On this day, St. Moses the Black, whose life story is remarkable, was
martyred. This saint took the Kingdom of Heaven by force, exactly as our
Lord Jesus Christ said: The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the
violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12). In his early life, St. Moses
was a slave to people who worshiped the sun. He was a mighty man who
loved to eat and drink excessively. He killed, robbed and committed all
evil. No one could stand up before him, or challenge him. On many
occasions, he lifted up his eyes to look to the sun and to talk to it
saying, O Sun!! if you are God, let me know it. Then he said, And you O
God whom I do not know, let me know you. One day, he heard someone
saying to him, The monks of Wadi El-Natroun know the real God. Go to
them and they will tell you. Instantly, he rose up, girded his sword and
went to the wilderness of Shiheat. He met St. Esidorous (Isidore) the
priest, who was frightened when he saw him, because of his appearance.
St. Moses comforted him by saying that he came to the monks so that they
might let him know the real God. St. Esidorous took him to St. Macarius
the Great, who preached to him, taught him the faith and baptized him.
He accepted St. Moses as a monk and taught him to live in the
wilderness. St. Moses dashed in many worships, and fought a spiritual
fight which was greater than that fought by many saints. However, the
devil fought him intensively with his old habits of excessive eating,
drinking, and fornication. He informed St. Esidorous about everything
which came upon him in his fight with the Enemy. He comforted him and
taught him how to overcome the snares of the devil. It was told about
him, that when the elders of the Monastery slept, he used to go round to
their cells and take their water pots and fill them with water which he
brought from a well at a far distance from the monastery. After many
years in spiritual struggle, the devil envied him, and struck him with a
sore on his foot which made him sick and bed-ridden. When he knew that
this was from the devil, he increased in his asceticism and worship,
until his body became as a burnt wood. God looked to his patience,
healed his illness, and removed all his pains. The blessing of the Lord
came upon him. After a while, he became the Father and the spiritual
guide of 500 brothers, who elected him to be ordained a priest. When he
came before the Patriarch to be ordained, the patriarch wanted to test
him by asking the elders, Who brought this black here? Cast him out. He
obeyed, and left saying to himself, It is good what they have done to
you, O black colored one. The Patriarch, however, called him back and
ordained him a priest, and said to him, Moses, all of you now has become
Martyrdom of the Great Saint Anba Moses the Black
One day, he went with some elders to St. Macarius the Great, who said to them, I see among you one to whom belong the crown of martyrdom. St. Moses answered him, Probably it is me, for it is written: 'For all they that take with the sword, shall perish with the sword.' (Matt. 26:25) After they returned to the monastery, it did not take long until the Barbarians attacked the monastery. He told the brethren, Whoever wants to escape, let him escape. They asked him, And you O father, why do you not also escape? He replied that he had waited for this day for long time. The Barbarians entered the monastery and killed him with seven other brothers. One of the brethren was hiding, and saw the angel of the Lord, with a crown in his hand standing by and waiting for him. He went out from his hiding place to the Barbarians and he was also martyred.
Beloved Ones, contemplate in the power of repentance, and what it did. It transformed an infidel slave who was a murderer, adulterer and robber into a great Father, teacher, comforter, and priest who wrote rules for the monks, and saint whose name is mentioned on the altar in our prayers.
His Body is located now in the Monastery of El-Baramouse.
May his prayers be with us, and glory be to God forever. Amen.