MACARIUS II - JOHN V (A.D. 1102-1167)
ABBA MACARIUS, THE PATRIARCH, AND HE IS THE SIXTY-NINTH OF (THEIR) NUMBER. THIS VENERABLE FATHER SAT ON THE THRONE OF THE PATRIARCHATE IN THE DAYS OF THE KING (Lit. KINGDOM OF) AL-AMIR 1 AND OF THE WAZIRATE OF AL-AFDAL IBN AMIR AL-GAYUS. THEN, AFTER HIS DEATH, OF THE WAZIRATE OF AL-MAMUN.
When Abba Michael, the patriarch, went to his rest, it was the turn of the Cairenes (al-Misriyin) and of the monks of the Monastery of Abba Macarius for choosing him who should be set up in his stead, and they wrote to the bishops who dwelt in the districts of the two Sa‘ids (as-Sa‘idain), the Upper and the Lower Land, to inform them of his death and to condole with them about him, and to ask them to come so that they might meet together and that an agreement might be reached concerning him to whom they should give their consent for the venerable patriarchate; and they wrote also to the Alexandrians in the same manner. It was the time of summer and of the ripening of the crops, the fruits, and the vineyards, and the bishops were occupied in collecting what they required in the way of dues to the holy churches, as grain and wine and other things beside these, and the assembling was not suitable for them, except after (the Feast of) the Cross 5. Some of them arrived in Cairo (Misr), and
1 «This venerable father---al-Mamun» is written in the margin of the MS. In the Paris MS. it is written in the text. Al-Amir Abu ‘Ali Mansur reigned from 1101-1131 A.D.
5 It is on the 17th Tut = 14th September (Julian Calendar).
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some of them, in the blessed monasteries. Those who arrived in Cairo (Misr) agreed in (their) opinion to journey to the Monastery of Abba Macarius the Saint, to assemble with the rest of the bishops who (were) there and (with) the monks, for prayer and supplication to the Lord ---- Praise be to Him! ----, to direct them to him whom He accepts and chooses to pasture them and to have headship over them. They journeyed thither in the month of Babah 3, and they assembled in the Church of the Saint Abba Macarius, and they remained (for some) days, praying and calling to mind those of the anchorites and saints who (were) in that desert, and about the hermits who (were) in the cells, and giving preponderance in (their) opinion about him who was fit for this headship and noble rank of the priesthood and the apostolic succession of Mark. And they did not agree in their opinion concerning him who was fit for this, and they did not settle in their souls about whom they should consecrate. And they remained in this state until the end of Babah. And they agreed in their opinion on the consecration of one of two men, one of them being the saintly Macarius, the priest, at the Monastery of Abba Macarius, who was known as the painter; or (on) the deacon John, son of Sanhut. They disagreed about which of the two of them they should consecrate. And they settled among themselves to write a letter to the archons of Cairo (Misr), (and) they mentioned in it their long stay in the Wadi Habib, and that they had examined all who were in the
3 This month = September-October (Julian Calendar).
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monasteries which are there, and the anchorites and the hermits, but they had not found him who was fit for consecration, save one of the two aforementioned, and (that) 'it has already been settled among us (that) the answer to the affair concerning the two of them (lies) with you, and whom you choose and accept of the two of them, him we will consecrate'.
When the letter arrived, the archons assembled at the Church of Saint Abba Sergius at Kasr as-Sam‘, and they read the letter. There were some of them who knew the two aforementioned monks, and there were some of them who knew one of them without the other, and there were some of them who did not know the one (or the other) of them at all. Those who knew the two of them, all of them supported both of them. Then they said that Macarius was mature, disputatious, of good speech, observing the canon of monasticism, whilst John, the monk, was a young man, a good priest, comely of countenance and eloquent in speech. All of them wished for Macarius on account of his old age and his experience, and they called out his name, as with one mouth, and they wrote the reply with regard to this. When the letter reached the fathers, the bishops, and the priests who were residing in the monastery, all of them assembled to read it, and they unanimously agreed on accepting what it contained. Some of the bishops and the priests and the monks arose, (and they went to) where the aforesaid Macarius (was), and they seized him, and they brought him to the assembly, and he struggled against this, and he refused, and he
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adjured them that they should release him, and he said to them: «I am the son of a second (marriage) 1. I have no learning nor am I a priest, and I am not fit for what you wish of me». But they did not pay attention to his speech, and they put fetters on him, and they clothed him with the robe. And they consecrated him, and this (was) on Sunday, the thirteenth of Hatur (in the) year eight hundred and nineteen of the Martyrs [9th November, 1103 A.D.], which is the Tax Year (al-Khiragiah) four hundred and ninety-two. They journeyed to Cairo (Misr), and his arrival at the Church of Abba Cosmas which is at the bridge near the Garden known as az-Zuhri, (was) on Thursday, the seventeenth of the aforesaid Hatur. As-Shaikh Abu'1-Fadl ibn al-Uskuf went to the abode of the lord, the noble al-Afdal. He was at that time his scribe, and he was the person who signed in his stead for money and men, and he was in charge of the Diwan of the Council, and (was) overseer of all the Diwans of the Exchequer (al-Istifa) for all the affairs of the kingdom. He informed him of the arrival of the father, the patriarch, Abba Macarius, and that he needed to journey to Alexandria so that prayer should be said over him in its churches, because it is the See of the Patriarchate; and that the wali and the officials there were asking from him the dues which it was the custom of those who had preceded him (to pay); and (that) this was a man, a monk, weak in (his) state,
1 According to the Canon Law of the Coptic Church, children of a second marriage are excluded from the priesthood.
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who had nothing, and possessed neither a dinar nor a dirham at all; and he asked him to exempt him from this, and to cause him to be brought before him, so that he might be comforted and his affair be strengthened, according to what was the custom of those who had preceded him. He 3 granted this, and he commanded him 4 to be brought with honour (and) dignity. He rode from the aforementioned Church, and the priests before him reading, and they were carrying the Holy Gospels and censers of incense and lighted candles, and the people around him, and the bishops and the archons were riding on their beasts behind him, and the Mutawalli of the Police at Cairo (al-Kahirah) (was) with him, and his men before them, until they arrived at the abode of the lord, the noble al-Afdal. When he had entered unto him, he prayed for him much. He (al-Afdal) saw that (he was) meek (and) modest, comely of countenance and of good speech; and God granted to him through him 8 the good fortune to be accepted by him. He (al-Afdal) went up to him, and he caused him to be seated, and he honoured him exceedingly, and he addressed to him a courteous speech, and he commanded that there should be written for him an official document to the wali of Alexandria and to others beside him of the walis by whom he would pass on his way, to respect him and to honour him and to abstain from requiring (of him) the dues or other (things) beside them, and to assist him and to aid him in all that he needed. He (the patriarch) arose, and he went out from his audience in fine state, and the people rejoiced at this exceedingly, and they took the official document, and they journeyed to Alexandria, and all
3 i.e. al-Afdal.
4 i.e. the patriarch.
8 i.e. al-Afdal.
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the people came out to meet him. Their entrance into it (was) in a fine (and) perfect state. He (the patriarch) met with a good reception from the wali, and he honoured him and revered him, and he prevented the officials from burdening him with the charge of a single dirham, beside anything else.
His consecration was in the Church of my lord Mark the Evangelist at Alexandria, on Sunday, the twelfth of Kihak (in the) year eight hundred and nineteen of the Martyrs [8th December, 1103 A.D.], after he had had many discussions with the Alexandrians on account of the dues which were fixed by them on him who sat on the Patriarchal Throne. He declined to write his signature for them concerning this, and he said to them: «I am a man, a monk, (and) I have nothing, and I shall not write my signature for anything. Whatsoever I am able, I shall pay it to them every year. If you agree to this proposition, (it is well), otherwise, allow me to return to where I was. It will be more fitting and preferable to me than what you have called upon me (to do)». The discussion between them continued to be repeated for a number of days, until he (the patriarch) wrote his signature for two hundred dinars in number for every year. He arrived in Cairo (Misr) on Saturday, the twenty-fourth of the aforementioned Kihak [20th December], and the archons and the people assembled on Sunday in the early morning (ghudwah) 7 in the Church of the Mistress al-Mu‘allakah, and they thought that he would celebrate the Liturgy and be consecrated. A company of the monks of the Monastery of Abba Macarius assembled, and they said: «He shall not celebrate the Liturgy after his celebration of the Liturgy at Alexandria,
7 i.e. the time between dawn and sunrise.
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except in the Monastery of Abba Macarius, as has been the custom of them who have preceded you. If you break this rule and celebrate the Liturgy to-day in this Church at Cairo (Misr), before you celebrate the Liturgy in the Skene of Abba Macarius, there shall be no dealings between us and between you afterwards, and we shall not mention your name in our sanctuary, and we shall not let you enter it, nor ever celebrate the Liturgy in it, (even) if all of us be killed». They made a tumult and they became hostile and they multiplied (their) words and (their) shouting. He did not celebrate the Liturgy that day, and he remained at Cairo (Misr), and he did not celebrate the Liturgy until after the Epiphany; and he journeyed to the Monastery of Abba Macarius in the half (of the month) of Tubah, and he celebrated the Liturgy in the Skene at the Church of Abba Macarius on Sunday, the twenty-third of it (Tubah) [18th January]; and he returned to Cairo (Misr), and he celebrated the Liturgy in the Church of the Mistress al-Mu‘allakah at Cairo (Misr) on Sunday, the last (day) of Tubah of the aforementioned year, and he was consecrated in it. It was a good day, and his Letter of Introduction (Taklid) was read from the ambon in Greek and Coptic and Arabic, and he accomplished the Liturgy as was right, and he communicated all the people, and there were many who had assembled on that day, so that the Church was overcrowded for them.
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The people rejoiced, and they thanked God the Exalted for His mercy and His visitation to His people at all times, as He promised in His Holy Gospel, when He said: «I am with you unto the consummation of the age».
In the fifth year of Abba Macarius, the aforementioned patriarch, a decree was read in the Great Arched Hall at the Castle, on Sunday the nineteenth of (the month of) Muharram (in the) year five hundred and one of the Lunar (Year) which corresponds to the tenth of Tut [7th September (Julian Calendar)] (in the) year four hundred and ninety-nine of the Tax Year, containing the transference of this Tax Year to this Lunar Year, a change which did not go beyond words, and that dating in all affairs should be according to the Lunar-Tax Year five hundred and one, and (that) the mention of other (dates) save it should be cancelled, and that it (the date of the Tax Year) should be abolished in all the Diwans with regard to accountancy and business.
In the eighth year of his (Macarius') patriarchate, on Sunday, the seventeenth (of the month) of Sawwal (in the) Lunar Year five hundred and four, which (was) the fifth of Basuns [30th April, Julian Calendar] (in the) Tax Year five hundred, a great black wind and dust [a sandstorm] arose at the ninth hour [3pm] of the aforementioned Sunday. There occurred in the sky a great redness which spread over the earth as a fire. Then there was a great, intense darkness until no one of the people could discern the other. All the people believed that the Resurrection had already come. They went out from their abodes and the dwelling-places in them, and they left open the doors, believing that they were doomed (and that there would be)
no return to them for them. They began to wander about aimlessly in the mosques and the churches and the lanes. Those who sold left their shops and what (was) in them in the way of gold, silver, pulse, merchandise, wheat, goods and chattels and other (things). They walked in the darkness, being confused, seeking the wide and open places, fearing lest the roofs and the walls might fall upon them. It was a terrible hour, the like of it had not been seen, and a number of old men recorded that they had not seen (anything) like it nor heard of it from the days of Moses the prophet. After an hour the rain came, and the dust was dispersed, and the wind grew calm and ceased, and the light appeared, and the people returned to their houses and to their shops, and they thanked God the Exalted, and they glorified Him Who had shewn to them a little of His power. When they were on the point of perishing, He overtook them with His pardon and His mercy. On Friday, the third of Tut, (in the) Tax Year five hundred and one, which corresponds to the year eight hundred and eighteen of the Pure Martyrs [31st August, 1101 A.D.], at the third hour of the day [9 a.m.], there was a great earthquake, and when it was night, the Church of Michael the Elect on the Island of Cairo (Misr) was demolished. It is said that it fell down through the earthquake. The reason for this was what Gamil ibn John as-Sa‘idi, the priest of the aforementioned church, and Ma‘ani al-Ahwal, its sacristan, related, how Joseph al-Mustahab al-Muslimani, son of Mercurius the Christian (an-Nasrani), the builder, remained on the Island the greater part of his time for building the places, the new recreation grounds adjacent to this church, which are the gardens and the enclosures,
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which are called Rodah, which the lord, the noble al-Afdal commanded to be built there. When they were completed, then all of them were surrounded by a fortified wall, and it (the fortified wall) ended at the mill of the church, and it (the mill) (was) in front of its (the fortified wall's) gate. They mentioned that Joseph al-Mustahab said to them: «Give me something so that I may place the fortified wall in an oblique direction to the mill, otherwise, I shall demolish it, and I shall pass it (the fortified wall) through the midst of it (the mill)», and they promised him dinars. Then he returned to oppress them, and they did not give to him anything, and they said to him: «If you cease to wrong us, (it is well), otherwise, we shall have recourse to the Sultan against you, and we shall inform of what we know of that which is blameworthy in your work in his service, of which we do not approve, and may God keep his days far from (the evil) which you hast done in them. We are a weak people, (and) you desire to cut off our occupation, and you wishest from us what we are not able (to do)». And many disputes took place between them. When the earthquake occurred on the aforementioned day, he (Joseph) and the workmen with him spent the night at Rodah at the building, as was his custom. When night fell, he commanded the workers to demolish it (the church), and by morning it had been demolished, and he commanded the workers to conceal this (affair), and none of them dared to speak of it on account of their fear of him. When the morrow came, he and the workers spread it abroad that the earthquake which had happened in the day (time) had split its (the church's) walls, and (that) when night fell, and the wind blew violently upon it, it fell down, because it had old walls, and that this (had happened) through the negligence of its congregation and its guardian, and (that) if they had been present on that day, then
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they could have hastened to shore it up, (and) nothing would have befallen it; and he spread this abroad among all the people. There befell the Christians a great grief on account of this, and they were exceedingly sorrowful about it. This news reached the father, the patriarch, and he sorrowed very much, and he said: «This (affair) happened in my days on account of the multitude of my sins». When he arrived after this in Cairo (Misr), he ordered the agent for endowments of the churches, al-Mu‘allakah and of others beside it, to go to the Church of Michael the Elect, and to bear (away) its woodwork and its vessels, to where he commanded him, and it (the church) remained demolished up to (the time), when this biography was compiled.
On Saturday, the seventeenth of (the month of) Basuns (in the) Tax Year five hundred and six, which corresponds to the year eight hundred and thirty-three of the Martyrs [12th May, 1117 A.D.] ---- the beginning of the year is Tut ---- the saintly father Abba Sanhut, bishop of Cairo (Misr) went to his rest ----may God hallow his soul! He was, indeed, a virtuous, good priest, of abundant knowledge, content, humble, good-tempered, guileless in intention, patient, pure and of good deeds. He was borne to the Church of Saint Abba Sergius, and all the people and the priests of Cairo (Misriyin) and Cairo (Kahiriyin) assembled in it that night and on the next morning. It was the day of the Feast of the Holy Pentecost, and
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it happened also that it was the day of ‘Asura 1. The father Gregory (Ighrighurius), Patriarch of the Armenians, was present to perform his funeral service and to pray over him. He (Abba Sanhut) was taken out from it (the church) to the tomb which he had built in al-Hibis, on the death of his brother, the priest, the monk, Severus (Sawirus) ---- may God give rest to his soul ----, and the priests and the people were around his bier, walking and weeping and reciting (prayers), and with them lighted candles, and the Patriarch 4 and the archons, and those of the bishops who were present, were riding behind him, and all of them were exceedingly sorrowful on account of him (Abba Sanhut), by reason of their knowledge that they would not find his like nor him in whom there would be (united) virtues, knowledge, purity and priesthood such as had been (united) in him.
The saintly father Abba Macarius, the patriarch, was absent at his cell which (was) at AzarI on the Island of Bani Nasr, and I, the sinner, John (Yuhanna) ibn Sa‘id, the writer of this biography, wrote to him a letter in which I consoled him. This (is) a copy of it:
«In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful! I have despatched my letters to the lofty, saintly, esteemed, patriarchal, virtuous, presidential Excellency, the boast of the Jacobite (Ya'kublah) community (millat) and the light of the Orthodox Church, master of the fathers 8, chief of the chiefs, to whom belongs spiritual virtues, lofty gifts and pleasing deeds, the successor of my lord Mark the Evangelist, the thirteenth of the Company of the
1 i.e. the tenth day of Muharram, the first month of the Lunar Year. 4 i.e. the Patriarch of the Armenians.
8 i.e. the bishops.
