Kiahk 13 : The Martyrdom of St. Barsanuphius, the Departure of St. Abracius (Apraxios) and the Consecration of the Church of St. Misaeal (Misayil), the Anchorite.
1. The Martyrdom of St. Barsanuphius.
This day marks the martyrdom of St. Barsanuphius the monk in the early days of the Islamic era in Egypt. He lived in the church of Mari Mina in the old district of Cairo (Fum-El-Khaleeg). He worshipped God with dedication and piety. He fasted two days at a time, praying incessantly with numerous metanias.
Some wicked people accused him of cursing the judges and the Muslim sheikhs. They brought him and tortured him severely, then they finally cut off his head, thus St. Barsanuphius received the crown of martyrdom.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
2. The Departure of St. Abracius (Apraxios).
On this day also, the father St. Abracius (Apraxios) departed. He was from upper Egypt and became a monk in one of the monasteries when he was 20 years old.
He fought a perfect fight until Satan grew tired of tempting him. Satan faced him saying, "You still have 50 more years to live in this world," wishing by these words to cast the saint into despair. The saint replied, "You have made me sorrowful for I have thought that I had another hundred years to live and I have slackened in my fight and in my worship. If this is the case, I have to fight harder before I die." In this way, he overcame the devil that tried to put slackness in his heart.
He fought strenuously and departed in peace in the same year after spending 70 years of worship and asceticism.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
3. The Consecration of the Church of St. Misaeal (Misayil), the Anchorite.
On this day also we commemorate the consecration of the church of St. Misaeal, the Anchorite. While Abba Isaac, the head of El-Qualamoon monastery, was sitting in the monastery a young man came to him. Abba Isaac made the sign of the cross over his face as is the custom of the monks and allowed him to draw near. The young man came closer and prostrated himself before the saint and told him, "My father, Abba Isaac, accept my weakness for the sake of the Lord Christ. Help me to save my soul and count me among your children." The abbot marvelled, for he called him by his name and asked him, "Who told you about my name?" The young man replied, "The grace that dwells in you informed me."
The abbot asked Misaeal to sit down and he told him, "May God Almighty make you a holy temple. And now tell me about yourself." The young man replied, "My name is Misaeal. My father loved the world which kept him from worshipping God and he was sad because he did not have children. One day he hosted a holy old monk and expressed to him his sorrow for not having a child to inherit his wealth. The monk told him, 'Reform your way with the Lord, the Lover of mankind, Who will give you a blessed son.' He asked the monk, 'How can I go about that?' The holy old monk replied, 'Live a perfect life and live according to the commandments of the church that are required of the believers; do not stay away from the holy church and have a priest to consult with, in all your affairs. If you do that, you and your wife will have what you wish.'" St. Misaeal said, "My father did all that the holy old monk commanded, and his words were fulfilled and my mother gave birth to a son, me."
"When I was six years old, my parents departed. The father, the bishop, took care of raising me, he also took care of my education and of managing my money. When I studied the Scripture, I longed for the monastic life, so I came here." The abbot was pleased as a result of what the young man, Misaeal, told him. He entrusted him to one of the elders in the monastery who trained him in asceticism, in worship and in the fight in the spiritual life. Afterwards, they put on him the garb of the monastic life and the holy Eskeem. From there on, he lived a solitary life in worship and asceticism.
One day, one of the brothers in the monastery came to Abba Misaeal. He found him standing up praying and when he knocked at the door of his cell, he opened it to him. They prayed together, blessed each other and sat discussing the ways to overcome the evil enemy. St. Misaeal told him, "The devil flees away when our spiritual prayers are sincere and warm." After they ended their spiritual talk, they praised God and the brother left him. After a while that brother came to Abba Misaeal and found him praying saying, "O Lord save me, look upon my meekness; wash me of my iniquities, for my mother and father have forsaken me but the Lord accepted me." When the brother saw how thin he was and how his skin cleaved to his bones, he cried and told Abba Miseael, "Your body looks like it has been burnt." The saint told him, "I thank my God for he has given me my eyesight and my hearing to read the Scriptures (Holy Books) and hear the word of God and he also gave me the strength to stand as I pray."
When the abbot of the monastery heard about St. Miseael's asceticism, he came to visit him. St. Misaeal told the abbot, "My holy father, after three days some people looking like soldiers will come and ask you about me. Do not keep me away from them. Do not be afraid or sorrowful for it is the Will of God. Also you should know that a famine will happen next year and I shall come back to see you at that time." After a while, the people resembling soldiers came, took the saint and left.
The abbot listened to what the saint said and he bought much of the grain. As St. Misaeal predicted, the famine took place and wheat was in shortage. The Governor came with his men to take whatever grains he might find in the monastery. Soldiers appeared and prevented him from doing so and he went back empty handed. The abbot welcomed those soldiers, thanked them and offered them food to eat. They told him, "We do not need any of that food." One of the them came forward, took the abbot's hand, and took him aside and told him, "I am your son Misaeal and those people who look like soldiers are hermits who came last year and took me with them. I ask you now to go to Abba Athanasius, the bishop of my town where I was raised; tell him about me, and ask him for my father's money with which you should build a church in my name. Then call our father, the bishop, to consecrate it."
The abbot did as St. Misaeal asked. He went to the bishop and took the gold, the silver, many books and 500 heads of sheep from him. Besides, he also received fabrics, jewels and utensils that belonged to the saint. The abbot tore down the saint's old house, bought the land next to the house and built the church there. While the father, the Bishop, was celebrating the consecration of the church, St. Misaeal and the fathers, the hermits, came and attended the consecration prayers. St. Misaeal told the abbot of the monastery, Abba Isaac, that he would depart from this world in the following year. Then they went back to wherever they came from.
The prayers of these saints be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.