Friday, December 20, 2019

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Mokattam Mountain

The Commemoration of the Miracle of
Moving the Mokattam Mountain

  On November 27, Hathor 18, The Church celebrates the commemoration of the well the known miracle of moving the Mokattam mountain. This miracle took place during the papacy of Pope Abram Ebn-Zaraa the Syrian, the 62nd patriarch of the see of St. Mark.
The Fatimid Caliph El-Muizz Li-Deenillah had in his cabinet a Jewish minister who adopted Islam, called Yaqub Ibn Yusuf Ibn Killis. He hated the Christians and wished them harm. One day he went to the Caliph and told him: in the Christian Bible a verse that says: ”If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to the mountain, move from here to there, and it will move, nothing will be impossible for you” Matthew 17:20 He continued saying: Prince of the faithful knows the falsehood of these sayings and to verify this, we will summon the Patriarch to give us the proof that their Christ’s sayings are true.
The Caliph pondered the matter in his heart saying: if the words of Christ are true, that would be of great benefit to us, for the Mokattam mountain is too close to Cairo, if the mountain can be moved away, that would make the stature of the city greater than what it is now if the saying is false, that will give us the justification to persecute the Christians.
El-Muizz called the Patriarch, and placed the saying before him, and asked for the proof of its soundness. The Pope asked for three days' respite, which was granted. When the Pope left the Caliph, he granted the bishops and the monks who were nearby and they all stayed in the Church of St. Mary – The Hanging Church in old Cairo, fasting and supplicating God.
Before dawn of the third day, The Virgin St. Mary appeared to Pope Abram and told him about a holy man called Simon the Tanner, at whose hands this miracle would be manifested. Pope Abram brought St. Simon and took him along with some of the bishops, priests, monks, and people to see El-Muizz, who was out with the government officials and the nobles of the city nearby the Mokattam Mountain. The Patriarch stood with those who were with him on one side and El-Muizz and his entourage stood on the other side.
The Pope and the believers prayed and knelt down three times and every time they said; “Kyria-Layson” Lord have mercy. Whenever the Patriarch and the congregation lifted up their heads after each kneeling, the mountain would be lifted up and when they bowed down; the mountain was lowered down to the ground and whenever they walked; the mountain would move before them.
A great fear came upon the hearts of the Caliph and those with him. The Caliph advanced on his horse toward the Patriarch and shouted saying: Great is God and blessed is his name, you have proved that your faith is true and living faith, now, Ask me whatsoever you wish and I will give it to you. The Patriarch refused to ask for anything, but when the Caliph insisted; The patriarch asked to be allowed to restore Churches especially the Church of St. Philopatir Mercurius which was in old Cairo. The Caliph wrote a decree permitting the restoring of Churches and gave a large sum of money from the treasury. The Patriarch thanked him and prayed for him, but he refused to take the money. As a result, El-Muizz revered and respected the Patriarch more for his piety and righteousness.
Pope Abram built the Church of St. Philopatir Mercurius and many other Churches.
To commemorate the miracle of moving the Mokattam Mountain, The Church added three days to the Fast of Nativity (Advent) to be 43 days.
The blessing of the prayers of Pope Abram and St. Simon the Tanner be with us all, and glory is to our God forever, Amen.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Four Incorporeal Beasts

November 17, Hathor 8
Commemoration of Four Incorporeal Beasts 
On this day is the commemoration of the four Incorporeal Beasts who carry the throne of God. As it is mentioned by St. John who witnessed this in his Revelation saying, 'Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardine stone in appearance: and there was a rainbow around the throne in appearance like an emerald: ... and in the midst of the throne and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures each having six wings were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying, 'Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty Who was, and is, and is to come.'' (Revelation 4:2-8) 

Isaiah the Prophet said: 'I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim: each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said, 'Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.'' (Isaiah 6:1-3) Ezekiel the Prophet said: 'Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the North, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself, and brightness was all around it, and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man... and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves' feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze' (Ezekiel 1:4-7) 

St. John the Evangelist said: 'After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, 'Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, belong to the Lord our God,' ... and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God who sat on the throne, saying, 'Amen, Alleluia... for the Lord God Omnipotent reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give Him glory......'' (Revelation 19:1-7) The Lord set them near His throne in order for them to make supplications on behalf of all the creation. The beast with the man's face makes supplications on behalf of the human race, the one with the lion's face makes supplications on behalf of the beasts, the one with the bull's face makes supplications on behalf of the cattle, and the one with the eagle's face makes supplications on behalf of the birds. The teachers of the church built churches in their names and commemorated them on this day. 
May their intercession be for us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.

The four incorporeal creatures carry the throne of God, the face of a lion and the face of a ram, the face of a man and the face of an eagle.
And they are full of eyes, from their fronts to their backs, six wings to the one, and six wings to the other.
With two they cover their faces, with two they cover their feet, they fly with the other two and proclaim and say.
"Holy and holy, holy O Lord of hosts, heaven and earth are full of, Your glory and Your honor."
We also praise with them, with incessant voices, saying "Holy holy, holy O Lord."
Intercede on our behalf, O four incorporeal creatures, the ministers fervent as fire, that He may forgive us our sins.