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Gabra Manfas Kedus (eng)

From The Ethiopic Synaxarium page 755 (The beginning of the section about G.M.K.)

[fol. 26a I] And on this day took place the strife of Abbå GABRA MANFAS KEDUS, the star of the desert, of glorious renown, and fine old age, the blessed and excellent man Abbå GABRA MANFAS KEDUS, the desert man, who sprang from the city of NEHISA, in the north of Egypt. And he dwelt in the desert three hundred years. When he went forth from that place, he wandered about in the deserts of Ethiopia, and he dwelt in GEKALA, and then departed to the land of KABD, and he lived (there] naked, drinking no water and eating no food, unlike a man upon earth and unlike an angel. And he finished his strife on the fifth day of Magåbit, on the First Day of the week, on the festival of PETER and PAUL. This holy man had a father and mother who were pious people, and they were believers, and they were of noble race. His father's name was SIMEON, and his mother's name was ' AKLESYA, and they were righteous before God. And they remained childless for a period of thirty years, and' AKLESYA wept because she had not got a son, and her husband also wept.

One day the Holy Spirit came to the place where she was, by the door of the courtyard, and she imagined that he was a priest who lived in the palace. And he said unto her, "Peace be unto thee! What maketh thee weep and to groan before God?" And 'AKLESYA said unto him, "I rejoice in every work of the Lord my God, [fol. 26a 2] but I groan because [I have not] a son." And at that moment' AKLESYA conceived, on the 29th day of Magåbit, and she brought forth a son on the 29th day of Tåkhshåsh. And the angel whose name is GABRIEL came in the form of a man, and said unto her, "The name of this child shall be GABRA MANFAS KEDUS"; and

 

From page 756

then that angel disappeared. And on the third day the child rose up, and came down from his mother's breast, and he stood up and bowed three times to the Father, and three times to the Son, and three times to the Holy Ghost, and he also said, "Glory be to the Father, Glory be to the Son, Glory be to the Holy Ghost, Who hast brought me out of the darkness into the light." And those who were there and heard him marvelled, and his mother marvelled, and she remained stricken with surprise until the third hour.

And God commanded the angel GABRIEL and said unto him, " Go to the house of SIMEON, and take the child from the breast of his mother, and bring him into the desert where there are many monks, and lay him down in their courtyard. And say to the abbot, Take the child from the courtyard, and bring him into the sanctuary , even as MARY, :My mother, grew up in the sanctuary, and she dwelt there for twelve years in the hands of the angels until she came out into the world. And I was incarnate of her, because I was pleased with her more than with any other woman. And I am pleased with the child, for I have made him pure, [fol. 26a 3] and I have created him; for he is of the Holy Spirit. And his food and drink shall not be of that which is on the earth, but from the kingdom of heaven."

And the angel of the Lord went down quickly to where the child was, at his mother's breast, and he carried him upon his wings, even as a woman carrieth her child. And his mother, and those who were there, were frightened when they saw the angel carrying him on his wings, and kissing him on his face. And he bore him up to the seventh heaven, and brought him before God, and God blessed him and said unto the angel, "Take him to My mother that she may bless him, and kiss him as she kissed Me. And take him also to the fathers of olden time, ADAM, ABRAHAM, ISAAC and JACOB, and to all the prophets and apostles, that they may embrace him, and to all the martyrs and the monks, and take him also to the children who were slain, for My sake, by the hand of HEROD. And tell all of them so that they may know, that I Myself will reward them at the last day, when all the world shall perish, and when all of you shall be with him." And He also said, " Bring him to me." Then the angel forthwith

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From page 757

He shall dwell at My right hand, and ye shall be with him." And He sent to our father His Person in His Trinity and He stretched out His hands, and embraced him, and He kissed his mouth, and He said unto him, “There be many souls whom thou shalt make to escape the judgement through thy prayers and thy supplication. Get thee far from men. The blind and the sick shall be healed through thy prayer. Henceforward withdraw thyself [from men] and get thee into the Inner Desert. Dwell with the lions and the panthers; the lions shall be sixty in number and the panthers sixty also." [fol. z6b z] And the saint said unto our Lord. "What will the lions and the panthers feed upon and what will they eat?" And He said unto him, "If thou treadest on the ground with thy foot they will lick the dust of thy foot, and they will be satisfied until they obtain food; [and this shall be] until thy coming to Me." When the good angels

 

From page 758

…..

