IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD. AMEN.
On this day died Saint Abba Joseph, the fifty-second Archbishop of Alexandria. This man was the son of one of the elders of the city of Manuf, and he had very many possessions. When his parents died and left him an orphan a certain God-fearing man brought him up, and when he arrived at man’s estate he took his goods and gave them to the poor and the beggars. Then he went up into the desert of Scete, to the monastery of Saint Abba Macarius, and he became a monk under the direction of a certain holy old man. When Abba Mark the second was appointed archbishop, and he heard that the natural disposition and intelligence of this Saint Abba Joseph were good, he sent and had him brought unto him, and established him in his house. After many days Abba Joseph asked Abba Mark the archbishop, saying, “Let me depart to the desert of Scete,” and straightway Abba Mark made him a priest and sent him away to the desert of Scete. And he remained there many years, until the holy father Abba Simon the archbishop died, and the country of Egypt remained without an archbishop for many years. After the death of Abba Jacob, the bishops, made an agreement with a certain scribe in the king’s house, who had married and whose wife had died, now he had never been a monk, and the bishops took bribes from him, and they made an agreement with one-half of the men of the city of Alexandria, to appoint that scribe archbishop. And all the bishops rose up against him, and they said unto him, “This scheme which thou hast planned is not good, but bad, for the holy Canon saith that all those who shall either take or receive bribes in respect of appointments to the priesthood, are to be excommunicated. And more especially shall it be so in this case, for this man hath married twice, and he is wholly unsuited for the office of archbishop; and besides, up to the present none but a virgin hath been appointed to sit on the throne of Mark the evangelist.” And these men then joined with them in this good counsel, and they rose up and came into the church, and prayed to God and entreated Him to make clear unto them who were the best man for this office. And straightway God heard their petition, and He made them to remember this Abba Joseph, and they sent a letter ordering the monks to bring him from the desert of Scete. And those who had been sent prayed unto God and said, “We beseech Thee to reveal the matter unto us clearly; if Thou hast chosen this father Abba Joseph to be the archbishop, give us the following sign, that is to say, let us find the door of his cell open.” And when they came to his cell they found the door of his cell open, and they found Abba Joseph bidding farewell to a certain monk, and he was wishing to go into his cell and to shut the door. When he saw them he embraced them with a holy embrace, and received them with joy, and brought them into his house. When they came into his house they seized him and bound him, saying, “He is worthy, He is worthy, Abba Joseph is worthy of the archiepiscopate.” And he cried out and wept, and he said unto them, “I have committed very many sins, far more than any other man”; but they would not accept this excuse from him, but they took him to the city of Alexandria and appointed him archbishop. Having taken his seat upon the throne of Mark the apostle, he thought about the Church exceedingly, and with what remained of his own stipend he bought plots of ground, which had been dedicated to pious works, and endowed the churches with them. And he taught the people at all times, and he never neglected any one of them. Now, Satan was jealous of him, and he schemed schemes and brought sorrow upon him, and the immediate cause was that the Bishop of the city of Tenes (Tanis), and the Bishop of the city of Mesr (Cairo), behaved wrongly towards the people and oppressed them in the matter of dues and afflicted them, and Abba Joseph said unto them, “Forbear and do not afflict them.” And on several occasions he had entreated them to look upon their flocks with the eye of mercy, but they would not accept his behests, and they set them aside. And these holy bishops having afflicted their people [to excess], all the people came to the Archbishop Abba Joseph, and they all cried out before him, and said unto him, “If thou wilt not remove these bishops from over us we shall embrace another Faith.” And Abba Joseph fought very, very hard to make peace between them, but he was not able to do so. Then he brought all the bishops from all the land of Egypt, and when they were assembled, he told them how these two bishops had afflicted their people. And the archbishop sent and had those two bishops brought before him, and he wished to make peace between them and their people; but they would listen neither to his commands nor to those of his brother bishops. And straightway the archbishop said unto them before all the bishops, “I am innocent of your sins,” and the bishops were witnesses against the two bishops that they had transgressed the command of the Archbishop Abba Joseph. And they all wrote with their own hands to this effect; “It is meet for these two bishops to be cut off from their sees” and straightway the archbishop cut them from their sees. And when he had cut them off from their sees, these two bishops went to the King of Egypt, and made false accusations against this father Abba Joseph before him, and the king sent his brother and a company of soldiers to bring the archbishop to him. When he had come to him the king’s brother drew his sword and wanted to kill him, and when he was about to smite the archbishop with the sword, God thrust aside the hand of that nobleman, and his sword struck a pillar, and broke, and he was furiously angry. And another man drew his dagger and drove it into the side of the archbishop with all his might, and his apparel and his girdle were