Beautiful Egypt 391 – « What Should We Say to God?!» – 24/3/2021

Beautiful Egypt 391 – « What Should We Say to God?!» – 24/3/2021

Last article tackled the encounter of Saint Pope Kyrillos VI and Monk Antonios Al-Soriani, when the former, one month after his ordination, chose the latter to be his secretary, then Monk Antonios Al-Soriani returned to his monastery in the very same year, longing for solitude. In 1962, Saint Pope Kyrillos VI ordained Monk Antonios Al-Soriani the first Bishop of Education, Religious Institutes and Christian Education, named Anba Shenouda.
Going through history pages which have recorded sparks of Saint Pope Kyrillos’ life, we get attracted to what made him distinct, what depth had he introduced to man’s relationship with God. The life of Pope Kyrillos VI was featured with several spiritual attributes, first of which is his deep love for God.
Azer, the young man, kept deep love for God, his love urged him to leave the world and lead an ascetic life, in which God is the first and all, getting closer to Him in unstoppable prayers and service. No sooner had he started his new life, than he decided to seclude himself in a distant cave alone with God, in a deep spiritual relationship, and unparalleled friendship with the heavenly orders and saints! The life of loneliness possessed his heart as he enjoyed the joy of spiritualities and peace that go beyond all minds, that he always said: “Nothing under heaven can disturb or annoy me; as I am protected behind that immune fort, inside the honest resort, comforted amid the mercy arms, obtaining the fountain of consolation.” That is why when he left the monastery and lived in Old Cairo, he resided in an abandoned windmill, not fearing any dangers he might face, as he was covered with the consolations of heaven, and was clothed with the protection of God. Despite the intense fights he was subjected to from Satan, God supported and protected him in all trials. Monk Archpriest Raphael Ava Mina mentioned that one of the wars that Monk Mina Al-Barmosi the Hermit was subjected to was an attempt of the antiquities inspector to expel him from the mill reasonlessly! He spoke roughly to him! However, the inspector’s wife had a dream where she saw “Father Mina” was angry. So, she headed with her husband to the mill to meet the hermit monk, expressing their regret and remorse.
Out of his love for God, he used to hold the Mass prayers daily, realizing their importance, and even he was called “The Man of Prayer”. When some wanted to realize the secret of his love for holding Masses daily, he said: “Since the priest is present, the flour is present, and the altar is present, yet we do not pray, what should we say to God?!”. His first concern has always been God; and this is how he remained throughout his life, setting God before his eyes. Concerning the Mass, he said: “Ask eagerly during the Mass for everything you need, because this is the acceptable time. This is the time when the gates of heaven are opened…” All those who knew him have been witnesses of his fervent love for prayer. In his speech given at the first anniversary of Pope Kyrillos VI’s departure, the Triple Beatified Pope Shenouda III said: “He spent nearly 40 years in priesthood. During that period, he was keen to hold the Divine Liturgy on daily basis. He loved to pray all the prayers, to chant the hymns of praise, and to pray the psalms. Nobody is ever compared to Pope Kyrillos throughout the Church history, he managed to hold that massive amount of Masses. I have tried to count the number of Masses he held throughout his life, and found out that he had prayed more than 12 thousand Masses (except for the last five years in which he fell ill). This had never happened during the papacy of any of Alexandria’s popes, or even all over the world, or the monks. He used to find consolation in the Mass prayers, and spiritual pleasure in the praise. People had always witnessed him descending from the papal residence at three o’clock in the morning to praying the Midnight prayer, and chant the praise himself with the cantors of the church, then he prays the Mass, finishing at six o’clock in the morning before the people woke up … He was amazing in his prayers, and prayers followed him everywhere.” And… Stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center