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Apostles. May God preserve his (the patriarch's) glory and strengthen its well-being and destroy its adversaries. Its (the letter's) contents (express) what I have of Christian yearning and spiritual joy and longing to approach it (the patriarchate) and to obtain a blessing from its holiness. May the Lord ----His Name is great! ----give me joy to behold it and to see its presidency, and not deprive me of the blessing of its prayers through His goodness and the universality of His mercy. It is not hidden from its knowledge of what occurred in the way of the falling asleep of the happy, virtuous father, Abba Sanhut, bishop of Cairo (Misr), its spiritual son and its true lover. May God give rest to his soul and satisfy him through beholding His face, and honour his dwelling! May He extend its term, accord it greater consolation, and prolong its age, and make all its ransom. It knows that this See does not follow the same course (as) the other southern and northern Sees, because in it there are the archons of Cairo (Misr) and its leaders and the notables of its Copts (Akbat) and its chiefs who are the scribes of the State and the servants of the kingdom, and (that) their bishop should at all times be present in attendance on the reigning king; and that it is requisite that he who shall be set up to pasture them and shall be appointed to govern them and to watch over their judgments and their affairs, should have reached mature age, and should be known for being assiduous in the rules of monasticism and in reading the legal books, and in the service of the Christian (al-Masihiyah) sanctuaries, and in observing the priestly
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orders, and should be qualified in the application of the Apostolic Canons. The beauty of his devotion, his learning, his purity, his asceticism, the excellent manner of his life, his continence, his modesty and the excellence of his way should be published abroad, since it (the patriarchate) ---- may God strengthen its fortune! ---- knows what was the custom of the Cairenes (al-Misriyin) with their bishops in former and in recent times, and (how) their wives and their daughters and their sisters and their relatives bow and scrape to their bishop in their serious affairs, and consult him privately in their misfortunes, and complain to him of their adversities and of what has befallen them from their husbands and their relatives, and reveal to him their secrets. (How) they take him as a judge in their affairs privately and openly, and consult him concerning their intentions both open and hidden, and (that) he (must) keep secret what he hears from them, and advise them in what is of benefit to their interests, and encourage them to be patient, and console them, and be gracious to them, and do his utmost in setting right what is between them and their husbands privately through his good policy, as used to do the late father and those who were before him ---- may God hallow their souls! For this (reason) and for others beside it of the conditions of this See <6), it is requisite that its bishop should have reached the beginning of mature age, or should have passed it, and that his good manners in the time of his youth should be known, (as well as) his assiduity in the laws of monasticism. He should have the reputation for continence, chastity, humility, religion, patience, purity, soundness of belief, knowledge of theological science and of general policy, of ecclesiastical literature, of legal judgments, of the Orthodox Faith, of priestly ministration, and of the true Canons. It is incumbent on its
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holiness and its compassion on its people, that he 1 should pray for them and devote his precious soul to considering whom he should choose for them, and to find him (who is) fit to preside over them and to bear their burden instead of it, since it 3 ----may God preserve its 4 power! ---- knows the fathers and the recluses and the anchorites in the deserts and the cells. Among them there will not be wanting those (of) his 5 qualification, and the Lord will direct it 3 to him, and will lead it 3 through its 4 good intention to him by the blessing of its prayers and its good conscience and its holiness and its purity and its love and its intention. And if this be so, I believe that God the Exalted will bring together the hearts of all to obey him and to accept him and to love him and to consent to his consecration (as bishop) for them and to his charge of them, through the assistance of the Holy Spirit Who envelops with His graces and His gifts those who are worthy of them, and its 4 happy opinion unto the taking cognizance of this matter, and the considering of what it contains through the correctness of its 4 happy opinion, and the forgiving of what there (may be) in it of error. And its 4 noble letter, I shall be honoured by it, and I shall rejoice at its arrival, and I shall be blessed by its coming, and I shall be (as) happy to see it (as) I am happy to see its holiness, and I wish to communicate through it what it contains in the way of its orders and its important affairs, and that it may remember me at the end of its prayers, according to its known custom, if God the Exalted will».
1 i.e. the patriarch.
3 i.e. the patriarchate.
4 i.e. the patriarchate's.
5 i.e. those required of the new bishop.
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The answer, of which (this is) a copy, arrived. «In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate! The letter of the beloved son, the prosperous, the happy one, who is distinguished by spiritual love and religious knowledge, has arrived ----may God prolong his existence and preserve his standing and his high rank and his influence, and humble his enemies, and bless him and his, and guard him by His strong right hand, and deliver him from the snares of the Enemy and the snares of the wicked, and may He hearken unto the pious prayer for him of my wretchedness, through the intercession of the Saints! We are informed about it 3 and we are pleased to learn its information ---- may God make it good! ---- and there is mentioned (in it) nothing (in the way) of yearning and longing, but that we feel the same many times doubled. We beseech God to bring about the meeting 4 soon through His grace and His generosity. As regards what has been set forth concerning the death of the bishop of Cairo (Misr) ----may God hallow his soul and place it with the souls of the righteous! ---- God, indeed, knows how we are affected on account of his loss, in the way of grief and sorrow which it is not possible for us to describe. And as regards the guidance upon which we rely concerning him whom we shall consecrate after him 8, him on whom mutual agreement has been reached, the order belongs to God (Who) consecrates whom He approves, ---- together with the opinion which is agreed upon by the archons which is sound concerning him. If we find him in whom are perfected the qualifications which his 10 letter mentions, we should according to
3 i.e. the contents of the letter.
4 i.e. with the patriarch.
8 i.e. the late bishop.
10 i.e. the writer's.
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my opinion hasten to consecrate, and, to this end, we should not ignore (any) interdiction with regard to him. We ask God to bring to pass that in which (there is) good, and the consequence of which (is) commendable, and (that) he 3 may not deprive us of his delightful correspondence which contains mention of his news and of his affairs. May the peace of the Lord be with him, and may His mercy descend upon him». It 5 was written at the end of the month of Basuns (in the) year eight hundred and thirty-four [April-May, 1118 A.D.], this date, if the beginning of the year (is considered) Baramudah 7, and the date of my letter to him 8, the beginning of the year, Tut, according to the Epact Computation.
When the aforesaid reply reached me in answer to my letter which was sent by myself, I despatched to him l0 another letter on behalf of myself and on behalf of all the people. This (is) a copy of it. «In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate! Condolence! May God prolong the existence of Your lofty, precious Highness, the venerable, holy, patriarchal presence, the lord of the fathers, the chief of the chiefs, crowned with heavenly grace, crowned with heavenly virtues, the boast of Orthodoxy and the light of the Christian Church, the support of the Jacobite community, the crown of the Children of Baptism 13, the thirteenth of the Pure
3 i.e. the writer of the letter.
5 i.e. the letter.
7 = March-April. It should be noted that the Lunar Year 512 began on the 29th of Baramudah, 834 A.M.
8 i.e. the patriarch.
10 i.e. the patriarch.
13 i.e. the Christians.
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Apostles, the fifth of the Pure Evangelists, the successor (Khalifah) of my lord Mark the Evangelist. May God preserve its 1 power, and prolong its stablishment, and execute its judgments, and render its days happy, a year after procrastination by which it 2 fell short of what was incumbent upon it 2; and there befell it 2 delay in what was necessary (to do) early, and what God the Exalted distinguished in it in the way of venerable holiness and great virtue, and the knowledge, that this worldly abode (is) a transitory abode, and (that) the future life (is) a lasting abode, and (by what) He (God) had called its attention to the affair of His people, and had chosen it for the purpose of guiding the faithful to Him. He leads the people in the right way, and he explains to them the way of piety, and through his spiritual teaching it is saved from the snares of deceit, and they escape from all what is to be avoided, and they hope for victory (in) the Day of the Resurrection. They limit themselves by it 3 to what they perform in the accomplishment of its 4 service, (and its 4) instruction suffices them to bear with resignation what God the Exalted has ordained and destined, to accept what He has decreed and executed, rather than excessive (mourning) on this subject; and it 3 made it agreeable to them to limit themselves to brevity with regard to (their) letter. And it was, indeed, by the order of God the Exalted and His just judgment, that the saintly father, the pure Chief, Abba Sanhut, bishop of Cairo (Misr) was translated ---- may God give rest to his soul! ---- thither, (where) God had chosen for him an abode, and had made ready a dwelling-place for those such as he; and he merited it through his deeds which shone before Him, and of which he was worthy through his acts which drew him near to Him, praised be He! ---- and he came nigh to Him, (and this it was) what shortened the forearms, and moved hearts and livers. And with God that father, the
1 i.e. the patriarchate's.
2 i.e. the patriarch.
3 i.e. the patriarchate, and so, the patriarch.
4 i.e. patriarchate's.
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master, is held of account, who worked among us according to His good-pleasure, and did not turn us aside from His designs. We beseech Him, humbling ourselves before His greatness, (and) we ask (Him), entreating His mercy that He preserve for the Children of Baptism beauty through its [the patriarchate's] leadership, and to preserve the Orthodox Churches through the permanence of its splendour and its preciousness; for the grace in this [the patriarchate] is too much that pens may set it down in writing, and too great that he who is prolix in speech is sufficient for (describing) it. It has reached its disciples that it has undergone a little affliction, and (that) it has been exposed to some contempt, and they were in a state of confused perplexity (and) they were alarmed (and) in a state of forlorn bereavement, (and) they were dismayed, until the news followed that the evil had been removed from it, and the benevolence of God the Exalted (was) towards all in it. And its disciples received in the way of delight a great portion, and they received in the way of exaltation a full share through this bounty. And they asked God the Exalted to make the garment of piety full for it, and the fullness of grace a pledge for it. It is not hidden from its knowledge ---- may God perpetuate its loftiness! ---- that the See of Cairo (Misr) has been distinguished from other (Sees) at all times, favoured with the observance of his [the patriarch's] order at every hour, worthy of observing his affair instantly; because it (Cairo) is the abode of the Caliph and the established place of the throne of the kingdom, and that necessity calls for the consecration of a bishop, (and) he shall consecrate him. His Eminence [the patriarch] shall agree to him [the bishop-elect]; and
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his way (of life) shall be approved of by his [the patriarch's] disciples, and all of them shall praise his life and his conduct; who knows his religion and is praised for his faith, who is trusted for his wisdom and his practice and his experience, and from whom the inexperience and the impetuosity of youth is remote, and who is distinguished by length of years and its experience. And he shall walk among them and among their wives, after the behaviour of him whose leadership surpasses them, from among those who have purchased the next world at (the price of this) world, and (who) has pleased the Master Christ by his good deeds. Agreement shall be reached as regards his worthiness of the leadership and his independence in the burden of administration; and that the people have agreed (to have him as) president over them and a manager for them, according to what the Canon of the Church and its rulings require, and the decision of the judges of religions law and its rulers, those by whom God has strengthened what they have built, and has confirmed by its holiness what they have performed and executed, and has glorified it in their position, and has protected it by their rank. A number of its subjects make an obeisance to it before its pure holiness and its virtuous skhema for strengthening their weakness and taking care to improve their affairs, and for helping them in the choice of him to whom he agrees and they agree, and him (whom) he sees worthy to reveal from their concealed whom they see. Their knowledge about what is incumbent upon it in this case dispenses them from giving an example, and its opinion (set forth) in replying to this letter of theirs dispenses them thereby from repeating the message. And it has remembered them in its holy prayers and its supplications which are accepted and heard ---- may he (the patriarch) be most prosperous, if God the Exalted will». A number of the priests
---- 21 ----
and some of the people learned of the contents of this letter, and they found it sound, and they agreed to accept it and to send it to the saintly father Abba Macarius the patriarch. And its disciples ----a number of the Christians, the Egyptian (al-Misriyin) Jacobites ---- wrote his address, and they sent the letter to him by an appointed messenger, and the reply was returned, of which this (is) its copy.
«The letter of the beloved, chosen sons, and the venerable (and) prosperous brethren, the elders, the pious archons, and all the Orthodox people has arrived ---- may God prolong their existence and perpetuate their honour and their grace, and bless them and their homes and their children and all that belongs to them with fuller blessings and better joys, and protect them by His strong right hand, and save them from the snares of the enemy and the traps of evil (people), and may He accord the righteous supplications of my wretchedness for them, through the intercessions of the Saints and the righteous (ones)! Amen. It (the letter) was confined to one of two things, either a reprimand or a reproach, the end of which is praised by their preacher [the patriarch], and there is no need for reiterating it nor to establish a proof for it in the way of consolation and other things; and the prolixity and the interference in that matter which came down from them in it; and, in short, (my) love towards them is shewn in (this) brief letter. And well, but as to what they explained (in the letter) about the translation of the saintly, beloved, spiritual brother, the bishop Abba Sanhut their bishop ----may God hallow his soul and his exit from this perishable world, and his arrival to God ---- praised be He! ---- we grieved on account of him a great grieving and positive sorrow and abundant weeping and copious tears which exceeds what they mentioned in their letter of what they grieved on
---- 22 ----
account of him. Condolence for him is mutual. I am sure that God ---- His name is great! ---- has caused him to dwell with the righteous and the good in the life of delights, the mine of His mercy and the house of His honour. He (the bishop) heard the glad and joyful voice: «Enter into the joy of your Master». And as regards what they mentioned about his (the bishop's) consecration in place of him [i.e. the late bishop], and the directing of us to the knowledge of the canon concerning it, with regard to what they know of my infirmity and the shortcoming of my knowledge, there is nothing of evil in them about it, because recalling to mind sets in order the utility of knowledge. If there be weakness or shortcoming, this will not be from me, but from them, as regards the delay in his (the bishop's) consecration in place of him [the late bishop] up to this time, according to what the canon about which they informed me, contained, and, as regards me, there has been no departure from it, and I do not know the reason for the delay in it. And it 8 says that the bishop shall be chosen by his people, and acceptance of him by all is required; and he shall be known for the qualities which their letter contained. The Canon does not say that he (the bishop) shall be chosen by outside people nor by a patriarch. And now it is for me to hear and obey them in what the Canon ordered. You shall choose him with whom you are satisfied, and in whom you have confidence; and (him who) shall be suitable to you I will consecrate for you. And I shall not depart from your opinion about him, because you will have to endure him and his affairs. We are thankful
8 i.e. the Canon 2 of Hippolytus, cf. R.G. Coquin, Les Canons d'Hippolyte, (Patrologia Orientalis, t. XXI, fasc. 2, pp. -).
---- 23 ----
for what God has granted to them [the people] in particular, in the way of love for those who guide their affairs and consider their judgments. And in this shall be the chiefs and principal men with whom is the setting up of the light-house of religion, and the arrangement of the affairs of the weak and the poor, namely the Christian elders, the archons ---- may God perpetuate their high positions! ---- and our care and the defence of us is incumbent upon them, in place of the former Orthodox kings, on account of their rank in the high councils and the flourishing diwans, and their connections with the sultans and the chiefs, in the way of what God has showered upon us all, as regards the mercies of the high, great Majesty [the ruler] towards us ----may God perpetuate its [=the ruler's] days and grant victory to its soldiers, and open for it the east and the west of the land through the intercessions of the righteous of His creatures, (and) may He hearken to the petitions from us and from all the good for its Highness which through the beauty of its kindness and goodness may bring back things to their (normal) state and support its royal order and the protected ones 5 and (grant us) abundant graces. We ask God to urge us to thank it, and, in fine, may their souls be happy and their breasts joyful. As for me, God knows that if angels of heaven came to me, I should not consecrate one of them except him whom they [the people] propose of themselves, and they make an obeisance to me for him, according to what the Canon contained. The consecration depends on them and the delay (depends) on them; I am innocent of the transgression which has taken place in
5 A Muslim term for Christians or Jews living as second-class citizens in a Muslim State and subject to a special tax and various legal disadvantages.
---- 24 ----
this case, lest they think that I delayed this see for worldly advantage, (but) all with which I am preoccupied is not in that, (but) on account of the lack of him who is suitable, and the matter is in the hands of God. May the peace of the Lord ---- praised be He! ---- be with them and descend upon them and (be) among them! It is written in the second decade of Bau'unah, year eight hundred and thirty-four of the Martyrs [5th-14th June, 1118 A.D.], and thanks be to God for ever». This year is eight hundred and thirty-three [1117AD] if we consider that the beginning of the year is Tut [29th August], and it is the correct date upon which the Fathers based the Epact Computation, solar and lunar (years). And when this letter reached (us) and we read it, we found it is a letter from one who is blamed, and a letter of which the reply was not befitting to him. And we discovered the reason for it, and we knew that the father, the patriarch, did not wish to make a bishop for the see of Cairo (Misr), and that he had the idea to be ruler in it [the see], if he were present, and if he were absent to appoint a substitute for himself. We did not consent to this, and we were perturbed about it. And we said that as it is not permitted that a Christian have two wives, likewise it is not permitted to a bishop that he have two sees. And this father Abba Macarius, the patriarch, (as) he is bishop of the City of Alexandria, how is it possible that he have the bishopric of Cairo (Misr)! We came to the opinion to concern ourselves in haste with him whom we should select for bishop. The priests and the people assembled in the Church of the illustrious martyr Sergius in Kasr Sam‘, and they called to mind those who were in the monasteries, from among the hieromonks and others who were suitable for the bishopric
---- 25 ----
of Cairo (Misr), and the hermitages. And they mentioned twelve men, and these are their names: Kayil, the singer at the Monastery of Abba Macarius; Menas, the priest of the Sanctuary of Abba Macarius; Gabriel, the Alexandrian priest; Agapius (Habib), the priest, the scribe; James (Ya‘kub), the priest of the Monastery of Abba John; Mercurius, the hermit at Abyar; Theodore, the priest of the Monastery of Abba Macarius ; John of Sanhur, the disciple of Macarius the door-keeper; John, son of Sanhut; Apater (Badir), the priest in the sanctuary; Joseph (Yusib), the monk in the Monastery of Abba Macarius; Eulogus (Awlakah) the monk. Then they chose from this number four persons and they are: Mercurius the hermit at Abyar; Theodore the priest of the Monastery of Abba Macarius; John the monk, the disciple of Macarius the door-keeper and John the deacon, son of Sanhut. And I wrote the names of those four on four pieces of paper in my handwriting, and I sealed them, and I placed them on the altar, and we celebrated the Divine Liturgy on it. And when the Divine Liturgy was finished, and the people had been communicated, a youth from among the deacons approached; he took from the pieces
---- 26 ----
of paper one, in such a manner that all the people saw it, and lo, on it (was) the name John, son of Sanhut. And all agreed to that, and they wrote a report about it, and the archons and the priests and the notables of the people wrote in it their signatures consenting to it. And I, the sinner, abstained from writing my signature in it, and I said: 'If the man come, and I see him, and I converse with him, and I learn that he is learned, sound in the Orthodox Faith, then I will write my signature consenting to it'. And when the signatures of the priests and the people of Cairo (al-Misriyin) and of Cairo (al-Kahiriyin) were completed in the report, I forwarded it to the father Abba Macarius, the patriarch, enclosing a letter on behalf of the assembly to him. A copy of it: «There arrived the letter of Your lofty, most venerable, saintly, virtuous, presidential, esteemed Presence, the crown of the Orthodox Community, the light of the Christian, Church, the beauty of the Children of Baptism, the Master of the fathers, the Chief of chiefs, who follows in the traces of the Pure Fathers, the Apostles, and the successor of my lord Mark, one of the Righteous Apostles ----may God prolong its duration and guard its glory and its eminence. After expecting its [the letter's] coming and awaiting its arrival, his [the patriarch's] subjects received it with what it merits in the way of importance, and what its state deserves in the way of honour. They multiplied thanks to God the Exalted for what it [the patriarch] revealed by it in the way of its safety which they esteem on account of the more important gifts of God towards them, and His more
---- 27 ----
perfect kindness latent in them. They rejoiced about this with the rejoicing of those who hold fast to its [the Patriarch's] obedience, and draw nigh to God ---- praised be He! ---- by doing according to its [the Patriarch's] good-will, (and) of those who are directed in all their affairs through the guidance of God by its [the Patriarch's] spiritual teaching and its just and acceptable judgments. May God protect by its [the Patriarch's] holiness the organization of religion from being disordered, and guard by the blessing of its [the Patriarch's] invocations all the people from calamities, and preserve by its prayers which are offered to Him ---- praised be He! ---- without a partition wall, and its accepted and heard invocations the Orthodox word from being dispersed, and may He strengthen the Christian Churches by the distinction of agreement, and may He draw near its [the Patriarch's] return and the presence of its people before it, and may He bless them through its holiness in the best conditions transmitted by tradition and elect judgments through its holy prayers. And as regards what it decided ---- may God perpetuate its highness ---- in the way of choosing him whom they approved, to consecrate for them [the Cairenes] to supervise their affairs according to what the canons of the Church require. They accepted it [the decision] with hearing and obedience, after knowing the extent of the favour towards them through it, and the benefits according to it. And they assembled in the Church of the illustrious martyr Sergius, after they had performed divination, and had implored Him (God) with a mind free from passion, confident in their prayer for success in choosing him who was suitable in word and in deed, and (who) would observe among them the best manner of life and magnanimity. And they confirmed the names of twelve men concerning whom it was agreed to be informed of their religion and to have knowledge of the
---- 28 ----
soundness of their belief. Then they selected from this number four persons, and they (were) Mercurius the hermit at Abyar, and Theodore the priest at Monastery of Abba Macarius, and John of Sanhur, and the deacon John, son of Sanhut. Their names were put on four pieces of paper, and sealed and borne to the holy altar at the aforementioned Church, and the Divine Liturgy was celebrated over them for three days, the last of which was Sunday, the fourteenth of Abib [July 18th]. And the priests assembled, and they surrounded the altar; and the people (were) standing at the door [of the Sanctuary], and clamours, supplications and entreaties these raised by all to the Master Christ, asking that He may choose for governing His people and for directing His Church him whom He sees performing His precepts (and) observing among them [the people] the manner of life of the pure, virtuous and righteous Saints whom He elected to pasture His flock and chose for being chiefs of His faithful. And the deacon, the boy, son of the elder Abu '1-Fakhr approached ----may God perpetuate His support [of him] ---- and he took in the presence of the congregation one of the aforementioned pieces of paper. And it was opened and there was found (on it) the name John, son of Sanhut. Then they thanked God the Exalted for that to which He had directed them, and they took a good omen from that to which He had guided them, and they consented to him whom He willed and chose to preside over them. And its [the patriarch's] disciples enclosed a report about all this in which were confirmed the signatures of their congregations. And its [the patriarch's] disciples kiss the skhema and make an obeisance before it, and they ask that it shall summon the aforementioned
---- 29 ----
deacon, as is the custom to summon such as he, and to consecrate him bishop for them, in order that he may undertake the repairing of the churches, and may direct the affairs of the people; and that it [the Patriarch] may be agreeable to execute them [the demands], according to its excellent (and) generous custom, (and) that it may remember them in its holy prayers and its requests which are heard, and that (it may give them) its prosperous opinions, if God the Exalted wills». The answer arrived, of which (this) is a copy. «There arrived the letter of the chosen, beloved, and happy brethren, the good priests, and the honourable, beloved, prosperous, and virtuous elders, victorious in every Christian virtue, who are specialized with all spiritual greetings, the Orthodox archons and the rest of the Christian people ---- may God prolong their lives and perpetuate their graces, and exalt them and raise them up, and restrain their enemies, and bless them and their houses and their children and their livelihood with the blessings by which their affairs are exalted, and increase thereby their rank, and magnify thereby their positions, and multiply their fortunes, and confirm for them perpetual grace and enduring well-being. May He guard them with eyes which sleep not, and (under) His wing which does not oppress, and may He turn them away from all satanic snares and evil traps, and may He hearken to the good requests for them from my wretchedness, through the intercession of her who possesses intercession, Mary the Virgin, and the prayers of the Evangelist, my lord Mark, the completer of the witnesses and the certifier of religion and belief, and of all the Saints and the Righteous together. It [the letter] contained their [the people's] sublime expressions and their sweet, spiritual words like the honey and the
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manna which are mentioned in the Book of the Psalms. When I became acquainted with the sources of their kindness and the abode of their honour, I found them confined to their praising of my poorness, of which I am not worthy or to which I am not related, nor competent for it, because I know myself, and that I am not worthy of what you made me worthy of being thanked ---- the sincerity of their love and the purity of their belief and the skill of their understanding and the depth of their knowledge and their proficiency and good manners, as it was said concerning Moses the prophet in the Pentateuch (Taurah) «And Moses was learned in the wisdom of the Egyptians», in whom was boast and perfection, and the rest by which hopes are raised, and there is increase of age and periods. May God whose remembrance is exalted, establish through them the beacon of religion, and set up through their life a support of the Christian brethren, perpetuate existence, and hallow the souls of their forefathers, and grant to us all mercy and pity before His fearful Judgment-Seat and His terrible Presence. Amen. And as regards what they mentioned in the way of spiritual yearning, I have of it what surpasses the limit of description ---- and they exceed in every enlargement and exaggeration. I ask the Creator ---- praised be He! ---- to bring near (my) return and to perfect the assembly for the completion of pleasant affairs and memorable facts. And (the matter) which they indicated is (one) about which it is pleasant (for me) to thank them and to praise them on account of their love for their spiritual fathers, and of their desire of him who will guide their affairs and repair the cracks of their church. They gave priority to God the Exalted at the beginning of their request, and they implored Him that He should manifest to them him who was worthy of what they implored and desired. What they did is well, for the Holy Scriptures say: «Let God be the beginning of your affair». And He through His generosity shall make their endeavour succeed, and perform for us and for them what (is)
---- 31 ----
in it of good and praiseworthy issue. He whose name God manifested to them, and the Presence [=the Real Presence of Christ in the communion] drew forth for them, and with whom all were satisfied, he is the right man; and my heart is agreeable to him to whom their souls are agreeable, and by whom their affairs shall be arranged and the direction of their matters shall be perfected. Let them proceed by the Will of God ---- Whose Name is great ---- to get him with them and to make sure of him and to guard him, and then I shall come, if God accord (me) life, and we shall fulfil their request and reach to their goal. It is not hidden from them that the aforesaid offered himself for a rank other than a rank of the episcopate, in that he went to the most honoured presence, the holy, chaste, pure, father, the Patriarch of the Armenians ---- may God perpetrate his holiness, and he came to him, and importuned him, until he obliged me to write for him [the Armenian Patriarch] a document from the cell that I shall not appoint him in any of the ranks of the priesthood, with a testimonial to me of that Saint, the Patriarch of the Armenians, together with what he wrote about him. This was in the year in which the messenger was sent to the land of the Abyssinians. Inquire you, then (about) this matter from him [the Armenian Patriarch], and ask him to help in summoning the aforesaid person to you, and in getting him with you to learn that I am innocent. The matter is in your hands, and he has to be asked what he wishes, that he may not regard me as having said to him a word and broken it. To sum up, endeavour
---- 32 -
to get him, and I will not delay with his consecration for them, according to what they solicited and desired. Up till then, let them not cease from their correspondence which relates to the mention of their affairs and their news. The peace of the Lord ---- praised be He! ---- be with them and descend upon them and (abide) with them. It is written on the twenty-fourth of the month of Misra (in the) year eight hundred and thirty-four of the Pure Martyrs [17th August, 1118 A.D.] and thanks (be) to God for ever and ever». And when the letter from the father Macarius the patriarch arrived, and we were informed of it, we assembled, and we went to the Patriarch of the Armenians, and he was at that time in the Church of the Mistress at the demesne of Az-Zuhrt which is between Cairo (al-Kahirah) and Cairo (Misr), and we read it to him. And he said. «The father, the patriarch, is right as to what his letter contains ». We asked him to help us to bring John the monk, ibn Sanhut, the aforesaid. And he wrote a letter to the father Macarius, that he should send to him (one) of his disciples who would bring him, and he sent to him two disciples, and they brought him, and they caused him to descend at the house of the Shaikh Abu '1-Fadl which is between Nagib and Dar al-Ghazl in Cairo (Misr). And it was on the second day, (and) the Patriarch of the Armenians convoked him to his cell, and he remained with him (the Patriarch) for some days. And this was at the suggestion of Abba Macarius our Patriarch. He intended thereby that the Patriarch of the Armenians should examine him and test his state, and his knowledge and his belief. And he found him according to what was necessary in all that he required of him. Then the Shaikh Abu '1-Fadl Sa‘id Ibn Abraham (Ibrahim) Ibn al-Mustana' who was related to the sons of al-Iskaf by reason of their affinity, though he was not of them 4, took
4 i.e. he was related to them by marriage.
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him and he returned with him to his house which is between Nagib and Dar al-Ghazl. And he stayed in it from the time that he had departed from the cell of the Patriarch of the Armenians. And when it was the seventeenth day of the aforementioned (month of) Babah [October 14th], the priests and the archons and the people assembled at the house of the Shaikh Abu'1-Fadl the aforesaid, and they sent to the Mutawali of Relief in Cairo (Misr), and they informed him that there had been appointed for them a new bishop in place of the deceased (one), and they wished to conduct him from where he was to the Church of Abba Sergius in the Kasr as-Sam‘, according to what was the custom, and they were afraid of the common people, lest there might happen to them some insolence from them on the way, and there occur thereby what would make (their) heart uneasy. The wali sent to them his substitute and a company of his men, and the bishop [-elect] rode a high mule from among the beasts of some of the possessors of the diwans [=government officials] at the third hour of the day [at 9 a.m.], and they conducted him with readings, and before him (were) candles, and gospels and censers of incense, from the aforesaid house to the aforementioned Church of Abba Sergius. And he [the bishop-elect] celebrated the Divine Liturgy, and his deed of investiture was read in it (by) Abba Menas, bishop of Malig, and Abba Michael
---- 34 ----
bishop of Atfih, and Abba John, bishop of al-Khandak, and it is the See of Bastah. And it was a great day, and similar to it was that of the Sunday after it in Cairo (al-Kahirah) in the Church of the Mistress in the Harat Zuwailah, and he [the bishop-elect] was consecrated in it, after they had conducted him with readings and candles and gospels and censers from the Gate Khaukhat Maimun Dabbah which (is) at the Khalig to this Church, and with him (was) the substitute of the Mutawali of Relief at Cairo (al-Kahirah) and his men. And the Shaikh Abu'1-Fadl, the aforesaid, related to me, when he came to visit me, that he did not pay to the disciples of the Patriarch nor to his scribe a single dirham for the consecration nor for other than it. And they did not dare to demand from him any thing, for fear of the archons. This was the case with Sanhut ---- may God give rest to his soul I ----at his consecration as bishop, and thus (was it) with Abba James who was bishop before him. But when the aforesaid Patriarch made this father Abba John hegoumenos, he declined to finish (making him) bishop, until he had received his [Yu'annis'] signature that he would convey half of the revenue of the See every year to the cell of the Patriarchate for the diyariat 10 which used to be taken from Abba Sanhut the bishop ---- may God give rest to his soul! ---- every year to the cell, (namely), fifteen dinars, and (for) the scribes and the disciples two dinars, if they should bear to him the Synodical
10 Contribution collected from the monasteries.
---- 35 ----
Letter, in all, seventeen dinars a year. And in Abib of the year eight hundred and thirty-four of the Martyrs [September-October, 1118 A.D.] and it (was) the fifteenth year of the patriarchate of the saintly father Abba Macarius the Patriarch, Baldwin, the leader of the Franks arrived with a great army at al-Farama, and he pillaged it and he burned it, and he determined upon a sudden attack against Cairo (Misr). Then he fell sick, and on the third day his sickness became serious, and he commanded his companions to carry him and to return to Syria. Then they carried him and returned, and when they reached al-‘Aris, he died there. Then they cut open his belly and they salted him, as he had commanded them. And they returned with him to Jerusalem. And it happened, when news of their arrival at al-Farama reached the noble lord al-Afdal, he raised a great army (to oppose) them. When Baldwin, their leader, died, and they returned, the army pursued them to Syria (as-Sam‘), and returned, and God protected us against their deeds. We asked Him, whose Name (is) great, to perpetuate His mercy and His grace; and to inspire us to give thanks to Him and to cause us not to forget the remembrance of Him through His goodness and glory. And when it was the Sunday of the half of (the month of) Kihak [December 12th-26th] (in the) year five hundred and eleven of the Tax Year, and it (was) the year eight hundred and thirty-eight of the Martyrs [1122 A.D.], and it (was) the end of the month of Ramadan of the year five hundred and fifteen of the Lunar (Year), on the morrow of which would be the fitr 8, the noble lord Al-Afdal rode from his house in Cairo (Misr) which is
8 i.e. the day following the end of the fast of Ramadan.
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called the House of the King, and he went up to Cairo (al-Kahirah) the protected, and he entered into the noble Castle, and he sat before our Sire Al-Amir bi Ahkami'llah. The umbrellas and the beasts and the saddles and other things beside were displayed to him, and he chose from them what should be (used) for the ceremony of the cavalcade on the morrow of that day, according as was the custom on similar (occasions), and he went forth from the Castle and he returned to Cairo (Misr). And when he had passed through the market of As-Suyufiyin and the Ras al-Gisr, three unknown men came out against him, and it is said that they were from the land of the East. Two of them confronted him, and in their hands (were) two knives. When the pages saw them, they hastened towards them with swords, and they killed them. But while the pages were occupied in killing them the third (one) came out from the lane of the Dar al-Kitabah, and he struck him with a knife and killed him. The pages hastened towards him, and they cut him down with their swords. They bare the noble lord al-Afdal to the House of the King, and they thought that he was alive. But when he was in the house, they found that he was already dead. When news of him reached our Sire Al-Amir bi Ahkami'llah, he went down immediately to the House of the King, and he took care of all what (was) in it in the way of money. And he ordered his death to be concealed that night from the people, and in the morning he revealed his case to the public. And on the morning of Tuesday, he caused to be brought out his coffin
---- 37 ----
after dawn, and all the people walked about it barefooted. Our Sire al-Amir ---- may God perpetuate his kingdom ---- went forth riding behind him with bleached garments and a Hamdani turban on his beast, until he reached the tomb of his father outside Cairo (al-Kahirah) beyond the Bab an-Nasr. And prayers were said over him, and he was buried in it 2. Our Sire returned to the House of the King in Cairo (Misr), and he stayed in it for seventeen days, until he had carried (off) all what was in it in the way of money, jewels, gold, silver, garments, carpets, furniture and utensils to the Castle. And it is said that the money which was found in coin in bags (was) four thousand thousand dinars besides that which was mentioned before, with weapons and beasts the value of which is not known. Our Sire ----peace (be) upon him! ---- used to sit every day in the Gold Room in the Prosperous Castle to supervise the affairs of the kingdom and the men of the State. And the noble general Abu ‘Abd Allah and his brothers (were) before him to execute affairs and to ride with him every Saturday and Tuesday to the gardens and the belvederes in the suburbs of Cairo (al-Kahirah) and the outskirts of Cairo (Misr). And he continued with this for the remaining months of the year five hundred and fifteen of the Lunar (Year) [1122A.D]. When it was the year five hundred and sixteen [1122-3 A.D.], our Sire ---- may God perpetuate his kingdom! ---- bestowed a robe of honour on the noble general ‘Abd Allah, and he invested him with the ministry (wizarat) and the direction of his kingdom and the supervision over the affairs of the government officials, and he
2 i.e. the tomb of Al-Afdal's father.
