Severus of Al'Ashmunein, History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic church of Alexandria Part 5: Khael II - Shenouti (849-880 AD).
The twenty-first biography of the biographies of the Holy Church.
When the father Anba Joseph, the patriarch, went to his rest, the Lord wrought marvellous things among His saints, and He caused them to remember the father, the priest Khael, who was hegoumenos of the monastery of Abu John in the Wadi Habib. He was known to all on account of his continence, wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, for he had been the secretary of the late father Anba Joseph. Indeed, when he was a deacon he was suffering from illness for a long time, and he besought the father Anba Joseph to let him go to the holy desert. By the will of God he was worthy to become hegoumenos, after he had been (ordained) priest by the hand of the father Anba Joseph. And they took him against his will, and they went with him to the great city of Alexandria, and seated him upon the throne on the twenty-fourth day of Hatur 2, when they were celebrating the commemoration of the patriarch and martyr Saint Peter. And when he sat upon |2 the throne he displayed the learning that he had acquired from saintly, eminent and inspired teachers, so that every one marvelled at him and glorified God. He was weak in his body. Those who were appointed to collect the tribute forced him (to pay) the tax on property, and he experienced sorrows and trials. And it happened one day that he was weeping bitter tears, and he said: "O my Lord Jesus Christ, You know that solitude has been my aim throughout my life, and that I have not the power (to bear) these trials, since my body becomes weaker day by day. I know that You accept the prayer of those who are oppressed, and that You have said: 'Call upon me in the day of your trouble and I will deliver you. and you shall glorify Me'. I beseech You, O Lord, to manifest to me the sign of Your mercy in this difficult time and cause me not to behold other trials, since I am unable to bear them." The Lover of mankind heard the prayer of that saint, for He knows the trials of all and hearkens to the saying of the Scriptures: "While you art yet speaking I will say: Here am I" It was during the days of the Fast that he (the patriarch) went to the holy desert to accomplish the feast of Easter, according to the custom of the fathers, the patriarchs. And after the feast of the holy Easter he fell ill, and the Lord Christ called him to Himself, and he went to his rest on the twenty-second of Baramudah in the year six hundred and sixty-seven of the righteous Martyrs [April 17th, AD 801]. Concerning him there was fulfilled the saying of the Psalm: "You have granted to him the desire of his heart, and You have not withheld from him the request of his lips". They placed his body in the church of Saint Abu Macarius 3, and he received the crown with the Saints in the land |3 of the living. The length of his occupation of the throne of Mark was one year and five months. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit for ever. Amen. 4
When the father Anba Khael went to his rest, there took (his) seat upon the throne, by the grace of the Holy Spirit and by the agreement of the fathers, the bishops, and the Orthodox people of the city of Alexandria, Cosmas. He was a deacon of the church of Saint Abu Macarius, and a native of Samannud. And they assembled at the church and consecrated him patriarch on the fourteenth of Abib in the year five hundred and sixty-seven of the pure Martyrs [Jul. 8, AD 801].
There was peace and tranquillity in the Church, but Satan, the hater of good, stirred up a thorn of evil and caused the Church to stumble. When, in that year, the feast of the martyr Saint Menas drew near, the faithful people from the towns and the villages came together for it (the feast) to present their offerings and their prayers in that church which is the delight of all the Orthodox. There came together there people in whom were devils, and one of them leaped upon and attacked another one similar to him, and they did not cease strangling one another until one of the two died. When the amir, the wali of Alexandria, whose name was Ahmad ibn Dinar, heard of this affair, he commanded that the father Cosmas should be seized, and he took him and tortured him until he had received from him all the contributions which had been |4 paid to him (the patriarch) on the day of the feast that year, and he left (him) none of them. He (the amir) was going to bring down afflictions upon the patriarch and to cause him to lose (his) wealth, and he ordered him (the patriarch) not to depart from Alexandria.
Now there were at that time two archons in Cairo (Misr), lovers of God. One of the two, whose name was Macarius ibn Joseph, was the secretary of the head of a diwan and occupied a position among all those who governed Fustat of Cairo (Misr). Th.e other. Abraham ibn Severus. was the superintendent of the treasury, and was charged with collecting all the taxes on wealth, that he might bring them to the royal coffers. When news reached them (the two archons) of what had happened in the church of the martyr Saint Menas and of what the father, the patriarch, had lost, they took counsel together wisely, and they came to the wali of Cairo (Misr), namely, ‘Abd al-Wahid ibn Yahya the wazir 6, and they said to him: "We are sending to Alexandria to bring the patriarch here, that we may impose on him the tax on property, since he has been newly appointed these days". These archons who loved God did this thing, in order that they might find a means of getting the patriarch away from Alexandria and of delivering him from the hand of that amir. Then the wazir sent people, and he wrote that they should bring the father, the patriarch. When the amir (of Alexandria) learned that this was on account of the taxation, he was unable to prevent him (the patriarch) from going. Having journeyed, he (the patriarch) reached Cairo (Misr), and he saluted the wazir in Cairo (Misr). There was chosen for him a town of the eastern (part) of Egypt (Misr), known as Damirah, all the inhabitants of which were Christians, and the father, the patriarch, dwelt there, on account of the afflictions that were at Alexandria. The two aforesaid archons took care of the affairs of the Church, and they caused the father, the patriarch, to be without anxiety about the affairs of the Sultan, for the time was favourable |5 to them. Abraham entered in his accounts the tax on the property of the Church, and he paid it off from his own money, and he did not allow anyone to speak with the father, the patriarch (about this matter). There was. by the grace of God, a body of the faithful which was in charge of the diwan of the Sultan, and all of them devoted themselves to the Church earnestly and assiduously because of their Faith. They procured tranquillity for the patriarch, the Church and the faithful, and they lived in quietness and peace, and there was no trouble anywhere in those days. They continued the prayers and the liturgies, thanking God for what He had bestowed upon them, as David says: "In the light of Your countenance shall they walk: and in Your Name shall they rejoice all the day, and in Your truth shall they be exalted. For You are the glory of their strength, and in Your truth shall our horn be exalted".
Since this grace and peace continued, the father Cosmas began to occupy himself with the writing of a synodical letter to the father John, patriarch of Antioch 7. He wrote it and sent it by the hands of the saintly bishops Anba Severus, bishop of Daluh and Anba Khael, bishop of al-Basrubin, and with them there were priests. When they reached him (John), he welcomed them with great joy and unity of love and faith. All the churches of Antioch blessed the Lord, and they rejoiced to learn of his (Cosmas) safely and of the safely of the Church of Egypt (Misr) and her provinces. After some days, he (John) dismissed them (the bishops) with glory and honour, and be wrote (letters of) peace expressing love and unity, and he prayed in his letters that the Lord might cause this peace to continue.
It came to pass soon after this, that the hater of good (Satan) did not wait, but he began to sow tares of evil in the heart of the king of the |6 Muslims, namely Ga‘far al-Mutawakkil. He (al-Mutawakkil) brought down upon the churches in every place innumerable afflictions which were that he ordered all the churches to be demolished, and that none of the Orthodox Christians, Melkites, Nestorians, or Jews should wear white garments, but that they should wear dyed garments, so that they might be distinguished among the Muslims. He ordered that frightful pictures should be made on wooden boards and that they should be nailed over the doors of the Christians. He forced most of them (to embrace) al-Islam, and ordered that Christians should not serve in the employment of the Sultan at all, but only Muslims and those who had gone over to al-Islam. In consequence of this, love and patience were diminished m the hearts of many, so that they denied the Lord Christ; some of them denied (Him) on account of the worldly positions which they loved, and others, on account of the poverty they suffered.
When Satan learned that this defiled matter bad been sown in the foreign lands, he began to disseminate it in the land of Egypt by putting into the heart of al-Mutawakkil to continue extending it (the persecution). He (al-Mutawakkil) sent from himself to the land of Egypt a man who was not a Christian, but a Pharisee, named al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih 8 ibn Isaac 9, and he appointed him to be overseer of the taxes in Egypt and to be governor. He ordered him to deal with the churches of Egypt and the Christians, even as he had dealt with the city of Baghdad and the East.
When he (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) arrived in Egypt he began to bring down trials upon the Christians, and he humbled them exceedingly with various afflictions, as he was instructed by Satan. The aforesaid man pretended before the Muslims to perform |7 the commandments of their law, which, (however), he did hypocritically, so that they could say "We have not seen anyone who has come to Egypt and fulfilled the commandments of the religion of al-Islam as this (one)". On Fridays he used to go on foot with his army through the midst of Cairo (Misr) to the mosque for prayer. He detested the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Cross and those who clothed themselves with it. Then this odious man began to hide away any appearance of the sign of the Cross, that it should not be seen at all. and they began to break down completely every cross in the churches, and it was not permitted to any of the Christians to walk abroad with an emblem of the Cross. He vexed our religion, so that the Christians began to be unable to pray in the churches, except in a low voice, and if a man passed by a church, he would not have heard the sound of a word from him who was praying. They (the Christians) were forbidden to pray over a Christian who had died 10, and the striking of the nawakis 11 was prohibited. He (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) became even as Diocletian, and his deeds were as his. Not contented with this, he began to forbid the Christians (to celebrate) the liturgies, and that they might not celebrate (the liturgy) at all, he ordered that (the making) of nabidh 12 should be forbidden in all his province, especially in the city of Cairo (Misr), so that it was not seen at all, neither was it sold nor bought, and all those who dealt in it became poor. His object in all this was that there should not be any wine with which to celebrate the liturgy. As there ceased to exist (any wine), the Christians began to take the wood of vine-stalks and lo soak them in water and press them out, so |8 that they might not be deprived of the Eucharist. Grief and affliction befell the Christians. and they said, as the Three Children said: "You have delivered us into the hands of lawless enemies, hypocritical and contumacious, and to a king unjust, and the most wicked beyond all that are upon the face of the earth. And now we cannot open our mouth, for shame and reproach have befallen Your servants and them that worship You: yet deliver us not up for Your Name's sake".
This tyrant did not cease to lay his yoke heavily upon the Christians on account of the violence of his hatred of them, and he began to perform every evil thing against them. He dismissed the Christian ministerial secretaries from the diwan of the Sultan and substituted Muslims in their stead. When he had performed all these things, even as he had done in the lands of the East, he commanded that Christians and Jews should dye their garments, and he placed over their doors the frightful pictures, which, as we have mentioned before, (he did) in the lands of the East. The subject of this picture portrayed a devil which had many heads and faces with two canine teeth. It was placed above a picture representing a wild pig of very terrifying aspect. He ordered that no Christian should ride upon a horse at all. This that evil man did according to the thoughts of Satan, and for these reasons they (the Christians) forsook their religion. Many people could not endure (these conditions), and they did not trust in their God, but denied the Name of the Saviour in those days of adversity, and they forgot what is said in the Holy Gospel: "But he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel (of the Kingdom) shall be preached".
As regards the faithful secretaries who have been mentioned before, they were in great affliction and trouble on account of this one who was not a man. yet through the strength of their belief, when they were dismissed from their employment, they trusted in the mercy of God, |9 Whose remembrance is exalted, and they besought Him not to abandon them.
As regards our father, the patriarch, when he saw the afflictions which had befallen the archons through that devil, and their unemployment and the taking away of their means of livelihood, and that it was those who were taking charge of the affairs of the Church, he was exceedingly sorrowful. Letters reached the father, the patriarch, from the faithful, beseeching him to pray for them. They wrote also to the pious fathers who are dedicated to God in the mountains and in the monasteries that they (the fathers) should continue to pray for them and for the faithful of Christ, that God might remove from them this distress and not forget them and leave them under His wrath and indignation. And the fathers, the monks, were continuing in prayer night and day to preserve the holy Name through which there is deliverance from punishment.
There was also at that time a Christian man who went over to the sect of Islam with his children, and his name was Stephen ibn Anthony. The Devil made him a vessel through which to speak. He (the man) remembered the faithful with every evil, and he said that Christians before this day did not put on garments with sleeves, but that they wore garments without sleeves, even as the monks did, whom they called their fathers, and if the fathers wore this (kind of) garment, there was all the more reason that their children should be like them. -- O you, the Shaikh Anba Zachariah, if you had not done this thing, they would not enter your religion, nor obey in what you desire of them''. He (the man) imagined that the secretaries would refuse to wear these clothes (garments without sleeves) and, (consequently), deny their religion, but the Lord, the Lover of mankind, made their counsel worthless, and He brought it to nothing, as it is written in the Book of Job (Ayyub) which is filled with wisdom: "Who subverts the counsel of the wicked''. Even so God did to this impious man and returned his counsel upon his own head, as Jeremiah the prophet says: "Return, you who |10 take hidden counsel; sow good seed and sow not among thorns, lest my wrath go forth, lest my wrath burn and be not extinguished". Thus did this befall this evil (man).
At that time, a letter from the king reached (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) ordering him to return and to bring to him (the king) the money of Egypt and what he had collected for him together with the account of the two lands (probably Egypt and the East) and of the Muslim secretaries whom he had employed since he had dismissed the Christians. This happened through the providence of God, Whose Name is glorious. When he (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) had learned the contents of this (letter) and had read it, he learned from it the bad opinion that the king had of him. He (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) had married in Egypt and had acquired concubines, and had built houses, and had been granted children (by God), and had received many countless blessings.
Immediately, he was seized with paralysis, and the movements of his hands and his legs were arrested, and he died an evil death, a few days after this affair. They (the days) were counted by Theodore the scribe who used to write the letters for his (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih's) predecessor. He (Theodore) had acquired great renown in his art, and had a beautiful handwriting, and his choice of words was praised by all who read them. He records that they were twenty-one days 13.
Most of the Muslims rejoiced at it (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih's death), since he had not raised their fortunes, but had reduced their sources of livelihood and had caused the merchants to lose their wealth, and had taken away from them by force the best dwelling-places which they possessed, and had taken them by violence. Whenever any dwelling-place pleased him, he would summon its owner and buy it from him and write the deed (for the sale) of this dwelling-place, and he would deliver to him (the owner) the money for it in the presence of witnesses at the time. After the sale had been concluded he would send and demand back the money, and no one got back the money from him which |11 he (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) had taken, except two men who were brothers. They had a residence, a beautiful building, inherited by them from their father who had spent much money on it. It was like a paradise and did not lack anything in the way of trees and fruits. It overlooked the river of Egypt, and was known (by the name of) their father ‘Ali ibn Sa‘id al-Isfihani. When he (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) summoned to him these two men who were brothers and required of them the aforesaid residence, they said: "We will not take the price of it, nor write the deed (for its sale), but we present it to you. and we will not go back on what we have said to you, and God Who is exalted is our witness". And they said to him: We will go out of it immediately, and leave it vacant for you within three days".
He thought that God would ignore his wickedness against the two of them. They went out from his presence, and they removed what belonged to them in the residence, and they left it vacant for him. and he dwelt in it. This was the place in which he was afflicted with, paralysis, and his hands lost their use. When he died, as we mentioned, the Egyptians (Misriyyun) stole the money and the property which he possessed. These two brothers then came to the residence, and stood at the door of it and said to the people: "This residence is ours with all that is in it, and this man took it from us by force". The Egyptians (Misriyyun) knew that this which they had said was correct, and no one contested (their right) to it. So they took possession of it and of what was in it, and they became rich, because of what they found in it.
He (al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih) had a grown-up son as evil as his father, and even more so. He took the place of his father. He stated that letters had reached him from the king (appointing him) to be in place of his father, after he had remained six months without being seen or his place (of residence) known, until he had prepared the letters (purporting to contain) the mandate of the Khalifah.
When he was installed, he began to do evil, as his father, and he thought that he would take revenge on the Egyptians (Misriyyun) for what had been done to his father, his family and his children. The |12 Egyptians feared him and they said: "God, indeed, was wrathful with us through this man and his father who was before him. What shall we do with regard to him?" The saying of Isaiah the prophet was fulfilled: "Sinners and those who transgress the Law shall perish together, and they that forsake the commandments of the Lord shall be crushed, for they shall be ashamed".
The trials increased each day for the Christians through this mutawalli, and his evil deeds increased each day. He who never grieved, grieved for the inhabitants of Egypt, most of all for the Christians. O my brethren, hearken to this, when the Cross of Christ was broken in every place and no one was able to let it be seen, in order that Christians might hold fast through seeing it and hope for salvation through it, and likewise, the sacred nakus, the voice of which drives away Satan and his hosts, and which rouses the sluggard to the remembrance of his God, (when) he (the mutawalli) ordered that it should be cut down, so that the saying of Paul the Apostle was fulfilled: "They chastise us and we endure and we are become as contemptible men" and the Christians were tormented more than all this, until they denied their Faith and passed from life to death, hearken to what happened at that time, for it is an admonition to you. O brethren who believe in Christ, that you should know that the Lord Most High is terrible (and) fearful, and that He manifested His wonders, even as He did not conceal His might at the time when He was crucified by the disbelieving Jews who did not believe in the miracles they saw, as the rending of the veil of the Temple which was rent from the top to the bottom, and as the dead who rose from the graves, and as the rocks which were rent, and as the dividing of the day in two. In like manner also, He caused His elect who believe in His Name to know His perfect mysteries, that everyone might know that He abases the nations that obey Him not.
It happened at the time of the coming of this odious man to the land of Egypt, in the year five hundred and sixty-nine of the pure |13 Martyrs [852 AD], that this fearful sign appeared, namely, that all the monks who dwelt in the monastery of Abu Macarius observed the picture of the Lord Christ, the Merciful One. which is in the church of Saint Severus which is upon the Rock, how its side opened and blood came forth from it. All who saw this blood feared and glorified God for His marvellous works. The God-fearing people who are worthy of being believed took of that blood in faith, and they placed it upon people who had various diseases, and they were cured of their diseases immediately. The Lord desired to manifest a sign for the faithful, so that they might abound in hope in Him and in His pure Cross. He manifested in that year many wonders, namely, that the eyes of all the pictures which were in the Wadi Habib, at the monastery of Abu Macarius and elsewhere, gushed with tears like fountains of waters. They knew that this was on account of what the evil and unjust walls did in hiding away the Cross. These miracles caused them to be patient and strengthened them in all that befell them through the walls and kadis.
It was at that time that the wall ordered the building of ships in all the towns which were on the coasts, because it was at that time that the Greeks (Rum) came to Damietta 14 and pillaged it and remained in it for three days, and they went away with captives from it and with its gold and its silver to the land of the Greeks. On account of that there were built many ships of the fleet, and every year they repaired those which were damaged and built new ones in place of those which were broken; and they sailed with them to the land of the Greeks (Rum) and made war on them (the Greeks). Much money was spent every year on the fleet. As regards the Christians, they sent them to the ships, and they did not pay them a single dirham for what they (the Christians) spent on their journey, nor (did they pay them any money as) provisions for the journey, but they provided a ration of food for them only, and forced them to observe this (rule). The |14 mutawalli did this on account of his great hatred for the Christians, and he made a list of all the towns and directed that a large number of men from each village should sail in the ships. Moreover, he did not give to them any weapon, and he examined their circumstances, and he who was found without a weapon, or in whose weapon there was a defect, he (the mutawalli) would ill-treat him and force him to pay a fine and compel him to buy military equipment wherewith to fight. So they would take people who were weak and who had not the strength to travel, and who had no knowledge of the art of sailing or of fighting. These gave what they possessed to him who would travel in their stead. When they (the Christians) complained of the expenses which they had, and when they found a way to escape from these works and (to adopt) others, they did so. Then he (the mutawalli) ordered that two dinars should be given to each of the Christians, and that this should be increased to fifteen dinars for any Muslim who acted as substitute for a Christian. On account of the persecution which they (the Christians) suffered they ardently desired death; but the Lord, the Compassionate and the Merciful One, Who visits His people at all times, beheld (and) saw the sighing of His people and their weeping; and those days were not lengthened, but He (God) shortened them, and He showed forth the abundance of His mercy upon the unhappy land of Egypt, and He heard the voice of the poor, as David the prophet says: "He hath heard the voice of the poor and hath not despised His elect".
When it reached the king 15 what this mutawalli had done in Egypt and what he had done to the Christians, and the straights in which they were, he sent and removed that evil wali who had done this to the Christians, and he sent another man known as Yazid ibn‘Abd-Allah 16. This (man) dealt well with men, and the land of Egypt was at rest. The merchants exposed (for sale) corn, and blessings and good things increased in every place, and affliction was removed from men. The souls of the inhabitants of the land of Egypt found pleasure and saw many good things. This was in the days of |15 Ga‘far al-Mutawakkil ‘ala Allah. This king turned his attention at that time to the cities which were in the land of the East and (in that part of) Egypt which is near the river, because the Greeks (Rum) had plundered Damietta in his day. Then he gave the money for the expenses of building the walls at Tinnis and Damietta, as also at the great city of Alexandria, and for all the works at al-Burullus, Asmun, at-Tinah, Rosetta, and Nastaruh, through fear of the Greeks (Rum). He completed them as was necessary, and erected fortresses and many memorials in the land of Egypt in place of what was done to the Christians, and (he practised) justice and upright rule.
There was in Egypt a kadi far from being unjust, who judged uprightly, and he was not a hypocrite, and his name was al-Harith ibn Maskin 17. He replaced the unjust kadi whom we have mentioned before, and whom God had requited for what he had done to the father Anba Joseph, the patriarch. These three mutawallis of that time, the wall, the nazir and the kadi were all alike in justice and good deeds towards everyone, so that people forgot the trials and hunger which, they had experienced, according to the saying of Ezechiel the prophet: "They shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the yoke which is upon them, and I will deliver them out of the hand of those that hate them. And the nations shall not spoil them, and the wild beasts of the earth shall not devour them; and they shall be hopeful, and there shall be none to make them afraid. And I will raise up for them a plant of peace, and they shall no more perish (with hunger) upon the land". God did this thing: for the inhabitants of Egypt in the latter days, the days of Ga‘far al-Mutawakkil, and He did likewise for the great city (Alexandria), so that all who dwelt in and around it enjoyed security. Now the sea 18 of Alexandria had |16 dried up, and there was no water in it, and its (Alexandria's) inhabitants were in great straights on account of this. No ship could reach it (Alexandria) except at the time of (the inundation) of the Nile.
When the king Ga‘far al-Mutawakkil learned of this, he ordered the aforesaid sea to he dug out from its beginning to the interior of the city (Alexandria). Then it (the water-way) filled with water, since the river Nile flowed (into it), and large vessels were able to enter it and to cast anchor in the centre of the city, and the bridges over it (the water-way) were repaired. When it was filled, (the water) flowed out of it into the salt sea. The souls of the inhabitants of Alexandria and of the strangers who came to it found rest, and ships and merchants multiplied in it. The people planted vines and gardens along the canal, on account of the abundance of the water, and in the interior of their dwellings as well as outside the city, for its (Alexandria's) earth is a good and holy earth bearing fruits. The people restored the dwellings, in the ruined (district) until they reached with their rebuilding the place which is called Mamtarmur, the place in which there is the cell of the father, the patriarch. They (the people) glorified God for the graces which they perceived that (He had bestowed) upon them, and they prayed for the king Ga‘far al-Mutawakkil.
The father, the patriarch, Anba Cosmas was living in the town known as Damirah in quietness and peace during (these) days. The archons of Cairo (Misr) were taking charge of his affairs and bearing his burden and they did not let him be in need of (the help) of anyone of the people, or of what (was necessary) for the support of his state and his cell or of his sons and his pages.
These great graces occurred at the end of his days, when his term was drawing to a close. The Christians who had been driven away from Egypt returned to it again, when they heard of the graces which had been bestowed upon them. The affairs of the Christians went well. |17
At that time an overseer called Solomon arrived in Egypt. On his arrival, Macarius, one of the two archons died. As regards Abraham, he continued to perform good deeds and did not cease to do so, and he took charge of the affairs of the Church and undertook the affairs of the father, the patriarch, and he did in like manner with the bishops of the land of Egypt and with the monasteries. He devoted himself to them with regard to their means of existence, and he satisfied their needs out of his great love for Christ and by reason of his position among the walls. He knew that of necessity the Enemy would bring down afflictions upon the churches, as is his custom to do in every age and at every time. The Lord Jesus Christ the Merciful One does not cause anyone to be afflicted beyond the power of his endurance and what he is able to bear, as says the Apostle Paul. God wished to take the father Cosmas to Him and to give him rest from this transitory world and to translate him to the dwellings of the righteous. He (the patriarch) went to his rest and committed his spirit into the hands of the Creator in tranquillity and peace. The duration of his occupation of the Evangelical throne was seven years and five months.
When this father fell sick of the illness which caused him to go to his rest, he went to a district of the provinces of Lower Egypt and built there a church. This district belonged to the diocese of Sakha and it was called Dinusar. The church was dedicated to the Saint and Martyr Ptolemaeus, and he remained there alone so that he might complete the building of it. His illness, however, became more severe, and he returned to the dwelling in which he lodged at Dinusar. Here he went to his rest |18 on the twenty-first day of Hatur, in the evening, in the year of the righteous Martyrs five hundred and seventy-five [17 Nov 858 AD]. They placed his body in the church which he had built, and he received the crown with his sainted fathers, the virtuous fathers, in the land of the living. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. One God, now and at all times and to the eternity of eternities. Amen.
The twenty-second biography of the biographies of the Holy Church.
SHENOUTI THE PATRIARCH WHO WAS STEWARD AND HE IS THE FIFTY-FIFTH OF THE NUMBER OF THE FATHERS.
We begin now, O my brethren who believe in Christ, to record what happened after the saintly father, Anba Cosmas, went to his rest, that it may be (a means of) profit and hope for the souls of the faithful.
When the father, Anba Cosmas, went to his rest, the fathers, the bishops, and the Orthodox people assembled at the city of Alexandria in the month of Kyahk in the year five hundred and seventy-five of the pure Martyrs [AD 858], and they began to think of who was fit for this degree and worthy of sitting upon the Apostolic throne. The bishops made their choice without consulting either the priests or the archons of the city of Alexandria and Cairo (Misr). Thus the priests and the archons had no part with the bishops (in the election). They knew not, however, that the Lord had appointed him whom He had chosen and known, as it is written: "The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain". When they had spent a long time about this, the bishops and the people of Alexandria came together and |19 journeyed to Cairo (Misr). so that they might assemble there and that their opinion might be one. When they arrived (there), they began to mention the names of a number of priests, monks and laymen who were known for their purity of speech, chastity, learning and knowledge of the Divine Scriptures. They differed, however, in their opinions, and everyone of them wished for someone known to him, and those who were present testified to what they had learned of him. They uttered the saying which was among the Children of Israel: "We have no portion in David nor inheritance in the house of Jesse". They did not cease from these deliberations, and everyone answered for his friend.
There was at that time in the church of Saint Abu Macarius a steward whose name was Shenouti whose virtues we have already mentioned. He built the church which is in the monastery of Abu Macarius and other churches besides. At that time he (Shenouti) was visiting Abraham the archon on account of the tax on the property of the church. When the fathers, the bishops, and the Orthodox people and the archons of Alexandria saw him, they rejoiced exceedingly in that he would take part with them in (their) counsels, since there was in him a holy spirit, and that he would cause them to know which man of the saintly fathers was fit for this degree. He mentioned to them certain people whom he knew for (their) chastity. After the archon Abraham had settled the affairs of the steward about which he (the steward) had come, he (Shenouti) went in haste to the desert, on the night of the twenty-seventh of Kyahk, his object being to arrive in time for the Glorious Nativity 19 in his church. On the morrow, the assembly came to the church of Saint Abu Sergius |20 in the Kasr as-Sam‘ for what they purposed to do.
When they came together, a miracle was manifested to all of them, and they declared with one voice, swearing: "There is none worthy of this degree, except the steward of the church of Saint Abu Macarius". All of them said: "He is worthy, he is worthy, he is worthy in truth. This is the man whom God hath chosen for this degree. Immediately, they went out to seek him. The archon Abraham said to them: "O my blessed fathers, stay and consider"; for they were seeking him (thinking) that he was in Cairo (Misr) and they knew not of his going away, that he had journeyed in haste to his monastery. "Now I will bring him (Shenouti) to you on the plea that (you wish to) ask him about other people about whom he forgot". Then he (Abraham) wrote immediately to the man who was worthy of grace in this matter, that the souls of the bishops and the Christian people were not agreed upon anyone of the people whom he (Shenouti) had pointed out to them. On account of his Christian love he (Shenouti) hastened and came to Cairo (Misr) on the first day of Tubah 20 and he entered the church of Abu Sergius, while they 21 were assembled in it. He found them beginning the Liturgy 22, and the assembly were saying: "worthy, worthy, worthy in truth".
When the assembly saw him, all of them cried out increasingly: "worthy in truth is he whom the Lord hath chosen." They leaped towards him, seized him and put iron fetters on his feet. He cried out and wept, saying: "What is this that you are doing before the Lord? Do you think that I am worthy of this degree? Do not think this, and do not do it". He thought that he would escape them by this, but |21 their voices grew louder, for God had chosen him and desired to appoint him as a shepherd of this weak people. The hishops and all who were in the church rejoiced and said: "Blessed is he who cometh in the Name of the Lord. The light of the Lord hath shone upon us". They bore him in haste to Alexandria that he might he consecrated there. When they drew near to the city, a great (concourse of) people came out to receive him and they entered with him in glory and honour. The old men, the monks of the Wadi Habib, accompanied him, on account of their great faith in him. This was on the eleventh day of Tubah 23, and it was a day on which there was heavy rain. All who were in Alexandria blessed the Lord and said: "In truth, God manifests much fruit, as (it is said) in the Acts: He did good and (wrought) righteousness and rained upon them the rain of favour and gave them fruit". They appointed him patriarch on the thirteenth day of Tubah in the year five hundred and seventy-five of the pure Martyrs [Sunday 8th Jan 809 AD]. He was from the village known as al-Batanun. Certain good people brought him up as Timothy, and he afterwards went to the old man, the saintly Anba Joseph, the patriarch, whose spirit came upon him from the beginning until now, as I have previously mentioned.
Hearken now, O my beloved, to what this father, the patriarch Anba Shenouti did, when he sat upon the throne of Mark. His speech was in accordance with his humility. His tears (flowed) at all times before everyone, and if any consoled him he would say: "When I consider the glory of the Bride of Christ, which is the Church, and her beauty and her spiritual sublimity and then remember my own wickedness, I do not give up sorrowing and weeping within myself, and I say: "Who is he who thinks (that) this is so? What |22 is the sin which Your Church has committed. (O) God? How has she angered her Lord that I have been set over her, I (who) am a vile sinner? She (the Church) has been covered with shame through me". Much more than this he used to say, and he continued weeping. All who heard him (tried to) console and comfort him. but they could not. He was wont to say: "Think not that I shall give up this weeping while I remember my sins and mine iniquities." Everyone marvelled at his humility and at the blessing of his accession (to the patriarchal throne) which was full of grace and dignity. The Name of Christ was in his mouth, (and) he uttered it at all times, even as a child whose eyes are towards his mother. On account of his humility he trusted not in anything, save in the Name of the Saviour Jesus Christ, and he completely relied upon Him, and he remembered the saying of Paul the Apostle to the Jews in the Acts where he says: "There is not another in which is salvation, and there is not a name under the Heaven given to men through which is their salvation except by it".
The father Anba Shenouti wrote an initial (formula) in his letters, (which signified) that the salvation of everyone is through the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, our God in truth. This (Name) was his hope, and by reason of this He in Whom he trusted made easy his affairs. When he wrote this initial (formula) in his letters, it was approved by the fathers, the bishops, and the faithful archons (who used it) in their letters, as also the children in the schools. He (Shenouti) also wrote letters on precepts to all the provinces of the Evangelist Saint Mark and ordered them to pray for him, that Satan might not prevail over him in what he did in all his affairs. Men were astounded at this deed, and the angels of the Heavens and the Lord of the angels rejoiced at it. not to speak of the people who were under his jurisdiction. He used to pray and to say: "Do not recall (by your actions) the fate of Simon the sorcerer who offered his |23 silver to the Apostles and besought from them the grace of the Holy Spirit": and he (the patriarch) said: "It was the will of the Apostles that none should do this, lest he should hear the voice which Simon heard (namely): Your silver shall be with you to destruction, because you thought to acquire the gift of God through money".
Then this (patriarch) who was worthy of every grace wrote this, in order that everyone might rely upon this initial (formula) to guide them to the salvation of their souls. Moreover, he laid upon the faithful neither to act with fraud and deception nor to seek with cunning by means of a gift in any way whatsoever ordination, lest their fate should be that of Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, who lied to the Holy Spirit, and Peter the Apostle caused them both to die.
When they heard this speech full of the grace of the Holy Spirit, namely, the Christians in the land of Egypt, (and) they heard of his letters addressed to all the bishops and likewise of his letters to the See of Antioch, they rejoiced at this teaching which troubled the Devil and his hosts, and they blessed God. beseeching His mercy and thanking Him on account of His raising up for them such a good shepherd who put to shame Satan by these deeds. He (the patriarch) spake before the Lord, weeping: "Thou have said in the Gospel of Luke: Which of you intending to build a tower... and was not able to finish it. What king desiring war against another king. The remainder of the chapter is known to the learned. Now I, the powerless (and) wretched (one), desire to go to mine adversary to agree with him, because I am not able to meet him. Grant to me, O Lord, Your succour, Your power and Your strength as envoys, that I may go forth to meet mine adversary and him who stands against me, and mayest You cause him to perish from out of the Church''. He (the patriarch) spake many words such as these from the Psalms of David and from the other (Scriptures). The Lord was with |24 him in all his affairs, so that the odour of his savour spread in all places.
O my brethren, there was a village among the villages of Mareotis, called Bukhabsa 24 in which there were evil and impure people called "Quartodecimans". They were a people who denied the Passion and (they declared) that the Lord did not accept the Sufferings in the flesh, but that they were as a dream. When these (people) heard of the grace of the Holy Spirit which flowed from our father Anba Shenouti, the patriarch, they came to him in great joy, saying: "O father, give us the seal of your faith and the confession of your commandments, that we may believe therein from henceforth". When he (the patriarch) perceived their faith, he welcomed them with joy, and took them to him, and gave to them the seal of Holy Baptism, and led them to the confession of the Faith of our steadfast fathers. They confessed (their errors) and anathematized Gaianus and Origen and Apollinarius and Julianus of Halicarnassus and all who believe in their filthy belief. He consecrated for them a church and priests, and declared to them the evidence of Paul: "The grace of God is coming upon you, for (whereas) you were the servants of sin, you became obedient, and became free from sin and servants of righteousness". He taught them this, the first offering of his holy teachings, which he presented to the Lord. |25
Then he (Shenouti) returned to the city of Alexandria and set about fulfilling the canonical law which relates to the See of Antioch. He wrote a magnificent synodical letter at which everyone marvelled, and he despatched it by two saintly bishops, one of whom was the bishop Malunulas of Dawikh, and John, bishop of Diusia, and with them were priests, and he sent them to the father John, patriarch of Antioch. This synodical (letter) contained abundant teaching from the sayings of Cyril and Athanasius and Severus and Dioscorus and the company of the fathers. When he (John) had learned of it (the letter), on receiving it through the fathers, the bishops, he found it full of the grace of the Holy Spirit, and he rejoiced exceedingly and glorified God. He learned from the discourse of those who came to him of the constancy and certainty of the happy union and the strong foundation between his See and the Evangelical See of Saint Mark the Evangelist. Then he published this (news) in all his churches, near and far. He blessed God and wrote to him (Shenouti) an answer, as was requisite. He caused them (the bishops) and those with them to depart with great honours. He also wrote a letter in which he thanked Anba Shenouti, rendering honour to him and paying him his respects, and praising his works which he achieved in the Church of Egypt. He said in his letters thus: "Who can declare, even a little, the honours of which you art worthy, O father? for the ranks of the Heavens cease not to praise your faith, because you have set your hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the basis of the worship of idols you have cut off from the Church". Through the grace of the Holy Spirit the fortifying of it shall be upon you and upon the trees which you have planted that they may grow good fruit, a hundredfold, sixty and thirty. Glory |26 and honour to the See of the illustrious father, Saint Mark.
When the letters reached him (Shenouti) and he had read them, he rejoiced at them, and he ordered the people to read them in the city of Alexandria. They (the people) rejoiced and glorified God and magnified Him, when they heard (these letters). They praised the father. Anba Shenouti, on account of his works and his teachings. Some bishops of his See went to their rest. The news of his (Shenouti's) letters and his commandments and his teachings concerning the suppression of simony spread, and those who hoped to receive it (ordination) for money, a serious affair happened to them, but they did not show it. He (Shenouti) ordained, by the grace of God which was come upon him. many people who fought for the Orthodox Faith, and who were worthy. The Lord was his helper and his concealer, even as (He was to) David the prophet, he commanded and enjoined upon everyone whom he consecrated that none of them should accept any gift from those he ordained, but that they should be like to him in this grace. He said to them: "Paul of the perfumed tongue said: I press on, if so be that I may apprehend that for which I am apprehended. Be like to me. O brethren. I have made my soul a standard for you". The chiefs and the walis, on account of the beauty of his manner of life, his countenance, his faith and his works, revered him and honoured him and satisfied his needs: and the people were (living) in hope, safety and security.
Then be (Shenouti) occupied himself with the affairs of the monasteries of Upper Egypt and its bishops, and he desired to know their condition and how they were. He journeyed to them and came to their country. They rejoiced at his coming to them, and they blessed God, even as David the prophet, and even as the Children of the Jews when they praised the Lord on His entry into Jerusalem riding on an ass. He (Shenouti) instructed them and organized them, and they heard from him his teachings and commandments. He returned and came to the city of Alexandria, and he began to seek |27 out the churches and the places in them which were weakened, that he might rebuild and renew them. He desired greatly to perform in his days memorials.
There was in Alexandria, in the place in which was the Cell of the patriarch, its name in Greek being Kasturiun, a place in which the poor and those without support took shelter. The water which they had was bitterly salt, and it was far off from them, and, when they wished to transport it (the water) to them, they experienced great fatigue on that account. Necessity led them to drink of it. on account of the lack of fresh water, for they used to leave it for some days in a vessel, until it became a little fresh, and then they used to drink of it. The father (Shenouti) thought a good thought, and he dug out for them a canal from the canal which al-Mutawakkil ‘ala Allah Ga‘far had dug. until the water entered from it as far as Alexandria. Vessels began to arrive through it at the market-places, and people planted vines and gardens along it. as we have stated before. Then it (the water) descended until it formed the mouth of a small canal and caused it (the canal) to run to the place mentioned before, and the water remained fresh and good for them. Good works were before him, even as the spider, (for) God the Exalted facilitated them for him and helped him to accomplish them.
