Misunderstoods – Christianity vs Islam

Authentic Muslims do not seek to put down or desecrate the Holy Bible. It is a critical matter of faith for Muslims to read, memorize, and believe in the original revelations that came down to Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus, just as it is important for Muslims to reveal their ultimate confidence of the Quran that came to Muhammad (peace be upon him) specifically given in Arabic so the Arabs could not say, “I was not informed”.

Likewise, archaeologist, institutions, people, governments, are still finding historical documents, scientific evidence all over the world. Believers are always sure, some often satisfied with less evidence, that is until more is discovered, to hold on to the faith Jesus Messiah passed on to us by the original followers, teachers, apostles, prophets, and evangelists.

Christians down through the centuries have written, copied, printed, interpreted, translated, modernized, paraphrased, hundreds of versions of the incomplete, at best, scriptures using the manuscripts, prayer books, letters, and partial fragments as their base of reference for their belief systems.

Strange as it may seem, there is still much interest by the Muslim and Christian community to “trust but verify”, on an ongoing basis, every shred of new evidence presented to them through all forms of research and development of the never-ending historical story that is still unfolding like a blooming rose in a desert of misinformation.

With that said, Corlis Dees Ministries founded by Dr. C. L. Dees, carried on through his son Corlis L. Dees II and  grandson Corlis L. Dees III continue the quest of the original ancient writings of Scriptures. For the purpose of collecting, preserving, printing, digitizing, and offering to the public any and all the known facts about the Ancient Aramaic Christian Church. The work will serve to bring unity and peace among all faiths and all humanity.

Yousuf Estes writes, “I am a former Christian and chaplain, having served for the Federal Bureau Prisons, as a delegate to the World Peace Summit for Religious Leaders, at the United Nations and as a volunteer for religious services to the various men and women of the United States Military. I am constantly working with other various faith groups and their leaders and as such it is my duty to show respect with regard to the way other faiths handle their own investigation and research into their various sources for establishing their systems of belief. The purpose of this work is to offer to the Muslim scholars and students of knowledge in Islam the opportunity to see the actual workings going on within the scholarly world of Biblical criticism”.

Attention Muslims – Please Read Carefully Before Continuing:

Muslims are not often privileged to see what goes on behind the scenes of scholarly dialog with regard to findings of materials associated with collecting foundation material for the Bible. It is with this aim in mind that we have proffered the following research work, just as it came from the source of the scholars themselves, in copies of letters, emails and websites about an issue they had researched over for more than 1900 years.

Not for Debate Purposes:

Not one word or phrase in our work is for debate, rather for dialog. This is not a place to air ideologies, self-revelatory expressions, self-determinations, or egregious errors. Here, at Corlis Dees Ministries, there is no room for criticizing scholars, whether they be mining for reality in the Quran, the Bible or any other Sacred Writings – in any language. We are a place of reference for comparison. We see the differences and/or similarities in presenting evidences and dealing with scholars of the Writings. Please respect others and pray for all of us to eventually find the reality shared by all believers. Thank you and peace be with all of us as we follow the teachings of the Holy Writings we follow and use to guide our path in Life.  – Yusuf Estes, National Chaplin (ret.) Edited for specific use by Corlis Dees II.

The Secret Gospel of Mark

Bible Scholars Discuss a Secret Gospel Allegedly Belonging to Mark
[In 4 Parts]

Read for yourself the Discovery of a Lost Letter by Clement of Alexandria (Egypt)

Morton Smith is popular among researchers of ancient texts, particularly the manuscripts of the Bible.

In 1958 Smith made a discovery while working in a library in Jerusalem. He found a document that appeared, at least to him, to be a gospel of Mark, older than the one now occupying place in the Christian New Testament.

Elizabeth Clare makes reference to Secret Mark in Prophet’s book on the “lost years” of Jesus. She writes about Secret Mark saying, “Early Christians possessed a larger, more diverse body of writings and traditions of Jesus than what we have in the New Testament of today.

OK – now get ready to read for yourself about – the Secret Gospel of Mark

These articles were originally published in Alexandria, Egypt: The Journal for the Western Cosmological Traditions, volume 3 (1995), pp. 103-129. Alexandria, edited by David Fideler and is published by Phanes Press. The whole of this article is copyright © 1995 by Phanes Press. All rights reserved, including international rights.

NOTICE: TO MUSLIMS REGARDING ALL SCRIPTURE
Respect For Holy Books

Muslims are told by Allah in the Holy Quran that He is the One who sent down the “Furqan” (Quran) and He sent down the scriptures before it. Muslims have no option but they must respect the Bible because it does still contain (a translated portion) of the original teachings of Allah. The Quran makes it clear that Allah has indeed, perfected our “way of life” for Muslims and has conferred on us His favor and has chosen for us to submit to Him in Islam, if that is the decision we have made.

We would like to suggest to the non-Muslims to consider reading a Quran if that is your choice. This is a means by which you may investigate what is written in the Quran. Hearsay is not the proper method to discover reality.

[Free Quran available at:http://islamtomorrow.com/free]

Final comment from Yusuf Estes: (This may be a difficult statement for believers to hear Yusuf say. However, if we are going to trust his experience, we also have to be open to his own determinations and choices.

I would like to state that after years of studying the Bible and then learning the Arabic language to read the Quran as it was originally recited to Muhammad, peace be upon him, by the angel Gabriel, I have come to an amazing conclusion. It seems to me that the Bible and the Quran are most definitely from the exact same source and they compliment each other very nicely. In fact, it appears that the Bible does not contradict the Quran, except in the very same places where the Bible contradicts itself. (It is evident that Yusuf did not have the privilege of studying the Aramaic Text or he could not have been able to make his last remark)

We have been blessed tremendously in this latter generation with wonderful discoveries, preserved writings, and amazing technology and science. Just fifty years ago my Science Lab teacher got up in our class and made this statement; “there is no God and if there was one, He is Dead.”

More importantly, we are living in the season of the dissemination of thousands of years of data. On its face, the data is reliable, sincerely offered, and unlimited amounts of hours have been spent making this data available to ever human being.

There is a Chapter in the Writings of a Prophet to the Nation of Israel. I will share it now.

Isaiah Chapter 11
Isa 11:1 The royal line of David is like a tree that has been cut down; but just as new branches sprout from a stump, so a new king will arise from among David’s descendants.
Isa 11:2 The spirit of the LORD will give him wisdom and the knowledge and skill to rule his people. He will know the LORD’s will and honor him,
Isa 11:3 and find pleasure in obeying him. He will not judge by appearance or hearsay;
Isa 11:4 he will judge the poor fairly and defend the rights of the helpless. At his command the people will be punished, and evil persons will die.
Isa 11:5 He will rule his people with justice and integrity.
Isa 11:6 Wolves and sheep will live together in peace, and leopards will lie down with young goats. Calves and lion cubs will feed together, and little children will take care of them.
Isa 11:7 Cows and bears will eat together, and their calves and cubs will lie down in peace. Lions will eat straw as cattle do.
Isa 11:8 Even a baby will not be harmed if it plays near a poisonous snake.
Isa 11:9 On Zion, God’s sacred hill, there will be nothing harmful or evil. The land will be as full of knowledge of the LORD as the seas are full of water.
Isa 11:10 A day is coming when the new king from the royal line of David will be a symbol to the nations. They will gather in his royal city and give him honor.
Isa 11:11 When that day comes, the Lord will once again use his power and bring back home those of his people who are left in Assyria and Egypt, in the lands of Pathros, Ethiopia, Elam, Babylonia, and Hamath, and in the coastlands and on the islands of the sea.

Isa 11:12 The Lord will raise a signal flag to show the nations that he is gathering together again the scattered people of Israel and Judah and bringing them back from the four corners of the earth.

Isa 11:13 The kingdom of Israel will not be jealous of Judah any more, and Judah will not be the enemy of Israel.

