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The twenty-third biography of the biographies of the Holy Church.
The virtuous father Abba Michael, bishop of the city of Tinnis, said: ''It is requisite. O my beloved, out of Christian love, that we should set down in writing what has not yet been recorded of what happened in the Orthodox Church of which these pastors were witnesses and with which they were acquainted in every generation---who were ministers of the word. I besought God---praised be He---to assist my feebleness, I the wretched (one), the sinner, to begin to cause my faulty tongue to be (as) the pen of a swift-writing (scribe), in order that it might move through the gift of the Holy Spirit, so that I might write what I heard and know from those who are trustworthy, whose words may be accepted; and we follow the path of those who went before us, who received the grace, and since it came into my mind to achieve this matter, I imitated the woman (who was) a widow, who cast into the treasury the two little mites, for she had nothing more besides them, and the Lord, the Scrutineer of hearts, accepted them from her. I found what the biographies contained which had been set forth by the saintly fathers through the power of the Holy Spirit, which was adopted by the Church from the time of the saintly Father, the Evangelist, my lord Mark, the pure virgin, the martyr, down to the time of the father Abba Shenouti who is the fifty-fifth, who was consecrated patriarch after Abba Cosmas. This is the father Shenouti who experienced great afflictions according to what his biography contains. After him, down to the time of Abba Shenouti the sixty-fifth, who ordained me, I the unworthy priest, nothing was written of the biographies. Then I, the wretched (one), Michael, wrote this with God's help to me---praised be He!
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Abba Khael (Anba Khayil) the patriarch, and he (is) the fifty-sixth
of (their) number.
When Shenouti, the patriarch who built the sanctuary of my lord Mark at Alexandria, died---this sanctuary remained for one hundred and fifteen years---Abba Khael was consecrated after him. He had three beautiful qualities 1 which resembled gold molten in the fire, on account of the trials which he suffered and underwent. There was an evil bishop of the see of Sakha, and there was among (the villages] of his see the village known as Dinusir. There was in it a church under the name of Ptolomaeus which required to be consecrated. The chiefs of the commune assembled with the father, the patriarch Abba Khael, and the fathers, the bishops, who were present with him for the consecration, and they asked them to come to the church, in order that they might receive their blessing. They came together and a great multitude assembled, and the time of the Liturgy arrived. The said bishop of Sakha was absent from the church, being occupied with preparing food for them. The day was ending and the time for the Liturgy passed. Then he (Khael) sent for the bishop, but he did not come, because he was occupied with what we have mentioned. Then the bishops and the congregation asked the father, the patriarch, to bear the oblation into the sanctuary, so that the priests might begin (to read) the lessons from the books and their interpretation in a quiet and slow manner, till the bishop should come. He (Khael) did that, and after this the bishop came and found that they had begun before his arrival. Then he became angry and said to the patriarch in wrath: "Who made thee do this in my see without my order or presence?" Then he went up to the sanctuary
1 These qualities are not stated.
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and took the oblation which had been borne into it, and he broke it and threw it down and came out in anger. This was grievous to the father, the patriarch, and to all who were present. Then they took another oblation and bore it into the sanctuary and completed the Liturgy and gave the Communion to the people. When the morrow came, the father, the patriarch, took his seat and the bishops assembled with him, and they excommunicated that bishop and consecrated another. When he (the first bishop) learned of this, Satan entered him and wrath took possession of him. Then he went to the amir, the mutawalli, at Fustat Misr (appointed) by the Caliph, who was Ahmad ibn Tulun the representative of the Caliph at Baghdad. He (Ibn Tulun) loved to amass money, so he (the bishop) complained to him about the patriarch and incited him against him (Khael), and said to him: "He (Khael) has much money". Ibn Tulun was occupied with recruiting soldiers for Syria, and he rejoiced at the words of the bishop that he might take from the patriarch what he could spend on the soldiers. Then he sent to summon the father, the patriarch, and he addressed him, saying: "You know what we have need of in the way of money for taking it to the Caliph at Baghdad, since he is the possessor of this land, especially for the debts which he has on account of the war. Ye, O chiefs of the Christians are in peace and you have no need of gold or silver, but only of bread to eat and a garment to wear. I have learned, indeed, that you have much money and innumerable vessels and gold and silver and brocade and (all) kinds of silk belonging to the churches. I love thee and respect your old age, and I have summoned thee not unjustly and not with force, since it is necessary that you shouldst be honoured and not despised. Give me what you have to take to the Caliph and you shall find grace with him and with me". Then the patriarch kept silent and did not know what to answer him. Then he said to him (Ibn Tulun) quietly and with humility: "There is no injustice in your kingdom and you are a people who know truth, but I am a feeble man (and) I do not possess either gold or silver
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or anything of what has been reported to you; and your Highness knows that we are a people (who are) commanded not to lay up treasures on earth and not to take thought of the morrow. Now I am before you. Do what you will. You have domination over my body, but my soul is in the hand of its Creator". When Ahmad ibn Tulun heard this he became angry and said: "In truth, my good reception of you has caused you to refuse me your money. Everyone who is outside our religion, whenever he is honoured, does not know (the meaning) of honour". Then he ordered that he (Khael) should be imprisoned.
There was in the prison in which he (Khael) was confined a chief man known as Ibn al-Mudabbir. He was a trustworthy man (who) loved alms-giving (and who) had much money. He used to serve the patriarch and to fast with him and to breakfast with him on bread, salt, boiled beans and such like things. That chief used not to eat anything of what was brought to him from his house, and he remained with him (Khael) in the prison for a year. The prison was very full, and after the expiration of a year, the patriarch gave to the jailer something so that he might make for him a latrine of bricks and mud two cubits long by two cubits (wide), that he (Khael) should not have to make water before those who were imprisoned (with him), since he thought that the duration of his imprisonment would last till the day of his death. On the day on which the building of the latrine was completed, God caused him to be released.
Ahmad ibn Tulun had two secretaries (who were) brothers, one of the two of them was called Bessus and the other, Abraham, sons of Moses. He loved them both, and they frequently besought him to make them surety for him (Khael), that they might take him from the prison to their dwelling-place, but he did not do (so).
Ahmad ibn al-Madhirani, wazir of Ibn Tulun had a secretary called John. This secretary asked his friend the wazir to ask the amir for the patriarch. Then he went to the mother of Ahmad ibn Tulun who was a woman pious in her religion (and) with knowledge of it, and
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he said to her: "You know the length of (time) of the imprisonment of the patriarch, and that a number of the bishops in the territory of Egypt are dead, and that none has been appointed in their place, and that there is need to appoint (others) in their place". Then she said to him: "Do you not know that John and Abraham, sons of Moses, who are his (Ibn Tulun's) secretaries and his own (people) have made efforts to transfer him (Khael) from his prison to their dwelling-place, and they were not able (to do so)? How, then, will he (Ibn Tulun) listen to you?" He said to her: "I will do what God has put into my heart (to do), and the matter is in God's (hands), Whose power is great". She encouraged him in this. Then he went and he took with him his son (who) was called Macarius, and they arose while yet it was dark (and went) to the house of Ahmad ibn ‘Ali al-Mardani. He (Ahmad) had the custom, when he went out very early, not to answer anyone nor to listen to his words until he had been to the mosque and had made five prostrations in it. Then he would return to his house and to the place where he was wont to sit. When he returned from the mosque, a candle being in front of him, he found John and his son sitting at the door of his house, for they had spread out the covers of their saddles, and were sitting upon them. When he had given them permission to enter with him, he asked them the reason of their coming so early, contrary to the custom. They bowed down before him and said: "O our lord, the wazir, we (wish to) inform you that we have no prayer in our churches nor anyone who pronounces judgment in our affairs. The imprisonment of our patriarch has lasted long and we ask you to help us, we and all the people of the Christians, and that you shouldst ask the amir for him". Then he said to them: "Do you not know the regard (which) he (Ibn Tulun) has for the sons of Moses and the esteem in which he holds them, and how they have asked him many times (for him, i.e. the Patriarch), but he did not grant them their request? Nevertheless, I will give my attention to this (matter)". He swore to them. Then he went to the amir, according to his custom,
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and he informed him about the affairs of his kingdom, and he mentioned to him the state of the patriarch. Then the amir said to him: "I shall kill him, because he has behaved towards me with harshness". He said to him (Ibn Tulun): "There is no use in killing him, but let us try to obtain from him something for the treasury, it is better than to kill him". Then he (Ibn Tulun) said to him: Perhaps, he (Khael) sent to ask you about this matter", but he (Ahmad) swore to him and said: "Since the day of his confinement I have not read a letter from him, and no one has spoken to me about him until this occasion when John the secretary and his son came to me and wept. I swore to them that I would speak to you on behalf of him (Khael)". He (Ibn Tulun) ordered that John the secretary and his son should be brought, and when they were present, he wrote for them a letter to the mutawalli of the prison to deliver the patriarch to them that they might go with him whithersoever they wished, and they settled his affair according to what had been arranged. Then he (Khael) was brought out from the prison to the house of the wazir, and he did not enter at all the latrine which was built for him in the prison---he (Khael) spent on it three hundred dinars---because at the hour of its completion God delivered him. He went out from the prison and stayed in a furnished and decorated place, such as was fitting, nearby the wazir's (house). John asked permission of the wazir to carry to him (Khael) what was (necessary for) eating every day. The wazir said: "It (the food) shall be carried to him (Khael) from my house, but if you wish to carry to him anything else, then it is your affair". He used to carry to him (Khael) every day many things in the way of food and drink. Then his (Khael's) affair was settled after many requests and difficulties at twenty thousand dinars, of which ten thousand (were to be paid) at (the end) of a month, and the remainder which was half (the amount was to be paid) at (the end of) four months.
The soul of Ibn Tulun rejoiced at this. He was about to set out for Syria, and he ordered that (a document) should be written (making) John and his son Macarius (liable) for
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what had been settled, (in which) it was witnessed against them that the
money (had to be paid) by them, and they did this. Then they took
the patriarch and tried to go with him to their dwelling-place, but he
would not do (it), but he went to the church of the Lady, the Mistress,
at Kasr as-Sam‘ in the lane of Abu Husain, which now belongs
to the Melkites. He remained at it twenty days, and
the archons used to come to him and converse with him and
eat and drink with him and receive his blessing. Everyone of them had
(a vessel) in which he brought to him (Khael) what he required. When
the end of the month drew near and nothing of the ten thousand dinars
had been collected for him and the patriarch had nothing at all, they
were troubled about this and they counted the sees which were without
bishops and found them to be ten. Then they appointed for them
(the sees) ten bishops and presented them to him (Khael) after they
had imposed on them (the obligation to pay) the money which they had
to collect within ten days, and he (Khael) consecrated them bishops.
John and his son brought two thousand dinars, and the
wazir gave to them one thousand dinars of his (own) money (as) a loan,
and they went to the Muslim secretaries and they borrowed from them
seven thousand dinars. Then they took the ten thousand (dinars) to
the amir at the end of the month and they swore to him that the patriarch
did not have either a dinar or a dirham and that they did not find anything
belonging to him and that all of it (the money) was a loan to him. He
(Ibn Tulun) took the money and delivered to them the writing and they
tore it up. John and his son and others wrote (a document)
for the remainder, that is the other ten thousand dinars. His (Khael's)
disciple Abba Pachomius, bishop of Taha, and another
disciple signed it, so that there were four who guaranteed the money
after four months.
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When the patriarch's senses were restored and his fears allayed, the Synod assembled with him and deliberated about the case of the money which had been borrowed and about what remained (to be paid) to the amir. They agreed to go to their sees and to take from every man a carat of gold. They violated by their deed the canon of the Fathers, the Apostles, and the Saintly Doctors of the Church who say: "Neither gold nor silver is to be taken for the gift of God which is the priesthood, namely the laying on of hands". Then they took from the ten bishops whom they had appointed to the sees what had been imposed upon them. Then the father, the patriarch, went to Wadi Habib and sold the Ramarum which is the place of standing of the monks in the church for prayer, and he took from each monk for the place of his standing one dinar. Then he went to Alexandria and asked the priests to allow him to take what was in the churches that he might sell it and take the price (received for) it to the Sultan. They did not obey him (in this) and much discussion (took place) between them until it was agreed among them to sell the houses belonging to the churches and to take the price (obtained for them) to the Sultan. They (the priests) imposed upon him (Khael) the condition that he should give to them every year a thousand dinars and that this should be a tax imposed upon him every year and upon him who should sit after him on the Throne of Mark the Evangelist. They obtained his signature to this and the signatures of his bishops. Then they sold the houses belonging to the churches at Alexandria and delivered to him (Khael) the price (obtained
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for them). He (Khael) got together from all this and from the alms which were brought to him ten thousand dinars, as much as he had borrowed, but he still owed ten thousand dinars to the amir, (and) he did not know of a way (how to obtain) them.
It happened, whenever this saintly patriarch wrote a letter from himself, that he did not say from Michael, but from Khaya, the interpretation of which is "last", that is, the last of those whom his mother, namely, the Church had borne, since her beauty had been turned into affliction through what had happened through taking money from the bishops for the laying on of hands.
In those days raids occurred between the Greeks (ar-Rum) and the Muslims. The Muslims carried off the Greeks from their lands and brought a very great number of them to Misr, and likewise the Greeks led away captive many people of the Muslims. Then the two kings Leo and Alexander wrote a letter to Ahmad ibn Tulun asking for peace and that each of them should release the captives who had fallen into his hands, soul for soul. Ibn Tulun wrote to the two kings insulting and threatening them, (saying that they were) like a weak man who insults his pursuer, while he (the weak man) is being pursued by him. Then they both wrote a letter to him (Ibn Tulun), (of which) this is a copy. "From Leo and Alexander the two kings, the chiefs (appointed) by the Lord Jesus Christ over the lands of the Greeks (who) write to Ahmad ibn Tulun. Hail to you according to the degree of your dignity! Your letters have reached us in answer to what we had written with regard to the captives, and we have found in them words which contradict one another. First of all, you address us as a friend, then, after that, you threaten us as an enemy and (as) one who is afraid, and it is not clear to us upon what we can rely with regard to you. Let our answer to you be in the same strain. Nevertheless,
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you have insulted our Faith and it was not necessary for you to write this, since you do not know its meaning, and it is not lawful for you to insult our Faith, unless there be manifested in it a fault. We have examined carefully what has reached us from others besides you, since the appearance of your religion until now, and we have not found in it anything like what you have offered to us in the way of insults to our Faith, but we have learned that those who were before you were more noble than you, and you have not come up to them in any of the arts. You have blasphemed against our belief in the Son of God and have declared that you do not know of a child (born), except from sperm, and this is far from the good way, but reason testifies to us that our God is eternal and has not ceased to live, Who speaks and Whose Word is called Son and Whose Life is the Holy Spirit. We together with you (believe) that God is the Creator of all without a tool (with which) to work, except by His saying "Be, and it was". The language of the remainder of the letter is weak, such as none of those who were before you wrote".
As regards the father Abba Khael, he continued sad at heart on account of the ten thousand dinars which, remained for him (to pay). Then he sought grace from God the Exalted, and he went down to the city of Tinnis to take from it something in the way of alms from the Christians, the lovers of God. Then he made a tour through those regions in order to obtain something else from them. After he had remained in Tinnis one day, a company (of people) presented themselves to receive his blessing and to ask news of him and (about) what had happened to his case. Lo, a monk whose face was veiled and (who was) thin in body and of contemptible appearance, wearing a ragged thouragi, came in to the patriarch in the midst of the assembly and received his blessing. No one said to
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him, "Sit down". Then he sat besides the disciples (of Khael) and he said to one of them: "Why is our father, the patriarch, troubled on account of what is demanded of him and of what he expects from the demands on him? Go to him and say to him that after forty days the Lord will tear up the writing and that money will not be demanded of him, but will be left to him". The disciple went up and informed the patriarch about this. He (Khael) commanded the disciple to present him (the monk) to him, but they did not find him, and they searched for him (in) the city of Tinnis, but they did not know anything about him (there), so that it was as if the earth had swallowed him up or the heaven had hidden him. They sent to Damietta and to the places near to them, searching for him, but they did not find him.
After three days, Ahmad ibn Tulun departed from Misr (and) marched to Damascus, on account of the news which reached him (and) which troubled him. He spent on the soldiers three thousand dinars. He continued marching for twenty-nine days, and did not rest in (any) place. This was a Divine punishment (which) descended upon him from God on account of his injustice. On the completion of the forty days which the monk had announced, Ahmad ibn Tulun died, after his return, an evil death, and his son Khumarawaih reigned in his stead. Thereupon, Ahmad ibn ‘Ali al-Mardani, the wazir, got out the document with the guarantee and delivered it to John al-Miligi, his secretary. He sent to summon the father, the patriarch, from Tinnis. When he (Khael) arrived, he stayed at the Church of the Lady at Kasr as-Sam‘, where he was first (of all). He (Khael)
l i. e. the document making Khael liable for the ten thousand dinars.
summoned the archons to him, and they brought the document and he tore it up with his hand, and he returned to his cell, glorifying God (but) grieving over that which had been violated of the Canon of the Church and over what would befall his see after him through simony and over what was taking place between himself and the Alexandrians.
Then he remained patriarch for twenty-seven years, and he went to his rest on the twenty-first of Amsir in the days of Khumarawaih, son of Ahmad ibn Tulun. The aforesaid 1 Khumarawaih had built a mosque outside Misr, and it is the mosque which is known by his name until now.
Then Khumarawaih heard reports of Wadi Habib. He journeyed to it and entered the Church of Saint Abba Macarius and saw his holy body, and asked (questions) concerning it. It was said to him: "This is the body of the owner of this Church". Then he commanded that it (the body) should be loosed from its shroud, and took hold of the hair of its beard and it opened its eyes in his (Khumarawaih's) face. Then he fell on his back and remained for an hour in a swoon without uttering a sound. Then they carried him to his tent, and they took of the oil in the lamp of Abba Macarius and anointed his forehead with it. Afterwards, another wonder was manifested to him in this Church, which was that (when) he passed through the door of the Skene 5 on its northern
1 'The aforesaid' is added in the margin.
5 The term Skene is strictly applied to the dome of a church, but, as may be gathered from the description of the consecration of a Coptic church, it may be applied also to the space beneath the dome, whether the dome be situated over the sanctuary or over another part of the church, cf. G. Horner, The Service for the Consecration of a Church and Altar, London, 1902, pp. 12 and 389-890. According to G. Graf, Verzeichnis arabischer kirchlicher Termini (Leipzig, 1934), p. 9, the Skene is also the place of the singers and readers in front of the sanctuary. The term Skene has also a wider application, namely, that of Sanctuary. Examples of this use occur frequently in the History of the Patriarchs, e. g. the Skene of Benjamin in the Monastery of St. Macarius which is a small church.
(side) beside the arch (kawsarah) and noticed the picture of the martyr looking towards the west, and they said: "It is the picture of Saint Theodore''. There was in the hand of Khumarawaih a bunch of basil and he threw it to the picture and said: "Take it, O knight, O valiant (one)". There came forth from the picture a hand and took the bunch of basil, and the bunch of basil remained in his (the martyr's) hand so that everyone saw it. Khumarawaih, son of Ahmad ibn Tulun, was very afraid and astonished at these miracles. Then he commanded that a mark should be made on that picture, that it might be manifest to all ages. Then they painted in his (the martyr's) hand another cross, and that cross is in the hand of that painting until now. From that day he (Khumarawaih) became kind towards the Christians, especially the bishops and the monks.
Abba Pachomius, bishop of Taha, who had written his name in (the document of) guarantee for the father, the patriarch, had two brothers also bishops, and he had workmen and pages, about three hundred, and they used to guard the regions in his see. Some of them had been taught to shoot with arrows of wood, because the Berbers used to make incursions against them from the west, and on account of this the amir loved him and relied on him to visit those regions, because of his fear of the king of the west who was of the family of Muhammad and was called al-Fatimi. This bishop established a ferry at the west bank (of the river) (so that) news reached him at all times.
When Abba Khael went to his rest, they (the Copts) remained for a time without consecrating a patriarch. The Melkites consecrated for themselves a patriarch, and they exulted over the Orthodox and became exceedingly proud. When the news (of this) reached Abba Pachomius the bishop, this matter was grievous to him, and he arose immediately and took
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from his lands many gifts, many fruits (which were) rare (and) out of season, and he carried them to the amir. He (the amir) was pleased with him and asked him about the news of the west. He (Pachomius) said: "There is nothing save (what is) good and peaceful for your Excellency". He remained with him for (some) days and (then) returned after he (the amir) had ordered him not to conceal from him anything in the way of news that might reach him from the west. Then he (Pachomius) was absent for five days and (then) returned. When he (the amir) saw him, he feared and thought that news had already reached him. The bishop said to him: "Do not fear, O my master, the amir, there is nothing save (what is) good, only it is not lawful for me to conceal from you anything of what might be of profit for this kingdom. It is that, (when) I departed from your presence I was informed that the Melkites who are opposed to us, who are of the Greeks (ar-Rum), had appointed for themselves a patriarch, and I feared that he might be an eye of the king of the Greeks here, and that he (the king) might come in ships to Alexandria. For this (reason) I considered that I should inform you of this". Then he (the amir) wrote a letter of appointment to the wali of Alexandria that he should obey him (Pachomius) in whatsoever he should command him. When he (Pachomius) received the order, he went down to Alexandria and ordered that they should seize the patriarch of the Melkites who was no patriarch, and that they should cut off the two fingers of his right hand with which he made the sign of the cross. He found with him (the patriarch) six bishops of his religion which is opposed (to the Monophysites). He tore their garments which were upon them together with those of their patriarch 1. Then he assembled a synod of the Orthodox bishops, and they went to Wadi Habib with the help of God Whose Name is great and by an order from Heaven.
l With regard to this story, E. Renaudot, Historia Patriarcharum Alexandrinorum Jacobitarum, p. 329, says: 'suspectissima omnino videtur haec narratio'.
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The father Gabriel the patriarch, and he is the fifty-seventh
of (their) number.
They consecrated Gabriel patriarch. He was a young man from among the inhabitants of Almah (1'. and he entered the desert and became a monk at the Monastery of Abba Macarius at the cell there called after Dorotheus who is Abu Kama, brother of John in the monastic life, and his way of life was good in the cell, and everyone who was in it was laudable in (his) way of life. There was in this cell a priest, an aged elder called Maximus who said that it was the established custom in this cell that none of them (the monks) should advance to say the "Alleluia", save he who knew all the Psalms by heart without a book, and this was the reason why the monks knew the Psalms by heart.
Concerning his (Gabriel's) advancement, there was a prophecy of an aged saintly elder called Dorotheus. This was that (when) the brethren were come to him once to receive his blessing, and this Gabriel was present with them, all of them sat to hear his (the shaikh's) words, except Gabriel who received his blessing and (then) went out, because he loved solitude and did not keep company with anyone. The elder stretched out his hand and seized the hand of Gabriel and drew him to him, while he smiled a spiritual smile, and said to him: "You flee from me,
O brother, and do not sit with me on account of your love of solitude.
I say to you, O my son, that you shall certainly sit in the midst of a great multitude of men and women together". When they seized him (Gabriel) by force to make him patriarch, he recalled the speech of this saintly elder.
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When he went to Alexandria so that they might consecrate him. the inhabitants of Alexandria said to him, according to their established custom, "Write for us in your handwriting the Creed". He spake to them a marvellous word: "Bring to us a carpenter to make for these people a new Creed. What need is there of handwriting (when) we are established in the Orthodox Faith which the Fathers, the three hundred and eighteen, set forth at Nicaea? We do not add to it nor do we take away from it". When they had consecrated him, the inhabitants of Alexandria demanded of him the thousand dinars which Abba Khael the deceased had agreed (to pay) in place of what he had taken from the (sale of) the houses belonging to the Church, but he could not pay anything. The circumstances made it necessary (for him) to journey through the see and to violate the canons, and the word of God became (as) a merchandise (which is) sold for dinars to him who asks to be ordained priest.
The Diyariat was fixed in all the sees of Misr' at a carat of gold a year for every soul among the men and women. The bishops used to take this (the Diyariat) and to live on it, and from it they used to pay the Diyariat to the patriarch every year, which was a sum of dinars (imposed) upon everyone (of the bishops), according to the wealth of his see. He (Gabriel) used to pay from it (the Diyariat) to the inhabitants of Alexandria what was arranged for them, and to spend the remainder in alms to his flock.
It is said concerning this saint, Abba Gabriel the patriarch, that he remained during the whole of his patriarchate in Wadi Habib, and that he did not leave it and did not live in the Rif nor in Misr nor in Alexandria. Whenever he went away from there (Wadi Habib) on an important business, he would be as a stranger till he returned to the said Wadi.
It was mentioned concerning him also that the lust of sin used to torment him, and that on account of this he used to fast long without
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breaking his fast. He did not find a rest from this, because at the beginning (and in) his youth he had humbled himself and tired it. When he became patriarch and found rest, this thing was stirred up in him. When he had tired himself through fasting and had not found rest, he complained of this to the elders, the monks. They gave him counsel and said to him: "This spirit is not humbled save by humility and abasement". Thereupon, he made a shovel of iron for himself and began to rise up at night after the prayer and to put on a sleeveless thouragi (and) to go round the cells of the monks outside and to clean out their latrines, without that anyone knew about him. He continued thus for two years until that (lust) left him.
He remained patriarch for eleven years, and he went to his rest on the eleventh of Amsir, and he was buried at the Monastery of Abba Macarius in Wadi Habib.
Cosmas the patriarch, and he is the fifty-eighth of (their) number.
Cosmas was consecrated after him (Gabriel) patriarch, and there was manifested in his days a great (and) marvellous thing. This was that he (Cosmas) consecrated a metropolitan from among the monks, for the regions of Abyssinia which is a vast country, namely, the kingdom of Saba from which the queen of the South came to Solomon, the son of David the king. If the king of it wished to make a tour through it, he would take a whole year making the tour, Sundays excepted, until he returned to his place. It is a country bordering upon India
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and the parts near to it. It is included in the see of my lord Mark the Evangelist up to our own day.
