Wednesday, 24th January 2018 --- 16 Tubah 1734
Day 16 of the Blessed Coptic Month of Tubah, may God make it always received, year after year, with reassurance and tranquility, while our sins after forgiven by the tender mercies of our God my fathers and brothers.
The SIxteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Tubah
Martyrdom of St.Philotheus
On this day, the honorable
St. Philotheus, whose name means "lover of God", was martyred. He was born
in the City of Antioch, of pagan parents, who worshipped a bull, which
they fed cakes made of fine flour and sesame seed oil mixed with honey.
They also anointed the bull with spices and fine perfumed oils three times
every day, and they gave it wine and oil to drink. They established two
places for the bull, one for the summer, and another for the winter. They
put around its neck a collar of gold, and golden rings in its legs. When
Philotheus was ten years old, his father asked him to worship the bull,
but he refused, his father left him without punishment, for he loved him
as he was his only son. As for St. Philotheus, because of his young age,
he did not know the Living God, and he thought that the sun was the god.
He stood once looking at the sun and said, "I beseech you, 0 sun, if you
are God, tell me." He heard a voice coming from heaven saying, "I am not
God, but I am a servant and a slave to God, Whom you will know, and you
will shed your blood for His Name's sake."
When God saw the integrity
of the child's heart, He sent His angel to inform him about the creation
of the world, and the incarnation of the Lord Christ, for the salvation
of mankind. St.Philotheus was pleased, and rejoiced in his heart. From
that time on, he fasted, prayed and gave alms to the poor and those who
were in distress. After one year had passed, his parents had a great banquet
for their friends, and they asked their son to worship the bull before
they ate and drank. The child stood in front of the bull and said, "Are
you the God that should be worshipped?" A voice came out of the bull saying,
"I am not the God, but the devil has possessed me and I have become a deceiver
of men." Then the bull jumped and attacked his parents and killed them
instantly. The Saint ordered his servants to kill the bull, burn its body
and scatter its ashes.
St. Philotheus prayed to
God for the sake of his parents, and the Lord raised them up from the dead.
Later on, he was baptized along with his parents in the Name of the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God granted him the gift of healing the sick,
and his repute reached Diocletian, the emperor. He brought him, and ordered
him to offer incense to the idols, but he refused. The Emperor tortured
him with all kinds of tortures, but the Saint never swayed from his determination.
The Emperor tried again to persuade him by deception and flattery, and
the Saint promised to worship Apollo as the Emperor commanded. The Emperor
was pleased to hear this, and he brought Apollo along with 70 other idols,
and 70 pagan priests and a herald went around to call upon the public in
the city. Great multitudes came to watch St. Philotheus worshiping Apollo.
On their way, the saint prayed to the Lord Christ, and the earth was opened
and swallowed the priests and the idol of Apollo. There was a great excitement
and disturbance, and a great multitude believed and confessed the Lord
Christ. The Emperor was exasperated, and ordered them all beheaded, and
they received the crown of martyrdom. St. Philotheus was also beheaded,
and he received the crown of life.
May His prayers be with us all. Amen.
Departure of St.John the Fourth, the
Forty-Eighth Pope of Alexandria
On this day also, in the
year 792 A.D,, St. John the Fourth, 48th Pope of Alexandria, departed.
He became a monk in St. Macarius' monastery. He persevered in intense worship
and was reputed for his ascetic life. He was chosen by Pope Michael, 46th
Pope of Alexandria and ordained a priest for the Church of St. Mina. Pope
Michael entrusted him to manage the affairs of the church and to lead the
people and direct all its property and offerings. He excelled in his duties.
When Anba Mina, 47th Pope of Alexandria, departed, the bishops, the priests,
and the scholars of the City of Alexandria gathered and nominated several
monks. They wrote the name of each of them on a piece of paper, and the
name of Father John was among them. The bishops prayed and celebrated the
Divine Liturgy for three days. Then, on the third day, they brought a child
to draw one of the names. They found it to be the name of this saint, Father
John. They returned the paper, mixed it with the other papers, and brought
another child, who drew the same paper. This was repeated a third time.
They were sure that the Lord had chosen Fr. John to become the next pope.
They took him and ordained him patriarch in 768 A.D. He shepherded his
flock well. He always preached the people confirming them in the Orthodox
faith. He was also merciful to the poor and the needy.
During his days, there was
a famine, to the point that one measure of grain (a Bushel) was sold for
two Dinari. Many poor from different beliefs gathered every day at his
door. He delegated to his disciple Mark to use the money of the churches
to feed the poor and satisfy their needs. He offered to everyone without
distinction of faith until God removed this famine. Anba John was dedicated
to building many churches. When the time of his departure drew near, he
called on the priests and said to them, "On the 16th of Tubah, I was born
and was also ordained Pope, and on this day also I will depart from this
world." When the bishops and the priests heard this, they wept and said,
"Who would become our Father after you?" He said to them, "The Lord Jesus
Christ has chosen my disciple Fr. Mark to this rank." After he had completed
23 years and several months in the papacy, he departed in peace.
May His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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Days of the Coptic month of Tubah