Wednesday, February 22, 2012

St. Abaskhayroun

St. Abaskhayroun.

The name Abaskhayron or Abaskheyron is composed of two words in Coptic, the first Abba means father and skheyron means the strong.

He was born in Qelin of the Kafr el-Sheikh Governorate. He was a brave friendly soldier with a vast famous position between his colleagues and supervisors of his squad in Athribis.

Diocletian sent a decree to worship idols in all the empire and this decree was compulsory on the soldiers. St. Abaskhayron refused and the governor started to rebuke him rudely. He abandoned his duties and so the Governor ordered his imprisonment.

He had two brothers who came interceding with the governor, and when he started refusing to pray for the idols, they abandoned him while he was speaking to them about his faith of Jesus Christ. He started praying, and then an angel came and supported him.

He was put in the next day in front of the court, and the governor started once being nasty and the other being nice in order to convince him to change his faith, however he failed. Then he was sent to Irianos, the governor of Insa (Sheikh Ibada Village versus east of the Nile in Mallawi). St. Abaskhayron was tied with four accompanying soldiers on a boat heading to Middle Egypt. During the Nile trip, Jesus Christ appeared and untied his chains. This made his accompanying soldiers frightened and asked to tie him back in fear of punishment. The governor Irianos was not found in his head quarters, which led them to go down more south to Assiut to meet him. He then met another group of Christians from Aswan who were sent to be tortured by Irianos as well and so they were all consoled to meet one another.

St. Abaskhayron exorcised an evil spirit that was cast on the governor Maximinianos who was probably the governor of Assiut, who afterwards believed in Jesus Christ and got martyred by the hands of Irianos.

1. He was lashed with cow leather with nails to cut through the skin
2. Some areas of his face were skinned as well as his head and hair.
3. Holes were drilled in his shoulders and waste where chains were inserted in these holes, then in a horse, dragged in all the town streets with disgrace. This was done to him to show that this is the reward of disobeying the kings and not worshiping the idols.
4. The Saint was thrown in a sort of a store house and then they poured upon him molten lead. However, the lead fell away and the saint was not hurt at all.
5. The governor ordered that he would be squeezed; however the machine that was designed for such tortures was broken into two halves.
6. The governor ordered that they put the saint on an iron bed on top of a fire. The Saint prayed saying, "Jesus Christ help me so that I be saved." At this point, the governor started blaspheming on the name of Jesus Christ, and so the saint told him that because you have committed such a trespass on the name of Jesus Christ that you don't know or don't believe in Him or in His strength, your stomach shall be inflamed until you know that he is the real God and no one else. At the end of the Saint's discourse, the death of the son of the governor arrived to the court.
7. Afterwards, the governor asked that the Saint would be thrown in the heater of the Roman Bath. To their surprise, they found the saint praying and praising in the middle of the fire after Archangel Michael appeared to him and said, "Iskhayron, be strong and do.
8. The governor called for the chief of the magicians whose name was Alexandros. The magician prepared a poisoned cup for the Saint who drew the cross and drank from it without being hurt. The magician instantly believed in Jesus Christ and thus the governor ordered his beheading.
9. The governor ordered the skinning of the Saint and throwing him again in molten lead with boiling tar.
10. The governor asked that heated iron bars were put in his eyes and ears, but God healed the saint immediately.
11. The governor then cut his arms
12. Finally, the governor ordered the beheading of St. Iskhayron who kneeled and prayed saying, "I praise You, glorify You, and thank You my beloved Jesus Christ whose blessing reached me and made me elegible to be tortured for your sacred name. Do not forget me with your blessings. I have carried your cross and followed you so do not consider me a stranger in your sacred city. Help me I am the undeserving and do not leave me. He finally got beheaded on the 7th of Baouna which corresponds with June 14 with another five soldiers who were Alvius, Armanius, Arkias, Boutros and Qirayoun.

It happened for the church of St. Abaskhayron in Qalin in Kafr el-Sheikh Governorate. The saint moved it to el-Biho in Menya in Middle Egypt and is still in that place until today. The inhabitants of Qalin were used to pick a special night each year to hold many marriage ceremonies together. This was probably due to problems with transportation at that period and it coincided with the harvest time. In one of these celebrations, it was decided to marry seven couples and in church there were around 100 people invited. The persecutors of Christianity at that period decided to attack the church. The people at the church knew about the plot against them, and so sealed the doors of the church and prayed for St. Abaskhayron. During the night, the church was relocated miraculously including the well and the palm tree in front of it to el-Biho in Menya. In the morning after the ceremonies were finished, the people went out to find they were in a new town. The saint knew what was going to happen to the church, and so he bought a piece of land on the outskirts from one of the Bedouins in the area which at that time was worth a Dinar. The land was full of dust and rubble and so the night before a strong wind started that cleaned all the area for the relocation of the church.

The people, who were in the church, now were in a new town around 10 days sailing in the Nile from their homes. The saint appeared incognito and asked to help them by taking them in a boat on his own expense. The final miracle was that it took them only a day to get home instead of10 days of sailing. By the time they arrived, this saint disappeared. The owner of the boat then converted to Christianity and used to give half of his daily revenue to be given to St. Abaskhayron church. There is still some pieces of this boat preserved in the church. In the place of the old church until now remains a pond of water, known until nowadays as el-Qaleeny pond.

The tradition says that St. Abaskhayron when was being tortured from Athribis to Ensa, the ship docked near to el-Biho and Jesus Christ appeared on the deck of the ship saying, "Don't be afraid my dear Iskhayron, I am with you and will strengthen you. The water in this place froze and the soldiers couldn't remove the boats. The people of el-Biho were very kind to St. Abaskhayron. St. Abaskhayron said,” if God permits me and wanted, there will be a church with my name in your town”.

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