IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD. AMEN
On this day our Lord Jesus Christ came to the land of Egypt, and He was a child whose days were two years, even as the Holy Gospel saith. And the angel of God appeared unto Joseph in a dream, saying, “Rise up, take the child and His mother, and depart to the land of Egypt and remain there until I tell thee.” And the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ took place for two reasons, in the operation of His wisdom, firstly: If Herod, the infidel, found Him, and was able to kill Him, others would think that His Incarnation was from below; and secondly: That the men of the land of Egypt might not be deprived of His grace, and of His going about in their midst, and that He might smash the idols which were in the land of Egypt, and that the prophecy of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled which said, “Behold, God shall mount upon a swift (or, light) cloud, and shall come to the land of Egypt, and the idols of Egypt shall fall down” (Isaiah xix, I). Our Lord, in the operation of His wisdom, fled before Herod, but it was not through fear that He fled. And the first city at which Joseph, and our holy Lady, the Virgin Mary, the God-bearer, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and Salome, whose name was “Balata,” arrived, would not receive them. And they dug there a well of water, and it became a means of healing, not only to the men of that city, but also to all other men. Thence they departed to the monastery of Gamnudi, and they crossed the river towards the west. And the Lord put His foot upon a stone, and the mark of the sole of His foot is in the stone to this day, and the name of that place is called “the place of the sole of the foot of the Lord Jesus.” And our Lord said unto His mother, the holy Lady, the Virgin Mary, “Know thou, O Mary, my mother, that in this place a church shall be built in thy name and in mine. And I will make manifest therein signs and wonders, until the end of the world, and it shall be called ‘Debre Mitmak.’” Thence they departed towards the river, and crossed over towards the west, and He saw the desert of Scete from afar, and our Lord Jesus Christ blessed it, and He said unto His mother, “Know, O my mother Mary, that in this desert there shall live many monks, [and] ascetics, and spiritual fighters, and they shall serve God like the angels.” Thence He came to Debre Mesrak. And there was a staff in the hand of Joseph, wherewith he used to smite (?) our Lord Jesus Christ, and Joseph gave Him the staff. And when He took it He said unto His mother, “We will tarry here”; and that place and its desert, and the well of water, which is the first there, became known as Matareya (Near Heliopolis). And our Lord took Joseph’s staff, and broke it into little pieces and planted these pieces in that place, and He dug with His own divine hands a well, and there flowed from it sweet water, which had an exceedingly sweet odor. And our Lord took some of the water in His hands, and watered therewith the pieces of wood which He had planted, and straightway they took root, and put forth leaves, and an exceedingly sweet perfume was emitted by them, which was sweeter than any other perfume. And these pieces of wood grew and increased and they called them “Balsan” (i.e. the balsam trees). And our Lord Jesus Christ said unto His mother, the holy Virgin Mary, “O my mother, these Balsan, which I have planted, shall abide here for ever, and from them shall be [taken] the oil for Christian baptism, when they baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Thence they went to the city of Behensa, and to a place, which is called Bet Iyasus, which is interpreted “House of Jesus”; and our Lord Jesus Christ dug there a well whereof the water cured every sickness and every pain. And He also set a sign in a certain well of the river of Egypt, which rose [in flood] every year. At the time of prayer at which they offered up incense at mid-day to God by that well, as soon as the reading of the Gospel was ended the water which was in the well would rise up and come to the mouth of the well; and they used to receive a blessing from it, and straightway the water would recede until it reached its former level; and the people used to measure by the cubit the height to which it rose above its normal level at the bottom of the well. If the height were twenty cubits, there would be great abundance in the land of Egypt that year; if the height were eighteen or seventeen cubits, there would also be abundance, but if the height were only sixteen cubits there would be a great famine throughout the land of Egypt. And then they went to ‘Eshmunayn, and our Lord broke the idols which were therein; and they dwelt there for a few days with a man whose name was ‘Apelon. And there were there some komol trees, and they bowed [their heads] before our Lord Jesus Christ, and they have remained bent until this day. Thence they went to Debre Kuskuam, and they remained therein for six months, and our Lord placed a well therein, the water of which healed every sickness. And when our Lord had finished living in the land of Egypt the days which He wanted to live there, that is to say, three years and six months, and Herod was dead, the angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream, and again he spoke to him, saying, “Rise up and take the Child, and His mother, and depart to the land of Israel.” When they returned from that place, they came to the city of Mahareka; and having come to Mesr (Cairo), they dwelt in the cave, which is the church of Saint Sergius in Mesr (Cairo). After this they went out from Mesr (Cairo) and came to Matariyah, and they bathed there, and the well therein which our Lord Jesus Christ made became holy and blessed from that hour, even as has already been said. And thence went forth the oil “Balasan,” [the plants of which] our Lord planted, and with this oil Christian baptism is made perfect, and with it churches and altars, and sacred property are consecrated. And with it they give relief and healing to all those who are sick, and they present it as a gift to kings, who boast themselves of its possession. And from this place they went to Mehdab. And by His return was fulfilled the prophecy of Hosea the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt have I called My Son” (Hosea 11:1). And it is meet to us to celebrate a spiritual festival on this day, and we should sing on it the words of David the prophet, “God hath wrought signs in the land of Egypt, and wonders in the Field of Zoan” (Psalm 78:12). And also, “He hath wrought in thee the signs of Egypt, and in the Egyptians,” and with them. “Glory be to God our Lord Jesus Christ, and to this Good Father, and to the Holy Life-giving Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.” Salutation to Thy coming to the land of Egypt.
And on this day also died Habakkuk, the prophet, one of the Twelve Sons of the Minor Prophets. One day this prophet cooked some lentils in a pot, and as he was carrying the pot, with some bread, to the men who were reaping in the fields outside the city, the angel of God appeared unto him, and said unto him, “Take this food to Daniel the prophet in the den of lions of the city of Babylon.” And Habbakkuk said unto him, “I have not seen Babylon and I do not know the den therein.” And the angel of God seized him by the hair of his head, as he was carrying the food, and brought him to the pit of the city of Babylon, which was shut, and he gave that food to Daniel and he ate; and immediately the angel of God brought him back to the land of Judah. Now he was a very old man. When the children of Israel returned from captivity, and built the sanctuary, Habakkuk came to Jerusalem, and they welcomed him with great joy, and they made the sanctuary beautiful and assembled to hear his prophecy. And he opened his mouth in the Holy Spirit and said, “O God, I heard the sound of Thee and I was afraid. I saw Thy work and I marveled.” And then he spoke in his prophecy concerning the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. And concerning His birth in Bethlehem of Judah, he saith, “God shall come from Mount Faran”; and then he continued his prophecy to the end and he wrote it and he mixed it with the prophecy of the prophets. And he dwelt in Jerusalem. And a certain woman of the sons of Israel came unto him weeping, and she said unto him, “I had two sons, and certain men required of them to worship idols, and they refused to do so, and the men killed them and cast their bodies out on the highway.” And Habakkuk went forth with her to the place where the young men who had been killed were lying, and he besought God to give them back their souls; and God accepted his prayer, and made the two young men to live again. When the time drew nigh for him to die he called his kinsfolk, and told them that he was going to die. And he continued to gaze upwards for the space of an hour, and behold a great arm, like the hand [and arm] of a man, opened the roof of the house, and came down from above, and reached itself out to his mouth, and took his soul. And when Anastasius, the Christian emperor, read the story of the strife of Habakkuk, he built a church in his honor in the city of Kartas, in the north of Egypt, and it was consecrated as on this day. Salutation to Habakkuk.
And on this day also the blessed and chosen fighter Abba Abkuelta became a martyr. This saint belonged to a noble family of the city of ‘Ensena, and he was a pure priest and a wise physician, and he did great good to all the suffering folk who came unto him, and he healed them without payment; moreover he also gave them food, and drink, and raiment, and anything of which they stood in need. In those days Diocletian, the infidel emperor, sent orders into the region of Upper Egypt, to the governor whose name was Arianus that he was to compel the men of that country to worship idols. Thereupon they took this saint and carried him away from ‘Ensena to the city of ‘Eshmunayn, and set him before the governor. And the governor spoke unto him with words of gentleness, in order to persuade him to abandon the True Faith, but he count not make him do so. And straightway the governor ordered his soldiers to torture him with divers kinds of tortures, and they did so, until his skin melted, and then they burnt him alive in the fire; thus he finished his martyrdom on the twenty-fourth day of the month of Genbot. And certain believers came, and swathed him for burial in costly cloths, and they buried him in one of the upper hills near his city. Salutation to Abba ‘Abkuelta.
And on this day also took place the death of Eleazar, the priest, the son of Aaron. And on this day also are commemorated ‘Akledis (Clitas), and Teflas, and Da’ala Maryu.
Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen.