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.