On this day, we commemorate the martyrdom of St. Anatolius, the Priest.

Also on this day, in the year 970 A.D. Abba Abraam the 62nd Pope of Alexandria departed. This Pope was from the Christians of the East, whose name was Ibn-Zaraa the Syrian. He was a rich merchant who visited Egypt often and finally settled there.

He was blessed with many virtues, including mercy to the needy and his reputation of righteousness and knowledge was well known. When the chair of the Pope became vacant, all the bishops and the learned elders agreed to choose him the next Pope. When he was ordained Pope, he gave all his possessions to the poor and needy.

During his days, the Coptic minister Cosman Ibn-Mina was appointed governor over Palestine. Before his departure, he entrusted a thousand Dinars to the Pope, asking him to hold them until he returned. He asked the Pope to give the money to the poor, the needy, the churches and the monasteries, if he died there. When the news that Hafktin was taking over Syria and Palestine reached the Pope, he thought that Cosman had died. He distributed the money according to his will. However, Cosman was saved from death and returned to Egypt. The Pope told him what he had done with the money and Cosman was glad and exceedingly joyful.

Among the accomplishments of Abba Abraam was the abolition of some peculiar and erroneous customs. He deterred and excommunicated everyone who gave bribes of gaining a clerical position.

He also strongly forbade the keeping of concubines. When the people who were practicing that received his commands, the fear of God moved them and they also feared to be excommunicated. They freed their concubines and went to the Pope repenting except one rich man. The Pope was very patient with him and did not slacken in teaching and rebuking him. He humbled himself like his teacher Christ and went to the man's house. When the man heard of the arrival of the Pope to his house, he shut the door and refused to let him in. The Pope remained standing at the door for two hours knocking, but the man did not open the door, nor did he speak to the Pope.

The Pope realized that this wretched man had now separated himself from the flock of Christ. The Pope saw it fit to excommunicate him saying, "His blood be on his own head," and the Pope shook off the dust from his sandals at the door of the man's house. At this moment, God manifested a sign before the eyes of those present; the doorstep, which was made of granite, had split in two. Later, the Lord showed his might and the man became poor and penniless, he was fired from his job in disgrace. He became ill and contracted a disease, which led to his death in a horrible way. He became an example to others.

During the days of this Pope, El-Mouiz, the Khalifa (Muslim Governor), had a minister whose name was Jacob Ben Youssef, who was a Jew that had adopted Islam. The minister had a Jewish friend who used to visit the Khalifa and converse with him. That Jewish friend took advantage of the favor that his friend had with the Khalifa, and asked to be in the presence of the Pope, in order that he might have an argument with him. Abba Abraam came along with St. Severus Ibn El-Mukafaa, Bishop of Ashmonen.

In the presence of El-Mouiz, the Pope and the Bishop sat quietly. El-Mouiz asked, "Why are you not arguing?" St. Severus answered, "How can we argue in the presence of the Khalifa, and with us there is a man who is less intelligent than an ox (meaning the Jewish friend)?" El-Mouiz asked for an explanation. He replied, God says by the Prophet Isaiah, "The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel (meaning the Jews) does not know" (Isaiah 1:3). The Pope and the Bishop then argued with the Jewish friend and shamed him with proofs, which showed the soundness of the Christian faith. They left with great honor. That Jewish friend and the minister were not able to bear that shame and they sought a chance to take revenge of the Christians.

A few days later, the minister went to El-Mouiz and said to him, "Your Royal Highness knows that the faith of the Christians does not have a sound base. In their Bible Christ said to the multitude, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move" (Matthew 17:20). He added, "The Khalifa can see that this claim is false and the Pope should be summoned to give us apron that the claim is true.

The Khalifa thought to himself, "If the saying of Christ is true, that would be of great benefit to us, for the mountain of Mukatam is too close to Cairo, and if the mountain be moved away a little distance, Cairo would be better off. Yet if the saying of Christ is not true, that would give us the excuse to persecute the Christians without being criticized."

El-Mouiz called the Pope and asked for proof of the soundness of the saying of Christ. The Pope requested a period of three days. The Pope gathered the monks and the nearby bishops and they all stayed in El-Mualaqua Church in Old Cairo. They all fasted and prayed for three days making supplications to God. On the third day, at dawn, the Blessed Virgin Mary, appeared to Abba Abraam and told him, "God will make a miracle at the hands of a one-eyed shoemaker who is a saint."

Abba Abraam found this man and took him to the Khalifa along with some priests, monks and people. They all went accompanied by the government officials and the nobles of the city to Mukatam Mountain. The Pope, stood with those who were with him on one side and the Khalifa and his company stood on the other side.

The Pope and the believers prayed and knelt down three times. Every time they knelt, they said "Kyrie Eleyson" meaning "Lord have mercy" and when the Pope and the congregation lifted up their heads, the mountain would lift up. When they bowed down, the mountain was lowered down to the ground, and when they walked, the mountain moved before them. Great fear came into the hearts of the Khalifa and his companions and many fell on the ground.

The Khalifa advanced on his horse toward the Pope and said to him, "O great teacher, I now know that you are a holy man, ask whatsoever you wish and I will give it to you." The Pope refused to ask for anything; but when the Khalifa insisted, he asked to allow him to renovate the churches, and to build a church for St. Mercurius (of the two swords) in Old Cairo. The Khalifa wrote him a decree permitting the renovation and building of the churches and gave him a large sum of money from the treasury. The Pope thanked and prayed for him, but he refused to take the money. The Khalifa respected the Pope even more for his reverence.

When they started building the church of St. Mercurius, some evil men tried to obstruct them; whereupon El-Mouiz himself came to the sight and kept the troublemakers away. He remained there, until they completed laying down the foundation.

This Pope renovated many churches all over the See of St. Mark. When he completed his course, he departed in peace after he sat on the Patriarchal chair for 3 years and 6 days.

The PriestMartyr Eleutherius, his mother the Martyress Anthea and the Martyr Corivus the Eparch: Saint Eleutherius, the son of an illustrious Roman citizen, was raised in Christian piety by his mother. His virtue was such, that already at age 20 he had been elevated to bishop of Illyria. Under the emperor Adrian (II), Saint Eleutherius after torture for his bold preaching about Christ was beheaded at Rome together with his mother Anthea. The eparch Corivus, who had tortured Saint Eleutherius, himself came to believe in Christ and was executed.

The Monk Paul of Latreia was a native of the city of AElen in Pergamum. Early bereft of his father, he was educated at the monastery of Saint Stephen in Phrygia; after the death of his mother, he devoted himself completely to monastic deeds at a monastery on Mount Latra, near Miletos. Wanting to gain yet loftier accomplishment, he secluded himself in a cave. For his ascetic deeds he gained the gifts of perspicacity and wonderworking. The emperor Constantine VII Porphyrigenitos (912-959) often wrote to the monk, asking his prayers and counsel. The Monk Paul twice withdrew to the island of Samos, where he established a laura monastery and restored three monasteries ravaged by the Hagarites (Arabs). Foretelling his end, the monk reposed to God in the year 955.

Sainted Stephen the Confessor, Archbishop of Surozh, was a native of Cappadocia and was educated at Constantinople. Having taken monastic vows, he withdrew into the wilderness, where he passed the time for 30 years in ascetic deeds. Patriarch Germanos, through some particular revelation, ordained him bishop of the city of Surozh (presently the city of Sudak in the Crimea). Under the iconoclast emperor Leo III the Isaurian (716-741), Saint Stephen underwent tortures and imprisonment in Constantinople, from which he emerged after the death of the emperor. Already quite advanced in years, he returned to his flock in Surozh, where he died.

There is preserved an account how, at the beginning of the IX Century during the time of a campaign into the Crimea, and influenced by miracles at the crypt of the saint, the Russian prince Bravlin accepted Baptism.

The Monk Tryphon of Pechengsk and Kol'sk, in the world Mitrophan, was born in the Novgorod governance into the family of a priest. The pious parents raised their son in the fear of God. From his early years Tryphon had resolved to devote his life to apostolic deeds and to go with the preaching of Christ to the pagan Lopar people. He knew of them only threw the accounts of fish-vendors. Once during a time of prayer in the forest he had heard a voice: "Tryphon, an empty and thirsty land awaiteth thee." Forsaking his parental home, the saint went out onto the Kola Peninsula and halted at the banks of the Pechenga River, where dwelt the Lopari. There he began to carry on trade with them. The saint first acquainted himself with the pagan beliefs of the aboriginal people and studied their language, and then began to preach the Christian faith to them. The Lopari greeted the words of the saint with acute mistrust. The holy preacher had occasion to suffer much hardship, to endure hostility and even beatings. But gradually, by his wise and kindly words and mildness many were converted to Christ.

With the blessing of the Novogord Archbishop Makarii, the Monk Tryphon together with Blessed Feodorit [Theodorit] and the priestmonk Ilya built a church for the newly-converted; and for those fervent for monastic life he founded in 1532 the Pechengsk Trinity monastery -- "of the cold sea, on the frontier of Murmansk." Tsar Ivan the Terrible helped him and richly endowed the monastery. The Enlightener of the Lopari died in old age in 1583, having lived at the Pechenga almost 60 years. Local celebration was established soon after the death of the saint. In 1589 the Swedes destroyed the Pechengsk monastery. Later on, by order of tsar Feodor Ioannovich, the monastery was transferred to the Kol'sk Peninsula. On the site of the restored monastery was built a church in the name of the Monk Tryphon, and over the grave of the saint was constructed a church in honour of the Meeting [Sretenie] of the Lord. Saint Tryphon has many a time come to the aid of perishing seamen, who with faith called upon his name.

The Holy Martyr Eleutherios Cubicularius was an illustrious and rich chamberlain ["cubicularius"] at the Byzantine court. Amidst all his courtly privileges, Eleutherios was not beguiled by worldly goods and honours; he dwelt constantly in thought about the imperishable and eternal. Having accepted holy Baptism, he began daily to glorify God with psalmody and to bejewel his life with virtuous deeds. But one of his servants through diabolic promptings, informed against his master to the [then still pagan] emperor. The emperor tried to dissuade Eleutherios from his faith in Christ, but after the unsuccessful attempts the emperor gave orders to behead him, and to cast out his body for devouring by dogs and vultures. A certain Christian priest took up the body of the saint and committed it to burial.

A second commemoration of the martyr is under 4 August.

The Monk Pardus the Hermit, a Roman, was involved in his youth with the teamster's craft. One time when he set off to Jericho, a boy accidentally fell under the legs of his camels. The camels trampled the boy to death. Shaken by this occurrence, Pardus took monastic vows, and withdrew to Mount Arion. Thinking himself under the condemnation of a murderer, and seeking a punishment of death, the Monk Pardus entered the cave-den of a lion. He poked the wild beast and prodded it with a spear so that the lion would rend him apart, but the creature would not touch the hermit. The Monk Pardus then took off his clothes and lay down upon the path that the lion would take for water. But even here, the lion merely leaped over the hermit. And the elder then perceived, that he had been forgiven by the Lord. Having returned to his mountain, the Monk Pardus dwelt there in fasting and prayer until the end of his days. He died in the VI Century.

The Monk Jona of Pechengsk and Kol'sk was by tradition a priest in the city of Kola. After the death of his daughter and wife he went off to the Pechengsk Trinity monastery, situated in the vicinity of Kola, and became a student of its founder, the Monk Tryphon. After the death of his teacher, he settled in 1583 at the site of what was to become his grave in the neighbouring Uspensk wilderness, and here he was killed by the Swedes in the year 1590.

The Monk Nektarii of Bitel'sk was born in the small town of Bitl' (or Butili) in Bulgaria. In the world he was named Nikolai. Before the occurrence of a Turkish invasion he mother had a vision: the MostHoly Virgin Herself appeared and bid her to flee and go into hiding with her husband and children. Nikolai's father, having taken the boy with him, withdrew to a monastery dedicated to the UnMercenaries, not far from Bitel', where he accepted monasticism with the name Pakhomii. Nikolai, having reach adolescent age, went on to Athos. The perspicacious elder Philothei accepted him and endowed him into the Angelic form with the name Nektarii. The monk suffered for a long time from the envy and spite of one of the novices, but he showed him in return total humility. The monk distinguished himself by his charity: money that he obtained from his handicraft he distributed to the poor. The Monk Nektarii died in the year 1500.