the answer to the letter which he had adressed to Al-Ma’mûn concerning the Bashmurites. Al-Ma’mûn was a wise man in his conduct, and used to make enquiries into our religion. And wise men used to sit with him, explaining our scriptures for him. In this way he began to love the Christians. So he came to Egypt, and assembled his army. And he invited the patriarch Dionysius of Antioch to accompany him

When the father patriarch, Abba Joseph, learnt that Al-Ma’mûn had arrived, and in his company the patriarch of Antioch, he gathered the bishops together and journeyed to Fustât Misr, to salute the caliph according to the respect which is due to princes. And when the father Dionysius saw the father, Abba Joseph, he rejoiced with great spiritual joy. And this was a dispensation from God, as I said at first, because Abba Joseph had not been able to send the synodical letter to Dionysius. And Abba Joseph was honoured according to his rank at the court of Abd Allah Al-Ma’mûn, |493 who, being informed of his arrival, commanded that he should be brought before him, and when he came into his presence received him with joy, through the divine grace which descended upon the patriarch. Then Abba Dionysius made known to the prince that our father had not delayed to write to the Bashmurites, and to dissuade them from resisting the commands of their sovereign; and this information was gratifying to Al-Ma’mûn. Upon hearing it, he said to the father, Abba Joseph : «Behold, I command thee and thy colleague, the patriarch Dionysius, to pay a visit to those people, and to lay your prohibition upon them, as you are bound to do according to your law, in order that they may return from their disobedience and may submit to my rule. Then if they consent, I will confer upon them all the benefits that they shall ask of me. But if they persist in their rebellion, then we shall be innocent of their blood».

Therefore our fathers, the two patriarchs, obeyed his command, and journeyed to the Bashmurites, and besought them, and admonished them, and reprimanded them, that they might cease from their deeds. But the insurgents refused to listen, and would not accept the entreaties of the |494 prelates. So the patriarchs returned, and informed Al-Ma’mûn of this state of affairs. Then the caliph commanded the amir Al-Afshîn to march against the Bashmurites with his army, and to fight them. But he could do nothing against them, because their districts, which are named At-Tanfir, were fortified by the waters. The Bashmurites, on the other hand, slew every day many of the soldiers of Al-Afshîn. Therefore as soon as this was reported to Al-Ma’mûn, he started with his troops, and went down to that region. And he gave orders to collect from the cities and neighbouring villages and all places all the men who knew the roads of the Bashmurites, and from among the natives of Tandâ and Shubra Sunbût those who were acquainted with the ways through those places. And the troops followed those guides until they betrayed the Bashmurites to them. Then the soldiers destroyed the insurgents and slew them with the sword without sparing any, and plundered them and wrecked and burnt their dwellings, and demolished their churches. Thus the words of the prophet David in the 77th. Psalm 92 were fulfilled upon them : «He delivered their strength into captivity and their wealth to their enemies, and gave his people over to the sword, and had no pity on his inheritance». But when Al-Ma’mûn saw the multitude of the slain, he bad his soldiers hold their swords; and those of the |495 Bashmurites who remained he carried as prisoners to the city of Baghdad, both men and women.

When the father patriarch, Abba Dionysius, asked what was the cause of the rebellion of these people, he was told that it was because of the extortions of the two overseers of taxes from which they had formerly suffered. Therefore his heart was grieved for their destruction, and he approached Al-Ma’mûn, and told him this, relying on the position which he held at court. And there was in the suite of Al-Ma’mûn his brother Ibrahîm, who reigned after him. And Dionysius said to the caliph : «These men were disaffected against the government because they suffered from the tyranny of the two overseers of taxes, who also taunted and insulted them». On hearing these words, the caliph answered : «Take care of thyself, and remain no longer in Egypt; for if this saying be reported to my brother Ibrahîm, he will put thee to death, because the tax-collectors came from among his followers». So when the father Dionysius received this reply, he went forth sadly troubled, and took leave of the father, Abba Joseph, saying to him. : «I cannot stay in Egypt an hour longer». Then he enquired what the reason might be, and the patriarch Dionysius told him what |496 had happened. And he bade him farewell weeping. And when Ibrahîm was informed of this matter, he sought the patriarch Dionysius, and sent after him, but learnt that he had departed to his own city. Thereupon he was greatly enraged, and his wrath overpowered him for many days. And after the death of Al-Ma’mûn and the enthronement of his brother Ibrahîm, the patriarch Dionysius fled, and would not remain in Antioch or its province, until the caliph promised him that he would not slay him. And when Ibrahîm, the prince, returned again to Misr, and the patriarch went out, he took leave of him according to the respect due from him to princes. And he came to Misr, and remained there.

When the patriarch, Abba Joseph, was at Misr, he saw that official, Isaac, who had solicited the patriarchal dignity, burning with inward fire because he and the bishops were mocked by the Alexandrians. But the patriarch, meeting and accosting him, addressed him pleasantly, as was his wont with all men, speaking soft words to him, in order to calm his troubled thoughts. Next he contrived a wise plan, that he might thereby appease him, for he said to him : «O my Lord Isaac, I have been longing after thee, and I have a strong affection for thee. I desire that thou be equal to myself, I wish thee to be my deputy in all my affairs, and hold the |497 patriarchal signet-ring, so that all men may know that thou art my administrator in all my business, both ecclesiastical and civil». When Isaac heard this, he rejoiced greatly, and was consoled, and said to our father, the patriarch : «I am thy servant, and under thy orders in whatsoever thou shalt command me to do». And when the people attended the church of our Lady at Misr, in the Fort of Ash-Shama’, on the Feast of Palms, the patriarch ordained the official Isaac deacon. And there was a great congregation in the church on that day, so that the number of those who were present could not be counted.

But Satan the hater of good was there, and stirred up great trouble. For he entered into the two deposed bishops, and made them his vessels. Accordingly they visited Al-Afshîn, who was military commander under the caliph, and said to him : «God has delivered up to thee thine enemies and those of the prince, and thou hast exterminated them. Now it is binding on thee not to leave one surviving of those who were the cause of their rebellion.» He answered : «Who was it then that drove them to conspire against the prince?» And they replied : «It was the patriarch Joseph who did this, and he desired thereby even to slay the prince. And behold, |498 Joseph is now present at the church, accompanied by a large body of men who never disobey him. All that has been done was done by his orders; and thus this great calamity befell the prince and the amir, may God preserve him». Now when the two bishops entered into the presence of Al-Afshîn, he was drunk. So he was filled with wrath, and sent his brother to the church, and many men with him, that he might bring the patriarch to him, in order that he might put him to death. And Isaac, who had been bishop of Tinnîs, acted as their guide, like Judas Iscariot, who betrayed the Lord Christ to the Jews. For he entered into the sanctuary and pointed with his finger at the patriarch, that he might make known to his companions which he was, so that they might seize him. Thereupon the brother of Al-Afshîn drew his sword to cut off the patriarch’s head. But when he was in the act, his hand slipped; and so the sword struck against a marble column, and was broken. At this he grew still more angry. And he had at his waist a knife, which he took and aimed at the patriarch’s side, intending to kill him. But ah the greatness of the miracle that was worked at that moment in the presence of all, and which God manifested among his saints! When that man struck the patriarch |499 with the knife, it cut the vestments which he was wearing, and penetrated as far as the girdle which was around his waist, and cut that; but his body-was not wounded at all. Then all the congregation in the church were thrown into disorder and shouted loudly, thinking that he was dead. But when he who was clothed in good works saw the confusion, and perceived the anxiety and excitement of the people, he made a sign to them with his hand, and exclaimed : «Be not troubled!». And when they understood that Abba Joseph was alive, they rejoiced greatly, and glorified God, and moved over towards him, to see what had happened to him; and they found him safe and sound, for nothing had been cut save the vestments and the girdle. Therefore they praised God, and cried aloud in the words of the prophet David 93 : «The Lord preserves his chosen ones; the Lord preserves the righteous, and will deliver them from the hand of sinners». And they thanked God for the patriarch’s safety, and said 94 : «If the Lord had not delivered us, my soul would have been in Hell; and if I said that my foot had slipped, thy mercy, O Lord, assisted me. And on account of the multitude of the griefs of my heart thy consolation rejoiced me». |500

The brother of Al-Afshîn, seeing this miracle, and perceiving that the Lord was with the patriarch, took him that he might conduct him to his brother, as he had commanded. And while he was being drawn along, that he might be brought outside, while the people hung upon him, he said to them : «Keep me not back, for we do not resist the government». So he went out, while the people followed him weeping, and kissed his feet and hands, thinking that he would be put to death. And when the brother of the amir saw them holding him, he was greatly enraged, and, lifting up his hand, struck him with a rod on the head with such violence that his eyes were injured.

So the patriarch entered into the presence of Al-Afshîn, who addressed him as it was necessary, and told him what the bishops said of him, and of what they accused him. Thereupon the patriarch said to those present, by the grace of God : «The affair of the two bishops is a strange matter. For the fact is that I deposed them from their episcopal rank. And the cause of that was—-». And he proceeded to make the events known to Al-Afshîn, and showed him the falsity of their charges. For nothing that they had said of him was true. Then he told the amir the reason of his |501 removing those two bishops because their people rose up against them. And Al-Afshîn perceived the truth, and saw that the bishops’ words concerning the patriarch were lies; and he began to think that those two were responsible for the trouble. And he observed to those that were present : «These two men intended to make me share in a great crime, and put the father of all the Christians to death». Then when the holy man saw that vengeance was descending upon those two for his sake, he said to the amir : «My religion bids me do good to those that do harm to me. God has now shown thee the truth with regard to the accusations that these two men brought; and therefore I pray thee to treat them generously, as thou hast authority to do. Leave them alone then in honour of God». And when Al-Afshîn saw what the patriarch did, he marvelled; and he set the two bishops free. So the people glorified God and gave thanks to him, declaring that he was worthy of praise, because he had raised up as their leader this holy father, who acted according to the divine commandments.

And when Al-Ma’mûn learnt the news from those who visited him, he commanded that a decree should be written, directing that the patriarch should be honoured and respected, and that none should oppose him in his judgments or with regard to those whom he should appoint or depose. Afterwards Al-Ma’mûn gave orders that search should be made for the |502 Bashmurites still remaining in Egypt, and that they should be deported to Baghdad. So they were removed, and remained in the prisons for a long period, until it was God’s will to save them from the hand of Ibrahîm, who reigned after his brother. Then some of them returned to their native towns while others remained there at Baghdad, and laid out gardens there, and continued in those parts until the present day, still bearing the name of Bashrûdites.

