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Saint Bishoy "The Beloved of Christ"

Sermon notes: given By HG Bishop Daniel on St Bishoys Feast Day | Audio Sermon Given to youth By Parish Priest Hegomen Fr Antonious Kaldas

Abba Bishoy was born in A.D. 320 of righteous parents in a village of the Nile Delta. He was the youngest of seven children. One night his mother saw a vision; an angel appeared to her and said, "The Lord says, 'Give me one of your children to serve me.'" The mother answered, "here are my seven children, choose the one you want." Then the angel touched Bishoy, but the mother said, "This is a weak boy, please choose a stronger one who can serve the Lord better." The angel replied, "The power of God is made perfect in his weakness."

At age twenty, Bishoy joined the monastery of Scetis. His spiritual father was the Great Saint Abba Pambo. Bishoy was very alert over his ascetic life: praying constantly, fasting for long periods, and learning the holy books by heart. It was said that he loved to read the book of Jeremiah, and that the prophet himself used to appear to him and explain what was hard to understand.

Abba Bishoy did not cease his vigils nor his prayers, which would continue for days without any sleep. One day, the Lord Jesus appeared to him. He told him, "My beloved Bishoy, you have suffered much." The saint was frightened and fell. The Lord touched him by the hand, and lifted him up. Deeply touched, Bishoy replied, "It is You, my Lord, who suffered for me, and for the whole world; You were crucified in order to save us. I have done nothing."

Abba Bishoy's sweet aroma diffused and filled the wilderness. As a result, multitudes of monks flocked to him seeking his teaching and advice. He became the father of approximately eight thousand monks. He taught them the fear of God, and implanted into their souls the spirit of meekness which is the essence of the spiritual life.

The monks knew about the Lord's appearances to Abba Bishoy. One day, they asked him to plead to the Lord on their behalf, so that He might bless them with such an appearance. When Abba Bishoy saw their eagerness, he mentioned to the Lord their desire, and pleaded for them saying that such an appearance would increase their enthusiasm and encourage them in their spiritual life. The Lord Jesus Christ promised to appear to them on the mountain on a certain day at a certain time.

On the appointed day, early in the morning, all the monks raced to reach the mountain as early as possible. It happened that Abba Bishoy, being a fairly old man, was walking at the end of the group of monks. He waw an old bony man who looked to weak to walk. Abba Bishoy stopped and asked him where he wanted to go. When he learned that he wanted to go to the same mountain he had pity on him, and offered to carry him. The old man refused at first, but agreed when Abba Bishoy insisted.

At the beginning of the climb, Abba Bishoy did not feel any weight, but gradually he felt that the old man was getting heavier and heavier until he could not continue. At that moment, the saint realized that he was carrying the Lord Himself. He said, "My Lord, heaven is too small for You and earth rembles at Your glory. How can a sinner like me carry you?" The Lord replied, "Because you carried Me, my beloved Bishoy, your body will never decay."

Abba Bishoy continued his journey to the mountain where he saw all the monks waiting with eagerness to see the Lord. Their disappointment came when Abba Bishoy told them that the Lord had already appeared, and that they had all seen Him, but having closed their hearts they did not recognize Him.

One of Saint Bishoy's distinguished merits was his hospitality to the strangers. One day while he was sitting outside his cell, he saw a stranger weary from walking. He stood up and invited the stranger to his cell. Then he got a basin, filled it with water, and insisted on washing the stranger's feet. While washing his feet, he heart the Lord's voice saying, "My chosen Bishoy! You are an honorable man." Realizing that he was washing the Lord Jesus' feet, he knelt down and worshipped Him. The Lord gave him peace and comforted him.

There was an aged monk living in a town called Epsi in Upper Egypt. Misled by the devil, he deviated from the Orthodox belief, denied the existence of the Holy Spirit, and started to spread his heresy openly. As God wanted to save him, he disclosed his case to His Saint Abba Bishoy.

