Paona 10 : The Martyrdom of St. Dabamon, the Commemoration of the Closing of the Pagan Temples and Opening of the Churches, the Departure of St. Yoannis the 16th, and the 103rd Pope of Alexandria, the Enthronement of Pope Demitrius the Second, the 111th Patriarch of Alexandria.
1. The Martyrdom of St. Dabamon.
On this day, St. Dabamon, was martyred. A man named "Warshenoufa" (Ouarshenoufa) was called upon to be a bishop, but he fled to "kahmoun" (Tahmoun), diocese of Bana. There, he found a lodging with two brothers called Dabamon (Eudaeman) and Bastamon (Episteman). That night, the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, "Why are you asleep while the fight is on, and the crowns are prepared? Arise and go to the governor and confess Christ to receive the crown of martyrdom." When he rose up, he told the two brothers about his vision. They all agreed to receiving the crowns. They went to the governor and professed the Name of the Lord Christ before him. The Governor tortured them, and put them in prison. Then, he took them with him from Benchileel to Sanhour. He asked them to raise incense for the idols, but they refused. The Governor tortured them again and the Lord sent his angel to comfort them.
Then he took them to Sa, where the priest of the idols told the governor that a woman named Dabamon from Degwah had cursed the gods. She was a righteous and charitable woman who had a daughter named Youna. They weaved fabrics and painted beautiful drawings on them. They sold it and gave whatever was left as alms. The governor sent an executioner named Eulogi. When he saw her righteousness and her good nature, he refrained from killing her, and took her with him to the governor. There she met St. Warshenoufa and his two companions. The governor tortured her excessively and ordered to squeeze her with the press. The Lord strengthened her and raised her whole again. Meanwhile, Eulogi, the executioner that brought her, professed the Lord Christ. He was beheaded, and received the crown of martyrdom. The governor also ordered Dabamon to be beheaded outside the city. They took her out, and the women were around her weeping, but she was rejoicing. They cut her head off and she received the crown of martyrdom.
May her prayers be with us. Amen.
2. The Commemoration of the Closing of the Pagan Temples and Opening of the Churches.
On this day also, of the year 312 A.D., the righteous Emperor Constantine the great, issued his Edict to close all the pagan temples, and open all the churches throughout the whole Roman Empire. The news of the Edict arrived to Alexandria on this day, and all the people rejoiced exceedingly along with the heavenly hosts. All the Christians made this day a great feast day. This was at the beginning of the enthronement of Pope Alexandros the first, the 19th Patriarch of Alexandria.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
3. The Departure of St. Yoannis the 16th, the 13rd Pope of Alexandria.
Today also, of the year 1434 A.M. (June 15, 1718 A.D.), Pope Yoannis the Sixteenth, the 13rd Patriarch of Alexandria, departed. This Pope was known by the name "Yoannis El-Tokhi". His parents were Christians from Tokh El-Nasara, the diocese of El-Menoufia. They brought their son, whose name was Ibrahim, with the best of care. They provided him with the best of education. God blessed him from his youth, thus he grew up in virtue and in a chaste life.
When his father departed, he forsake the world and desired the monastic life. He went to the monastery of St. Antony in the wilderness of Araba, and became a monk there. He put on the garb of the monk and attired with the holy Eskeem. When he showed his dedication in worship and asceticism, the fathers the monks chose him to be a priest. Pope Mattheos, the Fourth, ordained him a priest for the monastery, in the church of the Virgin Lady in Haret Zeewailah. He became more righteous in his new priestly rank, and increased his worship, until his godliness, humility and meekness became well known.
When Pope Mattheos departed, the bishops, priests and lay leaders, met to choose a good shepherd. They elected a number of priests and monks, among whom was this father. They casted an altar lot after they had celebrated the holy liturgy for three consecutive days, asking God to guide them to the one who is fit to shepherd His people. When the lot was made, it fell on this father. They knew and realized that God had chosen him for this office. He was ordained on Sunday, the ninth of Baramhat, 1392 A.M. (May 5th, 1676 A.D.). He was called Yoannis the 16th. The celebration of his enthronement was splendid and the joy prevailed everywhere in Egypt.
He gave his attention to the restoration of the monasteries and the churches. He restored the holy places in Jerusalem and paid off its debts. He renovated many churches and monasteries which he consecrated by his blessed hands. He gave special attention to the monastery of St. Paul, the first hermit, in mount Nemra. The monastery was desolate for a period of more than one hundred years. He opened it, restored it, reestablished the monastic life in it, and made it better than before. He prepared books, veils, altar accessories, and relics of saints for it, and consecrated it himself. He ordained many priests, deacons and monks for it on Sunday the 19th of Bashans, 1421 A.M. (May 25, 175 A.D.).
He visited the monastery of the great St. Antony, the father of the monks, in mount El-Kalzam, four times: the first was in the month of Kiahk, 1395 A.M. (1678 A.D.), accompanied by the head of the monastery, and some monks. The second was in the 20th day of Baramouda, 1411 A.M. (1695 A.D.) at the end of the holy fast. He was accompanied by Fr. John the Virgin, the priest of the church of the Virgin in Haret El-Room and the honorable deacon El-Moallem Girgis El-Toukhy Abu Mansour, and El-Moallem Soliman El-Sarraf El-Shenrawi. The third time was in Misra 1417 A.M. (171 A.D.), and the fourth time was in 1421 A.M. (175 A.D.) to consecrate the monastery of St. Paul.
In the blessed month of Abib, 1417 A.M., a great tribulation befell the Orthodox Christians of Egypt, during the reign of the governor Mohammed Pasha. An accusation had reached him that the Coptic Christians had built new buildings in their churches. The Governor appointed an Agha, architects, and judges to go and investigate the accusation. They came back with the evidence that there were many new constructions in the churches. However, God did not forsake His people by the prayers of this godly Pope. Many honorable people in Egypt went to the Governor to intercede on behalf of the Christians. The Governor ordered that a fine be paid as a penalty. The Pope met with the lay leaders El-Moallem Youhanna Abu Masri, El-Moallem Girgis Abu Mansour, and El-Moallem Ibrahim Abu Awad. They agreed unanimously that the Pope would visit the Christians in their homes, and collect what needed to be collected. The penalty was collected and paid to the Governor. The lay leaders were able to pay it back to the people and every one rejoiced. The churches were opened, and there was peace. The Pope took it hard going to the homes of the believers asking for money, so he went to the monastery of St. Antony on the 7th of the month of Misra, 1417 A.M. for a retreat.
In 1419 A.M., the Pope desired to make the Holy Oil (Myron). The Lord answered his request, and moved the heart of a Christian, the great lay leader, El-Moallem Girgis Abu Mansour, the administrator of the churches of El-Muallakah and Haret El-Roum. He was charitable to the poor and the needy, cared for the places of the saints and martyrs. He participated in every good deed with the Pope. He prepared what was needed (oil, spices, perfumes), and the Holy Myron was cooked and consecrated by the Pope in the Church of the Virgin in Haret El-Roum. The Myron had not been made for a period of two hundred and forty seven years, during which, 18 Popes sat on the throne of St. Mark. He was also the first to build the Patriarchate residence in Haret El-Roum, and dedicated properties and revenue for it.
In 1425 A.M. (179 A.D.), this Pope visited Jerusalem, with some of the bishops, many archpriests, priests, and laymen. The honored deacon El-Moallem Girgis Abu Mansour El-Toukhy, paid all the expenses of this trip. He also paid all the expenses for the renovation of the church of the Virgin known as El-Muallakah in Old Cairo.
The Pope visited the churches, and monasteries. He also visited St. Mark church in Alexandria. He traveled everywhere in both Lower and Upper Egypt. In his time, he allowed the Holy Elements (the Body and the Blood of Christ) to be taken to the sick and those who could not come to the church.
This Pope was loved by everyone, and he was honored and respected for his humility, meekness, and his love for the poor. His door was always open to everyone who would call upon him. The days of his papacy were quiet. The Lord was with him, and delivered him from all his sorrows. He accepted his prayers and supplications and he lived to a good old age.
When he completed his course, he became sick for a short time. Then he departed in peace, with his friend the honorable lay leader Girgis Abu Mansour within one week. Many mourned him, and the bishops, the priests, and the lay leaders attended the prayers on his body. They carried him with great honor, and placed the body in the tomb of the Patriarchs in the church of St. Mercurius Abu Saifain in Old Cairo, in the 10th of Baounah, 1434 A.M., after he had been on the throne of St. Mark for forty two years and three months.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
4. The Enthronement of Pope Demitrius the Second, the 111th Patriarch of Alexandria.
On this day also, of the year 1578 A.M. (15th of June, 1862 A.D.), is the commemoration of the enthronement of Pope Demitrius the second, the 111th Patriarch.
This father was born in the village of Galda, the governorate of El-Menia. He became a monk in the monastery of St. Macarius. When the abbot of the monastery departed, he was chosen to become the new abbot. He did well in managing the monastery. For his good virtues, he was ordained a Pope to succeed the great Pope Abba Kyrillos the fourth, the 110th Patriarch.
He completed the construction of St. Mark Cathedral, built many buildings in the patriarchate, and in his monastery in the area of Atrees. In 1869 A.D., he attended the celebration for the opening of the Suez Canal, and met many kings. He was well respected by Sultan Abdel-Aziz. When this Pope came before him to greet him, the Pope kissed the sultan on his chest. The Sultan was troubled, and the guards asked the Pope why he did that. The Pope said, "The book of God says: 'The king's heart in the hand of the Lord' (Proverbs 21:1), when I kissed his heart, I have kissed the hand of God." The Sultan was pleased with his answer, and gave him many farm lands to help the poor and the schools. The Pope traveled on a governmental boat to visit the churches in Upper Egypt. He regained those who were lost and strengthened the faithful.
After he had completed in the papacy seven years, seven months, and seven days, he departed in peace on the eve of Epiphany, the 11th day of Tubah, 1586 A.M. (Jan. 18th, 1870 A.D.).
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.