On this day of the year 841 A.D. the holy father Abba Yusab, the 52nd Pope of Alexandria departed. He was the son of one of the rich nobles of the City of Menuf, Province of Menoufia. His parents died when he was young and certain believers brought him up. When he grew up he gave most of his wealth as alms, then went to the Desert of St. Macarius and became a monk under the guidance of a holy elder.
When Abba Marcus II, the 49th Pope of Alexandria heard about his piety, he called him, ordained him a priest and sent him back to the desert. He stayed there till the departure of Abba Simeon II, the 51st Pope. The Papal throne remained unoccupied for some times.
Then it happened that some of the bishops agreed with some of the laymen from Alexandria to choose for the Papacy a married man who had bribed them. When the rest of the bishops knew that, they rose up against them and prayed to God for His guidance. The Lord guided them to Abba Yusab and they remembered his piety and his administrative abilities while he was with Abba Marcus. They sent some bishops to bring him. They prayed saying: "Lord, we beseech You, if You will to chose this father for this honour, let the sign be that we find his door open on our arrival". When they arrived they found his door open for he was bidding farewell to some visiting monks. When he was about to close his door, he saw them coming, and he welcomed them to his cell with joy.
When they entered they informed him that he was worthy of the Papacy. He cried out and wept and he revealed to them his shortcomings and weaknesses. They insisted and took him to Alexandria and put their hands over him and ordained him Pope.
As a Pope he cared a lot for the Church. With what remained of his income, he bought properties and bestowed them on the churches. He taught the people much, and never neglected any of them. However, Satan became covetous and caused lots of trouble when both the Bishop of Tanees and the Bishop of Cairo annoyed and angered the people of their parishes. This father disproved their behaviour and asked them many times to be merciful to their flock, but they would not accept his advice.
He called a meeting of all bishops and discussed the conduct of these two bishops. The bishops excommunicated them. When they were excommunicated, they brought false accusations against this father before the Governor in Cairo. The Governor sent his brother with soldiers to bring the Patriarch to him.
When they came to him, the Governor's brother drew his sword to kill him but the sword swerved and struck a pillar and was broken. So the Governor's brother drew his dagger and drove it with all his might into the side of this father. The dagger did not do any harm other than damaging his apparel and it did not reach his flesh.
The nobleman realised that the Patriarch possessed divine grace and a heavenly protection guarded him from being slain. He revered him and brought him to his brother and told him about what had happened. The Governor revered and feared him. Then he asked him about the accusation made against him. He proved to him the falsehoods of these accusations and informed him about the matter of the two bishops. The Governor ordered that no one should disobey him in any ordination or removal of his bishops or in any other work concerning the church.
He continually preached to sinners and admonished the disobedient, establishing the people in the Orthodox faith that he had received from his fathers. He guarded his people by his teachings and prayers. God made manifest great signs and wonders through this holy father.
Having finished a pleasing life to God, after
he sat on the throne of St. Mark 19 years, had been a monk for
39 years, and about 20 years in the world, he departed in peace.
On this day also we commemorate the martyrdom of St. Dionysius, the Bishop of Corinth, who was martyred in the days of Diocletian and Maximianus. He endured severe torture for the sake of his faith in Christ. Finally they cut off his head and he received the crown of eternal glory.
Bishop Akepsimos headed the Christian Church in the Persian city of Naesson. His flock devotedly loved their hierarch for his ascetic life and tireless pastoral work. The emperor Sapor gave orders to seek out and kill Christian clergy. Saint Akepsimos also was arrested, being then already an eighty year old man. They took him to the city of Arbela, where he came before the judge Ardarkh, a pagan-priest of the sun-god. The holy elder refused to offer sacrifice to the Persian gods. For this he was fiercely beaten and thrown into prison, where on the following day they threw in with him, after fierce beatings, the seventy year old Presbyter Joseph and Deacon Haiphal. For three years the saints were held in confinement, and worn down by hunger and thirst.
Emperor Sapor came to the temple of the god of fire, located not far from Arbela, and wanted to take a look at the three holy martyrs. Exhausted and covered with festering wounds, the saints were brought before the emperor and at his demand they again firmly refused to worship the pagan gods, instead confessing their faith in Christ. The holy bishop was beheaded, but the presbyter and deacon were sent off within the city and there to be stoned.
The execution of the presbyter Joseph was prolonged for several hours. A guard was placed near the place of execution, so that Christians would not take the body of the holy martyr. On the fourth night a strong windstorm raged near the city -- lightning killed the guard, the wind threw about stones, and the body of Saint Joseph disappeared.
The deacon Haifal was taken to the village
of Patrias and there he was stoned. Christians secretly buried
his body. On the grave of the saint there grew a tree, the fruit
of which brought healings.
Monk Akepsimos (IV) dwelt for sixty years in the wilderness,
not far from Cairo. He concerned himself with fasting, silence
and prayer. At the command of the patriarch, he came out of solitude
and was ordained a bishop. He died in extreme old age.
The Holy Princess Anna Vsevolodna was daughter of the Kiev GreatPrince Vsevolod Yaroslavich (1078-1093) whose wife was daughter of the Greek emperor Constantine Monomachos. She did not wish to marry, and as a maiden she took monastic vows in 1082 at the Andreev Yanchinov monastery built for her at Kiev, later destroyed under the Tatar invasion. The monastic and nobleborn princess Anna journeyed to Constantinople, from whence she returned in the company of the newly ordained metropolitan John the Eunuch. She died in the year 1112.