ST. ABBA SAMUEL THE CONFESSOR
Coptic Date: 8 Koiahk
Also on this day the saint Abba Samuel, the head of El-Qualamon Monastery, departed. He was born in the city of Dakluba, diocese of Masil, from holy parents and he was their only child. Arselaos, his father, who was a priest, saw in a vision at night, a resplendent man telling him, 'Your son must be entrusted with a large congregation, for he is chosen by the Lord to be His all the days of his life.' Samuel was pure from his youth, like Samuel the prophet, and he was always harboring thoughts in his heart about the monastic life. One day he found a means to go to the desert of Scete, but he did not know the way. The Angel of the Lord, in the form of a monk, appeared to him and accompanied him, as he was himself going to the monastery, until they came to the desert of Scete. There, the Angel delivered him to a holy man called Abba Agathon who accepted him as the Angel of the Lord instructed. Abba Samuel lived with Abba Agathon for three years in total obedience in every way. Later on, the holy old man Abba Agathon departed. Abba Samuel devoted himself to many prayers and fasting. He fasted a week at a time. He was ordained a priest over the church of St. Macarius in Scete.
An envoy came to the desert carrying Leo's Tome and when the envoy read it to the elders, Abba Samuel became zealous, with the zeal of the Lord. He jumped up in the middle of the gathered monks and seized the letter and rented it into pieces saying, 'Excommunicated is this tome and everyone who believes in it and cursed is everyone who might change the Orthodox faith of our Holy Fathers.' When the envoy saw this, he became furious and angry. He ordered him to be beaten with pins and to be hanged up by his arms, and that his face be smitten. One of these strikes enucleated one of St. Samuel's eyes. Then he was driven away from the monastery. The Angel of the Lord appeared to St. Samuel and commanded him to depart and to dwell in El-Qualamon. He went there and built a monastery, lived in it for a while teaching those gathered around him and confirming them in the Orthodox faith. When El-Moquakas heard about Abba Samuel, he came to him and asked him to recognize the Council of Chalcedon. When he did not listen to him, he smote him and expelled him out of the monastery. He went and lived in one of the churches and after a while he returned to the monastery.
When the Barbers raided the monastery, they took him with them on their way back to their country. He prayed to the Lord Christ to rescue him from them. Whenever they set him on a camel, the camel was unable to stand up with him on it, so they left him and he went back to his monastery. When the Barbers raided the wilderness again, they took St. Samuel with them to their country. They had been captured before Abba Yoannis the hegumen (Archpriest) of Scete. So they joined together and comforted each other. The captive of Abba Samuel tried to persuade him to worship the sun. When he failed, he tied the leg of Abba Samuel to the leg of one of his maidens and sent them to attend to the camels. He intended for Abba Samuel to fall into sin with her and then he would submit to him, according to Satan's advice. Through it all, the saint was gaining more courage and became stout-hearted. He remained in these circumstances until the master's son fell ill and was close to death; Abba Samuel prayed for him and the boy was healed of his sickness. The news was spread all over this country and whosoever was sick came to him; he prayed over him and anointed him with oil and the sick were healed. His master loved him exceedingly, he apologized and asked for Abba Samuel's forgiveness. He told him to ask for anything he wished. Abba Samuel asked to go back to his monastery. His master allowed him to return. When Abba Samuel returned, many of his sons gathered around him and they increased in number until they became thousands. The Virgin, St. Mary, appeared to him and told him, 'This place shall be my abode forever,' and from that day the Barbarians never attacked this monastery again. Abba Samuel wrote many discourses and articles. He prophesied concerning the coming of Islam to Egypt. When the time of his departure drew near, he gathered together his sons and commanded them to be strong in the fear of God, to walk according to His commandments and to fight for the sake of the Orthodox faith till their last breath. Then he departed in peace.
May His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.