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wrote for him for this reason an important decree , and he mentioned in it his titles and his designations, (one) among all (being) the Noble Master al-Ma'mun, until he determined to kill him [the Caliph], when he should be alone with him [the Caliph] in his Castle. This was clear to him [the Caliph] from indications of which he knew the correctness and the truth. He (the Caliph) forestalled him, and he hastened to seize him and his brothers and his sons and his father, on the evening of Friday, the third (of the month) of Ramadan in the year five hundred and nineteen [1125-1126 A.D.], and he imprisoned them in a closet in the Prosperous Castle, bound with iron and fetters. After a time Hiduh died, and there remained Muhammad Ibn Fatik who was designated al-Ma'mun. The Caliph was informed that the aforesaid Muhammad Ibn Fatik had sent, in the days of his ministry, to the land of the Yemen a man of his own known as Abu'l-Hasan Nagib ad-Daulah, as his messenger to al-Hurrah, the queen of the Yemen, openly, but in secret he arranged with him that he should noise it abroad that he [Muhammad Ibn Fatik] was the son of Ibn Nizar, son of our Sire Al-Muntasir bi'llah, and that he (was) more worthy of the Caliphate dwelling in it 5, and he (was) now, and that he should make propaganda for him there, and should strike for him coins there with his name. The Imam Al-Amir bi Ahkami'llah sent to her [the Queen of the Yemen] one of the amirs who bore the designation Asad ad-Daulah and with him letters to al-Hurrah. When she learned of their contents, and she understood the matter of the case of Abu'l-Hasan the aforesaid, she continued according to her policy to act with cunning, until she seized him and sent him to Egypt (Misr). And when he arrived on Tuesday, the tenth of (the month of) Muharram (in the) year five hundred and eleven [1117-1118 A.D.], he
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was shewn in Cairo (al-Kahirah) and Cairo (Misr) riding on a camel and beneath him a bench, and on his head a decorated lead fool's cap, and on his shoulder an ape, and in his hand a mirror showing him his face, and behind his back men of the common people, and in their hands shoes, and they were belabouring (him) with them all the way until he reached the Prosperous Castle, and he was imprisoned with his companion Muhammad Ibn Fatik.
[Note]. I ask of God, ----may His might be magnified and His remembrance be exalted! ----that He may grant to you, O father, the monk, son of the esteemed John, the deacon and the singer, grace and security and sufficiency through the intercession of the Mistress, the Pure Virgin, my Lady Mary, the Bearer of Salvation, and of all the Martyrs and the Saints.
The Father Gabriel Ibn Turaik the Patriarch, and he is the seventieth of the number of the fathers.
This venerable father Gabriel Ibn Turaik was of the inhabitants of Cairo (Misr), of distinguished race, (and) from among the notables of the scribes. He sat on the patriarchal throne fourteen years and six months, and he went to his rest on the tenth of (the month of) Baramudah (in the) year eight hundred and sixty-two of the Martyrs [April 5th, 1146 A.D.] which corresponds to the eleventh of (the month of) Sawwal (in the) year five hundred and thirty-nine of the Lunar (Year). His name was, while he (was) a layman, Abu'l-‘Ula, a deacon in the Church of Saint Abba Mercurius at Cairo (Misr). He was a man of middle age, wise, good, learned, experienced, of excellent manner of life, of much alms-giving and piety, known for his love of the Prayers and the Liturgies, and for his ministration to the churches, to strangers
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and to the sick, a visitor of widows and orphans and those in prison and in affliction. (He was) assiduous in the reading of the Scriptures and the explanation of their meaning, and in searching them; a good copyist of Coptic and Arabic, copying for himself many books and volumes which he had bought of the Old and the New Testaments, of what was suitable for the Holy Church and the Christian religion. He served in the Diwan of Correspondence for a time, and in the Treasury for a time. And they took him from his clerical work (at) the Treasury, when an agreement had been reached concerning him. And they consecrated him patriarch, and his age at that time was forty-seven years. And there assisted at his consecration together with the archons the Shaikh Abu'l-Barakat Ibn Abu'1-Laith al-Malki, master of the Diwan of Investigation, and of those who were present of the Alexandrians at Cairo (Misr), for it was the turn for them 2. And he [Abu'l-Barakat] went up with him [Gabriel] to the Church al-Mu‘allakah on Tuesday the ninth of (the month of) Amsir (in) the year eight hundred and forty-seven of the Martyrs [February 3rd, 1131 A.D.], and they anointed him, and they went with him in a processional barge to Alexandria, and they consecrated him patriarch. And this was in the days of Ahmad Ibn al-Afdal, son of the Amir al-Guyus, and he was called Shahanshah. And the compiler of this biography, and he is the father Mark Ibn Zara‘ah, mentioned that his consecration was not known to any of the bishops, nor the monks, and (that there had been) no consultation about his affair, since the Patriarchal
2 i.e. the turn of the Alexandrians to elect the patriarch.
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See had remained vacant for many years after the decease of Abba Macarius. A trustworthy person stated that the assembly of the archons which came together to seek a patriarch, went to the Monastery of Abba Macarius. And the sons [the monks] of Abba Macarius received them, and they went with them to Abba Joseph, the Syrian Saint, in the Monastery of the Syrians, so that they might consult him and receive his blessing. And the grace of God had descended upon him, and the Holy Spirit was dwelling in him, and he was informed of that which was hidden. And when they had conversed with him concerning the affair of the Patriarchate and him who was fit for it, since some of them were striving after it. Then Abba Joseph said to them: «Return to your homes: you have, indeed, wearied yourselves in your coming hither since your patriarch (is) in Cairo (Misr)», and he indicated him and named him to them. And he said to them: «He is so and so Ibn Turaik». Then they returned and did, as he had said to them. And likewise it is said concerning the patriarch Abba Macarius who was before him, that this Abba Joseph had said concerning him the same as this. And likewise, the anachorite at Abyar had informed about this, and had mentioned him who had been the companion of his childhood and him who had associated with him from among his contemporaries. He used to make a place in the house of his father as a church, and he used to read in it, as if he were celebrating the Divine Liturgy, and then he blessed the people of his father's house. And he used to play, when he was a child, and he used to say to them: «I am your patriarch». And he used to put on a silk garment, (and) it was for him like a
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hood, and when he grew up, he was ordained deacon. And God has mysteries regarding His creatures (which) are not known, except to Himself and to him to whom He reveals them from among His Saints and lovers of His Name. Indeed, the Apostle said: «No one taketh the honour by himself, except that it be given from heaven from God»; for God said to Jeremiah the prophet: «I made you a prophet, (whilst) you (wast) in the womb of your mother; I chose you for prophecy». And He said to Ezekiel the prophet: «I made you as a watchman for this people». And He said to Moses : «I made you a god of Pharaoh»; and He said to David the prophet: «I anoint him king, and I raise him over all the kings of the earth». Similar to these sayings (there are) many in the sacred law. And when this patriarch returned to al-Gizah after his coming from Alexandria, he went up to the Monastery of Saint Abba Macarius for his consecration there, as had been the custom for those of the patriarchs before him. A conversation took place regarding the meaning of the 'Confession' which is said over the Oblation before communicating from it, and it is: «I believe and I confess that this is the Body of our Lord and our Saviour Jesus Christ Which He took from the God-bearer, my Lady Mary the Virgin, and It became one with His Divinity». Some of the monks at the mentioned Monastery refused to accept the wording of this expression which is 'It became one with His divinity',
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because it (had been) added, and they mentioned that it was not their custom to say it. He excused himself (saying) that he had said it on the day of his consecration, as the bishops who consecrated him, had taught him, and it was not permitted to him to abandon it nor to depart from it, since it was a correct expression. There occurred on account of this troubles and discussions. At the end of them it was decided to add the other words which they had agreed to join to it, and they are: 'It became one with His divinity without confusion and without mingling', and he agreed with them on this, and he said it and he has used it until now. The majority of the people agreed on saying it, except the people of the inhabitants of Upper Egypt, for they continued in their custom which was known (to them), and he did not thwart them in this and he did not constrain them to it.
At the beginning of his reign Abba John, bishop of Cairo (Misr), died in (the month of) Rabi‘a al-Akhar of the Lunar (Year) five hundred and twenty-eight [1133-1134 A.D.], and he (the patriarch) prayed over him with a company of priests, and he buried him at al-Hibs, and he did not consecrate any one after him for Cairo (Misr) during his patriarchate. And he forbade the burial of the dead in churches; and when (news) reached him that some people had transgressed and were disobedient to his order concerning this, and that they had buried the hegoumenos Bessus in the church of the Harat ar-Rum in Cairo (al-Kahirah), he executed (his order) and he closed the church, and it remained closed for a time. Then, he ordered its opening after a time, at the request of the archons. And he translated
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the body of the father Abba Macarius, the patriarch who was before him ---- and he was buried in the Church al-Mu‘allakah in Cairo (Misr) ---- after he had said again over him the prayers, and he shrouded him in a silk covering, and he had him borne to the Monastery of Saint Abba Macarius in the second year of his reign. And he placed him [Macarius the patriarch] in a skin envelope above his shroud, and he ordered that the skin envelope should be taken, after his arrival at the Monastery, and to bury him [Macarius] with the bodies of the patriarchs, placing in it [the skin envelope] the body of Saint Abba Macarius the Great, and (he ordered) to take what was upon him [the shroud], and to shroud in it the patriarch Abba Macarius; and that this rule should be continued for others beside him, to be enveloped in it. And in the days of this patriarch [Gabriel Ibn Turaik], after the assassination of Ahmad, the son of al-Afdal, who was called Katifat, al-Imam al-Hafiz occupied the caliphate and his wazir was Yanis. When he (Yanis) became 'king', he had killed the young guard who had been soldiers of the Imam al-Amir for he was wrathful with them, because they had killed him who was before him. And he did not remain as 'king' beyond one year 16. And
16 At the time in question, the wazirs were the real rulers of the country, and one actually assumed the title 'king' (malik).
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they poisoned him with water prepared for him in the pitcher of the latrine 1. And when he used it, it lacerated his lower parts and his entrails fell out; and he died. And (one) of his sons, a man called the amir Hasan 2 arose, (and) he laid claim to the caliphate, and some people whom he named Chain-mailed Youths accepted him (as Caliph). They were a mixture of soldiers and of all sects, and he was strengthened by them and they helped him. And he accorded favours to them and advanced them, and he distributed to them the land, and appointed them governors of provinces, and made them amirs of his State and of his troops. Then his authority became strong, and he seized a great number of the amirs of his father's State, and he used to have them brought before him by night, and he beheaded them, and he gave their houses and properties to the Chain-mailed Youths, and he destroyed a multitude of people by the sword from among all the people, amirs and others beside them. And every day a number were (found) in the morning slain in the Bain al-Kasrain, bodies without heads, so that they might not be recognized. And when he had become firmly established and strong he deposed al-Hafiz, his father, from the caliphate and seized him and put fetters on him and imprisoned him. There occurred in his days a great battle between the Sudanis and the soldiers at a place called Kum ad-Darb to the south of Cairo (Misr) in the region of Atfih, and many people of the Sudanis were slain. And the Amir Hasan seized the father, the patriarch, Abba Gabriel, and he confiscated his (possessions), and he imprisoned him in the Treasury of the Flags, until the scribes paid
1 This still commonly replaces toilet paper in Egypt.
2 Hasan was poisoned at al-Hafiz's, orders, cf. S. Lane-Poole, op. cit., p. 168.
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to him from their female slaves and the merchants aided him with their money, so that there was borne to him a thousand dinars, and God delivered him from his hands. And when God saw his (Hasan's) oppression and his evil and his killing of the people and his taking by force of the property of the people without (any) right, He raised up against him a body of the soldiers of the State. And they went to (the (Province of) al-Gharbiah to its wali, and he was a Christian man, an Armenian, called Bahram, and he was designated as Tag ad-Daulah [Crown of the State], and he was a chief of the Armenians, for he was of the race of its kings. Then he came to the Land of Egypt (Misr) with the amir al-Guyus Badr al-Gamali, on his coming from Acre in the days of al-Mustansir bi'llah. And he continued in the service of the State, and they advanced him and they made him wali of provinces; and he kept his religion, and he was exalted and respected by them, and they had a good opinion of him and love for him, and they made him wali of (the Province of) al-Gharbiah. And the soldiers went to him, and they cried to him for help, and they wished for him and besought him that he should be a wazir and ruler over them. Then he entered with them into Cairo (al-Kahirah), and they took him and made him a king without his choice. Then the amir Hasan fled and he hid himself, and his father [al-Hafiz] returned to his former state. And he made this amir wazir, and he was a Christian. And al-Hafiz reigned as caliph on the day of his return to the caliphate in the months of the year five hundred and twenty-nine of the Lunar (Year)[1134-1135 A.D.]. And the brother of Tag ad-Daulah Bahram, the wazir, was a saintly man not interested in the world, and had been consecrated
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patriarch for the Armenians in his country. Then he came to Egypt (Misr), and he (was) patriarch for them. He was renowned for religion and chastity and holiness and generosity and alms-giving and compassion. He was called Abba Gregory, and when he went to his rest, they appointed another in place of him as patriarch in the Land of Egypt (Misr), and they called him Ananias. Then, when al-Hafiz was firmly established in his caliphate, some of the amirs and soldiers plotted to ask for his son, the amir Hasan, and to kill him. And this was decided upon with the great of the army and the chiefs of the State. And he (al-Hafiz) promised them largesses and fiefs. And all the amirs and the soldiers assembled at the Castle and they shot arrows at it. And they brought much wood, and all of them said with one cry: «We seek the amir Hasan. Deliver him up to us, otherwise we shall burn the Castle and every one in it». And his father al-Hafiz sought him among the inhabitants of the Castle, and he said to them: «If he delay one hour and does not show himself, they will burn us and will burn all our castles, and they are our soldiers and our helpers against those who are enemies to us, and, indeed, they have risen against us. Where have we others than they to help us against them?». Then the inhabitants of the Castle sought for him, the ones and the others, until they found him and brought him before his father al-Hafiz. And when he saw him, he wept, and he said to him: «O my son, I have been vanquished as regards you and as regards myself. Tell me a way for your safety. If I deliver you up to them, they will chastise you and contemn you. Then, after they have done this to you, they will slay you. And as I see (it will be) for the good of my state and your state that you suck this ring, and you will die in God's cause, without chastisement by them». Then he threw to him a poisoned ring (such as) kings are accustomed to have with them for overpowering circumstances for them, similar to this, (and) see death better for them than life in the hand of their enemies and to be under their tyranny. And he took the ring and sucked it and died. And he (Al-Hafiz) took him
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to the midst of the Castle, and he placed his body on a wooden bench, and he opened the gates of the Castle, and he ordered them to enter and behold him. And they entered and they saw him dead. And they took off the covering from his face, lest he were (only) sleeping. And they pricked him over all his body with knives and the heads of arrows, and when they were assured of his death, they left him and went out. And one called Rudwan Ibn Walkhasi of the amirs of the State was the most vehement in speaking and in seeking for him. And al-Hafiz designated him as Fahl al-Umara' and made him wali of (the Province of) al-Gharbiah». And Tag ad-Daulah Bahram continued in the wizarat from (the month of) Gumada al-Awal (in the) year five hundred and twenty-nine of the Lunar (Year) [1134-1135 A.D.] until the end (of the month of) Rabi‘a al-Akhar (in the) year five hundred and thirty-one [1136-1137 A.D.]. And the speech of the Muslims about him increased on account of his belief and they envied him on account of the love of the Caliph for him, because his word surpassed them. And in the days of his government the Christians had an influential word and prestige and dignified treatment from the important diwans which the Caliph and the wazirs had in their hands. And of them were the superintendents and administrators in all the Land of Egypt, in the south of it and the north of it, and its hamlets. And when the word of the Muslims weakened and their (the Christians') word became strong, need (arose) to act craftily to cut off this disease at its root, and they resolved (to have) a rest from them by taking away the government from Tag ad-Daulah Bahram. And a body of the amirs and the soldiers and a rabble of people became fanatic and they went to (the Province of) al-Gharbiah, and they cried for help from Rudwan Ibn Walkhasi its wali; and they said to him: «The Caliph
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has named you Fahl al-Umara'; and (there is) no one for the Muslims to deliver them from the disdain of the Armenians save you; and if they become stronger than this many of the Muslims will become Christians». And they roused him up, and he arose with them, and he gathered together the Arabs and the chiefs of the country, and he proclaimed. «O warriors against the infidels». And he attached books of the Kuran to the points of the lances in front of the army. And he journeyed, and there gathered to him of the Muslims a numerous army the number of which (could) not be counted by reason of its quantity, and he raised high the word of al-Islam. And when he reached Masgid al-Khidr, he descended at it, and he commanded the army to pass over the river to the other side. News of him reached Bahram about this, (and) the blood of the people was roused, and he said to his companions: «Without fail I shall die and God will require of me the blood of the slain from among you and from among them. And the kingdom of this land God has given to the Muslims, and it is not lawful nor permissible for me by God to fight against the people for their kingdom, and to deprive them of their rights. Had the Caliph not asked aid of me for what happened to him from his son, and agreed with me about what I did in his service and his obedience, I would not have begun anything of myself. Arise, take what you are able of your money and your children. And let us go to Kus, to take my brother----he had made his brother Basak wali of Kus. Then we will go to our country and leave to the people their kingdom; there is no need for us to make war against them». And the courageous of the Armenians said to him: «How shall we do what you have said. We are a thousand bowmen: we can conquer the world up to the gate of Rome (Rumiah), and we will encounter them and we will defeat them with the help of God to us». But he did not agree with them, and he departed immediately to Kus to seek his brother Basak. And when
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he reached it, he found (that) the news of the ministry of Rudwan Ibn Walkhasi had arrived before him, and the Muslim inhabitants of Kus had killed his brother and had buried him in the dung in the stable of his beasts at the Government House. And he made an assault upon it, but they closed the doors of its fortress in his face, so he besieged it. Then he pardoned it and sent away from him the troops, and he went up to the White Monastery alone, and he stayed in one of them. As regards Rudwan Ibn Walkhasi, he entered Cairo (al-Kahirah) and the Caliph invested him with the ministry (wizarat) in the year five hundred and thirty-one [1136-1137 A.D.]. And he plundered the churches of Cairo (al-Kahirah) and the Khandak, and the Muslims burned the dwellings of the Armenians known as Az-Zuhri, and they killed their patriarch and all whom they found with him of the monks in the monastery. And Rudwan Ibn Walkhasi (was) the first wazir (who) ordered that the Christians should not be employed in the important diwans nor as superintendents nor as administrators, and that they should bind their girdles about their waists, and that they should not ride on a horse. And he doubled for them and for the Jews the capitation-tax (al-gizyat), and he made it of three categories, for the people who (were) rich, four dinars and one sixth, and the people below them, two dinars and two kirats; and as regards the rest of their common people, one dinar and one third and a quarter, and for him of low extraction, a dirham. And he
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employed in the Diwan al-Gawali 1 a man from the witnesses of Cairo (Misr), known as the Kadi al-Muhadhdhab Ibn Abi'1-Baka, and the cause for this was what (had happened) through the Caliph's employing a protege of the caliphate, the Shaikh Abu Zikri Ibn Yahya Ibn Paul (Bulus), the Christian scribe, in the Diwan of Investigation. He had invested him with a coat-of-mail, and had caused him to sit within his Castle, in the Hall of the Golden Gate, in a place (which) he had set apart for him in it. And he employed with him twelve scribes from among the Christians, notables, in the days of the ministry (wizarat) of Bahram, towards the end of the year five hundred and thirty [1136-1137 A.D.]. And there was with him also two scribes from among the Muslims, one of the two of them was known as the Kadi al-Khatir Ibn al-Bawab, and the other, as the Kadi al-Murtadi Ibn at-Tarabulsi 4, both of whom Rudwan Ibn Walkhasi had employed in the Diwan of the Council (al-Maglis) instead of him 5. Then he dismissed him 5 after this, and he banished him to the region of Asyut, because it was his country and the home of his ancestors; and the two mentioned scribes remained permanent, each one of them separate in his diwan. The application of the Gawali (Tax) for the dhimah 7 has remained until I wrote this biography. And I found in the days of the ministry of Rudwan Ibn Walkhasi (there was) a severe dearth until most of the people lacked food, and the mentioned Rudwan sold wheat and other things beside it in the way of red rice, black broad beans, weevilled cereals, and wheat (which) had become (rotten) from its oldness and the length of its staying in the granaries and the depots, the silos and government stores from the days of Amir al-Guyus for need (in
4 i.e. of Tripolis.
