IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD. AMEN.
On this day died the holy father Abba Liwaryos (Liberius), Archbishop of the city of Rome. This holy man was righteous, and excellent, and pure, and a monk from his earliest years, and he grew old in the Ordinances of the Church, in which he was learned; and he fulfilled all the Law and Doctrines of the Church. And the people chose him and appointed him Archbishop of the city of Rome, and he sat on the throne of Peter the Apostle. And having sat on the throne of Peter the Apostle, the chief of the Apostles, he followed a righteous course and was well pleasing unto God, the Most High. And he taught the people at all times, and he admonished those who transgressed the commandments of God, and turned them into the way of God. When Constantine the Less was dead the wicked Julian reigned after him, and this wicked Julian denied Christ and afflicted the Christian people. And he threatened Saint Basil, saying, “I am going to lay waste the churches of the Christians and destroy them,” but God destroyed Julian the infidel through the prayer of Saint Basil. It was then that God sent the honorable Saint Mercurius, the martyr, and he destroyed that serpent. Now Saint Basil stood before a picture of Saint Mercurius, and he said unto him, “This infidel told me that he would destroy the churches, therefore I beseech thee to kill him in the war”; and Saint Mercurius in the picture nodded his head as if to say, “Yea, I will.” This Julian the infidel was the son of the sister of his father Constantine, and he opened the temples of the idols and afflicted the Christian people, and tortured very many of them. And this Saint Liwaryos (Liberius) came from the city of Rome to the city of Caesarea, and he visited Saint Basil, and the two agreed together to go to the city of Antioch, and they visited Julian the infidel and turned him from his apostasy and error. Now these two men had known him from their youth, when they were fellow-learners in school with him; and they rose up and journeyed and arrived in the city of Antioch where the Emperor Julian was. And having stood up before him they wanted to speak to him and to turn him from his error. And he said to them, in mockery of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Where did ye leave the son of the carpenter?” And Saint Basil answered and said unto him, “We left Him making a coffin for thee, and when thou art dead they will bury thee therein in hell.” And Julian was wroth with them, and he commanded his soldiers to shut them up in prison; and they shut Saint Basil and Saint Liwaryos (Liberius) up in prison. And Saint Liwaryos (Liberius) saw a vision in his sleep, and in it he was in prison, and Saint Mercurius said unto him, “Verily I will not permit this infidel to utter blasphemies against my God.” And Saint Liwaryos (Liberius) woke from his sleep and told Saint Basil of the vision, which he had seen; and Saint Basil had also seen the same vision. Afterwards came the news of the killing of Julian the infidel, and after him Womanyos reigned, and he believed on our Lord Jesus Christ. And he brought the saints out of prison, and they departed, each of them, to his see. Now it was Saint Mercurius who killed Julian the infidel at the entreaty of Saint Basil. And Saint Liwaryos (Liberius) departed to the city of Rome, and he debated fiercely with the followers of Arius, and he excommunicated them and exiled them from his see. And he followed a righteous course, and was well pleasing unto God, and he died in peace, after ruling his see for six years. Salutation to Liwaryos (Liberius).
And on this day died Abba Athanasius, Archbishop of Antioch. This holy man was a monk, and anchorite, and one who served the Lord his God strenuously, and he was sincere and humble and perfect in all good works. And all the bishops came to him to make him archbishop, and they sent to the Maphrian (i.e., the head of the Jacobite Church), the Bishop of the city of Seleucia, saying, “Behold, our father the archbishop, Abba Michael, is dead, come quickly and speedily so that we may appoint an archbishop. We have chosen a righteous man who is suitable for this holy office, and we are all waiting for thee, for there is none save thee who can appoint him, according to the Ordinances of our Fathers.” And having waited for the arrival of the Maphrian, the bishop, now they had waited for a period of fifty days, they appointed Abba Athanasius, and they departed each to his seat. And the Maphrian came according as the bishops sent to him, and when he arrived at the city of ‘Amid (Diarbakr) on the frontiers of Syria, he met the bishops of Antioch, and they told him that having waited for his arrival fifty days they had appointed an archbishop. When the Maphrian heard this he was exceedingly wroth and said, “Is it thus that ye violate the law which is between us and you?” Having thus said he anathematized everyone who should mention the name of Abba Athanasius, whether at the service of the Offering or at the beginning of incense; having thus spoken he returned to his city. When Athanasius heard this thing he was exceedingly sorry, and he said unto his disciple, “O my son, be obedient unto me, and do what I say unto thee so that my soul may be blessed, I am going afar off for one year, and if my people seek for me tell them, ‘He is in his