Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Living In His Solitary Cell - Life of Fr. Mettaos El-Suryani

Building his first solitary cell outside the ancient monastery’s walls:

As we have mentioned earlier, the first thing that struck Fr. Mettaos's eyes was the sight of the cells of the monastery attached to each other. He thought that they would be separated from each other, each one being isolated! He hoped very much for a solitary cell away from the other cells of the monasteries in order to live a life of solitude there. He hoped for calmness and silence and this idea persisted in his mind and he always thought about it for many years until the Lord has permitted it by His will.

In 1960, the late Bp. Theophilus demolished the old building for the cells that was near the ancient wall in order to build the new building for the cells, and at that time, the supervisor for this work was Monk Antonios El-Suryani (H.H. Pope Shenouda III, God grant him many years). Him [H.H.] and our beloved Hegomen Fr. Mettaos El-Suryani shared a strong bond of love and friendship. They stored
Fr. Antonios El-Suryani (The late H.H Pope Shenouda II)
that which has been reduced to rubble from the old building like stones, wood and what could be reused. It was used for building and creating a roof for our beloved Fr.  Mettaos’s solitary cell, of course after seeking the permission of H.G. Bp. Theophilus, abbot of the monastery.

In August, 1960, Fr. Mettaos began building his outer cell, and it is the first solitary cell built outside the walls of the ancient monastery and within the separate walls between Der El-Suryan and St. Bishoy’s Monastery. The work continued by simple and primitive means which were available in these days until it was completed and Fr. Mettaos took his abode therein.

Fr. Mettaos continued his work as sacristan for the church (located in the ancient monastery), despite his stay in his solitary cell outside the ancient monastery for a good period of time. He spent the day in the solitary cell and at sunset he returned to the monastery to take up his work in the church and then spent the night in his other cell within the ancient monastery to be able to pray the Midnight Prayers, the divine liturgy and then returned to his solitary cell and so on…

In order for his work to be compatible with his stay in the outer solitary cell, he left his work as sacristan for the church and began working in the bakery, for the monastery at the time baked bread once during the week on Saturday.

Fr. Mettaos took up his work in the bakery on Saturday so that he can attend Vespers and the communal liturgy with the Fathers on Sunday. Later, he would return to his outer solitary cell and would stay there until the next Saturday so that it would be possible for him to stay in the cell and in quiet.

Truly what was meant by divine revelation “
And the desire of the righteous will be granted.” (Proverbs 10:24).

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Monday, 13 May 2013

The Mystery of the Branches Abiding Firmly in the Vine - Fr. Matthew the Poor

The branch does not firmly abide in the vine from the outside but from inside. The secret lies in the sap, which flows from the vine to the branch--giving it growth, firmness, strength and fruit. It is from this perspective that the mystery of persons abiding in Christ is seen. The sap here is in the cup: wine turned into the true sap of Christ: his blood. Whoever is counted worthy in spirit to drink of Christ's blood, that blood runs in him just as the sap runs through the branch to give it strength to bear fruit. Such is the case that the Church counts Communion as part of Confirmation. In short, when the faithful partake of the mystery of the blood, they unite in Christ and become true members of his body on the same pattern as that of the branches on a vine. This is the pattern on which the true vine bearing the mystery of divine existence was formed; or, the holy people, one in Christ, bearing the mystery of the perpetual presence of God [in the world] through the Son.

With that, Christ would have fulfilled Yahweh's old plan, which has been thwarted because man's nature has become unqualified to be welded to God's nature and bear the title of son. It is obvious that the success of the plan was fulfilled on the basis of the Son of God's incarnation. This meant a condescension on God's part; for it was He who resolved to begin by Himself the process of welding His own nature to human nature. By so doing, He intended to qualify its owner to bear the title of "son" par excellence.

Fr. Matthew the Poor, The Titles of Christ, p. 200-201.