Beautiful Egypt 270 – The Ascetic and the Merciful – November, 14, 2018

Beautiful Egypt 270 – The Ascetic and the Merciful – November, 14, 2018

   In the previous article, we tackled Al Muqtadir and his wars against the Qarmatians who caused a chaos in the country, looted Mecca in the Hajj season, robbed the houses and money of its people and killed them. We tackled the caliph’s relationship with the Byzantine state, the wars waged between them and finally his murder, he was succeeded then by his brother Abu Mansour Muhammad al Qaher.

   As for the Coptic Church in these days, it remained without a father patriarch for a long time after the death of its 56th patriarch among the patriarchs of Alexandria, Pope Mikhail I, until Abba Bakhoum, the bishop of Taha, spoke to the governor who appreciated him dearly, thus, Pope Ghabrial I was ordained.

Pope Ghabrial I (909 AD – 920 AD)

   He is the 57th patriarch among the patriarchs of Alexandria. After the death of Pope Mikhail I, a lot of disputes aroused among the Christians, leading to closing some churches and suspending the ministry in others. The state remained so for a long time until Abba Bakhoum, the bishop of Taha interceded to the ruler – who kept love and friendship relationships with the bishop – for ordaining a patriarch to the Coptic Church. The ruler accepted the bishop’s demand, giving him the permission to ordain a patriarch to the church.

   The congregation, the bishops and the priests agreed to select Father Ghabrial, he was ordained in 909 AD. He was born in a village near Shebin al Koum called Almay. In his youth, he became a monk in the Monastery of Abba Macarius, as he loved solitude, loneliness and prayer, his life was filled with extreme modesty and asceticism. He used to wake up at night, take an iron shovel, dress in shabby clothes and pass by the toilets of the cells to wash and clean them. He kept doing this for several years until God looked upon his modesty and contrition of heart, so He alleviated his pain and suffering.

   Pope Gabriel kept up caring about the Church affairs after his ordination, and the patriarchal duties did not divert him from his personal worship and asceticism, as he spent most of the days in the wilderness. He followed ten suit of his predecessor, Pope Mikhail in imposing a tax on each newly ordained bishop so that he could pay the required fees on the churches of Alexandria, which his preceding patriarch had promised to pay.

   He died after sitting on the Patriarchal See for nearly 10 years and 9 months, buried in the Monastery of St. Macarius after he was a contemporary of the caliphate of Al Muqtadir Ibn al Mu’tadid. Pope Kuzman III was ordained after him.

Pope Kuzman III (920 – 932 AD)

   He is the 58th patriarch to sit on the See of St. Mark the Apostle, ordained in 920 AD following the death of Pope Ghabrial I, his name before ordination was Kuzman. This father was known for his generous mercy towards the poor; he used to give them what he owned, and his life was featured with purity and chastity.

Pope Kuzman III

   Pope Kuzman III cared about his flock; he worked to manage it perfectly. He also was concerned about constructing churches. His days passed in peace and tranquility except for one incident: the king of Abyssinia – an old man – sent to Pope Kuzman III asking him to ordain a Coptic bishop for the church there, and also to make him a guardian for his two young children. Pope Kuzman III responded, and ordained Abba Botros a metropolitan of Abyssinia, the king and the congregation received him with honoring, welcome and joy.

   After a while, the king was severely ill, and he felt himself on the verge of death, so he summoned Abba Botros and his own two sons. Upon their arrival, the king took off his crown and gave it to the metropolitan, asking him to put it over the head of whom he saw efficient for kingship among his two sons. After the king’s death, Abba Botros and the ministers decided to crown the younger son, as he was more efficient for kingship

    and he was of preponderate rightful opinions, and…

Stories about beautiful Egypt never end…!

The General Bishop

Head of Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center