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‏Departure of St.

Nov 22, 2021

‏Departure of St.Zacharias, the Sixty-Fourth Pope of Alexandria

‏ On this day also of the year 1027 A.D., the great St. Abba Zacharias, 64th Pope of Alexandria, departed.

‏He was a native of Alexandria and was an ordained priest there.

‏He was chaste and gentle in disposition.

‏When St. Philotheus, 63rd Pope, departed,

‏the bishops assembled to choose, with God's guidance, the person who was fit to succeed him.

‏While they were gathered in the church of St. Mark,

‏discussing who was the most suitable man,

‏they were informed that a rich man from Alexandria called Ibrahim Ben-Bishr,

‏who was close to El-Khalifa (Governor) had given

‏him a bribe and obtained a decree from him to be appointed Patriarch.

‏El-Khalifa sent him, accompanied with some soldiers, to Alexandria.

‏The bishops were saddened and they entreated God in one accord to keep away from His church

‏the one who was coming to shepherd His church through bribery and the sultan's influence.

‏They asked God to choose the person who was fit for this honor.

‏While they were on this subject,

‏Abba Zacharias came down the stairs of the church carrying a vessel.

‏His foot slipped and he fell and came tumbling down the stairs to the floor while still holding the unbroken vessel in his hand.

‏The bishops and the priests marvelled at this and they asked the opinion of the people of Alexandria.

‏Everyone agreed on Abba Zacharias' righteousness and his knowledge.

‏They all agreed, along with the bishops, to ordain him Patriarch.

‏ When Ibrahim Ben-Bishr arrived, he found that they had already ordained Abba Zacharias as Patriarch. When the bishops read the King's letter,

‏they appeased Ibrahim and ordained him priest, then hegumen.

‏They promised to ordain him bishop when one of the dioceses became available. Abba Zacharias, had suffered many tribulations.

‏As an example, a monk had made many accusations against him before El-Hakem (Be-Amr-Allah)

‏who became El-Khalifa (Governor) in the year 989 AD. El-Hakem seized the Pope and cast him to the lions,

‏but they did not harm him.

‏The Governor was angered with the keeper of the lions and thought that he had taken a bribe from the Pope.

‏The Governor kept the lions for a period of time without food, then he slaughtered a sheep and smeared the clothes of the Patriarch with its blood.

‏He then cast him a second time to the lions, but again, they did not harm him, for the Lord had domesticated them.

‏The Governor marvelled and ordered that he be lifted up.

‏The Governor then cast him into prison for three months during which he threatened him with death and casting in fire if he did not forsake his Christian faith.

‏The Patriarch was not afraid.

‏The Governor tried again bribing him by promising to appoint him a judge with jurisdiction over all other judges but he was not impressed with these earthly ranks and did not hearken to the order of the Governor.

‏Finally, because of the mediation of one of the princes, he released him.

‏Abba Zacharias went to the desert of Scete,

‏stayed there for nine years during which the people suffered great tribulations and experienced many troubles.

‏Also, several churches were destroyed during that time.

‏ Christ the Lord had compassion on His church and removed these tribulations from the people.

‏He also turned the Governor away from his injustice.

‏Subsequently, the Governor ordered the churches that were destroyed to be rebuilt.

‏He also ordered that everything that was taken from them be returned and that the bells of the churches ring again.

‏Abba Zacharias lived 12 years, after his return from the desert,

‏during which he took interest in building churches and restoring those that were destroyed.

‏He remained in the papacy for 28 years and departed to the Lord in peace.

‏May his prayers and blessings be with us all, and Glory be to God forever. Amen.

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