5 i.e. Abu Zikri Ibn Yahya Ibn Bulus.
7 The term for Christians and Jews in a Moslem state
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times) of famine, and many things (were) at a great price, so that the Cairenes (al-Misriyin) called it «historic» wheat. And the cost of bread in those days was an Egyptian ratl for a dirham. Then God came to the aid of (His) creatures [through His mercy, and He had compassion on their poor, and He heard their supplication and He relieved them] and He lowered their costs. And there happened similar to this in the year five hundred and thirty-four of the Lunar (Year) [1139-1140 A.D.]. The Nile did not attain in it above fourteen cubits, and the cost (of food) became dear. When the land was dried up, the people experienced great harm by reason of the drought of the land. And Michael, bishop of Sahragt, undertook the renewal of the church of Minyat Zifta, and he consecrated it, and he celebrated the Divine Liturgy in it, and he dedicated it to the name of Saint, my lord George. And the Muslims of Minyat Zifta sprang upon it, and they demolished it out of their hatred for the Christians, and they made it a prayer-house (Masgid). And Michael the bishop stood before the wazir Rudwan Ibn Walkhasi, and he cried for help from him, and he made clear to him that it was an ancient church 8. And he signed for him (a document) in his hand-writing to restore it and to return it to what was its former state in the way of its limits, upwards and downwards. And he restored it and completed it, and he consecrated it, after he had endured on account of it great affliction and a great fine. And Rudwan continued in the ministry until there rose up against him the soldiers
8 New churches may not be built without permission from the State.
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and the amirs of the State. Then he departed from the House of the Ministry (Dar al-Wizarat) in Cairo (al-Kahirah) in flight, and he did not put on his feet save one boot, and they did not give him time so that he might put on the other. And he stayed with the Dirmawiyin Arabs, and they took him to Syria. And he stirred up a party of the Ghuzz, and the Arabs who had allowed him (to pass) joined themselves to him. And he came to Cairo (al-Kahirah), and he halted on the top of the mountain at the place of the Observatory on the Mountain al-Mukkatam. And the army of the Egyptians came out against him and they fought him, and he routed them. Then they fought him in earnest, and they conquered him and defeated him. And when he saw that he was defeated, he returned to the land of Syria a second time. And the Imam al-Hafiz wrote to him and reassured him and appeased him, and he sent to him from among his companions one who was trustworthy for him, and in his hand was money with which to travel, he and those with him of his companions and his followers. Then he returned accompanied by those whom he had chosen to go (with him) from among the amirs of the State. Then the Imam al-Hafiz caused him to stay with him in a Castle, and he set apart for him a great hall and its quarters and its offices, and he gathered together his sons and the sons of his sons. And he was in it honoured (and) free to do what he liked, (and) at liberty, without fetters, and he was not under surveillance, and he was not guarded. And as regards Bahram the Armenian who was wazir before him, when Rudwan caused him to come from the White Monastery, he placed him with him in his house. And when there befell Rudwan
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what occurred, our Sire al-Hafiz transferred him to his Castle, and he besought him that he should return to his ministry, but he did not do it and he said: «I am a monk; I am not a soldier»; and he took up his abode in the Castle being served until he died. And he (al-Hafiz) caused his coffin to be taken out from the Gate of the Arched Passage to the Church of Az-Zuhri, and they buried him in it. And there was at Atfih a bishop for the Armenians who made efforts until he became patriarch for them. And at his consecration, he besought the presence of Abba Gabriel Ibn Turaik with him, so that he might lay his hand upon him. But he did not come to him at the time of his consecration, until he (Gabriel) had administered the Holy Communion in his church. And he broke his fast, lest they should constrain him to lay his hand on him. Abba Gabriel had forbidden the taking of simony for the priesthood, and he did not take anything for the consecration of a bishop or for other than him, and he did not approve of this in others, and he followed in this what the Holy Gospels say: «Freely you received, freely give», for the grace of God and His gift and the authority of the priesthood is not sold with money. And he was emphatic in this matter, and he wrote a document about this. And he suspended him who receives it (simony) and him who pays it. It is mentioned concerning him by one who was well acquainted with him, that he consecrated fifty-three bishops, and that there came to him a man, a priest, called Bukirah, and he sought of him that he should consecrate him bishop for the country of Akhmim, and he offered to him money, but he refused to accept it. And when he (Gabriel) repulsed him, he went and set about, until he implored
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aid of the son of the caliphate, the son of the Imam al-Hafiz, and he was called Wali al-‘Ahd. And he bore to him a great amount of money of great value, and he asked him to intercede for him with the patriarch, so that he might consecrate him bishop. And Wali al-‘Ahd sent to him (the patriarch), and he brought pressure to bear upon him concerning him (the priest), but he did not accept (to consecrate him); and he exculpated himself, and he wrote a letter to the caliphate , and he informed him in it of the story of the affair of the bishop, and that he sought the authority of the priesthood by bribing, and that this was not permitted in the Christian religion. And when the letter was presented to al-Hafiz, he thanked him (the patriarch), and magnified his position, and he signed a document for him that there should not be any interference in his religion, and that no one might constrain him (to do) what was not permitted within [the limits of] his law. Then news reached him (the patriarch) after that, that he (the priest) had a very great amount of money, and he feared that if he prevented the priest Bukirah from (receiving) the episcopate, he might depart from his religion and the money would be lost. So he consecrated him bishop for a see other than that which he had sought; and he intended thereby to win his soul and that he should not lose his money. And Bukirah bore to him the money, but he did not look at it with his eyes, but he commanded that it should be delivered to the manager for the property of the churches; and he ordered him to spend it on the (re)building of the keep of the Monastery of the Beacon and other things beside it. And there was a man from among the sons of the notable scribes, who had his presidency and his leadership among his people, and he was called Abu 'l-Yaman Ibn al-‘Amidi. And he left the servants and (his) manner of life, and he attached himself to the service of the church of Saint Abba George in the Monastery of Clay.
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And evil people reported to the patriarch Abba Gabriel infamous words about him. They intended thereby to corrupt his case with him (the patriarch), that they might remove him from the mentioned church, or might observe in him a detestable evil, so that they might reject him. And when they informed the patriarch about this, he did not undertake patiently to see into what they had said and to investigate about it. And this offended Abu'l-Yaman Ibn al-‘Amidi and he departed from his religion. And his affair was hard to bear for the father, the patriarch, and he repented of it with bitter repentance; and after it he did not repeat being severe with any one, fearing lest he (another) might do the same as he. And God performed at the hands of this patriarch wonders and miracles and good works, and I shall record some of them. And it is what took place in the lands of Ethiopia (al-Habasat), and this (was) that the king of Ethiopia summoned Abba Michael ---- and his name before his consecration (as) Metropolitan of Ethiopia (was) Habib ---- and he sought from him that he should consecrate for him bishops in excess of the usual number according to the recognized custom established from ancient times 1, but he refused this. And he said: «I have not the power to do anything, except on the advice of the patriarch». And the king despatched to the patriarch a letter asking him about this, and another letter to the king of Egypt which his messenger accompanied. And an order of the caliphate went out to the patriarch to comply with what he 2 asked. And he excused himself and said to the caliphate «O Sire, if the bishops for Ethiopia become more than this number, they will dare to consecrate an Archbishop, and they will free themselves from the obedience of the Patriarchs of Egypt, and they will dispense with them, and they will begin to appoint (patriarchs) for themselves, and there
1 Marginal Note: (It was) the usual custom to consecrate for Ethiopia and Nubia seven bishops and not more. For if they complete ten, they would consecrate metropolitans, and they will have no need for the Patriarch of Egypt. On account of this the patriarch forbids to consecrate for them.
2 i.e. the king of Ethiopia.
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will not remain for them any need of the Patriarchs of Egypt, and they will not owe ohedience to them, and this will drive them into enmity and hostility towards whomsoever borders their lands from among the Muslims, and discipline will be relaxed among them. And wars will be multiplied by them, as they were wont to do in ancient times, in the days of Pharaoh and Moses and of those who were before him of the Pharaonic kings, and (as) they were wont to attack them by land and by sea, and reports about this are recorded in the history of the first (peoples). Then the patriarch wrote [to him] a letter warning him and commanding him to desist from what he sought from him, and he despatched the letter to him. And when the messengers of the patriarch returned from Ethiopia, they reported that fire had descended from heaven upon the castle of the king and it had burned a part of it. Then the lands of Ethiopia experienced great dearness in that year, and a great pestilence, and rain did not fall in it, and they endured on account of this great difficulty. Then the king received the letter of the patriarch, and he came back to God, and he wrote to the caliphate of Egypt, (and) he asked him to ask the patriarch to absolve him and to write to him a letter of blessing upon him and upon his lands. Then he (the patriarch) wrote to him concerning this, and despatched it (the letter) to him (the king). And at the hour of the arrival of the reply to them, God removed His wrath from them and His mercy reached them, and the rain fell, and their lands were sown, and their prices became cheap, and the dearness and the pestilence were removed from them through the mercy of God and the good-pleasure of this father for them. And the mentioned patriarch was sick of a severe sickness. He was nigh to perishing from it. Then he saw in his dream, as it were, a company of priests and monks, and with them Gospels and crosses and censers, and they said to him: «We have come to visit you to-day, and you will be healed of this sickness of yours, but we will return to you in the next year, at this same time, and we will take you with us». And he was healed of his sickness that time. And after a year he fell sick, and
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he went to his rest on the date which we have previously mentioned at the beginning of this biography. And there was in the days of this patriarch one of the monks of the Monastery of Abba Kama, whose name (was) Halwas, of the children of the daughters of Bastiyah, who was in charge of extracting the oil of balsam, that is the chrism, and he brought a case against the monks, and he calumniated them to the Imam al-Hafiz, that they had magical arts and sciences, by which they knew what is happening to kings, and how States conquer, and they accumulate dinars and other things beside them in the way of acquisition of gold and silver and jewelry, and by this they disobey their religion and the words of their Gospel and the commandment of Christ to them, and an image of a water-wheel in crystal, its likeness is not found with anyone of the kings of the world. He summoned with him chamberlains and soldiers, and took them, and he went up to the Monasteries in the Wadi Habib, and he gave them power over the monks. And they insulted them, and they abused them, and they taxed them, and they pillaged them, and they broke their workshops, and there befell them from him a great calamity. And he took from them certain of their elders, and he entered Cairo (al-Kahirah) with them. But nothing was verified of what he had reported about them, and God delivered them from him, and the caliphate was well-disposed towards them, and he sent them back to their monasteries in safety. And it happened, when this Halwas entered with those who were sent with him, into the Monastery of Abba Macarius, he violated the sanctity of the holy sanctuary, that is the Sanctuary of Benjamin [at the Monastery of Abba Macarius ] 6, and he attacked it, and he entered into it, he and those with him, and they examined the whole sanctuary. And it is said concerning him that he kicked the sanctuary with his foot
6 Addition from the Paris MS.
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haughtily and proudly. And God struck him on his foot with a malignant gangrenous pustule, and it did not cease to eat away his foot until he died from it after great distress, and there were worms and putrefaction and sores, and he did not escape from them, night or day. And he used to confess what he had done, and he used to say: «This is the reward of the foot which transgressed and entered into that holy place without reverence», and he continued thus until he died. And we beseech God to have mercy on us, as a charity towards us from Him.
Michael Ibn Dinistiri the Patriarch, and he is the seventy-first of (their) number.
This venerable father was a monk of the Cell known as the Great Cell (Dinistiri) in the Monastery of Saint Abba Macarius, an old man of comely appearance and handsome, grave, possessing piety and chastity, a saint, pure; only that he was not learned and did not find pleasure in the reading of books, because his parents had not cared about this. And he had not sought to solicit the priesthood or a rank, but he was assiduous (in the observance) of the Canons of the monks, without reading Coptic or Arabic. And when the father, the patriarch, Abba Gabriel went to his rest, and the See had remained vacant of him who directs it, four months and (some) days, a monk of the Monastery of Abba Macarius sought to solicit the patriarchate, and he was called Wanis Ibn Kadran. And certain of his brethren, the monks, leagued themselves with him; and they assembled with certain of the bishops, and they all supported one another. And they were James al-Kari, bishop of Lakanah of the Province of Buhairah, and Christodoulus,
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bishop of Fuah, and Michael, bishop of Tandata. And Yunis Ibn Kadran exerted himself in soliciting the patriarchate, and the aforementioned supported him. But the Lord did not approve of his action, and, on account of this, not a single man of all the people wished for him. And before his coming to Cairo (Misr), they had ordained him hegoumenos in the Monastery of Abba Macarius. He was a man tall in stature, of handsome countenance, of fine appearance, of good disposition, of pleasant speech, learned in the Coptic language and the books of the Church, (and) skilled in the Old and the New (Testaments), only Satan ----may God remove us and you from his temptations and his wiles and his snares, and defend all the sons of Baptism against his evil blows ---- struck him with this malicious blow that he solicited the leadership through pride, (and) thereby God caused him to fall, and he (Satan) (is) eager to cause to fall him amongst us over whom he has power through it (pride), so that he may be with him in Hell; and he embellished (it) for him, and he (Yunis) solicited the rank and the advancement over the people of God without their opinion or their consent. And the Shaikh Abu Joseph Ibn Severus al-Filasuf was superintendent of al-Buhairah at this time, and he wrote to the archons at Cairo (Misr) to inform them what was correct in his opinion concerning the baseness of the reports about Yunis Ibn Kadran, and how he had transgressed in that he had solicited (the patriarchate) and had not waited until he should be sought, and that his impetuosity and his request point to the imperfection of his mind and the blindness of his heart. And how could he control the people of God who does not know how to control himself, and instruct them, while tongues are loosed about his honour in coarse talk on account of his seeking to solicit (the
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patriarchate) in this manner, when the case required that there should assemble those who were present of the elders, the Cairene (al-Misriyin) archons and of those who were present of the bishops. They discussed (matters) at the end of which it was settled (that) the affair of the mentioned Yunis should be stopped and there should be sought one other than him from among those who were fit for this leadership, and the agreement of the people and the archons about him. And there was made for this a document, and there was obtained for it the signature of those present. The venerable father Abba Mark Ibn Zara‘ah the patriarch 1, the compiler of this biography and its reviser ---- may God give rest to his soul with the Saints ---- said that when the agreement was reached for seeking him whom God should choose for directing His people, pieces of paper were written in which were these names, and they are: Yunis Ibn Abu 'l-Fath, a monk of the sons of Abba John, Solomon Ibn ad-Dahbadi 2 of the Monastery of Baramus. And I, the humble Mark, the copyist of this biography, was present, and Michael whom God had chosen from the Great Cell was present, and they sought from him that he should write his signature in the document against Ibn Kadran, but he did not do (it), (and) certain of those who were present suspected that he had come with him to help him, but that which hindered him was because he did not know Coptic or Arabic. And (when) I informed them about him, and that he was of those who were fit for this leadership, and the will of God was for him, they wrote him. And the pieces of paper were written with the names of the three of them, as mentioned before, according as was the custom. And a paper was written with the Name of the Master Christ, the Good Shepherd, and they 4 were placed upon the altar, and the Divine Liturgy was celebrated
1 i.e. the seventy-third patriarch.
2 This name is not clear in the Arabic.
4 The four pieces of paper.
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over them for three days in succession. And a child was brought, and he took one of them, and the piece of paper was seen (to be) that with the name Michael. And those who were present of the elders of the God-fearing monks, mentioned that Abu 'l-Khair the psalmodist at the Monastery of Saint Abba Macarius ----and he was a saint, pure, (who) foresaw what would take place ---- said when he heard what had happened to Ibn Kadran, that the patriarch would be from the Great Cell, this from which was Michael. And he mentioned concerning him, that, on the night of the decease of Abba Gabriel the patriarch, he saw his soul among the angels ascending with it to heaven, and he informed those who were with him from among the brethren present, about this at once. And he said to them. «The patriarch has gone to his rest at this hour». And after three days from (the time of) his saying (this) to them, some monks arrived at the Monastery, and they brought news of the decease of the patriarch 3 at that time which he had said. And it was mentioned by another monk that this Abba Michael the patriarch was, before his becoming patriarch, sick of a severe and painful sickness in which he was close to death, (and) that he said to some of the monks (who) asked him concerning his sicknesss that he would not die in this sickness, and (that) he would not die except after he had become patriarch. And when the assembly agreed on accepting him, they ordained him deacon, and then priest, and on the third day they ordained him hegoumenos in the Church al-Mu‘allakah in Cairo (Misr), after they had received the permission of the Caliph at that time. And his order went out to consecrate him, and he wrote for him a decree concerning this. And he journeyed with those who were present from among the bishops and the priests and the people to the great city of Alexandria in a processional barge which the Caliph
3 i.e. Gabriel Ibn Turaik.
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had set apart for him. And they seated him upon the throne of my lord Mark. And they completed his consecration on Sunday, the fifth of (the month of) Misra (in the) year eight hundred and seventy-six of the Saintly Martyrs [August 29th, 1160 A.D.]. (They had) great trouble to make him memorize 2 the Liturgy of Basil only, until he celebrated it. And he returned to Cairo (Misr), and the day of his entry into it was memorable. And there met him from among the notables of the Muslims and their great ones, more than there met him from among the Christians. And there was great joy and contentment among the Christians in the two cities, Cairo (Misr) and Cairo (al-Kahirah). And they loved him much and they obeyed him; and he used to rejoice when he saw many people in the church, and many priests in the sanctuary, and he multiplied supplication for them. And the days of his patriarchate were exceedingly good; and a few days after his enthronement, he consecrated five bishops. One of them was from among the sons of the archons in Cairo (Misr), called Ibn Nafra. He had become a monk in the Monastery of Abba Macarius in the cell (called) the Great Cell from which was this patriarch, and he used to dwell with him in it, and he (the patriarch) consecrated him bishop for.......7. While he was a lad of youthful years, he was a deacon in the sanctuary in the days of Abba Gabriel. And when he arrived in Cairo (Misr), he went out to the Dair as-Sam‘, and he (the patriarch) consecrated him on a
2 He was unable to read Coptic or Arabic, cf. p. 59.
7 There is a gap here.
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Thursday. It is the established custom that a bishop shall not be consecrated, except on a Sunday. However, he made a special case for him, on account of his being of the sons of his (the patriarch's) cell. And his age at that time was about thirty years; and there proceeded from him sanctity, chastity and learning (such as) was not attained by many of the advanced 1 elders. Then he (the patriarch) consecrated As-Shaikh Abu 'l-Makarim Ibn Joseph the archon. Then he consecrated As-Samas Ibn Garud, and he was from among the priests of the Church of Saint Abba Sergius. And he was from among the notables of the scribes, and he had been head of the great diwans, of high family among the Cairenes (al-Misriyin). He consecrated him bishop of the See of Subra al-Khaimah, and he named him Mark (Markus). And the See of Subra Damanhur had been without a bishop all the days of the patriarchate of Abba Gabriel Ibn Turaik, because it had the established custom that there should not be (bishop) of it, except a virgin, and this bishop had been married and his wife had died. And Abba Gabriel forbade them to resort to the taking out the body of the Saint Apa John Sanhut from his church, because it was the custom for them to cast his body into the river, by reason of the impurities of the Egyptians. And when the priests did not resort to cast his body into the river, it dried up in front of his church. And when this bishop returned, he ordered them to cast him (the Saint) into the river, and the river returned (and) rose until it overflowed in front of his church, and the Egyptians
l i.e. advanced in monastic virtues.
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bore to him many ex-voto offerings. And this bishop continued to demand from the priests the ordination-fee which he who was before him used to take, and he took it from them. And he also consecrated a monk, his name (was) Sanun, a Sa‘idian, bishop for the See of Miniat Bani Khasib. And another Saidian from the region of Isna. He had been a merchant, (and) his name (was) Tauna, (and) he consecrated him bishop for the See of Akhmim. And a priest from the inhabitants of al-Baliana, his name was Abu '1-Badr Khasib, he consecrated bishop for the See of al-Baliana. The father, the patriarch, Abba Michael used great severity towards the monks and those who were arrogant, and he used to punish those who sinned from among them, not only by word, but also by beating and imprisonment. And it is said concerning him that no one left his religion in his days. And the duration of his occupation of the See (was) eight months and four days, three months of which (he was) in good health. Then he fell sick, and when his sickness lasted, he went to the Monastery of Saint Abba Macarius, and he remained in it, enduring the sickness for five months until he swelled up. And he went to his rest on the Friday of the week of Easter, and it was the third day of (the month of) Baramudah (in the) year eight hundred and sixty-three of the Martyrs [March 29th, 1147 A.D.]. They related that the monks from the cell of Kadran administered to him poison until it became the cause of his death, and God knows if it was, as was said, concerning them or not; and He recompenses every one according to his deeds. And they shrouded him (the patriarch)
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and they buried him with his fathers, the patriarchs. May God grant to us and to you the blessing of their prayers. And the Church in his days was in tranquillity and security. And to God (be) the glory for ever!
The father John , the patriarch, and he is the seventy-second of (their) number.
This father sat (on the throne) in the reign of al-Hafiz and Az-Zafir his son, and al-Faiz, the son of Az-Zafir. And the duration of his occupation of the See was nineteen years and eight months, and he went to his rest on the fourth of (the month of) Basuns (in the) year eight hundred and eighty-three of the Martyrs [April 29th, 1167.]. This one was a saintly monk, ordained deacon, chaste, upright, (and) mentioned among the monks (as being) from the Monastery of Abu Yihnis. And he was present at the consecration of Abba Michael the deceased, and his name was mentioned on (one of) the three pieces of paper which they wrote, and which they offered on the altars, as we have stated before. And they agreed (in their) opinion to consecrate him, and they sent to him (some) of the priests who should bring him to Cairo (Misr), and they brought him. And he was ordained priest (and) then hegoumenos in the Church al-Mu‘allakah in Cairo (Misr). And there was present John Ibn Kadran, who was described before in the biography of Abba Michael the deceased. And he renewed the solicitation with the present Sultan, at the hand of those who were intermediaries for his
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affair with him (the Sultan). And his order went out to hold a council for him and for those who had sought another than him. The bishops attended in the presence of the notables of the State, and the High Chamberlain (Owner of the Door) and the Chief of the judges and the Head of the Department of Planning (Owner of the Diwan al-Insa) and others beside them from among the notables of the State and its great and distinguished ones. And there occurred at this grave affairs and much talk, and those of the bishops and the priests who were present said that he (was) not a patriarch for them, except he whom they sought and desired, and not he who sought and desired (the patriarchate). And this (was) the rule of the people from the beginning, when they worshipped God according to the Christian religion, up to this time. And David the prophet had anticipated (this) by the prophecy about what should be, that they should not appoint (anyone), except him they wished for, (and) not him who wished for them. And he said in the Psalm 149: «To bind their kings with fetters and their nobles with chains of iron». And when they have the assurance that the man whom they desire to consecrate for them, fulfils the prescriptions of their law in the way of sanctity and religion and learning and good-conduct and chastity and charity, and the rest of what they required that he should have according to their religious belief, they take him by force, without his choice, and they bind him with an iron fetter, lest he escape from them into the inner desert, and they have no power over him; for few are the people of this qualification, and though they are all our fathers and our brethren, people of this category are not found, except one in a thousand. One (who) was a solitary and lived alone and had left the world and escaped from them, made his life (one) with the wild beasts of the mountains and the lions of the desert, and God changed the nature of the lions which rend and of the fierce wild beasts, until they were at peace with him, so that when the lions saw him, they came to him and worshipped at
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his feet, and he blessed them, and became friendly with them, and they did not harm him. And the Christians seek one similar to this one, that he may be set over them, and if they find him not, they consecrate another from among those who are humble, learned, and religious, and him for whom witness is borne regarding chastity and purity. And it is not lawful for them to consecrate for them him who desires them, nor him who solicits (the office) through the Sultan. And when they had said this speech, it was decided that a decree should be written, and that the Chamberlain should journey with them to the city of Alexandria to hold a council for them in it, and that there should attend it the great ones of the Christians, their archons and their priests, and that whomsoever they desired, either John or Yunis Ibn Kadran, they should consecrate him immediately. Then they journeyed to the city of Alexandria, and there was held for them a council in the Government House (Dar al-Amarat) in the presence of the governor (wali) and the judge (kadi) and the great archons and the Christian employees and the merchants, and the bishops who had come to it from their sees, and the Cairenes (al-Misriyin) and the Cairenes (al-Kahiriyin) and those who were with them. And the governor and the judge and the jurists questioned those who attended the council held for the Christians, saying that our Sire ---- the peace of God be upon him ---- ordered that (the one) whom you desire of these two men ---- consecrate him for you and be agreed upon him whom you wish for of the two of them. And all of them shouted with one word: «Yunis Ibn Abu 'l-Fath (is) our patriarch, and he is worthy of this rank». And this was in the days of the caliphate of al-Hafiz. And those who were present at the holding of this council from among the Muslims mentioned that a man of them said to John (Yunis) Ibn Abu 'l-Fath at the council: «What do you say about this man, namely, John (Yunis) Ibn Kadran, is he more worthy of this rank than you?». And he said: «Yes, he is more fitted than I,
---- G9 ----
and more learned in sacred law» ; and they appreciated this (remark) by him, and his worth was magnified in their eyes on account of this speech. And, thereupon, they consecrated him patriarch on Sunday, the second (of the month) of Nasi 2 (in the) year eight hundred and sixty-three of the Pure Martyrs [1147 A.D.]. And his consecration was accomplished at Alexandria, and he returned to Cairo (Misr), and the Christians at Cairo (al-Kahirah) and Cairo (Misr) received him with a fine reception, and walked before him to the Church of Abba Mercurius, the place of his dwelling, and they rejoiced over him with a great rejoicing. He intended to content the heart of John Ibn Kadran and his brethren, the monks, by consecrating him bishop of Samannud, but he (John) refused, and he did not obey him, and he continued staying sometimes in the monastery, and staying sometimes in the Rif 7. And in the days of al-Hafiz, Rudwan Ibn Walkhasi made a hole in the place in which he was at the Castle. And he went out through the hole, and he crossed over to al-Gizah, and he collected a body of soldiers and Arabs and Moors, and he entered Cairo (al-Kahirah), and took possession of it and was supreme. And in the latter part of the day of his entry into it (Cairo), he was killed inside the Grey Mosque (al-Akmar) which
2 The intercalary month of the Coptic year. The date corresponds to August 25th.
7 Cf. O.H.E. KHS-Burmester, 'The Rif of Egypt' in Orientalia, vol. VIII, fasc. 1-2, Rome, 1939, pp. 96-119.
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is at the Rukn al-Mukhallak at the hands of the Sudanis and those who agreed with them from among the soldiers; and the Imam al-Hafiz remained without a wazir until he died. And after the murder of Rudwan Ibn Walkhasi the wazir, our Sire brought back as-Shaikh Sani‘at al-Khilafat Ibn Yunis to his diwan in the Castle, and he confirmed his writing concerning him with his signature. And as-Shaikh Sani‘at al-Khilafat, on his part, employed the two heads of the Diwan, one of the two of them (for) the Diwan of the Council, and the other for the Diwan of Investigation, and he was the link between them and the Caliph and he was the intermediary between the Caliph and between all the people from among the great ones and others beside them. And he used to employ the ministers for war in the governments great and small. And al-Hafiz broke his word with him, and he took from him much money, (and) afterwards he brought him back and he employed him; and he continued thus with him, breaking his word with him and employing him time after another, until the scribes whom he employed permanently, to whom he had done good, and had attached to himself and shown favours to them, and acquainted them with his secrets, exposed him (to the Caliph), and they stood against him, and they proved that he had (kept) much money for his own account. And al-Haiiz ordered him to be fettered in the Treasury of the Flags, and they did not cease to corrupt the heart of al-Hafiz against him until he killed him with the sword, he and his young brother called Abu'l-Mahasin, because his enemies carried Zahr ad-Daulah as-Sakalabi to the Treasury of the Flags until it (the report) was carried back concerning the two of them, that the two of them had reviled the Caliph. Then he ordered to kill them immediately, and he beheaded the two of them unjustly. And God did not neglect the affair of the two of them, nor
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was He unmindful of the blood of the two of them, and He afflicted Zahr ad-Daulah as-Sakalabi who had lied against them with the sickness of dropsy, and he remained with it for a short time, so that the people witnessed in him the power of God and they recognized that He had punished him on account of the two of them, and that they were innocent, and they marvelled at the swiftness of the retribution to him and the punishment; and they glorified God on account of this. And there were some people, magicians, who were employed with Sani‘at al-Khilafat, (and) they envied him, (and) they (were) those who incited Zahr ad-Daulah as-Sakalabi against him (Sani‘at), until he did to him what has been explained before, through the enmity between them and him. And God held them responsible for their deed and their passage through blood. And our Sire al-Hafiz killed them by the sword with which he killed him (Sani‘at), in the place in which he killed Sani‘at al-Khilafat and his brother, and the blood of the magicians dripped on the blood of the two of them; and true is the saying of God which saith: «He who spills blood in the world, in the world his blood shall be spilled». And the retribution of the magicians was thus, after the killing of Sani‘at al-Khilafat unlawfully. Then al-Hafiz died on the fourth (of the month) of Gumada the Second (in the) year five hundred and forty-four of the Lunar (Year)[1149A.D.]. And after him there reigned his son Abu'l-Mansur Ibn Isma‘il, and his relations and his brothers and the men of his State recognized him (as Caliph), and they designated him as al-Imam Az-Zafir. And one of the amirs of his State, whose designation was Nagm ad-Din Ibn Masal, became a wazir for him, because he was from among the intimates of al-Hafiz, his father, and from among the great ones of his State, and he used to have recourse to his opinion and his advice. Then an amir
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called ‘Ali Ibn as-Salar acted hypocritically towards him (Az-Zafir). He was wali of the frontier city of Alexandria, and he collected soldiers, and he crossed to (the Province of) al-Gharbiah, and there assembled with him its soldiers and its Arabs , and there were with him many troops. And there was an amir from the race of the kings well acquainted with the Arabs, called ‘Abbas, from among the sons of the amir Tumaim Ibn Badis, wali of (the Province of) al-Gharbiah, and his mother whose name (was) Balurah, was wife of this ‘Ali Ibn Salar. And when he crossed to the (Province of) al-Gharbiah, he took ‘Abbas its wali with him. And ‘Ali Ibn Salar marched to Cairo (al-Kahirah) and he entered it and took possession of it in Sha‘aban (in the) year five hundred and forty-four [1149A.D.]. And he took the ministry, and they designated him as as-Said al-Agall al-‘Adil Amir al-Guyus. And Nagm ad-Din Ibn Masal fled, and he crossed to al-Gizah, and there moved with him the black troops (as-Sudan). And soldiers were sent against them, and they defeated them, and there were killed many soldiers of the black troops, and the head of Ibn Masai was taken, and it was carried round Cairo (al-Kahirah) on a lance. And in the days of al-Adil Ibn Salar it was purposed (that) the Christians of Cairo (al-Kahirah) and of Cairo (Misr), should bind a girdle (on their waists) and remove their cloaks, but this (order) did not continue beyond three days. And the reason for this was (that) certain of the jurists from among those who detest the Christians came together to Nasir ad-Din Nasr, the son of ‘Abbas, whom al-Adil had made wali of Cairo (Misr). And they incited him to this, and they said to him «If you do this to the Christians, they will bribe you with much money to remove it from them». And when he had done this with them and had remained three days expecting that one of them would present himself to him or speak with him about a bribe or something else, and no one presented himself to him, he knew that the jurists had deceived him, (and) he announced,
qqq---- 78 ----
on the fourth day, that they should act according to their custom. And to Adil Ibn Salar continued in the ministry until Nasr Ibn ‘Abbas came in to him through the Bab as-Sirdar of the ministry and killed him, and took his head and caused it to be taken out and to be displayed in the «Betwixt the Castles»2. And ‘Abbas, his father, was wali of (the Province of) Sarkiah, (and) was dwelling at Bilbais. And Nasr sent to him to inform him of what he had done. Then ‘Abbas entered into Cairo (al-Kahirah) from Bilbais, and he was invested with the ministry, and they designated him as As-Said al-Afdal, and in his days the Franks conquered Ascalon. And there was not left in the hands of the Muslims except it, and its conquest was at the hand of the Franks during the year, in Gumada the Second (in the) year five hundred and forty-eight [1153A.D.]. The Christians had built a church at al-Matariah, in which (was) a well of balsam from which is extracted the oil of chrism, on the remains of an ancient church. And they consecrated it in the name of Saint, my lord George, and they celebrated the Divine Liturgy in it, before they had completed its pictures. Then the Muslims pulled it down and built in its place a prayer-house. And it was (that) Nasr ad-Din, the son of ‘Abbas, began to associate with the Imam Az-Zafir and to enter in unto
1 i.e. Gate of the General.
