Beautiful Egypt 410 – «The Nubian King… the Monk» – 4/8/2021

Beautiful Egypt 410 – «The Nubian King… the Monk» – 4/8/2021

Last article began tackling Pope Kyrillos II, the 67th Patriarch of Alexandria, the story of his selection following sending up abundant prayers to God, his consecration against his will and finally his arrival at Egypt where the chiefs had prepared a boat to take him in a royal procession, from the Church of Archangel Michael in Rawda.

Upon the arrival of Pope Kyrillos II and his companions, large numbers of Copts crowded to welcome him, he then headed to the palace of the Sultan with his companions, Ma’mun Al-Dawla Anbar Al-Harrani came out to him, offering to him the greetings of the Commander of the Faithful Al-Mustansir Billah, informing him that the caliph was awaiting for him, then he accompanied him alone to his council.

Arriving at the royal palace, the pope was asked by Al-Mustansir’s mother and sister, who were present at the council, to bless their palace and kingdom, the biographer states: “He took him and entered to our master Am-Mustansir Billah, the Commander of the Faithful, whose mother and sister were sitting there, holding much fragrance in their hands. They smeared him a lot of that perfume, and said to him: Bless us and our palace. So he blessed them, and prayed for them, and they rejoiced with what he did. They said to him: May God bless you for us and our state. Then he came out and stood at the door of the hall. He commanded Bishop Botros of Duqmeira to read the supplication, so he recited it and blessed and prayed.”

The pope headed to the house of Al-Agal Al-Afdal, the Commander of Armies, where he was received welcomingly, made to sit and honored, thus, the pope prayed a lot for him. The governor of Egypt was present at the house of the Commander of Armies, so the latter commanded him to accompany the pope to wherever he wanted to go, to take care of him and satisfy his needs along his presence in Egypt. Pope Kyrillos II left the house of the Commander of the Armies, in great honor, and went to the Church of Saint Virgin Mary in Old Cairo (“the Hanging Church”) and prayed there. Several days later, he prayed at the Church of Saint Virgin Mary in Haret al-Roum. With the start of the Great Lent, He went to the Monastery of Saint Macarius in Wadi al-Natrun to spend fasting, as was the custom of the patriarchs.

Pope Kyrillos II was known for spending most of his time in the Church of the Archangel Michael in the Rawda; He tended to live in quieter places seeking the life of solitude and prayer, but he could not because of the responsibilities of care, and because the sultan called on to him frequently. Likewise, there were many messengers sent between the Church of Egypt and the Church of Abyssinia and its affiliate Nubia. In the second year of the patriarchate of Pope Kyrillos II, Solmon, the King of Nubia, left the kingdom and isolated himself from ruling the country, handing it over to his nephew, Girgah, devoting himself to worship and asceticism, and becoming a secret monk in one of Upper Egypt’s monastery as it was said.

The patriarch’s biographer states: “This Solmon went to a valley known as Saint Abu Nofar’s to worship there in a church named after the saint, three days away from the outskirts of Nubia, and ten days away from Aswan.” When the governor of Aswan was informed about Solmon, he summoned him, then sent him to Cairo, where the princes and commanders received him welcomingly, and the Commander of Armies honored him and made him dwelling in a good house, brought to him garments, furniture and utensils.”

Solmon lived in that house for about a year, then he passed away and was buried in the Monastery of Al-Khandaq known as Abba Rewis Monastery. Al-Maqrizi mentioned: “In 472 AH (1079 AD) the king of Nubia left his country and went to Aswan, desiring to visit a church they had there. So the governor of Qus sent to arrest him and carried him to Cairo. The Commander of the Armies honored him, bestowed blessings upon him, and presented him with great gifts. But he passed away before returning to his country.” As for that period that the King of Nubia spent in Egypt, And… stories in beautiful Egypt never end!

The General Bishop

Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center