Abba Bishoy made some baskets with three hanles each, and set off to the place where that monk was. When he arrived there, the old monk welcomed him with great hospitality. The other monks in the area gathered around him to receive his blessing. The three handles of the baskets attracted their attention and they asked the meaning of it. Abba Bishoy answered, "I always do my manual work after the example of the Holy Trinity." On hearing htis, all the monks exclaimed, "So Father, there is a Holy Spirit!" The saint started to teach them about the Holy Spirit, the Thrid Person of the Holy Trinity. As he quoted many verses from the Scriptures, they all believed and professed their faith in the Holy Spirit.

After the Barbarians attacked Scetis, Abba Bishoy went to Ansena in Upper Egypt. There he met a spiritual friend called Abba Paul El-Tamouhi. The strong spiritual bond between them was blessed by the Lord. Abba Paul saw a vision and heard the Divine Voice promising that their bodies will always be together.

On July 15, 417 A.D. Abba Bishoy commended his sould in the hands of his Savior. Three months later Abba Paul El-Tamouhi died also and his body was buried beside Abba Bishoy. In 842 A.D. the two bodies were moved to Scetis where the monks received them with palm branches, praising the Lord who had brought the body of their spiritual leader back to the monastery.

May the blessings and prayers of this great Saint Abba Bishoy -- the beloved one of our Good Savior -- be with us all. Amen.

The Main Church in Saint Bishoy Monastery

Sermon notes: Given By HG Bishop Daniel on St Bishoys Feast Day

Feast of St Bishoy –
The Beloved of our Good Saviour (8th of Abib)

Tonight we celebrate the feast of the wonderful saint Abba Bishoy – who was given the tittle “The beloved” because his life was a living example of the bible, and there are many lessons that we can learn from his life, and apply them in our life

So tonight we shall mention 5 virtues of the great St Bishoy

1. The 1st virtue we can learn from the life of St Bishoy is how God can MAKE US STRONG WHEN WE ARE WEAK...

- The angel chose St Bishoy, even though he was the smallest and the weakest of all his brothers.
- This is so God can give us the good lesson, that He can make even the weakest person, be the strongest person.
- "God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty" (1 Corinthians 1:27) and “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

2. The 2nd virtue we learn from the life of St Bishoy is the virtue of PRAYER AND FASTING, All his life, he was strong in the life of prayer and fasting, and many times, he would tie his hair to a rope to stop him from sleeping during prayer.

- Prayer and fasting are 2 important virtues in the life of every Christian. They are like the 2 wings of a bird.
- The Lord taught us in His holy Bible the many benefits of praying and fasting: it was used for service, it was used for casting out devils, and it was used as a means of accepting repentance.
- Praying and fasting is not just something that the church encourages you to do, but it is a biblical commandment.
- Everything we do in the church – all of our traditions and rites, are based on biblical commandments.
- When St Bishoy began his early life with praying and fasting, he was establishing his spiritual life on a strong foundation, not on the sand – just like the Lord tells us in Matthew 7:24-26…

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will like him to a wise man who built his house on the rock…But everyone who hears these things of Mina, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand” (Matthew 7:24-26)

3. The 3rd virtue we can learn from the life of St Bishoy is OBEDIENCE

- When St Bishoy became a monk in the desert of Wadi Natroun, he was under spiritual guidance of Abba John the short.
- He was very obedient to Abba John, and followed all his instructions, until the time when Abba John recommended that he live by himself in a cave.
- St Bishoy is teaching us here the importance of obeying the spiritual elders of the church, as well as our traditions.
- He is also teaching us how we must walk in the foot steps of the saints, and honour their work and their lives.
- He is also teaching us the blessing we will receive, by respecting the hierarchy of the church
- St Bishoy is following the biblical commandment which says: “We urge you brethren to recognise those who labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake” (1 Thessalonians 5:13)

4. The 4th virtue we can learn from the life of St Bishoy is the IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A SPIRITUAL FATHER…

- St Bishoy lived his life under the guidance of the great saint Abba John the short, who gave him instruction in his spiritual life.
- No doubt, having a spiritual father had a great effect on the life of St Bishoy, and lead him to be very successful in his Spiritual life.

5. The 5th virtue we can learn from the life of St Bishoy is LOVE AND HUMILITY..

- St Bishoy was always full of love and humility, and that’s why the Lord visited him many times.
- The bible teaches us “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6) and also: “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see god” (Matthew 5:8)