The forty first Pope Isaac
His raising up:
Isaac was born in Alexandria, Ramleh suburb. Although some think that “Ramleh”more likely meant "Ramlet Banha" next to Banha. His father was an honored rich man. On the day of gaining the sacrament of Baptism the Bishop saw a vision of a cross of light above his head during immersing him in the sacred water of Baptism. He realized that this was of great significance, so he told his parents: "Save no effort in upbringing your child, as he is a chosen vase for the Lord of Glory". When the child reached his ninth year, his parents sent him to school. He demonstrated special talents in hand writing and copying. Therefore, the view of his parents settled to ask a relative of theirs named Minison ,a writer in the state House, to take care of his teaching. It happened that the magistrate asked him to write him a letter so he wrote it at high speed ,excellent style and a well organized hand writing. The magistrate appreciated that and promoted him to the rank of head of the court clerks. The He had been characterized by his love for others, and his humility. He became the subject of love for all. His parents noticed he tendency to spend long periods of meditative quiet time, so they realized that he wanted to follow the monasticism. They tried to apply pressure on him by trying to force him to marry in the hope that he might reject that way. But he showed his full interest in the work entrusted to him, saying to them that he yearned for the monastic life. Suddenly the young man disappeared during the year 654 AD. So his parents realized that he had fled to a monastery. They started looking for him, but in vain as he went to the wilderness of Sheheet. There he met a godly elder named Zakaria (Zechariah) who was the hegomen of the monastery and later became the bishop of Saeijs (south of Alexandria around 130 K from the Rashid Branch). Zakaria had loved, heard and advised him that in order to achieve his wish, without the pressure of his parents, he had to go to the Mount" Yamaho" at upper Egypt. He sent him accompanied by a virtuous elder monk named “Abram,”who accompanied him through the road, and left him after 6 months. Isaac was unable feel comfort, and felt that his parents should be in grief and bitterness, therefore he convinced the monk Abraham to return to settle the matter with his parents. Indeed, the two returned to the area close to the Ramleh district where they met a hermit who lived there and knew Isaac’s parents. The hermit called a deacon named “Philotheos” who amiably welcomed Isaac and inquired about the status of his monasticism. Isaac told him that he wished him to go to his parents and inform them about his news. If they promised that they accept to let him follow the way that God called him to follow , he amy attend them to meet him. Indeed, the deacon did his role, and Isaac’s parents were very happy, and accompanied him to meet their son for few days and then gladly said farewell to him. Isaac returned to the wilderness of Sheheet and became a disciple at the hands of the elder father Zakaria (Zechariah). He saved no effort in his service for the monks with the spirit of humility and piety and was loved by all. His loving character attracted many visitors to believe in the LORD Jesus Christ. It was stated that once he was out with some hermits to collect the wood, when a snake in the center of the grass snake attacked and bite his arm. Calmly he threw it away, crossed his arm, collected what he gathered and carried it to the convent, as if nothing had happened. The monks glorified God for keeping His promises to His Saints (Psalm: 91: 13& Luke:10: 19).
His assignment as a Secretary to the Pope Yoannis (John) III:
As Pope Yoannis ( John) III was crying to God to guide him to choose a virtuous monk that he could assign as his secretary to help him& possibly to precede him. The Holy Spirit of the LORD guided him to choose this reclusive monk that had deep knowledge of the Holy Bible study and who loved to serve others. The Pope loved him to a great extent. Isaac demonstrated fake disability hoping that the Pope might absolve him of this post. Finally, he accepted to continue this work and remain with the Pope after the Pope promised him that this job would be a temporary one and he would allow him to return to the monastery.
His return to the monastery :
As St. Zakaria was ordained at that time as a bishop of Sayes, he continued to serve his congregation though he was advanced in age. But due to his illness he had to return to the monastery of St. Marcarius where Isaac joined him as he greatly loved his teacher( mentor). He sincerely served him even to the last-minutes of the life of Bishop Anba Zakaria. The Bishop looked at his disciple and said to him: "O my son, if you got dignity recall your brethren the monks". And after the pass away of the Bishop Anba Zakaria, the monks agreed to establish Isaac as the head of the monastery. However, he stayed only for few months as he was called by the Pope who felt that his days of sojourn on earth were coming to the end. The pope told Isaac to stay with him and entrusted him with the management of church affairs. The Pope in his love took Isaac with him whenever he was called by the Prince Abdul Aziz Ebn Marwan, who greatly loved and honored the Pope Yoannis III.
His sitting on the Chair of the Patriarch:
Pope Yoannis III (John) on his death-bed recommended his student to be the Pope and the Patriarch while father Isaac tended to escape from the diocese. A priest, named Guirguis( George) married and not virtuous managed to gain the hearts of some church elders together with some of the bishops to accept to ordinate him as a Patriarch, and he was rushing that this would be done before Sunday, so as not to be opposed by the rest of the bishops. The bishops met at Babilionand gathered with a large crowd in the Church of St. Sergius at ancient Egypt (Abu Sra), and suddenly Saint Isaac entered the oil lamp stand broke and plunged the church with oil. The people shouted "Okcios, Okcios, Okcios” (Deserved, Deserved, Deserved) ..”Your GOD has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your fellows” And they elected him a Patriarch, this was the first time to elect a Patriarch in the Church, and the election of the Patriarch remained in Babilion till the eleventh century and the sitting of the Patriarch was completed at the Evangelicals’ Church in Alexandria.
Spot light on his character:
Pope of Alexandria known as a man of tears whose tears did not stop during celebrating the Holy Eucharist (Holy Liturgy). He gained many hypo crates, souls to the Christian faith. He was as well interested in building many churches and monasteries, and between him and Abdul Aziz, the magistrate was a strong friendship. The magistrate
established a church at Helwan The magistrate had assisted in the establishment of other churches and monasteries. It was said that the relationship with the Governor as well had been very strong, and that the magistrate was walking back to the door of the church when he saw the Pope while he was serving in the altar and was surrounded by fire, that vision which increased the love of the magistrate towards the Pope.
He invited him to his newly Helwan palace. It was reported that the wife of the magistrate saw a vision of the pope surrounded by angels. She informed her husband who was enormously surprised ! Some have tried to raise sedition claiming that the Pope wrote to the King of Nubia asking him to live in peace with the king of Ethiopia, and the atmosphere was full of clouds between Egypt and Ethiopia.
The governor was furious but the Pope by his calmness and gentleness assured him the fakeness of that news. The governor honored him. Once again some had tried to create an atmosphere of hatred between the governor and the Pope, so they went to the governor and asked him to tell the Pope to eat with him without making the sign of the Cross, and gave to the Pope a basket filled with excellent dates that were poisoned. The Saint wisely held the basket, and said to the governor: “ Do you want me to eat from this side or that, here or there?! " In this he made the sign of the cross. Later when the magistrate knew what the Pope meant by this , he was surprised of his wisdom and felt more favor towards the Pope
His passing away :
His life was defined by many miracles that were granted to him by the LORD. After a short illness, he passed away on the ninth of Hator. His body was buried close to the body of his predecessor, Pope John III.
May the Blessings of his prayers Be with all of us AMEN
Youssef( Joseph) Habib: The church history ( Church college in Alexandria), 1974, pp. 17- 23.
Iris Habib El Masri ( The Egyptian): The story of the Coptic Church, Volume 3, 1983, pp. 300-etc.
|Arabic biography source of: The forty first Pope Isaac|
|Translated by: Maged (servant of the LORD)||
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