ST. SHENOUDA THE ARCHIMANDRITE
Coptic Date: 7 Epep
On this day, the ascetic father, St. Shenouda (Shenoute), the Archimandrite, departed. This great saint was born in the city of Shandaweil (Shenalolet) in the district of Akhmim to godly Christian parents. His father’s name was Abigos and his mother’s name was Debora and they raised him up on godliness and virtues. He inclined since his young age to seclusion and praying. When Shenouda was 9 years old his father sent him to tend to the sheep along with other shepherds. He gave his food to the shepherds and spent his day fasting.
On his way back from the field at the end of the day he separated himself from the shepherds to pray. Once one of the shepherds saw him kneeling down on his knees praying and the fingers of his hands lighted up as candles and smelled the sweet aroma of incense around the child. When he told his father, he saw that it was befitting to take Shenouda to the monastery that was headed by his uncle Anba Pigol to satisfy his desire of praying, contemplation and to grow in virtues more.
His parents took him to the monastery and asked Anba Pigol to bless and accept him to be a monk. Anba Pigol laid the boy's hands on his own head and said, 'You bless me, my child, for you will be a father for many peoples.' His father left him with his uncle and returned home. One day he heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Shenouda has become the Archimandrite.' Since that time, he exerted himself with many worships and intense asceticism. When Anba Pigol departed, Shenouda replaced him. He followed the monastic communal rules that were formulated by St. Pakhom, and he added to them a pledge the monk had to sign before joining the monastery. The number of monks during his days reached 2500 monks. That monastery, still standing west of the city of Souhag, has a church and is known as the monastery of Anba Bishoy. Anba Shenouda had built another monastery, the number of its monks reached 2200 monks, which is still standing and is known as the monastery of Anba Shenouda. Once, an army commander asked Anba Shenouda to lend him his girdle to wear during the war so that God might make him victorious. The Saint gave it to him and the commander overcame his enemies. Anba Shenouda became a shining light to all the world with his sermons, discourses, and canons that he put for the good of the monks, hierarchies, and laity, men and women. He attended the Council of the two hundred that gathered at Ephesus with the holy father Anba Kyrillos (24th), and he admonished Nestorius the heretic. Before his departure, he asked his disciples to support him so that he might worship his creator. He worshiped God and then commanded them to follow his footsteps and told them, 'I commit you to God' then he departed in peace. May his prayers be with us. Amen.