Saturday, 2 February 2013

Meeting Bishop Theophilus - Life of Fr. Mettaos el-Suryani

Going to Der el-Suryan instead of Der el-Anba Bola (Monastery of St. Paul):

When the young Shawky left the church after this meeting with the priest, he stood still and started thinking of what to do?! Where to go?! And how to carry on?! Then he found one of the deacons teaching a group of young children around him the hymns of Church, so he went to him and asked him for directions to the monastery of St. Paul’s head office. The deacon called one of the children and told him. “Take this mister with you to the head office of the monastery of St. Paul next to El-Ezbaweya”.

And it seems that the child –with God’s wondrous providence-at the moment only heard El-Ezbaweya! So he took him to El-Ezbaweya which is the head office for Der el-Suryan (The Syrian Monastery). You may know my dear reader that El-Ezbaweya is located opposite the head office for Der el-Anba Bola at the side street near the garden at the broad pathway at Clot Bey near the old patriarchal cathedral.  

Truly what is meant by the words of divine revelation:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
We will stop here and let our beloved father tell us of what happened that night, which was managed by the hand of divine providence in such superior wisdom and mysterious working. That which also changed the history of monasticism for Der el-Suryan!!

He says [Fr. Mettaos]:

“I entered El-Ezbaweya having no idea that I was at the head office of Der el-Suryan and not of Der el-Anba Bola which was the one I formerly intended to go to. There I met with one of the fathers who told me that he was Bishop Theophilus, abbot of Der el-Suryan. So I greeted him, sat with him and told him about my desire for monasticism. He asked me about some of my personal matters in order to find out for how long I had desired it and the strength of my persistent thoughts for monasticism. He kept talking to me about the difficulties and hardships of the monastic life with all of its wars, trials, destitution and constraints. But I was determined to live this life with all that it brings with all of my heart. I showed H.G. the strength and depth of my desire and asked him to pray for me and to accept me in the monastery so that I may be among his children. I was confident that the grace of God will support me in the path towards the monastic life!”

When the late bishop Theophilus made sure of the sincerity of his intentions, words and his strong persistence in desiring to live the angelic life he asked the administrator father (who at the time was the late Fr. Arsenius the Great) to write him a letter of recommendation in order to go to the monastery, and to deliver it there to the father, the secretary of the monastery to be accepted as a student of monasticism. The late bishop Theophilus left him with these words:

“May you bear fruit from the Lord, my son”

Fr. Arsenius had given him some monastic advice to help him in his new future life inside the walls of the monastery.

My dear reader:

With all of what happened, the young Shawky still thought that he was at the head office for the monastery of St. Paul!!! And it happened that while he was prepared dinner he asked the one who offered him food, “Isn’t this the head office for Der el-Anba Bola, right?” The person replied surprisingly and with objection, “What Der el-Anba Bola head office mister?!!! You are here in El-Ezbaweya, head office for Der el-Suryan”.

His reverence commented on this situation saying:

“When I heard this answer which was unexpected, I did not doubt, hesitate, nor shake internally. And I was the one who found myself in this situation in a blink of an eye! And I did not know anything about that Der el-Suryan, which I’ll be joining by name and the name of its abbot!
So I said O Lord… I am between your hands, and the way you lead me I will go and to whichever place you will, I am with you. And I spent that night in strong fiery prayer so that God may support and guide me on this new path and in that monastery which I knew nothing about except its name!!!”

It was to that extent that he left all of his life and future in the hands of God, asking for His love and to please Him.

We see him standing praising with Psalmist David the Prophet saying:

When You said, “Seek My face,”
my heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:8)

Or seeing him taken captive with Paul the Apostle in the ship and saying with him, “we let her drive.
” (Acts 27:15)

No comments:

Post a Comment