Commemorations for Mesra 19
On this day, the church celebrates the return of the body of St. Macarius to his monastery in the desert of Sheahat (Scetis). After the departure of St. Macarius, some of the natives of the city of Shanshour (Shabsheer) came and stole his body. They built a large church for him, and placed the body in it. Later on, his body was moved to another town where he stayed for four hundred forty years, till the time of Pope Michael V (Anba Mikhail V), the 71st Pope. When Pope Michael went to the wilderness to observe the holy fast in the monastery, he sighed and said, "How much I yearn that God would help us so that the body of our father Anba Macarius be in our midst."
Later on, the abbot of the monastery, the Archpriest (Hegumen) Michael, went with some of the elders on certain business of the monastery, and they thought of bringing back the body of the saint to their monastery. They came to where the body was, but the people of the town and the governor assembled against them with swords and sticks and prevented them from taking the body. The elders spent the night in great sorrow. The governor saw that night a vision of St. Macarius telling him, "Let my children take my body and do not prevent them." The governor was frightened and he called the elders and gave them the body. The elders took the body with great joy, and many faithful people followed them to bid the body farewell.
When the ship arrived in Mariot, they spent the night. The next morning they celebrated the Divine Liturgy and received the Holy Mysteries. Then they loaded the body on a camel to the wilderness. Midway through the journey, they needed to rest, but the Abbot said, "As the Lord lives, we do not rest until the Lord shows us the place where the angel of the Lord held our father's hand." So they kept moving until the camel knelt down and did not get up. The camel started to turn his head around, licking the body and bowing his head down to the ground. Then the elders knew that was the right place, and they glorified God.
As they reached the monastery, all the monks came out holding candles and singing. Then they carried the body on their shoulders and went into the church in a great celebration, and God performed many wonders on that day.
May his prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.