Previous articles tackled the life of Pope Kyrillos II, his meeting with Caliph al-Mustansir and the Prince of Armies, as well as the story of the Nubian king, Solmon, who abandoned his kingdom for worship and asceticism near Aswan, then moving to Cairo, where he departed and was buried in Deir al-Khandaq.
Despite the peace that Egypt had enjoyed during the papacy of Pope Kyrillos II, he yet had suffered several hardships. Some of the bishops submitted complaints against his holiness to the Prince of Armies, using his garden keeper Copt, named “Yesib”, accusing the Pope of many things, according to what they agreed with Yesib on! Priest Menassah Youhanna mentions: “When the Prince of Armies received the report, he saw that he was not it was not his business to rule in such matter on his own depending merely on what they had said. So, the patriarch ordered the convening of a council of the bishops of both areas; Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, as well as the elders of the nation, headed by the Prince of Armies in order to discuss the complaints raised against the patriarch to know whether they are true or false.” Forty-seven bishops gathered at the Prince of Armies, who took them to his large orchard in the outskirts of Cairo. The suits were brought against the father patriarch; who refuted them and responded to them all, convincing everyone of being acquitted of all that he had been charged with. The Prince of Armies was particularly convinced that he spoke harshly to those who raised suits against the Pope, telling them that they should be examples and role models for the congregation. The Prince of Armies honored Pope Kyrillos and raised his status, and asked the bishops to write for him the laws of churches and monasteries. While for Yesib, he launched an agreement with the opponents of Pope Kyrillos II. One day, Yesib had an argument with one of the patriarch’s students, the Pope heard them and came to gently speak with Yesib, but he was not deterred, but rather got increasingly rude! Pope Kyrillos II said to him: “Yesib, if you have the authority of the earth, Christ, the Ruler of heaven and earth, is with me.” However, he got more obstinate. In the course of days after these events, the Prince of Armies got mad at Yesib and ordered his beheading.
Twenty days later, the Prince of Armies called on to the bishops, according to the biographer of the father patriarch, and “spoke to them kindly, and told them: “Be all of the same law, do not have conflict, and obey your leader and follow his example, hoard to yourselves neither silver nor gold and fulfill all what Christ commanded you with, I do not need those laws that you made, but I asked you to write them in order for you to have renewed knowledge of them…”
It is reported that one year, Anba Sawiris, the Metropolitan of Abyssinia, sent a gift to the Prince of Armies, but it did not appeal to him. So he summoned Pope Kyrillos II; The Pope attended in the company of ten bishops, and upon their arrival they found the brother of the Metropolitan of Abyssinia at the Prince of Armies, who severely rebuked them! He then requested two bishops to be sent to Abyssinia: in order to assure the Metropolitan of Abyssinia sending a 50-year tax, build mosques there, and warn the Abyssinians against stalking Muslim merchants and others in their paths. Until his orders would be fully obeyed, he ordered the brother of the Metropolitan of Abyssinia to be imprisoned as a hostage, and to impose two dinars as a fine paid by the bishops for each day that passes with the orders disobeyed. The choice fell on Anba Mark, Bishop of Aussim and Giza, and Anba Tadros, Bishop of Singar, to carry the letters of the Prince of Armies to the Metropolitan of Abyssinia. In the meantime, the king of Nubia sent a luxurious gift to the Prince of Armies delivered by the son of the former king, asking him to let Pope Kyrillos II ordain him a bishop, so the Prince of Armies summoned the patriarch and the bishops again, honored them all, and called on to the brother of Anba Sawiris, the Metropolitan of Abyssinia to be brought from prison. He was informed that Anba Sawiris had built seven mosques, but the Ethiopians had demolished them; then he ordered the two bishops to go to Abyssinia with letters he sent to the King of Abyssinia. And … stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center