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Coptic Anchorites
Coptic Saints

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ST. IRENEY


Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
Ireney is a Greek word which means PEACE. This word is repeated many times during the Holy Liturgy, specially when the priest says Ireney Passi which is translated, Peace be with you. And the congregation and deacons answer, Ke to ebnevma ti so which means And also with you. Many Copts call there daughter Ireney because our Lord Jesus is the God of Peace. Romans 15:33 and 16:20
At birth St. Ireney was called Pina Louis. She was the daughter of King Lucinius of Macedonia. Her parents were pagans who worshipped idols, yet they loved Ireney dearly. Ireney was so pretty that her father built a palace to protect her from the outside world. Ireney spent all her time in that palace. Although she had committed no crime she was never permitted to leave this palace. Because of the love of her father, Ireney was a special prisoner. No one was allowed to enter the palace except thirteen maids and one old man who were assigned to serve Ireney. However the King didnt know that the old man was Christian. On the contrary, he admired him because he was a good respected teacher.
When Pina Louis was thirteen years old, she started thinking of the idols which her father left in the palace. One day and while she was awake, she saw a vision. A dove entered the room and dropped an olive branch on the table, then an Angel brought a crown in his beak and left it in the table too. Finally a crow carrying a snake entered the room and left the snake in the same place. Ireney was puzzled and asked her old teacher to explain the meaning of that vision.
The old man prayed for a long time asking for Gods help. Then he said, The dove signifies the knowledge of the true God through His word. The branch of the olive is the baptism that you will receive. The eagle symbolizes the victory of the almighty God. The crown is the glory of the saints. The crow refers to your father and the snake designates the persecution of the believers.
Then he added, Be advised, my child, that you are the daughter of the real God that reigns over heaven and earth, you will go through many ordeals, especially for your father, but the angel of the Lord will rescue you from all your troubles and you will become a blessing for many.
One day her father entered the palace with news that one of the princes wanted to marry her. Ireney asked her father for a period of time to think about it. Then she went to ask the idols for their advice. When she didnt get any answer, she lifted her heart to heaven and prayed to the God of the Christians, just like her old teacher had taught her. Then all of the sudden an angel appeared to her and comforted her. He said that St. Timothy ( who was St. Pauls disciple) would come the next day to baptize her. He also added that from now on, her name would change to Ireney, which means peace.
The next day, St. Timothy baptized her along with her thirteen maids. Immediately Ireney started destroying all the idols in the palace. When her father saw what she did, he became furious but Ireney told him that his idols couldnt even defend themselves. The father went to complain to his wife, but to his amazement she told him that she agreed with her daughter and would like to become Christian herself. The father became even angrier and declared that Ireney was no longer his daughter.
The King gave orders to his guards to chain Ireney s hands and feet and let the horses trample her body. But one of the horses attacked the King who was watching and bit off his hand. Then the other horses pushed him to the ground and kept kicking him until he died. Suddenly Ireneys chains miraculously fell down. She went to her father, put back his hand in place and lifting her heart to heaven asked God to bring him back to life, and immediately the King got up on his feet in front of three thousand onlookers, who all declared their faith in the true God.
After Ireney s father converted to Christianity, he sent a message to King Daccius, informing him that he believed in the crucified Christ, and that he would never sacrifice to the idols again. The King got mad, and sent for Ireney, since he thought that she was responsible for what had happened. At that time, Ireney s father and mother were baptized.
When Ireney presented herself in front of King Daccius, he tried to persuade her by any means. He promised to marry her and make her the happiest girl in the whole empire. But Ireney refused, saying that her real groom was the Heavenly Groom, Christ, whom she adored. That infuriated the King, and he ordered her to be tortured.
The soldiers took Ireney away and started tormenting her every day. At night, they would throw her half-dead body into jail, but an angel used to come and heal all her wounds. When the people who were watching saw the savage torturing, they revolted against the King, and expelled him from the country. As a result of his ordeal, the king became very ill and died.
Prince Sabour succeeded his father to become the new king of Macedonia. Unfortunately, he didnt learn from his fathers mistakes. He sent his troops to attack the city where Ireney lived in order to avenge his fathers death. Ireney on the other hand prayed God to protect her people from the tyrant. Suddenly, all the soldiers and there king became blind and were groundless. The king cried to Ireney to pray to her God to restore her sight since he is the only God with such power. Ireney prayed and their eyes were opened again. Nevertheless, the king insisted that offer sacrifices to the idols since she was responsible for his fathers death. When Ireney refused, she was jailed four days without any food or water. Then around midnight, in her dark and lonely cell, a bright light appeared; the Lord of Glory Himself came to tell Ireney not to fear for He would be always with her.
The next day, they started torturing her again but Ireney saw many celestial creatures coming down to her, untying her chains and saving her from her gladiators, while she was praising God, the King became angered and fell to his death.
A period of peace followed this tribulation. St. Timothy joined Ireney in the palace where she lived with her parents. They built an altar for St. Mary where they celebrated mass everyday. St. Timothy also preached the word of God to everyone, and baptized many beleiver for three years, numerous miracles were performed through St. Timothy and St. Ireney, and the faithful multiplied in number.
Ireney spent her last days in Ephesus, where she used to pray continuously. Finally she died on the 21st day of the month of Messra.
May the prayers and the supplications of the great St. Ireney be with us all .
Amen

samuel

ANBA SAMUEL
The Confessor

"Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven ." (Matthew 4:16)
A confessor is a person who suffers for Gods sake . He may be tortured or abused in many different ways , but his sufferings do not result in martyrdom .
ST. Samuel monastery in Mount Qalamon ,South - East of Fayoum, is still in existence until today. A spring of water, once within the limits of the monastery but now outside the walls, has a strange characteristic : it bubbles up at the approach of any person coming to drink or fill his jar; the bubbling subsides later. Around the spring grows a plant called ghardak, a short stocky bush bearing a fruit that resembles a berry. The monks roast the seeds, ground them, and brew them in an excellent thirst- quenching drink; cold, or hot. Samuel was born about 597 A.D. in the city of Daklube. When his parents became sure of his persistence to live as a monk, they spent most of there money in building a suburb church where Samuel was ordained deacon to serve with his father the priest. Afteis jar; the bubbling subsides later. Around the spring grows a plant called ghardak, a short stocky bush bearing a fruit that resembles a berry. The monks roast the seeds, ground them, and brew them in an excellent thirst- quenching drink; cold, or hot. Samuel was born about 597 A.D. in the city of Daklube. When his parents became sure of his persistence to live as a monk, they spent most of there money in building a suburb church where Samuel was ordained deacon to serve with his father the priest. Afteis jar; the bubbling subsides later. Around the spring grows a plant called ghardak, a short stocky bush bearing a fruit that resembles a berry. The monks roast the seeds, ground them, and brew them in an excellent thirst- Scetis where they occupied St. Macarius church. Then he called the monks to a meeting while St. Yuanis the Protopriest was out hiding the sacred vessels from the invaders. Abba Samuel was arrested, and Maximan read to him the letter of Cyrus which contained the Chalcedonian doctrine and the Tome of Leo. When the commander received no response, he began to threaten him. St. Samuel replied, "We do not agree to the Tome or accept the Council of Chalcedon. We also do not recognize any archbishop other than our father Pope Benjamin." Then he asked Maximan to show him the letter, and when he held it in his hand he announced the excommunication of the Tome, the Council, and whoever accepted the doctrine, then he tore the letter. Anba Samuel was beaten without mercy until one of his eyes was scooped out, and was left between life and death. The monks carried him to a nearby cell, and prayed on him because they had thought he had died. But the saint regained consciousness, and in time he regained his health also.
After these incidents, Abba Samuel left, accompanied by four other monks, to the Mount of Qalamon in the Fayoum region. Here they settled in a small monastery dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. This monastery currently exists and is still inhabited by monks. During the occupancy of Abba Samuel, the monastery flourished, and to this day, it bears the name of the saint. In the vicinity of the monastery, there flows a stream with many fish in it. The monks sustain themselves on the fish and the water the stream provides.
In his monastery, his reputation again passed the limits of the desert. Fourteen of his brothers came to live with him. Also multitudes of people flocked to him bringing the sick and the infirm. He patiently attended to the need of everyone . Whenever he felt the urge to solitude, he quietly slipped out to a nearby cave . There he would spend a week or so in the companionship of God, before returning to the monastery with a radiant countenance.
Cyrus, kwon also as Al Moquaqus, decided not to leave this man in peace. He visited Fayuom and then sent his agents to bring Samuel to him. He asked him , Who appointed you Abbot over the Qalamon monastery? Samuel answered, It is better to submit to our saintly Patriarch Benjamin than to obey an imposter such as you. So, Cyrus struck him on his mouth, and commanded him to be beaten to death, but some of the nobles interfered and saved him. Immediately some of his disciples carried him to a nearby oasis called Rayan, where they cared for him until he recovered. Samuel decided to stay in the oasis, because he was not allowed to stay in Qalamon.
Shortly after, some Barbers from Lybia invaded the region. They ravaged the villages church, and took St. Samuel captive. They put him on the back of a camel, and brought him to Lybia. There Abba Samuel met Father Youanis the Protopriest of Scetis who was also captured, and was in charge of the Barbers camels. Samuel was then assigned to serve a man called Zerkandas, a chief among his people.
As the Barbers were sun-worshipers, Zerkandas ordered Samuel to worship likewise. When he refused, Zerkandas tied him to a tree for five days without food or drink. After five days, Yuanis successfully interceded for him, but it took Samuel two weeks to recover from his torture. Then Samuels gift of healing was revealed, for trough his prayers, a man who was lame for twelve years was able to walk. The story of the miracle spread quickly, and many people with ailments came to him in search of healing.
Know it so happened that the wife of Zerkandas was, herself, in need of healing. Samuel placed his hand on her head and said aloud, May my Lord Jesus the Christ heal you, and she was made whole. Zerkandas also had no children, so he told Samuel, if you will pray that Gad grant me a child, then I vow to let you go back to your homeland. Samuel asked, do you really believe that my prayers will do that? He replied, Indeed, I do! Samuel said , May it be according to your faith.
In do time the wife of Zerkandas had a son, and the father was overjoyed. As he had promised, he told Samuel that he might return to Egypt, but if he preferred to stay he would give him a portion of his wealth. Samuel declined his offer, spent a few weeks with father Yuanis and then headed home. Zerkandas supplied him with all the necessary provisions for the journey. Furthermore, he requested Samuel to baptize him before departing.
Back in his monastery, Samuel was permitted to live in peace and serenity for the Moslems had conquered the land, and the alien patriarch was not anointed by Byzantium any more. He spent his last days in teaching those who came to live with him.
Eight days before his death, an angel announced to him that he will depart in the Lord. His disciples who now numbered about 120, gathered around him in a spiritual communion. On the seventh day St. Samuel lost consciousness for a period of time, and then regained it. Seeing his monks crying, Be of good cheer my brothers, for our Lord Jesus Christ takes care of you. The next day he went to his heavenly rest.
May the prayers of this great Saint Abba Samuel the Confessor be with us....



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