cell’; and do thou command them with my voice, bind and loose”; and his disciple said unto him, “I will.” And Abba Athanasius arrayed himself in poor raiment, and he traveled on foot until he came to the city of Seleucia, and he knocked at the gates of the bishop, and the gatekeeper said unto him, “What dost thou want?” And Athanasius said unto him, “I wish to receive the blessing of my father the bishop.” When the gatekeeper had told the bishop he brought Abba Athanasius, and the bishop said unto him, “Whence art thou?” And he said unto him, “I have come from the country of Syria, lacking daily bread and raiment, so that I may die under the shadow of thy prayer.” And the bishop said unto him, “Art thou a priest or a deacon?” And he said, “Neither.” Then the bishop called the steward and commanded him to place him with the monks. And Abba Athanasius performed every kind of household work, even to the drawing of water, and the carrying away of the dung of the horses and the mules, and the lighting of the fire, and there was no kind of work for the brethren which he did not perform. When he had finished the work in the bishop’s house he used to go to the houses of the monks, and draw water for them, and light fires, and clean the houses, and at length the brethren loved him dearly and regarded him as a heavenly angel, and then they entreated the bishop to make him a deacon. And on the first day of the week the bishop went into the church and called Abba Athanasius in order that he might appoint him a deacon, but Athanasius wept bitterly and said unto him, “Leave me, Father, I am a poor man, and I am not fit for this grade.” When the bishop seized him with vigor, Athanasius said unto him, “Forgive me, Father, for I am a deacon, but on account of my many sins I have abandoned ministration.” When the bishop heard this he marveled at his patient endurance; and for six months Athanasius continued to perform the duties of a deacon. When the bishop saw his great intelligence (or knowledge) he wished to appoint him to the work of a priest. And the first day of the week the bishop came into the church, and he called Athanasius and said unto him, “The Holy Ghost hath called thee this day; I am going to appoint thee a priest.” When Abba Athanasius heard him, he fell down at the feet of the Father in tears, and he entreated him to let him alone. When he knew that the bishop would not excuse him, he said unto him, “Have mercy upon me; I am a priest.” When the father and the monks heard this they rejoiced in him and honored him exceedingly. When the bishop saw the wisdom of his words and the zealousness of his ministration, he wished to make him a bishop of a city the bishop whereof was dead. And he summoned the archbishops, and the bishops, and the priests, and the deacons, and the monks, in order that they might appoint him on the first day of the week. And he called Abba Athanasius and said unto him, “ This day God hath called thee to the grade of the episcopate of such and such a see.” And when Athanasius knew that he would not excuse him, he wept bitterly and told them that he was Athanasius Archbishop of Antioch, and he related to them the history of his coming in secret. When the father heard these words from him he put off his crown and fell down upon the earth and became as one dead for a long time. Having raised himself up, he cried out to the bishops and the people, and said unto them, “O my brethren, tell me what I shall do, for at this moment I am afraid that fire will come down from heaven and consume me, and that the earth will open her mouth and swallow me up. Is it a desirable thing that Athanasius Archbishop of Antioch should serve the dung of horses like a slave?” When the bishops and the people heard these words they bowed low before him and kissed his hands and his feet. Then the bishop commanded the bishops to bring fine apparel of the priesthood, and the cross and the staff of the priesthood, and they seated him upon the throne, and the bishops carried him and his throne upon their shoulders, and they brought him into the church, and they carried him round about it thrice, saying, “Akseyos, Akseyos, Akseyos,” that is to say, “He is worthy, He is worthy, He is worthy.” Then he put on the vestments for the consecration of the Offering, and he consecrated the Offering, and administered it to them and he blessed their city. How great was the joy of the Persians! And on the following day the father brought a mule, and everything which was necessary for the journey, and he mounted Abba Athanasius upon it, and he departed to the city of Antioch with archbishop and bishops who traveled on foot. And Abba Athanasius said unto the Maphrian, “Do thou mount and let us travel together.” And the Maphrian said unto him, “Far be it from me, O Lord! Inasmuch as thou didst come on thy feet to my city I will go on my feet to thy city.” When the Bishops of Antioch heard that the Archbishop Abba Athanasius had arrived, they welcomed him and the Maphrian, the Bishop of Seleucia, and they restored Athanasius to his throne and they rejoiced with great joy. Then they set on their way the metropolitans and bishops, and they returned to their city in peace. And this father lived a beautiful life, and he tended his flock with righteousness and integrity, and he died in peace. Amen. Salutation to Athanasius, Archbishop of Antioch.
And on this day also died Stephen, the son of Nikomion and brother of Basilides. This blessed man Stephen belonged to an honorable family, and his parents were among the nobles of Antioch; they were exceedingly rich in gold, and silver, and glorious apparel, and their slaves and handmaidens were innumerable. And Nikomion loved Christ exceedingly, and he gave alms to the poor and needy, and he was beloved by all men. And having begotten this holy man, he had him brought up carefully, and he taught him the Psalms of David, and the Books of the Old and New Testaments, and finally he was filled with the knowledge of the Holy Ghost. He learned to ride the horse, to hurl the spear, and to draw the bow with Victor and Claudius in the house of Saint Basilides, whose brother’s son he was, and because of this he was called the son of Basilides. All his kinsfolk were fearers of God, and they walked in all His commandments and judgments, and among them was none whose heart was not warmed by the flame of the love of Christ, and there was none who turned from His way either to the right hand or to the left. When God saw the strength of their love for Him, He wished to make them to inherit His kingdom and His righteousness, which He hath prepared for them before the world was created. Then Satan brought a man, a certain swineherd from the land of Egypt, and he belonged to men who occupy themselves with devices for war, and his name was ‘Agripada, and from his earliest youth the spirit of Satan dwelt in him. When he came to Antioch they made him master of the horse, and when the King of Antioch died the throne was empty. One day when the daughter of the king was walking about on the roof of her house, she saw him leaping about with his horse whilst the musicians played music on their instruments. Thereupon she lusted for him, and she married him, and finally she caused him to be made king, and she called him Diocletian. And O what violence, and O what wickedness were committed in his days after he had denied Christ! He worshipped idols and killed everyone who believed on Christ. He was an eater of the flesh of men, and a drinker of human blood, like the wild animals. He seized and scattered all the chosen people of the kingdom like rams who have no shepherd. Some of them were killed by means of stakes driven through them, and some of them he drove into exile, even to districts in Egypt, and they were fettered with iron chains, and gags were in their mouths. At length the whole country of Antioch was filled with weeping and lamentation, a man mourning for his wife, and a wife for her husband, a father mourning for his son or a son for his father, or brother for brother and friend for friend. At length the whole earth was filled with the blood of the saints, and their bodies were cast out into the streets of the city, and there was none to bury them except the watchmen of the city, to whom bribes had to be given secretly to bury them. And this Saint Stephen continued in prayer to God by day and by night that He would give him a crown of martyrdom. Now as a beginning to his iniquity Diocletian wrote an Edict which he sent into every part of his dominions, saying, “I Diocletian the Emperor, Lord of the World, hereby command that in every country of my dominions they close the churches, and open the houses of idols (i.e., temples), and worship my gods, for it is they who have given me victory in battle. Whosoever shall not worship them and bow down before them, his house shall be plundered and laid waste, and he shall be punished with every kind of punishment; none shall be spared, neither rich nor poor, nor great nor small.” Then the emperor assembled all his soldiers and all the nobles of his kingdom, and he commanded that this Edict should be proclaimed before the multitude. When Saint Stephen had heard the foul Edict his whole body burned with the fire of zeal, and he accounted Diocletian as nothing, and poured out blasphemies upon him, and he was greatly moved in his spirit and said, “What is this new act of violence which thou hast made manifest, O king, in this city, by writing this unclean and accursed Edict of Apollo (?)? For our Lord Jesus Christ shall defend everyone who believeth on Him.” Then Saint Stephen waxed strong and bold and he leaped upon the soldier who had the filthy Edict in his hand, and tore it out of it, now the emperor and all his nobles were looking on at him, and Stephen tore the Edict in pieces. And the emperor said unto him, “O Stephen, what hast thou done? Dost thou wish to bring destruction upon thyself?” Then the emperor drew the sword, which he had in his hand, and he hacked him down the middle, and he became two parts. And the head of Saint Stephen remained for a long time before the emperor, and it reviled him and told him what would come upon him in the later time, and how he would received alms in the gates of Antioch, and how his eyes would be made wholly blind, and how after this he would be destroyed. And the head cried out with a loud voice and repeated the names of all the saints of the city of Antioch who became martyrs. And the story of the head of Saint Stephen was heard in all the cities of Antioch, and many multitudes of people gathered together to see the head, which reviled the emperor and told him of his ruin. When the emperor saw that the head of the saint spoke of his destruction before the assembled multitude he was greatly ashamed, and he commanded his soldiers to take it away, and whilst they were doing so it continued to talk and would not be silent; and when they buried it in the earth it still uttered many words. And this head remained buried in the earth for three days, and all the people heard it talking to the emperor and reviling him, even as the head of John the Baptist reviled Herod in days of old; for Herod and Diocletian were alike in nature and disposition. Herod was led astray through fornication, and the drinking of wine, and at length he killed the Prophet John greater than whom there was none born of woman. Through the murder of the righteous man he acquired disgrace, and as for his wife, the earth swallowed her up; her daughter perished and he himself bred worms in his body, and he putrefied and he died in shame, wishing to hide his fornication. The head of Saint John reviled Herod boldly, and the head of Saint Stephen reviled Diocletian, who was wishing to prove boldly the greatness of his idols and their gods, and proclaimed boldly that there were devils in his gods. And the head prophesied to him that his kingdom should be broken and his eyes blinded, and that he should receive alms in the gates of the city, and that he should die in disgrace. When Diocletian saw that the head of Saint Stephen would not keep silent, he ordered them to cast it into a lead box and to seal the mouth thereof, and to throw it into the sea by night; and by this act the martyrdom of Saint Stephen was finished. Then the angel of God came down from heaven, and brought out the box of lead and laid it on the seashore. Whilst his mother was searching for his body by the will go God she came to the place where the box of lead was, and she took it from there and laid it up in her house until the days of persecution were passed; and she lighted a lamp at his grave which burned by day and by night. After the days of persecution were passed she built a fine church for him, and innumerable signs and miracles were wrought therein. Salutation to Stephen, the son of Basilides.
And on this day also, in the nine hundred and eighty-fifth year of the holy martyrs [(A.D. 1269) the Bodleian ms. has A.M. 388], in the reign of Iyob Kher, and in the days when Abba Cyril held office, a stupendous and marvelous thing happened in the world, which terrified those who beheld it, and those who heard thereof on that day. The sun became dark, and it became darker and darker until the day was like night, and the stars appeared, and men lighted lamps. And they feared with a great fear, and they begged for His compassion and mercy, which He promised them, and He multiplied His mercy on them. And He removed fear from them, and the light re-appeared, and the sun came forth according to its custom, and it lighted up the whole world, and men extinguished their lamps. And the period of the darkness of the sun was one hour, that is to say, from the half of the eighth hour to the half of the ninth. And additional praise must be given to God because He did not hasten to harm men for their sins, but He made haste to show His compassion and long-suffering towards them; and praise be also to our Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever. Amen.
And on this day also is commemorated Abba Simeon the Archbishop [or Bishop].
And on this day also Thomas the Apostle began to work like an artisan, and to preach in the country of India where-unto he went with ‘Abnes the merchant. And ‘Abnes went to salute Guendefor the king, and he told him concerning Thomas the carpenter whom he had brought with him. And the king rejoiced and said unto him, “What is thy trade?” And the apostle said, “I am a carpenter and an architect. And I can make walls of houses, and beds, and scales, and wheels (carts?), and ships, and oars, and royal palaces.” And the king rejoiced, and he took Thomas to a place where he was going to build a palace, and he said unto him, “When wilt thou have built [the house]” And the apostle said, “After two months, [I will begin on] the new moon of the month Khedar, and I will finish in the month of Miyazya”. And the king marveled and said unto him, “Every house is built in the summer, then how can this house be built in the winter?” Then the king gave him much money both for himself and for those who were to work with him, and having taken it, he gave it to the poor and needy, saying, “I give what belongs to the king to another king.” Then the king sent his minister to the apostle to learn if the palace was finished, and the apostle said unto him, “Thy palace is finished, but there remaineth the roof to put on.” And the king sent him money a second time, and he said unto him, “Finish quickly.” then when the king came and asked for the palace which Thomas had built, the apostle said unto him, “No palace hath been built; there are only the alms given to the poor of thy goods.” And the king was wroth, and he shut the apostle and the merchant up in prison until he could think out in what way he should kill them. That night Gadon the king’s brother fell sick and died, and the angels showed him the palace, which Thomas had built for Guendefor his brother. He said unto them, “Who is this palace for?” And the angels said unto him, “This is for the king, and the Apostle Thomas who is in the prison house hath built it for him.” When his soul returned to him Gadon told his brother this, and then they all vied with each other, and they went to the prison house and brought out the apostle and the merchant. And they believed on our Lord Christ, and were all baptized, both men and women, in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, and they received His Holy Body and His Honorable Blood. Then Thomas laid his hands upon them, and gave them the benediction, and departed from them.
Salutation to India and salutation to the Merciful One.
On this day is commemorated David King of Ethiopia, who was called the “fan of the wicked and the wall of adamant.”
Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen.