Saint Karterios
Departure of St. John, Archpriest of Scetis Desert

Saint Karterios

Karterios lived during the reign of Emperor Diocletian, when Urbanus was governor of Caesaria and Cappadocia in 298. He was a priest and a teacher of Christians. He built a house of prayer where he used to gather Christians and teach them to venerate Christ alone as the only true God and know no other God but Him. However, he hid when he had been accused to Urbanus the governor. But the Lord appeared to him and told him: "Go, Karterios, and show yourself to those asking for you. I shall be with your because you have to suffer for my name, and through your example many people will believe in my name and will be saved". Then Karterios was filled with joy, and he thanked God and presented himself to Urbanus. He was ordered to sacrifice to the false god Sarapis, but would not, finally being tortured and flung him into prison.

When it was dark, the Lord appeared to him again and unbound his chains. Then the Lord restored Karterios' health and took him out of the prison's doors. So, many of the unfaithful, seeing him healthy, rushed to be baptised by him and were freed from their diseases.

Departure of St. John, Archpriest of Scetis Desert

On this day, we commemorate the departure of St. John (Youanis), the Archpriest (Hegomen) of Scetis desert.

When he was ordained Archpriest in the Monastery of St. Macarius, the whole wilderness was illuminated by him and he became a father to many of the saints. Among those saints were the two great stars Abba Gawarga and Abba Abraam. Among them also was Abba Mina, Bishop of Tamuz, and Abba Zacharias and many others who led many people to the salvation of their souls.

Because of his holiness and his great faith, as he ministered the Holy Communion to the people, he was able to recognize those who were sinners and those who were righteous. Many times, he saw the Lord Jesus and the angels surrounding Him upon the altar.

Once he saw one of the priests who had a bad reputation coming to the church and evil spirits surround him. When the priest arrived at the door of the church the angel of the Lord came out from the sanctuary (Hekal) with a fiery sword in his hand and dismissed the unclean spirits. The priest entered the church and put on the service clothes, administered the Liturgy and gave Holy Communion to the people. After he was through, he took off the service clothes and went out the church, the evil spirits returned to him.

That was what St. John told his brethren the monks to make them realize that ministering the church sacraments may be administered by both holy and sinful priests. It is for the sake of the congregation that the bread and wine are trans-substantiated to the Body and Blood of Christ. He also told them the following parable, "As the picture of the emperor is imprinted on his seal, the print of the seal is the same whether it is made from iron or from gold. Likewise, the priesthood is the same with the righteous and with the sinner, and the Lord rewards everyone according to his deeds."

St. John suffered many tribulations and the barbarians took him captive to their country. He stayed there for many years, during which he was badly tortured. There he met St. "Samuel" the confessor, the abbot of the monastery of Qualamon. Yet, by the grace of God he returned to his monastery.

When the day of his departure from this world was revealed to him in a vision, he called upon his brethren and charged them to keep the Commandments of the Lord, and to walk in the way of the saintly fathers in order to share with them the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven. He was then 90 years old.

A short while later he became ill and he saw as if a crowd of saints were coming to take his soul and he gave up his spirit in the hands of the Lord. His brethren carried him to the church and because of their love for him and their firm belief in his holiness, they kept a part of his burial clothes. This part of his burial clothes healed many sick people.

Glory be to God forever Amen.