When the said metropolitan had come thither---his name was Peter ---its (Abyssinia's) blessed king received him with joy. When the death of its king drew near, he (the king) summoned the metropolitan and delivered to him the crown of the kingdom and his two sons and said to him: "You are the vicar of the King Christ, the Great God, by Whose authority are all the kingdoms of the world. Behold, I have delivered to you my kingdom and my two sons, and I have committed them into your hands so that you may direct them by the will of the Lord, and upon the one of them whom you shall judge to be worthy, gentle and good, place the crown of the kingdom". Then the king went to his rest. The metropolitan was a wise man and saw that the younger son was more accomplished than the elder one, and he placed upon him the crown and installed him as king. Lo! a monk from the Monastery of Abba Anthony was making a tour round the countries and was passing through the land, and with him a companion, who was making a tour with him, whose name was Victor. They both penetrated into the lands of Abyssinia, and presented themselves to the metropolitan and demanded of him that he should give them dinars and endow them both with some of his money, but he did not give anything to them. Then Satan instructed them that one of the two of them should put on the garments of bishops and that the other should act as his disciple. They wrote counterfeit letters, as if from the patriarch, in which they said: "News has reached us that there has come to you an erring man, whose name is Peter, and that he has said about us that we sent him to you as metropolitan and (this) is not correct, and neither are the letters which (he has) with him from us, nor have we consecrated him, but he has counterfeited (as if) from us, what has reached you through his hands. He whom we really sent is the metropolitan and he shall come to you with our letters in his
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hands. On being informed of this, remove Peter from you and install this (man) Menas in the see. News has also reached us that he (Peter) seated the younger son of the king on the throne and rejected the elder (one), and this is unjust, because the elder has more right to the kingdom than the younger". They both went with the letters to the elder son of the king who was alone in a solitary place, and a few people had followed him. When he learned of the contents of the counterfeit letters, he rejoiced exceedingly, and he gathered together the army to him and made known to them the letters and what was in them, and he found thereby a means to make war against his brother. The army joined him, and he vanquished him (his brother) and captured him and banished him, and he banished the metropolitan also, and installed that monk Menas in his place. After a few days a difference arose between these two false monks, and Victor plundered the cell of the archbishopric and took all that was in it and became a fugitive and embraced al-Islam and wasted all that of which he had got possession in what was not pleasing to God.
When reports of Menas reached the patriarch and of what he had done in order to banish the metropolitan and to install himself in his place, he (Cosmas) grieved exceedingly and he wrote letters (and) anathematized and excommunicated him. When the king heard of this, he took Menas the false monk and slew him. Afterwards, the patriarch did not consecrate for them (the Abyssinians) a metropolitan during the remainder of the days of his patriarchate, and neither did the patriarch who sat (upon the Throne) after him, until after five patriarchs, and (this) was Philotheus. The biography will make this clear to us when we have need for the knowledge of this, when we reach it with the help of God, since it is not requisite that we should mention the rest of the account of this before we reach it. Then the king ordered that Peter the metropolitan should be brought back to his see, but he found that
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he had already died in exile. His disciple, (however), had survived, and he prayed (to be allowed) to journey to Misr, but the king did not permit him (to do this), and said to him: "You shall sit in the place of your master". Then he asked the king to allow him to journey to Misr so that the patriarch might consecrate him metropolitan, and (that) he would return. He (the king) would not do (this), but clothed him with the garments (of bishops) against his wishes and installed him without consecration. He remained up to the time of the father Philotheus, the patriarch, till he became old and very aged, and he used to perform the acts of bishops.
Then the father Cosmas went to his rest, and the duration of his patriarchate was twelve years, and he went to his rest on the third day of Baramhat. May his prayer be with us. Amen.
Abba Macarius the patriarch, and he is the fifty-ninth
of ( their ) number.
In his (Cosmas') place there was consecrated Macarius, a monk of the Monastery of Abba Macarius, (who was) from a village in the Rif called Shubra, near Alexandria. When he had been consecrated in Alexandria and at the Monastery of Abba Macarius and in Misr according to the custom, and when he had finished his affairs in Misr, he went down to Alexandria, since none of the patriarchs had sojourned in Alexandria after Abba Khael the patriarch, who sold the houses belonging to the churches.
While going down, he determined to pass by his mother to greet her and to please her with (news of) the great gift which had been
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conferred upon him. She had become very aged. When he reached the hamlet, and (there was) with him a great multitude of bishops and other (people) to bid him farewell, it was said to his mother, as she sat spinning in her house, "Lo! your son, Macarius, has become patriarch and has arrived here to visit you". She did not answer a single word to him who said this to her, and she did not move from her place and she did not go out to receive him, but that old woman who knew (of his arrival) sat at her work weeping bitterly. When he (Macarius) entered the door of her house, she did not rise to receive him, but remained sitting (and) weeping. He was joyful at the gift which he had received. When he saw her in this state, he was exceedingly ashamed on account of them who were with him, because she contemned him before them, (and) because she did not receive him and rejoice with him, but wept while he stood (there). Then he said to her: "O aged (one), perhaps, you do not know me, I am your son Macarius. The Lord has given to me this great glory. Do you not rejoice with me now, I (being clothed) with this vesture which is the vesture and glory of kings?" Then she answered him with understanding and said to him: "As to me, I know you, my son; as to you, you know not what you have become. You are joyful at what you have received, but I grieve for you. Would that they had brought you to me borne dead on a bier than that you shouldst come in to me with this empty glory! Regard not, my son, what you have received and rejoice, but weep and grieve, because you shall be answerable for the sins of all these people who glorify you". He did not understand what she said to him at all by reason of the respect and embarrassment and shame (which he felt) on account of the people who were with him; and he went out from her, being grieved (and) weeping because she had condemned him and had spoken (thus) to him in the presence of his people. He remained on the Throne twenty years, and he went to his rest on the twenty-fourth of Baramhat.
Theophanius the patriarch, and he is the sixtieth of (their) number 1.
Thev consecrated in his place Theophanius (who was) from among the inhabitants of Alexandria, and he was already aged. It is related concerning him that (his) bosom became contracted 2 on account of his great age and his senility. He paid to the Alexandrians the thousand dinars which had been agreed upon for them every year, and then he had difficulty (to pay) in certain years, and he asked them to remit to him something of it, but they would not do (so). They quarrelled with him and straitened him and said to him: "We shall not exempt you from a single dirham of the thousand dinars". Then they said to him: "You are more honourable than we on account of these vestments and the skhema, (but) we invested you with them and they belong to us. Either pay to us what was settled (to be paid) to us by you and those who were before you, if not, then give to us our vestments". Then indignation overcame him, and he took off the vestments and the skhema from him and threw them in their faces and said to them: "If they belong to you, then take them. I have no need of them". When he took them off and threw them at them, an unclean spirit descended upon him and struck him down, so that he was hound with iron (chains) for the rest of the days of his life. Then they hid him away so that no one should see him. Then the bishops assembled and bore him to Misr so that they might treat him. They carried him on to a vessel and set sail with him. Respect did not allow them to put him on the deck of the vessel but they put him into the hold.
1 A marginal note in red reads: This is he whom the grace of God deserted [MS. A. supplies the lacuna 'and he became mad'].
2 i. e. he became ill-tempered.
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He cried out and blasphemed and said what those who are opposed (to us) say. It is said that one of the disciples of the bishops who were with him went down in the night into the hold and wet a pillow and placed it on his (Theophanius') face, while he was sleeping, and sat upon it until he was dead. And it is said that he was given something to drink so that he died 2, through fear of the disgrace. The duration of his patriarchate was four years and six months.
Menas the patriarch, and he is the sixty-first of (their) number 3.
There was consecrated in his place a man of Sandala, the son of a saintly monk of the Monastery of Abba Macarius in Wadi Habib from the Cell known as Dirnaba. This man was elect, and the reason for his monastic life was that his parents forced him into marriage in his youth against his wishes. He was very obedient to them, and they completed all that was necessary for him, for the marriage, while he looked on at it as (if it were) a vision or a dream. When they had conducted him into his bridal-chamber with his wife and left him with her, she being of his family and tribe, he sat down and said to her: "O my sister, what profit have we in this world?
2 i. e. he was poisoned.
3 A marginal note in red reads: 'This father sat on the patriarchal throne during the governorship of Kafur the Ikhsid over Egypt in the reign of the Caliph of Baghdad in the year six hundred and seventy-three (sic) [MS. A. has 'ninety-three'] of the Martyrs (= A. D. 976-977). After three years of his reign, Gawhar arrived from the west and conquered Egypt and delivered it to al-Mu‘izz, and built Cairo (al-Kahirah) [MS. A. adds 'after a year'].
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Let us say now that we came together and fulfilled the desire of our bodies and that we received children both female and male, what would be the advantage of this and what profit should we have from it? Shall we not die at the end of this and the grave be its termination? Both of these things must occur, as it is written: 'The world passeth away and all its desires, but he who doeth good endureth for ever'". When he bad reassured the woman's mind with these words and similar (ones) from the Holy Scriptures, to preserve the chastity of their bodies, he remained thus for three days until he had strengthened her faith. Then he said to her: "O my sister, the mind of each of us has been reassured. Sit you now in your house, and I shall go to Wadi Habib to become a monk, but keep this secret and do not inform anyone of it". She said to him: "Yes". Then he arose on the fourth day very early, and no one knew of it, and he went to the aforesaid Wadi and dwelt in the aforesaid Cell which is Dirnaba, with a saintly elder who was father of the Cell. He instructed him in the fear of God, and when he made known to him the secret, he clothed him with the garments of monasticism. He concealed his case for three years, and no one knew about him of those who knew him. It was on the second day of his journeying from his house that his family asked about him that he should go out to them as was his wont, but they did not find him. Then they asked his wife about him, and she said to them: "He went out from me since already a good part of the night". They searched for him diligently, but they did not find him. That marriage was turned into mourning and grief. When the days of their mourning which followed the rejoicing and the marriage were accomplished, the family of the woman wished to take her to them
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so that they might marry her to another man, but she did not respond to this and she did not agree with their opinion. She said to them: "(This is) what the Lord has judged against me. I shall abide in this house of mine, sorrowing for my husband until the day of my death".
"When the aforesaid Menas had dwelt for three years in the monastery and his affair had been hidden from his father and his family, ---then they learned news of him after that, that he was alive and had become a monk in the Monastery of Abba Macarius---his family hastened and went to him and they saw him there alive, serving God the Exalted (and) glorifying Him. The woman kept the covenant which had been established between her and him and she did not break it. This (one) remained in Wadi Habib for a long time, then he became an anchorite.
When the father, Abba Theophanius the patriarch, went to his rest, the bishops and the archons assembled to appoint (a patriarch) in his stead. Reports of this father, the saintly elder, the father of the Cell, and of his devotion in the monasteries and of the knowledge which he possessed, reached them. Then they went to him and they did not constrain him and did not speak with him about what he did not wish and did not trouble him on account of his sanctity, but they spoke to him quietly and gravely, saying: "We have come to you, O our saintly father, to call you to a divine charge that you shouldst be for us a father on the Apostolic Throne. All of us make an obeisance to you for God's sake that you send us not away disappointed, but take on this charge and accept our effort on the part of the Lord", and all of them prostrated themselves before him. When they did this, and he saw that he was vanquished by them, he said to them: "Lift up your heads, I will not gainsay you". When they lifted up their heads and wished to place their hands upon him and to consecrate him, he said to them: "By an order from God, hearken to me to what I shall say to you. Lo, you see in me an aged elder, and no force remains in me for this charge, because it is a great charge, and you know the Canons of the Church and
what is required by them, and that it is requisite that he who is advanced to this dignity should be of middle age, neither an elder nor a young man, lest the lust of the body should torment him, nor one advanced in old age, lest his body should weigh him down and he be unable to do what is necessary for him (to do)". Then they said to him: "We shall not leave you at all except you make known to us him who is fit for this dignity". When he understood that they would not leave him except he indicated to them another, he said to them: "My son Menas is fit for this charge, and I testify for him with regard to this and to the beauty of his godly way of life and that he is learned and of middle age". Then all of them cried out: "Worthy, worthy, worthy", and they presented themselves to him (Menas) and took him by force and bound iron (fetters) on his feet and bore him to Alexandria and consecrated him patriarch in it.
The bishops and the elders returned with him, and (when) he passed by his aforesaid hamlet, he turned aside to it in order to greet his family. When news of him reached them, they went out to receive him with censers and crosses and they conducted him to the house to rest. As he sat (there), a multitude (of people) being with him, an evil man among the inhabitants of the hamlet presented himself and said to one of the bishops: "Do you not say that it is not permitted to him who has been married to become patriarch?" He said to him: "Yea". Then he said: "This (one) has been married and his wife is still living with us until now in the village". When that bishop heard this saying, he was grieved and he informed the rest of the bishops who were with him and said to them: "O my brethren, know that a great misfortune and shame has befallen us and that we are become a reproach to everyone". He made known to them the news, and they were silent and became drunk, (though) not with wine, through grief and affliction. When Menas the patriarch saw them taking counsel together and knew that they (were doing so) on account of him, he said to them: "O my brethren, why take you counsel?" They said to him: "We have learned that you are married and we have done to you what is not
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lawful and what is contrary to the Canon. Tell us the truth concerning yourself". He said to them: "The matter is correct, but bring the woman". Then they brought her, and the patriarch said to her: "Make known to them the secret which is between me and you", and she informed them of this. When they heard her words, they glorified God on knowing the truth of the story from the woman and from all her family,
That year in which this father Menas was made patriarch was the year six hundred and seventy-three of the Martyrs 1.
Misr at that time belonged to the Caliph of Baghdad. The wali of it (Egypt) (who was appointed) by him (the Caliph) was a man known as the Ikhsid. He was appointed three years before this father was made patriarch 4. Then he journeyed to Palestine and died there. He left behind (him) two sons, one of them was Abu'l-Kasim and the other (was) Abu'l-Hasan. They were appointed to the government in the place of their father.
An insurgent made an insurrection against them; (he was) from the West and his name was Hananiya and they fled away before him to Palestine (Filistin), and he took possession of Misr. When they learned that his troops were in Misr only, they returned to fight against him and they routed him.
They were both youths and with them there was a master (who had) belonged to their father, whose name was Kafur. He was of Nubian race captured from the lands of Nubia, and his master had given him in his childhood to one who taught him writing and literature and all that he needed (to know). When he (Kafur) grew up and he (his master) saw that he was distinguished and skilled, he delivered to him his kingdom and his two children. This (one) was like Joseph in Misr. When seven years had passed both the sons died, and the master Kafur succeeded them. Then he (Kafur) died and the chiefs of the State took him and embalmed him
1 i. e. A. D. 956-957.
4 This is chronologically incorrect.
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and seated him on a lofty throne in his palace, and they clothed him in a robe with very long sleeves, so that they reached to the door of the audience chamber in which he was. They stationed servants before him, and they prevented everyone (who) came to salute him from going in to him, and they said: "Our lord commands that you shouldst kiss his sleeve and salute him from outside, because he is sick and can not endure that anyone enters in to him''. They had placed someone behind the throne on which they had seated [him], so that when the people saluted him, he would move his head and his sleeve, as if he were replying to them. No one of the people of his palace knew about this, except the two masters who had been attached to him and his concubines and Abu'l-Yumn Cosmas ibn Menas. He (Kafur) remained thus for three years, and his wazir collected the taxes and directed affairs until certain people learned the news (of this) and wrote to the king of the West whose name was Ma‘add Abu Tamim al-Mu‘izz-li-Dini'llah 3. When he (al-Mu'izz) learned this, he despatched one of his generals whose name was Gawhar 5, and he was a brave (man) and a warrior, and with him there was a large army. When the Ikhsidians heard news of him, they went out to fight against him, and they prevented the ships from crossing (the river). That year there was little water (in the Nile). Certain people knew the place of the ford which was opposite to Satanuf. When the chief of the Ikhsidians, namely, the master whose name was Fatik learned... He was a brave (man) (and) a warrior, and his army (was composed of) fighting men, but there was not among them any who knew how to shoot with arrows made of wood, except a few. As regards those who arrived from the West (Maghrib),
3 A. D. 953-975. 5 Gawhar ar-Rumi was wazir and commander of the forces, A. D. 953-999.
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most of their army (was composed of) naked infantry wrapped (only) in cloaks of wool. It happened that when they fought, they put their cloaks on their arms and fought with swords and arrows made of wood and the remnants of fine lances with which they pierced the Ikhsidians and killed them. Their flags were pieces of cloth dyed and marvellouslv coloured with threads of silver (as) an emblem of victory. When they saw them unfold them (the flags), they became strong for battle. When the Ikhsidians put up the black flags which were with them, their troops were routed. When the master Fatik perceived that these flags were put up by their bearers, and that they started to flee, he crossed over to them in wrath and killed them, but he was routed together with his troops. The Moors continued pursuing them and slaying them as far as Bilbais, and they took captive a number of their chiefs. Gawhar put them in irons and despatched them to the West to his master al-Mu'izz li-dini-llah. Gawhar ruled over the land of Misr, and his arrival in it was in the year six hundred and eighty-three of the Martyrs 3.
As to Abu'1-Yumn Cosmas ibn Menas the wazir of Kafur, he found grace before Gawhar (and) he left him in his position (as) overseer of the land of Misr, on account of the trustworthiness and probity for which he was well-known and to which trustworthy people of Misr bare witness. Gawhar built a city at the castle which he called Cairo (al-Kahirah) al-Mu‘izziyah.
There was among the number of the Ikhsidians a master, an amir, whose name was Tir, and he was wali of al-Bashmur,, and he it was who built the mosque outside Cairo (al-Kahirah). He prevented all the inhabitants of al-Bashmur from paying the poll-taxes and drove them to disobey Gawhar and
3 i. e. A. D. 966-967. This is an incorrect date for this event.
said to them: "Aid me and I will protect your lands and save you the tax". A great number followed him. When reports of him reached the king al-Mu‘izz on his arrival in Misr. he despatched troops to him. When the Bashmurites saw the troops, they took counsel among themselves and said: "How shall we do mischief to the king, and be safe from what will happen from him"? " Then each one of them separated to his place, and that wretched Tir fled to Damietta and the troops pursued him. Then he embarked on a ship and escaped to Palestine and entered Jaffa. They seized him there, and he remained for a month being given to drink sesame oil until his skin was raised from his flesh and his skin peeled and came off like the skin of a water-bottle. Then they stuffed it with straw and crucified it on a beam.
The inhabitants of Tinnis were in great straits at that time on account of (some) bold youths (who) were in it, and (who) had become masters of it and had robbed a number of the rich who were in it, of (their) money and they imposed (a fine in) money on its inhabitants (and) they took it from them. They used to gather together to eat and to drink, and everyone of them did what he wished, so that they took the virgin daughters from their parents and likewise the women, and no one dared to speak to them.
There were in Tinnis certain people of the Christians known as the Children of Kislam, and they were called by this name on account of (what) their father did. It (happened) that their father was a wise man, and when he saw that the wickedness of those bold (youths) multiplied and increased, he wrote to the king al-Mu‘izz asking help from him. He said in his letter, "In your kingdom (there is) a city called Tinnis in which there are a thousand Muslim youths who do such and such things", and he exposed to him all their actions. "Now it is necessary that the amir should send one of his people to be the wali of it (Tinnis), and that there should be with him a good army. When he reaches us, I will assist him in whatever he may need". Al-Mu‘izz
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despatched to it (Tinnis) a man of Kutam whose name was Mas‘alah, and with him there were many men. When he arrived, those evil-doers shut the gates of the city in his face, and they fought against him for three months until the city was in an uproar on account of thirst, because their water (was) from the lake which would be fresh for three months in the year (during) the rise of the Nile, and they would fill their cisterns from it. Then it (the lake) would be salt for nine months, and ships would carry to them fresh water from the river Nile for (a distance of) a day's journey. When they (the inhabitants) made an uproar, Kislam came together with their chiefs, and their number was one hundred men, and he said to them, while they were on the wall: "How long shall we beseige this city and remain like this? If you will obey me, I will be a mediator between you and between this amir Mas‘alah, and I will take from him for each one of you ten dinars and a fine robe of honour and he will confer on you the administration of this city on his behalf, for you have no power to resist the Sultan". They approved of his words and they said to him: "You shall be the mediator in this affair. Whatsoever you shall enjoin upon us, we will not gainsay you". Then the assembly of those young men separated, and everyone of them went to his (own) place and there remained (none) save the aforesaid hundred (chiefs). Then Kislam ordered the gate to be opened, and he went out through it and the gate was closed, and there went out with him the elders of the Muslims of the district with whom he was in agreement regarding this matter, and they went to Mas‘alah. When they went in to him, Kislam informed him of all that he had decided on and (of what) he had done, and he took from him (Mas‘alah) a thousand dinars and a hundred goodly robes of honour. He (Mas‘alah) wrote with his hand that he would not oppress them. They were reassured thereat, and they returned to the city, and they delivered to everyone of them ten dinars and a robe of honour, and informed them of the contents of the writing which he (Mas‘alah) had written. Then they rejoiced and their hearts were reassured and they
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opened the gates of the city, and Mas‘alah entered it with great glory, and he made for them a great banquet and invited all of them. This was a thing which Kislam had arranged with him (Mas‘alah) that it (the banquet) should be prepared for them. He set before them much food and drink and he swore to them by the head of the king al-Mu‘izz that none of them should depart to his dwelling-place for three days, but should remain with him eating and drinking with him. After the three days, they became intoxicated from drinking, and he shut the door upon them and ordered his soldiers to slay them all. They slow them, and he crucified them on the wall of the city before dawn. When it was morning, the inhabitants of the city saw them, and they feared greatly. Then he ordered most of the wall to be demolished, and it was demolished and it has remained demolished until now.
In the first year, (when) these Moors ruled, the land of Misr dried up and was not irrigated, and a famine started. In the second year, the Nile rose, and the people sowed (their lands), and their crops prospered, but when the dew fell, a multitude of rats descended upon it, and the crops were destroyed. In the third year, a wind came upon the crops (and) destroyed them. In the fourth year, huge locusts descended upon the crops and ate them up. The famine did not cease until the end of seven successive years, and the famine
was great in all Misr, so that the land of Misr was emptied of people on account of the number of deaths and of the hunger which occurred. In the seventh year, half a waibah and a quarter of a waibah of wheat (reached the price of) one dinar. A number of the episcopal sees were depopulated on account of their being empty of people, and bishops were not appointed to them, but they were joined to the populated sees which were neighbouring to them. They
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were: Tarnut, Aurat, Nastaruh, Anhlua, Istaf, Haryut, Itusua, Abu Rasa, Dikahlat, Niklus, and many places (for which) time does not suffice to mention them all.
The father Abba Menas the patriarch was, during all this, sojourning in the Rif. When the famine became intense, he removed (from there) and dwelt in a village of the district of Tida, known as Mahallat Danyal, until a chief woman of the inhabitants of Balkunah (who was) rich and god-fearing, her name being Dinah, supported, during the remainder of the days of the famine, the patriarch and his disciples and those who belonged to him. He (Menas) remained (thus) for one year, and he did not enter into Alexandria nor (go) to Wadi Habib to consecrate the Chrism. Then he built a fine altar at Mahallat Danyal under the name of my lord Mark and bore the Chrism on to it.
When the seven years of the famine had ended and God had granted to the people plenty and the inhabitants of the West had returned
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to their places, they (the Egyptians) did not find wheat to sow until the merchants transported (it) to them from Syria.
Then the father, the patriarch, Abba Menas, died after he had remained (on the Throne) eighteen years. At the end of his days, there were very good conditions of life, so that wheat was sold at twelve ardabs for a dinar, and it was thrown to the people by the order of the Sultan.
The twenty-fourth biography of the biographies of the Holy Church. Anba Abraham the Syrian, and he is the sixty-second of (their) number, (and) was known as Ibn Za‘rah 1.
When Abba Menas the patriarch went to his rest, and the Throne remained vacant, the bishops of the land of Misr, from the Rif and from the Two Sa‘ids, and the scribes of Misr and the priests of Alexandria assembled and remained for several days, but they did not find anyone whom it pleased them to advance (to the patriarchate).
There was in Misr a man, a Syrian merchant, whose name was Abraham ibn Zar‘ah. He used to give alms to the widows, the poor, the hidden and the feeble. He was an old man whose beard descended upon his breast like (that of) our father Abraham the first (patriarch). He was in great favour
1 A marginal note in red, more complete in MS. A. reads: "This father sat on the patriarchal throne during the reign of al-Mu‘izz, the first Caliph of the Fatimid dynasty. In his days, he ordered that the Christians... and the affair of the mountain is explained in this biography. May God exalt his rank and declare his sanctity and purity, and what He, God, did to him, in all the quarters of the earth".
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with the king al-Mu‘izz and the men of his State on account of his goods and of his wares which had reached (them), in which he used to deal with them. All the archons of Misr loved him and honoured him. (While) the people were assembling in the Church of the two Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus at Misr in Kasr as-Sam‘, which is the Catholic one, and (while) the hishops and the priests and the archons were assembling for the feast, Abraham ibn Zar‘ah entered to pray in the Church. Then one of the archons made a sign to one of the bishops, saying: "You are seeking for him who is fit for the patriarchate, and lo, God has sent to us him who is worthy of it". A number of those who were present heard (this), and his words pleased them, but they did not show it. Then one of his (Abraham's) friends, the archons, called him, as if he wished to speak to him about something. When he advanced and arrived in their company, they all cried out: "This is he whom the Lord has chosen". They seized him at once and put fetters of iron upon him. He cried out and wept and said: "I am not worthy of this charge". They bore him away at once and journeyed with him to Alexandria and consecrated him patriarch there.
He (Abraham) abolished simony which the patriarchs used to practise and to take dinars as a loan on it (ordination). He gave alms of all that he possessed, and he had great wealth, and his memory was honoured more than (that) of those who were before him. Al-Mu‘izz used to cause him (Abraham) to be brought to him at all times to take his opinion on what concerned him and to receive his blessing, and he asked him to live in Misr.
When he (Abraham) saw a number of the archons taking concubines and begetting children by them, he excommunicated him
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who did it. They all of them obeyed him except one high archon from among the chiefs of the Diwans, who had concubines. He did not send them away, and he disobeyed the patriarch. The father Abba Abraham the patriarch made a number of obeisances to him, but he did not obey him and continued in his evil deed, as the viper which does not hearken to the voice of the charmer, and (as one who does not take) the medicine (which) the physician prepares. Then the patriarch rode and went to his house that he might speak with him, and he said within himself: "Perhaps, if I go to him he will have respect before me". When they informed him (the archon) that the patriarch was coming to him, he shut the door of his house. When the patriarch reached the door, he stood and knocked at it for
two hours, but no one answered him a word. Then he excommunicated
him (the archon) and shook off (the dust from) his feet on the threshold
which was of flint-stone, and it was divided in twain, and this miracle was manifested to the people, and all those who were in Misr feared the patriarch. After a few days that archon perished with all that he possessed.
The wazir of the king al-Mu‘izz was a Jewish man whose name was Bu Jacob ibn Killis, and he came with him (al-Mu‘izz) from the West and had embraced Al-Islam at his hands. The wazir had a Jewish friend whose name was Moses. He was accorded great fortune by al-Mu‘izz on account of his friendship for his wazir. When he saw the love of the king for the patriarch and the access (which he had) to him (al-Mu‘izz), he envied him and took counsel against him. He said to Al-Mu‘izz: "I desire that you shouldst cause the patriarch of the Christians to be brought that I may dispute with him before you so that he may expose to you his religion". Al-Mu‘izz did not confront the patriarch with this and he did not expose him to a disputation with the Jew, but he said to him: "If you see (fit) to summon one of your sons,
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the bishops, that he may dispute with the Jew, do (so)". They arranged between themselves a certain day on which their meeting should be, and there was present among all the bishops a saintly, virtuous bishop of al-Ashmunain, called Severus (Sawirus) and known as Ibn al-Mukaffa‘ 2. He had been a scribe and then he became bishop, and the Lord had bestowed upon him grace and power in the Arabic tongue, so that he wrote many books and mimars and controversies. He who read his books recognised his excellence and the soundness of his knowledge. He (Severus) disputed many times with the kadis of the Muslim elders by the order of the king al-Mu‘izz, and he overcame them through the power of God and His grace.
