IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD. AMEN.
On this day the blessed Saint Abba ‘Aboli, the son of Justus, became a martyr. To this holy man belonged the kingdom of Rome. When he had fought in the war, and returned to the city of Antioch, he found that Diocletian had denied Christ, and had set up the worship of idols. He was able to destroy Diocletian and to take his kingdom from him, but he meditated upon a heavenly kingdom, which never passeth away; and Diocletian urged him, with many persuasive words, [to worship idols,] but he would not hearken unto him. And after this Justus urged the saint, until Diocletian wrote the order, and sent it to Justus, and his wife Theoklera, and his son ‘Aboli, who is commemorated this day, and he sent them to the country of Egypt, to Herminius, governor of the city of Alexandria, and he said in his letter, “When Justus, and his wife, and his son ‘Aboli arrive, persuade them to offer sacrifice to the gods, and if they will not do so, separate them from each other, and send them each alone into the city.” And that night our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto Justus and his wife, and his son, and comforted them and encouraged them, and He told them what was going to happen to them, and He promised [to receive] them in His heavenly abode. And when they arrived in the city of Alexandria, and Herminius the governor saw them, he marveled greatly at them, and wondered why they had forsaken their royal position. And the governor did not dare to speak abusive words to them, but he addressed them with words of courtesy, and persuaded them earnestly to return to their honorable estate; but they would not hearken unto him. And straightway he became filled with wrath at Justus, and he separated them from each other; Justus he sent to the city of Antinoe, and his wife to the city of Sa, and his son ‘Aboli to the city of Basta; and he gave to each of them one of their servants to minister unto them. And when Abba ‘Aboli had arrived in the city of Basta, he confessed our Lord Jesus Christ before the governor, who tortured him severely, and burnt him with fire, and put him on the wheel, and cut off his limbs, and cast him to the lions. And God gave him strength, and delivered him, and raised him up whole and uninjured from the tortures. And when many of the men who were there saw what happened to Saint ‘Aboli, after the torturing, they marveled exceedingly, and they believed on our Lord Jesus Christ and became martyrs. And the governor was wroth with the saint, and he commanded his soldiers to flay off his skin, and to dip rags of sackcloth in vinegar and salt, and to rub all his wounds therewith; [and they did so,] and then they laid his skin upon his shoulders, and took him round through all the city. And the saint prayed and said, “O my Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Son of the Living God, help me and deliver me from this tribulation”; and forthwith the angel Michael came to him, and touched his body, and healed his wounds; and the governor commanded the soldiers to take him into the prison house until he could decide what he should do with him. And the saint stood up and prayed in prison, and whilst he was praying our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him, and He said unto him, “Peace be unto thee, O My chosen one ‘Aboli, be strong and fear not, for I will be with thee until the end of thy fight”; and when He had said this unto him He went up into heaven in great glory. And Saint ‘Aboli rejoiced with a great joy when he saw our Lord Jesus Christ. And there was a certain rich man whose name was ‘Abskiron, and who had two sons, and he brought some workmen to pull down the wall of his house and to rebuild it; and he commanded his two sons to stand by them until they finished their work. And when the workmen went up on the wall it fell down and killed twelve of the workmen, and the two sons of the rich man; and when the rich man heard what had happened he rent his garments, and cried out and wept. And he went to Saint Abba ‘Aboli, and bowed low at his feet and said unto him, “Have compassion upon me, for my two sons are dead with the seventeen (sic) workmen, if thou wilt raise them up from the dead I will believe on thy God.” And when he had said this unto him, the holy man rose up and prayed, saying, “O my Lord Jesus Christ, Who hast chosen me to suffer for Thy holy Name’s sake, do Thou make manifest Thy power over the men who are dead, and raise them up from the dead, so that all men may believe, and that all men may know that there is no other God beside Thee; for Thine is the glory for ever and ever. Amen.” And he took his skin and spread it out over those men, saying, “In the Name of my Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, do ye all rise up alive”; and he took them by their hands, and raised them up, and all the people were looking on. And straightway they all cried out, saying, “One is the God of the Christians, Jesus Christ, the God of Saint ‘Aboli.” And straightway ‘Abskiron bowed down before the saint, saying, “Now do I know that Jesus Christ is the Great God: I believe on Him”: and all the men of his house believed with him, and the governor was put to shame. And our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto the saint and made him a promise, saying, “O My chosen one ‘Aboli, whosoever shall ask Me for help in thy name when tribulation cometh upon him, I will hear his prayer and will fulfill all his petition and desire. And I will make to dwell in My kingdom whosoever shall build a church in thy name. And I will write upon the lips of the four beasts, and I will make to rest in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and will make to eat of the dainty things of the Garden of Delight, every one who shall write down the story of thy fight, or shall read it, or shall make someone else to hear it. And even if he hath committed many sins, but doth repent, I will forgive him his sins. And I will forgive the sins of every one who shall feed the hungry in thy name, and I will make him to eat of the fruits of the Garden; and My peace shall be with thee. Amen.” And when our Redeemer had said these things unto him, He gave him the salutation “Peace,” and went up into heaven with great glory. And when the governor became tired of torturing him he commanded the soldiers to cut off his head with the sword, and they cut off his holy head with the sword, and he received the crown of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens. And his body resteth in the monastery of Handak, outside the city of Mesr (Cairo), and many signs and wonders take place through it, and great healings. Salutation to ‘Aboli. Salutation to you, O ye company of two hundred and forty men and women who were tortured and beheaded with Saint ‘Aboli.
And on this day also are commemorated Saint Hannah, the mother of our Lady Mary, and Hannah the prophetess, the daughter of Panuel.
Salutation to the three virgins Pistis (Faith), ‘Alapis (Hope), and ‘Agapis (Charity), who suffered martyrdom, but whose beauty was unspoiled by the smoke, and whose bodies were unconsumed by the fire.
And the fathers have commanded that on this day the people shall celebrate the commemoration of the honorable men Joseph and Nicodemus, who were held to be worthy to become ministers of the Divine Mystery. And they brought down from the Cross the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, when He had fulfilled the Law of the Incarnation in every respect, with the exception of sin, and He had accepted suffering and death for the sake of the salvation of the [world]. So little did the terror of the Jews frighten them that they asked Pilate to give them His Body, and when Pilate gave them permission to carry Him away, they took Him down from the Cross, having withdrawn the nails from out of His hands, and His feet, and they bore Him away on their shoulders. And they heard a voice which came forth from His dead Body, saying, “Holy is the Lord, Holy is the Power, Holy is the Life Which dieth not, and which the holy Virgin Mary bore! Have compassion upon us, O Lord. Holy is the Lord, Holy is the Power, Holy is the Life Which dieth not, which was baptized in the Jordan, and was hung upon the wood of the Cross. Have compassion upon us, O Lord. Holy is the Lord, Holy is the Power, Holy is the Life Which dieth not, Which was raised up from the dead on the third day, Who went up into heaven with praise and sat down on the right hand of His Father, Who shall come again to judge the living and the dead. Have compassion upon us, O Lord. Glory be to the Father. Glory be to the Son. Glory be to the Holy Spirit, now and henceforth and forever. Amen. So be it! So be it!” And when they heard this their Faith in Christ was strengthened. And Joseph brought linen cloths, and Nicodemus brought perfumed unguents, and they wrapped our Lord in them, and buried Him in a new grave. And this Joseph was kinsman to Nicodemus, the brother of Cleophas, the kinsman of Stephen the martyr. And Nicodemus was the Phrisee, and the legate of the Jews, who went by night to our Lord Jesus Christ, and . . . His coming from heaven. And our Lord told him that it was impossible for a man to enter into the kingdom of the heavens, who was not born of water and of the Holy Spirit; and Nicodemus used frequently to rebuke the Jews when they derided the words of our Lord. And after His Resurrection, as they were travelling along the road to Emmaus, it was these two, Cleophas and Nicodemus, whom our Lord met; and they told Him everything which had happened in Jerusalem, without recognizing Him. And He told them that the prophets had prophesied concerning His Death and Resurrection; and then when they recognized Him, He disappeared from them. And they brought His words to His disciples. And Joseph the Jews bound fast in prison, and they wanted to kill him, because he had buried our Lord. And although the door of the prison was sealed with the seal of Pilate, and with the seals of the high priests, our Lord Jesus came to the place where Joseph was, and He was mounted on the chariot of the Cherubim, and with Him there were thousands of thousands, and tens of thousands of tens of thousands of angels, and Seraphim standing round about Him, and burning incense before Him. And the thief who was on His right hand stood on the right of Him wearing shining raiment, and he was making intercession for sinners, because he had found favor before Him; and the keepers of the house were terrified, and trembling seized them. And then our Lord cried out to Joseph and said unto him, “Be not afraid of the terrors of the Jews. Behold I have come to unloose thy bonds. I am that Jesus, the Nazarene, in Whose suffering thou didst participate. Look at the nail [marks] in My hands and feet, and the mark of the spear in My side, so that thou mayest know that of a truth I am He.” Then He caught up Joseph from that place, and took him to the city of ‘Armatyas. And the keepers of the prison house, having gone to Pilate, told him everything, which they had seen, and what they had heard from the mouth of our Lord, and how He had set free Joseph and taken him away with Him. And when the high priests went [there] they found the doors of the prison open and their seals unbroken. And these saints continued to preach the Gospel with the Disciples, and very much tribulation came upon them; and then they died in peace. Salutation to Joseph the rich man who begged the Body of Jesus from Pilate. Salutation to Nicodemus who believed on the Son of Mary.
Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen.