Fifth Sunday of the Great Lent:
There have been many great events throughout the history of the world, many with riveting results. But none can begin to approach the earth-shattering impact made by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whether one is a devout Christian or a vehement atheist it would be impossible for any honest historian to deny this. No atomic bomb, world war, genocide, or trip to the moon could come close to the significance of St. John’s opening words in his gospel, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The gospel follows the life of Christ and his introduction as the Messiah. But the fifth chapter within this gospel marks the beginning of a division.
By His Holiness Pope Shenouda III
God's children should be strong because they were created in His image and likeness (Gn 1: 26); and God is powerful. We say about Him "Holy is the Lord God Almighty"; therefore, they should be strong like Him.
In the book of Numbers, when God ordered Moses to take a census of the people, this was restricted to young men who can go to war (Nu 1: 3). When the Song of Solomon talks about the men around King Solomon's throne, it describes them as valiant men; "They all hold swords, Being expert in war. Every man has his sword on his thigh, Because of fear in the night." (Sgs 3: 8)
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.
On the 24th of Abib, St. Abanoub was martyred. He was born in the city of Nehisa (District of Talkha). His parents were pure and merciful and they reared him in the fear of God. When he was martyred by the Roman rule, Diocletian, who incited the persecution against the Christian, St. Abanoub was twelve years old, and he desired to shed his blood for the Name of Christ. On July 31 our Church celebrates his death, as the day of his birth into eternal life. Abanoub's relics, as well as the relics of many Christians who died with him, are still preserved in St. Virgin Mary and St. Abanoub church in Samanoud.
It is also said that the Holy Family visited that place during their Flight into Egypt. The church still contains the well from which The Lord Jesus, St. Mary, and St. Joseph drank. Numerous apparitions and miracles do occur in that church until this very day. Abanoub was born in a town called Nehisa in the Nile Delta. He was the only son of good Christian parents who died when he was a young child. At age twelve Abanoub entered the church to hear the priest asking the congregation to remain faithful during the persecutions provoked by Diocletian, the Roman emperor.