2 i.e. the square between the Eastern and Western Castles.
---- Ik ----
him by night to his Castle, to eat with him and to drink and to spend the night and early morning (with him). And the Caliph used to go out with him at night to his dwelling-place, and sit with him part of the night and listen to singing, and would take leave of him (only) when he entered his Castle. And this caused affliction to ‘Abbas, his father, and he feared that he would kill him as he had killed ‘Ali Ibn as-Salar. And one who was an associate of them reported that news had reached ‘Abbas, his father, that the Caliph had said to Nasr ad-Daulat: «Kill your father, and you be the wazir, for you are more right for it than your father». And ‘Abbas devised for his safety a stratagem, and in it there was destruction and death. This (was) that he incited Nasr ad-Daulat to kill the Caliph, by saying to him: «The people have assailed yours honour, and you have become for them (a subject) of obscene talk from what they have heard concerning your connections with Az-Zafir, and what will you do concerning what they have said?» and ‘Abbas, his father, laughed. And Nasr ad-Daulat said to him: «You laugh. I fear that your laughter will not be repeated!». And he, ‘Abbas, suspected that he was meaning to kill him, and there did not occur to his mind the ill that he had done with regard to the Caliph. And when it was the night of that day, he (Nasr) entered the Castle of the Caliph according to his usual custom. And he remained sitting with him for a while. Then he asked him to go for a walk with him and to enjoy seeing incognito the common people. And he went out with him by the Gate Az-Zuhumat. And the two of them stopped at the shop of the brewer who was opposite to it (the Gate), and they drank at it beer, and they went away. And he (Nasr) asked him (the
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Caliph) to go with him to his house which was in As-Siyufiyin, to sit for a while and to return, and he went with him. And the Caliph was incognito in his cloak with which he was envelopped, and there were with him two equerries. And it happened when (he was) with him in the reception-room, and had remained sitting with him for a while, that he (Nasr) gave an order to one of his friends (who) strangled him (the Caliph) with his scarf until he died. Then he killed the two equerries, and he threw him (the Caliph) into a well of spring-water and he threw the two equerries on the top of him. Then he filled up with earth the well and paved it with a flagstone so that it became unrecognisable. And this was on the date of the twenty-ninth of (the month of) al-Muharram (in the) year five hundred and forty-nine [1154A.D.]; and he hid the affair from the people, but God revealed it and avenged them. And this (was) that he (Nasr) went to his father ‘Abbas and he informed him of what he had done. And he (‘Abbas) feared that the common people would rise against him and drive him out from the kingdom, and that which he feared happened to him, and his ruin (resulted) from his machination. And this (was) that when it was morning he rode to the Castle, and he caused the seneschal of the Castle to come, and he sought leave of the Caliph to enter to him. And the seneschal of the Castle and others beside him did not know of the going out of the Caliph, nor of what had happened to him, and he entered to seek for him, and he was not able (to find him). Then he (‘Abbas) seized the seneschal of the Castle, and demanded him (the Caliph) of him, and he swore and multiplied (his) oaths that (his) place was not known to him. And
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he said to him: «Present to me his brothers, in case they have killed him». Then he (the seneschal) entered the Castle, and he presented to him ‘Abbas Joseph and Gabriel his brothers, and Salah, a son of Hasan, his brother. And he demanded him (the Caliph) of them, and he accused them that they had killed him. And he commanded his soldiers to kill them, and they killed them, and they killed the seneschal of the Castle. And he (‘Abbas) pillaged the Council Chamber of the Castle of the king by the hands of his companions. And he killed all of them in the Paved Court of the Golden Gate. And he took the son of the Caliph, and he was a little child, and his name (was) ‘Isa, and he enthroned him as Caliph on the last day of (the month of) al-Muharram (in the) year five hundred and forty-nine of the Lunar (Year) [1154 A.D.], and they designated him as al-Imam al-Faiz. And ‘Abbas did not cease to continue in the ministry, until an amir named Talai‘ Ibn Ruzzik acted hypocritically towards him. He was wali of al-Bahnasa and al-Ashmunain from the districts of the Sa‘id. The women of the Castle sent to him their hair, and he took it and placed it on lances, and he made black flags, and he assembled a great troop of foot-soldiers and cavalry, and he arrived in Cairo (al-Kahirah) on the fourteenth day of (the month of) Rabi‘a the First (in the) year five hundred and forty-nine [1154A.D.]. And on his arrival at Cairo (al-Kahirah), ‘Abbas and Nasr, his son, and a company of his companions departed, and he loaded all that he had, and all that he had looted from the Castle, on mules and camels and horses, and he went out from Cairo (al-Kahirah), seeking (to reach) Syria. Then the Franks and the Bedouins united against him, and they seized all that was with him. And he and his son did not cease to attack them, and he (‘Abbas) fought until he was
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killed, and his son was taken prisoner. As regards Talaf Ibn Ruzzik, he was invested with the ministry, and he rode to the Castle, and they made for him the act for the ministry, and they empowered him by it, and he wrote and signed and executed his command. And he rode to the house of the son of ‘Abbas, and with him a troop of amirs and two equerries and the chief judge and the chief propagandist, and before him (were carried) trays of gold and silver and on them censers filled with aloes-wood and ambergris. A little page of the son of ‘Abbas was present at the murder of the Caliph and the two equerries and their being cast into the well, and he related to them information about them, and he guided them to the place where they were, and they excavated it, and they brought them up from it, and they carried them to the Castle. They washed them and shrouded them and buried them. And Talaf Ibn Ruzzik established himself in the ministry (wizarat), and they designated him as al-Malik as-Salih. And he was a lover of amassing money, and he destroyed many people in his search after money. And he amassed of it much without scruple. And he used to bring near to him the sorcerors and to deal well with them, and to listen to their sayings. And he hated the Christians and certain sects of the Muslims, because his sect was (that of) the Imamians 8, and he commanded that the turbans of neither the Christians nor the Jews should have tassels. And there was dearness in the first year of his ministry, and wheat was sold in it for five dinars an ardab for the period of four months and not more.
8 i.e. the Sect of the Twelve Imams.
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Then prices became less during all the period of his ministry. And the price of the crops was not fixed in any way, but it increased and decreased from two ardabs a dinar to one ardab, (and) to half an ardab a dinar. And in his days there appeared the death of cattle from murrain, and it was not known before his days in Egypt (Misr), and this returned time after time during various years, so that the people began to plough with horses and camels and donkeys. And after these affairs there died the Imam al-Faiz in the days of his ministry, in the month of Ragab (in the) year five hundred and fifty-five of the Lunar (Year) [1160A.D.], and there reigned after him ‘Abd Allah, a son of Joseph (the son of al-Hafiz, and they designated him as al-Imam al-‘Adid. Then (it was) that As-Salih united his daughter in marriage with him (the Caliph) with reluctance. And As-Salih continued in the ministry until Monday, the eighteenth of the month of Ramadan (in the) year five hundred and fifty-six of the Lunar (Year) [1160 A.D.]. He rode to the Castle according to (his) usual custom, and (a disaster) happened to him in the Passage of the Column, while he was going out from the presence of the Caliph. A man from the common soldiers and the most contemptible of them, known as Ibn ar-Ra‘i, and with him two men from the Sudanis, one of the two of them was named Mukbil. And Ibn ar-Ra‘i pierced him (As-Salih) with a sword in his belly (and) his entrails came out. Then the two men pierced him with their swords, and they wounded him in a number of places in his body, and he was hemmed in; and he was carried to his house mortally (wounded), and he died in the middle of the night. And there reigned after him his son Ruzzik, and they designated him as Al-Agall Magd al-Islam. And As-Salih had appointed as wali an amir designated
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as Al-Mukarram, and his name was Sawar, (and) he appointed him wali of the city of Kus and its districts. And As-Salih had a nephew, his name (was) Husam and his designation ‘Izz ad-Din. This was the will of God that their government perished at his (Sawar's) hands; and He put in his (Husam's) heart violent hatred of Sawar al-Mukarram and enmity of him. And his uncle As-Salih had appointed him wali of Minyat Bani Khasib. And he (Husam) used to seize the companions of Sawar and his messengers and his slaves by land and by river, and to beat them and to treat them with disdain and to keep them prisoner, and there every difficulty happened to them from him, (and) his affair with Sawar continued in every bad way. And Sawar wrote to him many excuses to make him favourably inclined towards him and to seek peace with him, and to say to him that he was the slave (mamluk) of his (Husam's) uncle's State and a favour of his. Then he answered him concerning this that he (Husam) had taken a fine chest and had placed in it two folded sinews of cow-hide and had sent them to Sawar. And when he saw them, he stood up and he sat down, and he was on the point of killing himself. And he was a sagacious old man (shaikh), experienced in wars and guile and craft and ruses. And he girded up the leg of effort, and he strengthened his soul for wars and battle. And he prepared a great number (of men) and (made) preparation, and he spent money. And he assembled and collected troops, but he did not consider them trustworthy, for the family of Ruzzik had ruled many years, almost ten; and their wealth and their men had multiplied, and their position had become strong. And when he understood that he would not be able to war against them, he assembled his companions and whomsoever was with him from among those who were trustworthy of his family and his relatives, of those of counsel and opinion, and he
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consulted them about fleeing before (Husam's) troops into the desert of the oasis, and wandering in it through its length and its breadth, so as not to stay in a place. And if (the time) were protracted for those who were seeking him without finding him, (Husam's) troops would desert through the exhaustion of provisions and the difficulty of the country and the heat of the desert and the hardship of (their) condition. For that reason a great (number) of troops would not be able to follow him into the desert of the oasis, on account of the scarcity of water and the heat of the air and the scarcity of grass for the beasts; and because it is sand and mounds, and no tree for shade and no fruit. Then they counselled him (to act) thus, and he journeyed with a multitude to a cave of the oasis. And he limited himself to twenty horsemen of his companions, with their horses and their camels and their provisions for a journey and their arms. And he took for himself camels and horses and mules, and much provision for a journey, and gold and much money for his expenses, and cloth to give to the Bedouins. And he journeyed, and the affair was as he had said. When the troops had pursued him for three months, while he was eluding them from place to place which did not have food, the troops deserted, and they returned to Cairo (al-Kahirah) without having attained their aim; and they said concerning him that he had turned to the west to Amir al-Mu'-minin, king of the West. And when the thought of him had vanished, (after) the space of another two months, he came down from the desert of the oases to the lake of Alexandria, and with him his companions, and with them camels on which (were) palm-leaf baskets. And he passed from Mahallat ‘Abd ar-Rahman to (the Province of) al-Gharbiah, and he halted on the outskirts of Balkinah which is a village near to
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Al-Mahallat, the space of a mile, on Sunday, the eight of (the month of) al-Muharram (in the) year five hundred and fifty-eight of the Lunar (Year) [1162A.D.]. And he gathered to him the soldiers (of the Province) of al-Gharbiah and its Arabs from among the Bani Sis, and hardly had he remained for three days than there was with him troops and soldiers and Bedouins, approximately ten thousand horsemen; he assigned to the soldiers fiefs, and he commanded the Bedouins to pillage what belonged to the Bani Ruzzik [family of Ruzzik] in the district of their fiefs, in the way of granaries of the crops and oil-presses and cattle, and he bestowed on all the people something (which) pleased their hearts. And he journeyed until he descended at Masgid al-Khidr, and he turned from it to the outskirts of Cairo (al-Kahirah). And when the news of his crossing over came to the knowledge of Magd al-Islam Ibn as-Salih: the wazir at that time, and that he (Sawar) was close to Cairo (al-Kahirah), he (Ibn as-Salih) and a company of the Bani Buzzik went out at midnight from Cairo (al-Kahirah) as fugitives. And a company of their companions recorded that they had heard a confused sound and cries behind them from every side: «Go out, go out ». Then they sought those who cried out, and they did not find anyone, and they understood that it was the angels by the command of God, who made them go out. Then everyone of them fled for himself from the gates of Cairo (al-Kahirah). And they left behind their money and their houses and their families. And the Sudanis pillaged them, and they dissolved as salt. And as for Magd al-Islam Ruzzik, their wazir, he took a small saddle-bag, (and) he put in one side of it jewellery and hyacinths and emeralds, and many things of this kind, and what would be the value
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of the land-tax of the Land of Egypt (Misr) for a year. And he filled the other side with bags of dinars, and he put them on a horse equal (in value) to a thousand dinars, from his horses. And he mounted it, and he went out from Cairo (al-Kahirah) by the Gate az-Zuwailah alone, and no one accompanied him, and he knew not whither he was going. And he journeyed alone southward of Cairo (Misr), and he fell in with a band of Arabs, the headman of whom was called Jacob Ibn al-Bid. And his slaves took him and stripped him, and they took the horse and all that (was) on it, and they departed from him, and they left him. And he remained alone in the desert naked and confused. And it was winter, and great cold in the month of Tubah [January 9th-February 7th]. And he saw a fire in the distance, and he went towards it, and when he approached it, dogs of the band rushed at him, and he sat down on the ground, and he crawled on his hands and his feet until he entered the tail-end of the band. And he found a dog sleeping in the ashes, and he lay down at the side of it, and he hugged it until he found warmth. And praised be God, the Depriver of blessing, and the magnitude of His power; and I seek refuge in Him from His displeasure. This Ruzzik was, at the beginning of the night, governor of Egypt (Misr) and its ruler, sitting in his Council, commanding and forbidding until darkness. Robbed of his kingdom and stripped of grace, he had departed as a fugitive precipitately, and he was met by those who contemned him, and took his money, (and) all this up to midnight, (and) he was sleeping with a dog in the ashes ---- praised be God! He gives the kingdom to whom He wills, and He takes the kingdom away from whom He wills; and He exalts whom He wills, and He abases whom He wills. By His hands (is) the kingdom, and He is powerful over every thing: And when morning came, and he was in this condition, a slave-girl perceived him, and she was ignorant of his rank, and she asked him: «Who are you ?». And he said to her: «Tell your
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master to come to me, for he knows me». Then she went to Jacob, and she informed him about him, and he came to him, and he recognized him, and he embraced him and he wept. Then he took him, and remained apart with him, and he made free for him a tent, and he clothed him. And he (Magd al-Islam) stayed with him until Sawar was firmly established in his kingdom, and was invested with the robe of honour of the ministry, and they had designated him as Amir al-Guyus. And he sought for Magd al-Islam, and he learned of his place, and he caused to be brought to him Jacob Ibn al-Bid, and he required him (Magd al-Islam) of him. Then he caused him (Magd al-Islam) to be brought to him from his (Jacob's) band which was camping east of Atfih. And Amir al-Guyus Sawar received him with the best reception, and he honoured him and exalted him and made free for him a hall in the House of the Ministry, and he placed him in it, and he caused to be brought to him (Magd al-Islam) his concubine and his son and an equerry for his service. And he used to visit him at all times by himself, and to enquire after him, and to bring together with him his fruits and to eat with him, so that he rejoiced his heart. Then his brother Galal al-Islam reported to him about him (Magd al-Isl&m), that he wished to escape and to go out to estrange the amirs and to seek the ministry . This was difficult for him (Amir al-Guyus) to support, and he commanded that he should be fettered with iron, and they fettered him. Then Galal al-Islam waited again for a time, and he spread news about him (his brother) that he had with him a file, and that he had filed a part of the fetter; and they examined about this, and they found it correct. Then Tai, the son of Sawar, designated Al-‘Adil, heard at that time the news of Magd al-Islam Ruzzik, that he had filed the fetter; and he took his sword, and he did not ask his father, and no one knew about him, and he entered to him, and he beheaded him, and this was on the night of Friday in the last
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decade of the month of Ramadan (in the) year five hundred and fifty eight [1162 A.D.]. And when the news reached Amir al-Guyus, his father, it was difficult for him to support, but he was not able to undo what was done. And when it was the night of the next Friday and its morning, the twenty-ninth of the aforementioned month of Ramadan, an amir of the amirs, his name was Dirgham, acted hypocritically towards Amir al-Guyus Sawar, and his designation (was) Saif al-Mugahidin. And he had brothers, one of them was named Malham and the other Nasr. And Sawar had done good to Dirgham, and had brought him near, and had drawn him nigh to him, and had made him High Chamberlain (Owner of the Door) 7. And Dirgham swore forty oaths to Sawar that he would not act hypocritically towards him, and he lied, and he went out from his presence on the night of Friday, as we have said, and he acted hypocritically towards him, and he formed an alliance with the amirs at night, and he assembled the troops, and he opened the Gate al-Barkiah, (one) of the gates of Cairo (al-Kahirah), and he went out through it. Then they opened for him the Gate Az-Zuwailah, and he entered through it, and his troops shouted, and they repaired to the House of the Ministry. And Sawar went out while he was putting on his turban, and they did not give him time, so that he could not complete putting on his turban, but he took the remainder of it in his sleeve. And he mounted his horse, and he girded on his sword, and he came to the Gate Al-Futuh, and he found it closed. And the Sudanis
7 This was an office second only to that of wazir.
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were guarding it. And he shouted «O Rihan» 1, and they answered his call, and they opened for him the Gate Al-Futuh. And he halted in their midst, and he thanked them, and he praised them, and he promised them that, should God return him to his kingdom, he would recompense them with the best of recompenses. And when he returned and gained the victory, he fulfilled his promise to them. Then he went out through the Gate Al-Futuh, and he journeyed under (the cover of) night, until he reached the houses of his family the Bani Sa‘ad, and he stayed with them. And Dirgham and his brothers reigned, and they seized Tai Ibn Sawar who was designated Al-‘Adil, and they killed him, and this (was) a retribution from God, because he had killed Magd al-Islam Ruzzik, and he was innocent 3. And Dirgham continued in the ministry nine months, the first of them (being) Sawwal (in the) year five hundred and fifty-eight [1162A.D.], and the last of them, Gumada the Second (in the) year five hundred and fifty-nine [1163A.D.]. And they designated him Al-Malik Al-Afdal, and his brother Malham, as Al-‘Adil, and his brother Nasr, as Nasir al-Muslimin. And as for Sawar, he went to Damascus, and he met Nur ad-Din Ibn Kasim ad-Daulah, and his name (was) Mahmud Ibn Zanki, and he stayed with him for a time, and he made ready together an army, the leader of it (being) Asad ad-Din Sirkuh. Then he returned to the lands of Egypt, and he halted at Bilbais. And Nasir al-Muslimtn, brother of Dirgham, went out against him with a great army. And when Sirkuh saw this, he feared, and he said to Sawar: «How did you do this deed to us and to yourself, that you came to us to Egypt to destroy us ? Maybe we and your companions are two thousand horsemen. In this army (there are) twenty thousand combatant horsemen,
3 i.e. of the charge laid against him.
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and following after it a similar number of attendants and companions». And Sawar said to him: «Let not the matter terrify you, because all of them are with me, and not one of them will fight against me». And there was on the outskirts of Bilbais a great mound. And Sawar said to Sirkuh: «Let us ascend the mound, and be patient, and do not fight them until the sun becomes very hot». And Sawar did not say this without knowing that, when the sun would be strong, they (the soldiers) would be dispersed and would be seeking shade under trees and walls. And when the sun grew hot (at) the time of noon, and they (the soldiers) were dispersed, every one of them having sought a place in which to remain in the shade, Sawar and Sirkuh descended from the mound, and they bear down upon them with their troops, and they routed them, and they made them prisoner, and they stripped them, and they took their horses and their possessions, but they did not kill one of them, and the rest of them escaped to Cairo (al-Kahirah). And Sawar and Sirkuh marched behind them with the army to Cairo (al-Kahirah), and they halted at the ‘Ard at-Tabalat and (at) al-Luk and (at) the limits (dair) of Cairo (al-Kahirah), and they besieged it (Cairo), and the fighting did not cease, and the war continued. And Dirgham and his brothers were occupied with the war, and they were posted at its gates, until Imam al-‘Adid, the Caliph at that time, wrote a letter to Dirgham, the wazir, saying to him in it: «In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful, we inform you, O Malik 8, for there does not remain for you protection, except till the prayer of the afternoon 9, so save yourself, if you can, and peace (be to you)». And it was (that) Dirgham, on that day had come to the Castle (Kasr),
8 The title ' malik ' was assumed by most of the wazirs of the later Fatimids.
9 i.e. from 3-4 p.m.
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and he stood facing the Golden Gate, on account of an affair (which) had happened to him, to take the opinion of the Caliph about it, and he found the gates of the Castle closed, and this letter was thrown to him. And when he had learned its contents, he did not return back, but thereupon went out through the Gate Az-Zuwailah. And the horses of the Ghuzz overtook him at al-Kabs under the Mountain Al-Mukattam between Cairo (al-Kahirah) and Cairo (Misr), and they killed him, and they did not recognize him that he was Dirgham. And when they brought his head to the tents, Sawar recognized him; and thereupon he rode and he came to Cairo (al-Kahirah). And the gates were opened to him and he entered, but no stability was established for him, since news reached him that Asad ad-Din was seeking to deal treacherously with him. Then he was on his guard, and he closed the gates of Cairo (al-Kahirah), and he advanced against him and he did battle with him and he blocaded him. And the hands of the Ghuzz were stretched out against the inhabitants of Cairo (Misr) from among the Christians, the Sudanis, and the Armenians, and the Turks of the Cairenes (al-Misriyin). And they used to kill them and to sell them, if they found some one to buy from them, if not, they killed that person; and they robbed their possessions and they took their women folk. And they used to cry for sale a Christian: «Who will buy an infidel? », and a Turk of Cairo (al-Misri): «Who will buy a dissolute Turk (who) spent the night in the bitter cold?, and a negro: «Who will buy a Sudanese?». And they used to sell them at a vile price, a Christian for twenty dirhams, and ten dirhams a Turk, and five dirhams a negro.
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And a monk was martyred at their hands. His name (was) Sanufah, from the Monastery of Abba Macarius. They seized him and placed before him (the choice of) al-Islam, but he refused it, and they killed him, and they intended to burn his body, but it did not burn, and the Christians took it, and they buried it in the Church of Abba Sergius in Cairo (Misr) on the twenty-fourth day of (the month of) Basuns 3. And they demolished many churches (dedicated) to the Martyrs, at that time, in the outskirts of Cairo (al-Kahirah). And they demolished the Church Al-Hamra in the Harat ar-Rum al-Baraniat and the Church Az-Zuhri, and they pillaged every church (which) they demolished. And after affairs had calmed down, the Shaikh Al-As‘ad Salib, owner of the diwans, provided for the rebuilding of the Church Al-Hamra and Az-Zubri, and what he was able (to do) with regard to the churches. And he took care of them and provided them with Liturgies, and he provided limekilns until the rebuilding was completed. And Asad ad-Din continued to remain around Cairo (al-Kahirah) and to blocade Sawar, until Sawar conveyed to the king Amaury 7, king of the Franks, a great (sum) of money, so that he came with his army. And when the Bedouins informed Asad ad-Din Sirkuh of the approach of the Franks from the districts, he departed with his troops to Upper Egypt. And when the king Amaury arrived at Bilbais, there was borne to him from the Caliph
3 The Paris MS. adds, ' of the year eight hundred and eight of the Martyrs' = 1092 A.D.
7 i.e. Amaury I (1162 A.D.), cf. Rene Grousset, L'Epopee des Croisades, Paris, 1939, p. 195 sqq.
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and the wazir many things in the way of money and presents ; and he rested at Bilbais for one month. Then he came to Cairo (al-Kahirah), and he halted with his army around Cairo (al-Kahirah). Then the army of the Franks and Amaury, their king, and the army of the Muslims and Sawar, their master, marched in search of Asad ad-Din Sirkuh and his army. And when they pursued him, he crossed over (the river) to the western side, and marched towards the Upper Sa‘id 2, and they overtook him at a spot called Al-Babain, and they encountered him. And many people of his army were slain, and a great multitude of the Franks and the Muslims also were slain, and each of them captured from the other prisoners. Then Asad ad-Din returned to Alexandria and fortified himself in it. And the king Amaury and the army of the Franks and the army of the Egyptians (al-Misriyin) followed him, and they halted at it (Alexandria) and they besieged him. And when the siege had lasted long, he (Asad ad-Din) went out from it by night, and he returned to Cairo (al-Kahirah) to take it. And when he was informed about him (Asad ad-Din) King Amaury and Sawar followed him; and much discussion took place, at the end of which it was settled that they should pay an annual grant to him (Amaury) of money. He took it and he returned to his country. And Sawar executed what he had promised to the Franks with regard to the security, for if he had wished to deceive them and to come to terms with his army of foreigners against them, there would not have returned (one) of them to tell the tale. And the king Amaury knew that he had made a mistake, because he had come with his army into the midst of an Islamic country of
2 i.e. Upper Egypt.
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people of the eastern and western sea; and God delivered him by reason of His justice and the excellence of His economy. And Sawar continued in the ministry (wizarat) until the end of Saturday, the eighth of Rabi‘a the First, (in the) year five hundred and sixty-four [1168 A.D.]; and there occurred for him calamities, the mention of which will come in what follows.
In the days of this patriarch 2, a man of the Jews in Cairo (Misr) of the eminent ones of his people (and) a learned scholar of the notables of his sect, became Christian. He was called Abu 'l-Fakhr Ibn Azhar, and he had studied the Christian religion, and he spoke the Coptic (al-kibtiat) language in a very short time. And he used to debate with the Jews in the Hebrew language, and to interpret to the Christians in the Coptic language 3. And he became expert in the Christian religion, so that he became more learned (in it) than its people. And he died in the Christian religion, a believer in Christ, after he had suffered severely from the Muslims and the Jews. And the Jews used to pay to the authorities money to kill him, but Christ used to save him from them; and they did not arrive at harming him, and he remained a Christian, and he used to walk in the midst of the Jews for nearly forty years at Cairo (Misr). And in the days of this patriarch 4, a letter arrived from the king of Ethiopia for Al-‘Adil Ibn as-Salar requesting the consecration of a metropolitan (mutran). And there was with him 6 a metropolitan called Abba Michael and his name 7 was Habib al-Atfihi. And when
2 i.e. the Patriarch John.
3 This is important evidence that Coptic was still spoken among the Copts at the end of the XIIth century.
4 i.e. the Patriarch John.
6 i.e. the king of Ethiopia.
(7) i.e. before his consecration.
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he was old and advanced in age, the king sent to seek a metropolitan other than him. And this Habib Abba Macarius the patriarch had consecrated. And when words occurred between him and the king, he (the king) changed towards him, and he wrote to seek another than him; and the reason for this (was) that the king had usurped the kingdom unjustly, and the metropolitan had rebuked him, and he (the king) had sent a letter to the Sultan; and, at that time, Al-‘Adil Ibn Salar was wazir. And he (the king) wrote also to the patriarch to seek a metropolitan other than him, while he (was) alive and not dead. And our father, the patriarch, refused (to do) this, and he said to the wazir Al-‘Adil: «It is not in our law that, having appointed a man to the order of the priesthood, we go back and deprive him of it until he dies. And if he is dead, we appoint another than him, because the order of the priesthood is heavenly, not earthly». And Al-‘Adil, the wazir, was wrothful with him, and he ordered him to be fettered in the prison of the House of the Ministry. Al-‘Adil used to put fetters on him with whom he was angry of the amirs of his State. And the patriarch suffered great hardship from the confinement of this prison and the stench of its odour. And he continued fettered in it until God released him through the murder of Al-‘Adil; likewise, there occurred for him another trial in the days of As-Salih Ibn Ruzzik, the wazir, at the end of his days. And this (was) that there were at Samannud some monks from the Cell of Bisbis of the Monastery of Abba Macarius , and their father was called Salamun. This patriarch 6 had consecrated a bishop for the See of Samannud, (and) they mentioned that he was the son of his (the patriarch's) sister, and they named him Abba Macarius, and he (was) his brother in monasticism, and (was) with
6 i.e. the Patriarch Macarius.
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him in the Cell which was in it. And on account of worldly gains and empty glory, Satan finds a way for the perdition of souls through his blows, on account of envy. And (it was) that evil people had made good to this bishop that he should write to the patriarch, telling him about Abba Salamun and his brethren, the monks, sons of (the Cell) of Bisbis, that they had added in the Confession at the completing of the Liturgy a new expression which they had invented themselves, which (their) predecessors had not said. It is the Coptic expression XXXXXXXXX which is translated 'life-giving'; and it is an expression used in many places in the Liturgy, it comes in the declaration of faith at the end of the Liturgy, as regards this question, and it is their saying: «I believe and I confess to the last breath that this life-giving Body (is) that which the Only Son, our Lord and our Saviour Jesus Christ took from Mary the Virgin, and it became one with His Divinity without confusion nor mingling nor separation». And when the patriarch was informed of the contents of the letter of Abba Macarius, bishop of Samannud, he changed towards Abba Salamun and his brethren, and he felt displeasure towards them, and talk increased about this. Then he sent and assembled a numerous company of bishops, and they examined this, and they found it correct, and there
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was not in it anything objectionable, for It is the life-giving Body in truth, leading him who believes in It to everlasting life. And the patriarch wrote concerning this to all the districts, and the inhabitants of the Delta, and Cairo (Misr) and Alexandria, and all the monks of the monasteries accepted it, with the exception of the priests in the Sanctuary of Abba Macarius. And they refused to add it, and they excused themselves for this on the grounds that it (was) a recent addition, and that it did not accord with the practice of their predecessors, and that it had not been added except for another meaning on their account. Some of them rose up to appeal against this father, the patriarch, and the bishops; and they said many things among themselves. And they assured Salih the wazir, (saying) that they would obtain money for him from them (the monks), by reason of their knowledge of his injustice and his love of money. And he sent to bring this father, the patriarch, with the monks before him, and he assembled for them a council before him. And there occurred discussions concerning the meaning of the belief of the Christians and their argument. And his intention was what he might obtain from them, not out of consideration for the monasteries, since the case of Christianity was known: it was not a new religion (which) requires investigation and an examination of it. And when discussion occurred in the council, the patriarch said to Salih: «Moses, what is he with you ?». He said: «A prophet». He (the patriarch) said with reference to Christ: «What is He with you?». He (Salih) said: «The spirit of God and His word». He (the patriarch)
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said: «Is it possible to say that the spirit of God and His word (is) a prophet?». He (Salih) said: «No». The patriarch said: «Then the spirit of God and His word is greater and more exalted than the prophets, for He created all creatures by His word by which He said to all creatures: 'Be', and they were in a twinkling of an eye. And He is the Creator of creatures and all things». The wazir was silent. And there occurred between him and the monks many discussions. Then the patriarch restrained them by words, and he raised his iron rod which (was) in his hand to strike some of them. And they cried out, and they complained about it to the wazir. And they said to him: «He is furious with us before you in your council». He said to them: «Stretch out, you also, your hands against him». They said: «It is not possible. Then he commanded the patriarch to be removed; and he went out from before him, invoking evil upon him and saying: «Even as you hast raised those lower than us over us, the Lord will raise the lower of your people over you»; and Salih committed him to two men. Then he commanded him to be fettered, and he wrote an ordinance, and he despatched it with the exactors of fines to the sees of the bishops of the Delta. And they experienced great hardship from the exactors and the walis of the districts, until God manifested a memorable miracle which the Muslims who were fettered with him (the patriarch) talked about more than what the Christians talked about. And this (was) that he (the patriarch) was assiduous in fasting and prayer and supplication to God, as (was) his usual custom; and (it was) that one night he was dozing and sleeping. Then he said to those around him of the people: «Take strength in God and rejoice, for after a few days God will deliver me and you». And so it was, because after fourteen days from his revelation, while he was in fetters, Salih rode from his house in his might and his retinue and his sovereignity to the Castle for the greeting [i.e. Levee], according to the
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usual custom. And they played a trick on him in the Passage of the Column, while he was going out from the presence of the Caliph (al-Khalifat), at the hand of a man from the lowest of the people, known as Ibn ar-Ra‘i, even as the father, the patriarch had cursed him (Salih), so it was, and they carried him to his house wounded, and he died. And his son Magd al-Islam sent (and) released the patriarch and everyone with him in the prison; and God delivered them through his prayer and his sanctity. And, likewise, the bishops, God delivered them, after they had endured the hardship of punishment and the fines of the exactors which harmed them. And the saying of our Saviour in the Gospel was fulfilled: «I am with you unto the consummation of the world»,
and to Him (be) thanks for this. And in the days of Sawar, the wazir, the patriarch Abba John went to his rest on the fourth day of (the month of) Basuns (in the) year eight hundred and eighty-three of the Martyrs [1167 A.D.], in the Church of Saint Abba Mercurius. And there was for him a great mourning, and (it was) a good night with prayers and readings; and on the morning of that night they buried his body in the aforementioned Church with the body of the father Abba Gabriel, the patriarch, who was before him. And it is said concerning him, that some people spoke with him about transporting the body of Abba Gabriel, the patriarch, to the Monastery of Abba Macarius, and he said to them: «He who will transport my body and his body together will come». And this was, as he said, because they were transported to the Monastery of Abba Macarius in the days of the venerable father, Abba Mark
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Ibn Zara‘ah 1, the patriarch after him, in the Holy Fast (in the) year eight hundred and eighty-six of the Pure Martyrs [1170 A.D.]. And the taking out of them was a notable night by reason of the number of the multitude and the people who were present on account of this, and the prolongation of the readings and the prayers from the beginning of the night until its end. And they carried their bodies by way of the Monastery of Nahiya, and they (the two bodies) were buried in the patriarchal tomb with their fathers, in peace from God. May all their souls together rest, (and) may God grant to us acceptation through the blessing of their holy prayers. Amen.
Remember, O Lord, Thy lowly servant, the humble, wretched Senouti (Sanudah), in name hegoumenos, servant of the Monastery of the Great Saint, the righteous Abba Paul the Great, the first hermit, who revised this biography. He entreats thereby pardon and clemency through the forgiveness of his sins by the intercessions of those whose names he has mentioned in it. And the revision of it was, at that time, in the flourishing cell at Cairo, in the days of the leadership of the master, the venerable, happy, blessed father, chief of chiefs and master of masters, the father honoured in every way, Abba Peter (Butrus) the patriarch, the one hundred
1 LXXIIIrd Patriarch, 1166-1189 A.D.
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and ninth of the number of the fathers, the patriarchs 1. May God the Exalted perpetuate for us his leadership many years and (in) continuous, peaceful, calm and prolonged times, with long years and happy life. Amen.
Then there follows it 3 the remainder of the second part of the biographies.
1 Peter VII, 1809-1852 A.D.
3 i.e. the present biography.