My Beloved the benevolent
Grace and peace, wishing you all goodness and a blessed time of fasting, acceptable before our Lord Jesus Christ, who fasted for us forty days and forty nights.
Our Church celebrates this year, on Tuesday, March 9th (30th of Meshir), the 50th anniversary of the departure of St. Pope Kyrillos VI, who departed on Tuesday, March 9, 1971, year 1687 of the martyrs.
He was born in Damanhour to righteous parents and was named Azer. He grew up loving the church and practiced the monastic life in his home; constantly reading the Holy Bible, fasting, praying, attending church, and memorizing hymns. In July 1927, he became a monk by the name of Mina El-Baramousy at the Monastery of El-Baramous; he was ordained a priest on July 18, 1931 and joined the seminary of monks at Helwan. When Pope Youannis IXX intended to ordain him a bishop, he fled to Upper Egypt and stayed at Anba Shenouda Monastery in Souhag. Then he returned to his monastery and lived in a cave, an hour walking distance from the monastery. He only came to the monastery on Saturday to attend the midnight praises and Sunday Liturgy to partake of the Holy Mysteries, and then return back to his cave. In 1936, he lived in a deserted windmill on Mokattam Mountain in old Cairo, where he held a daily liturgy. He was assigned to be the Abbot of Anba Samuel Monastery in the Qalamoun Mountains; where he renovated the monastery, the church, and built new cells for the monks. In 1947, he returned to old Cairo, where he built a church after the name of St. Mina.
He was chosen a patriarch after the departure of Pope Yousab and was ordained the 116th Patriarch on Sunday, May 10, 1959. He established the Monastery of St. Mina in the wildness of Mariot, and laid the foundation stone for the monastery next to the ancient city in 1959. He compounded the holy Myron in 1967. In April 2, 1968, the Holy Virgin Mary transfigured on the domes of her church in Zeitoun; the appearances continued for many months and was witnessed by thousands of Christian and non-Christians alike. He also built the Cathedral of St. Mark at el-Abbasyah and brought part of the relics of St. Mark from Rome and laid him in a shrine beneath the altar of the cathedral.
St. Pope Kyrillos VI strived for the life of continuous prayer, and was steadfast when it came to vespers, the midnight praises, and the daily liturgy. God granted him the gift of working great miracles; people would come to him from various places seeking his prayers, and God would reveal to him many secrets.
At the end of his life, he had a brief illness and on the day of his departure, he was visited by several of his children and said to them, “May the Lord arrange your affairs”. He rested in peace and was buried in the Cathedral of St. Mark in Abbasyah; then his pure body was transferred to the monastery of St. Mina, according to his will.
From the life of St. Pope Cyril VI, we learn the following:
1. God dwells in His saints at all times and in every place; Holiness is not limited to a certain time. St. Pope Kyrillos VI lived in the 20th century with all its developments and changes in society, but he gave us a model of the life of holiness, whether in his childhood, youth, or monastic life as a hermit. In his life as Patriarch, he shepherded the Church wisely and spiritually amid many difficulties.
2.The most powerful weapon to face problems and hardships is the weapon of prayer. Prayer, as St. Pope Kyrillos used to say, ‘moves mountains. He faced difficulties in his monastic life, so he left his monastery and lived from one place to another. As Patriarch, he faced problems from inside and out, but he faced them with prayer. God granted him to witness the Church during his papacy as She moved from glory to glory, whether in spiritual growth, educational advancement, monastic revival, construction of churches, or Her relationship with the Government. Heaven showed its joy in this great saint through the apparition of the Holy Virgin Mary in a unique and unprecedented way.
3.The greatest influence is the effect of holiness. St. Pope Kyrillos did not travel much and was not a preacher who had recorded sermons or books. But the depth of his influence on the souls of people whether in Egypt or outside Egypt, among the children of the church or outside the church, is a great testament of his holiness extending until now, 50 years since his departure. So, we all feel his presence with us, whether we were alive during his lifetime or not born until after his departure.
4. And as we wrap up this message about our great saint, I would like to mention his great care for the poor and the needy. He lived as a poor monk who was content with the least of the least, ascetic in worldly matters as well as in his life as patriarch; but he was very close to the people. If you wanted to see him, you would simply attend the liturgy; there was no need to schedule an appointment. He was meeting the poor and the rich. He was interested in organizing the service for the needy; so, he established the Archdiocese of Public and Social Services, which was managed by the departed Bishop Samuel. He paid great attention to the needy everywhere and provided many programs and projects to fulfill the needs of the poor.
The intercession of our great saint, Pope Kyrillos VI, be with all of us and may God bless your gifts to support Santa Verena Charity programs.