Meanwhile, he (Shenouti) made for the city of Alexandria channels under the ground, in order that they might make their (the inhabitants') wells sweet and that they (the inhabitants) might transfer from them (the wells) the water to the cisterns which they possessed for fresh water. This was what the father, the patriarch Anba Shenouti did. Then he made also a large fountain (piscina) for those who were weak and poor whom we have already mentioned. He appointed a man to fill that fountain (piscina) which he had made with an instrument, and had made it. so that they might drink from it. since they were not able to fill it. on account of the length of the well-rope. He also made good ditches and places for water and cisterns. Likewise, |28 when he passed by a small village near Maryut, called Itris---and this is its name until to-day---its inhabitants came out to him to receive his blessing and they said: "O our saintly father, the lake is distant from us about one mile, and we do not come to it. except after great fatigue". He erected for them in that district a well, and there flowed for them water from it. and he blessed it and sanctified it. (and it was) fresh water, and they provided themselves and their beasts with it. Besides this, he (Shenouti) did not give up his care for the Festal Letters which were full of grace and spiritual teaching, so that everyone might be nourished by them.
It happened in the second year of his being on the throne, during the days of the Holy Fast (Lent) that he wrote a Festal (Letter) which was full of every grace, and, when he came to the mention of the the Dispensation of the Word of God. he said: "We believe in this wise that, at the end of time, when God wished to save our race from bitter servitude, He sent His Only Son into the world, incarnate of the Holy Spirit 25 (and of Mary the Virgin), having a body equal to us in all things, save in sin. He is possessed of a soul incomprehensible, and He made the body one with Himself, without alteration, confusion or separation, but of One Nature and One Substance and One Person. He suffered in the flesh for us and died and rose from the dead. according to the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and sat at the right of the Father. If we say that God suffered for us and died, we should understand now in faith that He suffered for us in the flesh and that He is impassible, and that He is One, even as the Fathers of the |29 Holy Church have taught us. Everyone who separated) Him blasphemously and says that God the Word did not suffer and did not die. but that it was the Man who suffered and died, in order to separate Him into Two, God the Word on the one hand, and the Man on the other hand, and makes of Him Two Persons and Two Natures, each of which does that which pertains to its nature, wishing thereby to introduce the impure faith which is of Nestorius and of the vile and filthy Chalcedon Council into the Orthodox Faith, him the Catholic and Apostolic Church excommunicates, and we flee from such and reject them. We excommunicate also those who separate God the Word into Two Natures after the Union which is incomprehensible. We confess rightly that God the Word accepted to Himself of His own Will the sufferings in the flesh. That there was perfect Union in everything is not to be doubted, because the Two Natures which became One at the beginning did not separate at all through any cause by the Dispensation of the Word. because they are inseparable, and that at the time of the Passion He accepted them (the sufferings) in His flesh: lest we should err as Photinus and Sabellius who said in their impiousness that the Divinity withdrew and the Humanity was crucified. We excommunicate both of these and we flee from them and their impious sayings and we escape their worship of the Man. When these teachings reached the churches and the people, they rejoiced at them and they thanked God Who had bestowed on this father this grace which is the teachings of Cyril and the saintly Fathers.
When the hater of good, Satan, perceived all these things and how the father Anba Shenouti manifested these teachings in the hearts of the faithful people in every place, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, he was exceedingly troubled and did not cease to prepare himself to fight against him (Shenouti) and to war against him. He (Satan) then put into the hearts of people who were without understanding and filled with deceit and corruption, desirous of the substance of the world and its desires, an unclean people, to speak against God the Word and not to follow (the correct way of) reading the Holy Scriptures, |30 nor to examine the commandments of this saintly father. But he (Satan) drew them to him on account of their love of the desires of the world and of their forsaking the instructions which lead to salvation; and they said with their tongue which deserves to he cut out and to be cleft, that the Nature of the Divinity died. They were all inhabiting a village of a district in Upper Egypt (Sa‘id) called al-Balyana, and the parts of the districts which were around it.
When the news reached our father Anba Shenouti. the patriarch, he destroyed the strength of Satan and uprooted the root of the thorns which he (Satan) had planted in the hearts of the disobedient, as it is said in the Acts: ''Judas of Galilee rose up in those days and drew away after him many people. At the end he perished, and those who were with him were scattered". When those (people) spoke of this matter, it spread in that land and in the rest of the towns and villages, and the scantiness of the knowledge of their shepherds (the bishops) was manifest in those days. He (Shenouti) was troubled, and he was solicitous for them with great anxiety, that he might set aright the flock of the Lord (and) the Saviour Jesus Christ. (He considered) in what manner God brings back the members whom the Devil has separated from the Church and from the Orthodox Faith. He wrote letters full of wisdom and commandments, and he manifested in them the teachings of our Fathers, the Doctors, to those whom Satan possessed. When they (these letters) reached them (the inhabitants) and were read before them, they confessed the Orthodox Faith and the true religion, the religion of our Fathers, and they wrote and acknowledged their error, and they besought forgiveness for themselves and they believed in the True Faith. Then the bishops who were in those places presented themselves before the father, the patriarch, and prostrated themselves before him on the ground, saying: "You have enlightened our souls and have cured them of (their) sickness through your life-giving teachings, and you have not left us and our people in error during this time. If you had neglected us a little, we should have perished. The enemy of truth, the cursed enemy, had |31 indeed caught us in his net. and we were unable to save ourselves from him."
The father, the patriarch, Anba Shenouti performed a good deed, in order that it might serve as a censure on the bishops and others and on everyone who errs from the Faith, in that he caused these bishops of Upper Egypt to stand up in the midst of the congregation of the lathers, the saintly monks, in the church of Saint Abu Macarius on the Sunday of the Holy Easter, and they (the bishops) made an obeisance to the congregation and asked them and besought them to pray for them and to pardon them for what Satan had done to them through temptations. They declared and confessed: "We had blasphemed exceedingly through the teaching of cursed Satan." And they mentioned it (the blasphemy) word by word, so that everyone of the fathers who were present marvelled at their speech and prayed for them and blessed them and rejoiced at their conversion from the evil doctrine which Satan had planted in their hearts: and the father Anba Shenouti likewise rejoiced and blessed them.
There was at that time a wonderful speech which the father pronounced; it was as a prophecy and it was a terrifying matter. There were in the church of Saint Abu Macarius 26 on that day two bishops, one of them was the bishop of Samannud and the other, the bishop of Minyat Tanah. When they perceived what the patriarch did with the bishops of Upper Egypt who had erred with their flock, saying-that the Divinity had died, the faith of these two bishops was also corrupted. When he (Shenouti) learned through the Holy Spirit (of their erroneous belief), he did this with the bishops of Upper Egypt in their presence, in order that the faith of these bishops might be manifested at that time. They (the two bishops) considered and said one to the |32 other, as the inhabitants of Athens said to Paul the Apostle in the Acts: "What is this new doctrine? for you bring to our ears strange words". A man who knew the Holy Scriptures heard them, and their belief cast down his heart. Then this man went to the father, the patriarch, and informed him about what these two bishops said. He (Shenouti) was astonished and uttered a prophetic speech which was an excommunication of them (the two bishops). He spoke the parable which is written in the Gospel of Luke "Think you that these Galileans were greater sinners than all the inhabitants of Galilee? It is not so, but if you repent not, you will all perish thus. So also the eighteen upon whom fell the tower in Siloam and killed them, (think you that they were) greater sinners than the men of Jerusalem? Nay, I say to you, if you repent not, you will all perish like them". This is that the father Anba Shenouti, the patriarch said, and the two bishops knew not that he thereby rebuked them and excommunicated them. The Lord Who knows sinners did a marvellous thing on account of his (Shenouti's) speech, for they (the two bishops) did not think to return to the True Faith, but to remain as they were. Vengeance befell them, and they died an evil and bitter death at Bana. which was known to everyone, before they reached their dioceses.
Now. O my beloved, it is incumbent upon us to preserve the True Faith without deflection, which is the Orthodox rock, that we may be numbered with those who walked in the right way and have received rest. I say to you, I the sinner, the wretched one. the writer of this biography, that I saw with my own eyes many a time how that man (Shenouti) used to look up to the heaven and make the sign of the Cross on his brow and say: "O my Lord Jesus Christ, help me and be gracious to me and visit me in Your mercy". When I was looking at him attentively the first day, a wonderous thing appeared to me, that is, at that (hour) in which I saw him looking steadfastly up to the heaven and saying this, something happened and befell us, and he was anxious. Then |33 I knew at that hour, and so also at every hour in which he did this, that news of something would arrive.
It happened, indeed, in those days that there came certain of the Muslim race from Khorassan, and some soldiers went to Alexandria and asked for our father the patriarch. The faithful said to them: "What do you wish of him?" They said: "The children of Elias who was wali, have sent us to him with money to pay to him, which their father took from the patriarch". The congregation learned that it was the money which the wali of Alexandria took from the father, the patriarch Anha Jacob, when there came forth blood from the silver chalice, when they wished to break it up. They found him (Shenouti) at Sakha, and they came to him and informed him of the news, and how Elias, the wali, on the day of his death had commanded his children to send this money which was such and such to the See of Alexandria, (saying): "I took it at the time when I was wali of it (Alexandria) from a patriarch whose name was Jacob. You shall ask for the patriarch of this time who shall have arisen in the place of him (Jacob), and you shall ask him to absolve me from my ban. Then the messengers who bear the money shall bring to you a certificate from the patriarch who shall sit (on the Throne) after him".
When the father Anba Shenouti heard this, he did not occupy himself with this matter and he did not take the money at all. His hope was in the Lord Who is rich in mercy, and he uttered the saying of Paul: "What I count as a gain, I reckon as a loss for Christ, on account of Whom I lost all things and count them as nothing, that I might gain Christ". "For I know Him Whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able to keep me to the day of my death".
The aforesaid messengers did not cease to ask him (Shenouti) to absolve that man, as his (Elias') children had commanded them; otherwise, |34 (they said) they would not be able to return. We, his (Shenouti's) companions, asked him not to send away these people after the long distance (they had come) and to cause them to waste their fatigues, (but) that he should absolve him (Elias). Then he wrote to them, saying: "He concerning whom you came is absolved". Their souls were content and they returned to their country rejoicing. The father (Shenouti) occupied himself with the rest of those who followed their inclination after the way of Satan.
It happened in those days, when Ga‘far al-Mutawakkil was Khalif, that his son Muhammad revolted against him. and al-Muntasir suddenly fell upon him and overcame him and took his kingdom. When he (the son) was appointed wali, he dismissed all the walis who were in the time of his father and likewise Sulaiman ibn Wahab the wazir who loved the father exceedingly. He sent to Egypt a man known as Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Mudabbir 27, a violent and hard man in his deeds, who was feared by everyone and could not be overcome. He performed deeds which none had done before him. He remained in Palestine for a long time and he afflicted the inhabitants of that country with hardships and trials. It was said that none was heard of like to him by reason of his perspicacity and of his access to the kings 28. He used to adjust for them matters which they did not understand. He was a stumbling-block for all who sat and discussed with him concerning the affairs of the State, and all who were in the kingdom desired to remove him from the king on account of this. Much taxation was due to him from the cultivation of his property, and they wished to try him, and they delivered his father to him, that he should take account to him, and he claimed from him (his father) all that was due to him without shame. He received from him (his father) what was in excess (of the debt), so that the kings marvelled and assigned to him from the current (expenditure) for the month six thousand dinars.
When our father, the patriarch, heard of his arrival in Egypt, |35 he was grieved and said: "May the Lord remove from His people all evil conspiracy, according to His wont!" He (Shenouti) knew what happened by reason of the grace which was in him. and he feared for the Church and the monasteries and their inmates. On his (the wali's) arrival in Egypt, he (the wali) laid his hand upon all the Muslims, the Christians and the Jews, and he doubled the tax upon them. He raised (the tax) to another dinar for every dinar, and (then) he raised the dinar (tax) to three, so that he filled the prisons in every place. He sent to the monasteries in every place to count the monks who were in them, and he demanded of them the tribute and the tax on the grass which is in the marshes 29 and on the palm trees and the fruit trees planted in their dwellings.
"When this news reached our father Anba Shenouti, he wept bitterly and said: "O Holy Mountain, Wadi Habib, which is the haven of erring souls, how has Satan raised up for you this trial which has descended upon the saints who dwell within you! Now I know, indeed, that this is on account of my sins".
This unjust man asked for the father (Shenouti), so that he might take him to accompany him and to stand guarantee for what belonged to this Wadi and to all the monasteries which are in the land of Egypt. When our father knew this, he said: "What shall I do with this man?" He feared to stand before him for if he (the wali) found him, he would be a cause of the destruction of the monasteries and the monks; and he determined to flee and he said: "Perhaps, if I am not found, he (the wali) will desist from these things which he has begun to do". Then he changed his appearance and his dress for a humble dress, and he blessed those who were with him, and he sent them to different places. He himself went to a place in which none knew him on account of the appearance which he had taken on, and a deacon who was his secretary followed him. They were wandering from place to place by water and by land. |36 Sometimes they travelled by ships, in the dress of monks, and sometimes they went on foot, and likewise the bishops were unable to show themselves on account of the patriarch, their head and their leader. Owing to our father s journeying to all places, he suffered great fatigue.
This unjust man was considering what he should do to the Seven Monasteries 30, and to the patriarch and the bishops. By reason of the iniquity of his deed, he sent to every place his representatives, and they went to the stewards of the churches, and they brought what each one had of the vessels of the churches to be carried to him. They also demanded of the stewards the diyariah 31 of the bishops to carry it to the Diwan. Likewise, he laid hands on the churches of Egypt and numbered the vessels which were in them, and he ordered that these churches which had them (the vessels) should be closed. It was not possible for them (the people) to receive the Eucharist, except in one church. His lieutenants seized the stewards in every place, imprisoned them, put them in fetters, and carried them to Cairo (Misr), so that they might estimate the diyariah due to the Diwan. He determined (to spend) all his time in seizing the money of the churches, the bishops and the monasteries for the Diwan. When he decided on this in the land of Egypt, the churches were oppressed and the bishops were afflicted, according to the saying of Zachariah the prophet: "There is a voice of the shepherds mourning; for (their) greatness is brought low". So with these holy monasteries, they imposed taxes on the fathers, the monks.
The patriarch fled from place to place in the cold, since it was the season of the winter, and he was afflicted and he wept for the Church and the bishops. He said (from the Psalm of) David: "I only have |37 sinned. Of what is the Church of God guilty that He should bring down upon it this great trial?" He did not cease to be a fugitive and a wanderer until the expiration of six months. When he saw that the wrath of this man did not abate, but (rather) increased, the father was prepared to give himself up for the sake of the Church and the bishops, and he said: "If a single man become poor, the whole place will not be disturbed on account of him, but if the whole place become poor, it will not provide for its inhabitants". So, wisely, he gave himself up for the sake of the Church. He went secretly from place to place, until he reached Cairo (Misr), and he entered in to the house of a faithful man, and he wrote a letter to this wali, whom we have already mentioned, asking from him a letter of safe-conduct, that he might appear before him. On account of the abundance of his subterfuge and his cunning which was fathomless with regard to him, he (the wali) wrote this letter: "If you present yourself to me before any of those who are seeking you in every place on my account lay hands on you, you shall be free and shall be released from the trial which I wished to bring down upon you and the Church; but if any man seize you and bring you to me, then I shall do to you that which I purposed to do against you and more besides". When our father learned of the contents of this letter of safe-conduct which was filled with the poison of vipers, he was exceedingly afflicted, and he said: ""What shall I do? If I present myself to him immediately, and a man see me and lay hands on me, then he (the wali) will say: you came against your will', and then he will bring down upon me his wrath". Then he remained steadfast in the hope of the Lord Christ, and he said, as David says: ''Should I walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid, for You are with me". Then he rose up in that state with the wretched clothes which were upon him, as if he were a monk, and he went out and walked in the street at night, until he stood at the door of that man (the wali), through (his) strength of heart and (his) firm trust in God.
When the usher saw him, he entered at once and said to him |38 (the wali): "Lo, the patriarch has already come!" When it was morning, and he (the wali) sat in the Diwan, he had our father the patriarch and his secretary Menas brought in, since he (Menas) had not left him even for a day. When he (the wali) saw them both and observed the grace of God which was upon him. he said to them both with soft words: "Where have you two been during this long time? Now that you have come freely of yourself, therefore you shall not receive harm from me". Then he left them both for that day. and he did not speak with them. After three days, our saintly father went to him (the wali) to salute him. (and) he (the wali) then began to set for him snares of death on which he had meditated, and he said to him: "Know that taxes have been imposed upon all my provinces, except upon you". The saintly father answered with humble words and said: "Whatever Your Highness commands I will do". It was his (the wali's) custom to double the trials for people, if they opposed him in conversation, but if they kept silent and did not oppose him in conversation, he was just towards them. A tax of two thousand dinars a year was imposed on the Church. He (the wali) said to our father: "Since you have come of your own will, I will have regard for you and I will be indulgent towards you". Then he obliged him (to pay) a tax for the two years before his (the wali's) arrival in Egypt. He imposed on him (a tax) for the monasteries of two thousand three hundred dinars, until there was collected for him that year seven thousand dinars. This was the beginning of the trial due to the high amount of the tax which he (the wali) imposed on the Church, the bishops and the monasteries which were in the land of Egypt (Misr.)
This was the year five hundred and seventy-eight of the Martyrs 32, and it was the third year of his (Shenouti's) patriarchate. The poll-tax for the Christians who were in the land of Egypt, which was two thousand dinars was raised four thousand dinars till it became six thousand dinars, so that (even) from a poor man who was scarcely able to live fifty dirhams a year were taken, so that the inhabitants of Egypt and its provinces were in an uproar on account of the magnitude |39 of this affliction. Many of the Christians denied (their Faith) on account of the little money which they possessed.
The father wrote letters to the bishops to inform them of his coming concerning the matter under discussion. Whosoever learned of the contents of his letters wept and said, as says Paul: "I desire you that you be not ignorant, my brethren (concerning the tribulations), because with increase they increase upon us beyond our power, so that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God Who raises the dead; He will save us from our tribulations. Be you also partners in praying for us". He (the patriarch) said in his letters: "My heart is well-disposed towards you all, for my joy is in you amidst these sorrows and trials. I write to you with abundant tears. Let not your hearts be afflicted, but know of my love towards you". When the bishops learned of the contents of his letters they were strengthened and they knew that he had delivered his soul to death to redeem them and for the peace of the Church. They thanked and glorified God for the care of their shepherd for them.
Then they assembled in Fustat of Cairo (Misr), and when they learned of what (the tax) had been imposed on the father and on the Holy Church, they paid by instalments what (was imposed) on them, according to their ability, since they knew that the father had nothing, even as those before him, because he did not pay attention to anything connected with perishable riches, until, for these reasons, and on account of (their) loss, the bishops had increased the diyariah five times more than it was, (yet) they were not able to pay what had been imposed on the father. The land of Egypt was in great straits. The bishops, the monks and everyone became impoverished on account of the taxes which were established by this man who was more to be feared than all those who were before him. He used to write about the money, when it was sent |40 (to the king): "This is what used to be stolen by those who were before me". The father was in great distress, and besides this there was great anxiety in his heart concerning those who remained in Upper Egypt in the false doctrine. He said: "Woe to me, if I leave Satan to rule over the inheritance of the King of Heaven and earth. What will he my gain if these souls perish?" Then this good shepherd arose and journeyed to the country of Upper Egypt, even as his Master arose to seek that which is lost. He travelled along a difficult and perilous way, but he did not take notice of it, and he did not spare himself to save those who had gone astray. With the help of God he reached the place and the faithful people came out to him and received him with joy. and he blessed them all. He began to draw to him those who had gone astray and to feed them with spiritual and holy words. As a skilful physician, he did not speak to them with rough words, but as a father he spoke to them with gracious words in humility, as (it is written) in the Acts: "Repent, you (and) turn again, that your iniquities may be blotted out". Then he opened his mouth and spoke to them from the words of the father Anba Cyril that which dispelled their errors. Many of those rejoiced and said: "Help us, O saintly father". When the Devil observed this, he manifested himself in the midst of the holy congregation and he entered into an aged layman who was the first cause of the blasphemy and the leader in this matter. When he heard the mention of Saint Cyril and his homilies which are as an axe that cuts off all blasphemy, the aged, wicked and misled man came out and said with his tongue which is worthy to be cut out: "What have we (to do) with Cyril?" When the father heard the voice of that defiled one, as he denied the father Cyril, he excommunicated him with the excommunication which he deserved. He excluded him from the portion of the Faithful, and (also) all who imitate his error.
This (man) began, when the father came to these places first, to burn the homilies of the Fathers, the Doctors, which destroyed most of his disbelief and his errors. Among those which he burnt were the |41 Twelve Chapters of Cyril and some of the sayings of Epiphanius and many epistles of our Fathers. The saying of Amos was fulfilled in this man and in those who followed him: "They hated him who reproved in the gates and him who admonished in them, and holy speech they rejected" through the dissembling of Satan who dwelt in the heart of that old man. The father wished to bring him back from his errors and he said, as (it is written) in the Acts: " I am constrained to speak to you first the word of God. Since you cast it away and are not made worthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles". By the grace of God which was with our father Anba Shenouti he brought back all who followed the misled old man, and they confessed the true Faith.
When Satan was put to shame and did not gain anything by his snares in the districts of Upper Egypt, he began to set another snare to mislead other people, lest he (Satan) should be brought to nought through the fight with the father. When the father returned from Upper Egypt and reached Cairo (Misr), there was there an evil man who approached the father and asked him to take from him much money and to make him bishop. The father did not pay attention to anything of this, on account of his love for Christ and on account of what he understood by the meaning of ordination. That ignorant (man) did not cease to come back to him (Shenouti) by every (possible) means, but he (Shenouti) did not do what he (the man) asked for. Then he (the man) reflected upon a shameful deed. He found a man who was a monk, a native of Syria, and he went with him to his place of dwelling and gave him money and clothed him with garments. He instructed him (the monk) to walk with him (the man) as if he were the patriarch, and that he should borrow from him money and go with him to witnesses to witness for him. When he had arranged this with the monk, he went with him to witnesses who did not know the patriarch, and they said to him: "We testify for you", and he said: "It is well". Then he took the certificate and concealed it on him, and he was seeking a day to find a means by which to bring the father to the hakim. |42
One of the faithful learned of this, and he went and informed the patriarch ah out what had heen done by that man. He (Shenouti) was wont to be circumspect with all who walk in the way of evil. When he heard of what that evil man had done, he acted wisely, so that he might undo it through the grace of God which was in him (Shenouti) and through His Name the remembrance of which was not removed from his mouth night or day.
There was in Cairo (Misr) a Muslim man who had great faith in the patriarch, and he caused him (Shenouti) to be brought to him one day, and he informed him about what he knew of the deed of the non-deacon, and how he had brought to witness against the Syrian monk witnesses by means of whom judgment might be given. The Muslim said: "If this ignorant (man) did this that he might overcome us, how is it that the people who are known to be trustworthy have not died, and how is it that he has robbed them of a thing which was not known to them? But, by the grace of God, we hope to save ourselves and them from the error of this ignorant (man)". Then the Muslim said to him (Shenouti): "What ought you to do?" The father said to him through his understanding and his enlightened wisdom: "I wish you to go to those people who are trustworthy upon whom this (man) has played the trick and to pacify their hearts and to bring them to me. I shall sit with these bishops who are with me, as if I am one of them. Then say you to them (the people): For whom of these did you witness?" He (the Muslim) did this, and they came. The Muslim said to them, as our father had said, but they said: "He is not one of these". Then he (the Muslim) said to our father: "Inform the elders (the witnesses) of what has befallen them through that ignorant deacon". When they (the witnesses) heard, they marvelled and were astonished. Then they swore an oath that they would not witness (again) after that day.
The deacon did not know what had happened, and after some days, he went to the kadi, for he knew not that the Lord contemned his conspiracy, and he brought out the certificate for the kadi. He (the kadi) ordered that the father should be brought, and he said to him: "Knowest you what this man says?" The father said: "No". |43
Then the kadi said: "The witnesses whom the law allows (to witness) witness against you. Then he (the kadi) said to the deacon: "Bring forward your witnesses", and he went in haste to the witnesses. When they saw him, they cursed him and abused him and said to him: "Why didst you clothe us with deceit?" He (the deacon) became exceedingly ashamed and returned to the kadi, saying: "I did not find my witnesses". Then he (the kadi) ordered him to present himself on the morrow. When the morrow was come, our father hastened to present himself to the kadi, and the kadi waited for that criminal forger, but he did not see him on account of his lie. Then he (the kadi) said to the father: "Return to your dwelling". The non-deacon brought upon himself great opprobrium, and he remained for a time without showing himself. Then, after that, he presented himself to him (Shenouti) and asked him to forgive him. He confessed his sins to him (Shenouti) and he accepted him and said to him: "My son, it is neccessary for us all to stand before the great (Judgment) Seat of God, naked, poor and bare-headed. Try, my son, to do good at all times, and speak not falsehood, lest you shouldst hear (the saying of) the Scripture: "The Lord shall destroy all that speak falsehood". The deacon remained in great fear, making obeisances and saying: "Forgive me".
In those (days) there died the king Ibn al-Mutawakkil who is al-Muntasir the murderer of his father. Another king did not arise in his place for six months. God took vengeance on him on account of what he had done to his father after his murder, and because he had slept also with the concubines of his father after his murder, for his body became covered with malignant ulcers before his death. There ruled after him al-Musta‘in, and he was a good and generous man. as was testified of him. He did good in his days in the land of Egypt and its provinces, in his country, the East and Syria.
It is incumbent upon us to speak of what befell this king in his kingdom |44 and of what God did for our father the patriarch Anba Shenouti. in order that we may come back to what al-Muntasir did when he killed his father and sat (upon the throne) in his place. He had two brothers. The name of one of them was al-Mu‘taz and of the other al-Mu'yyid. Their father Ga‘far al-Mutawakkil had arranged that the kingdom should be for his three children after him. When Muhammad sal (upon the throne) after his father Ga‘far, he seized his brothers whom we have mentioned, and confined them in a narrow cell that he might kill them both. His time did not last long, and he died, as we have said.
When Ahmad al-Musta‘in sat (upon the throne) after him. he brought out the two brothers from prison. One of the two, al-Mu‘taz, took a troop of those who were about him, and he got together an army and went out to make war against his brother al-Musta‘in Ahmad, the good man, who had set him free from prison, and with him was his brother, that he might wrest the kingdom from him and sit (upon the throne) in his stead.
Al-Mu‘taz sorely pressed al-Musta‘in, and (therefore) he left the city of the king which is called Samarra. He left behind him his wife, his wealth and his children in the royal palace, and he fled to the first royal city of Baghdad 33. Al-Mu‘taz took possession of the royal palace and of all that was in it. He took the money and spent it on his soldiers who were with him. As regards that (man) al-Musta‘in who fled, many places were in obedience to him.
The two brothers continued to make war against one another for three years, up to the year in which we wrote this biography, which is the year five hundred and eighty-two of the pure Martyrs 34 which corresponds in the reign of Islam to the year two hundred and fifty-two of the Higrah. |45
On account of what happened between al-Mu‘taz and al-Musta‘in, the roads were closed and no one was able to carry out any of the tax from the kingdom of Egypt, so that Ibn al-Mudabbir kept with him in Fustat of Cairo (Misr) all (the tax) which he had collected, to see to whom the kingdom would belong, so that he might pay it (the tax) to him. On account of that all the merchants were deprived (of the use) of the roads of Egypt and of the East, and the people became impoverished in Egypt through the closing of the roads and the burden of the taxes. That evil man, namely, Ibn al-Mudabbir, paid no attention to the wars of the two kings nor to the fear which was upon the country, but he devised trials for the people and collected the money, thinking to bear it to him who would reign, and through it to have approach to him. Yet the Lord was clement and He dispelled the wars, and it (the news) reached the land of Egypt on the first day of Baramudah, that al-Mu‘taz had conquered and put al-Musta‘in to rout. Laudatory addresses were delivered for him in Egypt.
All the tribes were joyful, on account of the fear which had been upon the country, for the Arabs in the land of Egypt had ruined (the country). They were the people whose dwellings were in the mountain and the deserts, and they caused ruin in Upper Egypt and pillaged and killed. Among all (the places) which they pillaged was the monastery of Abu Shenouti, and the monastery of al-Kalamun in the Fayyum, and the monastery of Anba Pachomius which is in the district of Taha near a nahiyah known as Barganus. They burnt the fortresses and pillaged the provinces and killed a |46 multitude of the saintly monks who where in them (the monasteries), and they violated a multitude of the virgin nuns and killed some of them with the sword. They did in the land of Egypt deeds which, if we were to mention (even) a small (part) of them, the explanation thereof would he drawn out, and the reader would be far from understanding it.
It happened before the arrival of this man. whom we have mentioned before, who imposed the oppression and the tax upon the monasteries and the churches, that news of him reached the two aforesaid archons Abraham and Severus, and they determined to go to the city of the king. When the father Anba Shenouti learned of this, he said to them in a letter which he wrote to them, saying: "I beseech the Lord Christ to decree for you peace and to preserve you and to aid you to attain your desire. If God grant you. my children, lovers of God, to reach (the king) and you attain your ends, let your prayer be for the churches of Egypt which have been destroyed at this time, which I hope will be rebuilt during my life, and (I hope) to see them before my spirit is taken. This is my ardent desire from the Lord Jesus Christ".
This blessed archon Abraham, one of the two of them (the archons) imposed it (the matter) upon his soul and occupied himself with it. W hen he reached the city of the king, he communicated the news to some of the faithful who were among the servants of the king, and they rejoiced at this. They approached al-Mu‘taz who was mutawalli in those days and they asked him concerning the matter of the churches, and they explained to him what Ibn al-Muddabir had done and what had happened through him. He (al-Mu‘taz) granted their request and he wrote for them a decree (authorizing them) to (re)build the churches in all the land of Egypt. They registered the decree and said: "We implore his signature and (his) seal to this", (but) he (al-Mu‘taz) died and his brother al-Musta‘in reigned after him.
Abraham the archon wrote a letter in which he |47 informed him (al-Musta‘in) about the state of the decree which his brother had written and that there remained only (to place) the seal upon it. He (al-Musta‘in) ordered that they should search for it (the decree) in the Diwan and bring it out. It was discovered and brought to him. and he learned of its contents and ordered that it should be completed and that it should be placed in the hands of the Dhimmah 35 in the territory of the land of the Egyptians. He prescribed in the severest terms that upon him who transgressed it (the decree) the vengeance of the king should fall. He ordered that there should be returned to them (the Christians) all the vessels and other things belonging to the churches and monasteries which had been taken away by force, and (also) the estates, the dwellings, the properties and the other things which had been in the hands of the Christians, of which they (the Christians) had had free use. When this decree reached the land of Egypt, the father Anba Shenouti and all the bishops and the people, the lovers of God, rejoiced at it, and the monks who had escaped the sword reappeared and restored their churches and their monasteries. Likewise, (the inhabitants of) Syria provided for the restoration of such of their churches as had been ruined.
This father (Shenouti) gave thanks to God and glorified Him and said: "Thanks be to God Who has fulfilled my desire and has saved His inheritance and has renewed the face of the earth". The father built the tabernacle of David which was fallen, as the Lord says: "and the part which is ruined I will set up and I will build that the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and all the nations upon whom My Name is called". Comforted by this, the father Anba Shenouti went to the mutawalli of the land of Egypt and asked him to execute the order of the king. Then he (the mutawalli) |48 wrote for him to all the lands that all the churches in every place should he rebuilt according to what was set forth by the order of the king al-Musta‘in bi'llah.
Our father took the letters and delivered them to certain people who were on his side (and who took them) to all the districts of Lower and Upper Egypt. He also wrote to the bishops and consoled them in his letters with good consolation full of wisdom from the books of the Church. When the letters reached the walis, they authorized the faithful to rebuild the churches in every place, as far as the city of Aswan and as far as the city of al-Farama. O the joy at that blessed time which was in the land of Egypt among men, women and children, even as it is written in the Acts: "The Church indeed which is in all Judea and the land of Galilee and Samaria had peace, and they were walking in the fear of God, and they were being multiplied in the consolation of the Holy Spirit". Who does not marvel now and glorify God and acknowledge this grace, even as the Lord Christ says in His Gospel: "He who shall confess Me before men. him shall 1 confess before the angels of Heaven".
I remember that there were in the days of our father Anba Shenouti some people who said that Easter in the year in which the Saviour Jesus Christ was crucified was on the sixteenth day of Baramudah. The father Anba Shenouti was occupied with this matter till he was able to show them the truth and proved it to them namely (that), the Holy Resurrection was in the year five thousand five hundred and thirtv-four (of the Creation) of the World, and that the Crucifixion was on Friday, the twenty-seventh day which had elapsed of Baramhat. This was the day on which Adam went out from the Paradise, and the Resurrection was on the twenty-ninth day |49 of Baramhat (which, was) a Sunday, and this was established as true in their minds.
I, the wretched and poor one, the writer of this biography, used to say: "Who may it be who shall write the biography of this father?", on account of the greatness of my faith in him, till the Lord Christ appeared to me in a dream, and sent to me the old man, the Saint Ammon whom I mentioned in the beginning. He said to me: "My son, John, do you not remember what I said to you while I was with you in the world, when you were taught writing: under me, how none would write the eighteenth biography till he come, the first (letter) of whose name is eighteen, and great and marvellous deeds are performed? You shall be the writer of the whole of his encomium, the first (letter) of whose name is eighteen, who is our father Sinouthius 36. I was astonished and I did not know the meaning of what he said. Then he said to me: "If you count from one to a hundred, which is from a to p, you wilt find seventeen letters, and the eighteenth letter is c which is the first (letter) of the name of this father Shenouti. When he had said this to me, he departed from me, and I did not behold him afterwards. That which happened on that night was manifested in order that everyone might know the dignity of the fathers the patriarchs, and might glorify them that suffered fatigues and endured patiently trials.
(This) is (what) I beheld: the father Anba Joseph, the patriarch, clothed with a garment of brilliant light shining with great glory and with him some shining people, and they said to him: "Let us go to the place from which we went out", but he said to them: "Believe me, I will not leave (this place) until my son has laid the foundations which he intended to build". Those shining people were importuning |50 me to complete the holy discourse (history). I was sad at heart, since I was unable (to do it), and I saw those (people) and Anba Joseph working assiduously at building the foundations. After a little. I saw the columns which they had erected, and they blessed me and departed from me. I knew that those columns were the saintly fathers whose holy biographies I desired to write, but was unable (to do it) owing to the paucity of my understanding. When it was morning. I gave my beloved brethren who were with me, the sons of the aforesaid father, Anba Shenouti, a description of the circumstance and the dream which I saw. They comforted me and strengthened my heart, when I said: "I am unable to set forth the discourse (history) of the holy fathers, but as a poor (and) wretched (one) I will write whatsoever lies in my power''. From that time I began to write the eighteenth, the nineteenth, and twentieth biographies, according to what I heard from the tongue of the trustworthy and faithful brethren who observed what I myself also observed with my eyes with regard to my holy fathers.
I will relate also a miracle which happened through the prayers of the holy fathers, before we record the trials which our father Anba Shenouti endured. Our father went to the church of the holy martyr, the possessor of the three crowns, Saint Menas in Maryut on the fifteenth day of Hatur. While he was journeying on the way and we were following him, and before our arrival at the church, on the thirteenth day of Hatur, there gathered around us a great multitude of the faithful people, since they did not find water to drink. The reason for this was that the heaven had not rained for three years, and the wells and the cisterns had become dry. When the father, the patriarch, saw the people coming to the church for the feast, and being thirsty, (because) they did not find water, he was grieved exceedingly on account of this, and he entered into the holy church. All those who wished (to celebrate) the feast gathered together to him and they besought him saying: "We beseech you, O our father, to pray to the Lord that He may be gracious to us, lest we and our children and our cattle die of thirst". He |51 comforted them and said to them: "I believe that God will show us His mercy speedily through the prayers of His martyr''. When he had completed the Liturgy on the fifteenth day of Hatur, he communicated the people from the Holy Mysteries, and he besought the Lord with all his heart and his mind that the Lord should be mindful of His weakened people in those places and that He should make glad their hearts with water. The Lord, the Lover of man, Who hears the prayer of His servants at all times and (Who) accomplishes the desires of those who fear Him, performed a marvellous thing on that day, for. when the people were gathered together with the father, and the sun was near setting, while they were eating bread, drops of rain began to fall from the heaven (and) then it became dark. Then our father said with spiritual delight: "O my Lord Jesus Christ, my God, rich in Your clemency, if You desire to be merciful to Your people, have mercy upon them, that they may be filled with Your delights and Your blessing". When he had said this, he entered into his closet to rest and to sleep a while. When he lifted up his hands to accomplish the Prayer of Sleep according to his custom, he besought the Lord to be mindful of His people. When he had finished his prayer, a great thunderstorm broke from the heaven and rain descended and poured down on the earth like flowing rivers, and the rain did not cease till the morrow. All who were in those places came to the church and invoked blessings and gave praise and said: "Blessed be the hour in which you didst come to us, because God has delivered us through your pure prayers from this misfortune". The cisterns in all the places were filled and the lands and the vines were |52 irrigated, so that one of those who were there stated that the rain was sufficient for them for three years.
I will relate to you another miracle (which happened) on the same day. Our saintly father Anba Shenouti was informed that one of the priests at the church of the mariyr Saint Menas had defrauded a woman (who was) a widow who had a piece of vineyard in his neighbourhood, and that he (the priest) had taken from it a part and had added it to his (own) vineyard. The father caused him to be brought to him and remonstrated with him and asked him not to commit (this) sin, but that priest did not accept (the warning) from him (Shenouti). Then he (Shenouti) rightly excommunicated him, and God caused a miracle to be manifested on his account, because he had stamped upon the interdict with his feet. My brethren and my beloved, the faithful, believe this from me, and think nothing of worldly matters, but believe that God is Almighty. The rain which we mentioned descended upon all the lands and the vineyards, except (upon) the vineyard of that priest whom our father excommunicated. The saying of the prophet was accomplished upon him: "We will rain upon it and we will not rain upon it". All who saw this miracle glorified God.
Another story. It was in the eighth year of the patriarchate of this father, and the days of the Holy Fast drew near, and he desired to journey to the Holy Desert in the Wadi Habib to accomplish there the Fast and the Holy (Feast of) Easter. Some of the faithful counselled him not to go for fear of the marauding Arabs, for it was the time when they came down from the land of Upper Egypt to the land of Lower Egypt, after putting their beasts out to grass, lest something should befall him through them. The saintly father said in his heart: "If I do this, I shall cause joy to Satan. If I refrain from going to the holy places, then the people will remain back because of me, and they will be deprived of the blessings of the Saints". |53 Then he besought the aid of God and made his way to the Wadi 37.
Now the Arabs knew the time when the strangers assembled there, and they arrived in secret from Upper Egypt, and they took possession of the church of the father Macarius and of the fortifications and carried off all the furniture and the food and other things which were in them. On the first day of Baramudah 38 they (the Arabs) made the round of all the monasteries and robbed all those who were in them and the people who came to them, and they drove most of them out (at the point of) the sword. When the father saw this affair, he was afflicted on account of it. Then the fathers, the bishops, and the monks came together to him weeping and saying: "It was for your sake that we remained here. We desire of you that you prevent us not from departing, lest we die by the hands of this miscreant people".
This happened on the Friday of the Week of the Pascha, and when our father Anba Shenouti heard of it, he knew that it was a ruse and a snare of Satan which Satan had set for him, on account of that which was in him from the Holy Spirit. He (Shenouti) knew that he who had assembled the people and harassed them desired thereby to devastate the desert, so that there should he none in it of them who remember the Name of God the Exalted. There upon, he said in the strength of (his) heart: "May the Lord strike you, O Satan and bring to nothing your conspiracy which you have formed". The fathers, the bishops, besought him to depart, so that they might accompany him. But he said to them: "Pardon me, O my holy fathers, we will not quit this place, until we have accomplished the Feast of Easter, even if my blood is to be shed". When the monks saw his courage and his strength of heart, they envied him for his courage, and they became strengthened and did not allow Satan to vanquish them. The Arabs began to harass the congregation of the monks, so that they should not accomplish the Feast of Easter, but perform the will of their (the Arabs') father Satan. They |54 drew their swords and stood on the rock east of the church and took the clothing that they found on the people, and whosoever resisted, they wounded him with the sword. This happened on the Thursday of the Week of the Pascha, the ninth of Baramudah 39. Those of the people who escaped entered the church, crying, weeping and saying: "O our father, help us, for these Beduins have prevailed over us". When this saint saw the distress of the people, he rose up and took in his hand his staff on which there was the emblem of the Cross, and he went out to the Arabs, saying: "It is good for me that I should die with the people of God, or, perchance, when they (the Arabs) see me, they will refrain from their wickedness, and this weakened people will be saved". When the bishops beheld the excellence of the intention of the father and how he delivered himself to death for his people, they took hold of him and prevented him from going out to the Arabs, and they said: "We will not let you deliver yourself into the hands of these foul murderers". When he (Shenouti) heard them, he said to them with humility, lowliness and strength of soul, as says Paul: "For I make known to you that this will happen to me (to) salvation, through your prayers and (the) supply of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, (according to) my confidence and my hope... whether by life or by death. For my life is Christ and death is gain to me".
He (Shenouti) became strong in Christ, and he went out to the miscreant Arabs, but by the clemency of God they had gone back and they did not appear on that day, but they (Shenouti and those with him) returned by ihe help of God and the intention and constancy of this father Anba Shenouti, and Satan the hater of good, was put to shame.
When the faithful archon Stephen (Islafan) son of Severus |55 whose work was good with the Lord, for he had trust in the patriarch and a love for the holy monasteries, heard (this), he arose in haste and came to the monasteries and met the father and the monks and the bishops, and he strengthened their souls and put himself at their disposal, and said to the father: "I will deliver myself for you and for the people, until they have gone out from among these rebels". The father saw the timidity of the hearts of the people and that they were determined to go out, being terrified of the Arabs who surrounded them and (who) desired to take them and to kill them with the edge of the sword: he strengthened them and comforted them through the grace of the Holy Spirit, and he said, as Paul said to those who were with him in the ship: "For one soul from among you shall not perish". He said to them: "God has delivered you out of the hands of these oppressors and He will fight for you". He (Shenouti) perceived that some among them had little faith in what he said to them and that their hearts were timorous, so he bade them assemble all the people in the church on Sunday 40 that he might communicate them from the Holy Mysteries by night before dawn, and that he might go with them till he had brought them to Lower Egypt. Thus their souls were strengthened. Then he arose at midnight, and the bishops and the monks and the people came together to him, and he began the Liturgy, and while he went round the sanctuary with incense, his eyes shed bitter tears, even as says Obadiah the prophet: "Let the priests that minister about the altar of the Lord weep". He wept and said as the prophet says: "Spare, O Lord, Your people, and give not Your inheritance to this reproach, that the heathen should rule over it, lest the heathen should say, Where is their God?" The fathers, the monks, wept bitterly and their tears mingled with (their) thoughts, on |56 account of what would befall them through the marauding Arabs, and they communicated of the Mysteries before dawn, while the father (Shenouti) wept over the desertion of the desert by the monks. Then he dismissed the people, and he went out and comforted them. They blessed God and they marvelled at the strength and boldness of the father, for they saw him as Moses the prophet before the Children of Israel. Thus by his prayers and his purity God delivered the people from the hands of the Arabs that day. But he (Shenouti) ceased not to weep on seeing how the monks were passing over to the land of Lower Egypt for fear of the marauder, so that only a few people remained in the monasteries. Satan did not cease to raise up trials for the churches in the land of Egypt.
Another story. At that time there arose a Muslim man of the Madalgah who dwelt at Alexandria, and with him there were many people of his warrior friends who were known for their courage. When the Beduins heard of his renown, a great multitude (of them) came to him, and a multitude of men, even workmen, gathered around him, and they formed a great multitude. They used to go to every place in which there was a mutasarrif from the king, and they would seize him and exact from him the money which was in his hands, and (then) they would kill him. They burnt many towns and killed many people, and his (the Muslim's) friends sent troops after troops to the east of Egypt until they reached Bana and took possession of it. They collected the taxes of Maryut and its districts as far as the |57 city of Bana. No one was able to fight against them. They were greater murderers than any people, and they could not be withstood. When their power had grown strong, they took possession of the lands and of all the property of the church of the martyr Abu Menas at Maryut and Mahallat Batrah, and, likewise the property of the church of Saint Abu Macarius 41, (and) they pillaged them all and devoured their cereals and divided them between them.
When they had committed oppressions and injustices and had increased their wealth, their men, their beasts, their women, their children and their habitations, the chief among them and those of the warriors who were with him whom he had selected, resolved to besiege the city of Alexandria. He demanded that it should be given up to him to pillage, as he had pillaged the other cities. He took captive the children and the women, and he slew the men and seized the money. But he was not able to take it by any means, since he was not able to attack the fortifications, because he did not have engines (of war). However, he laid siege to it and prevented provisions from entering it from the lake or from the sea. He erected dams in (various) places near the citv. and he prevented the water from (reaching) them (the inhabitants). So they (the inhabitants) drank from the wells and cisterns. Corn became rare in the city of Alexandria, and it could not be found for a dinar or a dirham. The churches were deprived of the Eucharist on account of the scarcity of corn and wine, because the property of the churches, their stores and their money had been seized and pillaged at the hands of these marauding people, and they (these people) became strong enough through them to besiege Alexandria.
When (the news) reached the father of what its people endured, he |58 sought to send to them something wherewith to feed them, yet he could not on account of the siege which it (Alexandria) suffered through these people. This siege continued about this city, and God put it into the hearts of the inhabitants of Rosetta to build ships, load them with corn and sail with them over the Mediterranean to the city of Alexandria. For this reason there was security for Alexandria. Corn was plentiful among them (the inhabitants) through the goodness of God upon them and upon their children. When its (Alexandria's) siege continued and the inhabitants were straitened, its chiefs assembled and took counsel with the wali of it. and they said: "It is necessary that we erect a rampart round all the city". Then each of the owners of houses and buildings erected a wall as far as his neighbour's. A wall was (thus) made to encircle it (Alexandria), and they made gates in it (the wali), and they ordered that only one gate should be opened. Under the direction of God Who saves the poor and wretched man, they did this and the city was fortified. Its inhabitants were protected from the enemy, and they (the enemy) were not able by reason of this fortification to take it (Alexandria).
The father (Shenouti) was sad at heart and he knew not in what place he might shelter, because they had pillaged all the places which belonged to him. He was unable to show himself in Fustat of Cairo (Misr) on account of Ibn al-Mudabbir the tyrant, for, besides all these trials, there was required of him the tax, namely, the tax on property and other things besides. Every one who escaped from this enemy sought refuge in Cairo (Misr) for fear of him (the enemy), whom this evil man. Ibn al-Mudabbir, seized and cast into prison. For this reason, our father (Shenouti) feared to enter into Fustat of Cairo (Misr), lest he should be asked for the tax on the property which belonged to the churches that had been pillaged. When our father (Shenouti) learned of the inhabitants of al-Mahallah al-Kabirah and their faith, he went to them and remained there, beseeching God to save His Church and His |59 people from this tribulation, and he did not cease to weep on account of the churches of Alexandria, for he was not able to send anything to their stewards to provide for the liturgies. All who journeyed from one place to another and had a single dirham, it would be taken from him and he would be killed on account of it. A man could not travel unless he wore tattered clothes and (had) a bag of no value, as says Zachariah the prophet: "The wages of men shall not suffice for their sustenance, and there shall be no hire of beasts, and whosoever comes in and goes out shall not find peace on account of the tribulation".
While this tribulation was increasing, God, Whose power is great, beheld what was in the heart of our father (Shenouti) with regard to the affair of the churches of Alexandria, and He directed him to write a letter to the merchants who traded in linen from the eastern lands that they should come out to him without having anything with them. When they reached him, he (Shenouti) delivered to them what they should give to them 42, and he said to them: "Buy for yourselves merchandise from Lower Egypt and remit (money) in place of it to the steward at Alexandria, that he may spend it for the needs of the churches. They rejoiced at this and thanked him for his solicitude, and they took the money from him and they were saved from the risks of the way. The state of the churches and the Cell 43 at Alexandria was established, as in the time when they possessed property.
The Beduins did not cease pillaging the cells of the monks and the monasteries, because their dwellings and their men were there in the Wadi, (where) they were camping, so that they (the monks) dwelt in the keeps and the sanctuaries, and they built up the door-ways of their dwellings. They (the Beduins) used to |60 lie in wait for the time when they (the monks) used to go out and to draw water, and they slew some of them and took from others what they found on them in the way of clothes and the water-skins in which they carried water. The fathers, the monks, were weeping and beseeching the Lord Christ to save them, and they endured patiently heat, cold and terror. They said as says David: "Bring us out of this tribulation, save us and deliver us for Your mercy's sake". Likewise the church of the martyr Saint Menas at Maryut which was the delight of all the Orthodox people of Egypt became a desert. No one was able to reach it in those days in which there was the siege around Alexandria by the Madalgah, the Beduins and other marauders, all of whom were chiefs of the Madalgah. All the holy places were destroyed, and likewise the church of the Pure Mistress at Atrib 44 and all the churches which were the consolation of the faithful, and likewise the monasteries of Upper Egypt and the churches which are in it, even as Amos the prophet says: "I will turn your feasts into mourning and your songs into lamentations".
The father (Shenouti) had an abundance of mourning and tears for the Holy Desert of Abu Macarius and for the unceasing praises of God (which had formerly resounded) from it; for they (the monks) were like the angels of God who ceased not from praising. It (the desert) had become the dwelling-place of murderers and marauders, and the saints who were in the desert had sought refuge in all places, and the good brethren, the luminaries, had been dispersed.
By the incomprehensible decrees of God, when the feasts which we have mentioned were abandoned, there arose one of the race of the king, and he gathered around him many murderous people, and he made war against the king, and he marched to the place which is now called |61 Mecca in the land of the Higaz, and it is called (also) al-Ka‘bah. He took possession of it and he took possession of the House to which Muslims go on pilgrinage from all districts. It is the place into which, it is said, none may enter, except a sharif 45, on account of the honour (in which it is held) among the Muslims. The kings of the Muslims carry to it at all times money and cloths. When this insurgent took possession of it. he burnt it with fire together with that which was in it. He contemned them and said: "These are vile deeds which the Muslims do". He tied up his horses in that place, so that in that year it became an uninhabited desert. None of the people who used to go to it every year entered it. The Muslims were in great grief on account of the destruction of the House.
When the Lord willed to look upon His people and His Church. He caused the king to send to the land of Egypt a wali whose name was Muzahim, a man who was pious and continent in his sect, knowing the precepts of his religion, and just in his ways. A great army of Turks accompanied him. These people were brave (men) and fighters, and no one was able to fight against them, because their arms were different from the arms of the inhabitants of Egypt: these were arrows made of wood.
When he reached Fustat of Cairo (Misr), he took the money which Ibn al-Mudabbir had exacted, and he spent (it) on the men, and he formed many troops besides those who had come accompanying him from the East. He began to devise a plan against the people who raised up the disorders in the land of Egypt and in the city of Alexandria. When he knew that there were with them certain regions of Egypt, he sent thither a chief of his army who was accompanied by armed |62 cavalry, and infantry marched before them, (and) they were also fighting men. He despatched on the river ships of the fleet in which was a great multitude of fighting men. and they went towards them (the insurgents). They (the insurgents) were in the districts of Bana and Abusir in the maritime region of the land of Egypt. being encamped between these two nahiyats. Most of them (the insurgents) were slain with the sword and many were drowned in the river. Whosoever of them escaped and sought the fleet, him the men who were in it (the fleet)---who were throwers of naphtha---seized and burnt with fire between Sandafa and al-Mahallah; and among the great number (of things) which the throwers of naphtha burnt with fire, there were burnt some shops of al-Mahallah in which there was the merchandise of the merchants. Many of the rich became poor in that day. God destroyed those infidels, and whosoever remained of them and escaped, sought refuge in the Buhairah but he was not able to return, because the ships with naphtha were at the ferries, (and also) stationed at the fords.
When this happened, there was manifested on the day of the burning of al-Mahallah and its shops, a wondrous mystery which it is incumbent upon us to make known to the faithful, on account of their great confidence in God Who preserves His elect and does not leave them to see corruption and deliveres them in the time of wrath.
There were at that place two merchants who were neighbours. One |63 of them had much money, but he did not have compassion upon the hidden 46 and the poor and the other was compassionate (and) good. All that he gained he gave to the churches, the hidden and the orphans. When the fire surrounded the shops (and reached) as far as the stores of the two merchants, it burnt all of them. The Lord Who speaks through the tongue of David where he says: "Blessed is he who has compassion on the poor and needy: in an evil day the Lord shall deliver him", and he says again: "I have never seen the righteous whom the Lord has forsaken"---the Lord saved all that belonged to this compassionate man from the fire, and nothing of it was burnt at all. As regards the rich man in whom there was no compassion, fire overcame all his property, and his riches became as dust before the wind. All who saw this wondrous affair glorified God---praised be He!---so that many put their trust at that time in Him Who saves those who put their trust in Him.
After this, the chief of the army returned to Egypt, and God delivered into his hands the Madalgah and he killed them with the sword. Those who remained of them fled to the mountains as far as Upper Egypt. He threshed them, as a threshing-machine on the threshing-floor, and all that they had pillaged and taken possession of he took from them and took possession of it. The Lord took vengeance for the monasteries which they had devastated and for the saintly and pure fathers whose blood they had shed and for the virgins who they had ravished. He (the Lord) showed forth in them His wonders, and in them was fulfilled the saying of the prophet Hosea where he says: "Their wickedness is remembered now before the Lord, and the thoughts of their hearts have compassed them about, and they are before My Face". The land of Egypt was in security and its inhabitants and its poor rejoiced. |64
As regards Ibn al-Mudabbir the tyrant, whom we have mentioned, he did not turn from his evil deeds against us. This (man) wrote to all the land of Egypt that two taxes should be exacted from every one that year, and two poll-taxes from every Christian. The people who were in the land of Egypt became poor for this reason by the order of this man. so that the rich could not find bread and they could not prevail against him. All the people were in affliction on account of his wrath, against the father, the patriarch.. He required of him (Shenouti) the tax which he (Shenouti) owed on the property and on what belonged to Alexandria and the church of the martyr Menas at Maryut and the monasteries, and the poll-tax on the monks. (This tax) which was fixed for him was, for the first year, seven thousand dinars, and he (Shenouti) endured patiently great trials on account of him (Ibn al-Mudabbir). He (Shenouti) did not pay it (the tax) except after severe torture and sorrows. He implored God to have mercy upon him, His churches and His people. In these (trials) his thoughts and his senses were (directed) towards the Lord, the Clement One. His heart did not grow weak in these terrible trials for a single day. through the strength of our Lord Christ Who said: "Seek you first His Kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added". The Lord was with him and He delivered him from his afflictions day by day, and Satan was not able to cause him to go astray or to bring him under his sway, and his members did not incline for a single day to anything of it (Satan's rule) in this world. He did not advance anyone as bishop, except those whom God had chosen---good people, concerning whom no one was able to recall anything reprehensible. Of these I will mention one, the saintly bishop Anba George, bishop of al-Kais who performed good deeds, acting through spiritual joy. At the consecration of this (man) as bishop, when the Holy Spirit revealed his state to |65 our father, the patriarch, he took him and desired him to receive his lot. but he would not accept it: yet God the Exalted Who bestows this degree on him whom He chooses, manifested to the father, the patriarch Anba Shenouti, in a dream that he should consecrate him bishop. He (Shenouti) believed what he saw (in the dream) and he took him (Anba George) by force.
W e will also recount to you another miracle which it is incumbent upon us not to hide. We have already related about that miscreant Stephen Ibn Anthony the Egyptian who became a vessel of Satan on account of his thoughts and his persecution of the brethren, the children of Baptism 47. An amir whose name was Yahya ibn ‘Abdallah was worse than he. He (Stephen) began to work evil as his father and to slander the fathers, the monks, and to determine the tax upon them. Our father (Shenouti) used to ask him to refrain from mentioning the monks before the amir, since he was his secretary, but he would not accept his (Shenouti's) request, and he did not cease from doing evil. The Lord took vengeance on him. on account of His elect. A pustule
came out on the palm of his right hand with which he held the pen and wrote the calumnies and the wickedness against our fathers, the monks. It (the pustule) became an ulcer and it ate away all his palm and his arm, so that the physicians (decided) to cut off his arm. When he knew that if he lived after the cutting off of his arm, there would be great opprobrium (for him), he prevented them from cutting it off. He died an evil death, even as says Isaiah the prophet, "Woe to them that write wickedness, perverting the cause of the feeble, violently wresting the judgment of the needy ones of the people''.
When this apostate received this vengeance of the Lord, in truth, Ibn al-Mudabbir did not refrain from his evil deeds, even as Pharoah in his time, especially against the fathers, the monks, who were in the deserts, requiring them (to pay) what they could not, until none of them |66 could endure it. So they fell into the hands of... 48 and married and quitted the Holy Jerusalem which is the desert of Abu Macarius 49. Our father (Shenouti) beheld this and his heart was consumed, and he continued in supplication for the fathers, beseeching the Lord not to cause him to die, until he should behold their deliverance from this strife. God, the Lover of men, Who hears them that fear Him, wrought a wondrous thing and took vengeance for His elect on their oppressor, and cut short their sighing. This is what happened. When the Lord visited the wali who had arrived in Egypt from Khorassan from the king, He (also) destroyed the impious, and another man came in his place, who was brave, strong and to be feared, so that the walis of Egypt feared him. and they became with him as a sparrow in the palm of a child, and none could withstand his command, whether it were a kadi, wali or a head of a diwan. Fear of him fell upon the souls of the great and the small, and even upon his own brother. If he saw a man who was proud, he would take away from him his wealth and would abase him. He sent many people into the places of exile secretly, and he separated them from their wives and their children, and he did the same thing to his own brother without shame, and everyone obeyed him with fear and trembling.
When the blameworthy deed of Ibn al-Mudabbir became manifest to him (the wali) he ordered him to be brought from the diwan with shame and opprobrium, and he installed in his place 50 a man, careful for his soul, (and) known for his goodness in the religion of Islam. He was put in charge of the taxation of the land of Egypt. and he began to do good, so that he caused every one to pray for him. God put it into his heart to do good towards the monks, and especially (to free them) from the order of the poll-tax. They blessed God and the father, the |67 patriarch, night and day. and they did not cease from giving thanks to God for His abundant grace (which He bestowed) upon them. They (the monks) returned to the monasteries in haste with joyful hearts (to) the place of the spiritual repasts. They gave thanks to God that the True Shepherd. Christ had gathered them together and had delivered them from the hands of the Devil, the wolf, and that God had sent down his wrath upon this tyrant. When he (Ibn al-Mudabbir) was dismissed from the (charge of) the taxation, the wali ordered that he should be diverted of the garments which he wore, and that he should wear a garment of coarse wool which (even) a slave does not wear. He did this to him, and he (Ibn al-Mudabbir) was imprisoned in a narrow place in which he could turn neither to the right nor to the left. The provisions made for him were not sufficient for him. He was fettered with iron, and when it was the days of summer, he was brought out from it (the narrow place) and he was placed in the heat of the sun, and they kept his face towards it (the sun) as it turned from the morning of each day till the ninth hour. Many times he fainted, so that he fell to the ground and became as one dead; then they struck him on his jugular veins and raised him up and seated him in the sun by force. He continued under this torture for many months. All who remembered his wickedness and his evil deed and (saw) what he received now, marvelled and glorified God and said, as says David: "I saw the hypocrite exalted like the cedar of Lebanon. Yet I passed by, and he was not: and I sought him, but he was not found in his place".
After a few days, the king sent to the land of Egypt a wali (who was charged) with the taxation. He was a good and virtuous man. When he arrived, he did good and manifested through his deed(s) (his) fear of God. God put it into the heart of the wali in the land of |68 Egypt to honour him and to respect him and to exalt him above every one in Egypt at that time and before it.
A man, a saintly monk, went to the city of the king and he asked (certain) Christian people who were good resourceful men to help him in what he desired (to do). He besought the king on account of the poll-tax and the taxation of the monks. He (the king) performed this (the desire of the monk) for him through the grace of God. and he wrote a decree for him. and (when) it reached Egypt, none of the monks was required (to pay) the tax. They (the authorities) allowed the Christians to celebrate their feasts openly and publicly. The wali rejoiced exceedingly at the decree, on account of his goodness and his kindness towards the monks. He executed immediately the order of the king. He produced evidence before every one from the Kuran that he who renounces the world and dwells among the mountains must not be forced (to pay) the tax and the poll-tax. He, for his part, wrote a decree confirming the position of the monks.
The joy of the father, the patriarch, was great by reason of this grace, on account of his care for the affairs of the monasteries and the monks and the affairs of the churches. In his great care for the Holy Desert 51, he, the father, the patriarch, raised up at the church of Abu Macarius an excellent memorial, for, remembering the deed of the Lord with regard to the monks and the church, he resolved to build a fortified wall round the Catholic church 52. He did this that it might become a cave and a fortress after 53 the Lord Christ Who is irresistible. He collected much stone and carried on the work assiduously until it was finished with towers. He made in it dwelling-places and elevated places in the shortest space of time, for he was labouring with the workmen as one of them, and as he had been wont to work when he was steward of the holy monastery 54, (and) so he did in the completion of this fortress. |69
This father Shenouti was patient in all that befell him in the way of adversities and trials, that he might obtain the wage of his conscience, according to the saying of Paul: "For (my) power is made perfect in weakness". He (Shenouti) fell sick of gout, yet (his) patience increased, and he remembered the saying of Paul: "For when I am weak then am I strong". The father, the patriarch, became weak and he was attacked by pains in both his hands and his feet. He was like this during the most of his time, so that he was not able to perform the Liturgy, and he was not present (at it) on feast days on account of the severity of (his) illness. The hater of good (Satan) did not cease from setting snares and helping those who set them.
It happened, after the completion of the fortress, that Satan did not abide patiently, but prepared for himself a vessel through which to speak, namely, a shaikh, a non-Christian, who does not deserve to be called Jacob. He became a friend of certain of the Jews, and he went to the brave wali with letters which he had written concerning the father, the patriarch, and the churches, which (the letters) were full of calumnies and lies. These were delivered to certain people who had access to the wali, in order that he might give them the authority to exact from him (Shenouti) what they had mentioned in these letters, each, year one hundred thousand dinars. This non-Christian and the Jews his friends did not cease from continuing this (the calumnies).
When this state of affairs reached the father, the patriarch, he grieved for this shaikh Jacob, and he besought the Lord to save him, lest he should be submerged in the seas of his iniquities, and he said: "O Lord, let not Satan destroy him, but deliver him from him (Satan), that he may know Your righteousness". He used to write to the Egyptian archons that they should restrain him (Jacob) and bring him back (to his duty). He sent to those who were on his side money to maintain his position, so that he might abstain from |70 his wickedness; but his wickedness doubled through the strength of Satan, so that he opened his mouth without fear of God and insulted the father, the patriarch, and uttered unseemly words. When the father (Shenouti) saw that he (Jacob) persevered in the work of Satan, the evil one, together with those of the disbelieving Jews who gathered around him. the father, the patriarch feared but little. He (Shenouti) was hidden in the provinces of the east, for fear of the wali. When their 55 deed was accomplished, the father, the patriarch, and the fathers, the bishops, who were in the land of Egypt were summoned.
All whom the walis caught on the road they forced to pay money. The walis were from among the Ghuzz 56, and their appearance was terrible and they were hateful to the Christians. They used to neigh after women like horses and to carry off the children of the people and violate them without fear. They plundered their (the Christians') cattle which they slaughtered and ate. The greater part of their food was the meat of horses, and they continued eating and drinking and fornicating. The merciful Lord perceived the evil of their deeds and put it into the heart of the wali to punish them, so that on account of the terror which he inspired (in them) and their beholding him as he slew their great ones and robbed them of their money, the fear of him was upon them; otherwise, they would have destroyed the people, for they performed reprehensible deeds which the biography is straitened to describe (on account of) its difficulty. The fathers, the bishops, through the intensity of (their) fear, used to put on the dress of laymen and to alter their clothes and to walk on foot without beasts, so that they might go whither they desired. The affairs of these (the Ghuzz) increased. The Lord had protected the father, the patriarch, from the machinations of those who presented calumnious reports about him, namely, Jacob and the Jews, even as Isaiah the prophet says: "For the counsel of the wicked has counselled |71 lawlessness, and they have destroyed the innocent with unjust words".
Hearken, now, to this miracle, as the Master says: "The gates of hell shall not overcome it". The gates of hell are the chiefs of wickedness, those who presented calumnious reports about the father (Sbenouti) and the churches, (who) were not able, on account of (their) terror of the wali, to come before him (the wali). But one of his secretaries who was accessible to him (the wali) wrote in his (the wali's) stead to summon the father (Shenouti) and the bishops. After some clays it was manifest to the wali that that evil secretary who was occupied with those who had presented the calumnious reports had forged the letters without his knowledge. He (the wali) seized him (the secretary) in great wrath, and took away from him all that he possessed and ordered that his beard should be shaved off and that he should be bound with iron (chains) and be kept in prison. When the corrupt ones saw that (secretary) in whom was their hope, they were confounded and the saying of Isaiah the prophet was fulfilled in them: "And the sinners and the transgressors of the law shall perish together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be confounded.
After a little, God destroyed Jacob the non-Christian and the Jew, his friend, and they both died an evil death, even as David says: "The fool and he that is without understanding shall perish together". All who witnessed the vengeance of the Lord on those who resist the Church marvelled and glorified God. When (the news of) the death of Jacob reached our father (Shenouti) his heart grieved for his death, before his repentance, and he wept over him. because it was requisite. The father (Shenouti) used to |72 say concerning Jacob the Christian: "May the Lord forgive him and give rest to his soul!", so that all who heard him marvelled.
When the hater of good (Satan) saw that, he became impatient to arrange trials, and he raised up another trial and did evil which we shall mention, and concerning this Paul wrote in his Epistle about these trials: "Know you that in the last days there shall be evil times. Men shall love themselves and they shall love silver, (being) proud, haughty, railers, disobedient to their parents, unthankful, impure, without compassion, inconstant, slanderers, without self control, not accepting instruction, not loving good, audacious, stiff-necked, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Satan placed all these bad qualities in the people whom he appropriated to himself (as) vessels, and made them an instrument for himself, those whom we have mentioned before, and gave them power to present calumnious reports about the father, the patriarch. They were, as Paul the Apostle says: "Men corrupted in their hearts, reprobate concerning the Faith. But their work shall not be achieved". Among these there was a priest, a monk of the monastery of Enaton 57, who came into Cairo (Misr) and wrote calumnious reports about the patriarch, and delivered them to the walls. When Satan saw him clothed thus, he put it into the heart of the persons attached to that amir, the wali himself, to take from him (the monk) the calumnious reports, and they entered with them to him. He (the wali) commanded that he (the monk) should remain before the door until he (the wali) had made enquiries about him. He (the monk) remained there for some days, but the Lord did not desire to drown him in the seas of sin. He (God) put it into the hearts of the faithful to turn him away from his ignorance and to remove him from the doors of the walls, that he should not act presumptuously towards the father (Shenouti). He became ashamed by the great reproach (made) to him by those faithful. Then he departed, and (when) |73 he was summoned afterwards, he was not found. They knew not his place (even) to this day.
Satan was troubled and his wrath increased and he went to a non-deacon in the districts of al-Basmur who was clothed with the vesture of monks, but later had put off this vesture. He (Satan) filled his (the non-deacon's) heart with evil, and he thought to accomplish what the priest had said who had gone away. The deacon resembled the priest, and he who saw him said: "He is that priest who presented the calumnious reports". When he appeared before the walis, they did not doubt that he was the priest. They said to him: "Where have you been during these days'? You were ordered to remain before the door till you didst receive the answer to what you didst ask, in which is the signature of the sultan". From that hour an important decree was written for him, and there went with him a number of cavalry of the army, and they came with him to the place in which our father, the saintly patriarch, was hidden. This affair happened before any of the people knew (of it), nor did any of the secretaries at the door (know about it), because he (the non-deacon) asked that the decree should be written for him and should not be registered in the diwans for fear lest his affair should be attested and he should not attain that winch he wanted. He (the non-deacon) seized him (Shenouti) and carried him to Cairo (Misr). When the archons and the people of Cairo (Misr) heard this news and that the patriarch had arrived in Cairo (Misr) under arrest, they were very sorrowful, and likewise they grieved also very much and were afraid of this deacon, and not one of them shewed himself.
The father (Shenouti) was suffering from strokes and gout which he had contracted. When the journey and the summons upset him, the trouble increased more. On his (Shenouti's) arrival, the wali ordered that he should be thrown into prison together with (other) prisoners, thieves, murderers and malefactors. He (Shenouti) was carried in a litter on the heads of four of his pages until he was thrown down in a narrow place, and he suffered great fatigue. All the people both the |74 Christians and the Muslims heard (this) news about him. The wali ordered that none of all the people should go in to him, except one disciple who should bring food for him at the time when it was necessary, and that it should not be allowed to speak with him, nor for him (Shenouti) to make any recommendation to him (the disciple) about what he wished. On the contrary, those who were in charge of the prison took from him (Shenouti) the food which the disciple brought, and they took from it what they wanted and gave to him what they wished from that which was left of it (the food). Of that which was brought to him he used to take a small quantity every three days and to give the rest to the people who were imprisoned with him. God, Who does not reject him who serves Him, put it into the heart of the prisoners to love and to respect him. They used to minister to him as slaves minister to their lords, and to carry him to the place in which he used to make water and to bring him back to his place with care. On account of the intensity of the anguish which he experienced, he used to give thanks to God and beseech Him to grant repose 58 to the bishops, lest they should endure what he endured, and that He should not bring them into that intense anguish; for the decree which the wali wrote for that non-deacon included (the order) to seize the bishops and to send them to Cairo (Misr).
When the father, the patriarch, was thrown into prison (the non-deacon), who had presented the calumnious reports returned and went out again to all the places of the land of Upper and Lower Egypt and he seized a number of the bishops before his business was known. It happened, when he seized one of them, that he used to expose him publicly by removing from him (his) clothes and putting on him others. He did not allow him to wear any of his own clothes, except the hood which the monks wear, and he used to make them ride on beasts without saddles, and they were mocked before the inhabitants of the land. Some of them escaped and others fell into his hands but they won him over to them and (thus) escaped.
Our father Anba Shenouti remained under this tribulation |75 for forty days, but God perceived his patience and the intensity of his fatigue and the infirmity which be endured which we have described. He (God) had compassion on him (Shenouti) and he put it into the heart of the wali to liberate him from prison, after he had demanded of him what he was unable to do. even to a small extent. He (Shenouti) was saved from his (the walis) hands (and) he wore the crown of victory and was blessed. He used to say: "I am not worthy to be tried, for my sins are great". The Christians experienced great joy at his (Shenouti's) deliverance.
When he (Shenouti) was delivered, he did not interdict that deacon, because God had already interdicted him from (performing the office of the) priesthood, for he had been clothed with the vesture of monks and had cast it away from him. He (Shenouti) caused him (the non-deacon) to come to him and he said to him: "May the Lord forgive you!" As regards the fathers, the bishops, whom he (the non-deacon) had seized and whom he wished to bring to Cairo (Misr). when the news of the deliverance of the father, the patriarch, reached him (the non-deacon), while he was yet on the way, he (the non-deacon) released them and gave them back their clothes and what was taken from them in the way of beasts, pages and furniture, except the gold or the silver, because he had given some of it to the men who were with him, and some of it he had spent on what he wanted, for he was very poor and very ragged, without money and without what he had inherited. The fathers, the bishops, rejoiced at their deliverance from his hands and they did not ask him about anything which happened to him on their account, for they thought that the news which reached them about the deliverance of the patriarch was without truth. The father (Shenouti) used to say to this deacon: "It is not you who have delivered me into the hands of the walis, but my sins which have caused me to be brought into trials''. All who heard this speech of his said: "We have never seen anything like this".
We will recount now what befell the non-deacon, in order that on account of him God may be glorified by all who hear what befell him. |76
When our father (Shenouti) was delivered from captivity and God had brought to nothing all that they had said to the wali concerning him (Shenouti), that deacon came to him and asked him in the guise (of one) of the faithful, saying to him: "I beseech you. O my father, to forgive me. because my sin is very great, and I have done to you deeds for which I am not worthy that you shouldst forgive me, for I know what evil I did and that I did not render you any good (action)". In spite of this, he (Shenouti) said to him: "May the Lord forgive you!" He (the non-deacon). then humbly asked him (Shenouti) to write for him a letter containing absolution, because he (the non-deacon) was not able to walk among the faithful or to enter any church, since, if the children of all the people, both the Muslims and the Christians saw him, they stoned him, saying: "This man is an evil man and one who presents calumnious reports". He was not able to walk among the people. Our blessed father, Anba Shenouti commanded John, his secretary, to write for him a letter to all the faithful in which he said: "I have absolved through my mouth the ban on this deacon. Let none of the faithful hinder him from receiving the Eucharist". When he had written the letter and sealed it with his seal, which is the sign of the Holy Cross, he rolled it up and delivered it to him (the non-deacon). When he (the non-deacon) left him (Shenouti), he (Shenouti) commanded a disciple of his, who had (charge of) the financial administration of the Cell 59 to pay to him (the non-deacon) a sum of money with which to help him in what he wanted. He commanded also that he should receive one of the beasts which should be saddled. He ordered for him three suits from those which his pages used to wear and he dismissed him.
I, the wretched writer of this biography, said to him (Shenouti): "O my father, how is it that you didst do this, and he (the non-deacon) is unworthy of what you didst for him in allowing him to receive the Eucharist?" He said to me: "My blessed son, do you not know that if the sinful man dares to receive the Eucharist before he has acknowledged his sin before God and asked from Him pardon and |77 remission, and believes that through the Eucharist he accomplishes his Christian duty, the Eucharist increases the sins. But. if he believes that the Eucharist forgives sins, even as He said in His Holy Gospel: "This is My Body, eat you of it at all times for the forgiveness of your sins", he receives the Eucharist and It blots out his sin. But owing to the small degree of his understanding and the domination of evil thoughts over him, he (the non-deacon) does not understand this".
In spite of what we have mentioned of what the father (Shenouti) did for him (the non-deacon), he did not give up (his) evil (ways). When he went to the provinces in which he dwelt, namely, a nahiyah in the neighbourhood of Sa, he took counsel against the priests in the churches and did harm to them, and he sat in company with the walis. The greater part of his time he was assiduous in preparing calumnious reports about the people, especially the Christians and the priests among them, and the saying of David the prophet was fulfilled in him when he says: "He sits together with the rich to slay the innocent in secret". When his (harmful) works increased, and the merchants and those who possessed money and those who were rich among the inhabitants of the provinces became afraid of him (the non-deacon), some of the inhabitants of Alexandria assembled with the merchants of the maritime provinces who transacted business with them, and they complained one to another about the behaviour of this deacon.
There was in Alexandria a wali good and pious in his religion to whom came the inhabitants of Alexandria and the merchants whom we have mentioned, and they said: "This frontier city is not distinguished nor is money got out of it, save from the merchants who visit it by sea and by land, because there is not a tax for it on the cultivation of the land or on anything else. We, the merchants of the land, are not able to come out from it (Alexandria) (to journey) to the maritime regions, because a man who presents calumnious reports lives (there), (and) does harm to |78 anyone of us who comes to these provinces and other parts by his tale-bearing to the wali, with the intention to gain access to his heart, so that we are not able to get beyond him to these lands. Lo, the merchants, the inhabitants of the maritime lands, remain outside and they have refused to import their merchandise into this frontier city, because, if the merchandise were to be seen by this man who presents calumnious reports, he would lay information against them to the walis and say to them that if this merchandise were to go out from the lands, the lands would be weakened.
When the wali learned of the behaviour of this evil man who presented calumnious reports, he ordered immediately that there should go twelve men of the cavalry who served before him and sentinels. These he chose from his companions, because he knew of their fierce strength, and he ordered them to go to this man and to seize him well and not to have mercy upon him. When they came to him and had seized him, they bound him with chains of iron on both his hands and feet and they made him ride on a vicious beast. For if the rider moved on this beast and it heard the sound of the iron (chains), then it was wont to take fright and to tremble and to throw him (the rider), and the iron (chains) would fall on him and crush him. The greater number of times, if he (the rider) did not fall from its back, it would turn its head round towards him and bite his legs with its mouth. He (the non-deacon) cried aloud, but he was not listened to. All who saw him rejoiced and prayed for the wali who had seized him. They said: "God, Whose commandments you didst not accept, has brought you, O man. into this great affliction. We beseech God not to deliver you from this misfortune". His (the non-deacon's) face was impudent and he said: "I shall be delivered from these conditions, because I am a man who am a loyal counseller to the Sultan and he will not harm me, and I will reward every man of you according to the measure of his work''. But he did not say with his tongue "if God wills". The people said: "You are worthy of much more than this, because you delivered our father, Anba Shenouti (Shanudah), |79 into prison". When he (the non-deacon) saw from the great hostility which was shewn to him by all the people, not by the Christians alone, but by the whole nation, that all the people detested him and that the wali did not entertain kindness towards him, he hid his face in his turban with shame.
When they arrived with him (the non-deacon) at the Government House, he (the wali) caused him (the non-deacon) to be brought before him and he said to him: "Are you the man concerning whom this great evil is related?" That renegade thought that if he were to speak with the wali about what he had done to the patriarch, he (the wali) would dismiss him and thank him for his deed. He said: "Yes, I am that (man) who delivered the patriarch to the wali of Cairo (Misr) and obtained from him much money, and his decrees are confirmed by my hand, and no one who is on his side will do harm to me". The wali said: '"As you are the person who has done this thing of which news has reached me, it is now evident to me that you are of the party of cursed Satan. Lo, you have an impudent face. Since you neither feared God nor respected your father, the patriarch, when you did this deed to him, according to my opinion, it is all true that was said about you by the merchants and the inhabitants of the districts in which you were, and what you are doing with those who are weak, because you have said with your tongue that you have presented calumnious reports about the patriarch. But now I shall reward you according to your deed, for God has placed you in my hands". He (the wali) commanded immediately that he (the non-deacon) should be cast upon the ground, and he caused to be brought to him strong and violent young men who had no mercy on God's creatures. In their hands were sticks like the beams of roofs, and he commanded that he (the non-deacon) should be beaten with those beams. When the soldiers said that he was at the point of death, he (the wali) commanded them not to strike him after that with the beams, but to seize him and to set him upright and to scourge him with a scourge of three hundred thongs. The soldiers said: "As soon as we begin to scourge him, he will die on the spot",---because they |80 thought that he (the wali) wished to have money from him.---"lest (if). he die, the money be lost". But he said to them: "The matter is not as you suppose. Do what I have commanded you". So they scourged him with fifty strokes with bulls' pizzles. He was also at the point of death. and no movement remained in him. After this, he (the wali) commanded them to carry him off to the prison and to keep him in great straits by means of iron and wood and not to feed him with food, except with a small quantity which would be insufficient for him, and this was a small quantity for two days or less.
When he (the non-deacon) was imprisoned, he ardently desired death, on account of the severity of the anguish, punishment and humiliation which he endured, so that, when the people who are without mercy upon anyone (namely), those who guard the prison, heard what he had done, they wished to accomplish the murder of him at night, but they were afraid of the people who were in the prison, lest they (the prisoners) should calumniate them. They wished (to do) that by all means (as) they sought thereby the mercy of God. When the people saw that none of them desired him (the non-deacon) to live or to remain (among them), even the people who were with him in the prison cursed him and desired that God might remove him from them by death, lest he should be delivered, and, having come out, falsely accuse them to the walis, since they had acknowledged before him their crimes and what they had committed and the cause for which they were imprisoned.
There was with them a man who had found in the earth a deposit of value and for this he was imprisoned, that he might reveal it. On account of his love of the world he did not wish to reveal it, and for this reason he was imprisoned. He (the man) charged him (the non-deacon), when he entered the prison, to inform his (the man's) children of the place in which was the deposit, lest he (the man) should die in the prison and what he possessed should be lost. When this man learned that he (the non-deacon) was the man who presented calumnious reports to the walis, he repented of what he had said to him, and he desired to kill him at night, but he had not the wherewith to kill him. So he used to come to his wounds which were caused by the strokes of the scourge and to spread upon them (the wounds) the filth of the prison and the grime which |81 formed on its ceilings from the foul air, that it might bring about his death. When. on account of this, he (the non-deacon) endured pain, he would cry out and say to him (the man): "You have killed me, O man!" None of the people or of those who had charge of the prison hearkened to him, since they desired his death. He (the non-deacon) knew that God has taken vengeance on him on account of what he had done to our father, the patriarch and to others of the pious faithful.
Observe, O my faithful brethren, (how) one of the people who came from Alexandria to Cairo (Misr) presented himself before our father, the patriarch, and made known to him what chastisement this deacon endured, thinking that he (Shenouti) would rejoice at this, but he (Shenouti) said: ''May God forgive him his transgressions which have brought him into these trials!" Those who were present marvelled at this and praised God, saying: "We have never seen such a (man) as this". He (Shenouti) besought God to deliver him (the non-deacon) from this anguish which had come upon him, lest his soul should perish before his repentance, because, as says Isaiah the prophet: "God desireth not the death of the sinner, so that he may repent". When his (the non-deacon's) imprisonment had lasted for a long time, and as he had nothing that the wali could take from him, he (the wali) caused him to be brought, to him, and he said to him: "Lo, I shall set you free, but when I hear about you that you have harmed a merchant or other person, then you shall not escape from my hand again".
The wounds which he (the non-deacon) had received through the strokes of the scourge and the suffering caused to them by that man who was with him in the prison through fear of him, festered upon him till the time of his death. On account of them (the sores) every day he was |82 in need of something to put on till he had washed his clothes from them (the sores), since they did not heal and did not respond to treatment. When he had endured affliction, shame and humiliation, he went to the nahiyah in which he used to dwell (which was) near Sa. He took his wife and his children and returned to the country in which he was born (which was) in the districts of al-Basmur, that is (to say) al-Bagum, and he dwelt in it. When that (the news) reached our father (Shenouti), he thanked God and said, as says David the prophet: "Blessed he the Lord Who has not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me". After that, God dispersed the scandals and those who worked iniquity, and there was great peace in the Church and in the Holy Desert 60. Our father (Shenouti) was ceaseless in prayer and supplication to God--- praised and exalted be He!---that He might strengthen him in what he endured from the walls of iniquity, since it was an evil time with an unjust sultan who was filled with as much evil as the deeds of the inhabitants of that land.
Now we will recount a little of what befell the father, Anba Shenouti, and how, when peace came upon the Church and his soul, and the souls of the Christian people became good, he used to continue in prayer and supplication to God at all times and to say: "I beseech You, O my Lord and my God, Jesus Christ, to preserve Your people from trials. As for myself, I merit what has befallen me in the way of trials, on account of my sins; but for the sake of Your mercy, preserve Your people and the sheep of Your flock and the pure Church which You have purchased with Your pure Blood, that this people may be in tranquillity and peace without disquietude". He was continuing in thanksgiving and prayer to God in this wise without relaxing night and day.
The hater of good, Satan, did not abide patiently. When he saw that God had dispersed the people who were on his side, who were a vessel for him through which to speak, he was troubled and wished to raise up trials and sorrows for the Church, that he might behold (them) and rejoice. Then he set a snare and entered into a new vessel which |83 was a monk from the monastery of Abu John 61 in the Wadi Habib, whose evil doing from his youth (up) in the monasteries was manifest to him (Satan). His family was of Maryut. He was known for slandering and lying, and there was no mercy in him. as says Paul the Apostle in his Epistle to the Romans: "Even as they did not grieve and make God their guardian, the Lord gave them up to the desires of their souls (and) their hearts hardened to do what should not be done, iniquity, wickedness, deceit, envy, subtlety, of evil (being) evil-doers (and) maligners".
This monk was a new dwelling-place for Satan. He used to make a parade of religion at the beginning of his work, and Satan used to say to him: "O brother, behold, you have put on this skhema, and you must not do these deeds, but you must desist from these base deeds and to go to the father, the patriarch, that he may ordain you a deacon, so that you may be perfect, and become (as one) of the holy monks. When he (Satan) had put this thought into his (the monk's) heart, he (the monk) said within himself: "This is a good thought''. He did not consult any of the fathers, in order that he might guide him along the right path. This he used to do all his days, and he used to spurn the counsel of the fathers on account of the lack of his religion and to persevere in what Satan stored up in his heart in the way of bad thoughts. He rose up from the desert, the place of solitude and devotion, and he went down to Lower Egypt, the place of trouble and adultery. He said: "The patriarch knows that my deeds are base from my childhood up, and if I were to go to him, he would not perform for me my desire, but I shall go to certain of the archons in Cairo (Misr), and ask them to write for me a letter |84 that he (Shenouti) should ordain me a deacon. He arose and came to Fustat of Cairo (Misr), and he met some of the Christian secretaries who did not know of the blameworthiness of his manner of life, and he made an earnest request to them. On account of the abundance of their faith in the monks, they wrote for him a letter to the father, the patriarch, concerning what he requested of them. Our father (Shenouti) was residing in the province of the east, and he was suffering from gout which was increasing. When this monk reached the door of the patriarch, it was at the ninth hour of the day, and one of his sons came out, being sad on account of the severity of his (Shenouti's) illness, and weeping on account of what he (Shenouti) endured through that. He (the monk) said to him: "I wish to meet our father, the patriarch, since I have letters from the secretaries, the archons in Cairo (Misr) and I desire to make known to him their (the letters') contents". They said to him: "O our brother monk, have you not heard of the state in which we are? He (Shenouti) has been ill since a long time with gout and no one is able to converse with him. and he (Shenouti) does not speak a word to anyone on account of the severity of the illness. But inform us of your request on account of which you have come and what you desire, or else wait, (and) perhaps, God the Merciful One will grant to him (Shenouti) health, (and) you can meet him, and he will give you an answer concerning your letters". When the [non-] monk heard this from the sons of the Cell 62, an evil (look) appeared on his face and he assumed a fierce expression like that of Satan, and he said to them: "It is the secretaries of Cairo (Misr) who have written (the letters) for me and I wish to accomplish that for which I have come. It is you, O people, who prevent me from meeting him (Shenouti) and say that he is ill. If this is so, then I shall go and do what I wish in the way of evil". When he said this in fury, the brethren said to him: "Lo, we see that you speak with the speech of the mighty. We also, [like you,] presented ourselves, but we did not find a means to meet him (Shenouti). But stay here to-day, to-morrow we will enter with you to him (Shenouti), |85 and then deliver you to him the letters which you have, as you desire". He was not influenced by their speech and he did not agree with their opinion owing to the satanic thoughts which had entered him. He spoke infamously with his satanic tongue, but they did not reply to his speech with a single word, since they were anxious about the illness of the father, the patriarch.
He (the monk) came out from their presence and he was filled with satanic thoughts. His breast grew hot and his heart was enflamed and his eyes became dark to good thoughts, even as David the prophet says: "They have all turned aside, they are become worthless, there is none that doeth good, not one. Their throats are open sepulchres, their tongues are deceitful; the poison of vipers is under their lips: whose mouths are full of cursing and bitterness, and their feet are swift to shed blood, and the place of peace they have not known, and the fear of God is not before them". He (the monk) went out from their presence and departed to Maryut, the village in which he was born and to its inhabitants dwelling there. He remained there for some days reflecting on what he wished to do in the way of trials to our father, the patriarch. The first evil which he did, which his father Satan arranged for him, was that he used to go to wali after wali and inform them that he wished to go to Cairo (Misr) and to say to them: "There is in the provinces of the patriarch money, cattle, sheep and properties and other things besides; keep them until a letter from the wali of Cairo (Misr) reaches you". When he (the monk) reached Cairo (Misr), he wrote letters to the wali and delivered them to him, and in them he said: "What I have submitted to you, O Amir, is that your rule is over all the land of Egypt, and all who hear of your rule fear it, except the patriarch who resides in Alexandria, and he does deeds which anger God, in that he bewitches certain people of the Muslims that he may make them enter into the Desert 63 and baptize them and settle them in his religion. If the amir will strengthen me, then I will go to the Desert and bring out certain of the Muslims |86 who are in it, whom he (Shenouti) has made monks, and they will say: It was the patriarch who made us (monks) and did this with us".
Then, when the non-monk who was not worthy of the name of Theodore, son of Eucharistos, had accepted these ideas from him (Satan) who had made him a vessel and who walked before him. the amir received a letter from the king that he should enter into possession of all the land of Egypt, and that all the walis should be under his hand, contrary to what was the custom; for there used not to be between the wali of Alexandria and the wali of Cairo (Misr) either any transactions or conversations, but they used to exchange presents between each other, and they were at peace with one another all (their) days, and they were under one rule. When the decree reached him (the wali of Cairo) from the Khalifah at Baghdad, he rejoiced exceedingly and he ordered his soldiers to go out with him and to wear their finest clothes and their decorations and to accompany him to Alexandria. He gave to them, as a mark of generosity, on account of the joy which he experienced, what they would spend on their way. What he spent of his (money) on the notables of his government, and their number was one thousand and two hundred horsemen, besides their followers, was for each man of them (the price of) a couple of large and fine suits of clothes and a turban manufactured in al-Basmur, and five dinars. He prepared for them provisions and loaded them into ships on the river 64.
When he (the wali of Cairo) reached Alexandria, he wished to appoint on his own account a wali for it, as also (one) for the Pentapolis. He journeyed to Alexandria, as we have stated, and there was with him this troop, adorned with decorations, strong (and) resolute. When he (the wali of Cairo) saw it (Alexandria), he rejoiced at it and admired its houses, and he stayed in it (many) days and set aright its affairs and what was spoiled in it. He entered it (Alexandria) on the first of the month of Ramadan and stayed there till the feast. After that, he determined to return to Cairo (Misr). |87
When the monk heard of this, he completed his calumnious reports, mentioning in them the patriarch and the monks. When he (the wali) reached Maryut, he stayed there a day and a night, in order that his troops might repose from the weariness of the way, before travelling to Cairo (Misr). The non-monk (now) found the means to present his calumnious reports on his (the wali's) arrival at Maryut, (and) he rejoiced exceedingly. He said: "Certainly. God has made straight my way", and he entered the camp and spoke with him who brought him to the wali, and he delivered to him (the wali) the calumnious reports which he had filled with evil from his father, Satan. He (the wali) learned the contents of them (the calumnious reports), and he studied them and him (the non-monk) attentively also, while he (the non-monk) stood before him and he perceived that he (the non-monk) was clothed with the vesture of monks. He (the wali) wished to do evil to him (the non-monk) and he said within himself: "If this (man) were not a renegade, he would not have presented calumnious reports about the father of the Christians and about the Desert, but this (man) is hostile and without understanding''. The enemy, the hater of good (Satan), changed his (the wall's) mind, and put it into his heart to accept the calumnious reports. Then he (the wali) delivered the calumnious reports to his secretary and he said to him: "Investigate this matter diligently". The secretary did what the wali commanded him. Satan inflamed his (the wali's) heart against the patriarch, and he said to the monk: "In what place are these whom the patriarch made Christians and consecrated them (as) monks?" He (the non-monk) answered and said to them: "In the Desert". But, if you will give me authority and men to strengthen me, then I will go to the Desert and bring them to you in Cairo (Misr)". Then he (the wali) sent with them two horsemen of the Turks. All who saw them were terrified at the sight of them. He who took his portion with Judas |88 Iscariot went with them to the monastery of Abu John in the Wadi Habib. When the fathers, the monks, who were there learned (of this), they were troubled, agitated and disquietened. Then he (the non-monk) entered into the cell of one of the monks who feared God. There had been enmity between them since a long time. He (the non-monk) made both of them (the Turks) bind him (the monk) with iron (chains) and he entered with him to Cairo (Misr), and this one (the monk) did not know what was the cause of the affair for which he was taken. He used to say while on the way: "The Lord is my Helper; and I shall not be afraid. The Lord is the Defender of my life, and I shall not be troubled". When he (the non-monk) entered with that brother to Cairo (Misr), to the secretary of the amir to whom the affair was referred, he said to him: "This is (one) of the Muslims whom the. patriarch made Christians". He (the secretary) said to him: "What do you say, O (the) monk, concerning what the monk has said about you"?" He answered and said: "I have been a Christian since my childhood, and my father, my mother and the inhabitants of my city know me. As regards the patriarch about whom he (the non-monk) speaks, if he be my father, then he is (also) the father of all the Christians of whom I am one. This man (the secretary) I have not seen at any time, for I was brought up in the Desert". This secretary being an evil man did not fear God, (but was) a lover of silver and gold, (being) very wicked. He caused to be brought to him people (who) witnessed falsely against him (the monk) that he had confessed that before that he had been a Muslim, and that the patriarch of the Christians had made him a Christian a long time ago; the purpose of this being to impose a fine on the patriarch. He (the secretary) gathered against that monk an |89 assembly of people who were opposed to him. and he established evidence with them against him (the monk) that he was a Muslim. He (the secretary) ordered that the vesture of monks should be taken off him, and that the clothes of Muslims should be put on him. He informed them (the assembly) of what he thought in the way of the evil which he wished to do to the patriarch. He caused him (the monk) to be brought to the assembly of the false witnesses, wearing the clothes which he (the secretary) had caused to be put on him. He promised him (the monk) to pay money to him if he would renew (his profession of) Islam in the presence of the witnesses also, but no one was able to turn him away from the Orthodox Faith: and whenever they did something to him which they wished, it did nothing but increase his faith, and he cried out and said: "I am a Christian, and my father and my mother and the inhabitants of my city know me and will testify for me to that (effect)". They buffeted him on his face and said to him: "You confessed the religion of Islam before the witnesses who are present, then again you made a denial". But the Lord was with him in all his adversity and saved him from all of it. The secretary did not pay heed to what he said. He obtained the written statements of the false witnesses whom he had set up for a witness against him (the monk) who did not renew Islam as they asked him to do. When he (the monk) did not obey them, they threw him into prison in great distress. Immediately, he (the secretary) wrote letters to the place where the father, the patriarch, was, and he sent with them (the letters) some Turks who did not know how to speak the language of the inhabitants of Egypt, and with them that evil and calumnious monk, to take him (Shenouti) and to bring him to Cairo (Misr). Some of the Orthodox Christians heard of what had happened and of what they wished (to do) to the patriarch in the way of evil. They wrote to him (Shenouti) letters in which they informed him of what this non-monk and the people who were sent to him had done.
When he (Shenouti) knew of the letters which reached him and of what Satan had raised up in the way of trials, he went out and cried |90 to the Lord to take away this trial. Then he gave thanks to the Lord and said: "O my Lord, Jesus Christ. I know that the Church has not sinned". He said what Paul the Apostle says: "We are deprived of everything, but we are not lacking; they cast us away, but we are not cast away; they persecute us. but he leaves us not; they kill us. but we are not destroyed, at all times bearing the death of Christ the Lord in our bodies, so that the life of Jesus Christ may be made manifest in our mortal bodies". He (Shenouti) was ready to give himself up in the place of the Holy Church of which he was in charge; however, he was not able to move from his bed, but he hoped for God's help for himself. His spiritual sons, Anba Simon, bishop of Bana, whom he (Shenouti) had consecrated bishop in those days, and his spiritual brother, the deacon Macarius, (who) had been with them since his youth, received his blessing. He said to them: "O my sons, (though) I am not able to move from my bed, I am ready now for the command of the Lord. As for you, it is incumbent upon you to keep far from the face of Satan, lest he do evil to you on account of me. (and) lest anyone think that you have what belongs to the Church". He (Shenouti) told them what had happened through the monk and of the arrival of the letters from the archons to him about this (matter.) As these two brethren were trustworthy, they said to him (Shenouti): ''This shall not be, O our saintly father, and we shall not leave you, but we shall give ourselves up as a ransom for you". While they two were speaking thus, lo, that non-monk called at the door: "Open!" He had already taken a decree to the walis, so that they might strengthen him and help him in addition to what he had received of the Turks who travelled with him. Then he took a soldier of the guards and went to the place where our father was. When he (Shenouti) opened the door for him, it was his intention to frighten him (Shenouti), so that he would die. When the Turks and the soldiers of the guard who were with him and (who) went in to him (Shenouti) saw that he was so ill with the illness of gout and that he could by no means |91 get up, they did not approach him. They insulted that monk on account of his deed, so that one of the Turks drew his sword and wished to kill him. This monk had no respect at all, but said: "You were sent with me to perform what the amir commanded. If you do not do what I have ordered you. then the amir will requite you for your deeds". Then Satan entered into them and urged them on till they lifted up the father, the patriarch, from his bed and carried him in their arms and his shoes with him. until they brought him down to a ship which they had prepared for him in which to carry him to Cairo (Misr). Then this monk took these two brethren whom I have mentioned and he placed their hands behind them and bound them with a great rope, and likewise those who were found of his pages and his companions. He brought them down to the ship like thieves. He carried off all that he found in the Cell of the father, the patriarch, in the way of clothes, vessels, holy books and other things.
This father (Shenouti) was very solicitous for the books of the Church, and he had a number of scribes who copied out for him books. None wrote for him, except people who were learned, good and experienced in the reading of books, besides their handwriting. Whenever a book was completed for him. he would rejoice at it, as he rejoiced at the building of a church. Then he would order that it should be embellished with gold and silver. That monk carried off most of the books and they became his own, since he had learned to read before that (time). It was his intention to gain a profit from the price (of the sale) of them, because Satan had filled his heart with evil thoughts.
He set out for Cairo (Misr), and not one of his (Shenouti's) companions or his pages was allowed to approach him or to converse with him or to see him at all. Our father (Shenouti) did not know what had happened. Among all that this monk took from the Cell of the patriarch there were boxes in some of which were books and in others clothes, and in some of them the food for the pages was put. When he (the non-monk) reached Cairo (Misr), he carried those boxes (with him), under |92 the impression that they were full of gold, silver and vessels. He did not know that the father, the patriarch, did not keep money or treasure at all, except the books of the Church and a vestment which he used to put on among the people and at the time of the Liturgy. It was of little value, since most of it was of wool, for he rarely wore silk, except on festival days. One dress sufficed him for years and years.
When this secretary examined those boxes and did not find anything in them, he thought that the monk had taken all that was in them in the way of money and vessels for himself, and had brought wood to him. He caused him (the non-monk) to he brought to him secretly and he said to him: "O man, I did not find in the boxes anything, and I have no doubt that you have taken what was in them". He (the non-monk) said to him: "In this manner I found them, and in this manner I brought them to you, since I found with you mercy and love". Immediately, God put it into his (the secretary's) heart to hate this monk, and he became ill-disposed towards him, and he changed at once, and hardly had he (the non-monk) gone out from his presence than he (the secretary) wished to kill him with his hand, but he feared (to do so) out of awe of the wali.
All the sons of the father (Shenouti) and his pages were in great straits on account of (their) humiliation, bonds, suffering, hunger, thirst and the lack of mercy of the attendants towards them, because they (the sons and the pages) did not take with them anything, and they despaired of their receiving (anything), especially, when they reached Cairo (Misr), because their case would pass out of their (the attendants') hands. For this reason, they (the attendants') had no mercy upon them.
When the brethren, the faithful, who had come to see them perceived him (Shenouti) and the condition in which they were when they reached them, (and) saw them in this predicament, they wept over them bitterly, especially, when they perceived the father, the patriarch, in such a state of illness, as he lay on his bed, without being able to rise, and without his sons being able to come to him, (and) their weeping increased, and they besought God to grant to them deliverance. The brethren went and |93 bought from their money fetters of iron and brought them to those who were in charge of them (the companions of Shenouti). and they besought them (the attendants) to loose their hands from behind them and to put the fetters on their feet, and they gave to them gold and silver. This was in the district of Lower Egypt on the shore of Atrib and its surroundings. The non-monk said: "I do not do this", but he did not know that God had condemned him and had stirred up the heart of the secretary against him (the non-monk), while he was working with the amir, in order to destroy him. The Christians standing on the bank of the Nile saw what they had done to them, and they asked God to cause the enemies of the Church to perish, and they wept and sighed.
Their (Shenouti's and his companions') arrival at the shore of Cairo (Misr) was at the tenth hour of the night. When it was morning, soldiers of the guard were assigned to the father (Shenouti) by that secretary, because he (the non-monk) had shown to him (the secretary) the boxes at night, as we mentioned at first. The monk presented himself to the secretary, as if he had not gone in. to him at night nor met him at the time (when) he delivered to him the boxes. He (the non-monk) said before the people present: "I have brought the father, the patriarch, his sons, his companions and all that he possesses". The secretary ordered that monk to be imprisoned, and he also ordered that the ship and all that was in it should be guarded. He had determined to ask permission from the amir for what he wished to do in the way of evil, since he (the non-monk) had not brought to him (the secretary) what it had been decided to bring. He was afraid on account of the boxes which he (the non-monk) had delivered to him at night, lest he (the non-monk) should present calamnious reports about him and say that they (the boxes) were full of gold and silver. Afterwards, he set him free from imprisonment and ordered the father, the patriarch, to be summoned. He (Shenouti) had not been able to ride a beast, but they had borne him on the head of a carrier to a narrow cell in the midst of thieves and murderers. He |94 (Shenouti) gave thanks to the Lord for all that, and he consoled his sons, lest they should be depressed, and he comforted them with the speech of Peter the Apostle in the beginning of his Catholic Epistle, when he says: "What is your glory, if one of you sin, (and) they chastise you. and you are patient? But do good, and if you have suffered, be patient, (this) is grace from God. To this you were called; because the Lord Jesus Christ suffered for us. and made that a reminder to follow His steps". "Now be patient and be comforted, O my blessed sons and my brethren in the Lord, for He will not abandon us. but He will be with us, as He was with our fathers, and He will save us in all our adversities". He (Shenouti) comforted them and strengthened their hearts by this speech and others, and they marvelled at his patience.
When it was morning, the secretary of the amir sent the people of the Muslims, who had borne false witness, to the prison to examine his (Shenouti's) baggage, and they thought that they would find in it much money, as the non-monk had stated. When they came and searched it, they did not find (anything), except what was of no value and not worth mentioning. When they saw that, they returned to the secretary and they said to him: "We did not find (anything), except what was of no value, and we were ashamed to bring it to you, and it remains where it is". When he (the secretary) heard that too, he was filled with wrath against the non-monk. He (the secretary) denied to all the Christians, the faithful, access to the father, the patriarch, who was in a narrow prison, and his (Shenouti's) sons grieved and were troubled. Some of them used to present themselves to receive his blessing, without speaking a single word to him for fear of the Sultan.
After (some) days, while he (Shenouti) was with his sons in the prison, they asked of him money, in order that they might release him, but he had not anything to give to them. The amir ordered to be brought the monk against whom he was filled with wrath when the secretary informed him about his affair. When he (the non-monk) came, he (the secretary) said to him: "Where is the money which you have taken from the |95 patriarch which you mentioned to me saying that, when you came here to me, you wouldst bring with him (Shenouti) much money?" He (the non-monk) was afraid of him and he said to him: "The news had already reached him (Shenouti) before my arrival, and he gave his money to his sons and they kept it for him. They are here with him, namely, Simon, bishop of Bana, and Macarius, the deacon, his brother". He said this in order to avert (the blame) from himself. When the secretary heard (this), he thought that it was correct, and he caused the two men to be brought. When our father (Shenouti) knew of this, he prayed for them that God might save them both. He (the secretary) ordered that they should be brought to him singly, in order that he might take them in their speech. Macarius, the deacon, was brought to him first, and he said to him: "Where is the money of the patriarch? They have informed me that you took his money and escape with it on another occasion. Go now and bring it to me, that I may set you free without punishment". The brother said to him: "If I took on that occasion the money and escaped, lo, this time I have brought it with all that belongs to him (Shenouti) and what he possesses, and it is in his baggage for the Sultan to take it or to leave it". He (the secretary) listened to him and (then) he sent him to a place apart, and he ordered his brother, the bishop of Bana, to be brought. When the wali saw him, he said to him: "Are you Simon the bishop of Bana?" He said: "Yes, I am he". Then he said to him: "Where is the money of the patriarch which you have?" He said to him: "My father (Shenouti) had no money. All that he finds he spends on the churches and the destitute, and that which is in his baggage is what remains over to him out of his expenses". The two brothers said this before him with firmness, because the patriarch did not save up anything, but he spent all on the churches and the hidden. When he (the wali) saw that and understood the correctness of what they said and perceived the feebleness of the body of the father, the bishop, he commanded that he should be sent back to the prison, and he commanded his brother, the deacon, to be brought a second time. He (the wali) |96 was full of wrath against him (the deacon), and the father, the patriarch. was distressed on his account and knew that he (the deacon) would suffer chastisement. When they brought him (the deacon) in to him (the wali), he said to him: "If you do not give to me the money of the patriarch. I will punish you severely". That brother repeated to him his first speech and said to him: "I have already informed you that my father has nothing, except what is in his baggage". He (the wali) commanded that he (the deacon) should be laid upon his belly and that his legs should be stretched out and that he should be beaten. Then he was beaten until the blood ran down from his body. When he (the wali) saw the blood, he commanded that they should cease to chastise him and that he should be sent back to the prison. "When the father (Shenouti) saw what he (the deacon) had received in the way of punishment, he consoled him and said to him: "Rejoice, my beloved son, for you were worthy to be chastised for the sake of the Church, and I believe that you will receive the reward from the Lord Christ". He (Shenouti) made the sign of the cross over his body, and immediately the pain left him, and there was no sign of the strokes at all. When those people who were imprisoned with him (Shenouti) in the prison witnessed (this), they marvelled and went forward to him and prostrated themselves before him and said: "This man is a saint of God". The father (Shenouti) and his sons remained in the prison thirty days, and the faithful were in sorrow and affliction at Fustat of Cairo (Misr), while they (Shenouti and his sons) were among thieves and murderers.
The Lord perceived his (Shenouti's) patience and his humility and how he did not complain for a single day, but that he blessed God without ceasing or tiring and said: "I give thanks to You, O my Lord Jesus Christ, for You have not done this, unless it were merited". God put into the heart of the amir compassion, and the archons at Cairo (Misr) paid much money for him (Shenouti), and he released him (Shenouti) and his sons. He (Shenouti) gave thanks to the Lord Who was with him and Who had saved him from all his troubles, and he gave praise, as David the prophet says: "The snare is broken, and we are |97 saved, because our help is from the Lord our God". Everyone came to him (Shenouti) and prostrated before him. as he merited.
When the Lord delivered our father (Shenouti) from that trial, he (Shenouti) stood before the Lord with abundant tears on account of the brother, the monk, through whom this affair had happened, and he said: "May the Lord forgive him". Then he (Shenouti) prayed and besought on account of the other monk who was expelled from the monasteries, and he said of him that he was a Muslim, in order to save him from the hands of the people and to encourage him to have patience and to create in him the hope of the Orthodox Faith. The Lord, the Beneficent One. Who hears the prayer of those who fear Him, heard the prayer of our father (Shenouti) the saint, and put (the answer to his prayer) into the hearts of the walis, and, after they had examined him (the monk) and found that he was a Christian, they set him free from prison, (and) he obtained the crown of Confession, and he went to his monastery and none knew of him to the day of his death.
The archons asked the father (Shenouti), saying: "We beseech you to grant to us a dispensation that we may exact the punishment of the Church from this non-monk". The father (Shenouti) did not allow them (to do this), but he said to them: "He is not the one who did this to me, but it is my sins. If this one deserves punishment, he will receive it for his base deed". Our father (Shenouti) said this by reason of his knowledge of what he (the non-monk) would receive in the way of trials; for this was his custom, since God used to reveal to him what should be, but he (Shenouti) would not reveal it to anyone of the people till the time it was accomplished, for he shunned the glory of men.
That non-monk fled from Cairo (Misr) for fear of the archons and of the walis too, because they sought him on account of the disclosure of the falsehood of all that he had said. Then he went down to Maryut to his people, but Satan did not let him abandon his evil deeds. He (the non-monk) arose and entered the Holy Desert and |98 tormented the fathers, the monks, and became a stumbling-block for all the monks. News of him (the non-monk) reached the inhabitants of Alexandria through certain well-known Muslim merchants who used to pay visits to the monasteries to buy reed-mats and other things: for they witnessed what this monk did to the monks, and they informed the wali of his (the non-monk's) oppression of them, and they gave evidence through (some) Muslim people. Thereupon, he (the wali) sent to the wali of Maryut to seize him (the non-monk) and to bind him with iron together with his brother, the layman, and to send them both to him. When he (the wali) had seized him and his brother, the layman, the wali looked at him and said to him: "Have you not heard of what I did to the non-deacon who did the same as your deeds? Surely, now I will recompense you and your brother, the layman, according to what you have deserved". He (the wali) commanded that they should both be stretched out and beaten. The servants beat them both well with a scourge till they became as dead men, and they were dragged by their feet in the markets of the city, and they were both imprisoned and bound with iron. It was after one year during which they were bound with chains of iron, and after they had given all they possessed, and after their mother and their brothers had wandered in every place and begged what they had to pay for them till they were set free in a wretched state, that the aforesaid monk was attacked by elephantiasis, and his colour became black. All who heard (about this) marvelled and glorified the Lord Who avenged the father, the patriarch, on account of his great patience, and they said: "In truth, the miracles of God (are shewn forth) in His Saints", and they blessed the Lord our God.
When our father Sinuthius, i.e. Shenouti the patriarch, a champion during all his days, blessed in his service, pleasing to God the Exalted, was perfected and had accomplished his course and his good fight and his constancy amid all adversities and trials through the temptations of Satan and what befell him through the walis and tyrants, and the suffering of the difficult times which are not described, he became old and his strength weakened. The Lord wished to |99 translate him to the house of his honour and to the place of his rest, and to give him rest with the righteous, good and virtuous fathers. He (Shenouti) fell ill and he went to his rest on the twenty-fourth of Baramudah 65. The duration of his occupation of the throne of Mark was twenty-one years and three months. The fathers, the bishops, and the priests and the Christian people assembled, and they grieved and wept bitterly over him and prayed for him. as is requisite for such as he. They performed his funeral service as befitted his rank and his holiness, and they shrouded him and buried him.
Completed is the second part of the biographies of the fathers, the Orthodox patriarchs of the Apostolic throne of Mark.
May their prayer and their blessings be with us! Amen.
Glory be to God for ever (and) ever!
1. 2 A. D. 849-851. This biography starts at line 15 of the MS.
2. 5 I. e. November 20th.
3. 8 1. e. the church in the monastery of St. Macarius in the Wadi 'n-Natrun.
4. 1 Marginal note in red partly mutilated: "A copy (mentions) that he occupied... and this does not agree with... he went to his rest in the year... he went to his rest in the year seven (?)... of the Martyrs."
5. 2 A. D. 851-858. The throne was vacant 82 days.
6. 2 Governor of Egypt in A. D. 85 1 (for one year only).
7. 2 i. e. John (III), A. D. 846-873.
8. 2 i. e. Not-a-Christodoulus.
9. 3 Muslim historians call him ‘Anbasah b. Ishak. He was governor of Egypt from A. D. 852-856.
10. 2 i. e. to hold funeral services.
11. 3 The nakus, pl. nawakis, — the semantron, a board, or flat piece of metal used as a gong in churches.
12. 4 Nabidh is a fermented drink prepared from dates, raisins, or grain. Fermented liquid from dried raisins is allowed for the Eucharist.
13. 2 I. e. the time between the seizure with paralysis of Al-Ghair ‘Abd al-Masih and his death.
14. 5 This was in May, A. D. 853, cf. S. Lane-Poole, A History of Egypt in the Middle Ages, London (1914) p. 41.
15. 4 Ga'far al-Mutawakkil.
16. 5 Governor of Egypt from A. D. 856-867.
17. 8 Minister of Justice from A. D. 851 -856.
18. 11 A water-way connecting the Nile with Alexandria.
19. 5 i. e. Christmas Day.
20. 4 i. e. 27th December.
21. 5 i. e. the bishops and the archons.
22. 6 Strictly speaking, the Anaphora.
23. 3 I. e. the Feast of the Epiphany.
24. 2 This village is mentioned in the Chronicle of Abu'l-Makarim Sa‘d Allah ibn Girgis Mas‘ud, on fol. 103r of the unique MS. of this Chronicle which is in the possession of G. Philotheus ‘Awad of Cairo. The second part of this Chronicle is wrongly ascribed to Abu Salih the Armenian (cf. B. T. A. Evetts. Churches and Monasteries of Egypt).
25. 6 The words [Arabic] ''The Holy Spirit" are written in the margin and possibly the rest of the phrase [Arabic] which MS. A gives was originally there also, but the margin is cut down and the writing is thus lost.
26. 3 In the monastery of St. Macarius in the Wadi'n-Natrun.
27. 1 Finance minister, cf. S. Lane-Poole, op. cit., p. 43.
28. 2 MS. A reads 'king'.
29. 1 i. e. the marshes at the lakes in the Wadi'n-Natrun.
30. 1 i. e. those of Macarius, John the Little, Pisoi, Baramus, the Syrians, John Kame, and Abba Moses.
31. 2 i. e. the collection of alms given every year to the bishops or monasteries. The patriarch collected the diyariah from each bishop.
32. 2 i.e. A. D. 861-862.
33. 5 Cf. Encyclopedie de l'Islam, p. 578 'Baghdad dut pour une periode de 55 ans ceder son rang de capitale de l'empire a une petite ville de province, situee a trois jours de marche en amont, Samaria'.
34. 6 i. e. A. D. 865-866.
35. 2 Christians and Jews living in a Moslem state and subject to a special tax.
36. 4 Σινούθιος is the Greek form of the Coptic name Shenouti.
37. 1 i. e. the Wadi'n-Natrun.
38. 2 i.e. 27th March, A. D. 866.
39. 3 i. e. 4th April, A. D. 886.
40. 3 i. e. Easier Sunday, 7th April, A. D. 866.
41. 4 i.e. the church in the monastery of St. Macarius in the Wadi n-Natrun.
42. 3 i. e. the stewards of the churches of Alexandria.
43. 5 i. e. the residence of the Patriarch.
44. 4 i.e. the Wadi'n-Natrun.
45. 2 i. e. one who is a descendant of Mohammed.
46. 1 I. e. the rich man who has become poor and cannot beg openly.
47. 1 A blank space follows this word in MS. A.
48. 1 H. C. Evelyn White, op. cit., Part II, p. 324 quotes this passage, presumable from MS. Fonds Arabe No. 302, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, p. 38, and translates: 'and so they fell into the hands of tender women, and married'.
49. 2 i. e. the Wadi'n-Natrun.
50. 3 Ibn al-Mudabbir was superseded in A. D. 872, cf. S. Lane-Poole, op. cit., p. 63.
51. 1 i. e. the Wadi'n-Natrun.
52. 2 i. e. the principal church.
53. 3 i. e. Jesus Christ being the first fortress.
54. 4 i. e. the monastery of St. Macarius in the Wadi'n-Natrun.
55. 1 i. e. the shaikh and his followers.
56. 2 A Turkish tribe.
57. 4 Situated nine miles from Alexandria.
58. 2 i. e. death.
59. 1 i. e. the Patriarchate.
60. 5 i. e. the Wadi'n-Natrun.
61. 1 i. e. probably the monastery of John the Little.
62. 4 i. e. the Patriarchate.
63. 4 i. e. the Wadi'n-Natrun.
64. 3 i. e. the Nile.
65. 1 i. e. April 19th.
66. 3 MS. A reads: and his blessing be with us and embrace us till the last breath.
67. 4 MS. A reads: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now, and for ever and at all times and to the ages of ages and to the enternitv of eternities. Amen.