• Departure of St. Peter El-Rahawy, Bishop of Gaza

On this day, we commemorate the departure of St. Peter El-Rahawy, Bishop of Gaza. He was born to a noble family in the beginning of the third century in the City of Raha. When he was twenty years old, his parents took him to Emperor Theodosius II to be in his company. Yet, because Peter had forsaken the world and its glory, he practiced an austere life while living in the King's palace. He also used to carry the bodies of the holy martyrs of Persia and bury them.

He left the Royal Court and became a monk in one of the monasteries. After a short while, they ordained him - against his wish - the Bishop of Gaza and its surroundings. It was said that when he celebrated his first Liturgy as a bishop, lots of blood flowed from the Holy Body and filled the paten.

It happened that Marcianus, the Chalcedonian Emperor, started to persecute the Orthodox Bishops. At that time, the body of St. James the Mangled was moved to one of the monasteries in the City of Raha. St. Peter came to Egypt, took the body of St. James the Mangled with him and dwelt in one of the monasteries in the City of El-Bahnasa. There he met St. Isaiah the Egyptian.

When the reign of Emperor Marcianus ended, St. Peter returned to the land of Palestine and continued to confirm the believers in the faith. One day while he was celebrating the Divine Liturgy, some noble people present in the church were busy talking to each other in worldly affairs and the saint did not reprove them. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and reproached him because he did not admonish those who were talking in the church.

Emperor Zeno heard of him and longed to see him, but St. Peter did not fulfil the Emperor's wish because he did not like the glory of this world. He left the City of Raha to an area called Gawer in Palestine between Jerusalem and Damascus.

On the feast day of Abba Peter the Pope of Alexandria, while St. Peter was celebrating the Divine Liturgy, Abba Peter appeared to him and told him, "The Lord Jesus has called you to be with Him." St. Peter called his people and commanded them to be firm in their Orthodox faith. He then stretched out his hands and delivered up his soul.