And the angel brought him down quickly to his former abode. And his hair grew, and it grew thick all over his limbs, and the hair of his head was seven cubits long, and the hair of his mouth (i.e. his beard) was one cubit long.

Each day he healed blind men, and lepers, and sick folk; and their number was fifty thousand. And our father was exceedingly sorry that men knew of his work, and his labour, and he said, “I will arise and depart from this place so that men may know nothing about me, and may not bestow upon me the vain praise of this world."

And he departed from that place, and came into the Inner Desert, and dwelt there; and the people missed him, and were very sorry, because he had worked miracles for them, and they wept and lamented with a great lamentation. And he lived in this wise for more than one hundred years, until old age came on him.

Let us now go back to our former subject when we said that he came into the desert, and withdrew himself from men; and he dwelt on the right side (yaman) of the desert for many years. During the heat of summer, and the cold of winter, he wore no clothing on his body, but he went naked, and his girdIe was made of plaited hair. He prayed standing in the cold of dawn, [fol. 26b 3] naked. By excessive sufferings he melted his body, and hardened his bones (?), and he used to say unto his soul, “Know that thou wilt have to stand naked before God." He devoted himself strenuously to prayer and fasting, and bowings, and to innumerable and ceaseless vigils by day and by night until at length his body dried up, and his skin became stretched tightly over his bones. He had no food except, at times, the fruit of trees, or roots, or plants, and sometimes the grass and berries whereon the dwellers in the desert feed. He took no care whatsoever to provide for his body in anything. The angels used to visit him, because he was like unto them in his speech and acts.

 

From page 765

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He took him up into heaven; and he dwelt for seven years in the lower part of heaven, but above the sun. After this He sent him into the land of KABD, and he lived standing upright like a pillar for six [fol. 28b I] months, and he gazed into heaven, and he neither dropped his eyelids nor bowed his head, and his hands were stretched out towards

 

From page 766

heaven. After this Satan carne to him in the form of a black raven, and he found his bones suspended in the heavens which covered [them], and he sat upon his head, and he pecked at his eyes, and dug out his eyeballs. After this our father remained [blind] for ninety-eight [years], and he prayed continuaIIy, and ceased not in that land. Then MICHAEL and GABRIEL came to him, and they stood in front of his face, and together they breathed upon him, and his eyes saw and his vision became seven times brighter than the sun.

……

After this the lightnings and the archangels went up [into heaven]. And our father departed to the land of KABD, where there were lions, and hyaenas, and wolves, and serpents. After this the saints came to him one day, led by the Holy Spirit: (I) Abbå SAMUEL of WÅLDEBBÅ, (2) Abbå 'ANSESÅ of the land of HAZLO, (3) Abbå BENYÅM of the lower land; and they had their lions with them. They came

 

Page 768 (all) 

to the land of KABD, and our father hid himself; and they continued in praises seven days until [fol. z9a I] they should find him.

After the seven days certain lions, which had been hidden, went forth, and came to the place where the three saints were, and they seized upon their lions and devoured their bodies; they devoured and licked up their bodies in a moment. And the saints were terrified, and the lions disappeared. And the saints were exceedingly sorry, and their sorrow was revealed unto our father. And he rose up and came to them with the great power which was given unto him from heaven, and with him there were sixty lions, and sixty hyaenas, and angels bearing the tent of light. And the hair of his head covered his whole body like a thatch and swept the ground, and the hair of his beard and neck reached the ground; and he was arrayed in his apparel.

And he came unto them with great might, and said unto them, "Peace be unto you, O saints of God." And those saints were terrified when they saw his terrifying majesty and the lions which roared before him, and the hyaenas which screamed and laughed like horses. And our father said unto those saints, "For what purpose have ye come to me, [seeing that] I am alone in this desert place?" And those saints said unto him, " We came unto thee having known of thy holy prayers, O chief anchorite in all the world, and we came unto thee that we might hold converse with the servant of God.

When we came and did not find thee we sorrowed and wept for seven days, and whilst we were praying on the seventh day thy lions came and seized our lions, and they ate them up and swallowed them and licked up their blood in the twinkling of an .eye." And our father said unto his lions, "Why did ye eat [fol. z9a z] what God had not commanded ye to eat? Ye were ordered to eat nothing but the dust of my footsteps until the day of your deaths. Cast up and throw up what ye have eaten."

And the lions opened their mouths, and threw up what they had eaten, all the flesh and bones and blood of the saints' lions, and none of their flesh and bones remained in their

bellies; and they cast up everything in the twinkling of an eye. And our father turned towards the east, and praised God, saying, "O Thou Who didst raise up LAZARUS, raise them up,

 

From page 769

but do not raise up those whom Thou hast given to Thy servants to follow them." Then he blessed them and their bodies, that is to say, the dead bodies of the lions, and he said unto them, "Rise up by the power of God." And the lions rose up in the

twinkling of an eye, and they were as they were at first, and they uttered cries, and purred, and lay down by our father, and they did homage at his feet.

….

On the third day of Magåblt our father fell sick, and on the

Eve of the Sabbath his death drew nigh. His pain and sickness

seized him so strongly, that he wellnigh died; and the hour of

his death approached.

….

During the

early hours of the Sabbath he lived with difficulty, and was exhausted, now burning and now sweating, but he never ceased to make supplication to his God, which was his custom

with every breath. When the evening came his body was in a state of collapse, and he was unable to speak, and those who were by him [sent] to fetch GABRA ANDREAS so that he might see his death and be a witness concerning it.

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From page 770

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And at the fourth hour of the night he found him lying like a majestic

lion in the desert where there was none to terrify him and to overshadow him; and there was no one in the village which was near his road who had found him. And he was lying with his hands spread out towards heaven, even as our Lord Jesus Christ was extended on the wood of the Cross at the time of His Passion, until the hour of His death. And one saw the light which was upon him, and the grace of God which was on his face, and the ruddiness of his beauty, and his beard which was as white as snow.

When the seventh hour of the night came his soul separated itself from his body.

At that moment a sound was heard from heaven, like the sound of thunder, and there came down lamps [fol. 29b I] which were like snow, and like unto crystal, and which thundered and rolled down from the heavens to the earth, each having the form and similitude of the other, and they shone like the sun, and moon, and stars.

Those who were there were terrified and afraid, ….

 

From page 771

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And our Lord answered and said unto him, "If the sin of a man is unrepented of, the man who hath committed it, not only if he be a Christian, but if he be an 'ARMINU, I will give unto thee if he celebrate thy commemoration, and he shall be saved, and he shall be with thee. When thy soul is separated [from thy body] on the fifth day of Magibit they shall make twelve...as for MARY, My mother. They shall make a habitation and I will bless their assemblies. lf he be old, I will give him a good seat. And now ascend into

the houses of light. And take twelve crowns, and ten thousand lamps in thy right hand, and ten thousand lamps in thy left hand, one thousand before thee and one thousand behind thee, and twelve precious stones of light, and take [fol. Z9b 3] horses of

fire to bear thee." And our father answered and said unto him, "O our Lord Jesus Christ, lf men celebrate my commemoration

 

From page 772 (all and the end)

with right hearts, unto how many generations wilt Thou give them unto me?" And the Lord said unto him, "I will give them unto thee for fifteen generations."

Then they heard a great voice which cried out and said, "Take the body of GABRA MANFAS KEDÛS, and carry it away, and let his grave be in Jerusalem, on the right-hand side of the altar." And MICHAEL and GABRIEL and all the angels uttered cries of joy before his holy soul, and each of them cried out unceasingly, and the angels carried away his body to bury it as God commanded them; and thirty desert anchorites came to meet it. And the hosts of angels placed his soul in the houses of light, saying, " Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, all the time, now and always, and for ever and ever."