METROPOLITAN OF FAYOUM PROVINCE, EGYPT
A SUMMARY OF HIS LIFE
In the year 1829 a.c. (1545 Coptic), in a village called "Calad" in Egypt, was born the child Paul Gabriel. His parents were righteous and loved God.
He was sent to the Church School. His teacher Rafael took care of him, taught him reading, writing, arithmetic, the Holy Scriptures and psalms, eccliastic hymns and psalmody. He was very intelligent and anxious to learn everything.
When he was eight years old, his mother became very ill, and a few weeks later died, leaving behind a lonely child... As he loved prayers and psalms, he found in it that God can bless his motions and fill all his heart.
When he was fifteen years old, he got famous among his mates; the priests recommended him to "Anba Youssab", the Bishop of the Diocese, who ordained him as a deacon during his visit to the village's Church.
As he loved the life of contemplation with God, so he joined St. Virgin Mary Monastery "El-ME-MEHARRAK" at Assuit in Egypt, when Rev. Father Abd-el-Malek was in charge of the monastery. He was very decent, active, and he loved all the monks. They recommended him and he was ordained as a monk when he was nineteen years old, in 1848. His new name was Rev. Paul E1-Meharraki.
He was distinguished by:
- 1. His patience and self-control.
- 2. His interest in almsgiving
Anba Yakoubos, the Bishop heard about him, he asked him to come to the "Bishop's house" and to remain with him. Rev. Paul worked day and night, and he changed the "Bishop's house" to a shelter for the poor.
His deep eagerness for contemplating with God turned him to ask the bishop to leave for the monastery again after he spent four years helping the bishop. Then the Bishop ordained him as a priest and allowed him to return to the monastery at 1863.
At that time there was a problem regarding Father Abdel-Malek, who was in charge of the monastery, but Father Paul did not interfere with these problems .
So the monks chose him to be in charge of the monastery. He opened the doors of the monastery for poor people, also young men heard about him and came, asking him to teach them, and after a short time they became forty monks.
The late "Anba Marcos", the bishop of Luxor, was ordained as a monk in 1870 at El-Maharrak Monastery and he grew up under the the leadership of Fr. Paul. Pope Kyrillos chose him in 1876 (Coptic) to teach the new monks at El-Baramous Monastery. He met his spiritual father again after five years and he remained with him until 1879 (Coptic) when he was ordained as a Bishop for Luxor. Up till now the people still remember much about his pure life, his holiness, deep love for praying, his modesty, and his special care about everyone, and about renewing the old churches and constructing new ones.
As usual the devil was furious when he saw the monastery opened for the poor, and young people were changed with their love for Jesus and their continuous prayers, and made some of the monks think that Fr. Paul was wasting the money of the monastery and they rebelled against him.
In 1870, Fr. Paul was asked to leave the monastery after being in charge for five years.
He went with four of his students to Cairo to meet "Anba Marcous" the Bishop, and at that time he was acting Pope, and they asked him to go to the Monastery of Anba Bishoy at the "Natroun-Valley" in the western desert of Egypt, where they remained for a short period. Afterwards they went to the next door El-Baramous Monastery in 1871 c. At that time the president of this monastery was Fr. John, who later became "Pope Kyrillos". he was so glad to receive them and he offered them a place to stay.
Fr. Paul devoted all his time to praying and study...but his deep love for the poor people did not end. He loved the hostile Arabs who were living in the area of the monastery and he shared with them everything he had, even his clothes.
In 1881 the Ethiopian Emperor, John Kassa asked Pope "Kyrillos", to ordain a metropolitan and three Bishops for the Ethiopian Empire, so he chose the four fathers who were accompanying Fr. Paul,
At the same time Anba Isaac the metropolitan of the province of Fayoum and Gieza departed, then the four fathers asked the Pope to ordain their father as a bishop for that diocese. The Pope and the people of the Fayoum became happy and joyful on that day, for the ordination of their new bishop "ANBA ABRAAM", in 1881.
During his time, the Diocese of the Fayoum became a great vine, in whose shadow the poor and rich sat with great delight.
When the Khadive Tawfik, Ruler of Egypt, visited El-Fayoum they made a great lunch-party. Anba Abraam was sitting very near to the Khadive. He did not eat except salad, and when the Khadive asked him he answered that the day was Fridays and the Christians are to fast on all Fridays. Then he ordered to bring him fruits and asked Anba Abraam to meet him again. He went to meet him at the railway station before he left, and the Khadive welcomed him deeply saying to him "You are a Blessed man..."
The rulers and governers..., even the tyrannical ones found rest in him. So the simple Bishop's home became their rest place.
In the year 1893 he was seriously ill with his leg, that the doctors decided to perform surgery to cut off his leg. When one of his spiritual children told him, he smiled, as usual, and said "God will not let it happen. I am sure He will let them down!"
After 2 months he recovered completely, and went out to the Church, praising God. The Bishop's house was very crowded. The people held the palm leaves and they were waving the olive branches with joy, when they heard of his recovery.
And it happened on Thursday (2 Baouna 1630 c.) 9 June 1914 after the sunset, our blessed father departed to Paradise.
Those who attended his funeral were more than ten thousand persons. Some have estimated it to be twenty five thousand, both Christians and Moslems. But the history of Anba Abraam has not ended, yet still in every Egyptian home there is a lot to be told about him, for he was really Gods loving man.
The Holy Council of Bishops decided that his name could be added with the Saints in the Holy Mass.
The blessing of our blessed Father Anba Abraam be with us. Amen.
The lamp that lights
Fayoum and all Egypt
For His wonders and miracles
and his love for Christ
The one with crown of jewels
The friend of the anchorites
The friend of the righteous and prophets
Who followed our Lord Christ
He is Anba Abraam
The Bishop of Fayoum
The true shepherd
The teacher of virtues
David taught us in truth
That blessed are those
Who love the meek and poor
The Lord will save their souls
Like our Father Abrahaam
The Father of Issac and Jacob
You loved to show mercy
And completed all commandments
You were used to witness to the truth
You were used to eat with the poor
With great humility
You loved your sheep
The lovers of material things
Sought new buildings
But you built in heaven
Heavenly new places
How many are your wonders
You healed the sick
You prophecied about great things
You cast out the Devils
You became an example
With your pure example
With love and mercy
And witness to the truth
Ask the Lord on our behalf
Our father anba Abraam
The Bishop of Fayoum
So He may forgive us our sins.