It happened that he (Severus) was sitting with the Supreme Kadi, (and) lo, a dog passed by them. It was a Friday and there were a number of witnesses there. The Supreme Kadi said to him: "What sayest you, O Severus, concerning this dog? Is it Christian or Muslim?" He said: "Ask it, and it will answer you itself". The Kadi said to him: "Does a dog speak? We wish you to tell us". He (Severus) said: "Yes. It is necessary for us to test this dog. It (happens) that to-day is Friday on which the Christians fast and do not eat meat, and when they break (their) fast in the evening, they drink nabidh, but the Muslims do not fast on it (Friday) and do not drink nabidh on it, but eat meat on it. Put before it (the dog) meat and nabldh, and if it eats the meat, it will be Muslim, and if it does not eat it, but drinks the nabidh, then it will be Christian". When they heard his words, they marvelled at his wisdom and at the strength of his answer, and they departed from him.
The patriarch Abba Abraham took this bishop on the day on which his attendance in the presence of the king al-Mu‘izz had been fixed, and he went with him to the palace. Moses the Jew
2 A famous Coptic theologian.
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and the wazir Ibn Killis were present, and they sat for a long time silent. Then the king al-Mu‘izz said to them: "Speak concerning that for which you are assembled. Then he said: "Speak, O patriarch, and tell your deputy to say what he has (to say)". The patriarch said to the bishop: "Speak, O my son, and God will assist you". The bishop said to the king: "It is not lawful to converse with a man (who is) a Jew in the presence of the Commander (Amir) of the Faithful". The Jew said to him: "You slander me and say in the presence of the Commander of the Faithful and his wazir that I am ignorant". The bishop Abba Severus said to him: "If the truth be made manifest to the Commander (Amir) of the Faithful, will there not be anger at this?" The king al-Mu‘izz said: "It is not allowed that anyone should become angry in the disputation, but it is requisite for those who dispute that everyone of them should say what he has (to say) and to set forth his argument as he wishes". The bishop said: "It is not I (who) bear witness against you, O Jew, with regard to ignorance, but a great and illustrious prophet from God (who) has witnessed against you with regard to this". The Jew said to him: "Who is the prophet?" He (Severus) said to him: "He is Isaiah who says in the beginning of his book concerning God: "The ox has known its owner, and the ass has known the manger of its master, but Israel has not known Me'". The king al-Mu‘izz said to Moses: "Is not this correct?" He said: "Yes. This is what is written". Then the bishop said: "Has not God said, indeed, that the beasts are more intelligent than you. It is not lawful for me to converse in the council of the Commander (Amir) of the Faithful---may his might endure---with him (the Jew), (for) the beasts are more rational than he, and God, indeed, has attributed to him ignorance". The king al-Mu‘izz marvelled at this and commanded them to depart.
Enmity became great between the two parties. The wrath of the wazir waxed strong and he began to seek for a pitfall for the patriarch, because he had confounded the Jews in the presence of
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the king al-Mu‘izz, but the Lord Christ protects His elect and His servants. It happened after some days that he found a way (to have) an audience to say to al-Mu‘izz: "It is written in the Gospel of the Christians: 'If one has faith as a grain of mustard-seed, and he says to the mountain: Be you removed and be you cast into the sea, it shall be done.' Let the Commander (Amir) of the Faithful see his way to ask them to prove the truth of this saying, so that he may know that they are frauds and are liars. If they do not do (this), it is requisite that there should be done to them what they deserve on account of their lie". He approved of this word. The king al-Mu‘izz sent to summon Abba Abraham and said to him: "What say you concerning this word? Is it in your Gospel or not?" The patriarch said: "Yes. It is in it". He (al-Mu‘izz) said to him: "Lo, you Christians are thousands and tens of thousands in this land, and I desire to be brought to me one of them that this miracle may be manifested at his hands; and you, O chief of them, it is requisite that this deed should be (done) by you, otherwise, I shall destroy you with the sword". Then the patriarch was astounded, and great fear came upon him and he did not know what to answer to him (al-Mu‘izz), but God the Exalted inspired him to say to him: "Grant me a delay of three days, so that I may seek and beseech the Lord---His name be magnified---to render the heart of the Commander (Amir) of the Faithful favourable to his slaves". He granted to him the delay.
He (Abraham) returned to his dwelling-place in Misr and he caused to be brought (to him) the priests and the archons of Misr and all the Orthodox people, and weeping he made known to them the matter. There were in Misr a number of monks of Wadi Habib, and he (Abraham) imposed upon them all a penance that none of them should go to his dwelling-place for three days, but that they should assemble to continue in prayer in the church night and day. They did this for the three days and nights. As to the patriarch, he did not break his fast during them (the three days) at all.
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Some of them (the monks) broke their fast once every night with bread and salt and a little water. Abba Abraham, the patriarch, did not cease to stand weeping before God on account of it during those days and nights until there did not remain in him any movement.
This blessed gathering took place in the Church of the Mistress in Kasr as-Sam‘ known as the Mu‘allakah. When it was the morning of the third day, the saintly patriarch fell to the ground from grief of heart and from his fasting and his weariness, and he slept for a while. He saw the Lady, the Pure Mistress, Mary and she said to him with a joyful face: "What is it that has befallen you?" He said to her: "Do you not know, O my Lady, that the king of this land has said to me: 'If you do not show to me a miracle this day in the mountain, I shall kill all the inhabitants of the Christian Religion in the land of Misr, and I shall destroy them from out of my kingdom with the sword". The Mistress said to him: "Fear not, for I will not overlook the tears which you have shed in this church of mine. Rise now, and descend from here and go out by the door of the Darb al-Hadid which leads to the Great Market. As you goest out you will find a man (carrying) on his shoulder a jar full of water ---his mark is that he is one-eyed---seize him, for he it is at whose hands
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this miracle shall be manifested". The patriarch awoke at once and he was afraid. It was still dark, and he arose in haste and did not let anyone know of him till he reached the door and found it closed. He doubted in his heart and said: "I believe that Satan has played a trick upon me". He called the door-keeper, and he opened (the door) for him. The first who entered by the door was the man about whom he was told. He seized him and said to him with an obeisance for the Lord's sake: "Have pity upon this people". Then he informed him of the reason for their meeting. The man said to him: "Forgive me, for I am a sinner, and I have not reached this degree". Thereupon, the patriarch informed him of what the Pure Mistress had told him, when she appeared to him. Then he said to him: "What is your business?" He (the man) wished to hide from him his case. He (Abraham) solemnly charged him and bound him under (pain of) anathema not to hide from him anything of his case. Then he said to him: "O my father, I will inform you of my case. I am a man, a tanner, and this eye which you seest, I plucked it out on account of the commandment of the Lord, when I beheld what was not mine with lust, and saw that I was going to Hell on account of it. I considered and said: 'It is better for me to go into life with one eye, as the Lord Christ says: It is better (etc.), than that I should go to Hell with two eyes'. I am (living) in this place (as) a hired worker to a man (who is) a tanner. I do not have over from what (I receive) from my work every day (anything) except a bread to eat, and the remainder is for the destitute hidden of the brethren, women and men. This water I give them to drink every day before I go to my work. I take it to the poor people among them who have not the money to buy it from the water-carrier. All
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the day I work in the tannery and at night I stand praying. This is the state of my case, and I ask you, O my father, not to make it known to anyone, for I have not the power to endure the praise of men, but that which I shall say to you, do (it). Go out with your priests and all your people to the mountain concerning which the king told you, (having) with you gospels, crosses, censers and large candles. Let the king stand with his soldiers and his troops on one side, and you and your people, on one side, and I, behind you, will stand in the midst of the people, so that no one may recognize me. Then read you and your priests and cry aloud, saying: 'O Lord, have mercy' for a long time. Then command them to be silent and (to keep) quiet, and you shall prostrate yourself and all who are with you shall prostrate themselves, and I will prostrate myself with you. and without that anyone recognizes me. Do thus three times, and every time that you shall prostrate yourself and stand up (again) you shall make (the sign of) the cross over the mountain, and you shall see the glory of God". When he (the man) had said this word, the heart of the patriarch was reassured by what he heard from him. Then he (Abraham) rose up and all the people with him, and they went up to the king and said to him: "Go out to the mountain". He (al-Mu‘izz) commanded all his army and those who were attached to him and the notables of his State to go out, and that trumpets should be sounded. The king went out and his wazir with him, and he ordered that disbelieving Moses to go out. The father, the patriarch, did as that Saint had said to him. The king al-Mu‘izz and his companions stood on one side and all the Christians and the patriarch, on the other side, and the man stood behind the patriarch, and there was none among the assembly who recognized him, except the patriarch alone, and they cried out 'O Lord, have mercy' many times. Then he (Abraham) commanded them to be silent and he prostrated himself upon the ground and all (who were) with him prostrated themselves three times, and every time that he lifted up his face and made (the sign of) the cross, the mountain was lifted up from the ground. When they prostrated themselves,
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the mountain came down to its base. The king al-Mu‘izz feared greatly
and the king and the Muslims cried out: "God is great. There is no
God besides You!" Then the king al-Mu‘izz said to the patriarch
after the third time: "Enough, O patriarch, I have recognized, indeed,
the correctness of your faith". When the people had become calm, the
patriarch turned to look for the saintly man, but he did not find him.
Then the king said to the patriarch Abba Abraham:
"Desire of me something (and) I will do it for you". He (Abraham)
said to him: "I desire nothing, save that God may strengthen your State
and give you victory over your enemies". He (al-Mu‘izz) said to him:
"Desire (of me something), O patriarch". He repeated to him the
speech three times. Then the king al-Mu‘izz said to him: "It is necessary
that you desire of me something". The patriarch said to him: "If
it be necessary, then I will ask our lord to command, if it be possible,
to be built a church of Abba Mercurius at Misr":
since it happened, when they had demolished it, that they did not allow
them (the Christians) to restore it, and it has been turned into a store
house for sugar-cane; and likewise the Mu‘allakah
in Misr in Kasr as-Sam‘, since a great part of its walls had fallen
down and part of them was in a state of decay. He (Abraham) also
asked permission to restore it (the Mu‘allakah). He (al-Mu‘izz) ordered
at once that a decree should be written for him giving him the
power (to do) this, and he gave to him from the Treasury what he would
have to spend on the restoration. He (Abraham) took the decree,
but he returned the money and said to the king al-Mu‘izz:
"May the Lord strengthen your kingdom, but the Treasury has more
right to this money". When the decree was read at the Church
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of Abba Mercurius, the sellers who were there and the dregs of the people assembled and said: "If we are all slain with one sword, we shall not allow anyone to place (one) stone upon (one) stone in this church". Then the patriarch returned to the king al-Mu‘izz with the news. He (al-Mu‘izz) became wrathful at this, and he rode at once with all bis troops till he came to the place, and he halted and commanded the foundations to be dug. They were promptly dug and a large number of masons were assembled for it (the rebuilding) and stones were carried to it (the site) from every place by the order of the king al-Mu‘izz, and they (began to) build them (the foundations) at once. No one dared to say a word except an elder who used (to lead) in the prayers for those sellers in the mosque which was there. He it was who used to assemble the congregation and presided over them. He threw himself into the foundations and said: "I desire to die to-day for the Name of God and not to let anyone build this church". When the king al-Mu‘izz was informed of this, he commanded that stones should be thrown upon him and that they should build over him. When lime and stones were thrown upon him, he wished to stand up, but the assistants did not allow him (to do so), since al-Mu‘izz had commanded that he should be buried in the foundations into which he had thrown himself. When the patriarch saw this, he dismounted from his beast and threw himself before al-Mu‘izz and besought him on behalf of him (the elder) until he (al-Mu‘izz) commanded that he should be got up from the foundations. It was with difficulty that he managed to escape from them (the foundations) safe, after he had almost died.
The king al-Mu‘izz returned to his palace, and no one dared after that to say a single word till the rebuilding of the church had been completed, and likewise (that of) the Church al-Mu‘allakah at Kasr as-Sam‘ and he (the patriarch) (re)built all the churches which were in need of restoration. No one opposed him (the patriarch) in anything of this (affair). He (re)built likewise many places in the churches at
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Alexandria which had become weakened, and he spent on this a great (deal) of money, and was not able to pay to the Alexandrians the thousand dinars which had been agreed upon for them for the expenses of their churches, and after many demands it was agreed upon that he should give to them each year five hundred dinars.
The duration of the occupation by this patriarch, Abba Abraham, of the Throne was three years and six months, and he went to his rest with his saintly fathers.
It is said that one of the archons, known as Abi‘s-Surur al-Kabir, who had influence in the State, possessed many concubines. He (Abraham) commanded him to send them away, but he did not (do so). Then he excommunicated him and forbade him the Eucharist. He acted craftily in that he gave to him (Abraham) a drink to drink 2 and killed him. He went to the Lord in peace, and the people wept over him.
There was a prophecy concerning his advancement (to the patriarchate). It (happened) that when he was a layman, he went to the Monastery of Abba Macarius in Wadi Habib to pray there. He went to the Caves to receive the blessings from the anchorites. He met one of them, and with him there were two of his companions. That saintly anchorite blessed him and seized him by his hand and took him aside and said: "O my brother, lo, I see a great rock suspended above you and it is descending upon you". He (Abraham) did not understand the meaning of his saying that day, and that he (the anchorite) signified to him thereby the greatness of the majesty of the patriarchate which he merited from God.
When the kingdom of Misr fell to al-Mu‘izz, as we have said above, Abba Menas the patriarch lived during some of his days
2 i. e. poisoned him.
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under the rule of Gawhar, and Ahha Ahraham (came) after him. "Whenever al-Mu‘izz wished to do anything according to his custom in the West, Gawhar prevented him with gentleness and diplomacy, and said that the inhabitants of Misr are a people in whom there is cunning and sagacity, and that nothing is hidden from them, and it is as if they have knowledge of that which is invisible. He (al-Mu‘izz) said to him one day: "O Gawhar, if what has been said about the sagacity of the Cairenes (al-Masriyin) is correct, then I wish to test them". Then he commanded them to take a large roll of paper similar to (that of) a decree, and that it should be rolled up without being written upon and sealed. When it was brought, he delivered it to the scribe and he inscribed upon it the name of the king al-Mu‘izz, and he (al-Mu‘izz) commanded that a trumpet should be sounded before him (the bearer) and that a public crier should proclaim among the people that they should come to hear the decree of the king, and he commanded that spies should walk behind him (the public crier) and listen to what the inhabitants of Misr said. This was done, and they heard some of the people say: "Let us go to hear the decree of the king", but some of them said: "Do not trouble yourselves. There is nothing in it; it is blank". Then they (the spies) returned and informed him (al-Mu‘izz), and he marvelled at this exceedingly.
At the beginning of the pontificate of Abba Abraham the patriarch, the wazir in Misr was the aforesaid Abu '1-Yumn Cosmas ibn Menas. He was a pious man and a virgin. He had never married, and it had not been heard concerning him that he had (known) the follies of youth. He acted well towards all men and he was praised by everyone. He was accorded favour and love by al-Mu‘izz on account of his good manner of life and intention(s) and of the strength of his faith. He (al-Mu‘izz) used to accept his words and his counsel, and he appointed him mutawalli for collecting the tax on the wealth of Misr. He continued thus until Abba Abraham became patriarch.
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When Jacob ibn Killis the wazir saw the access (which) Abu '1-Yumn had to al-Mu‘izz, he envied him and feared that he would make him wazir in his stead. He counselled al-Mu‘izz and said to him: "It is good to send Cosmas ibn Menas to the districts of Palestine to direct them, since he is a trustworthy man". His object was to remove him from al-Mu‘izz. Then he (al-Mu‘izz) sent him to Palestine. When he arrived there and took charge of it, he exacted from it and from its districts two hundred thousand dinars.
Then a heretic from the lands of the East arose, known as the Karmati 1. He took possession of all the lands of Syria till he reached the districts of Palestine. When news of him reached Cosmas ibn Menas, he took the money which he had obtained and went with it to a monastery on the top of Mount Tabor and he delivered it to the Superior of the monastery and placed it as a deposit with him in order that he might guard it, and he returned to his work. When the Karmati 1 reached him, he said to him: "Fear not, for no evil shall happen to you from me, and I will make you to be a friend to me as you wast to al-Mu‘izz", and he made a pact with him thereon. Then those who held rank wrote to al-Mu‘izz about this, that Abu 'l-Yumn Cosmas ibn Menas had come to an agreement with the Karmati and had made peace with him. When the wazir was informed of this, he found the means to remember him with evil, and he said to al-Mu‘izz: "This is Cosmas ibn Menas of whom you say that he is trustworthy and faithful. He has made peace with your enemy and has delivered to him the two hundred thousand dinars which he exacted from your lands, in order that he might strengthen him thereby against you". Al-Mu‘izz became wrathful and sent and seized all his (Cosmas') people and plundered their possessions and cast them into prison. When
1 On the Karmati (Carmathians) cf. S. Lane-Poole, op. cit., p. 94. The person in question was Hasan b. Abmad, surnamed al-A‘sam, cf. S. Lane-Poole, op. cit., pp. 105, 118.
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the Karmati reached Misr, al-Mu‘izz went out to fight against him and routed him and slew him.
Cosmas ibn Menas wrote to al-Mu‘izz (and) informed him of what had occurred with the Karmati and how he had gone to meet him so that he might be saved from him, and that he had saved the two hundred thousand dinars. Al-Mu‘izz took vengeance on the wazir ibn Killis and seized him and slew him 3, and he sent to summon Cosmas ibn Menas the pious, virtuous one. He arrived and the money with him. He (al-Mu‘izz) put on him a robe of honour and received him with hospitality after he had released all his money and people and had returned to them all their possessions which had been taken away.
Cosmas ibn Menas had acquired before his journey to Palestine ninety thousand dinars. When he wished to journey, he delivered it (the money) to Abba Abraham, the patriarch, and said to him: "If you hearest that I have died, then spend it for the salvation of my soul on the churches, the hidden, the destitute and the captives. If I return, then I shall take my money". When he (Cosmas) had returned to Misr and his case had been settled with al-Mu‘izz, he asked the patriarch for the ninety thousand dinars. He (Abraham) said to him: "I heard of what happened to you in Syria and I thought that you would not return here on account of what had happened to your people, and I feared that reports of the money would reach al-Mu‘izz and that he would take it and that nothing of it would remain for you and that (it would be) of no advantage (to you) in the next world, and I spent it on what you commanded me to". He (Cosmas) did not say to him a word (about this), or on what did you spend my money, but he said to him: "O my father, you did well for me and performed a good action and mercy on my
3 N. B. Ibn Killis died in A. D. 981 in the reign of al-‘Aziz, cf. S. Lane-Poole, op. cit., p. 121. 11
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behalf, since you distributed my money among those in need and did not leave it for the king".
When Abba Abraham went to his rest, after he had remained for three years and a half (on the Throne), nothing of the ninety thousand dinars was left to him nor a single dirham of the great wealth which he himself had possessed, but he had spent all of this on (re)building his churches and on alms and on what was pleasing to God---praised be He! He became as father Abraham the first (patriarch) in his deeds which were pleasing (to God), and he was numbered with the righteous in the Kingdom of God.
May the Lord have mercy upon us through his prayer and through the prayer of all who have pleased Him by their deeds. Glory be to God for ever and ever eternally!
PHILOTHEUS THE PATRIARCH, AND HE IS THE SIXTY-THIRD OF
The Throne of Alexandria remained vacant for six months without a patriarch. A Synod assembled at Misr, as was the custom, and they mentioned a man, a monk, called John, in the Monastery of Abba Macarius, in the Cell known as Dhakr Kafri. Then they sent for him and caused him to be brought to Misr, and with him there was a disciple who accompanied him, whose name was Philotheus. When John arrived, they saw that he was an exceedingly old man, already stricken in years, and that he was not fit for this charge, but they saw his son Philotheus, and lo, he was perfect in stature, (and) they made him patriarch. He (Philotheus) decided to take money for the consecration of bishops. There was great peace for the churches in the days of the king al-Mu‘izz until he died, and likewise (during) the
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days of his son who ruled after him, namely, Nazar Abi‘ 'l-Mansur al-‘Aziz bi‘llah.
There was in the days of this king a body of Christian scribes who were chiefs, amongst whom was a community known as Bani al-Muti‘. They came to an agreement with the father, the patriarch, that he should not consecrate a bishop without (asking) their opinion, because he used to take money and consecrate him who was not worthy.
There was at Minuf al-‘Alya a bishop whose name was Macarius and he was the secretary of the Synod, and his brother was bishop of Tanah whose name was Menas (who) was living at Damru. The patriarch was dwelling at Mahallat Danyal. Abba Menas, the bishop, went to his rest in those days. His brother, Abba Macarius, bishop of Minuf, said to the patriarch, Abba Philotheus: "If you will hearken to me, I will give you a good counsel". He said to him: "What is it?" He said: "This see which belonged to my brother is a good see and it is the place of your son, and my brother had a good dwelling-place in it at Damru. Take now one of your brethren, the monks, who are in your cell, and consecrate him bishop of it and dwell you in his dwelling-place at Damru, and the see will be according to your wishes". He approved of his (Macarius') idea, and he took his father, the monk, the elder, who was (attached) to him at the patriarchate, named John and made him his bishop. The news (of this) reached the archons at Misr and they complained of him to the wazir and he seized him (the patriarch) and cast him into prison until he received from him three thousand dinars for the Treasury.
There happened in his days a marvellous affair which we ought not to neglect to mention. It is (about) a youth of the righteous Muslim witnesses in Misr who attend the Council of the Kadi of judgments in it (Cairo), and (about) his father a man (who was also) a witness, known
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as Ibn Raga 1. The youth had learned the Law of the Muslims and observed the Koran. He was wandering on a certain day along the bank of the river (at) the place where fire-wood and reeds are sold, (which) is known as Birkit Ramis at Misr, and he found (there) a man who was a Muslim (who) had become a Christian. The soldiers of the king were round about him, holding him, and they had already prepared for him at Birkit Ramis fire-wood and reeds in order to burn him. A great multitude of people had gathered together to him, and were crowded together to see him. This youth whose father (was) Ibn Raga, was very zealous in his religion, even as was Paul at that time, when he was called to from heaven, and it was said to him: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" That One Who spoke to him (Saul) was He Who called this youth to be a witness to that martyr. When he was brought, as (was) Paul, he went up to that martyr who was in the midst of the soldiers, and he said to him: "O man, what is it that has driven you to lose your soul on account of a religion in which you are unfaithful to God the Exalted, and associate with Him another, and will be precipitated into this fire in (this) world and in the next world (into) the fire of Gehenna, because you makest God the third of three, whereas He is one and nothing resembles Him, and you say that God has a son. Now listen to me and put away from you this impiety and return to your religion, and I will make you as a brother to me, and everyone shall honour you". He (the man) said to him: "Do not attribute to me impiety and associating with God the Exalted (other gods). How (can) we make Him three, while we, the Christians, adore one God Who is the Father and the Son
1 A marginal note in red, complete in A, reads: "From here is the story of al-Wadih ibn Abu Raga, the martyr, a native of Misr (Cairo)".
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and the Holy Spirit. The Son is not foreign to God the Father, Who is His Word and likewise His Spirit. The mystery of our religion is wonderful, but it is hidden from you, because your minds (cannot) endure it. Now, O man, your heart is darkened and the light of faith has not illuminated it, but I see that after a little while the light will draw nigh to you, and your heart will be illuminated through the light of Christ, and that you shall contend for the sake of Him for Whose sake I am contending, and for the sake of Whose Name I give my soul and my body to suffering and death, and that you also shall receive these sufferings which I endure". When the youth heard his words, he was angered with him and said: "Listen to what this erring impious one says. Thinkest you that I shall be an erring impious one as you?" Then he took off his shoe from his foot and buffeted him with it on his mouth and his face and his head, and he caused him to suffer much through the buffeting. He said to him: "It shall never be that I shall be as you, O vile one". He (the man) said: "You will remember my words and will know the truth of what I am saying". Then they struck off his head and cast upon him fire-wood and many reeds, so that it (the heap) became like a lofty castle, and they set fire to it. When the people saw the hugeness of that fire which burned, they thought that his body would become ashes. The fire remained over him for three days, and the soldiers were guarding him day and night, and after that they took off from him the burning fire and they found his body like to gold, and that nothing of it was burnt. Then they informed al-Mu‘izz of this and he commanded him (the man) to be buried.
Ibn Raga, the witness, whom we have mentioned, went to his house and spent that night (there), being sad at heart on account of what the martyr of Christ had said to him. He did not eat and he did not drink that night, but he was sitting astonished. Then his father and his brothers came together to him and they said to him: "What is it that has befallen you?" He informed them of what the martyr had said.