cut through, but the dagger did not enter the flesh of the archbishop. Then that nobleman knew that the archbishop was a righteous man, and that there was in him divine grace, which would preserve him from every evil, and from murder. And he brought him to the king his brother with great honor, and he told him what he had done to the archbishop, and how he had been smitten twice with the sword and had escaped unhurt. When the king heard this he marveled, and he was afraid of the archbishop and paid him honor, and then he asked him questions about the two bishops who had made accusations against him before him. And the archbishop told him what had happened in the matter of the bishops, and he proved to him that the accusations, which they had made against him, were falsehoods. And the king knew that those bishops were liars, and evil men, and accursed oppressors, and straightway he commanded [his soldiers] to slay them. And the archbishop said unto him, “Our Lord Christ in the Holy Gospel commanded us to do good in return for evil. These bishops made false accusations against me, but behold, God hath established it in thy heart that I am innocent of the false charges which they laid against me to thee; I therefore beseech thee to have mercy upon them, and to forgive them for God’s sake.” When the king saw the piety of the archbishop, he marveled exceedingly, and he paid him honor, and he had mercy upon those two bishops for his sake. And he wrote for him an authorization and gave it to him, and in it he ordered: “Neither officials nor bishops shall resist the archbishop, and they shall not disobey his command, and whatsoever he is pleased to do in his see he shall do, whether it be to remove a man from his office or to appoint a new one.” And in the days of this father the King of Ethiopia sent him a letter, saying, “I do homage to the throne of Mark the evangelist, whereon to sit thou art worthy, and by his grace my kingdom hath waxed strong. I beseech thee to have compassion upon me and to send unto us as bishop Abba John. There are certain men of our city who have gone astray from the light of the throne of Saint Mark the evangelist, and who have set their feet on the road, which is full of thorns, and they have driven out Abba John our bishop. Because of this great tribulation hath come upon our land and all our men are dying of the plague, and our beasts and cattle have perished, and God hath restrained the heavens so that they cannot rain upon our land, and our enemies have risen up against us and have conquered us, because we have not obeyed the commandments of God. And now, O holy Abuna, have mercy upon us and upon our folly. Send us our Bishop John so that he may entreat God, and pray for us, and deliver us from this tribulation through thy prayer and his own. And I will inform thee, O my father, what hath been the cause of this. I thy son was blessed by my father Abba John the bishop, and he bade me farewell as he set me on my way with my soldiers, and he blessed me and then returned and dwelt in his diocese. And we departed to the war, and we continued to fight for very many days, and our enemies conquered us, and they destroyed our soldiers, and we took to flight and returned to our own country, and we missed Abba John our bishop. And I enquired for him, and they told me that my wife, the queen, had driven him into exile because certain evil men had counseled her to do so, even as Queen Eudoxia had in days of old driven John of the Golden Mouth (Chrysostom) into exile, and that they had appointed another bishop who was their choice; they have transgressed the command of the holy Canon, and therefore our country is destroyed. And now have pity upon us and send Abba John to pray for us.” Now when they drove that bishop out of Ethiopia he went and dwelt in the monastery wherein he had become a monk, and that was the monastery of Saint Abba Moses of the desert of Scete. When Abba Joseph the archbishop had read the letter of the King of Ethiopia, he rejoiced exceedingly because of his confidence, and he sent quickly to the desert of Scete and brought back Abba John, and he comforted him, and encouraged him, and sent brave men with him to the country of Ethiopia. As soon as he arrived, the plague ceased, and rain fell from heaven, and the king rejoiced with very great joy at his arrival; and this father rebuked the wicked sinners and converted them to the Orthodox Faith. And he likewise encouraged all Christian people in the right and good Faith, which they had received from their fathers. And he used to interpret for them obscure passages in the Holy Scriptures, and declare their meaning unto them, and he preserved them by his teachings and prayers. And God made manifest through this holy father Abba Joseph great signs and wonders, and having finished his good and divine fight, and pleased God, he died in peace, having sat upon the throne of Mark the evangelist nineteen years. He lived the life of a monk for nine and thirty years, and he had lived ten years before he adopted the life of a monk; and all the days of his life were eight and sixty years.
And on this day also Saint Dionysius, Bishop of the city of Corinth, became a martyr in the days of Diocletian and Maximianus, the wicked emperors. They condemned this holy man to be tortured very severely, and when they were tired of torturing him they cut off his head with a sword, and he received the crown of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens.
Salutation to Archbishop Joseph of the city of Manuf, unto whom was given the knowledge of Letters. Salutation to Dionysius the Bishop of Corinth whose head was cut off.
And on this day also [are commemorated] the deaths of Tenkeyake (or Tayanke), and Theodosius, the Laos (Talawos), Taxis, and Josab (or Joseph), and the strife of Andrew, the martyrs.
Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen.