IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD. AMEN.
On this day died the holy and blessed father, the Lamp of the Desert, the father of all the monks, Abba Macarius, of the desert of Scete. This holy man was a native of the city of Sasawir, on the borders of Manuf, in the north of Egypt. His parents were good and righteous men; his father’s name was Abraham and his mother’s name was Sara. This woman, like Sarah and Elisabeth, walked in the commandments of God, in humility. Her father was a priest and an honorable man, and he ministered in the sanctuary continually, in the fear of God, and in purity and holiness. And God blessed them, and he made them rich in all their works, and they gave alms daily to the poor and needy, and they showed the way (i.e. were examples) for all men, and they contended always in fasting and prayer. Now they had no son. And a vision from God appeared unto Abraham, and it made him to know that God was about to give him a son, and memorial of whom should be all the ends of the earth, and that this son should beget spiritual sons. And God gave him this holy man Macarius, the interpretation of whose name is “Blessed.” And the grace of God was upon him from his youth, and he was obedient to his parents. When he arrived at man’s estate, his parents wished to marry him to a wife, and although he did not wish this thing, he set himself to perform their desire, and he submitted to them and married a wife against his will. When he came into the marriage-chamber, he feigned illness, and he remained for several days in this state. After this he sought his father, and said unto him, “Let me go into the desert to recover a little from this illness”; and he entreated God every day at the hour of prayer to direct him in the doing of His ordinances. After this he departed to the desert of Scete. Whilst he was in the desert he saw a vision, and it seemed that one of the Cherubim, with six wings, took his hands, and bore him up to the top of a mountain, and showed him all the desert, the east and the west, and the length and the breadth thereof. And the cherub said unto him, “Behold, God hath given this desert unto thee and thy sons for an inheritance.” When he returned from the desert he found that the maiden [his wife] was sick, and subsequently she died in her virginity; and Macarius thanked our Lord Jesus Christ greatly. And after a few days his parents died also, and he gave all the goods, which they had left him to the poor, and the needy, and those who were with child. When the men of Sasuwires, his city, saw the righteousness and sincerity of Saint Abba Macarius, they made him priest over them and they built him a shrine (or, chapel) outside the city; and the men of the city used to go to him there, and receive the Holy Mysteries from him. Now there was in that city a certain maiden who had played the harlot with a certain young man, and she was with child. And the young man said unto her, “When thy father asketh thee and saith unto thee, Who hath defiled thy virginity? Say thou unto him, It is the priest, the anchorite, who hath defiled my virginity.” When the father of the maiden knew that she was with child, he asked her, saying, “Who hath committed this deed of shame on thee?” And she answered and said unto him, “One day I went to that anchorite priest, whose name is Macarius, and he seized me by force and lay with me, and I am with child by him.” When her parents heard this thing they were exceedingly wroth, and they went to Saint Macarius, and there were many people with them, and made him to come forth from his cell. Now he knew not what had happened. And they beat him very severely, and inflicted such pain upon him that he was well nigh dead. And the holy man asked them, saying, “What is my sin that ye beat me thus unmercifully?” Then they tied a rope around his neck, and suspended from it pots which they had blackened with charcoal, and they dragged him about to this side and to that, like a madman, and they cried out, saying, “This is the man who hath defiled the virginity of our daughter.” At that moment there appeared angels in the forms of men, and they said unto these wicked men, “What hath this fighter done?” And they told them what he had done to the maiden. And those angels said unto them, “This is a lie, for we have known this man from his childhood to the present day, and he is a good and righteous man.” And the angels drew nigh to Macarius, and they released him from his bonds, and they cast the pots from him. And those wicked men said unto the angels, “We will not let this man go until he giveth us what he is bound to give.” And a certain man who used to buy the work of the hands of Macarius undertook on his behalf to give to the girl food until she brought forth the child; and he took Macarius and departed to his cell. And Macarius reproached himself, saying, “O Macarius, behold thou hast now a wife and a child, and it is meet for thee to work night and day for thine own food, and for that of thy child and thy wife.” And he worked continually at weaving mats and baskets, and he gave them to that man, the kind brother, who ministered unto him; and he sold them and gave the money to the woman [to buy] food. And he continued to work in this wise until the time drew nigh when the woman would bring forth her child. When the day for her delivery drew nigh her labor was exceedingly difficult, and she continued to suffer very greatly for four days and four nights, and she was nigh unto death, and did not bring forth. And her mother said unto her, “What hath happened to thee, for behold thou wilt die?” And she said unto her mother, “Yea, death is fitting for me, because I played the harlot with such and such a young man, and I spoke words of falsehood against the man of God, the priest, Saint Abba Macarius, the anchorite.” When her parents heard this they were exceedingly sorry and they and all the people of the city gathered together, and they took counsel concerning the holy man, how they should ask him to forgive them the wrong, which they had done him. When Saint Abba Macarius heard that the men of the city wished to come to him to ask pardon from him, he remembered the vision, which he had seen in the desert, and he consecrated the Offering and he partook of the Holy Mysteries. And that six-winged cherub appeared unto him, and took him by his hands, and led him, and brought him to the desert of Scete, the interpretation of which [name] is “Balance of hearts.” And Saint Abba Macarius said unto the cherub, “O my lord, [this] place is too strait for me to live in.” And the cherub answered and said unto him, “I have not marked out a place for thee, so that thou might not quarrel with the place which I might mark out for thee, and transgress the commandment of God. Behold, all this desert is thine, go wherever thou wishest and live there.” So Saint Abba Macarius dwelt in the Inner Desert, in the place of the monastery of the Roman (Greek) Saints Maximus and Dymateus; and when they came to him they dwelt near him. After their death the angel of the Lord commanded him to go and dwell in that place where his monastery is at this day. And the angel said unto him, “This place is called after the names of thy sons Maximus and Dymateus,” and it is that which is called this day “Dabra Barmos (Baramus),” which is interpreted “Dabra Rom.” And Saint Abba Macarius made a cave therein, and dwelt there, and he fought a strenuous fight there with fasting, and prayer, and bowings to the earth, and incessant vigils; and Satans used to appear before him, boldly, and in visible forms, and Satans used to wage war against him, by night and by day. And after passing three years in strife and labor, and Satans afflicting him, and finding no rest, he thought and said within himself, “When I was in the world I used to hear the report of Saint Abba Anthony, I will rise now and go to him, so that he may guide me on the path of the ascetic life, and may give me knowledge and understanding, so that I may know the counsels of the foul Satans.” And he rose up and prayed and went into the desert towards the east, until he came to the place where the holy elder Anthony was. And when he saw him afar off he said, “This is an Israelite in whom there is no guile,” and he received him, and embraced him with great joy; and Macarius revealed to him his mind, even as doth a son to his father. And the holy elder Abba Anthony embraced the head of Saint Abba Macarius, and he said unto him, “O my son Macarius, who art called ‘Blessed,’ according to the interpretation of thy [name] in the language of the Greeks, the Lord my God hath revealed unto me thy work and thy coming to me, and for this reason I have been expecting thee.” And the holy elder Abba Anthony taught Saint Abba Macarius all the path of the holy ascetic life, and he strengthened him, and spoke many things concerning the working of righteousness. And he revealed unto him the method of warfare of the Satans, and he said unto him also, “They will fight against thee in thy mind secretly in vain, and they will work against thee openly to the death in order that thou mayest be perfect; when they fight against thee endure patiently to the death.” And Saint Abba Macarius asked Abba Anthony, saying, “Let me dwell with thee.” And Saint Abba Anthony said unto him, “Go unto the place which God hath marked out for thee, and abide there in patience.” After he had dwelt with the elder Abba Anthony for a few days, learning the ways of the monastic life and the ordinances of righteousness, he rose up and returned to his place, rejoicing and full of gladness in the ordinances and life-giving doctrine which he had learned from Saint Abba Anthony. And the blessed Abba Macarius visited Saint Abba Serapion, the bishop, and he said unto him, “During all the days which I dwelt with my father Abba Anthony I never saw him sleep at all.” And Saint Macarius dwelt in his cell many