Abib 8 : The Departure of St. Anba Bishoy. The Martyrdom of St. Piroou and St. Athom, the Martyrdom of St. Balanah, the Priest, the Martyrdom of St. Epime (Pimanon), and the Departure of Cyrus (Karas), brother of Emperor Theodosius
1. The Departure of St. Anba Bishoy.
On this day, St. Bishoy, whose memorial is honorable, the star of the desert, departed. He was born in a town called Shansa in Egypt, and he had six brothers. His mother saw an angel in a vision saying to her, "The Lord says to you, give Me one of your children to serve Me." She answered, "Lord, take whoever you want." The angel took the hand of Anba Bishoy, who was thin and his body was frail. His mother told the angel, "My Lord, take one who is strong to serve the Lord." "This is whom the Lord has chosen," answered the Angel.
Later on, St. Bishoy went to the wilderness of Shiheet and became a monk by the hand of Anba Bemwah (Bamouyah), who also ordained St. John "Yehness" the Short a monk. St. Bishoy struggled in much asceticism and many worships that made him worthy to see the Lord Christ.
Emperor Constantine appeared to him in a vision, saying, "Had I known how great is the honor of monks, I would have abandoned my kingdom and became a monk." St. Bishoy told him, "You have banished the heathen worship and exalted Christianity, and has not Christ given you anything?" Emperor Constantine answered him, "The Lord has given me many gifts, but none of them is like the honor of the monks."
During his days, an ascetic old man appeared in the mountain of Ansena, who was reputed for his righteousness and to whom many people gathered. But he deviated from the true faith and the devil lead him astray. He taught that there is no Holy Spirit, and many were deceived by his sayings. Anba Bishoy heard about him, and he went to him and he had with him a weaved basket with three ears. When he visited the old man and his followers, they asked him about the reason for making three ears for the basket. He answered, "I have a Trinity, and everything I do, is like the Trinity." They said to him, "Then, Is there a thing called the Holy Spirit?" Then he started to explain to them from the Holy Scriptures, from the Old and New Testaments. He indicated to them that the Holy Spirit is One of the three Persons of the Trinity. He convinced them, and they returned to the true faith. Then he returned to his monastery in the wilderness of Scete (Shiheet). When the barbarians invaded the wilderness, he left it and dwelt on Mount Ansena, where he departed. After the time of persecution had ended, they brought his body with the body of St. Paul of Tamouh to his monastery in the wilderness of Shiheet.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Piroou and St. Athom.
On this day also, St. Piroou and St. Athom were martyred. These two Saints were born in the city of "Sonbat", of Christian parents who were righteous, loving works of righteousness and charitable deeds. Their father's name was John and their mother's was Mary. St. Piroou was blond with curled hair, tall in stature, with blue eyes. St. Athom was tall in stature with white complexion, dark eyes and black beard. When Piroou was thirty years old, and Athom was twenty-seven, they attended church consistently during masses, and continued to give alms and provide shelter for strangers.
When persecution was incited against the Christians, they took some goods and went to the town of El-Farma to trade there. They found the body of a Saint called "Noua" with some of the soldiers. They bought the body from them with silver, placed the body in a marbled sarcophagus in their own home. They hung an oil lamb before it, and many miracles appeared from the body. The two saints reflected upon the vanity of the world, and the blessings of paradise. They distributed their money among the poor, went to Alexandria and confessed Christ before the Governor. He tortured them by beating and whipping them until their blood poured out on the ground. They hanged them and put fire under them. The Angel of the Lord came and brought them down and healed their wounds. Then, the Governor sent them to El-Farma. When the Governor of El-Farma saw their courage and the beauty of their appearance, he offered them the worship of the idols. When they refused, he pulled out the nails of their hands and feet. Then he put them on iron rods and lit fire under them.
During this, the wife of the Governor died, and he asked the two Saints to forgive him for what he had done to them. They prayed to God for her and God raised her from the dead. The Governor and every one with him believed. He released the two Saints and they returned to their town "Sonbat". They gave the poor whatever was left of their money. They gave the body of St. Noua to a righteous man called Sarabamon. They asked him to hang an oil lamp before it at all times.
Then, they went to the Governor and confessed Christ. He ordered them beaten and dragged in the city until their blood poured out on the ground. A deaf and dumb woman took some of the blood and anointed her ears and tongue with it. Instantly she was healed. She glorified the Lord Christ and confessed Him. The Governor ordered them all to be beheaded. They all received the crown of martyrdom. The righteous Sarabamon, and some people from Sonbat were present. They took the bodies of the two Saints, shrouded them, and took them to their town. A church was built for them, where their bodies and the body of St. Noua were placed. It was said that their bodies are now located in the church of St. Barbara in Old Cairo.
May their prayers be with us, Amen.
3. The Martyrdom of St. Balanah, the Priest.
On this day also, St. Balanah the priest, was martyred. He was from the city of Bara, of the diocese of Sakha. When he heard of the persecution of the faithful and the slaying of the saints, he distributed all his money to the poor and the needy. He then went to "Antinoe" (Ansena), and confessed the Lord Christ before the governor. He tortured St. Balanah much with different kinds of tortures until he delivered up his soul in the hands of the Lord.
May his prayers be with us, Amen.
4. The Martyrdom of St. Epime (Pimanon).
This day also, marks the martyrdom of St. Epime (Pimanon) (Bima). He was the chief of the village of "Panokleus" of the district of El-Bahnasa. He was rich and merciful to the poor. The Lord Christ appeared to him in a vision and told him, "Arise, go to the Governor and confess My Name, for there you have a crown prepared for you." When he awoke from his sleep, he distributed all his money to the poor and the needy. Then he prayed, and went to El-Bahnasa, and confessed the Lord Christ. When he confessed that he was the chief of the village, the Governor asked him about the vessels of the church in his town, and offered him the worship of the idols. St. Bima answered him saying, "I will not give you the vessels, and as for worshipping the idols, I only worship my Lord Jesus Christ." The Governor ordered his tongue cut off, and torture by the press and by burning. But the Lord saved and healed him.
The Governor then, sent him to Alexandria, where he was imprisoned. Julius El-Akfahsi (the writer of the biographies of the saints) had a sister possessed with an evil spirit. This Saint prayed for her and she was healed. The report of this miracle spread out and many believed. The Governor became furious and he tortured the Saint with the press and by pulling out his nails. The Lord strengthened him and healed him. When the Governor became weary of torturing him, he sent him to Upper Egypt. There he was beheaded, and he received the crown of martyrdom. The servants of Julius El-Akfahsi carried his body to his town.
May his prayers be with us, Amen.