After this the father Joseph desired to appoint two bishops at Tinnîs and at Misr, in the place of those who had been deposed, that the words of the apostle Paul 95 might be fulfilled : «The greatest of my duties is the care of the churches». Therefore he consecrated as bishop over Wasîm Isaac, the official, whom he had made a deacon and his own deputy. And he appointed a person named Demetrius over Tinnîs. But Fustât Misr was left without a bishop; and the bishop of Wasîm continued to be administrator of the diocese of Misr, and exercised authority over it; and none could resist him because of the influence which his words had with the governors and his brethren and his community, and he remained over the two sees until his death, |503 When the patriarch had recovered his strength a little, he took thought for the affairs of Abyssinia and Nubia, and sent a letter to the people of those countries, and enquired after them and their churches. But he did not succeed in communicating with them on account of hostility between their kings and the Muslim governors of Egypt. And he prayed to God that there might be peace between them, so that he might attain his object, which was to restore the buildings under the jurisdiction of the Father, Saint Mark the Evangelist. And God heard his prayer, and answered his petition. Now this war had lasted fourteen years between them, until Ibrahîm, brother of Al-Ma’mûn, began to reign. He set guards on the road to Abyssinia and Nubia. Now the king over the Nubians was Zacharias. So Ibrahîm sent, and said to him : «If thou wilt do what other kings have done before thee, then send the tribute for the past fourteen years. Otherwise we will make war upon thee.» Now a deacon, named George, was the secretary of the governor of Upper Egypt. So he wrote to the patriarch to make known to him what was contained in the letter of Ibrahîm, the prince. And the patriarch, on hearing it, glorified God, and rejoiced, saying : «This is an opportunity for me also to write to the kings of what |504 concerns the Church». So he wrote a letter, full of the grace of the Holy-Ghost, as it behoved him; and he saluted and praised the kings, and informed them of the kindly treatment that he had received from the princes of the Muslims, since the Lord had seated him upon the glorious and holy throne. And he added : «I am unworthy of this post, but I was desirous of obtaining news of you. Only my sin prevented my communicating with you, on account of the wars which have been waged in the land of Egypt, and the rebellion of the Bashrûdites against the commands of the prince, until he slew them, and laid their dwellings waste, and demolished their churches. But now we have found an opportunity by this correspondence of making known to you what has happened. And now, my. friends, you are bound to accomplish your duty to these princes. And if it were wrong that we should bid you do any of these things, then I have undergone punishment from my brethren, as Joseph, the son of Jacob, suffered from his brethren. And now you are bound to pray that there may be peace between you, O you that love God, and that peace may appear in the Church for your sake».

This epistle Abba Joseph despatched to the governor of the mines near Uswân, that he might forward it. And when this letter reached king Zacharias, and was read to him, he said : «What shall I do concerning the |505 prince’s demand upon me? Who will collect for me the tribute of fourteen years in human souls, that I may send them to him? For I cannot leave my capital, lest the savages who are in rebellion against me should take possession of it. Now must I despatch my son to the prince.» So the king sent for his eldest son, whose name was George. And he had the trumpet blown, and appointed a herald who proclaimed that George should reign after him. Then he sent him to Misr, in company with the envoys who had come thence, together with gifts which he had prepared.

And when George arrived at Misr, he was met by the blessed father Abba Joseph. On seeing the patriarch, George, son of king Zacharias, rejoiced greatly, and prostrated himself before him. Then the patriarch gave him his benediction, and informed him of some of the events that had taken place, in order to excuse himself for the delay in sending a letter to the kingdom of the Nubians. But George replied 96 : «Blessed is the Lord, who deals not with us after our sins! But it was our fault that hindered thee till this time; and it is thy holiness that has made me worthy to kiss |506 thy holy hands, O thou Lamp, that enlightenest the orthodox throughout the world!»

Then George started upon the road to Baghdad. And he begged the patriarch to pray for him that God might bring him back in safety. On his arrival at Baghdad, the capital of the empire, the prince received him with joy and said to him : «God gives thee the tribute of all the past years, in return for thy coming to my court and thy obedience to me». And George remained with him many days in honour. Afterwards the prince dismissed him with many gifts of gold and silver and garments, and despatched a troop of soldiers with him, that they might conduct him to his own country in safety.

So he returned to Misr with great glory and ceremony, holding a golden cross in his hand, while all the people welcomed him, according to the honour which the caliph had paid him. And George requested leave of the patriarch that he might transport into the governor’s palace, where he was lodging, a consecrated sanctuary, made of wood, that could be taken to pieces and put together again. And there were with him bishops from his own country, |507 who celebrated the Liturgy for him, so that the king’s son and all his companions made their communion there. And he gave orders that the wooden gong should be struck on the roof of the palace at the time of the Liturgy, as it is done at the churches. And all men marvelled thereat; and all the Christians rejoiced and glorified God for what he had shown forth through the prayers of this holy man, the patriarch. And in his days the said king’s son set out and started upon his homeward journey. Therefore our father, the patriarch, proceeded with him, as far as a place called Bûlâk, with great state. And the father was thereby consoled for the trials which he had passed through.

Now who will not marvel when he hears these wonders, namely that every patriarch who sits upon this holy throne directs his care towards three departments of business : the care for the synodical letter to the patriarch of Antioch; secondly our relations with the Abyssinians and the Nubians; and thirdly the carrying out of decrees issued by the governor of Egypt to the patriarch and bishops, that the affairs of the orthodox churches may be kept in good order? And God brought these three |508 departments together for our father, the patriarch Abba Joseph, by the coming of the caliph Al-Ma’mûn from his country and the patriarch’s interviews with him, and the arrival of his brother Dionysius, patriarch of Antioch, with whom he held intercourse, and the coming of the son of the king of the Nubians, as we have related, and the prosperity of affairs, and his seeing the great glory in truth, as the prophet David says 97 : «All nations shall worship before him».

And God worked for him another wonder, so that he performed for him all that he had prayed for, in order that the see of the illustrious father, Saint Mark the Evangelist, might be glorified. May the blessings of his prayers preserve us! There was at that time a bishop named John, whom the father, Abba James, had ordained for the land of the Abyssinians. Now the king of the Abyssinians had gone forth to war. Then the people became disaffected, and drove away that bishop, and appointed another of their own free choice, thus breaking the canon. And the aforesaid bishop returned to Egypt and took up his abode at the Monastery of Baramus in Wadî Habîb, because he had first become a monk there. But the Lord, who loves mankind, and desires to save them and restore them to the knowdedge of |509 the truth, did not allow that country and its inhabitants to remain in their disobedience, but he raised up against them the evangelical throne once more, that the Lord might show forth wonders in the following manner. For he sent down upon them and upon their cattle a plague with great mortality, and caused their king to be defeated by all who fought against him; and his followers were slain. So, when he came back from the war, great sadness fell upon him. And he did not know what had been done to the bishop, nor how he had been banished from their city. For it was the queen who had caused this mischief, acting as Eudoxia did in her time against John the Golden Mouth. As soon therefore as the king learnt this, he hastened and wrote a letter to the good shepherd, Abba Joseph, saying to him : «I prostrate myself before the evangelical throne, upon which thy Paternity has been counted worthy to sit, and by the grace of which my royal authority is confirmed. Now the people of my country have strayed away from the light of the holy see, and have set their feet in a path full of thorns by driving away thy vicar. Therefore the Lord has sent down the punishment of that deed upon our heads, and has given us a taste of his vengeance through the death of men and cattle by the plague. Moreover he has forbidden heaven to rain upon us. But now, our holy father, overlook |510 our folly, and send us someone who will pray to God for us, and intercede for us, that we may be saved by thy acceptable prayers».

When the father had read this letter, he rejoiced over the king’s faith and quickly sent and summoned that bishop from the monastery of Baramus, and having encouraged and consoled him sent him back to the Abyssinians. And he despatched an escort of trustworthy men with him on account of the dangers of the road, and gave him sufficient provision for the journey. And he dismissed the party, giving them his blessing that God might make their path easy. And God heard him; for they safely reached the friendly king, who rejoiced over them with all the natives of the land.

After this, Satan, the enemy of peace, suggested an idea to some of the people of that country. Accordingly, they waited upon the king, and said to him : «We request thy majesty to command this bishop to be circumcised. For all the inhabitants of our country are circumcised except him». And the working of Satan was so powerful that the king approved this proposal, namely that the aged bishop should be taken and circumcised, or else that he should return to the place whence he had come. And when the bishop recollected the hardships of his journeys, both when he departed and when he returned, and then of what he would experience again, he dreaded the difficulties of the road both by land and water. So he said : «I will submit |511 to this, for the salvation of these souls, of which the Lord has appointed me shepherd without any merit of mine. Yet now Paul the apostle enjoins us, saying 98 : If any man is called without circumcision, let him not be circumcised». So when he made this concession to them, God manifested a miracle in him, as he wrote to our father the patriarch, Abba Joseph; namely, that when they took him to circumcise him, and stripped him, they found the mark of circumcision in him, as if he had been circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. And he swore in his letter that he knew nothing of this before that day. Thus the king and the people of the country were satisfied, and rejoiced greatly over this wonder, and accepted the bishop with joy.

When the letter containing an account of this matter reached the patriarch, he rejoiced greatly over the return of those erring ones to their shepherd and over the miracle which had been manifested, saying : «Blessed is the Lord, who has turned the captivity of his people and saved them from the hand of the enemy, and has not left them in error for ever». And |512 because this good shepherd took so much care of his sheep and gave his life for them, he appointed many bishops, and sent them to all places under the see of Saint Mark the evangelist, which include Africa and the Five Cities and Al-Kairuwân and Tripoli and the land of Egypt and Abyssinia and Nubia. For he said : «If the shepherds be not many to guard the flock, the sheep will perish; therefore I do not neglect them, lest any of them be lost or destroyed, even one, for whom I should be held responsible by Christ. For with what purpose did he appoint me, unless it were to protect his flock from the lion which is always watching for negligence on the part of the shepherd, that it may seize and devour and destroy. Afterwards I shall say also in the presence of the Lord 99 : Not one of those whom thou gavest me has perished». Yet while he was acting thus, the adversary who is ever fighting bestirred himself that he might raise up trials and sorrows for him. But the Lord was with this holy father, and delivered him at all times, and showed him the weakness of his enemies and of the enemies of the Church day after day, according to the words of the Lord, who said 100 : «The gates of Hell shall never prevail against my Church».

At that period the prince Ibrahîm sent men to Egypt with orders that |513 the columns and the marble should be taken from the churches in everyplace. He who came to search for these things was a malignant heretic of the Nestorian sect, named Lazarus. So when he arrived at Misr, the people of his foul sect gathered together to meet him; and they were the Chalcedonian heretics dwelling at Alexandria. They did not cease denouncing the churches by night and by day, and they persuaded Lazarus to demolish the churches of Alexandria. And they guided him to the places where there were columns and pavements; and so he carried them off by force and violence. Afterwards they led him out to the church of the martyr, Saint Mennas, at Maryût, in their great jealousy against it, and then they said to him : «None of the churches is like this one, for all that thou hast come to seek thou wilt find herein». So that Nestorian hastily arose, by the advice of the informers, and entered the church of the martyr Saint Mennas. And when he looked at the building and its ornaments, and saw the beauty of the columns and coloured marbles which it contained, he marvelled and was amazed, and said : «This is what the prince needs. This is here, and I knew nothing of it!» Therefore our father, Abba Joseph the patriarch, hearing that this wicked person did not hold back his hand through the evil |514 and malice that was in his heart, and learning what the heretics had found, said to him : «Behold, all the churches under my jurisdiction are before thee. Do with them therefore as the prince commands thee. But this church alone I desire of thee that thou injure not. And whatever thou shalt ask of me I will deliver to thee».

Yet the heretic would not listen to the patriarch’s words nor to his request, but answered him face to face with unseemly language, and then set to work and robbed the church of its coloured marbles and its unequalled pavement, which was composed of all colours and had no match, nor was its value known. And when the marble arrived at the city of Alexandria, that it might be forwarded to the court, the father was greatly grieved for the church, and said : «I know that thou art able, O holy Martyr, to exact just punishment for the wrong done to thee by this heretic, who has not respected thy house, although it is a consolation for all the faithful». And he did not cease to mourn thus night and day for the calamity that had befallen this holy church. And he took care to restore it quickly. For he sent for surface decoration from Misr and Alexandria, and began to repair with all beautiful ornament the places from which the pavements had |515 been stripped, until no one who looked at them could perceive that anything was gone from them.

And in those days, while the heretic Lazarus was at Alexandria, the words that are 101 written were fulfilled concerning him : «Who is he that resists the Lord? For he shall be crushed.» For the Lord struck him speedily with a plague in the following manner. His body and his inward parts were swollen with the disease called the dropsy, and the colour of his face was changed, and he remained in a recumbent posture, unable to raise his head. He had also fallen into great poverty, so that he found none to supply nourishment for himself or his beasts, nor to treat him medically. Therefore he begged and implored the father patriarch to give him something to spend upon himself. And this father did what Lazarus asked, according to that which is written 102, namely : «If thine enemy hunger feed him, and if he thirst give him to drink». And the pains grew upon Lazarus greatly, as he lay prostrate, and all who beheld him glorified God and his martyr, Saint Mennas, and blessed the good shepherd, because he had done good |516 to all who did evil to him. And the father’s tongue was like a sharp sword. Who would not be filled with admiration on hearing of the virtues of this holy and blessed father, Abba Joseph? Listen now to yet another wonder, my friends, concerning this father. There was at Alexandria a man who was one of the Chalcedonian heretics; and he was very rich, and possessed water-wheels. So when he went out one day to take recreation in one of his vineyards outside Alexandria, he saw a broken water-wheel, and asked for a carpenter. Now there was an old man, a priest, who was also a carpenter. So the Chalcedonian said to him : «Wilt thou come now with me, that thou mayest mend the water-wheel for me?» But the priest replied : «To-day is the Great Friday; and I can do no work to-day, because it is the day on which the Word of God, the Saviour of the world, was crucified». Then that cursed heretic opened his cavilling mouth in answer, and blasphemed God the Word, saying what must not be recorded. So the aged priest reproved him, and went away and left him. Now our father, the patriarch, was staying in the desert of Wadî Habîb, in order to keep Easter in the monastery, and to finish the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ: but as soon as he returned to Alexandria, the aged priest reported |517 to him the blasphemies that had been uttered by the heretic. Thereupon he who was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost answered with the voice of prophecy : «Let the lips which utter blasphemy against Christ my God be struck with dumbness!» And he said also in the words of David 103 : «An enemy has invented lies against the Lord, and a foolish people has provoked thy name to anger». Ah that great miracle! At that very moment the heretic became dumb and could not speak; and he remained paralysed to the day of his death. And a great dread fell upon all the Alexandrian heretics who beheld this, so that even their chief, the pseudo-patriarch, whose name was Sophronius, began to have faith and trust in our father, and paid several visits to him, and acted humbly towards him, and saluted him.

In the seventh year after Abba Joseph’s appointment, namely the year 554 of the Martyrs, God showed a great sign in the sky. For a great star appeared in the east and reached to the west, like a gleaming sword; and it remained many days. And men said : «We have never seen anything like this. What is likely to happen through this star?» And after some days there came a terrible pestilence upon the cattle, and the beasts began |518 to fall down dead in the enclosures and in all places, until the people of Egypt had not a beast left, and lost the means of carrying on their work. And no one could walk through the streets without stopping his nose for the multitude of dead animals. Thus the cultivation of the land was interrupted, and there was little produce; and the land of Egypt was full of sadness. Afterwards the plague attacked men also, so that they perished like the cattle. As David says 104 of the people of Egypt : «He spared them not from death, nor their beasts». Meanwhile our father did not cease to weep for the men and the beasts, nor to pray to God with tears, saying : «O Lord, thou hast turned thy face away from thy people on account of my sins. Yet deal not with them according to my transgressions; but let thy mercy reach them speedily, and save thy people, and renew the face of the earth, O God, Lover of mankind». And God heard his servant’s prayer, and changed his wrath into health for men and beasts, and taught them that He can do all things. For men and beasts multiplied in Egypt, and the people forgot what had taken place; and the beasts even began to bring forth two at a birth, until men and beasts became as if not one of them had died nor any of them perished. |519

I wish to relate to you an incident which occurred during the struggles and labours of this father, that you may hear and glorify God, who worked wonders for him, and saved him from his sorrows and distress. Upon the death of Isaac, bishop of Wasîm, who also ruled the see of Misr, and who had formerly solicited the patriarchate, Abba Joseph appointed in his place Banah the deacon, at the request of the chief men of Misr. But he promoted to the see of Wasîm another of his sons, named Apacyrus, who died after a short time. Now Isaac the deceased had a son named Theodore, a name common to three bishops who sat in succession upon the episcopal throne of Misr. This man solicited the see of Wasîm, but the people did not approve him; and the father did not think it right to appoint him against the will of the people. There was in Egypt at that time a governor named Alî, son of Yahya, the Armenian, acting on behalf of Abû Ishâk Ibrahîm al-Mu’tasim, son of Hârûn ar-Rashîd, and brother of Abd Allah al-Ma’mûn. So Theodore cast aside the fear of God, and paid a visit to the governor, and promised him money that he might compel the patriarch to raise him to the episcopate. Therefore the governor sent and enquired concerning the father |520 patriarch, and interceded with him for Theodore. But the patriarch answered that Theodore should never become bishop, and resisted the governor, saying : «I have no power in this matter». Then the governor was greatly enraged for the sake of the money which Theodore had promised him, and began to pull down the churches of Fustât Misr. And he began by attacking first of all the church which is in the Fort of Ash-Shama’, called the Hanging Church. So they demolished its upper part, until they reached the gallery. And the father patriarch and the people were lamenting sadly and in great grief, and were weeping bitter tears. As David the prophet says 105 : «O Lord God, God of Hosts, how long wilt thou be wrath against the prayer of thy servant? Thou feedest me with bread with my tears, and givest me tears to drink. Thou makest me a byword to my acquaintances and a sorrow and mockery to my enemies. O Lord God of Hosts, return, O Lord, and make thy face shine upon us, so that we shall be saved». And Abba Joseph gave vent to deep sighs in sadness of heart for the demolition of the church.

But certain persons came to the father, and said to him : «How long wilt thou refuse to appoint this man bishop? Until all the churches are |521 demolished? God has seen thy solicitude and thy struggle for the truth. Deal with this man who relies upon worldly authority as he demands, and God will give him his portion, and his sin shall be on his own head». Then the patriarch consented to that which the people proposed. Yet the governor did not cease from his fury, but required money of the father, saying : «I will not put a stop to the destruction of the churches unless thou give me three thousand dinars». Thereupon the laymen and the bishops present with him were vexed and exclaimed : «O our father be not distressed, we will furnish this money. Therefore divide the debt equally among us, that thou mayest save the churches and no harm may befall them». So the officials proceeded to visit the governor, and gave him sureties that they would pay three thousand dinars. Upon that his anger was appeased, and he commanded that the bishop should be ordained. Accordingly the father ordained him. And he said from the depth of his heart concerning the governor, as the prophet David says in the fifth Psalm 106 : «The Lord abhors the wicked man, but does justice to the poor». He quoted also the word which is in the Law of Moses 107 : «On the day of vengeance I will reward them, on the day when their feet shall slip». And he added : «On the day of their destruction I will reward them, and |522 will judge the enemies and the oppressors». And all men knew that his words were like prophecy, and said : «What, thinkest thou, will come to pass after this prophecy?» A short time afterwards, indeed, the caliph sent this governor to the land of the Romans, to make a raid upon it; and he took some of them captive, and conquered territory. Then the caliph sent him a second time; and some of the Romans came out against him, and slew him and all his soldiers with cruelty, as the father had foretold with regard to him.

When the trouble ceased from the churches, and that which had been pulled down was restored, and the faithful provided for it and improved it, so that it became finer and more beautiful than it had been before, because the Church is founded upon the Rock, and nothing prevails against her, but she prevails over those who oppose her, and destroys them, then the father said, in the words of the prophet David 108 : «O Lord, who is like unto thee? Thou hast shown us great troubles, but thou hast returned and quickened us, and brought us up from the depth of the earth». And again 109 : «The Lord has stripped off my sackcloth, and clothed me with gladness, and turned my lamentation into joy». |523

And the bishop of Misr began to request further promotion of the father patriarch. And there was a judge at Misr, named Muhammad, son of Abd Allah, whom that man used to consult in all his business. And this judge was a man to be feared, and one whose words none could resist, for he was looked up to by all the Muslims as a lawyer and a leader, and was learned in their religion. But he secretly did deeds that were worthy of blame, and loved to drink wine and to hear singing, and he purchased beautiful slave-girls, and indulged in amusement and debauchery without fear of God or shame before men, according to the words of the Gospel 110 concerning those like him. Nevertheless God endured him, and allowed him a respite, and added to his days one equal to a thousand years, while he persisted in his folly and insolence against the people of this orthodox religion and the other Christian communities, and swore against Christ. In accordance with this character, he brought lawsuits against the father patriarch several times, and mocked him. So God brought down his deeds upon his own pate, as David says in the Psalm 111 : «Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee». Therefore when Banah, bishop of Misr, saw the power of this judge, and his influence over the governor and commanders of the Muslims, he made friends with him, in order that the judge might do what he desired, and that none might oppose him in his administration, just as |524 the judge acted among the Muslims in what he decreed, whether it were honest or perverse or deceitful.

But the father, Abba Joseph, did not cease to fight for the truth, and to declare his trust in God; and therefore he feared none but God, who created him. Now the patriarch knew what had taken place between the bishop and the judge. And the judge began to think what evil he should do to the patriarch. So one day he gave orders that the father patriarch should be summoned. And certain bishops were present at the judge’s house that day, and were trying to conciliate Banah, bishop of Misr; and their names were Abba Pachomius, bishop of Bastah, and George, bishop of Taha, and another George, bishop of Ahnâs, and Zacharias, bishop of Al-Buhairah, and Mennas, bishop of Al-Bahnasa, besides others. So when the patriarch appeared before the judge, the latter said to him : «Who gave thee authority to be chief over all the Christians ?» The patriarch replied : «God gave me this authority». Then the judge turned to the aforesaid bishops and to the bishop of Misr, who was with them, and said to them : «Obey this patriarch no longer from this day forth, and call him not father; but make this man your father (that is to say Banah, bishop of Misr), and let him be |525 your leader». And the bishops assented to his words, and said : «This that thou sayest is good, O judge, and what thou commandest shall be done». Now this took place by a previous agreement made by them with the judge, and they had promised to give him money. Then Zacharias, bishop of Al-Buhairah, said to our father, the patriarch : «Did I not say to thee yesterday : Hinder not the bishop, Abba Banah, from doing all that he desires, as the judge commands?» Our holy father, Abba Joseph, answered him and said with an awful voice, in the Coptic language : «O you that have no understanding, how have you gone astray thus, how have you accepted these words that have no accomplishment? But true is that which Paul the Apostle prophesied 112 of you; and he showed your folly when he said : We did not do the truth of God with understanding, that we should be converted of ourselves. And you have not obeyed the truth of God». And there were some of the lawyers sitting in the presence of the judge, and among them were some who understood the Coptic tongue, and they discerned the meaning of the patriarch’s words, and how he was admonishing the bishops; and so they reported to the judge all that he had said. When the judge heard it, he was furious, and said to the father : «Thinkest |526 thou that my commands will not be carried out?» Our father answered in a humble voice : «Hast thou power to lay thy hand upon the sun, and hide its brightness? For if thou canst do this, then thou wilt be able to do what thou sayest. Or canst thou resist God, or the commands of my lord the prince, whom thou servest? I said before that my primacy is of God, not of man. But now I also hold a decree from the prince which establishes my power. Yet behold, thou sayest these words to these bishops who have no authority over me: whereas my authority over them is from God and from the prince, and the execution of my sentence takes place among my people and my flock; and I have power tocut off and banish all those who err from the right path». When the judge heard these words from the patriarch’s mouth he said to him : «Holdest thou a decree from the prince, giving thee power to do what thou wilt?» Our father replied : «Yes, it is so». The judge said to him : «Bring it to me that I may read it». Now Abba Joseph had with him diplomas from the princes, from Al-Ma’mûn Abd Allah, son of Hârûn ar-Rashîd, issued when he came to Egypt, and from Ibrahîm, his brother. And when |527 Hârûn al-Wâthik, son of Ibrahîm, began to reign, he was asked to issue a new decree for our father, and accordingly it was written for him. And it was Harûn al-Wâthik who appointed this judge over Egypt. Therefore our father handed him the decrees; and he read them, and learnt from them the superior strength of those that walk straight over those that deviate from duty and from the right path. And the judge was ashamed and confounded, and bade our father depart with honour, so that all that were present were amazed. Now there were many of the bishops who had disapproved of these transactions, and had remained loyal to the patriarch, namely, Mennas, bishop of Tânah, and Sinuthius, bishop of Sâ, and the rest of the bishops. So he gave them the fruit of his lips 113, praying for them and blessing them. The father patriarch also used to say concerning the bishops who rebelled : «O Lord, lay not this sin to their charge 114».

After this Satan brought upon Abba Joseph another trial. For this father was merciful, and desired not the perdition of any man. So Satan put it into the heart of the unjust judge, who had become his instrument, that he should seize the Roman and Abyssinian pages of the patriarch, who were |528 not yet of full age, and try to make Muslims of them. Now many people used to give information, one against another, for this cause concerning the pages belonging to their households, whom the judge thereupon took and into custody and perverted to the religion of Islam, by means of persecution and intimidation. He also sometimes imprisoned their masters for a time, and when they bribed him, he set them free. Then he made curious inquiries concerning the Roman and Abyssinian pages of the patriarch, who had been sent as presents to him from Africa and the Five Cities and Abyssinia and Nubia. For he was told that the patriarch had pages at Alexandria, who were being taught in the school. So he sent his officers thither in the company of the deposed bishop of Misr, whose name was Banah, the interpretation of which is Fire. The bishop went as far as the city of Alexandria, and entered the house wherein the pages were. And he took them and led them away like lambs to the slaughter, while they wept helplessly until they were brought into Misr, being eight in number. Then when the unjust judge saw them, he rejoiced, saying : «This is a matter which will disappoint and vex the patriarch». Next he said to our father : « It is not lawful for thee to resist the princes’ command nor to |529 trample upon their orders; and it is not lawful for thee to attempt to enslave these youths and make Christians of them». The patriarch answered : «I do not resist the prince’s command nor any good words, but only unjust orders». The judge said to him : «Then am I unjust in thy opinion?» He replied : «Thou knowest that none of thy predecessors forced any one like these, who are Christians and the sons of Christians, to become Muslims. For they were presented to the churches as gifts, and came from the king of the Abyssinians, or from the Nubians or Romans; and they were sent to me as a present, and given to me». But the judge, through Satan’s power over him, would not listen; and, as David says 115, he was like the deaf asp that stops her ears, and will not hear the voice of the charmer. Therefore he gave orders that the youths should be brought in, while the patriarch was there, and intimidated them so that they acknowledged themselves Muslims before him in the patriarch’s presence, although he tried to hold them to the Christian faith. So he said, weeping : «Woe is me, my sadness is renewed, and my heart burns within me 116; I have seen my punishment, my limbs are cut asunder from me. Now, O Lord, let me know my end, for the sorrows of Hell encompass me». Then the judge said to the father : «There can be no further communication between |530 thee and these youths, for they are become Muslims. Take their price and leave them». The father replied : «If it is thy desire to make slaves of the free, I have no such wish; for these are free and the limbs of my body; and God will judge thee for them, and thou wilt give an account of them before God, the God of all». After that the judge gave orders that the pages should be separated, and accordingly the Muslims shared them among themselves. And when this compassionate father saw this transaction, he sighed, and said before the Lord : «Thou seekest out blood and rememberest them. Forget not the voice of the poor 117». He said also : «They have humbled thy people, and done harm to thy heritage, and slain the orphans and the strangers, and said : God doth not see 118 ». Thus he ceased not to weep and sigh and lament. And he said : «If any one outrage these youths, may God destroy him !» Further he said : «O Lord, I am a sinful man, but yet, O Lord, thou wilt take vengeance upon this unjust judge in return for his wicked conduct, and thou wilt fulfil upon him the words of wise Solomon : In the day of vengeance 119 the hypocrites shall perish». Such grief did the father endure, while he prayed night and day, |531 saying : «O Lord, them wilt not forsake thy people on account of my sin».

There were in his time faithful men, holy monks, who prayed for him that patience might be given to him under these trials that afflicted him. And there was a hermit among them whose name was Ammonius, at the monastery of Saint John. There was also Abba Mennas, the hermit, on Mount Armûn, who was endowed with the spirit of prophecy, and healed all the sick; many testified of him that he had power over unclean spirits and cast them out of men.

And I, the mean and feeble one, visited him, and he discoursed with me concerning the Church. He was a eunuch from birth, pure unto God, and had been a monk from his youth in the monastery of Saint John. But when the desert was ravaged in the last years of the patriarch, Abba Mark, as we related above, this monk took refuge in a church named after the Disciples, in a certain village. And he showed forth many miracles by healing the sick and casting out devils. And I, the mean one, was present with him, and he taught me writing; and that was in the tenth year of the patriarchate of the father, Abba Joseph.

This holy old man was sitting one day, reading in the history of the ancient churches and of what happened to the fathers, in the seventeenth part |532 of the history of the church, and I said to him in my simplicity, not knowing what I said : «What is this that he says?» And he answered me in the words of the Holy Ghost : «O my son, blessed is he who wrote and provided for the history of the patriarchs. Believe what I say to thee, my son, that none shall begin the eighteenth part of the history of the Church, before he comes, whose name is eighteen. And thou art he that shall take thought for the writing of it, for the Lord calls thee to it». Thereupon I became as if I were absent-minded, and could not ask him anything further. Now this old man remained all his life a hermit. And he frequently gave me his blessing. But I have abridged what I have written, and have left much unwritten through fear of those who will read what I have written concerning this holy old hermit. Here I have left the history of the fathers, and ceased to relate their history. Severus, bishop of Sanabû, dilates in one of his homilies upon the history of this hermit.

But let us now return to that which God did by means of the father patriarch, Abba Joseph, and I will relate the following miracle. When this father was at Misr in the time of the unjust judge, whose dealing with him we have recounted, there came to him a Christian person who said to him : «O my spiritual father, take pity on me! For I have a son who has been |533 possessed many days by a diabolical spirit which torments him. And he cries aloud saying : I will not leave him until Abba Joseph, the patriarch, commands me. Therefore have mercy on my son, thy servant, O father». Now the father was exceedingly humble, and he said to the man with a pure and humble heart : «What have I to do, my son, with these of whom thou speakest? Yet on account of thy faith, thy son shall be delivered». Then the man accepted his words, as the centurion accepted the words of the Lord, exclaiming : «I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under the roof of my house, but speak the word only, and my lad shall be healed». So this faithful person did not cease to beg and implore the patriarch, saying : «Have pity on me, O my father!» Again the father asked : «What wilt thou that I should do unto thee ?» He answered : «I am not worthy that thou shouldest go with me nor enter my house; but wilt thou write for me with thine own hand a sentence in thine own name, and nothing more, commanding the devil to depart? For then he will depart from my son». When our father heard him say this, he marvelled at him, and at the greatness of his faith, and thought that he ought not to allow him to go away without that which he asked of him. And I, the writer of this history, hearing this, became like the God-loving deacon Theopistus, while he |534 was with the holy father Dioscorus in the island of Gangra, on account of the man with the withered arm who was cured by the blood from the confessor’s hand. For I believed that the Lord would do by means of this father that which would cure this man’s son. And while I was meditating on this, the Lord willed to increase my faith by this holy man. For he bade me take a sheet of paper and an inkstand, and write upon the sheet thus : «Joseph, the mean one, the least of all the patriarchs, speaks and bids thee, unclean spirit, depart from the servant of Christ our God, and forbids thee to return to him henceforth, through the power of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the one God».

Thereupon the father of the youth took this letter, and departed quickly to his house, and read the writing over his son; and at once the devil went out of him, and did not return to him. And while our father remained at Misr, that man came to him and prostrated himself before him with great faith, saying : «I thank the Lord for thy prayers; for by thy words my son was healed». But our father forbad him under pain of ecclesiastical penance to tell anyone of this matter. And the man swore to us that the devil had never returned to his son since that day.

In those days the father Dionysius, patriarch of Antioch, went to his rest. So the metropolitans and the bishops and the orthodox laity took thought |535 and appointed in his place a person, perfect in his qualities, named John. This was in the 15th. year of the patriarchate of Abba Joseph, and in the year 562 of the Martyrs. After John’s enthronement at Antioch he wrote to our father a synodical letter according to custom, proclaiming the unity of the two sees, and sent it by two metropolitans, namely Athanasius, metropolitan of Apamea, and Timothy, metropolitan of Damascus, accompanied by others of the clergy. Therefore the father, Abba Joseph, having heard that they were approaching Egypt, with the synodical letter in their charge, travelled to Alexandria, in order that they might meet him there with honour. And as they drew near to the city, he sent to welcome them a body of bishops and clergy, who chanted before them, and conducted them as far as the patriarchal cell with glory and reverence. And when our father had received the synodical letter, he commanded that it should be read aloud to the orthodox people; and they rejoiced exceedingly. .

But the perpetual enemy saw this grace, and immediately began to stir up troubles against our father the patriarch by means of one who was his instrument, as he had done with the unjust judge. Now that judge |536 employed a man worse than himself, who acted as his deputy at Alexandria and in the neighbouring province; and this man’s name was Muhammad son of Bashîr. So those whom the patriarch had formerly excommunicated went to this man, and advised him to put the patriarch to shame in the presence of the metropolitans. These children of fire contrived this plan, thinking that this action would weigh heavily upon him; whereas he, being clothed with humility, paid no heed, and did not think of what they were thinking. For they thought in their hearts that, if they disgraced him before the metropolitans, his dignity would be lessened, and knew not that their counsels were contemptible; while the ever victorious one conquered, and gained the crown after the contest, and received a blessing for his endurance. And by this his fame and the report of his patience reached the ends of the east, after those righteous metropolitans had witnessed that which was done to him.

At that time the judge of Alexandria sent and summoned the holy father, Abba Joseph the patriarch, and the metropolitans with him. And when he appeared in the judge’s presence, he said to him : «I am informed that thou hast pages, whom the judge, my master, commanded thee not to take to thyself again. Some of them are in thy house, and thou hast |537 converted them to thy religion». Then the holy man answered and said to him : «I have none of those of whom thou speakest, nor have I beheld the face of one of them since that day». Thereupon the judge ordered that the patriarch should be beaten upon his neck without mercy; and they belaboured him soundly, and did not cease from beating him for a considerable time. In consequence of this his head was bowed, and he could not raise it for his weakness; and he did not open his mouth to utter a word, except when he said thus : «I thank thee, Lord Jesus Christ». But we, his children, wept bitterly for witnessing what was done to him by this wicked judge. Yet the patriarch did not despair of mercy, but was filled with courage. And so those metropolitans marvelled, and said : «Blessed be God, who has counted us worthy to behold so faithful a champion !» And our blessed father repeated the words of the Lord concerning the unjust judge, that the Lord would show forth vengeance in him, which should come upon him, as Luke says 120 : «God shall soon avenge his elect who pray to him day and night, though he is longsuffering concerning them» .

After this the patriarch Joseph wrote to the patriarch John an answer to his synodical letter, and dismissed the envoys with the glory and honour |538 which befitted them. And they praised our father Joseph, and began to publish his deeds throughout their country.

And there were in his days grace and peace. A wonderful thing took place in his time; for he beheld the monasteries in every place grow and increase every day, through his prayers and the prayers of the holy men who lived at that time. Above all the monasteries of the Wadî Habîb were like the Paradise of God, especially that of Saint Macarius. And God’s assistance was with all the monks, and more than any with that oeconomus Sinuthius, the holy priest, by whose means God manifested countless good works through his faith in Saint Macarius. For Sinuthius raised monuments in honour of Saint Macarius, vineyards and gardens and cattle and mills and oilpresses, and many useful things that cannot be numbered. And when the faithful people beheld what he did, they rejoiced thereat, and were zealous for his deeds, and helped him with good intentions.

And there were in the holy monastery innumerable persons, not only the orthodox, but also heretics, on account of the wonders that were manifested in that church. This was the doing of this oeconomus Sinuthius, who |539 hoped for a reward from God, as Paul, the Apostle, says 121 : «We in the spirit in faith wait for a true hope». And when Sinuthius saw the monks increasing in numbers through the grace of God which called them, he began and built a church to the north of the Great Church, and named it after the Fathers and Disciples. And he completed it, and adorned it with every kind of ornament. And he invited our holy father, Abba Joseph the patriarch, to visit this church; and when he saw it, his heart was filled with joy; and he consecrated it on the first day of Barmûdah in the seventeenth year of his patriarchate. And the father did not cease to bless this oeconomus Sinuthius from the depths of his heart, and looked upon the monuments which Sinuthius made day after day, and especially this holy church, which was capacious in size, and beautiful in structure. And we, the sons of this father, had a great affection for this oeconomus Sinuthius, on account of our father’s love for him which we beheld. And the father said to us by the power of the Holy Ghost, who descended upon him : «My sons, believe me, this brother has many monuments which he will make, and there is building of churches and chapels for him». When we heard him say this, we |540 said to him : «Thinkest thou that he will build other churches on this mountain ?» . And his words were like a prophecy, but we did not know it until there was manifested to us after that a thing that we will record.

Our father had in his hand an elegant pastoral staff, which he gave to Sinuthius, the oeconomus, saying to him : «Take this, my son, as a memorial for thyself». On seeing this, we said : «Verily this refers to something that will appear; for all his actions are done by the grace of the Holy Ghost».

In the eighteenth year of Abba Joseph’s patriarchate there was made governor of Alexandria an amir, named Mâlik, son of Nâsir al Hadar, who was a wicked man and unjust. So when he entered the city he began to do harm to many people, more than the governor who preceded him. For he interfered with the artisans and the great merchants and dealers in woven stuffs and shopkeepers, ordering them not to sell or buy except within certain limits which he laid down for them. And he made a great measure; and a crier began to proclaim thus : «If anyone is found having a garment less than this measure, I will imprison him and put him to shame and slay him». So when the people of Alexandria saw this, they were sad and |541 said : «We know now that God has abased this city and its inhabitants by the hand of this unjust man». But the poor people, the weavers and the tailors, were left without employment because their means of livelihood were cut off, and their children were forced to be idle, so that they were without food, and were inclined to emigrate and depart to other countries, that they might earn a living. And they were crying out night and day that God would save them from this tyrant.

And God did not neglect their supplication, but heard them speedily. For he said by the prophet David’s tongue in the ninetieth Psalm 122 : «Cry unto me, and I will answer thee and deliver thee». And again : «The Lord is near those that call upon him 123». So on a certain day that amir mounted his horse and came to the patriarch’s Cell, accompanied by certain female slaves; and he ate and drank with them. Then he arose and walked round all the patriarch’s chambers, until he reached the closet in which the patriarchs always slept. Thereupon he drove the father out of it, and brought in his slaves and ate and drank with them there, and reposed in that |542 chamber, which was full of the savour of incense and sweet perfume from the prayers of the holy patriarchs. Therefore the holy father, seeing this, was grieved and wept much, repeating the words of David, the prophet 124, in the 78th. Psalm : «O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance, and have defiled thy holy temple». After this man had done these foul deeds without fear, he departed and returned to his own house. And God, the worker of miracles at all times, took revenge upon him; for that very day he was attacked by a pain in the inward parts, and quickly drew near to death. Yet he did not cease from his injustice and wicked deeds. At that time the children of fire went and laid information against the father, saying : «This man writes letters to the princes of the Romans, and they send him much money». So the amir sent speedily, and summoned our father, and commanded that he should be imprisoned in a narrow dungeon, and entrusted him to the charge of certain guards, who were to watch over him. And he desired to torment the patriarch until he should give him a thousand dinars, while the patriarch patiently endured; and the amir did not cease to threaten him, and finally insisted on the sum of four hundred dinars. But during |543 all this the pains were increasing upon him; and the blood ran from his body, and he could not sleep by night or by day. And he could not find a physician who could treat him, nor did medicine benefit him. Meanwhile the father remained in prison for the sake of the four hundred dinars, and prayed to God night and day, saying : «Let my supplication come before thee, O Lord, and the sighing of the sick and the captives 125 ». And he remained in straits many days, while the governor threatened and intimidated him, in order that he might bring the money. And the patriarch’s disciples and friends were in great grief and trouble, and counselled him to pay the money. So he, upon whom the spirit of prophecy rested, said to them, that if he were not to quit that place until he had paid what that tyrant demanded of him, then on the seventh day after they had entered therein, one of God’s sudden judgments would be manifested, at which all men would marvel. Then Abba Joseph paid the four hundred dinars, and he and his companions were released from the prison. And I, the mean writer of this history, was with him in the dungeon. And the Lord, who beholds all things, accomplished the words of this holy man; for on the seventh day after he paid the money, while we were with him, certain men entered to him and informed him that the governor was dead, and that the crier was calling in |544 the streets to the people : «Rise up and bury the governor!» And all men praised God, the worker of wonders among his saints. And the people of the city began to respect and honour the father for the troubles and sorrows and straits which he had endured, and because God had saved him from them all, manifesting wonders by his means.

Then on account of the straits and the sorrow and distress that had afflicted Abba Joseph, it was God’s will to give him rest from this world, and to call him to the mansions of light, that he might enjoy eternal life. For so God had promised to that saint, saying to him : «Thou shalt be happy for ever, and shalt live eternally». Accordingly after these events the patriarch fell sick of a fever. And on the seventh day of his sickness the Lord visited him, and took him to himself. So he went to his rest on the twenty-third day of Bâbah, in the year 566 of the Martyrs, at the time of the communion of the Holy Mysteries, the day being Sunday. Thus he had remained upon the evangelic and apostolic throne eighteen years and eleven months.

And they carried his body to the city of Alexandria and laid him with his holy fathers, with glory and honour. And the people of Alexandria, both men and women, wept copious tears over him, because they had lost a |545 man who was constant in his fight against evil. And he obtained the crown of victory.

Such were the events which I witnessed with my own eyes; but I have abridged my narrative on account of the multitude of its wonders. We pray the Lord to allow the prayers of that saint to be with us.

Now it is right for you, my holy lords, and my duty also that I should make known to you and you should listen to the fulfilment of a prophecy which he uttered to me, while he was living, and which the Lord accomplished after his death, that those who hear may marvel and glorify God who is glorified in his elect. I related before that, at the time when the unjust judge brought troubles upon Egypt, the patriarch said : «As I am a sinner. God will send down vengeance upon this tyrant for his deeds, yet not in my lifetime, but after my death». And when Abba Joseph went to his rest, there was a prince of the Muslims, named Ja’far, son of Ibrahîm; and he sent to Egypt a man named Ya’kûb, son of Ibrahîm, to enquire into the state of Egypt, and make it known to him. So when Ya’kûb came hither, he was informed, by God’s decree, of the conduct of the unjust judge, and of his evil deeds which he committed secretly and openly. Thereupon Ya’kûb suddenly arrested the Superintendent of Public |546 Order without his previous knowledge; and accordingly all the judge’s hypocritical acts by which he deceived the people were brought to light, as well as his secret, foul, and reprehensible conduct So Ya’kûb took him, and paraded him through all the streets of Misr, after shaving his beard and baring his bead, while all gazed upon him; then he threw him into prison, and confiscated his goods. And all his companions who surrounded him, and even his children, were scattered in all directions. Afterwards he banished him to the capital city of the empire, and there he died a cruel death. Ya’kûb also dealt with the judge who was the other’s deputy at Alexandria, and who commanded that the father Abba Joseph should be beaten, as he had dealt with his superior, and he was imprisoned; but he escaped subsequently and none ever saw him again in the city, nor has anyone set eyes upon him to this day. And all who saw these things or heard of them marvelled, and glorified God on account of these two unjust judges upon whom vengeance was executed as they deserved. As it is written : «The fool and he that is without understanding shall perish together».

We have recorded, on account of your love, the combat of the holy father, Abba Joseph. We will now mention to you what he did during his |547 whole time. As long as he remained upon the patriarchal throne his heart was never preoccupied, nor was he distracted by the troubles that came upon him, but he continued in prayer night and day. And he completed the reading of the whole Psalter every day; seventy-five Psalms in the daytime, and seventy-five Psalms up to midnight. This was in addition to the hymns that he recited, in supplication to the Lord with devotion and humility. These were his qualities all the days of his life, I mean humility and charity and tranquillity and chastity and continuance in prayer and giving alms; so that, after all these years during which he remained patriarch, his cares and thoughts and feelings were like those of one who lives in the corner of a cell in the Wadî Habîb. By these means he gained the crown of his deeds from the Lord Jesus Christ, and entered with the saints into the land of the living. Glory belongs to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen.

End of the second division of [the first part of] the Histories of the holy Patriarchs. May their prayers be with us and their supplications protect us! Amen.

[Footnotes renumbered and moved to the end]

1. 1. Ps. li. 17 (Sept. l).

2. 1. Acts, viii, 21.

3. 1. S. Matth., iii, 10; vii, 19; S. Luke, iii, 9.

4. 1. S. John, iii, 27; viii, 54.

5. 2. S. Matth., xv, 33.

6. 1. Rom,, xiii. 2.

7. 1. S. Matth., xvi, 18.

8. 2. II Tim., ii, 5.

9. 1. Ps. cxvi, 3; cf. xviii, 6 (Sept. cxiv, xvii).

10. 1. I Cor., iv, 12,13.

11. 1. Prov., xvii, 20.

12. 1. Is., viii, 10; xix, 3.

13. 2. Mal., iii, 20 (iv, 2).

14. 3. Ezech., xxxiii, 11.

15. 1. Father of good.

16. 2. Jer., xvii, 5.

17. 1. S. Matth., x, 33; cf. S. Mark, viii, 38; S. Luke, ix, 26.

18. 2. S. Mark., ix, 44;Is., lxvi, 24.

19. 3. S. Matth., xxv, 41.

20. 1. S. John, xvii, 12.

21. 2. Ps. lxxxix, 11 (Sept. lxxxviii).

22. 3. Ps. cxix, 21 (Sept.cxviii) .

23. 1. Ps. lxix, 10 (Sept. lxviii).

24. 1. III Kings, v, 21 (7).

25. 1. Is., lxvi, 2.

26. 2. II Cor., xi, 2.

27. 1. Is., lxiv, 7, 8, 9.

28. 1. Tob., iv, 7.

29. 2. Tob., iv, 10 (11).

30. 3. I Tim., vi, 17. 19.

31. 1. Ps. lxxviii. 3 (Sept, lxxvii).

32. 2. Acts, xi, 22, 23.

33. 3. Prov.. xxix, 2 (Sept.).

34. 1. Ps. xlv, 17 (Sept. xliv).

35. 1. Ps. lxvi, 20 (Sept. lxv).

36. 1. Eph., i, 10; 11, 16. 17; Col. i. 20.

37. 2.S. Matth., xviii, 12.

38. 3. S. Luke, xv, 6.

39.  4. S. John. x. 16.

40. 5. Jer., ii, 13.

41. 1. Ps. cxxvi, 1; xiv, 7; liii, 7 (Sept. cxxv, xiii, lii).

42. 2. II Cor., vi, 14, 15.

43. 1. Rom., xv, 13.

44. 1. I Cor., xii, 26.

45. 1. Rom., xiv, 1.

46. 1. Ps. vii, 17.

47. 2. Dan., xiii, 52, 55, 59 (Greek).

48. 1. I Cor., ii. 9.

49. 2. Ps. cv, 34, 35 (Sept. civ).

50. 1. S. Matth. viii. 29.

51. 1. S. John, v, 14.

52. 1. Acts, v, 15.

53. 2. II Cor., xii, 7.

54. 1. Ps. lxxix, i, 2. 3 (Sept. lxxviii); cf. I Mach., vii, 17.

55. 2. Job, xvi, 12.

56. 1. Acts, ix, 15.

57. 2. I Cor., x, 11, etc.

58. 1. Ps. xxxix, 4. 5 (Sept. xxxviii).

59. 1. Coptic [Coptic].

60. 1. S. Matth., xxviii, 20.

61. 1. Gen., xlvi, 3, 4.

62. 1. II Cor., vi, 14, 15.

63. 1. Is., xxxvii, 29; IV Kings, xix, 28.

64. 1. Eph., ii, 6; Phil., iii, 20; Col., iii, 1.

65. 2. I Thess., ii, 9; II Thess., iii, 8; cf. I Cor., iv, 12; II Cor., xi, 9.

66. 1. Ps. xlii, 1 (Sept. xli).

67. 2. Acts, x. 2. 31.

68. 1. Mich., ii. 1,2.3.

69. 1. Nah., i. 2. Cf. Deut., xxxii, 35, 41, 43; Ps. xciv, 1 (Sept. xciii); Rom., xii. 19: Hebr., x. 30.

70. 1. Is., li, 12: Ps. lvi, 5, 12; cxviii, 6 (Sept. lv, cxvii); Hebr., xiii. 6.

71. 2. Zach., vii, 10: viii. 17; Job. v. 12; Ps. xxxiii, 10 (Sept. xxxii).

72. 1. Is., lvii. 17, 18: xxv, 9, etc.

73. 2. Ps. lxxxv, 7. 8, 9 (Sept. lxxxiv).

74. 1. Gal., vi, 9, 10.

75. 2. I Tim., vi, 17, 18, 19.

76. 1. Ps. lxxxv, 11 (Sept. lxxxiv).

77. 2. S. Matth., xx, 6 ff.

78. 1. Ps. lxxviii, 3 (Sept. lxxvii).

79. 1. I Tim., vi. 9. 10.

80. 1. Apoc., v. 6, 12.

81. 1. S. Matth., xxv, 34.

82. 1. Ps. xxv, 7, 16 (Sept. xxiv).

83. 2. Ps. liii, 6 (Sept. lii).

84. 1. S. John, iii, 27. Heb., v, 4.

85. 1. Num., vi. 25; Ps. xxxi, 17 (Sept. xxx), etc.

86. 1. S. Luke. xxii, 32.

87. 2. Am., v. 16.

88. 1. Ps. lxxiv, 2 (Sept. lxxiii).

89. 1. Rom., xiii. 2.

90. 1. Is., lxv, 12.

91. 1. ii Cor., xiii. 9, 10.

92. 1. Ps. lxxviii, 61 (Sept. lxxvii).

93. 1. Ps. xcvii, 10 (Sept. xcvi).

94. 2. Ps. xciv, 17, 18, 19 (Sept. xciii).

95. 1. II Cor., xi, 28.

96. 1. Ps. ciii, 10 (Sept. cii).

97. 1. Ps. lxxii, 11 (Sept. lxxi).

98. 1. I Cor., vii. 18.

99. 1. S. John, xviii, 9.

100. 2. S. Matth., xvi, 18.

101. 1. I Kings, ii, 10.

102. 2. Prov., xxv, 21; Rom., xii, 20.

103. 1. Ps. lxxiv, 18 (Sept. lxxiii).

104. 1. Ps. lxxviii, 50 (Sept. lxxvii).

105. 1. Ps. lxxx, 5, 6. 7, 8 (Sept. lxxix).

106. 1. Ps. v, 7; cxl, 13 (Sept. cxxxix).

107. 2. Deut., xxxii, 35.

108. 1. Ps. lxxi, 19, 20 (Sept. lxx).

109. 2. Ps. xxx, 12 (Sept. xxix).

110. 1. S. Luke, xviii. 2.

111. 2. Ps. vii, 17; lxxix, 6 (Sept. lxxviii).

112. 1. Gal., iii, 1.

113. 1. Osee, xiv, 3 (Sept.); Hebr., xiii, 15.

114. 2. Acts, vii, 60 (59).

115. 1. Ps. lviii, 5, 6 (Sept. lvii).

116. 2. Ps. xxxix, 4, 5 (Sept. xxxviii).

117. 1. Ps. ix, 13.

118. 2. Ps. xciv, 5, 6, 7 (Sept. xciii).

119. 3. Prov.. vi. 34.

120. 1. S. Luke, xviii, 7.

121. 1. Gal., v, 5.

122. 1. Ps. xci, 15 (Sept. xc).

123. 2. Ps, cxlv, 18 (Sept. cxliv).

124. 1. Ps. lxxix, 1 (Sept. lxxviii).

125. 1. Ps. lxxix. 11 (Sept. lxxviii).



Sawirus Ibn Muqaffa`, History of the Church: Volume II, Part I

Severus of Al’Ashmunein, History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic church of Alexandria  Part 5: Khael II – Shenouti (849-880 AD).

  • Khael II (848 – 851)
  • Cosmas II (851 – 858)
  • Shenouti (858 – 880)

The twenty-first biography of the biographies of the Holy Church.


When the father Anba Joseph, the patriarch, went to his rest, the Lord wrought marvellous things among His saints, and He caused them to remember the father, the priest Khael, who was hegoumenos of the monastery of Abu John in the Wadi Habib. He was known to all on account of his continence, wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, for he had been the secretary of the late father Anba Joseph. Indeed, when he was a deacon he was suffering from illness for a long time, and he besought the father Anba Joseph to let him go to the holy desert. By the will of God he was worthy to become hegoumenos, after he had been (ordained) priest by the hand of the father Anba Joseph. And they took him against his will, and they went with him to the great city of Alexandria, and seated him upon the throne on the twenty-fourth day of Hatur 2, when they were celebrating the commemoration of the patriarch and martyr Saint Peter. And when he sat upon |2 the throne he displayed the learning that he had acquired from saintly, eminent and inspired teachers, so that every one marvelled at him and glorified God. He was weak in his body. Those who were appointed to collect the tribute forced him (to pay) the tax on property, and he experienced sorrows and trials. And it happened one day that he was weeping bitter tears, and he said: “O my Lord Jesus Christ, You know that solitude has been my aim throughout my life, and that I have not the power (to bear) these trials, since my body becomes weaker day by day. I know that You accept the prayer of those who are oppressed, and that You have said: ‘Call upon me in the day of your trouble and I will deliver you. and you shall glorify Me’. I beseech You, O Lord, to manifest to me the sign of Your mercy in this difficult time and cause me not to behold other trials, since I am unable to bear them.” The Lover of mankind heard the prayer of that saint, for He knows the trials of all and hearkens to the saying of the Scriptures: “While you art yet speaking I will say: Here am I”It was during the days of the Fast that he (the patriarch) went to the holy desert to accomplish the feast of Easter, according to the custom of the fathers, the patriarchs. And after the feast of the holy Easter he fell ill, and the Lord Christ called him to Himself, and he went to his rest on the twenty-second of Baramudah in the year six hundred and sixty-seven of the righteous Martyrs [April 17th, AD 801]. Concerning him there was fulfilled the saying of the Psalm: “You have granted to him the desire of his heart, and You have not withheld from him the request of his lips”. They placed his body in the church of Saint Abu Macarius 3, and he received the crown with the Saints in the land |3 of the living. The length of his occupation of the throne of Mark was one year and five months. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit for ever. Amen. 4


When the father Anba Khael went to his rest, there took (his) seat upon the throne, by the grace of the Holy Spirit and by the agreement of the fathers, the bishops, and the Orthodox people of the city of Alexandria, Cosmas. He was a deacon of the church of Saint Abu Macarius, and a native of Samannud. And they assembled at the church and consecrated him patriarch on the fourteenth of Abib in the year five hundred and sixty-seven of the pure Martyrs [Jul. 8, AD 801].

There was peace and tranquillity in the Church, but Satan, the hater of good, stirred up a thorn of evil and caused the Church to stumble. When, in that year, the feast of the martyr Saint Menas drew near, the faithful people from the towns and the villages came together for it (the feast) to present their offerings and their prayers in that church which is the delight of all the Orthodox. There came together there people in whom were devils, and one of them leaped upon and attacked another one similar to him, and they did not cease strangling one another until one of the two died. When the amir, the wali of Alexandria, whose name was Ahmad ibn Dinar, heard of this affair, he commanded that the father Cosmas should be seized, and he took him and tortured him until he had received from him all the contributions which had been |4 paid to him (the patriarch) on the day of the feast that year, and he left (him) none of them. He (the amir) was going to bring down afflictions upon the patriarch and to cause him to lose (his) wealth, and he ordered him (the patriarch) not to depart from Alexandria.

Now there were at that time two archons in Cairo (Misr), lovers of God. One of the two, whose name was Macarius ibn Joseph, was the secretary of the head of a diwan and occupied a position among all those who governed Fustat of Cairo (Misr). Th.e other. Abraham ibn Severus. was the superintendent of the treasury, and was charged with collecting all the taxes on wealth, that he might bring them to the royal coffers. When news reached them (the two archons) of what had happened in the church of the martyr Saint Menas and of what the father, the patriarch, had lost, they took counsel together wisely, and they came to the wali of Cairo (Misr), namely, ‘Abd al-Wahid ibn Yahya the wazir 6, and they said to him: “We are sending to Alexandria to bring the patriarch here, that we may impose on him the tax on property,since he has been newly appointed these days”. These archons who loved God did this thing, in order that they might find a means of getting the patriarch away from Alexandria and of delivering him from the hand of that amir. Then the wazir sent people, and he wrote that they should bring the father, the patriarch. When the amir (of Alexandria) learned that this was on account of the taxation, he was unable to prevent him (the patriarch) from going. Having journeyed, he (the patriarch) reached Cairo (Misr), and he saluted the wazir in Cairo (Misr). There was chosen for him a town of the eastern (part) of Egypt (Misr), known as Damirah, all the inhabitants of which were Christians, and the father, the patriarch, dwelt there, on account of the afflictions that were at Alexandria. The two aforesaid archons took care of the affairs of the Church, and they caused the father, the patriarch, to be without anxiety about the affairs of the Sultan, for the time was favourable |5 to them. Abraham entered in his accounts the tax on the property of the Church, and he paid it off from his own money, and he did not allow anyone to speak with the father, the patriarch (about this matter). There was. by the grace of God, a body of the faithful which was in charge of the diwan of the Sultan, and all of them devoted themselves to the Church earnestly and assiduously because of their Faith. They procured tranquillity for the patriarch, the Church and the faithful, and they lived in quietness and peace, and there was no trouble anywhere in those days. They continued the prayers and the liturgies, thanking God for what He had bestowed upon them, as David says: “In the light of Your countenance shall they walk: and in Your Name shall they rejoice all the day, and in Your truth shall they be exalted. For You are the glory of their strength, and in Your truth shall our horn be exalted”.

Since this grace and peace continued, the father Cosmas began to occupy himself with the writing of a synodical letterto the father John, patriarch of Antioch 7. He wrote it and sent it by the hands of the saintly bishops Anba Severus, bishop of Daluh and Anba Khael, bishop of al-Basrubin, and with them there were priests. When they reached him (John), he welcomed them with great joy and unity of love and faith. All the churches of Antioch blessed the Lord, and they rejoiced to learn of his (Cosmas) safely and of the safely of the Church of Egypt (Misr) and her provinces. After some days, he (John) dismissed them (the bishops) with glory and honour, and be wrote (letters of) peace expressing love and unity, and he prayed in his letters that the Lord might cause this peace to continue.

It came to pass soon after this, that the hater of good (Satan) did not wait, but he began to sow tares of evil in the heart of the king of the |6 Muslims, namely Ga‘far al-Mutawakkil. He (al-Mutawakkil) brought down upon the churches in every place innumerable afflictions which were that he ordered all the churches to be demolished, and that none of the Orthodox Christians, Melkites, Nestorians, or Jews should wear white garments, but that they should wear dyed garments, so that they might be distinguished among the Muslims. He ordered that frightful pictures should be made on wooden boards and that they should be nailed over the doors of the Christians. He forced most of them (to embrace) al-Islam, and ordered that Christians should not serve in the employment of the Sultan at all, but only Muslims and those who had gone over to al-Islam. In consequence of this, love and patience were diminished m the hearts of many, so that they denied the Lord Christ; some of them denied (Him) on account of the worldly positions which they loved, and others, on account of the poverty they suffered.

When Satan learned that this defiled matter bad been sown in the foreign lands, he began to disseminate it in the land of Egypt by putting into the heart of al-Mutawakkil to continue extending it (the persecution). He (al-Mutawakkil) sent from himself to the land of Egypt a man who was not a Christian, but a Pharisee, named al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih 8 ibn Isaac 9, and he appointed him to be overseer of the taxes in Egypt and to be governor. He ordered him to deal with the churches of Egypt and the Christians, even as he had dealt with the city of Baghdad and the East.

When he (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) arrived in Egypt he began to bring down trials upon the Christians, and he humbled them exceedingly with various afflictions, as he was instructed by Satan. The aforesaid man pretended before the Muslims to perform |7 the commandments of their law, which, (however), he did hypocritically, so that they could say “We have not seen anyone who has come to Egypt and fulfilled the commandments of the religion of al-Islam as this (one)”. On Fridays he used to go on foot with his army through the midst of Cairo (Misr) to the mosque for prayer. He detested the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Cross and those who clothed themselves with it. Then this odious man began to hide away any appearance of the sign of the Cross, that it should not be seen at all. and they began to break down completely every cross in the churches, and it was not permitted to any of the Christians to walk abroad with an emblem of the Cross. He vexed our religion, so that the Christians began to be unable to pray in the churches, except in a low voice, and if a man passed by a church, he would not have heard the sound of a word from him who was praying. They (the Christians) were forbidden to pray over a Christian who had died 10, and the striking of the nawakis 11 was prohibited. He (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) became even as Diocletian, and his deeds were as his. Not contented with this, he began to forbid the Christians (to celebrate) the liturgies, and that they might not celebrate (the liturgy) at all, he ordered that (the making) of nabidh 12 should be forbidden in all his province, especially in the city of Cairo (Misr), so that it was not seen at all, neither was it sold nor bought, and all those who dealt in it became poor. His object in all this was that there should not be any wine with which to celebrate the liturgy. As there ceased to exist (any wine), the Christians began to take the wood of vine-stalks and lo soak them in water and press them out, so |8 that they might not be deprived of the Eucharist. Grief and affliction befell the Christians. and they said, as the Three Children said: “You have delivered us into the hands of lawless enemies, hypocritical and contumacious, and to a king unjust, and the most wicked beyond all that are upon the face of the earth. And now we cannot open our mouth, for shame and reproach have befallen Your servants and them that worship You: yet deliver us not up for Your Name’s sake”.

This tyrant did not cease to lay his yoke heavily upon the Christians on account of the violence of his hatred of them, and he began to perform every evil thing against them. He dismissed the Christian ministerial secretaries from the diwan of the Sultan and substituted Muslims in their stead. When he had performed all these things, even as he had done in the lands of the East, he commanded that Christians and Jews should dye their garments, and he placed over their doors the frightful pictures, which, as we have mentioned before, (he did) in the lands of the East. The subject of this picture portrayed a devil which had many heads and faces with two canine teeth. It was placed above a picture representing a wild pig of very terrifying aspect. He ordered that no Christian should ride upon a horse at all. This that evil man did according to the thoughts of Satan, and for these reasons they (the Christians) forsook their religion. Many people could not endure (these conditions), and they did not trust in their God, but denied the Name of the Saviour in those days of adversity, and they forgot what is said in the Holy Gospel: “But he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel (of the Kingdom) shall be preached”.

As regards the faithful secretaries who have been mentioned before, they were in great affliction and trouble on account of this one who was not a man. yet through the strength of their belief, when they were dismissed from their employment, they trusted in the mercy of God, |9 Whose remembrance is exalted, and they besought Him not to abandon them.

As regards our father, the patriarch, when he saw the afflictions which had befallen the archons through that devil, and their unemployment and the taking away of their means of livelihood, and that it was those who were taking charge of the affairs of the Church, he was exceedingly sorrowful. Letters reached the father, the patriarch, from the faithful, beseeching him to pray for them. They wrote also to the pious fathers who are dedicated to God in the mountains and in the monasteries that they (the fathers) should continue to pray for them and for the faithful of Christ, that God might remove from them this distress and not forget them and leave them under His wrath and indignation. And the fathers, the monks, were continuing in prayer night and day to preserve the holy Name through which there is deliverance from punishment.

There was also at that time a Christian man who went over to the sect of Islam with his children, and his name was Stephen ibn Anthony. The Devil made him a vessel through which to speak. He (the man) remembered the faithful with every evil, and he said that Christians before this day did not put on garments with sleeves, but that they wore garments without sleeves, even as the monks did, whom they called their fathers, and if the fathers wore this (kind of) garment, there was all the more reason that their children should be like them. — O you, the Shaikh Anba Zachariah, if you had not done this thing, they would not enter your religion, nor obey in what you desire of them”. He (the man) imagined that the secretaries would refuse to wear these clothes (garments without sleeves) and, (consequently), deny their religion, but the Lord, the Lover of mankind, made their counsel worthless, and He brought it to nothing, as it is written in the Book of Job (Ayyub) which is filled with wisdom: “Who subverts the counsel of the wicked”. Even so God did to this impious man and returned his counsel upon his own head, as Jeremiah the prophet says: “Return, you who |10 take hidden counsel; sow good seed and sow not among thorns, lest my wrath go forth, lest my wrath burn and be not extinguished”. Thus did this befall this evil (man).

At that time, a letter from the king reached (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) ordering him to return and to bring to him (the king) the money of Egypt and what he had collected for him together with the account of the two lands (probably Egypt and the East) and of the Muslim secretaries whom he had employed since he had dismissed the Christians. This happened through the providence of God, Whose Name is glorious. When he (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) had learned the contents of this (letter) and had read it, he learned from it the bad opinion that the king had of him. He (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) had married in Egypt and had acquired concubines, and had built houses, and had been granted children (by God), and had received many countless blessings.

Immediately, he was seized with paralysis, and the movements of his hands and his legs were arrested, and he died an evil death, a few days after this affair. They (the days) were counted by Theodore the scribe who used to write the letters for his (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih’s) predecessor. He (Theodore) had acquired great renown in his art, and had a beautiful handwriting, and his choice of words was praised by all who read them. He records that they were twenty-one days 13.

Most of the Muslims rejoiced at it (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih’s death), since he had not raised their fortunes, but had reduced their sources of livelihood and had caused the merchants to lose their wealth, and had taken away from them by force the best dwelling-places which they possessed, and had taken them by violence. Whenever any dwelling-place pleased him, he would summon its owner and buy it from him and write the deed (for the sale) of this dwelling-place, and he would deliver to him (the owner) the money for it in the presence of witnesses at the time. After the sale had been concluded he would send and demand back the money, and no one got back the money from him which |11 he (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) had taken, except two men who were brothers. They had a residence, a beautiful building, inherited by them from their father who had spent much money on it. It was like a paradise and did not lack anything in the way of trees and fruits. It overlooked the river of Egypt, and was known (by the name of) their father ‘Ali ibn Sa‘id al-Isfihani. When he (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) summoned to him these two men who were brothers and required of them the aforesaid residence, they said: “We will not take the price of it, nor write the deed (for its sale), but we present it to you. and we will not go back on what we have said to you, and God Who is exalted is our witness”. And they said to him: We will go out of it immediately, and leave it vacant for you within three days”.

He thought that God would ignore his wickedness against the two of them. They went out from his presence, and they removed what belonged to them in the residence, and they left it vacant for him. and he dwelt in it. This was the place in which he was afflicted with, paralysis, and his hands lost their use. When he died, as we mentioned, the Egyptians (Misriyyun) stole the money and the property which he possessed. These two brothers then came to the residence, and stood at the door of it and said to the people: “This residence is ours with all that is in it, and this man took it from us by force”. The Egyptians (Misriyyun) knew that this which they had said was correct, and no one contested (their right) to it. So they took possession of it and of what was in it, and they became rich, because of what they found in it.

He (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) had a grown-up son as evil as his father, and even more so. He tookthe place of his father. He stated that letters had reached him from the king (appointing him) to be in place of his father, after he had remained six months without being seen or his place (of residence) known, until he had prepared the letters (purporting to contain) the mandate of the Khalifah.

When he was installed, he began to do evil, as his father, and he thought that he would take revenge on the Egyptians (Misriyyun) for what had been done to his father, his family and his children. The |12 Egyptians feared him and they said: “God, indeed, was wrathful with us through this man and his father who was before him. What shall we do with regard to him?” The saying of Isaiah the prophet was fulfilled: “Sinners and those who transgress the Law shall perish together, and they that forsake the commandments of the Lord shall be crushed, for they shall be ashamed”.

The trials increased each day for the Christians through this mutawalli, and his evil deeds increased each day. He who never grieved, grieved for the inhabitants of Egypt, most of all for the Christians. O my brethren, hearken to this, when the Cross of Christ was broken in every place and no one was able to let it be seen, in order that Christians might hold fast through seeing it and hope for salvation through it, and likewise, the sacred nakus, the voice of which drives away Satan and his hosts, and which rouses the sluggard to the remembrance of his God, (when) he (the mutawalli) ordered that it should be cut down, so that the saying of Paul the Apostle was fulfilled: “They chastise us and we endure and we are become as contemptible men” and the Christians were tormented more than all this, until they denied their Faith and passed from life to death, hearken to what happened at that time, for it is an admonition to you. O brethren who believe in Christ, that you should know that the Lord Most High is terrible (and) fearful, and that He manifested His wonders, even as He did not conceal His might at the time when He was crucified by the disbelieving Jews who did not believe in the miracles they saw, as the rending of the veil of the Temple which was rent from the top to the bottom, and as the dead who rose from the graves, and as the rocks which were rent, and as the dividing of the day in two. In like manner also, He caused His elect who believe in His Name to know His perfect mysteries, that everyone might know that He abases the nations that obey Him not.

It happened at the time of the coming of this odious man to the land of Egypt, in the year five hundred and sixty-nine of the pure |13 Martyrs [852 AD], that this fearful sign appeared, namely, that all the monks who dwelt in the monastery of Abu Macarius observed the picture of the Lord Christ, the Merciful One. which is in the church of Saint Severus which is upon the Rock, how its side opened and blood came forth from it. All who saw this blood feared and glorified God for His marvellous works. The God-fearing people who are worthy of being believed took of that blood in faith, and they placed it upon people who had various diseases, and they were cured of their diseases immediately. The Lord desired to manifest a sign for the faithful, so that they might abound in hope in Him and in His pure Cross. He manifested in that year many wonders, namely, that the eyes of all the pictures which were in the Wadi Habib, at the monastery of Abu Macarius and elsewhere, gushed with tears like fountains of waters. They knew that this was on account of what the evil and unjust walls did in hiding away the Cross. These miracles caused them to be patient and strengthened them in all that befell them through the walls and kadis.

It was at that time that the wall ordered the building of ships in all the towns which were on the coasts, because it was at that time that the Greeks (Rum) came to Damietta 14 and pillaged it and remained in it for three days, and they went away with captives from it and with its gold and its silver to the land of the Greeks. On account of that there were built many ships of the fleet, and every year they repaired those which were damaged and built new ones in place of those which were broken; and they sailed with them to the land of the Greeks (Rum) and made war on them (the Greeks). Much money was spent every year on the fleet. As regards the Christians, they sent them to the ships, and they did not pay them a single dirham for what they (the Christians) spent on their journey, nor (did they pay them any money as) provision