days, fighting strenuously in the path of monkhood, and the Cherubim used to visit him openly. One day he heard a voice from heaven, saying, “O Macarius, because thou hast hearkened to My voice and to My command, and hast come to Me and dwelt in this place, behold, I will gather together in [this] place innumerable people, of every race, and from every country, and of every tongue, and they shall serve Me, and they shall bless My Name by their fair works; receive thou them, and guide thou them in the path of righteousness.” When Saint Abba Macarius heard this he became strong, and his heart became bold. And he stood up praying in the night, and God revealed the matter to him, and he heard the Satans taking counsel among themselves, and they said, “If we let this man live in this desert he will guide many people here, and they will settle in this desert, and they will inherit heavenly cities, for they put their hope in everlasting life, and they will drive us out of this desert, and they will inherit heavenly cities, for they put their hope in everlasting life, and they will drive us out of this desert, by the pain of the torture of their prayers. Come, let us gather together against him now, and peradventure we may be able to drive him out of this place.” When Saint Abba Macarius heard this, he strengthened his heart, and he waxed strong against the Satans, and he blessed God Who had opened his ears so that he could hear the counsel of the Satans, and he knew their feebleness. After this the Satans gathered together against him, and they waged a great war against him, and they lighted a fire by the door of his cell, and they took pieces of fire and cast them into it, and the fire was extinguished by the prayer of Saint Abba Macarius. When they were vanquished in this matter, they cast into his mind the thoughts of fornication, and anxiety, and pain, and arrogance, and the love of the glory of this world, and fear, and self-laudation, and restlessness, and blasphemy, and lack of faith, and despair of God, and very many other [temptation] of the same kind; with these they waged war against him, even as Saint Abba Anthony had said. And having remained there for many days with the Satans waging war against him by means of these abominable things, he rose up again and went to Saint Abba Anthony. And when Saint Abba Anthony saw him afar off, he spoke unto his disciples and said, “This indeed is an Israelite in whose heart there is no guile. O my sons, do ye see this man? He shall become a staff of righteousness, straight and long for many peoples. And he shall [bear] sound fruits from the mouth of the God of Hosts.” When he had come to Saint Abba Anthony, he bowed down before him even to the ground. And Anthony raised him up quickly, and embraced him, and kissed him, because he saw that his face was changed, and that it had become as the face of a sick man by reasons of the wars, which the Satans had waged against him; and after they had prayed they sat down together. And Saint Anthony answered and said unto him with joy, “Art thou well, O my son Macarius?” And Saint Macarius answered and said unto him, “Behold, God hath already told thee and shown thee what hath happened to me.” And when Abba Anthony had instructed him and strengthened him, he said unto him, “Be strong and fear not. It is desirable that it should be thus with us, so that we may endure patiently all those temptation which our enemies can bring against us. And for this reason it is meet for us to become teachers of the many peoples who love spiritual wisdom, that is to say monasticism.” And he said unto him, “O my son Macarius, remember that word which God spoke unto thee when thou wast going to draw water.” When Saint Abba Macarius heard this he marveled exceedingly, and he knew that his affairs and his secret matters were manifest to Saint Abba Anthony through the Holy Spirit. And Macarius dwelt with the elder Abba Anthony many days, being blessed by him, and learning his commandments; and he asked him to endue him with the holy garb. And Anthony prayed over him and arrayed him in the garb [of the monk], and for this reason Macarius is called the disciple of Saint Abba Anthony, Then the elder Abba Anthony said unto him, “Trouble not thyself to come hither to me, for I am earth of a very few days, and I am going to God.” When Abba Macarius heard these words he rose up and bowed low before him, and entreated him that he might dwell with him, and make himself fit to receive his spiritual blessing; and Abba Anthony said unto him, “Remain with me,” and Macarius remained with him. And after a few days Abba Anthony said unto him, “God will give thee rest from the superabundance of these evil thoughts. Henceforward the Satans will wage war on thee openly, even as they have done to me. Be strong, and take good heed that thou dost not grieve that cherub whom God hath appointed to help thee, and to be with thee, until the end of thy days, and [then] he will protect thee, even as the Lord thy God hath commanded him.” And Abba Anthony gave him his staff, and embraced him with a holy embrace, and he died, and Macarius buried him in a hidden place, the site whereof no man knoweth. And Saint Abba Macarius returned to the desert of Scete, and he dwelt in his cell, and the report of him was heard in all the ends of the earth. And God wrought great miracles through him, and among them was that concerning the daughter of the King of Antioch. She was possessed of an unclean spirit and her father sent her to Abba Macarius. She came to him disguised in the apparel of a young man, but Macarius knew that she was a maiden, and he healed her, and sent her away to her father and mother; and although they gave him much gold, he would not accept any part of it whatsoever. And there was a certain erring monk in the city of Wesim, and he said, “There is no resurrection of the dead,” and he led many men into error, and because of their trust in him they accepted his words. And the bishop of the city of Wesim went to Abba Macarius, and told him that that monk was leading his people into error, and he entreated him with many entreaties to help him. And Abba Macarius rose up and went to the bishop of the city of Wesim, and he saw that anchorite in whom was the unclean spirit. And having talked with him about the resurrection of the dead, that anchorite answered and said unto him, “I will not believe that the dead will rise unless thou wilt raise up a man from the grave before me.” And Saint Abba Macarius prayed and made supplication to God, and straightway a man rose from the dead; now the man who was raised up was in former times one of those who denied Christ. And that anchorite believed and turned from his error, and all those men whom he had led astray turned with him. And that man who had been raised up from the dead entreated Saint Abba Macarius to baptize him with Christian baptism, and he baptized him, and he arrayed him in the garb of the monk, and he dwelt with Macarius seven years, and died. After this Saint Abba Macarius rose up and came into the Inner Desert, in order that he might learn if there had ever been monks before him in the desert. And he saw two naked men, and he was afraid of them, for he imagined them to be Satans. And he prayed before them, ‘Elbat ‘Aribon, that is to say, “Our father which art in heaven.” And one called out to him by his name, and said unto him, “Fear not, O Macarius”; and Macarius knew that they were desert saints. And they questioned Macarius about men in the world, and their doings, and he answered and said unto them, “God in His mercy thinketh for them all.” Then Macarius asked them if the cold during the winter froze them, and if the heat of the sun scorched them in the season of summer. And they answered and said unto him, “God hath cared for us during the period of forty years which we have lived in this desert, and He hath never frozen us in the winter or scorched us in the summer.” And Saint Abba Macarius said unto them, “How can I become like unto you?” And they said unto him, “Stay in thy cell, and weep for thy sins, and thou wilt become like unto us”; and he was blessed by them and returned to his place. And when monks multiplied round about him, they dug wells for themselves, and built [cells] for themselves. When the saint went down to the wells to wash, the Satans leaped upon him to kill him, and the monks came and took him away from them. And when God wished him to have rest, He sent to him the cherub who was wont to visit him, and he said unto him, “It is meet that we should come and take thee.” And he saw Abba Anthony, and Abba Pachomius, and the Company of the Saints, and all the powers of heaven, and he delivered up his soul. And all the days of his life were ninety-seven years. And of the following Abba Babnuda his disciple was witness. He himself saw the soul of Saint Abba Macarius ascending to heaven, and he heard the Satans crying out and calling after him, “Thou hast conquered us, thou hast conquered us, O Macarius, thou hast conquered us.” And the saint said unto them, . . .. And when the holy man entered the Garden (i.e. Paradise), they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Thou hast conquered us, O Macarius.” And Saint Abba Macarius said unto them, “Blessed be my Lord Jesus Christ, and blessed by the holy Name of Him Who hath delivered me from your hands.” Now when the holy man was alive he commanded his sons to hide his body [after his death]. And certain men came from the city of Susawir, and gave money to his disciple John, whom the holy man was always rebuking, and they said unto him, “Keep this money [as a mark of] affection.” And that disciple guided them, and showed them the body of Saint Abba Macarius, and they took it and carried it to their city, and it remained there for one hundred and sixty years, until the Kingdom of the Arabs. And his disciple John became a leper, through his love of money. After