September 14, 2018 - Tout 4, 1735
Departure of St. Macarius the Sixty-Ninth Pope of Alexandria
On this day the Church commemorates the departure of Abba Macarius, the sixty-ninth pope of the great city of Alexandria, in the year 1122 A.D. This father was an ascetic who practiced strenous self-denial from his earliest years, and he cared for the garb of monasticism. He went up to the desert of Scete and became a monk in the monastery of St. Macarius. He trained his soul by reading the Holy Scriptures and their explanations and by contemplating their significance. He excelled in righteousness and so was ordained a priest. When Abba Mikhail the sixty-eight Pope departed and his place became vacant, a group of bishops and priests went to the monastery of St. Macarius and assembled in the church with the senior monks of Scete. They sat there with them for many days, discussing who would best fill the position. They agreed unanimously to choose Abba Macarius because of his righteousness and devotion to ascetic life. They took him and bound him against his will, and he cried out and begged them to release him saying, I am not qualified to be raised to the dignity of the Papacy. Then they brought him bound to the city of Alexandria and ordained him Patriarch. The deed of his appointment was read in the Church of Mu'allakah (The Church of the holy Virgin) in the Greek, Coptic, and Arabic languages. During the whole time in which he sat, he added to his works of righteousness and he daily taught the people and admonished them in fear of God. He gave alms and did works of mercy for the poor and needy. He never took anything from the Church, but rather, he used to give a large portion of the contributions which were paid to him to be spent on different righteous deeds. He sat as a Pope for twenty-seven years and departed in peace. May his prayers and blessings be with us all, and Glory be to God forever. Amen.