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Thereupon they comforted him and said to him: ''Do not establish in your heart anything of the speech of that erring one". But he did not forget what was in his heart. After those days, the aforesaid youth saw a number of the inhabitants of Misr who had determined (to go) to the Hedjaz to perform the pilgrimage. He said to his father: "I desire to perform the pilgrimage with the people". His father rejoiced at this and gave to him one hundred dinars and entrusted him to a friend of his who was journeying to Mecca, and he said to him: '' This is my son whom I entrust to you to guard him as your son until you bring him back with you, and he shall be in your company by the will of God". He (the father) bought for him all that was necessary for him. While they were journeying the youth had a dream one night, and it was as if an elder, a monk, exceedingly luminous stood by him and said to him: "Follow me, you shaft profit your soul". When he awoke, he related the dream to the friend of his father who was with him. He said to him: "O my son, may God assist you. Truly, the monk is Satan who desires to tempt you. Do not lend your thought to him". Then he (the monk) appeared to him the next night and said to him as he had said on the first night without addition or reduction. On the third night also he (the monk) spoke in the same manner. When they had accomplished their pilgrimage they returned, and they journeyed six or seven days. While they were returning, they dismounted from their camels at night to pass water. Then the man (who was) the friend of his (the youth's) father mounted his camel, but he (the youth) tarried and became separated from him (his friend) and saw no one. Then he (the youth) started to run till he became tired, but he could not rejoin them (the company). He remained alone astray in the desert and he sat down being afraid of the beasts of the desert, lest they should devour him. Behold, a youth mounted on a horse, in a handsome garment and girded with a girdle of gold, stood before him. When he saw him, he said to him: "Who are you and how is it that you are gone astray alone in this desert?'' The youth said to him: "I dismounted from my camel to pass water, and I became separated
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from my companions". Then he said to him: "Mount the horse behind me". When he had mounted, the horse flew with him through the air. He did not know whether he was in the sky or on the earth, so that he swiftly arrived in the Church of the martyr Abba Mercurius in Misr. The door opened to him by itself without that anyone opened it, and he entered with him, still mounted upon the horse, as far as the door of the sanctuary. There he made him dismount, and he did not see him again. He remained astonished, as if he were in a dream, on account of the miracle which he had witnessed. Then he thought within himself and said: "(What) is this that has happened to me? Can this be a church of the Christians" He turned round and saw the lamps burning and the pictures, and said: "Was I not a moment (ago) in the desert?" He stood inside the sanctuary till it became morning. Then the sacristan of the church entered, and he thought that he (the youth) was a thief, and he wished to cry out. He (the youth) motioned to him with his hand to keep silent and to come up to him. When he drew nigh to him, the youth said to him: "What is this place?" He said to him: "The Church of Abba Mercurius in Misr". He (the youth) said to him: "Is this the city of Misr?". He said to him: "Yes, but lo, I see you as if your mind were troubled. Make known to me your history and what is your case". By that time the youth had grown calm and he said to him: "How should my mind not go astray, (seeing) that I was this night in such and such a place, and I do not know how I arrived here. God it is Who knows this". When the sacristan heard mention of the place in which he (the youth) had been, he said to him: "Did I not say to you that your mind was troubled (and) distracted, (and that) you do not know what you say? Between you and the place which you have mentioned there is a distance of one month and twelve days' (journey) and according to my opinion you are nothing but a thief, and that it is the power of the martyr which has caused you to bring forward this vain excuse, in order
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that the reason for your entry into his church might be manifest". The youth said to him: "Who is the Patron Saint of this church?" He said to him: "He is Saint Abba Mercurius the venerable". He (the youth) said: "Is Abba Mercurius a prophet?" The sacristan said to him: "No, but he is the martyr, the venerable and the strong, (one) because he renounced the glory of this world and sought (that of) the next world, and he died for the Name of Christ on account of his belief in Him and his manifesting His Name before the unbelieving kings. He received from them much torture for the sake of the Name of Christ, and he was afflicted with (all) kinds of tortures and (all) sorts of afflictions till God took him to Himself and received him into His everlasting and Heavenly Kingdom. This church and others beside it were built in his name in many places, in order that God---praised be He---might be glorified in it. His intercession is acceptable with God in interceding for the people and he intercedes for them and God manifests miracles through him and through his intercession". The youth said to him: "What is his description and (what is) his portrait (like)?" He (the sacristan) said to him: "He resembles you and is about your age". Then he (the sacristan) took him and went with him to the place of his venerable picture. When he (the youth) saw it, he said: "In truth, this is the portrait of him who appeared to me, whom I saw in the desert, and (who) carried me on the back of this horse of his hither, and this golden girdle which I saw about his waist is the same shape as it. Now I will make known to you that I am a Muslim man from among the inhabitants of this city and I agree on account of this miracle to become a Christian". He informed the sacristan of all that had happened to him and he said to him: "I am the son of Raga, the witness, and I cannot show myself, lest I should be burned with fire and the church should be burned on account of me; but I desire you to do me a favour, and you shall receive a reward from the Lord Christ, (it is that) you should hide me in some place so that no one shall see me until I have arranged what I shall
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do; and bring to me a priest, a minister of God the Exalted, pure, virtuous, intelligent (and) learned that he may teach me the Canons of the Christians and their belief and the precepts of their Law and stablish me in the Faith, since my heart is already inclined towards this religion". The sacristan agreed (to do) this, and he hid him with him in a concealed place in the church, and he went to an elder, a priest, learned, pure and virtuous, and made known to him the state of the affair. He rose up with him, being pleased with him. When they came together, the priest gave him (the youth) an answer to all that he asked him about (the affair in question) and he explained it to him and caused him to understand the truth of the matter concerning it. The youth asked him to bring to him the Gospels and the Books of the Church, the Old and the New (Testaments), and to translate''' for him the Coptic into the Arabic tongue. He said to him: "I wish to read them and to understand them and to know them, that the truth of the Faith may be stablished in me on strong foundations, for these sufferings and afflictions are not to be borne in vain". The priest brought to him the Gospel and the Books of the Prophets and all the Books of the Old and the New (Testaments) which demonstrate the truth of the Orthodox Faith and the Unity of the Lord Christ, One of the Three Persons, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and that God is One in His Godhead, and the reason for His Incarnation and His Life-giving Death and His Resurrection from the dead and His Ascension into Heaven and the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete upon the Apostles and the turning back of the people from error to the truth of the Faith. The youth said: "Blessed be he who followed this path, namely, Saul who was called Paul who heard the voice of the Lord saying to him: 'Saul, Saul, why persecutest you me?. After which He elected him from out of his error. In like manner I ask Him to guide me and to vouchsafe to me election, that I may manifest His Name among the nations". The end of this speech will come at its place in this biography. He remained (many) days searching the Books of the Old and the New
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(Testaments) until God enlightened his heart and he learned the Mysteries of the Belief and the truth of the Faith, as the Apostle says: "If a man return to the Lord the covering will he removed from his heart". He (the youth) recognized the error in which he was, and in which he had destroyed his life, and he stahlished his foundation on the rock which is Christ, and he said as Paul says: "What (is it that) shall separate me from the love of Christ? Tribulation or captivity or hunger or fire or prison? and the remainder of the chapter, none of these shall be able to separate me from the love of Christ". When the heart of that youth was strengthened in the Orthodox Faith, he asked the elder, the priest, to baptize him. He (the priest) feared lest it might be a blow from Satan, and he counselled the aforesaid youth to go to Wadi Habib. On account of the greatness of his desire (to receive baptism) he asked him (the priest) fervently with many obeisances and said to him: "Perhaps, I shall not live till I reach there", and he constrained him (to baptize him) through the abundance of his supplication to him and his weeping, so that he baptized him and named him Paul. When he had worn the light of the garment of baptism, he asked for despicable clothes to be bought from the market, and he put them on and he asked him (the priest) to pray for him. He went out and no one recognized him on account of the change in his dress and his mien by reason of the abundance of his fasting, his prayer, his contest and his standing up to read the books, the reading of which was like honey to him. As for the pilgrims, they had reached Misr; and it was the usual custom, when they approached Misr to send him who should announce the news of their arrival. The families of the pilgrims went out (from Cairo) a distance of two days that they might meet them a long way off. When his (the youth's) brothers went out with all the people to meet him, they went around (searching) for him and they asked concerning him, but they did not learn any news of him. When they found the
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friend of their father there, they turned to him and asked concerning him (the youth). But he (the friend) wept and informed them that their brother had gone astray in the desert at night, and he said to them: "I halted for a long (time) waiting for him, but he did not come, and I was compelled to journey on and I caught up with the end of the caravan. I journeyed against my will, and the night came between me and him, and I thought that perhaps he might have gone before me at the head of the caravan. When it was morning, I made a tour the whole day through the caravan from its head to its end, and I asked all who were in it concerning him (the youth), but I did not learn any news about him, and I knew (then) that he had become separated from the caravan at that place, and (that) the wild beasts had devoured him". When they (his brothers) heard this from him, they rent their garments and returned to their father and informed him of this. He set up a lamentation for him and a great mourning. When the days of the mourning were accomplished, a youth from among his (the youth's) friends (who) was dwelling in the neighbourhood of the Church of the martyr Abba Mercurius in Misr saw him (the youth) one day come out from the church and return to it, and there were upon him garments of wool and a girdle of wool. He said: "Verily, people resemble one another, and if Ibn Raga were not already dead, I would have said that he was this (one)". Then he met his father and his brothers and he said to them: "I wished to-day to detain a Christian man at the Church of Abba Mercurius, (as) I would have said that he was your son. If I had not been informed of his death, I would say it was he, because he resembles him in all his characteristics, even in his gait. I had no doubts about him, except in his garments of wool and the girdle". When they heard this, grief and weeping were renewed in them. Then his brothers desired ardently to see this person (of) whom it was said that he resembled their brother. Then they both arose in the evening and, being disguised in despicable garments, they hid themselves in a corner at the door of the church, so that they might see those who
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came out and those who went in at the time of the Prayer of Vespers. When the Prayer (of Vespers) was finished and the Christians came out, the youth came out in their midst, and they (the brothers) examined him attentively and they recognized him and they followed him to the bank (of the Nile). When they were in a place separated from the people, they took hold of him and they wept and they struck their faces and said to him: "What is this which you have done to us, O our brother?". He said to them: "What is there about me that you should not recognize (me)?" One of the two of them said to the other: "This is not a place for discussion, lest Satan should have entered him and we be covered with shame among the people". They kept close to him until they brought him to the house with gentleness. His family renewed the mourning, when they saw him in this condition. Then his father and his mother spoke to him, and they said to his brothers: "Do not speak to him till we find out about his case, lest we should become disgraced". Then they shut the doors and went in with him to a place apart. When they had ascertained the truth about his case, they said to him: "You are not our son". He said to them: "I am Paul", that is to say, the name by which they called him at the time of baptism. His father said to him: "You have dishonoured me, O my son, and you have dishonoured my eldership among the judges and the witnesses. Perhaps, you have done this because I did not marry you. I had already thought to marry you, when you should return from the pilgrimage, to the best (woman) in Misr, and to spend on your marriage much money". They remained questioning him and saying to him: "Do not dishonour us in the midst of the people, and do not put us to shame in this city". They did not cease (to remain) with him till midnight, and he was saying to them: "I do not know what you are saying". When they did not find in him any way out, they put him into a dark chamber for three days without food (and) without drink, but they did not prevail over him. On account of her great weeping and affliction, his mother did not break her fast likewise. Then they
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brought him out and presented to him food, but he did not eat anything of it. He was as if he had come forth from a feast or a banquet, and (as) one (who is) without need of food or drink, as says Isaiah the prophet: "Those who are bound to the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall not hunger nor shall they thirst". When his affair had wearied them, they took counsel to kill him lest they should be dishonoured through him. Then their hearts were touched with pity for him, and they brought him forth secretly and went with him to al-Gizah, and they said to him: "Depart from us (that) we may find rest from your dishonour". Then he went to Wadi Habib, and he abode there with a monk, and he taught him the paths of God and made him a monk. When he had abode (there) a few days, certain of those among the monks, who are without understanding, said to him: "The Lord will not accept your (conversion to) Christianity unless you go to Misr and show yourself publicly, so that you may be known". He listened to them and returned to Misr in obedience to them. He went to the dwelling-place of his father and was prepared to be put to death for the Name of Christ. When his father saw him in the garment of monks, he cried out and was enraged with him and said to him: "What is this dishonour? You went and have returned to me with a hood of wool"---he meant the holy hood which is the helmet of salvation. Then he took him and imprisoned him in a dark cellar into which the sweepings of the dust and ashes and dirt of the house were cast, and he shut down the cover over him. He swore to everyone in the house that none should give him bread or water, and that if anyone gave to him anything of this, he would punish him. He ordered his pages and his female servants to throw upon him all that they swept up in the way of dust and ashes and dirt of the house and the washings of the pots. He (the youth) remained thus for six days, and his weeping mother did not cease from weeping on his account, and she was exceedingly grieved for him, and she used to let down to him bread and water with a rope,
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but he did not taste anything of it. When six days had passed, his strength was weakened, but he was assidious in fasting and prayer night and day. There appeared to him on the seventh day the monk who had appeared to him first on the way to Mecca, and in his hand there was pure bread. He (the youth) thought that he was a spectre, and he did not eat anything of it (the bread) until he knew that something had appeared to him from God. Then the monk said to him: "Do you know me?" He said to him: "Yes, you are he whom I saw in a dream three times on the way to Mecca". He said to him: "Yes, I am that (one), and I am Macarius, the father of Wadi Habib (3). Now I have been sent to you to console you. Be strong and patient, for you shall have a great reward". Then he departed from him, and he (the youth) took that bread and ate, after he had made the sign of the cross over it, and his soul was strengthened. Then his father brought him forth from that place, and he marvelled at his remaining without food and drink (for) this period, and (that) his countenance was not changed. He (his father) spoke with him about renouncing what he had done, and he grew weary with him, but he did not prevail over him in any way. He (the youth) had formerly a concubine, and he had received a son from her before his going to Mecca. His father ordered his elder brother to bring her, and when she was brought, he commanded him (the elder brother) to come together with her in his (the youth's) presence. He did that, and he (the father) gave her to him. His (the youth's) little son was learning swimming, and he (the father of Ibn Raga) said to his believing, saintly father: "If you do not obey me and renounce what you have done, then I shall drown your son in your presence, him whom you love". He said: "Yes, I love him, and he is my son, yet I love the Lord more than him". Then he (the father of Ibn Raga) caused the swimmer who used (to teach) him (the lad) swimming to be brought, and he paid to him secretly two dinars, and he said to
him: "When the lad goes down with you in the evening that you may teach him swimming, drown him, and I will be present that I may see him and may know that it is he". The swimmer agreed (to do) this. When it was evening, Ibn Raga, the witness, took his son, the monk, the father of the lad, and went with him to the river. The lad went down with his teacher to the river that he might (teach) him to swim. When he was in the middle of the river, he (the teacher) drowned him, while his father, the monk, was looking on. Then his (Ibn Raga's) father took him back to his house and imprisoned him in another part of it, and wrote a letter concerning him to the Sultan ---the Caliph at that time was al-Hakim bi Amr Allah 2---as the Lord says in the Gospel: "A father shall deliver up his son to death". The Caliph commanded him to be brought with his father before the Supreme Judge and the witnesses, and that they should dispute with him. If anything were proved against him, he should be put to death, but if nothing were proved against him, then he should be set free. When they assembled for this (purpose) in the presence of a good mediator, al-Hakim bi Amr Allah caused him (Ibn Raga) to stand up, but no proof of his father's was established against him, as the Lord Christ says: "For I will give you a tongue and wisdom that no one shall be able to withstand". Then they departed disappointed and ashamed, and no one addressed a word to him (Ibn Raga) anymore. Then al-Hakim commanded him to be set free (and) to go whithersoever he wished. He (Ibn Raga) went to Ras al-Khalig and he started on the construction of a church there between Birkit al-Habas and Bani Wayil under
2 A. D. 996-1021.
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the name of the great angel Michael and he built it.
There were in Misr people of Ramadiyat, (and) they went by night and stole the wood of this church. When it was morning, this Saint, Ibn Raga, saw some of them in that district, and he said to them: "I know that yesterday you took the wood, and I know the place in which you have hidden it. Return it to its place, otherwise I shall complain of you to the wali of Cairo (al-Kahirah)". They denied this, and they said: "We have not taken anything". He said to them: "I shall go to al-Hakim bi Amr Allah, and he, if God will, will order the wood to be taken from where you have put it and you shall suffer harm from that". They were afraid and returned the whole of the wood to the church.
This Saint, Ibn Raga, called himself al-Wadih, and he became a friend of the learned, eminent man, Abba Severus, bishop of al-Ashmunain, known as Ibn al-Mukaffa‘ whom we have mentioned before, he who composed twenty books, besides homilies, commentaries, and answers and questions by Abi ‘l-Bisr ibn Garud, the Egyptian writer. These are the names of the twenty books: Book on the Unity; Book on the Union; Book of the Splendid, a refutation of the Jews; Book of the Exposition and Detailed Account, a refutation of the Nestorians; Book concerning Religion, written for the Wazir Cosmas ibn Menas; Book on the Arrangement of the Pearl; Book on the Councils; Book on the curing of sadness and the healing of affliction; Book on the Councils; Book of Commentary on the Faith; Book of the Announcement, a refutation of the Jews; Book of Refutation of Sa‘id Ibn Batrik; Book on the Signification of the Children of the Faithful and the Impious, and on how the Two Souls rise; Book of the Elucidation, namely, the Lamp of the Soul; Book of the Biographies; (Book of)
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the Discernment; Book on the Order of the Priesthood, twelve (chapters) on the Rites of the Church; Book on the Differences of the Sects; Book on Judgments; Book on the Exposition of the Union. Some of these books have a different name from that which we have stated. Perhaps, the book has two names.
Severus the aforesaid bishop and al-Wadih ibn Raga, the two Saints, used to consult together a good deal of their time, and to examine the books of God for the enlightenment of their minds and their nature, so that they might interpret spiritual books. Then al-Wadih ibn Raga wrote two books of commentary in the Arabic language, one of the two he called "The Evident (al-Wadih), that is, the Confession", and he set forth in it the errors of those who are opposed to us, and he produced arguments against them from their book. The other book he called "Rarities of the Commentators", and he consumed those who are opposed to us by means of these two hooks, and he produced arguments against them from their religion, as did Samson, the mighty one, when he fastened brands to the tails of foxes and let them loose into the cornfield of his enemies and consumed it. He wrote in them (the two books) an exposition of his case concerning himself.
He said in them (the two books) that the bishop Abba Severus ibn al-Mukaffa‘ had related to him that there was in Baghdad a man, a chief, the son of a king, known as al-Hasimi. He never occupied himself with anything of the affairs of the kingdom, neither with garments nor with camels, save that he used to ride (about) every day, and with him there were his soldiers, and he used to watch the churches of the Christians at the time of the liturgy, and he would enter them mounted, and he would order the Eucharist to be taken from the sanctuary, and they would break it and mix it with the dust, and he would overturn the chalice. Whenever he did this in a church, he would go to another and he would do in it the same thing, so that the churches of Baghdad were on the point of being deprived
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of the Liturgies, and most of the priests abstained from (celebrating) the Liturgy for fear of this, but it was the help of God (that) was attracting him, yet he did not know (it).
When, on a certain day, he entered one of the churches according to his custom. God opened his eyes and he perceived in the paten the oblation as a beautiful, noble child, and at the time of the Fraction he perceived (that) the priest had immolated him and (that) he drew off his blood into the chalice and (that) he divided his flesh into pieces in the paten. Al-Hasimi was astounded and unable to move. Then the priest went out to communicate the people with the flesh, and in like manner the deacon with the chalice, with the blood, while he was looking at them. He marvelled and said to the soldiers: "Do you not see this doer, the maker, namely, the priest?" They said to him: "We see him". He said to them: "Shall we endure patiently this (man) taking a child, immolating him and dividing his flesh among this great multitude and giving them to drink of his blood?" They said to him: "May God help you, O our master, we see nothing save bread and wine". Then his fear and his amazement increased. The people remained amazed at his standing (thus) stupified, and (that) he did not do to the Eucharist as his custom was. When the priest had finished and the people had gone out, he summoned the priest and told him what he had seen. He (the priest) said to him: "O our master, God forbid; it was nothing save bread and wine". When he (al-Hasimi) knew that this mystery had not been manifested save to him alone, he said to him: "I desire that you make known to me the mystery of this Eucharist and its origin". The priest made known to him, how the Lord Christ had taken bread and drink, and divided this among His disciples and said to them: 'Take and eat: This is My Body, and drink: This is My Blood. Drink of It all of you (for) a remission of your sins'. "The disciples taught us a prayer
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which we say over the bread and the wine when we place them both on the altar. Then the bread is transmuted and becomes flesh and the wine becomes blood in a mystical manner, as God has shewn to you to-day, but they are both outwardly bread and wine, because no one in the world is able to take raw meat or to drink spurting blood; only God has manifested to you this hidden, true and holy mystery for the salvation of your soul". Then he (the priest) read to him the books of the Church and explained to him the Mysteries of the Christian belief, so that his heart was reassured to enter it (Christianity), and he recognized its grandeur and the truth of it and he ascertained its teachings and its soundness. Then he commanded his companions to depart and he spent the night there with the priest, and he baptized him at night and he became a Christian. When the morrow came, his companions brought to him the beast, (but) he sent them away and he did not speak to them. When they learned the news, they went to his father and informed him of this, and he grieved sorely, and he sent to bring him (al-Hasimi) against his will. He spoke to him with tenderness and with severity. He grew weary with him on account of all the means which he tried, and he multiplied for him at one time humiliation(s) and at another time intimidation(s), but he was unable (to obtain) anything from him, and he (al-Hasimi) did not renounce his opinion. Thereupon, he delivered him. up to torture and he was tortured exceedingly, but he did not renounce his belief, and then his head was cut off with the sword for the Name of the Lord Christ, and his martyrdom was accomplished---may his blessings descend upon us and may his intercession be with us. As for his holy body, the Christians of Baghdad honoured and venerated it, and they built over it a church which is now known as the Church of al-Hasimi.
When the Saint Paul ibn Raga had completed the construction of the church which (is dedicated) to Michael at Ras al-Khalig, he returned twice to Wadi Habib, and he abode there two years. When the monks saw the piety, learning and knowledge which he
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possessed, they seized him by force and ordained him priest in the holy Skene of Benjamin. The disciples of the patriarch demanded from him the dinars according to their custom and this was exceedingly difficult for him, for he did not have anything. A certain archon saw them asking him, and they troubled him with the demand. Then he (the archon) paid to them what they demanded from him. When news of him reached his father that he had become a priest, his heart did not support it with patience, but he sent dinars to certain of the Arabs who were in that desert so that they might kill him. When certain of the monks heard (of this), they informed him, and they said to him: "You have done what was necessary and have proclaimed the Name of Christ in the place in which it was not necessary to proclaim it. Now don't deliver yourself up to death, but go to the Rif and remain hidden in it". He obeyed them and went forth to Sandafa and abode there for two years, and he became steward in the Church of the martyr Theodore, being assidious in its service night and day. Then Satan entered into the heart of certain people of them (the inhabitants), and they noised abroad the news of him in Sandafa and al-Mahalla, and they related the affair of his case. This was two days before his death. It happened that there was present a deacon from among the inhabitants of Minuf, whose name was Theodore ibn Menas. He was at that time a secretary of the Synod of the see of my lord Mark the Evangelist, and it was he whose office I, the wretched Michael, the compiler of this biography, took after his death. When he entered the aforesaid church at Sandafa, he found Saint Paul ibn Raga ill with a severe fever. Paul
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the aforesaid said to him with an obeisance: "Depart not from me until you conceal me in the earth and receive the blessing. I shall not remain in the world beyond two days. When I die, hasten to bury me before the Muslims learn (of it) and take my body and burn it with fire". His saying was a spirit of a prophecy speaking through him.
It happened that when after two days, he went to his rest, as he had said, Satan ---may God put him to shame!---noised abroad news of him (Paul) in al-Mahallah and Sandafa. Then the inhabitants of al-Mahallah crossed over to Sandafa, and the inhabitants of the two cities gathered together in less than an hour, and they surrounded the church in which he (Paul) went to his rest. Then the aforesaid deacon Theodore was perplexed and did not know what he should do with his (Paul's) body. While he was walking perplexed in the church, his foot went down beneath the threshold. He examined the place and found it a beautiful, clean, concealed cellar. Then he lowered the body of Saint Paul into it and filled in the earth and replaced the flagstone as it was (before) and arranged the place as it should be. Then he opened the door, and those who were assembled entered and demanded his (Paul's) body, but they did not find it. They went round the whole church, but they did not find it, and they went away ashamed. This deacon Theodore was he who explained to me the case of this Saint Paul ibn Raga from its beginning to its end according to what he (Paul) had related to him by his true mouth. He wrote what he (Paul) had said and related about himself, how he (Paul) had said: "All that happened to me in the way of torture, and what befell me in the way of degradation did not trouble me, with the exception of three things (which) were the coming together of my brother with my concubine in my presence, and the drowning of my son from her in my presence while I was looking at him, but more serious than either of them was when the patriarch looked on at me while his disciples were demanding
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from me the dinars for his ordaining me priest, and (yet) kept silent and did not forbid them and did not send them away".
The father Philotheus, the patriarch, persisted in collecting money and (in) eating and drinking. It is said that he constructed a bath in his house, and that he used to enter it every day, and when he went out, he was censed with very much incense. Then he would sit judging, commanding and interdicting until the fourth hour of the day, (and) then he would rise. When it was the sixth hour, there was made ready for him what he required in the way of food and drink and fruits, and he would rise up (and) enter his house, and certain people of the inhabitants of Damru and of his family and of his near relatives whose usual custom it was to sit with him and to drink with him, would present themselves to him, and he would eat and drink with them, and no one might approach him for the rest of the day until the next day. Many a time he would sit down to eat and to drink from early in the morning or (from) the third hour of the day, except (on) the days on which fasting was obligatory. When he persisted (in doing) this, God chastened him with a punishment through an accident which happened to him. This (was) that (he entered) on a certain day into the bath and with him there was his disciple was ministering to him. He (the disciple) went out to fetch cleansing paste and returned, and he found him lying on the ground senseless and unconscious. Then he carried him and brought him out from it (the bath). They caused physicians to be brought to him, and they wearied themselves in treating him, but they were unable (to do anything) for him by any means, for the hand of the Lord had smitten him, and he remained thus until the day of his death.
The king al-‘Aziz lillah ibn al-Mu‘izz li-dini 'llah had received a son from a concubine of his, a Greek (Rumiah), and he (this son) sat on the throne after him, and he was surnamed al-Hakim bi Amr Allah 5. The aforesaid concubine who was the mother of al-Hakim had a brother whose name was Arsenius. She set him up as patriarch
5 A. D. 996-1021.
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of the Melkites through her influence, because she had power, and he (Arsenius) prevailed over our churches in Fustat Misr. We had in Kasr as-Sam‘ two churches under the name of the Lady, the Pure Mistress; one of the two of them was the Mu‘allakah, and the other was in the Lane of Abu Husain. He (Arsenius) wished to take the Mu‘allakah, and our chiefs had manv troubles and quarrels with him until he took the church of the Lady in the Lane of Abu Husain, and the Mu‘allakah remained to us.
In his days, the king of Abyssinia sent to the king of Nubia, a youth whose name was George, and made known to him how the Lord had chastened him, he and the inhabitants of his land. It was that a woman, a queen of Bani al-Hamwiyah had revolted against him and against his country. She took captive from it many people and burned many cities and destroyed churches and drove him (the king) from place to place. That which befell him was a retribution for what the king who (was) before him had done to the metropolitan in the days of the father Abba Cosmas, as we have explained earlier, through his falsification and his fraud. He (the king) said to him (George) in the letter which he sent to him: "I desire that you should help me and partake with me in the fatigue, for the sake of God and for the sake of the unity of the Faith, and that you shouldst write a letter on your part to the father, the patriarch, in Misr to beg him to absolve us and to absolve our lands and to pray for us, that God may remove from us and from our country this trial, and may grant to us that he (the patriarch) may consecrate for us a metropolitan, as was the custom of our fathers, and that he may pray for us, that God may remove His wrath from us. I have mentioned this to you, O brother, for fear lest the Christian religion pass away and cease among us, for lo, six patriarchs have sat (on the Throne) and have not paid
attention to our lands, but they (the lands) are abandoned without a shepherd, and our bishops and our priests are dead, and the churches are ruined, and we have learned that this trial has come down upon us as a just judgment in return for what we did with the metropolitan". When the letters reached George, the king of Nubia, and he had learned of their contents, he sent on his part letters and messengers to the patriarch Philotheus, and he explained to him in them all that the king of Abyssinia had mentioned to him, and he begged him to have compassion on his people. He (Philotheus) acceded to his request, and he consecrated for them a monk from the Monastery of Abba Macarius, whose name was Daniel, and he sent him to them as metropolitan. They received him with joy, and God removed from them His wrath and put an end to the affair of the woman who had risen up against them.
In the days of this father there were manifested many miracles to which truthful (and) trustworthy people bore witness. Among them (was) that the sun was darkened from the third hour of the day until the sixth hour, and the darkness was like night, and the stars appeared in the heaven, and the people wept and were afflicted and they thought that it was a matter which would not end, but afterwards God had pity and the sun (re)appeared.
Surur ibn Girga, the archdeacon of Alexandria, related that he was present one day in the Church of my lord Mark the Evangelist, in Alexandria, and in it (there was) Abba Philotheus, the patriarch, and with him a number of the bishops, among whom (were) Abba Mark, bishop of al-Bahnasa and Abba Severus, bishop of Abu Sir, and that the patriarch went up to the sanctuary of my lord Mark and stood upon the black flagstone and celebrated the Liturgy. When he lifted up the oblation, he remained silent and was not able to utter a word. Then the two aforesaid bishops pronounced
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to him the words, but he was not able to utter a single word. Then he sat down and Abba Mark (Anba Markus), bishop of al-Bahnasa went up and performed the Liturgy and the Fraction and communicated the people. The patriarch was carried to the house of Abu Malih ibn Kutin. the prefect (‘amil) of Alexandria, who was the father of Abu'l-Farag and of ‘Ubaid. The father, the patriarch, continued silent until the ninth hour of the day. They gave him to drink white clay and rose water. When he had recovered, those who were assembled asked him to make known to them the reason for what had come over him, but he refused (to speak). They persisted in (their) request, and then he said: "O my sons, when I lifted up the oblation and before I made the sign of the cross over it, I saw the niche split open and there came forth from it a hand from the top of the vault downwards, and the hand made the sign of the cross over the oblation. Then it (the oblation) was split in my hand, and I was
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immediately silenced. hen he had said this, a member of his withered up and remained withered up. The duration of his patriarchate was twenty-four years and eight months, and he went to his rest on the twelfth day of Hatur 2.
It was said concerning his family that they found that he possessed great riches from all that he had collected during his patriarchate, and they divided it among themselves, and they were four brothers, and the money was spent by them. I, Michael, saw one of them in a time of dearth, and he was begging.
In his (Philotheus') days al-‘Aziz, king of Misr, died, and his son al-Hakim sat (on the throne), and he was very young. Extraordinary things happened to him, and we shall mention some of them, with the help of God to Whom be glory and power for ever end ever. Amen.
The twenty-fifth biography of the biographies of the Holy Church. Abba Zacharias the patriarch, and he is the sixty-fourth of (their) number 6.
When it was the reign of al-Hakim bi Amr Allah who was called al-Imam al-Mansur, and the Throne of Alexandria had become vacant, the Synod assembled to appoint a patriarch. While they were taking counsel together, there was at Alexandria a rich man whose name was Abraham ibn Bisr (who) enjoyed the respect of
2 i. e. November-December.
6 Fol. 147 v. A marginal note in red, complete in MS. A, in red and black, reads: "This father, the strong champion and the victor through Christ, sat (on the Throne) in the reign (lit. kingdom) of al-Hakim, and he endured great adversities, and through his prayers his people was saved and overcame (them), and all of this is explained in this biography".
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the walis, and everyone in the city listened to him and obeyed him. He was a wealthy merchant in the lands of Misr and he used to give gifts to and to honour the chiefs of Misr, and they did not contradict him in what he desired. He asked and prayed for the patriarchate until a decree was written for him. They (the walis) sent two masters in his company to Alexandria to assist him in what he wished (to do) and to oblige the Alexandrians to appoint him patriarch in the place of Philotheus the patriarch who had gone to his rest, since it was the turn of the Alexandrians this time to appoint the patriarch, and the Council was in Alexandria. The hearts of a number of its inhabitants were agreeable to his becoming patriarch, and they wrote to Misr to this effect. When the bishops were informed of this, they did not agree with them on this point of view, and the matter was difficult for them, because the Canon, as they said, would not allow them (the supporters of his candidature) (to do) this. They determined to stop the matter, and (that) everyone of them should go to his see.
At the time when they were assembled at the Church of my lord Mark the Evangelist (known as) al-Kamha, there was at Alexandria in the Church of Michael the Archangel a priest, an elder, whose name was Zacharias, and he was steward of all the churches of Alexandria, and the bishops were staying with him in the church, and he used to minister to them during their residence at Alexandria. He did not possess any qualifications in their eyes, nor was he held in esteem by the priests of Alexandria, and everyone used to make use of his services for what concerned him. But God, Who alone performs wonders, Who chose David from the pasture of the flocks to be a shepherd of Israel, His inheritance, Who raises up the poor from the earth and the wretched from the dunghill and seats him upon the throne of glory, (was) He Who chose this humble unnumbered man. It (was) that he (Zacharias) went up one
day to the upper (part) of the church to bring down a jar of vinegar for the cook who used to prepare what the bishops ate. While he was coming down the ladder, he slipped (and) fell and the jar was with him (and) it was not broken and nothing of it was spilled. When the bishops and all who were present saw this miracle, they said: "This is he who is worthy of the object for which we are assembled'. Thereupon, all of them said with joy (and) with one mouth: "This (one) in truth is a man of God". Then they asked the inhabitants of Alexandria about him and about his manner of life, and all of them said: "We have never heard an evil word about him, but he is poor, wretched and pure". They (the bishops) said: "It is well and good that he who is thus should be appointed (patriarch). He is better than he who comes to us with a strong hand by order of the Sultan, and we shall be as slaves to him all our time". They agreed with the Alexandrians on his consecration, and they took him and consecrated him patriarch. In the evening of that day on which they consecrated him, Abraham ibn Bisr arrived with the decree and accompanied by the two masters. When he arrived outside the city, one of his acquaintances met him and said to him: "A patriarch has already been consecrated". He said to him: "And who is he?" He said to him: "Zacharias the priest who (was) in the Church of Michael (known as) an-Nubah". When he heard this, a great trembling attacked him in his bones, and it did not depart from him for the rest of his life. He went to his house in great distress by reason of the violence of the trembling, and he became ill on account of this, and the news (of this) reached the bishops and they marvelled. Then they were afraid of the Sultan and they said: "We do not know what will happen to us". Then they counselled the father, the patriarch, Abba Zacharias to console him (Abraham) with a bishopric so that they should be safe from the wrath of the Sultan on his account, and they said to Abraham ibn Bisr: "This matter has indeed been (arranged) by God---praised be He! Now, the first see that
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shall become vacant (through the death) of its bishop in this district, it is understood that it shall be for you, (and) you shall become bishop of it". Then they ordained him hegoumenos and clothed him in black. When the see of Minuf al-'Ulya became vacant, they made him (bishop) of it.
Abba Zacharias remained (in peace), after he had become patriarch, for seven years, and the Church was tranquil (and) in peace. After this, the Lord did not endure patiently the deeds of the shepherds who were at that time, and God brought down His wrath upon the churches on account of them. They were removed from them, for they were become as walis who lorded over the priests. They invented pretexts for collecting money by every means, and they trafficked in the Church of God on account of the love of silver and gold, and they sold the gift of God for money, but they lost and did not gain. If a man added to the Diyariah of any church a single dinar, they would fall upon the first steward who was in charge of the affairs of the church, as was incumbent (upon him), and they would drive him away from it and would hand it over, on account of the dinar which had been added, to him who was unfitted for its (the church's) service and (who) did not occupy himself with its affairs. Indeed, it was witnessed against a steward that he used to drink the clear wine and to mix the sediment with water and to clarify it and to present it to the priests to raise it in the sanctuary; and (it was testified) that the priests used to raise in the sanctuary sufficient oblation for the whole week, so that there might remain over from it a large amount, with the object of not inconveniencing (themselves) with celebrating the Liturgy. The oblation used to remain in the churches until it became corrupt, because the
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bishops used to ordain to the priesthood him who was unfit and without understanding.
A trustworthy man related to me that Abba Menas, bishop of Tanah, of whom we already made mention in this biography, when we said that Philotheus, the patriarch, dwelt in his residence at Damru after his death, at the time of his (Menas') death, divided what he had collected in the way of money into four parts and buried them in four places. He (Menas) occupied the see for a number of years till he became old. He had a brother whose name was Macarius, bishop of Upper Minuf, secretary of the Synod. He sent to his brother a messenger that he should come to him (Menas) in haste. He was expecting his arrival and his eyes were looking out for him on the road, but he (Macarius) delayed two days and did not come to him. He (Menas) wrote four pieces of paper on which he mentioned the four places in which (was) the money, and he placed them in his hand till the moment of the arrival of his brother, that he might deliver them to him. Since he (Macarius) delayed (coming to) him (Menas), and the trouble and agony of death came upon him, he said to his disciple: "See, perhaps, if my brother has indeed arrived", and the disciple went out and returned to him and said to him: "He has not arrived". Then he (Menas) was troubled and he cast one of the four pieces of paper into his mouth and chewed it up and cast it (out). Then he said to the disciple: "Do you see my brother coming?" He went out again and returned and said to him (Menas) : "He has not arrived". Then he (Menas) chewed up the second piece of paper and cast it (out), and he did likewise with the third, and there remained in his hand one. Then he said to the disciple: "See if my brother has arrived". He (the disciple) went out to look for him, and he delayed (coming back) to him (Menas), and he (Menas) felt the pains of the suffering of death. Then he cast the fourth piece of paper into his mouth, but before he had chewed it up, the disciple entered to him in haste and said to him: "Lo, your brother has arrived". He (Menas)
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brought out the piece of paper from his mouth, and when his brother entered, he delivered it to him and he said to him: "May the Lord not reprove you, but forgive you! You have indeed lost what was recorded on the three other pieces of paper on account of your absence from me", and when he had said this, his spirit left (him). Then he (Macarius) enshrouded him and buried him. Then he read the piece of paper and found in the place (mentioned) ten thousand dinars. His (Menas) brother Macarius was a good man. and he took the money and built with it a Skene in the name of Abba Macarius in Wadi Habib. It is the beautiful sanctuary to the south of the sanctuary of Benjamin. He spent on it three thousand dinars, and gave a great sum in alms, and he built many churches in the Rif of Misr. When his death was approaching, they asked him if he had any commands for them to perform. He said: "The Lord is a witness to me that I found that my brother had ten thousand dinars, and I acquired many things each year from the see and from what I received for (acting as) secretary to the Synod, and that I spent all that. The Lord is a witness to me that nothing remained to me save one dinar and my houses. Lo, I am being translated from this world and I adjure you to give it (the dinar) to the priests who shall read (the funeral service) over me".
This bishop Menas who bequeathed this large fortune was not content with that, but he repeopled a village between his see and the see of Samannud. Ten houses in it became inhabited, and they built there a small church five or six cubits long of bricks of mud. The village was between Basis and Subra Damanah.
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When the bishop of Samannud heard (of this), he came to it (the village) and built in it (the church) a fine altar and consecrated it and went away, for Subra Damanah belonged to him, and it was a right of his see. When Abba Menas the aforesaid bishop heard of this, he came to the aforementioned church and demolished the altar which the bishop of Samannud had built, and he built another one. When the bishop of Samannud heard of this, he was greatly offended, and he came thither, and there was a multitude with him, and Abba Menas the bishop was there. They assembled and they quarrelled and fighting broke out between them, and they did not disperse until blood had been shed between them. Look now at that bishop who amassed the large fortune, how he fought for a thing of so little (value), so that God caused His wrath to descend upon that village and laid it (the village) waste until now, and the name of the village is S n d gra!
In their days, namely, those of the shepherds 3, instruction also ceased and no one warned another or said to him: "Cast out the mote from your eye", lest he should say to him: "Cast out the beam first from your eye". The heads of the Church used previously to look for a person in whom was learning and knowledge that they might make him a priest, if a number of trustworthy (people) witnessed to his conti-nency and learning from his childhood (upwards). Matters were (now) reversed, and the intelligent scholar was of no account, especially if he were a poor man, but the ignorant and he who was without intelligence was honoured and revered by them, especially if he were rich, that they might advance him to the exalted rank of the ranks of the priests. For that reason, the hand of the Lord came down upon them and His wrath descended upon the Church by reason of His knowledge that we were unworthy to enter her door, as at the time when He caused His wrath to descend upon Jerusalem until she was laid waste and her inhabitants and her sons and her daughters were made captive.
3 i. e. the bishops.
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There was a monk whose name was John, a priest of the Skene of Abba Macarius, residing at the Church of Saint Abba Onuphrius, at the Skene which is at the north of the Church of Abba Macarius. He saw a number (of people) buying the episcopate for money, and Satan cast into his heart the fire of love for the episcopate, but he had nothing (wherewith) to pay for it. He presented himself to Abba Zacharias, the patriarch, and he said: "I desire only that you should clothe me with the vesture of the episcopate and make me (bishop) of a depopulated see, such as Dabakua, even though there be nothing in it save three minas, for I am not able to endure this (matter) on account of the idea which overpowered me, when I saw those whom you consecrated for money, and they were unworthy, whilst I am rejected on account of the fact that I am poor and have nothing, (although) you know me". The aforementioned patriarch was very modest, as a gentle lamb, and he had not done anything of what we have mentioned of his own accord. Even the bread which he ate, if they left him alone (and) did not give him to eat, he would not ask for it (the bread), and likewise (with) the water which he drank. He was as (one) dumb. His relatives and his disciples dominated him and they were directing him in everything. They were those who used to take money from him whom they presented to him (the patriarch), in order that he (the patriarch) might make of him (the candidate) what they wanted. If he (the patriarch) wished to feed a man with bread, he was not able (to do so) without their charity. If a man solicited anything from him (the patriarch) he would send him to them. He who solicited from him the priesthood, he would send to them that they might bargain with him, otherwise, they would not give him (the patriarch) the possibility to ordain him.
When this monk whom we have mentioned, came to him (the patriarch), he sent him to them as usual. He (the monk) went to them and he spoke
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to them as he had spoken to the patriarch. One of them, namely, Abba
Khael, bishop of Sakha, who was the son of the brother of
the patriarch, insulted him when he learned from him that he desired the
episcopate for nothing. He said to him after the insult: "If you
mention with your mouth anything about this matter, I shall cause the
disciples to revile you". Wrath obtained the mastery over him (the
monk), and he rose up and he went to Misr and he complained of
his case to the Sultan. He wrote a number of letters against the patriarch
that they might be submitted to the king al-Hakim bi Amr Allah. When
the archons at Misr learned of this, they prevented him from
doing it, and they wrote for him letters to the patriarch, and he (the
patriarch) was at that time in Wadi Habib. When the letters reached
him (the patriarch), he gave them to the aforementioned son of his brother.
When he learned their contents, he slandered the monk, and he brought
the Arabs who were the guards of the monasteries, and he
delivered to them the monk. They (the Arabs) took him and cast him
into a well and they stoned him with stones to kill him. He (the monk)
found in the well a place (which was) a cleft and he entered it and hid
himself, and not a single stone reached him. When the patriarch
heard the news, he put dust on his head and he plucked out the hair
of his beard and he excommunicated the son of his brother on account
of what he had done with regard to the monk. He sent his disciples
to the well and they brought him (the monk) up out of it and they consoled
him and asked him to be comforted. The patriarch promised that he
would make him bishop of a see which would become vacant. He
(the monk) waited patiently till two sees had become vacant, but he
(the patriarch) did not make him (bishop) of either of them, but his
(the patriarch's) relatives and disciples used to speak to him (the monk)
of that which caused pain to his heart. Then he (the monk) was filled
with rage at their preventing him from (obtaining) the episcopate, the
love of which had entered his heart. This was the first pain which
Satan suffered, namely, pride, for it is written : "If the
lust should conceive, it brings forth sin, but if the sin should be
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perfected, it brings forth death". John the monk went to Misr to set forth his complaint. From here we break off the account now about what he did until we recount it in its place. As for the king whom we mentioned previously, he was invested with the authority of the kingdom while still a very young child. He grew up and became big and became as a roaring lion seeking for a prey. He became more fond of shedding blood than a ferocious lion, so that a number (of people) counted them that were killed by his command and their number was eighteen thousand men. First of all, he began by killing the notables of his State and his secretaries, and by cutting off the hands of people. The first whom he killed was the master Barguwan who had brought him up, since he used to call him in his childhood the lizard. He (al-Hakim) sent to him a master from him and he (al-Hakim) said to him: "Say to him (Barguwan), the small lizard has become a great dragon and it calls you". The master went to him and told him what he (al-Hakim) had commanded him. He (Barguwan) came to him, being terror-stricken. He (al-Hakim) commanded that his head should be cut off. Likewise a great amir called Al-Kayid Fadl----a great and sincere intimacy existed between them---entered one day the palace, as (was) his custom, and he found the aforementioned king seated, and before him there was a comely child whom he had bought for a hundred dinars, and in his hand there was a knife with which he had slaughtered him, and he had extracted his liver and his intestines and was cutting them up. He (the amir) went out afraid and terror-stricken to his residence, and he
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informed his relatives and he wrote his will. After an hour, he (al-Hakim) sent to him one who cut off his head. It happened, that if he (al-Hakim) wished to kill a man, he would bestow upon him money and robes of honour, and after this, he would send one who would cut off his head and bring it to him. He (al-Hakim) did not cease from doing this till he had destroyed his notables and the chiefs of his army. Then he turned again to the archons and the scribes and took from them ten from among their chiefs, (including) Abu Nagah al-Kabir who was an Orthodox Christian. He caused him to come to him and he said to him: "I desire that you should forsake your religion and turn to my religion, and I will make you my wazir, and you shall conduct the affairs of my kingdom". He (Abu Nagah) said to him: "Grant to me a delay until to-morrow that I may take counsel with myself". He (al-Hakim) granted to him a delay and let him go. He went to his residence and caused his friends to come and he made known to them what had happened to him with him (al-Hakim). He said to them: "I am ready to die for the Name of the Lord Christ. My purpose was not to delay until to-morrow in order to take counsel with myself, but I said this so that I might meet you and my relatives and that I might take leave of you and take leave of them, and that I might give my instructions to you and give my instructions to them. Now, O my brethren, seek not this transitory glory and lose the everlasting and eternal glory of the Lord Christ. He has satisfied our souls with good things of the earth. Behold through His mercy He has called us to the kingdom of the heavens. Strengthen then your hearts". He strengthened the hearts of all by his speech and confirmed (in) them (the intention) to die for the Name of the Lord Christ. He made for them on that day a great banquet and they remained with him till the evening and they went to their residences. When it was morning, he (Abu Nagah) went to al-Hakim bi Amr Allah. He (al-Hakim) said to him: "O Nagah, tell me, have you decided?". He said to him: "Yes". He said: "In what wise?". He said: "My remaining in my religion". Then al-Hakim endeavoured by every kind of inducement
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and threat to turn him away from his religion, but he would not do (so), and he (al-Hakim) was not able to make him change his resolution with regard to his belief. Then he ordered that his garments should be removed from him and that he should be fastened to the rack and that he should be scourged. So they scourged him five hundred lashes on his soft body until his flesh was torn and his blood flowed like water. The thongs were of the sinews of bulls, of which a giant (could) not endure (one) lash, more especially that man who lived in luxury and ease. Then he (al-Hakim) ordered that he should be scourged (till) the completion of one thousand lashes. When he had been scourged another three hundred (lashes), he said: "I am thirsty". So they ceased from scourging him, and they informed al-Hakim of this. He said: "Give to him to drink after you have told him to turn to our religion". When they had brought to him water and had told him what the king had ordered them (to say), he said to them: "Return to him his water, for I have no need of it, because my Lord Jesus Christ has given me to drink". A number of assistants and others who were there bare witness that they saw water dripping from his beard. When he had said this, he gave up the ghost.
When they informed the hard-hearted king of this death, he ordered that he should be scourged (till) the completion of the thousand lashes, although he was dead, and on this wise his martyrdom was accomplished. May his blessings be with us!
Another among them (the ten chiefs) was known as the chief Fahd ibn Abraham. He (al-Hakim) had set him over all the secretaries and chiefs of the Diwans. He caused him to be brought into his presence and he said to him: "You know that I chose you
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and set you over all those who are in my State. Listen to me and join me in my religion and I will exalt you higher than you are, and you shall be to me as a brother", but he did not answer his (al-Hakim's) words. He (al-Hakim) ordered that he should be beheaded and that his body should be burned with fire. The fire remained alight upon him for three days, but he was not burned. His right hand remained as if the fire had not approached it at all. This was a miracle (performed) by God---Praise be to Him!---for he was a pious man in whom there was great compassion. He did not at all turn away him who solicited anything from him, so that if he passed through the streets riding, and there met him one who solicited alms from him, he would stretch out his hand to his sleeve thinking that there was nothing in it, and he would find wherewith to give to him who asked. Wherefore this miracle was manifested in his right hand which he used to stretch out for almsgiving at all times, for he performed very kind deeds through God. May God grant to us all acceptation through the blessing of their prayers!
As for the remainder of those ten chief judges, when he (al-Hakim) asked them to forsake their religion and to depart from it, they did not do this, nor did they obey him. Then he (al-Hakim) commanded them to be tortured and they were scourged with thongs. When they had been scourged exceedingly, four of them (the chiefs) embraced Al-Islam. As for one of these four, he died the same night, and as for the other three, after the expiration of the time of the disturbance, they returned to the belief of Christianity. As for the remainder of the ten (chiefs), they died under the torture and obtained eternal life. This king (al-Hakim) did deeds which it was unheard of that any of the kings before him had done the like. He did not adhere to one opinion or to one belief. His aspect was as (that of) a lion, and his
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two eyes were large (and) of a blueness in colour. If he (al-Hakim) looked at a man, he would tremble owing to the greatness of his awe (of him). His voice was loud and fearful. He used to observe the stars and (study) the false science 2. He used to serve the star called Saturn, as he imagined, and he used to continue turning round the eastern mountain 3 at Misr at night, and with him there were three riders. Satan used to take on for him the likeness of that star, and he (al-Hakim) used to converse with him (Satan) about many matters, and he used to offer to him (Satan) sacrifices. He gave up the attire of kings on account of this, and he wore a black woollen garment. He let his hair grow till it descended to his shoulders. He gave up riding on dromedaries and marked race-horses and decorated mules, and he rode a black ass. He used to walk alone in every place and often he took with him (only) a single rider. He used to walk in the streets at night also and to listen to what men said about him in their houses. He had many spies and informers going around night and day who brought to him information, and who did not hide from him anything of what happened in all the lands of Misr. Men thought that the power of God had descended upon him on account of the kingship which He had entrusted to him. He had a man called al-Hadi, and with him there were twelve men who became his disciples, and they used to call
2 i. e. astrology. Cf. S. Lane-Poole, op. cit., p. i3i.
3 i. e. the Mukattam Hills to the East of Cairo, cf. B. T. A. Evetts, Churches and Monasteries of Egypt, etc., pp. 114 and 62.
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men to him, and they (the men) used to listen (to him). He used to say to those who were gathered together to him that al-Hakim was the Christ and many sayings which it is not permissible to mention. Al-Hakim used to go out many times from his castle at night borne in a litter on the shoulders of four servants. He ordered that a woman should not go out at all from her house, neither to the bath nor elsewhere. If he caught a woman who had gone out at night or in the day, he would hand her over to the chief of the watch who would chastise her with a chastisement that would lead to her death. He ordered that Jew's mallow 1 should not be eaten, and he was obeyed openly, but not in secret. He ordered that no one should drink nabidh, and he wrote concerning this decrees to the rest of the cities, and the vessels in which there was nabidh were broken in every place. Then (it happened) that he was passing along one day, and a dog jumped in front of him and the ass which was under him started, so he ordered that every dog in Misr should be killed. It is recorded that a dog howled exceedingly without the city, and there gathered to it many dogs and they climbed to the eastern mountain and they went away. He (al-Hakim) ordered the swine which were in the land of Misr to be killed and they killed all of them, and there were in it (Egypt) many swine, especially in al-Basmur. Then he (al-Hakim) ordered that the nakus should not be struck in the lands of Misr, and, after a little, he ordered that the crosses which were upon the domes of the churches should be pulled down, and that the crosses which were upon the hands of the people should be erased 8. Then he ordered that the Christians
1 i. e. Corchorus olitorius.
8 i. e. the crosses tattooed on the wrists. A practice still in force with many Copts and Eastern Christians.
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should have a belt fastened round their waists and that they should wear black turbans on their heads and that they should ride with wooden stirrups and that none of them should ride with iron stirrups, and that they should wear crosses a span in length, then he ordered again to make them (the crosses) a cubit and a half (in length). (He ordered) that the Jews should dye the borders of their turbans and that they should wear belts and that they should make (for themselves) a wooden ball in the form of the head of the calf which they worshipped in the desert, and that none of the Christians and Jews should enter a bath with Muslims. He (al-Hakim) set apart for them baths and he placed (upon) the door of the bath of the Christians a wooden cross and upon the door of the bath of the Jews a wooden log. Then he ordered that raisins should be burned, and what was burned of them in Misr and its districts and (in) Syria was calculated, and it was six hundred thousand satarah, and likewise that which he seized in Misr. He broke (the vessels containing) honey and cast it (the honey) into the river. One of the merchants lost all (his) fortune, the price of the honey and the raisins, and he cited our lord, al-Hakim, before the Kadi al-Kudah, Ibn an-Nu‘man. He said to him (Ibn an-Nu‘man) that he had come to Misr with his merchandise which was raisins and honey for eating and for making sweetmeat, and that he (al-Hakim) had caused (the vessels containing it) to be broken and (the contents) to be cast into the river. The Kadi treated them both equally (in the matter of) seating (in the court) and (in) the trial. The merchant entreated al-Hakim for his money, the full price of his merchandise being one thousand
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dinars. Then al-Hakim said to him: "You have brought this merchandise for doing something illicit (with it), otherwise, swear that you have brought it for making sweetmeat and for eating, and take its price". The merchant entreated that the money should be brought before he swore. Then al-Hakim ordered the money to be brought, and the merchant swore and received his money, and there was written with regard to him that he had taken it (the money) and had received his due (for his merchandise) in full. He (the merchant) entreated that a decree should be written for him to have charge of it and to keep it, and this was done for him. When judgment had been pronounced upon the matter which (was) between them, the Kadi stood before al-Hakim and saluted him with the salutation of the Caliph. The Kadi increased in dignity with him (al-Hakim) and he loaded him with great honours.
He (al-Hakim) used to walk (abroad) at night and he found sometimes those who roast (meat) heating the ovens to roast therein, and he cast some of them into the ovens so that they were burnt. He found on a certain night a man frying meat in a frying-pan and he ordered that his hands should be cut off and cast into the frying-pan. That man said to him: "Since when did the Commander of the Faithful learn frying? We knew him only as one who roasts, since when did he become one who frys?" He (al-Hakim) laughed at him and ordered him to be released.
A man brought to him (al-Hakim) once a silver dish 2 snatched away from the hand of its owner in the market. When they caused him (the man) to stand before him (al-Hakim) with the silver dish in his hand, he said to him: "I desire that you should run before me and show me how you ran when you snatched it (the dish) away from the hand of its owner". He (the man) did this, and he departed running, and no one dared to follow him.
He (al-Hakim) passed on a certain occasion through the store-
2 A dish for carrying cups, cf. R. Dozy, op. cit., vol. I, p. 822.
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houses in which there was trefoil, firewood and reeds, and he ordered them to be burned. They were burned while he rode by (and) watched the burning of the fire in them until all of them were burned, and the price of them was lost for their owners.
On a certain night ten men furnished with arms met him (al-Hakim) and they asked him to give them money. He said to them: "Divide (yourselves) into two parties and fight before me. To him who vanquishes I will pay the money, because he will be worthy to receive honour". They did this and they fought until nine of them were killed and one remained. He (al-Hakim) said to him: "You, indeed, art worthy to receive honour, and he threw to him many dinars from his sleeve. He (the man) bent down to take them from the ground, and he (al-Hakim) made a sign to those who were riding with him, and they leaped upon him and killed him, and they gathered together those dinars, and he returned them to his sleeve.
There was constructed for him (al-Hakim) in his castle a marble basin and water was brought to it by means of a water-wheel and it (the water) ran into it (the basin) through a canal. Outside the basin there was an enclosure (hasar) of marble and there was sculptured upon it all (kinds of) birds. He ordered that there should be set in the wall a thin wooden arrow jutting out, and that its extremity should project out from it (the wall) as far as the basin of marble and should be level with its edge. It was (placed) very high at the top of the wall, as was related by him who saw it. Then he (al-Hakim) ordered that a public crier should proclaim that to him who walked upon this arrow and jumped (from it) into the basin and fell into the water there should be paid six hundred dirhams. He (al-Hakim) caused a number (of people) to be tempted by this, and through the love of dirhams a number of people walked upon it and jumped (from it) and fell upon the floor and were killed. Then he (al-Hakim) ordered that the crosses of the Christians should be of wood, and each cross weighing five Egyptian ratl (and) stamped with a leaden seal upon which
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was the name of the king, and (he ordered) that they should hang it about their necks with ropes of palm fibres. Likewise, the weight of the ball which was about the necks of the Jews should be five ratl. He among them who was found without a seal should be contemned and should pay a fine for the offence. Many of the Christians and the Jews from their chiefs (down) to the lowest of them denied (their faith) on account of this, and they did not endure patiently this disgrace and affliction.
It is recorded that, when al-Hakim forbade the Cairene (Masriyat) women to go out in the daytime, they made likenesses of women from paper and bread and radishes, and they set them up for him in the way, where he walked outside Misr and in their hands (were) written papers in which they reviled him and defamed his sister. He (al-Hakim) used to order the papers to be taken from them (the likenesses) and he would read them and find them after this manner. This they did a number of times, and on account of this, he ordered Misr to be set on fire and he plundered it. He did not live in luxury as (other) kings, but he used to travel in the mountains and the deserts at night and in the day, and he shed in his days much blood.
We return now to finish (the account) of what the aforementioned monk John did in the way of abominable things in the days of this king (al-Hakim). This (was) that when he ascertained that he would not be consecrated bishop, he went to Misr and he wrote a letter
in which he recounted every evil (thing) concerning the patriarch, and he went out to the mountain and stood before al-Hakim and said to him: "You are the Caliph of God on His earth, help me for the sake of God". He delivered to him (al-Hakim) the letter and he took it from him and in it there was written: 'You are the king of the earth, but for the Christians (there is) a king (who) does not accept you on account of the great amount of what he has stored up in the way of abundant riches, because he sells the episcopate for money, and he does not do what is agreeable to God the Exalted', and he mentioned in the letter many abominable things about him (the patriarch) such as this. When al-Hakim learned the contents of the letter, he ordered that the doors of the churches should be closed and that the patriarch should be brought (to him). He (the patriarch) had become old and was advanced in age. When he was brought, he (al-Hakim) imprisoned him for three months, and his imprisonment occurred on the twelfth day of Hatur (in) the year seven hundred and twenty-seven of the Martyrs. Then he (al-Hakim) ordered that he (the patriarch) should be cast to the lions to eat. When he was thrown to them, God changed their nature for him, and protected him from them and kept them away from him and restrained them from him, and they did not eat him. Al-Hakim reproached their keeper and said to him: "You have taken bribes from the Christians and have fed the lions abundantly and have satisfied them and have not starved them". He ordered that the lions should be starved again, and that, when their hunger became violent, a sheep should be slain and that the patriarch should be divested of his clothes and that his body should be smeared with its (the sheep's) blood, and that the lions should be set loose upon him. They did this to him (the patriarch), but they (the lions) did not harm him at all. John the aforementioned monk used to go most of his time to the patriarch, while he was in imprisonment for the sake of gloating over him. It happened on the second day of his imprisonment that al-Hakim ordered that a decree should be written to the wall of Jerusalem that
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the Church of the Resurrection should be demolished. The scribe wrote to the wall a letter (and) this (is) a copy of it: 'An order of the Imam 1 has been issued to you to demolish the Rubbish Mound 2 and to make its heaven 3 an earth and its length a breadth'. The writer of the decree was a Nestorian Christian known as Ibn Sirin. When the aforementioned (scribe) had despatched the decree which he had written, he became as one drunk who awakes from his drunkenness, and he thought within himself about what he had done and he said: "I wrote with my hand that the Church of the Resurrection should be demolished. Why did I not endure death before doing this, and why did I not endure the cutting off of my right hand, and (then) I would not have written this? If I had refrained from writing it, what would have been done to me beyond beheading me, and I could not have wished for a martyrdom greater than this" 5. He used to say this and similar things to it and to repeat this by heart night and day. Through the intensity of his sorrow he became ill and was confined to a sick-bed, and he used to say: "O my right hand, how did you dare to do this terrible thing? I, also, shall do to you what you deserve, and I shall not cease from afflicting you". He began to lift up his hand and to strike the ground with it, and he did not cease from this throughout the days of his illness until his fingers were cut to pieces and he died.
After some days, al-Hakim sent forth decrees to all the districts of his kingdom that the churches should be demolished, and that there should be brought to his castle what (was) in them in the way of gold and silver vessels, and that the bishops in every place should be asked (for money), and that the Christians should not buy
1 The Fatimid Califs styled themselves Imams, i. e. leaders of the Faithful, hence the use here of the word Imamah.
2 Kimamah, a term of contempt applied to the Church of the Resurrection (Kiyamah).
3 i. e. its roof.
5 i. e. for the sake of the Church of the Resurrection at Jerusalem.
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or sell in any place. A number of them denied their religion on account of this. Most of the Egyptian (Masriyin) Christians divested themselves of (their) distinctive dress and the cross and the girdle and the wooden stirrups, and they imitated the Muslims, and no one exposed them, and he who saw them thought that they had embraced Al-Islam.
There was a deacon whose name was Bukairah. He left the service in the Diwan to which he was (attached) and he wore his cross and he went to the Castle and cried at its gate, (saying): "Christ (is) the Son of God". When al-Hakim heard his voice, he ordered him to be brought (to him), and he endeavoured (to make him) deny his religion and to acknowledge al-Islam, but he did not do (so). He was as the firm rock which is not disturbed. The more he (al-Hakim) spoke to him, the more he cried out and said: "Christ (is) the Son of God". He (al-Hakim) commanded that a collar and an iron chain should be cast about his throat and that he should be cast into the Prison of Blood. A trustworthy man testified to me (that) he went to him to visit him in (his) imprisonment on account of the friendship (that) was between them, and that he found him in the following state, being fastened to a large peg driven into the ground. He was standing praying, and in his hand there was a small writing-book, and his face (was) towards the East, (and) he was reading and praying, in spite of the weight of that iron with which he was bound, and when he saw him, he rejoiced with him, as if he were at a marriage-feast.
This man said to me: "When I visited him and (afterwards) wished to separate from him, I said to him, 'What do you want me (to say) to your house and to your relatives?' He said, 'Go to them and say to them: I (shall be) with you (for) the remainder of the day before sunset, so be not grieved' ". This man who related this to me was chief engineer of those who worked at sawing, (and) his name was Menas and he was my uncle, the brother of my mother, and through his work be found the means to visit the aforesaid Bukairah. He (it was) who
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brought me up, and he swore to me, saying: "I had not reached my home and started to go to the house of Bukairah, as he told me (to do), when al-Hakim sent and brought him (Bukairah) out from (his) imprisonment and wrote for him a decree that no one should hinder Bukairah al-Rasidi from buying and selling nor in any other affair.
When he (Bukairah) had received the decree, he went down to Misr, and he went around to the Christians who were alarmed, and he reassured them and swore to them that after three days all the disadvantages from which they were suffering would be removed from them. He used to purchase for them all that they were in need of in the way of water and food and he used to send it to them by his boys. He did this for three days, and on the morning of the fourth day an order (from) al-Hakim went forth that the Christians might buy and sell as was their custom. He (al-Hakim) wrote a decree that whosoever of the Christians in Misr wished to go to the lands of the Greeks (ar-Rum) or to the lands of Abyssinia and Nubia or to other (lands) should not be prevented (from doing so) by anyone. Before this, they were prevented from (doing) it.
When Bukairah was dismissed from the Diwan in which he was, he devoted himself to visiting the prisoners and to taking to them what they were in need of, and he used to visit those imprisoned (for the non-payment of) the poll-tax. If he found anyone who was asked (to pay) what he could not, he would go bail for him and would bring him out from (his) imprisonment, and he would go to the chiefs and to the rich men and he would take from them what he would have to pay on his account in going bail for him, and he would free him. He (Bukairah) trusted in the Lord Christ with (all) his strength (and) with all his heart. Likewise, if he knew that any of the brethren, the Faithful, were in need of food, he would give to them what was sufficient for them for each day. He performed very many good and fine deeds which we have not mentioned, but we have contented ourselves with
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a few of them. From the beginning, when this affair happened in those davs. he (Bukairah) did not break his fast during the day, and on the days on which he communicated, he did not (even) break his fast on them till the night 1. All this I knew from him on account of the friendship (which) existed between us. Most of the time, I used to sleep at his home, and he would bring to me some book to read for a part of the night, (and) then I would sleep a little, but, as for him, he would remain erect till the morning. When it was the morrow, he would go to the work which he had chosen for himself, and it became for him like a profession and a way of life. (Once), when wheat and all food were lacking, it happened one day that he purchased bread and distributed it according to his custom to the hidden and the poor till there remained to him only one loaf with which to break his fast. He placed it (the loaf) upon the table and said grace and sat down to break his fast. He gave thanks and stretched forth his hand to eat, when he heard a knocking at the door. He said to his boy: "See (who is at) the door!" The boy went out and found a hidden man (who) said to him: "Say to the Shaikh Bukairah: 'You have forgotten me to-day and I have nothing wherewith to break my fast' ". The boy went in to him and informed him of what the man had said. He (Bukairah) gave to him the loaf and he remained fasting until the night of the next day.
There was, moreover, a man, high in rank among his people (and) very rich, (who) became poor and his money was exhausted, so that nothing remained to him, and he was in want, and shame caused him not to show his face nor to beg from anyone. He sold all that (was) in his house, so that nothing remained to him except the clothes which
1 It is customary in the Coptic Church for the communicant to drink a little water after communicating and to eat the antidoron.
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(were) upon him (which) covered him. If he had had another (garment) in which to go to the church, he would have sold it. I do not know how Bukairah, the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, knew about him. He (Bukairah) took ten sacks in which there were ten ardabs of wheat, and he sent them to him by his boy. He did not find him at that time in his dwelling-place, so he emptied out the wheat in his house (and left it) with his wife and said to her: "Inform the master of the house and say to him, 'So and so has sent you this blessing' ". He went to his friend and informed him of it. When the man came to his dwelling-place (and) perceived the wheat, he asked his wife about it. She informed him (and said): "It is a blessing which the Lord has sent to us in order that we may live through it". He said to her: "Who is it who has brought it?" She said to him: "(It is) from Bukairah ar-Rasidi the scribe". When he heard this, his bosom became contracted and he said: "As the Lord lives, I will sit in my dwelling-place till God shall take away my soul, but I will not take alms from anyone, nor will I be disgraced". He began to weep and to strike his face. His believing wife said to him:' 'God has provided us with our food to-day. Rise up now and wash your face, your hands and your feet, and pray and adore the Lord and thank (Him) for His mercy to you, break your fast, and when it is still early in the morning, return the wheat to its owner". He was comforted by her speech and his heart rejoiced and he ate his food and he sighed. When he was sleeping that night, he saw in his dream, as it were, the Lord Christ standing before him, and He said to him: "Why is your heart sorrowful?" He said to Him: "O Master, how should my heart not be sorrowful, (since) after those riches and the mercy which I and my fathers enjoyed (my) condition has ended in this poverty, so that I am brought to ask for alms? It is better for me to die of hunger in preference to this". He said to him: "Grieve not, for this wheat
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belongs not to anyone save to Me, and I sent it to you by the hand of my minister". He said to Him: "O my Master, no minister of Yours came to me. but (it was) Bukairah ar-Rasidi (who) sent it to me". The Lord said to him: "As though you are not aware till now that Bukairah is My minister". When he heard this, he awoke and he informed his wife of his dream and their hearts rejoiced that they had not to return the wheat, but that they might live on it.
As for Abba Zacharias, he remained under arrest
for three months, and they were threatening him every day with burning
by fire and with throwing (him) to the lions, if he did not enter the
religion of al-Islam. They said to him: "If you will agree to this,
you shall receive great glory and al-Hakim will make you Kadi al-
Kudah, but he did not pay any attention to them nor did he incline
towards them. There was with him (Zacharias) in (his) imprisonment
an evil Muslim, and he said to him: "O Shaikh of evil, embrace Al-Islam
so that they may set you free and you shall receive from them great
honour". The patriarch said to him: "My reliance is in God Who
has power, and He will help me". When he had finished (this) speech,
one of the Turks came in to him and struck him on his mouth
with a club. The patriarch said to him: "As for the body, you have
power over it to destroy it as you will, but as for the soul, it is in the hand
of the Lord".
There was a man of the Arabs, a chief of the Two Villages, whose name was Madi ibn Makrab. He was the chief of his company and he was (held) in high esteem by al-Hakim. He had arranged with him (al-Hakim) to supply every day his wants whatsoever they might be. He had a Christian friend, an employee, who was in debt to the Diwan for three thousand dinars, and he was not in a position to pay them. He was imprisoned with the father, the patriarch Abba Zacharias. When news of him reached Madi of the Villages, he came to him that he might be informed correctly of his news, and he said: "Why did they imprison you?" He said: "There (still) remains for me (to pay) to the Diwan the three thousand dinars,
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and I have nothing (wherewith) to pay them". He said to him: "I shall make it my business for to-day (to speak) with al-Hakim in order to free you". That pious Christian said to him: "I cannot go out and leave this father, the Shaikh, the patriarch". Madi said to him: "What is the crime of this patriarch, that they have imprisoned him?", and he informed him of the cause. Madi was afraid lest (in) the speech concerning his (Zacharias') affair there might be something of which the Sultan would not approve, and that he would not release him. He said: "I shall arrange something about this matter, that is, I shall make it my business (to speak) with him (al-Hakim) to-day, in order to entreat (him) to set free all who are in this chamber. If he orders this (to be done), you will be liberated and he (the patriarch) (will be) among all those set free". Then Madi went out and he met al-Hakim and he entreated him for all (who were in the chamber), and he caused them to be set free. When the patriarch was liberated, he went down to Misr, and all the Christians rejoiced greatly, but they advised him to depart to the desert, to Wadi Habib, for fear lest his release might have been (through) an oversight on the part of al-Hakim, or that he (al-Hakim) might forget that he (the patriarch) (had been) in that place from which Madi of the Villages had released him. He (Zacharias) accepted their advice and he departed immediately to Wadi Habib. He remained in it for nine years, since the churches which were there were safe from demolition. (The reason for) this was that al-Hakim had sent an amir from Misr and there had accompanied him workmen and surveyors (with) pick-axes in ships, to demolish all the churches which were in the desert. When they reached Tarnut, they said: "We are afraid of the Arabs who are in this mountain on account of their great number". For
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this reason God brought to nothing their deliberations through something (which) was manifested to them from God, and He preserved all the churches of the desert. It is recorded that the Martyr George appeared to them and drove them back and terrified them, so that they returned, as it is written in the Apocalypse of John the woman who brought forth the male child, the dragon poured forth behind her a river of water. And the Lord gave to her deliverance from it in the place in which she abode. Thus, the churches which are in this mountain found rest, as though the earth had opened her mouth and swallowed up the water, and thus these churches were saved from the disturbance.
At that time a Turkish amir obtained the head of the father, the preacher, my lord Mark the Evangelist. It was said to him: "The Christians will pay to you whatsoever you desirest for it". Then he carried it (the head) to Misr. When Bukairah ar-Rasidi, the Cross-bearer, was informed of this, he took the head from him (the Turk) for three hundred dinars, and he carried it to the father, the patriarch, who (was) at that time in the Monastery of Abba Macarius, and most of the bishops were dwelling with him there through their fear of affronts and (on account of) fatigue. Most of the Christians also used to enter the desert twice in the year, namely, (at) the Feast of Epiphany and (at) the Feast of the Resurrection which is Easter. They used to long for the Eucharist as a babe longs for the milk of its mother's breast. There was for the Christians during these nine years great affliction, expulsion (from office) and execration and imprecation on the part of the Muslims, and they used to spit in their faces. Most of these (afflictions) happened at the city of Tinnis and (in) its districts. If a Christian passed through them, they (the inhabitants) would insult him and would say to him: "Break this cross and enter the all-embracing religion". If a Christian
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were to forget his cross and were to walk without his cross he would meet with much disgrace.
I will acquaint you with another miracle about which my father according to the flesh informed me. His trade was building, and in him (there was) piety and affection. I, the wretched Michael, was a child at the time of this affliction. He took me with him one day, when he was going to a village to build in it. and I was learning from him the trade of carpentry, since he was a mason and a carpenter. (Suddenly), he stood still astonished and clapped his hands together. I said: "O my father, inform me of what has befallen you". He sat down and his eyes overflowed with tears, and he said to me: "O my son, sit down and listen to what happened. Three months ago I went out from Misr, and God caused a loss of memory to come upon me, and my tongue was tied so that I might not inform you about this, except at this hour, for God the Exalted has enlightened my understanding and He has caused my tongue to be loosened so that I remember this. It is, that I was working in Misr and that illness overtook me, and that I feared lest the illness might become severe and that I should not have anyone who would attend to me. I went out to walk little by little towards the shore and I found a ship going down to al-Mahallah, and I went on board her. She was overloaded with people and they were very crowded together in her. There was no Christian among them except a bishop and his disciple in the prow of the ship on a wood plane. I (was) in the midst of the people lying down in pain. The people crowded around me and buffeted me and said to me: "O dog, O vile one, O Christian, depart from us". They spat on me and inflicted on me every sort of torment. They imputed to me falsely what they did (themselves)
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in the way of vices, and when their actions against me increased, I raised my eyes to heaven and said: "O my Master Jesus Christ, if You do not manifest to me something whereby to reassure my heart, and that I may know that I shall have a reward on account of what has happened to me through these (people), then I shall deny Your religion". The Lord testified to me, and the thought had not left my heart nor the speech my lips before I became, as it were, translated from this world, and it all vanished from me, and I was, as it were, in another world, and I was in a lofty luminous place. I am not able to describe with my tongue its beauty and its splendour, for there is not in this world anything like to it nor resembling to it. I saw the Lord Christ---to Him be glory---but I did not make out His real features and I was not able to distinguish Him clearly on account of the abundance of the light which was about Him. He said to me: "Why are you of little faith? This is the place of the Christians who endure trials patiently for My Name's sake. Is your heart (now) reassured?" On account of the intensity of (my) illness and joy, O my son, Michael, and of the splendour which I beheld, I cried out, saying: "I thank You, O Lord, my heart is reassured". All who were in the ship heard me when I said that. I was not, as it were, in a ship. After this, I arose from my sleep, and I saw the ship and the people, and I was actually among them, and what I had seen vanished from me. Those who were in the ship said to me: "Alas for you! What (is it) that has befallen you? You are mad and you have an evil spirit". I said: "I have not an evil spirit, but God knows what has happened to me". Then I saw this for the second time, as a likeness of Him, and the Master Christ said to me: "Was your heart strengthened?" and I cried out and repeated my first statement, so that all who were in the ship marvelled. Then I saw Him again for the third time, and then my heart was strengthened. When those who were in the ship heard me saying these words for the third time, some of them said to the others: "Perhaps, he has seen what it is not lawful for him to say
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to us, but let us go with him to the bishop", and they went with me to him and they informed him of what had happened to me. He kissed me and strengthened my heart, and he was kind to me before I said to him what I had seen and what had befallen me. He spoke with me in Coptic, and those Muslims did not know what he was saying to me. When I opened my mouth to tell him, I became, the Lord is a witness. like to him whose tongue is tied, and I was not able to say a single word of what I had seen. I made an obeisance to him, and I said to him: "Absolve me, I am not able to say anything". When I reached my house, I wished to tell you, you and your brethren, but my tongue was tied and it would not make any mention of it (the matter), except at this hour, while I was walking with you. I have mentioned now this wonder on account of your love (for me), and because it is an order from God, and (that) for the Faithful, on hearing about it, (there may be) profit and strength of heart in the Faith". I do not doubt the words of my father---may God have mercy upon him!
Of these nine years during which there was chastisement from the Lord, there were three years during which no one was able to make the oblation in the lands of Misr, except in the monasteries alone. The virtuous Faithful could not endure to be away from the Holy Mysteries, and they used to beg the walis and to bribe them with many dinars and presents so that they might give to them a permit to communicate at night secretly in remote and ruined churches and to lodge in them on the nights of the great feasts in order that they might pray and communicate at night. The vestments and Church instruments were concealed in their houses, but the books had been
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burnt. After this, after another three years, they began to restore the churches in the houses and to consecrate them secretly and to pray in them and to communicate (in them). The Possessor of the Order used to write to the Sultan who was al-Hakim, that the Christians had built churches in Misr and in the Rif secretly and that they were communicating in them, but he (al-Hakim) ignored them. After that, a number of Christians who had embraced Al-Islam stood before him (al-Hakim), and he said to them: "What do you want?" They said to him: "That you should let us return to our religion". He said to each one of them: "Where is your girdle your cross and your ghiyar?" They brought them out from under their garments and he (al-Hakim) ordered them to wear them in front of him. He despatched with each an equerry to write for him a decree to be kept with him that he should not be interfered with. Many of those who had embraced Al-Islam returned to their religion. There was amongst the number of those who had embraced Al-Islam a monk whose name was Poemen (who) returned to his religion and he begged al-Hakim to empower him to build a monastery outside Misr in the name of the martyr of Christ my lord Mercurius, and it is the monastery of Sahran. He built it and dwelt in it with his brother monks. Al-Hakim used to come to them many times, and to stay there and to eat of their humble food. All who wanted anything from al-Hakim used to go to Poemen the monk to speak with him about it at the time of his (al-Hakim's) presence at his monastery, and he used to settle it (the
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matter) for him. When Poemen perceived that his words had become acceptable to him (al-Hakim). he reminded him of the case of Abba Zacharias the patriarch, and he begged him to allow the (re)building of the churches. He (al-Hakim) promised him (to do) this. Then he (Poemen) sent to bring the patriarch from the Monastery of Abba Macarius, and he concealed him with him in the Monastery of Mercurius at Sahran.
When al-Hakim came to him, as was his custom, he (Poemen) brought forth the patriarch to him. He (Zacharias) saluted him with the salutation of kings and he blessed him and prayed for him. Al-Hakim said to Poemen the monk: "Who is this?". He (Poemen) said: "It is our father, the patriarch, whom I sent to bring, as you commanded". He (al-Hakim) beckoned to him with his finger, and he saluted him. There was with him (Zacharias) a number of bishops. He (al-Hakim) said: "Who are these?" The monk Poemen said to him: "These are his vicars in the lands, namely, the bishops". Al-Hakim looked at him (Zacharias) attentively and he marvelled at him, because he was humble in appearance but was awe-inspiring in himself. He was small of stature, thin bearded and ugly by nature. He (al-Hakim) saw the bishops who were with him, elders of handsome aspect, splendid in appearance and of complete stature. He said to them: "Is this the chief of you all?" They said to him: "Yes, O our master. May the Lord establish your kingdom!" He marvelled and said to them: "Unto where does his judgment extend?" They said to him: "His judgment is executed in the lands of Misr, Abyssinia, Nubia, the Pentapolis, Africa and other places". His astonishment increased and he said: "How (is it that) all of these obey him without troops or money with which to spend on them? " They said to him: "All these tribes obey him by means of a single cross". He said to them: "And what is this cross?" They said to him: "It is a model of that upon which Christ was crucified. Whatsoever he (the patriarch) wants
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from them, he writes to them and places it (the mark of the cross) between the lines of the letter in the place of the mark of the king, and he says to them 'Do thus and thus, lest the cross be upon you'. They obey his words and they do what he commands them without troops or warefare". He (al-Hakim) said: "In truth, there is not (such a) stable religion in the world as the religion of the Christians. Lo, we shed blood and spend money and send out armies, and yet we are not obeyed, but this elder of humble appearance and ugly by nature, the inhabitants of all these lands obey at a single word". Then he said to him (Zacharias) and to the bishops: "Remain here till I satisfy your desires", and he went out from them and they were delighted at what they had heard from him.
Then John the monk who had taken an action against the patriarch, learned where they were, and he came to them as swiftly as a bird, and they did not perceive him till he had entered and was among them. He said to the patriarch: "Lo, the Lord has restored to you your rank, and I desire that you should make me bishop". The patriarch said to him: "If the Lord will, I shall make you (bishop)". The son of his (Zacharias') brother, who was Khael, bishop of Sakha, was present there, and he was an adversary of John the monk. He again spoke words to him which angered him so that he went up on to a wall of the monastery and cried out: "I (ask help) of God and al-Hakim. I am wronged, I am wronged: obtain for me my rights!" The bishops became afraid and a great quarrel took place between them and Khael the bishop, and they said to him: "You are the cause of all this affliction and of all that has happened to us in the way of the demolition of the churches and of the wearing of the ghiyar and of the shame and of the other things. You are the root of it (all), and you desire also to begin again another affair so that the last (state) shall be worse than the first". They did not cease (from speaking) until the wrath of John the monk had subsided, and they compelled the patriarch to make him a hegoumenos
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and to clothe him with the black hood and to promise (to treat him) with courtesy. Then the king al-Hakim came to them and he brought an important decree (authorizing) the (re)opening of all the churches which were in his kingdom and their restoration, and that there should be returned to them (the Christians) the timber, pillars and bricks which had been taken from them, and the lands and the gardens which belonged to them in all the land of Misr. The demolition of the churches was in the year seven hundred and twenty-seven of the Martyrs 3, and they were opened and their restoration was allowed in the year seven hundred and thirty-six of the Martyrs 4. In this decree he (al-Hakim) exempted them (the Christians) from wearing the ghiyar and from wearing the cross, and (allowed) them to strike the nawakis in all the churches in every place, as was their custom. O what joy was it on that day for all the Christians who were in the land of Misr In the year in which there was deliverance and the allowance to undertake restorations in the churches, a wonderful thing was manifested. (It was) that al-Hakim used to ramble about the mountains which are outside Misr at night and during the day, and with him (there were) three equerries or a single equerry. When, on a certain night, he had come to Hulwan, a single equerry (being) with him, he dismounted from his beast and he said to the equerry: "Hough this ass". He did what he was ordered. Then he (al-Hakim) said to him: "Go to the Castle and leave me here", and he went as he had commanded him. When it was morning, the occupants of the Castle did not find him (al-Hakim), and he was sought for in every place, but he was not found, and no news of him was known. He had a young son and a sister. She managed the kingdom for two years until his small son had grown up. Then they seated him (on the throne as) king, and they called him Az-Zahir li-‘Izazi-dini'llah, and his name by which he was known
3 i.e. A. D. 1010-1011.
4 i.e. A. D. 1019-1020.
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was ‘Ali and his surname was Abu'l-Hasan. He did not interfere in anything of the affairs of his father, and there was in his days great tranquillity and peace, and he remained king for sixteen years 1. The religion of the Christians was in a good state and its people respected.
In his (Az-Zahir's) days the churches were (re)built till they returned to the state (in which) they had been, and (were even) better. The (re)building in them (the churches) did not cease and the restoration was continued till the year in which this biography was written, and it is the year seven hundred and sixty-seven of the Martyrs [A. D. 1050-1051].
The people did not cease from saying from the time of the disappearance of al-Hakim up to the end of the time of his son, that he was alive. Many used to dress themselves in his style, and each one of them used to say: "I am al-Hakim". They dressed themselves (thus, and appeared) to the people in the mountains so that they might take from them dinars. There was a man from Subra Kilsa (who was) called Surut, a Christian (who) afterwards embraced Al-Islam, and he learned magic and became skilled in it. Some people testified in his favour that he had walked with them and had suddenly disappeared from them, and that he resembled al-Hakim, even in his speech, but that he was a little taller than he. He called himself Abu'l-‘Arab and some people followed him (and) walked with him and became his disciples. He used to send them to the rich with letters from him to obtain for him money from them, and he used to say to them: "I shall make you amends when I return to my kingdom". He who met him and said to him: "You are our lord, the king", he (Abu'l-‘Arab) would strike him and say to him: "Take heed to your head". He remained at Misr thus for twenty years concealed so that most of the people at Misr thought that he was al-Hakim and that he hid himself on account of some secret affair
1 S. Lane-Poole, op. cit., pp. 116 and 134 gives the years A. D. 1021-1036.
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which was not known to anyone save to him. He continued thus till the days of Ma‘add al-Mustansir bi'llah [A. D. 1036-1091]. Then he went out to al-Buhairah and sojourned with a Bedouin man of (the tribe) of Bani Kurrah. known as Mufarrig ibn Tammam, and the Bedouin man pitched a tent for him, and he remained with him for two years, and he pretended (to do) the deeds of the prophets by deception. He wore miserable garments as the ascetics. He used to give to the Bedouin rich garments and fine weapons, and if the Bedouin said to him: ''Why do you not wear these magnificent garments?" He would say to him: "so that I may escape the execution which I fear". By this speech he used to enter in to them to deceive them, namely, Mufarrig ibn Tammam of Kurrah and his troop and other people besides them, and they used to enter in to him and prostrate themselves before him and salute him, as the people salute the kings, the Caliphs. He forbade them (to do) this, and it was thought that he wished to conceal his affair until the time at which he willed to manifest it. News of him was spread in all the habitations of Misr so that the kingdom was in an uproar and disturbed. This Surut then feared for himself, and he fled from the Bedouin and disappeared in a place not known to anyone. He remained concealed until the days of the father Abba Shenouti the patriarch. Then he wrote to him (Shenouti) and deceived him so that he sent to him money.
As for the father Abba Zacharias the patriarch, he remained, after meeting al-Hakim, in tranquillity and peace for the rest of his days. The duration of his patriarchate was twenty-eight years, of which seven years were before the time of the persecution and twelve years after the (re)building of the churches. He went to his rest in the year seven hundred and forty-eight of the Martyrs [A. D. 1031-1032]. He was buried in
the Church of the Mistress at Bani Wayil, known as the Church of the Steps.
Then a great trial was stirred up for the Church of the Syrians who agree with us in the Orthodox Faith in the East, so that their patriarch was exiled from his throne and he died in exile. That is to say, there was on the throne of Antioch of the Syrian Jacobites (Ya'akibah), our brethren, a father, a saint, called John ibn ‘Abdun, in that he resembled the first saintly fathers, and he did what we shall record. That is to say, our fathers, the Syrian patriarchs, had not been able to dwell in the city of Antioch since the time of the father Severus for fear of the Greeks (ar-Rum), and they did not go near its districts at all. This saint was dwelling in a monastery near Malatya. At the beginning of his career he had been an anchorite in the Black Mountain. He was (held) in good repute by everyone, as it is written in the Holy Gospel: "A city is not hidden which is built upon a mountain".
There was in his neighbourhood a monk who was also devoted to the worship of God there, whose name was John. When Athanasius, patriarch of Antioch went to his rest in the time of Abba Philotheus, patriarch of Alexandria ---his deeds were like the deeds of his namesake Athanasius the Great in truth---he said at (the time of) his going to his rest that this saint John ibn ‘Abdun would sit after him on the Throne of Antioch. When he (Athanasius) went to his rest, they went around (seeking) for him (John), and the day before their arrival, his friend, the monk, who was in his neighbourhood knew of what the Holy Spirit had revealed (to him), and he said to him: "To-morrow
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some people will come to us (and) take one of us to make him patriarch of the Throne. Should we not arise (and) go from here so that they won't find us?" The monk John said to him: "Why should we flee if the Lord has called one of us for this matter, and where shall we flee to from His presence?" That saintly father said to him: "As for me I (can) not bear this matter, and I am not suitable for it. But if you are able (to bear it), remain in your place. I am going to hide myself until this wrath which has come upon us to remove one of us from this blessed solitude which I prefer, passes us by". He went fleeing from there, and John the monk remained in his place. When the morning came, there arrived at the monastery those who were seeking for John the saint. They went around (looking) for him in the mountain, but they did not find him. When they reached the place in which that monk was living, they found him, since he was desirous of this. Then they took him, and while they were coming down from the mountain (and) going with him to where the congregation was, they saw on their way a tree, and they turned aside to it so that they might sit beneath its shade. A branch of the tree struck the eye of John the monk and tore it out, and he became one-eyed from that (hour). They marvelled and enquired of him (concerning) the matter of his case, and he confessed to them what had taken place between him and the saint John ibn ‘Abdun, and that he had desired this matter, but that that one (John the saint) had rejected it. When they were acquainted with the matter of the case, they left him and they went to the congregation and informed them of this. Their resolution was strengthened to seek for that saint wherever he was. They did not cease from going around and searching for him until they found him by the will of God, after they had become weary. He refused to go with them, so they took him by force, and they consecrated him patriarch and they seated him on the throne. During the time of his patriarchate he did not weary from his (acts of) humility and his devotions. Money used to be brought to him in the form of alms, but
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he did not keep anything of it except for his daily sustenance, and he gave the rest to the hidden and the poor.
There came to him a woman one day and (she had) with her many dinars in a large bag, and she placed it at his feet and said to him: "O my lord father, I have brought these dinars for a blessing. Grant to me their acceptation and bless me and dispose of them for your requirements and for the hidden". He answered her in a quiet voice and said to her: "May the Lord accept this from you, O my daughter". She stood expecting that he would say to her something more in the way of prayer(s) and favour(s) than this (blessing) which he had invoked upon her, as was the custom of those, other than he, who collect money and are desirous of it, so that, even if a man bring to them a single coin, they respect and honour him, especially so much money as this. When her stay had been drawn out and she did not hear (anything) other than what he had said to her, she went away grumbling. The disciple who went out to shut the door, returned and said to the patriarch: "O my father, this money which this woman brought is much. Did she not deserve that you should make much prayer for her and that her heart should be reassured? As it is, she went out grumbling about us and said: 'Perhaps, the father did not know what I brought him' ". He said to him: "Go, bring her back!" He went and brought her back to him. He said to the disciple: "Bring me a balance". He brought it to him, and he took a piece of paper and he wrote on it 'May the Lord accept them (the dinars) from you', even as he had prayed for her with his mouth at first. He put the paper into (one) scale of the balance and he put the money into the other scale, and he said to the disciple: "Lift up the balance", and he lifted it up and the paper weighed more than the money, and the scale in which was the paper went right down. The patriarch said to the woman: "O my daughter, take from them (the dinars and the paper) what you wish". She threw herself before him and wept and said: "Forgive me, O my father. You believe in what pertains to God, while I believe in
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what pertains to men''. Then she took that paper and made it (a source of) strength for her.
It happened again that he (John) had gone out to the river to (re)-build a bridge over which the people used to cross which had been destroyed. Some good people besought him to stand on it at the beginning of its (re)building so that it might receive his blessing. If the people saw him there, they would assemble and assist in (re)building it. He did this and a great multitude assembled and they remained for three days (re)building it, and they worked with joy on seeing the patriarch. When it was completed on the third day, the multitude crowded (together) in passing over it, and a young man fell into the river, and the width of that river was about twenty cubits, and its current was very strong. The father went forward (and said) that he who knew how to swim should go down to take him out. A number of those present took off their garments and went down to look for him, but they did not find him. They did not cease from diving and searching (for him) from the sixth hour of the day till the ninth hour so that they became weary and annoyed. News of him (the youth) reached his mother and she came out shrieking and weeping, as the widow of the city of Nain. They found him after ten hours and brought him up dead, and they carried him to the tent of the father Abba John, the patriarch, and left him in front of him and went away. The saint arose and prayed and besought God on his account. Then the young man opened his eyes and arose and went forth from the tent alive, and the multitude was standing outside and they hastened towards him and crowded round him to see this marvellous miracle, and he could not get free from them, and he went away to his house, only after trouble and great exertion. This great miracle concerning him was noised abroad in all the lands of Syria and elsewhere so that news of it reached the lands of Misr, and he (John) became a boast of Orthodoxy and a grief for those who dissent (from us). Malatya was near to the monastery in wliich this saintly father dwelt and there was not in his see (a city) greater or more
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populated by Christians than it. There were in it fifty-six churches filled with priests and many Syrian Orthodox people, and their number was sixty thousand Christians who bore arms, if they wished (to do so) or needed (to do) this, besides women 1.
When I, the wretched Michael, and I, Gabriel, bishop of Sa, reached this patriarch, the saint (John), with the Synodical Letter from Christodoulus, when he was seated on the Throne of Alexandria and its districts, we observed in him (John) great sanctity. When we parted from him, he honoured us and sent the son of his brother with us so that we might see the city and the people who were in it. He said to us: "I have no (city) like to it". We saw in it a number of Melkite Chalcedonians who had a metropolitan of it. The Orthodox Jacobites who were in the city used, out of their great love for this saintly patriarch, to go to him at all times to the monastery and to beseech him to be present with them on the great feasts and on Sundays so that they might receive the blessing from him and communicate from his hands. It happened that, if he came to them, they would meet him with gospels and crosses and censers and readings (from the Gospels) before him, from the gate of the city up to the church with great joy and love. They used to do this every time he came to them, and they would recount his virtues to everyone and narrate the miracles which God---praised be He!---performed by his hand. Satan (as-Sailan) found for himself an assistant in harming the aforesaid patriarch, a bishop dissenting (from us) of them who profess the Two Natures. He raised up against him a great trial, as says the Apostle: "All who desire to live by upright faith shall be persecuted by evil men, haters of the truth". This bishop was an enemy of his out of envy
1 'besides women' added on the margin. Part of this addition has been cut off, and it probably had 'and children'.
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and without shame, because he used to see the veneration of the people for this saintly father and how they ministered to him on account of the strength of their faith in him, and he observed his entry into the city in the finest and most becoming manner. The aforesaid bishop used to go in and to go out (of the city) and no one paid attention to him or asked about him. His heart was sore with envy, and jealousy was engendered in him, and he was enraged against him (John). He went to Constantinople and complained about this saintly father, Abba John, to the king and said to him: "In your kingdom there is a man, a patriarch, who encroaches on your rights, and the people obey him more than you. They are Jacobites and they adhere to this dissident Jacobite, and he also prays for kings other than you and more than for you. A reputation is falsely ascribed to him that he raised the dead, and on account of this the hearts of the multitude are inclined towards him. Banish him now from your kingdom, and cause him to be brought hither, and your holiness shall judge between me and him". The king sent to bring him (John), and the bishop sat in the city of the patriarch with its patriarch. They were assembled to arrange about what they should do with the saint. The messengers found him (John) in Malatya. When the Faithful were informed of the news, all of them assembled and said: "We will die, all of us, but he (John) shall not be taken from us, but we will give ourselves in exchange (for him). All that we possess, it is for you!". He forbade them (to do) this. He spake to them soft words that 'he who resists the king sins, and he is as he who resists the ordinance of God'. "What should the king be able to do (to me) other than to kill my body, and if he does this to me, there will be a crown prepared for me. If he speaks to me on account of the Faith, it will be a contest and an honour for me. Thus shall I be like my Lord Who was reviled and slain". With this (speech) and what was similar to it he spake to them till they left him. He journeyed with the messengers and there were with him four bishops and
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three monks, disciples of his, till they reached the dwelling of the king at Constantinople. They put him in confinement for some days till they had informed the king of his arrival. Then the patriarch of the Melkites appointed a free day for him (John) and for himself and for his bishops and for the bishop of Malatya who had complained about the patriarch John. They adorned themselves with hardness of heart and they put on garments of silk and sat upon decorated thrones and they ordered the saint John to be brought to them. He came to them in wretched garments, and he and those who were with him stood before them, and they did not cause them to be seated nor did they salute them, but they occupied themselves with reading, while they were standing for a time so that their bosoms became contracted. Thereupon, John the saint spake in the soft Syrian tongue and said: "Which of the Canons of the Church bids you to sit on your thrones and cause us to stand before you like assistants?" They said to him: "You and your congregation are dissidents, and it is not fitting that you sit with us as Orthodox bishops". He said to them: "If we are dissidents as you say, let us sit with you and let us talk about the Faith, and he to whom God shall give the victory shall be victorious, if we (can) find him who judges between us in truth and not by the authority of the kingdom". The bishop of Malatya had agreed with the patriarch of the Melkites and his bishops that they would not dispute with him (John) or his bishops, and he had said to them: "They are very learned. If you dispute with them, you will be put to shame before them, but overcome them by speech, by the power of the kingdom". Then they reviled them and they said to them: "You are heretics. We ought not to speak to you", and they said to the attendants: "Take them (away) till tomorrow". When the morrow was come, the king caused them all to be brought and he made them stand before him, and he appointed an interpreter for them. The king said to the interpreter: "Say
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to the patriarch: they have informed me that you are a saint of God. Now I desire nothing of you save that you shouldst acknowledge the Council of Chalcedon, and I shall be happy, and I will exalt you and honour you and give you the authority over all the lands near to you". He (John) said to him: "O my master, the king, may the Lord preserve your kingdom and your authority!---He knows that I do not cease from prayer and supplication for your powerful kingdom, as the Holy Scriptures command us, 'so that our life may be in quietness and peace'. Your authority has not the right to force anyone to forsake his religion, as we have two kings, namely, the king of Abyssinia and the king of Nubia, and they do not force anyone of the people of your religion who is dwelling among them to change his faith. Now I beseech the Lord Christ to establish your kingdom without disturbance and to preserve all of us according as has been revealed to him". The interpreter interpreted all that he said except (about) the two kings, the Abyssinian and the Nubian, for he added to this and he said: "We have two kings greater than you", and this (was because) the bishop of Malatya had bribed the interpreter with money and had come to an agreement with him to turn the speech against him (John), whereby the king would be enraged against him (John), even though with a single word. When the king heard (this), his wrath and his rage and his imprecation(s) became intense, and he cursed his (John's) belief and his congregation and he said: "You are dissidents in truth". He commanded that he (John) should be returned to (his) confinement. There was one of the disciples of the saint John who knew the language, and he was his interpreter. When they came out, he informed him (John) of what the interpreter had done by turning the speech against him.
When the morrow was come, the king caused his patriarch and his congregation to be brought and he consulted them about what he should do. They advised him that he (John) should be banished to the islands which were near to him, he (John) and those who were with him until
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they professed their (the Melkite) Faith, and then he should set them free. There were among them two aged metropolitans, and when they learned this, they acknowledged the Council of Chalcedon, and they thought that they would remain in their former rank, but the patriarch of the Melkites did not leave them in it, but made them both subdeacons. The two others (metropolitans) held fast to their faith, and they did not agree to what the king wished. The king strove, but he was not able to turn them from their Orthodox Faith. Then the king caused Abba John, the patriarch, to be brought, and he promised him great honours and advancement. He said to him: "Lo, I am standing before you and (am) under your authority. Your power is over my body, do with it what you think (fit) and as you will. Kill me, but I will never forsake my Orthodox Faith". Then he commanded him (John) to be exiled to a monastery on an island near to Constantinople. Between him and it (there was) a distance of one day. He did not allow (anyone) with him except one disciple to minister to him. He (John) had the illness of gout in his feet, and he remained there two years. There was in that island an anchorite of the Melkites, and he commanded the monks who were with him to go every day to the patriarch, the saint John, and to curse him and to spit in his face, and he placed an anathema upon them if they did not do this every day. They used to do this to him (John) during his stay there. There was in the monastery a youth, a servant, and he used to insult the patriarch still more. It happened that, whenever the disciple heated water for the feet of the patriarch in order that he might thereby find ease, that youth used to cast ash into it. The disciple used to weep, but the patriarch used to console him and say to him: "O my son, God will not forget us". The youth persisted in this deed, and an evil spirit leapt upon him and strangled him and belaboured him and tormented him. They brought him to the elder Abba John foaming and striking with his head and gnashing with his teeth. He remained
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(thus) for three days, Satan tormenting him. Then he died an evil death.
There was in Constantinople a man who loved Abba John, and he came thither to visit him, but he was not able to reach him. Then he wrote to him a letter and went to a village near to the monastery, and he met in it a man known to him, and he said to him: "I desire greatly that you shouldst take this letter and deliver it to the patriarch secretly without that anyone knows about you". He gave to him a dinar and the letter, and there was not anything in it except an enquiry after him (John) and an excuse to him that he had not been able to reach him so as to visit him, and asking from him a blessing to place in his dwelling. He took the letter and went with it to the chief (of the village), as did Judas. He sent some people to the owner of the letter and they beat him and imprisoned him. The patriarch heard his weeping and his speech in Syriac and he called to his disciple and he desired to know of him the news, and he informed him of all what had happened. The patriarch marvelled and was grieved and sent to him to console him, and he said to him: "Let not your bosom be contracted. After three days, the Lord will remove all this (from you)". The disciple inquired about the meaning of the saying. Then he said to him confidentially: "After three days, God will take me to Him. Bury me not in the cemetery of the heretics, but place me in a place alone, for the day on which I shall fall asleep, the king will send (a messenger) to bring me out, and he will find me having gone forth from this body. He (the messenger) will take you and the other man to the king, and he (the king) will set you two free. I charge you to say to the people that they let not him who comes after me dwell in the lands of the Greeks (ar-Rum), but that he should dwell in Amid or in the city of Edessa". His disciple was considering how he could save his (John's) body after his
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death from the dissidents, lest they should do with it what they wished. Then he said within himself 'yet, let God's will be (done)'. The patriarch knew in the spirit his (the disciple's) thought, and he said to him: "Why do you have doubts concerning my body? I believe that God is able to do all things". After three days, he went to his rest, as he said. When the monks learned of this, they assembled that they might bury him. The Superior of the monastery was away. The king sent to call the patriarch, but he found him dead. The messengers quarrelled with the monks who wished to bury him, and they prevented them (the messengers) from burying him there, and they said: "Take this heretic from the midst of the Orthodox". They took him and they brought him to the place of a rock, and they dug out a grave, and buried him far from them (the monks). As for the messengers of the king, they took the disciple and the man who came from Constantinople to visit the patriarch and wrote to him the letter, and they returned to the king and they announced to him his (John's) death. He (the king) set them both free, for he had suffered torment in his dream that night on account of the saintly patriarch. His going to rest in banishment was in the year seven hundred and forty-seven of the Righteous Martyrs [A. D. 1030-1031]. God Whose praise is great and Who is exalted did not hide from him anything of what he wished to know, on account of his sanctity and his purity.
It happened that, before his (John's) departure to the lands of the Greeks (ar-Rum), there fled to him Abba Abraham, bishop of Damietta on account of what had befallen him through his people, and of what had reached him (in the way of news) about his (John's) sanctity. He went and entered into his monastery, and he was clothed in wretched attire in the garb of monks with a white hood so that he might conceal his state, and he stood in a corner of the church in the midst of the congregation of the monks. It was a Sunday and the father Abba John, was inside the sanctuary. He said to his disciple: "Go to such and such a
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place in the church and you will find there a bishop from the lands of Misr, standing with the monks in the garb of a monk, and bring him to me". This was a wonder similar to what befell Saint Basil the Great Doctor, Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia with the Saint, my lord Ephraem the Syrian. The disciple went thither, but he did not recognize him on account of the change of his attire. Then he returned to the father and said to him: "I did not find him". He said to him: "Yes, indeed, he is standing there and with him are two strange monks". The disciple went back to the place and said to the three: "Who of you is the bishop?" One of the two monks said: "He is this (one)". Then he said to him: "The father calls you". He came with him to him, and when he had entered in to him and had prostrated himself before him, the patriarch raised him and said to him: "Why have you fled from the grace which the Lord Christ has bestowed on you?" He said to him: "I am not fleeing (from it), but I have come to see you and to receive your blessing". He said to him: "Yes, indeed, you are fleeing from much speaking and from the fatigue which you have experienced', and he spoke to him words that reassured his heart. He remained with him for a time and he sent him back to his see with honour.
There sat on the Throne of Antioch, after this saint John, the son of his brother, and they called him John the patriarch. God grant to us (acceptation) of the intercession and blessing of both of them altogether.
His disciple informed me, I, Michael, the writer of this biography, about this, when I went to the Throne of Antioch, after I had become bishop of the see of the city of Tinnis and its districts, and with me there was Abba Gabriel bishop of Sa with the Synodical Letter which Abba Christodoulos, patriarch of Alexandria, wrote to Abba John the aforementioned, in the year seven hundred and sixty-five of the Martyrs [A. D.1048-1049]; for I asked this disciple and said to him: "Yes, did the
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father Abba John really raise the dead?'' He described to me all what I have mentioned in this biography.
As for his story about Abba Abraham, bishop of Damietta, I heard it from his mouth in the year in which the father Abba Zacharias died in Misr. These two patriarchs experienced great trial and labour and they received a glorious crown through their endurance and their confession of the Orthodox Faith before the dissidents; Abba John, before the king of the Greeks (ar-Rum) and their patriarch and his communion, and Abba Zacharias, before al-Hakim, king of the Muslims and the inhabitants of the kingdom.
Abba Abraham, the aforementioned bishop of Damietta said: "I witnessed great miracles by the father, the saint John, the patriarch, while I was with him, among which I saw one of his disciples, and it was said to me that he had been blind and that Abba John had opened his eyes. I asked the disciple with an obeisance to recount to me his story. He said to me: "I was blind and I used to sit in the church by the basin of water from which the people covered their communion. I used to lay hold on the garments of those whose speech I recognized so that they might give me as alms some of their money. I pulled one day the garment of one of the brethren, and he went and complained about me to the father. He (the patriarch) had just finished communicating the people, and he gave them the peace and washed his hands and came out to me. He said to me: "O my son, what is this matter with you that you dost harm the people and tear their garments?"
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I said: "O my father, I am blind and feeble, whilst they see. I beg of them to give me something as alms, but they do not (do so)". He said to me: "If the Lord Christ open your eyes, what will you do?" I said: "I will serve you until the day of my death". He (the patriarch) took with his hand water from that basin and said: "The Lord Christ Who made mud with His spittle on the ground and anointed with it the eyes of the completely blind and said to him: 'Go, wash both of them in the source of Siloam and they will be opened', may He open these two eyes of yours", (and) he sprinkled the water on my eyes and they were opened, as you see. I have served him till now. and I shall serve him also until I die beneath his feet".
Trustworthy (people) of the Faithful informed me of many miracles concerning the father Abba Zacharias, among which how the body of Abba Mercurius, bishop of Tilbanah, shone with leprosy, and an awful whiteness appeared in him. He came to the father, Abba Zacharias, at Damru on a Sunday, and the aforementioned father said to him with humility and quietness and a sore heart: "O my brother Abba Mercurius, I am a partner with you in what you suffer, and you know that God said to Moses: 'You shall not have regard to the face of anyone in judgment' The priesthood shall not be valid, except after the Lord Christ has removed from you this whiteness, for it is a defilement, as the Scripture calls it". He (Mercurius) wept and said: "Help me through your prayer, O my father, the saint". He departed from him and he went to a church in his see (dedicated) to the name of the Pure Mistress, my
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lady Mary the Virgin, the Mother of God the Word. That church was in a village called Tmai. He entered it in the morning of a Monday, and there was in it an aged priest whose name was Farah. He (the bishop) said to his disciple: "When it is Wednesday evening, visit me here, and if you find me dead, help this priest to bury me here, and if you find me alive, I shall speak to you". The disciple went away from him. He (the bishop) stood before the picture of the Mistress, weeping (and) entreating on Monday, and the night of it (Monday), Tuesday, the day and the night of it (Tuesday), Wednesday, the day of it (Wednesday), and he was asking for her intercession, entreating her to examine that leprosy and to remove it from him. When it was the ninth hour of the day of Wednesday, he (the bishop) became dazed from fasting and fatigue, and he leaned against the wall on which was the picture, and he was dozing. Then he saw the hand of this picture, as if it wiped his body, and he woke up and was cured of his sickness. He summoned the priest and informed him of the news, and asked him to look at his whole body, and he (the priest) saw it, and it had become clean and free from leprosy. He rejoiced and thanked the Lord, the Saviour, and his weeping was grievous. Then the disciple came to him at the end of the day and he (the bishop) said to him: "O my son, the Lord Christ has granted (me) through the intercession of the Pure Mistress, his Mother, health (again). It is necessary that I remain in this place three days more to thank the Lord for what he has bestowed upon me. Come to me with a beast on Saturday". Then he partook of a little bread and water, and he remained there three days, as he had said. The disciple came to him on the evening of Saturday, and he (the bishop) went to Damru and he entered in to the father Zacharias on the morning of Sunday, while he was in the church, and he made known to him the news, and he
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said: "O my father, this (is) through your prayers". He (the patriarch) said to him: "On the contrary, (it is) through your faith and your prayer". He (the patriarch) gave him the right to officiate, and he (the bishop) celebrated the Liturgy that day. He (the patriarch) said to him: "Truly you are more worthy than I (to celebrate) the Liturgy so that we may receive your blessing, after this great grace has been bestowed upon you". All those present glorified God Who performs miracles. There was a man, a deacon, a native of Minyati Milig (who was) very well known. He quarrelled with his wife, and she was pure (and) pious. He went out from her, and was filled with satanic fury, and he went (and) copulated with an effeminate man and fell with him into sin. Then he returned to his dwelling, and his wife became reconciled to him. When it was night, he sat down on his bed, and took off his garment to lie down to sleep. His wife saw his body and it all shone with leprosy. She rose up and was full of fear, and she said to him: "What (is it) that you has done, so that you have leprosy? Look at your body". He looked attentively at his body and he wept bitterly, and he said to her: "O my sister, when I quarrelled with you to-day, Satan played a trick on me, and I did so and so". Then he struck his face, and he plucked out the hair of his beard and he increased (his) weeping. His good (and) pious wife said to him, weeping over him: "You have sinned, O my brother, and have erred. Hasten to the father Abba Zacharias the Saint, and take hold of his feet and cling to them, until he beseeches God on your behalf, and you shall be healed". He rose up early and rode his beast and went to Damru and cast himself before the patriarch, and he increased (his) weeping and (his) entreating, and he clung to his feet and confessed to him what had happened to him. He (the patriarch) said to him: "O my son, is it in you to stand firm in labour before the Lord Christ?" He said to him: "O my father, judge me according to what you will, and I will do it with God's assistance to me, and through the blessing of your prayer". He took him into a dark house that he had, and he left him standing
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in a satirah of tamarisk resembling a barrel, after he had put into the half of it salt, and had set his face towards the East, and had said to him: "O my son. continue in prayer and entreaty and weeping, and repent, that you return not again to sin". He used to feed him after three days and three nights with a little bread (measured out) with a balance and to give him water to drink also (measured out) with a balance until the end of fifteen days, and he came to him to visit him and he prayed for him. At the end of three weeks, he visited him again, and prayed for him, and at the end of the month, he came to him and examined his body, and he found the leprosy had diminished, and he was reassured. Then he announced to him the good news about this. Then at the end of forty days, he came to him and he looked at him attentively and found that he was clean and that nothing of the leprosy remained in his body. He rejoiced with him and he bathed him with hot water, and he anointed him and prayed for him, and he said to him: "O my son. you are cured and you know what you have vowed to yourself---return not to sin---and think not that I caused you to fast three days (and) then after them (another) three days, and that I myself broke my fast, but---as the Name of Christ lives---I did not feed myself during these forty days, except as I fed you, and I did not break my fast except at the time at which I caused you to break your fast (and) likewise (with) the same (amount of) bread and water with which I fed you. Then he blessed him and commanded him to depart to his dwelling, and he returned to his blessed wife, rejoicing and happy.
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As-Shaikh ‘Alam al-Kafah Abu Yahya Istafan ibn Mina at-Turigi, the scribe, related that he went with his workman whose name was Zakir to Damru, and they saluted the father Abba Zacharias the patriarch---God grant to us (acceptation) of the blessing of his prayer! The father went out walking, without a beast, to Tumbarah so that he might salute a Nubian man, a monk, whose name was Sisih, and he (the patriarch) received his blessing before he blessed him (the monk), and he honoured him with much honour and humbled himself before him and venerated him. When he had departed from him, those who were with him, asked him and said to him: "What is the reason of your respect for the state of this (one), and for humbling yourself before him, and for giving him precedence over you in the blessing,---you, the patriarch of the land?" He said to them: "This (man) al-Hakim cast together with me to the lions after they had starved them, and the lions were obedient to him, and licked his feet before mine.
Shenouti the patriarch, and he is the sixty-fifth of (their) number.
When Abba Zacharias, the patriarch, went to his rest, certain people solicited the patriarchate, and they hoped to obtain it through the Sultan, and to force the bishops to elect them. When Bukairah, the scribe, of Rasid, the owner of the cross, in whom was zeal for God, the Exalted, learned of this, he collected some good people and he went to the wazir ‘Ali ibn Ahmad and talked with him about this. He was a man who understood and loved the Christians, and he said to Bukairah and to those who were with him: "It is obligatory (to pay) to the Royal Treasury for him
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who is to be elected patriarch three thousand dinars, but we have dispensed with this out of honour for you, and what you do after this, (let it be) what is pleasing to God---praised be He!---(even) as it is done with us at Baghdad, and this is, that when they wish to advance a man to the patriarchate, they assemble in the church, and they select from those who are in the monasteries a hundred men, and from the hundred, fifty, and from the fifty, twenty-five, and from the twenty-five, ten, and from the ten, three, and they write the names of the three on three pieces of paper, and on a fourth they write the Name of the Lord, and they (the pieces of paper) are covered with wax (and made into) balls, and they are placed on the altar, and they (the clergy) pray and celebrate the Liturgy. After the prayer and the Liturgy, they bring a little child from among their male children in whom there is no sin, and he stretches out his hand and takes one of them (the pieces of paper). If there is on it the name of (one of) the three, they consecrate him patriarch, but if there is on it the Name of the Lord, they know that (there is) not among the three he who is fit, and they write other three names, and they do not cease from doing (this) until God---praised be He!---has chosen him whom He has selected, and his name is revealed. Then they cansecrate him patriarch. Thus it is necessary that you should do here". They marvelled at his wisdom and his understanding and they thanked him and prayed for him and departed. The bishops assembled and with them were the superiors of Wadi Habib, but they did not do as the wazir had said to them, but they sat down to think about the people whom they might select to consecrate one of them. There was mentioned a man who had become a monk at fourteen years of age and whose name was Shenouti. He had become a priest in the skene of Abba Macarius, (and) he had knowledge of the Scriptures. He was a native of Tilbanat ‘Adi and had become a monk in the dwelling-place
(l) Cf. R. Dozy, op. cit., vol. I. p. 118.
(S) Cf. p. 11 3, n. h.
(S> Cf. p. 118, n. 3.
(,) Cf. Aziz Surial Ativa, op. ch.} pp. 122, ia3.
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known as D???a?h. Some of the bishops preferred him on account of his learning, but he was an old man, and they remained perplexed as to whom they should consecrate, him or another than him. One of the bishops saw a speaker who spoke to him in a dream: "The first who enters to-morrow by the door of the church and kisses the bodies [of the saints], seize him, for he (shall be) the patriarch". He awoke immediately, and he informed the brethren, the bishops, of this. When it was day, Shenouti entered, and they seized him immediately. It happened before this, in the night of the aforementioned day, that he (Shenouti) saw in a dream Peter the Apostle, and John the Evangelist, and it was as if they both delivered to him keys. When he awoke, he spoke to the monk who was with him, and said: "I saw in my dream so and so". The monk said to him: "The patriarchate shall be yours".
It is said that this Shenouti was desirous of this (the patriarchate), and that he had solicited the bishopric of Misr, but that he had nothing wherewith to pay for this, and they had rejected him and had made Philotheus bishop of the see of Misr.
Before they invested him (Shenouti) with the patriarchal robe, it was arranged between him and the bishops that he should consecrate for them John, the monk, who had calumnated the father Zacharias to al-Hakim, bishop of al-Farama, on account of their fear of his tongue. They went with him (John) to his (Shenouti's) cell, and he (Shenouti) made an obeisance to him (John) to assist him in everything, and he treated him as a brother of his. He (John) said to him: "If you wish me to assist you, write for me your signature that you will give me every year thirty dinars
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with which I may live, since the see of al-Farama of which you will make me (bishop) has nothing; and you shall consecrate my brother to another see. He (Shenouti) wrote his signature concerning this. The bishops remained some days after this (and) were meeting together, but their opinion did not agree as to whom to consecrate. Everyone of them mentioned one of his relatives or a friend of his with regard to being patriarch, until a week had passed. Then John, the aforesaid monk, said to them: "Until when will this sitting of yours (last)? Everyone of you seeks (to satisfy) his own desire, but there is not (anyone) save Shenouti, a saintly and learned man, who has read the Scriptures, and (is a man of) understanding". He described him and was profuse in his description (of him). The bishops assisted him, and they sent to bring Shenouti, and they made him hegoumenos, and they journeyed with him to Alexandria. The Alexandrians assembled to arrange something that concerned them. They took his (Shenouti's) signature for five hundred dinars every year (which) they used to spend for the management of their churches, and they took his signature that he would not take from anyone simony, nor ask for the gift of Christ a dinar or a dirham or more than that. They forced him before his consecration (to pay) as dues, according to their custom, to the wali one hundred dinars. When they consecrated him, and he had not wherewith to pay to the wali or (money) for himself also, certain of them said to him: "Are you better than your fathers who used to take simony and paid with it for this and other things?" This suited him. The see of Bana was vacant, and there was a man there whose name was Justus, and he had a nephew (son of his sister) whose name was Raphael. He arranged with him (Shenouti) about the see for six hundred dinars, but he had not anything except half and a quarter of a dinar, and he went to certain Muslim people, and he borrowed that (sum) from them
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at interest, and he wrote a document, wherehy he obliged himself to pay to them for that (sum) in almonds at the rate of one and a third ardab a dinar. Thereupon, he (Shenouti) consecrated him (bishop) and he remained two years in his see, and he died, and the patriarch paid the money to the Alexandrians.
He (Shenouti) annulled what had been arranged with him that he should not take simony. He loved money and collected a great amount of it and gave it to his family. He was a lover of the glory of this world.
When he had departed from Alexandria, and they had come with him to Misr to proclaim him, he descended at the church of Michael the elect which is in the Island of Misr, and there came to him a multitude of priests and archons to be blessed by him, and there was with them the deacon Bukairah ar-Rasidi, the owner of the cross. When they had saluted him and had received his blessing, they sat down. He (Shenouti) said to Bukairah: "The Lord reigneth, let the people tremble". Bukairah said to him: "What is the meaning of this speech, O our father?" He said to him: "I solicited the see of Misr, but it (the see) did not accept me, and asked for Philotheus. Lo, the Lord has made me king without your choice". The archons became angry with him and they looked one at the other, and they started to get up. Bukairah said to him: "These words David the prophet said in the psalm concerning the Lord Christ alone, since He reigned over the Jews without their desiring that He should be king over them, because He came for the salvation of the world. Lo, now you compare yourself to the Lord
and you comparest us to the Jews ''. They rose up and
went forth in anger saying: "There is no salvation in your kingdom".
In truth, there was no salvation in it, since first he consecrated (as)
bishop of Bana the aforementioned (Raphael) and took from him six
hundred dinars, and (then) he consecrated after him Badir, archpriest
of Asyut, bishop, and took from him much money. The
inhabitants of Asyut prevented him from entering in to them for
three years on account of the money which he paid, since they adhered
to the Canons, and said: "It is not allowed to an overseer
or to a priest who makes himself worthy for God to pay for this money
or to take anything from him whom he ordains to the service of God,
as the saying of Christ through His exalted mouth to His disciples, when
He commanded them to baptize the nations and to announce to them
the good tidings of the Gospel for their salvation. He (Christ) said to
them the well known commandment in the Gospel and He said to them
at the end of it: 'Freely you have received, freely give, that is, you have
received this grace without a price, demand not then from him to whom
you give it a price".
The patriarchs of the Copts and their fathers did not cease from acting according to this commandment up to the time of the oppression by the authorities of the Muslims from Ahmad ibn Tulun [A. D. 868-884.] up to the days of al-Hakim [A. D. 996-1021] (in addition to) other things which, if we were to describe them, the description would be long. Necessity caused them to do what they did in this (matter) on account of what was demanded of them in the way of money and of what they undertook in the way of burdens.
Let us return now to the account of the affair of the bishop of Asyut. When they prevented him from entering in to them, he returned to the patriarch Abba Shenouti and demanded from him the money or that he should confirm to him the bishopric. But he (Shenouti) was not able to do anything for him, and he did not return
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to him the money which he had taken from him. I, the wretched Michael, declare, and the Lord is a witness to me, that I saw him one day talking to him (Shenouti) about this matter, and he (Shenouti) did not address a single word to him, and he wept and struck his cheeks and he tore off the episcopal garments and cast them down, and he fell down trembling as one dead or as one in whom there is an evil spirit. We raised him up and we treated him with kindness until he became calm and his reason returned to him. We wrote for him a letter to the two bishops who were neighbours to his see that they should proclaim him in one of the villages of his see.
Another bishop whose name was Elias died in a town called Bisnanah. He (Shenouti) sent (and) took his dwelling-place and all that he had. His (Elias') brother presented himself and asked him (Shenouti) and begged him to give him the dwelling-place empty and to take all that was in it. He did not pay any attention to him, and (thereby) obliged him to embrace Al-Islam, and he took the dwelling-place and all that was in it. This was amongst his (Shenouti's) vexations and his deeds which it is not right to record.
When the inhabitants of Alexandria demanded from him (Shenouti) the five hundred dinars in the second year, he refused (to pay them) to them. They went and complained about him to the wali. He (Shenouti) himself went and implored certain of the archons until they (the archons) took away the signature for the five hundred dinars from the Alexandrians, and he wrote for them in place of it (the five hundred dinars) (a signature) for three hundred and fifty dinars.
Bukairah the deacon, the owner of the cross, was present at the drawing up of this agreement, and he reconciled the patriarch (to it), and he said to him: "Listen now to what I say to you, for it is agreeable to God the Exalted and the people, and they will rejoice about it". He (Shenouti) said to him: "Whatever you advise, I will do it, and I will not act contrary to it". He (Bukairah) said to him: "It is essential that you should forsake this simony which you take,
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and that you should not sell the gift of God for money". He (Shenouti) said to him: "From whence shall I have wherewith to spend on myself and my disciples and on what I need in the way of provisions and necessaries, and for what I (have to) give to the Alexandrians and for what I (have to) pay on account of the tax on the lands which I owe?". He (Bukairah) said to him: "We will reckon up all your debts and all what you need, and we will reckon up all what you receive from the bishops from the Diyariah every year, and if there is any deficiency, we will pay it by instalments, and we will bring it to you and you shall find rest from this evil name which God and the people abhor". He (Shenouti) manifested that he was agreeable (to this), whilst in secret he did not feel (so). He (Bukairah) said to him: "Write your signature consenting to this". He wrote his signature to this and Bukairah took it and went away.
I, the wretched Michael, unworthy to be called bishop of Tinnis, was present, and I was at that time a deacon. I rejoiced over this matter and assisted at it. He (Shenouti) made me his scribe, because some of his friends gave an account of me to him, and he took me to write for him. Then he (Shenouti) sent to fetch the bishops to reassure them about this. A certain man from among them entered in to him and said to him: "What is the object for which you have called us, and why have you forsaken simony and pretended that you will not take anything from him whom you will make bishop? What (is this) thing that you have done with yourself, lo, you have listened to him who does not wish you well?" He (Shenouti) changed his mind from (that) hour, and he established in his mind an opposition to Bukairah. He said: "If I do not take simony the patriarchate will pass away from me". When Bukairah heard that the bishops were present, he came to him (Shenouti) and received his blessing according to the custom, and he said to him: "O our father, the bishops are present. Act with them as if you have done this thing of yourself without that anyone counselled you (to do) it. This will
he good before God and the multitudes". He (Shenouti) said to him: "So will I do, but bring to me the document which I wrote for you to acquaint them (the bishops) with it, when they are assembled". He (Bukairah) gave it to him. When it was in his (Shenouti's) hands he tore it into little pieces. Those who were present marvelled at his deed, and they said: "This is a house built without foundations or rock". The news reached the bishops and they were angry, and they said: "It is as if he makes mock of us and causes us to be brought for a matter, and (then) turns back and cancels it, but we shall not give it up at all". They (the bishops) were assembling in (the Church of) Abba Mercurius at Misr, and Abba Shenouti the patriarch was in the Church of Michael the elect. They sent to him certain of the archons saying: "It is not possible for you to cancel this matter on account of which you have brought us together concerning the renunciation of simony until what is requisite has been settled". When he saw that they would not give up this matter, he met together with them, and they sat conversing with him from morning till night, and Bukairah (was) with them, and they were not able to stand up against him (Shenouti). Then one of his (Shenouti's) disciples entered in to him with a piece of paper with him from a man of the party of the Devil---may God confound him! When he (Shenouti) had learned its contents, he said to the deacon Bukairah: " What have you to do with the discussion in this assembly?" Then he (Shenouti) made a sign to his disciples, and they leapt upon him (Bukairah) and they beat him severely. The patriarch rose up and went out, and the council broke up and everyone of them went to his place.
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As for John, the monk, who became bishop of al-Farama, he wrote to him (Shenouti) that he should give to him thirty dinars every year and make his brother a bishop, and when he (himself) demanded this of him (Shenouti), he would not give anything to him. Then he went out from his presence menacing him and threatening him that he would do to him as he had done to Abba Zacharias the saintly patriarch. When he (Shenouti) learned this from him, he produced a writing of an astonishing anathema the like of which had never been heard of. He had written it against him (John) with his hand on the day he had made him bishop, and he sent it thereupon to the land of Misr and to the chiefs of the Christians and to the bishops that they should not receive him nor give to him bread to eat nor give to him anything. In the first year (in which) he was consecrated (patriarch), each of the bishops paid to him two dinars. When this happened, he (Shenouti) produced this anathema, and in it there were written from the Old (Testament) the anathemas written in the Second Law and (those) written in the Psalm one hundred and eight of David the Prophet against Judas Iscariot, and the aforesaid patriarch wrote the anathema with his hand.
In these days, there was the king Az-Zahir 1'‘Izazi dini' Hah and his name was Abu'l-Hasan [A. D. 1021-1036] and the wazir at that time (was) ‘Ali ibn Ahmad al-Gargani, and the administrator in the Rif (was) ‘Ali ibn Hadid, and he was of great ill-repute. He filled the prisons with people, men and women, so that pregnant women brought forth in the prisons.
There appeared in those days, in the land of Palestine a
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wonder (which) was that two mountains in the district of Paneas 1 met together and fire came out from between them at their meeting together, and many trees were burnt, and a large part of the sea dried up so that men took up fish from the land which was uncovered, and they found in it (the land) lead and iron and many things. Then the sea returned to what it was before 2.
In the year seven hundred and fifty-four of the Martyrs [A. D. 1037-1038.] the Rif lacked water, and there was no sowing in it, except (in) a small (part). At the time of the harvest there appeared many mice like locusts in the Rif, and they devoured many sown fields and vineyards. At the winnowing of the heap (of grain) they used to take in their hands chains and gourds wherewith to strike against the mice and to protect the grain from them, but they were not able to protect them. They mentioned that one of the sowers turned over the heap in which (were) sixteen ardab, and he sat down to protect it from the mice until morning. When it was morning, there was found in it (the heap) six ardab. A man had a vineyard and he paid for it thirteen dinars, and he said: "I will not take (for it) less than fourteen dinars". When the morning of the next day came, he did not find in it anything worth a dirham. No one was able in that year to bake biscuits, for fear lest the mice should be kneaded in them, for they used even to gnaw the earthenware pots. There was a drought, and the mice came from God the Exalted. The people used to supplicate God---praised be He!---and they beseeched Him Whose Name is great, to remove this from them, out of His compassion and His kindness, and
1 i. e. Caesarea Paneas or Caesarea Philippi.
2 Cf. E. A. Wallis Budge, The Chronography of Gregory Abu l'-Farag (Barhebraeus), London, 1932, vol. 1, p. 194.
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it was removed in Hatur. A man related that there was a copper pot in which (was) water up to the half of it, and they left it uncovered at night, and when it was morning, they found in it forty mice drowned in it and dead. Another related that he sat in the darkness and in his hand was a stick, and he was striking the ground with it so as to chase away the mice from a basket in which there was wheat. When it was morning, he found one hundred and fifty mice (which) had been killed by his stick.
After this, there came upon Abba Shenouti a throbbing in his head, and he was anointed day and night with violet ointment, but he did not find rest from the violent throbbing and a cough. He used to feel a fire, as it were, burning in his head. He also suffered from a pain in his car, and the pain lasted for three years until the Lord, Whose Name is great, visited him. He went to his rest on the second day of Hatur in the year seven hundred and thirty-three of the Martyrs 4 being (still) desirous of the world. The duration of his patriarchate was fifteen years and a half. He went to his rest, and I was sitting with him and I closed his eyes with my hands. We assembled to pray over him, and we buried him in the great church at Damru which Abba Zacharias the patriarch had built, and which this father, Abba Shenouti completed---God grant to us acceptation of the blessing of his prayers--- and he spent on it much money, because he had vowed (to do) this before he became patriarch.
At that time there died Az-Zahir l'-‘Izazi dini'llah, and there sat (on the throne) after him his son Ma‘ad Abu Tamim al-Mustansir bi'llah, Commander of the Faithful [A. D. 1036-1094.].
4 i. e. A. D. 1016, a date which, of course, is quite incorrect. 6 A. D. 1036-1094.
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At that time, there was burnt down a church of the Jacobite Syrians at Antioch on account of a quarrel (which) occurred between the priests and the archons with regard to the money of the aforementioned church. The aforementioned archon went to the patriarch of the Melkites and gave to him money so that he sent to seal the door of the church, and he took the priests and put them under arrest, and they were afflicted by him for six days until they sent to him (saying) that they had changed their religion and that they would deny their Faith and acknowledge his Faith and be (one) with him on the condition that he should leave them in their ranks and that he should obtain for them their rights from that archon who had deprived them of them. When the archon heard of this, he anticipated them, and went to the patriarch of the Melkites and became a Melkite for fear lest he (the patriarch) should demand (from him) the money of the church. The priests also became Melkites, and they left (their) belief, and they went to the aforementioned church and plundered it and demolished the sanctuary, and they took the Offering which was in it and cast it into the river, and they demolished the church and dominated over the people and afflicted the majority of them until they became Melkites. It is said that those who became Melkites from among the Syrian Jacobites on that occasion (numbered) eleven thousand men. (This) is what I saw and heard, and I have written it to your brethren, I, the wretched Michael of Damru, whom the father, Abba Zacharias ordained deacon, and Abba Shenouti made priest, and Abba
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Christodoulus made bishop over the city of Tinnis and its districts, (who) am unworthy of this venerable rank.
I completed this biography on the twenty-fifth day of Basans (in) the year seven hundred and sixty-seven of the Righteous Martyrs [A.D. 1051] as far as my knowledge of it reached, that it may be a memorial to me for whomsoever reads it.
Glory (be) to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Mawhub ibn Mansur ibn Mufarrig the Alexandrian, the deacon, said: "Since those who have gone before (us) from among the righteous predecessors---may God grant to us the acceptation of their blessing!---have occupied themselves with and written the biographies (of the patriarchs) of the Church and arranged them, and explained the affairs of the patriarchs of the Throne of the preacher, my lord Mark the Evangelist at Alexandria, and what happened to them, and what God---praised be He!---manifested at their hands in the way of miracles, and (how) He fortified them with patience and zeal and power of faith to guide their flocks and to lead them to the Orthodox Faith and to teach them the Evangelic commandments, as the Lord---Whose Name be magnified!---ordered them; I, the sinner (and) the wretched (one), yearned to collect their (the patriarchs') biographies and to write them down so that this might be of profit to me and to him who shall read them after me. Then I asked help of God--- may His remembrance be exalted!---and I journeyed to the monastery of Saint Abba Macarius in the holy Wadi Habib. I found (there) the deacon Abba Habib Michael ibn Badir of Damanhur, and there was there the father, Abba Cyril and with him three bishops, namely, Abba Gabriel, bishop of al-Buhairah, and Abba Abraham, bishop of Dibkwa, and Abba Khael, bishop of Nusa,
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who was of Burah. This was in Baramhat 2 (in) the year eight hundred and four of the Martyrs 3 which corresponds to the year four hundred and seventy-six of the tax-year which is the (month of) Muharram of the year four hundred and eighty of the lunar (year) which is the tenth year of his (Cyril's) patriarchate.
In the aforesaid desert (there were) at that time about seven hundred monks of whom (there were) four hundred in the monastery of Abba Macarius, one hundred and sixty-five in the monastery of Abba John 4, twenty-five in the monastery of Abba Kame 5, twenty in the monastery of Baramus 6, forty in the monastery of Abba Pshoi, sixty in the monastery of the Syrians 7, and two monks in the Cave of Abba Moses 8---a Syrian and a Copt---besides the anchorites whom we did not see and did not know.
At that time, the king of Misr was the Imam al-Mustansir bi'llah who reigned over the kingdom fifty-one tax-years [A. D. 1036-1094.], for he was born on Tuesday, the sixteenth of (the month of) Gumada al-Akhirali 12 (in the) lunar (year) 13 four hundred and twenty. He reigned over the kingdom when he was seven years old, (and that was) on a Sunday in the middle of (the month of) Sa‘aban (in the) lunar (year) four hundred and twenty-seven, which corresponds to (the month of) Baramudah in the tax-year four hundred and twenty-five. He who
2 i.e. March-April. 3 i. e. A. D. 1088.
4 i. e. St. John the Little.
5 i. e. St. John Khame.
6 i. e. 'of our Roman Fathers, Maximus and Domitius', otherwise called 'of Our Lady', commonly known as the Monastery of al-Baramus.
7 i. e. ' of the Syrians'.
8 i. e. St. Moses the Black.
12 i. e. Gumada II. 13 i. e. of the Higirah.
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was in charge (mutawalli) of the affairs and the wazirate and the supervision of the kingdom at that time (was) the lord, the honoured amir al-Guyus, Saif Al-Islam 1, Badr al-Gamali, and it was the fourteenth year since his entry into the kingdom of the land of Misr from Acre, because he was its wali, and from it he came to Cairo (al-Kahirah) in the first decade of (the month of) Tubah 3, and it is the Rock 4 of the amir al-Guyus which is known in the land of Misr till now, and it is not known (by a name) other than it.
I conferred with the aforementioned deacon Abba Habib of Damanhur concerning my resolution to collect the biographies of the patriarchs. We agreed on our opinion to search for them and to seek them out, wherever they might be. We found in the monastery of the Mistress at Nahya the biographies of forty-two patriarchs from my lord Mark the Evangelist to Simon, and we found in the monastery of the venerable Martyr Theodore at al-Manha at Iblag the biographies of four patriarchs from Alexander to Khael who completes forty-six patriarchs. We found also in the monastery of Nahya the biographies of nine patriarchs from Abba Menas
1 Lord of the Armies, Sword of Al-Islam. Cf.Lane-Poole,op.cit.,pp. 150-151.
3 i.e. January-February.
4 i. e. fortress. ‘Akka' in Western sources is termed 'Saint Jean d'Acre', in which there may be a connection with the Greek word a1kron, mountain height, fortified place.
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to Shenouti who completes the fifty-fifth patriarch, and we found in the monastery of Abba Macarius the biographies of ten patriarchs from Khael, the fifty-sixth, to Shenouti, the sixty-fifth, which Abba Michael, bishop of Tinnis, wrote, and they are in the handwriting of Lukut the monk, his son.
Since I have these biographies complete, and I have transcribed them in my handwriting and have them with me at Alexandria, it is now necessary for me to begin to describe what follows that (the biography of Shenouti), namely, the biography of the saintly father Abha Christodoulos the patriarch, and (the biographies) of those who sat (on the Throne) after him, and I have made it in accordance with the number of the years which precede it.