the death of Saint Abba Macarius his sons, the monks, went to his city Susawir, and wished to take away the body of the saint; but the men of the city and the governor rose up against them, and prevented them. That night Saint Abba Macarius appeared unto the governor, and said unto him, “Let me depart with my sons.” In the morning the governor summoned the monks, and commanded them to carry away the body of their father, and they carried it away forthwith, and they took it and laid it in the church; and they sang many hymns as they did so, on the nineteenth day of the month of Nahase. And a great many miracles and wonders took place through it. Salutation to Macarius. Two-fold salutation to the holy martyrs of the holy house of Yasla, monks and widows; some were burnt and some were slain by sharp knives. Salutation to the twin images of the blessed ‘Ammat Hanna, and ‘Ammat Wahed, her daughter, who died by fire. Salutation to Stephen, whose mouth was bridled, and also to Agathon, who shed their blood for Jesus Christ. And on this day also was crucified our Lord and God and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, to Whom praise in the body is due because of the salvation of the world. The sun became dark when it saw its Creator crucified by His own will, and that which should have been visible covered itself over. And the period of darkness lasted from the sixth to the ninth hour, and in that time our Lord bowed His head by His own free will, and delivered up His understanding and rational soul which He had received from our Lady, the Virgin Mary, and that soul was separated from its body. And it went into Sheol without separation from the Godhead, even as Saint Peter the apostle saith, “He was dead in the body and alive in the spirit.” And at that same time His body was hung upon the wood of the Cross, without separation from the Godhead. Similarly His soul descended into Sheol, like a released prisoner, and it had one nature and was without separation from the Godhead. And He was exalted high above the heavens, sitting with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Salutation to Thy Passion, O God the King.
Salutation to Thy Crucifixion on the Cross.
Salutation to the going forth of Thy Soul from Thy Body.
And on this day also died the strenuous ascetic and fighter Abba Hezekiah, the father of the monks of Dabra Libanos. He was the fourth abbot from our father Takla Haymanot. [Omitted in the Bodleian MS.]
And on this day also the God-loving Claudius finished [his] crowning with martyrdom. He was brought up piously by the Orthodox King Lebna Dengel (i.e. David II, Wanag Sagad I, who died 2nd September, 1540) and when his father died God made him king. There was a certain Muslim, whose name was Grann (i.e. the “left-handed”), who called himself a king, though it was not right [to do so], and all the men of Ethiopia believed in his might, and associated themselves with him in his belief. The remaining people in the country who clung to Christianity, he made to slave for him. He pulled down the churches, and carried off the greater number of the people captive into Ethiopia, and he sold them to whom he pleased. And he said, “Henceforward no man can resist me; I have captured all the cities.” Then God raised up King Claudius, and he began to make war against the nobles of the kingdom of that iniquitous man, and he conquered them. When Grann heard [this] he was furious, and he marched against Claudius with tens of thousands of men, and horses, and Turks, and they joined battle, and God killed him, and destroyed him by the hand of Claudius. And the captives returned [from Ethiopia], and the churches which had been laid waste were rebuilt, and the Orthodox Faith of Christ [was restored]. After this one of the Muslims came with many men of war, and he came upon King Claudius when he had [only] a few men with him. And the Muslim said unto him, “Let us remain quiet and not fight each other until the officers of our armies arrive.” And Claudius said, “I will not remain quiet, and see Christians carried off into captivity, and the churches destroyed.” Whilst he was saying this the soldiers arrived, and the fighting between them waxed fierce and strong. And all the Muslims closed up behind him, and they all stabbed him with their swords, and they pierced him with many spears, and they dragged him down off his horse, and he died, and they cut off his glorious head with the sword, and they carried it off. Salutation to the mention of the name of Claudius. A prayer to Christ to bring Sharad Dengel into the kingdom of heaven, and to preserve the kingdom of his son Fasiladas (i.e. Sultan Sagad II, ‘Alam Sagad, who died in October, 1667).
And on this day also died the God-loving King Claudius, and the glorious father, Abba John, Abbot of Dabra Libanos, and a very large number of believing monks, who became martyrs through the soldiers of the Muslims.
Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen.