In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God. Amen.
May His grace and blessings be bestowed upon us, from now and forever, Amen.
May you remain healthy this year of 2017 and every year, and during the Glorious feast of the Nativity on January 7th, according to the eastern calendar, which is Kiahk 29th, according to the Coptic calendar.
In fact, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, we continue to remember our sons and daughters the martyrs who recently offered their lives in the events of St. Peter's Church. Our Lord Jesus Christ has granted them to celebrate this feast and this year with Him in heaven.We remember them with all goodness. We pray for our wounded and injured ones that Christ may complete their healing and restore their health so that they may join us soon.
In the feast of the Nativity, there are many contemplations. God created man and crowned him over the kingdom of the world, represented by Adam and Eve. Man lived on earth and the number of human beings multiplied, and man lived by the virtues which appeared and flourished. Virtues of cooperation, love and loyalty have appeared; but also some human weaknesses have surfaced. Throughout human existence on earth, and the extension of sin penetration in our life, and with the images of sin, weaknesses, conflicts and violence, man has forgotten one of the most important virtues in life which is the virtue of looking up to heaven. It is amazing that all people can see the sky everywhere and there is no human being that has not seen the sky, but what is more amazing are the differing reactions from one person to another. Some do not care for heaven, some find refuge in it, and others take shelter there. There are many people who ignore heaven and others that gaze up to heaven constantly.
How many of us ever stand up and tell other people what we believe about Jesus Christ? How many of us are really convinced that our faith is so completely a part of what we are that is worth proclaiming happily to those who question us? Being one of Jesus' disciples can not be easy, for as Jesus once said:
"Beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils... You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, and bear testimony before them and the Gentiles... Do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you will say... It will be given to you in that hour... You will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved." (Matthew 10:16ff)
Toward the end of the third century, there lived a
On the 23rd day of Abib is the commemoration of the martyrdom of the blessed St. Marina, who overcame the Devil. She was one of the daughters of the nobles of Antioch. Her parents were pagan. When her mother died, her father sent her to a nanny to raise her, who was a Christian. She taught Marina the Faith of Christ. When Marina reached the age of fifteen years, her father died.
One day she heard her nurse talking about the biography of the martyrs and what glory they receive in the Kingdom of Heaven. She longed to become a martyr in the Name of the Lord Christ. One day St. Marina went out of her house with her maiden servants, and on her way she passed by Lopharius Ebrotus, the governor, who admired her much when he saw her. He ordered her brought to him. When the soldiers came to her, she told them that she was Christian. In turn, when they told the governor this, he was distressed for he liked her, and he had her brought to him by force. He offered her the worship of the idols and asked her to forsake God, but she refused.
On this day, the great St. Macarius, the son of Basilidis the Chancellor, was martyred. When the messengers reviewed the order of Emperor Diocletian, which dictates the worship of idols, with Macarius, he did not heed them. When the Emperor knew that, he sent Macarius to the governor of Alexandria. He bid farewell to his mother, and asked her to care for the poor and the needy, then he went with the envoy. The Lord Christ appeared to him in a vision, encouraged him, and told him what would happen to him. When he arrived to the city of Alexandria, he stood before Armanius the governor, who deceitfully treated him well because he knew that he was the son of Basilidis the Chancellor.