Isa 11:14 Together they will attack the Philistines on the west and plunder the people who live to the east. They will conquer the people of Edom and Moab, and the people of Ammon will obey them.
Isa 11:15 The LORD will dry up the Gulf of Suez, and he will bring a hot wind to dry up the Euphrates, leaving only seven tiny streams, so that anyone can walk across.

Isa 11:16 There will be a highway out of Assyria for those of his people Israel who have survived there, just as there was for their ancestors when they left Egypt.

In light of what is going on in the Middle East now, see if this makes sense to you?

To Be Continued…. next post.

 

 

My Angel Speaks – Malachi

Translated by Victor Alexander from the Ancient Aramaic Scriptures of the Ancient Church of the East.

Malachi is a small scroll of the Scriptures; but it is very significant, because it is the last book written regarding the Coming of Eashoa Msheekhah (Jesus the Messiah) to the Sons of Jacob. Not written to the other nations.

Other translations of the Bible leave the impression Jewish prophecies about Eashoa being the Messiah were fulfilled within Judaism. Many Christians have adopted the belief system that only at the end of the “times of the Gentiles”  will the Jews come to recognize Eashoa (Jesus) as Messiah.

Malachi, a prophet from the Tribe of Judah, written approximately 800 years before the birth of Eashoa.
Malachi in Aramaic Language means: My Angel

Malachi – Chapter One

A vision of the Lord’s oracle regarding Sons of Jacob by Malachi.
“I have had mercy on you,” said the Lord.
And you say, “By what have you had mercy on us?”
“Was not Esau the brother of Jacob, I had mercy upon Jacob and express disapproval of Esau?”
“I made his mountains a place of hard labor and his inheritance into caves carved out of stone in the desert.”
If the Edomites say that we have become impoverished, ‘Let us go back and rebuild the ruins’ — thus said the Lord, “they shall build and I shall destroy. They shall call them the dynasty of sin and the Nation that the Lord shall be angry towards until the end of the Universes. Your eyes will see this.”
You then that say, “the Lord shall be LORD above the territory of the Sons of Jacob.”
“A son honors his father and a servant his Lord. If I am the Father, how are you honoring me, and if I am the Lord how are you submitting to me?

“To you, high priests, I say you have usurped my name,” said the Almighty Lord. “And if you say through what have we usurped your name?
I the Lord will answer, “In that you offered the mildewed bread on my altar.

‘Who did we defile?’  Is what we offered that which caused great and continual trouble to the surface of the Lord’s altar.’
You offer the blind animals upon the altar, is that not evil? You offer the lame or the sick, is that not evil?

When they are offered to your authorities, are they not going to look and see your actions?” said the Almighty Lord.
Pray the Lord may have mercy on us; it is with your human hands this happened. “I shall not make differences between you because of the looks on your faces, said the Almighty Lord.
“Who among you is locking my door, that you should not make offerings on my altar — which is free? I am not satisfied,” said the Almighty Lord, “and I have not accepted the offerings from you.”
“Because from the rising of the sun to its setting, my name is magnified among the Nations,* and in all the countries they consecrate the Incenses. They offer to my name pure sacrifices, because great is my name among the nations,” said the Almighty Lord.
“But you who have defiled it [my name] say that the offering surface [of the altar] has been defiled and that these foods are cause of great and continual trouble.”
You say, “This is on account of our demons and that the Almighty Lord has said he has blown at them, that you shall die on account of the seized offerings that were lame and sick.”
“I shall not accept them from your hand,” said the Almighty Lord.
“And cursed is he who has a male in his [domain of] circumcision and [yet] offers as sacrifice that which is sick to the Lord, for I am a great king,” said the Almighty Lord, “and my name is feared among the nations.”*


*1:11.2 NB! Reference to the Jews among all the nations, such as at Nineveh, Capital of Ashur, at the time of Jonah the Prophet.

*1:14 NB! Again a reference to all the Jewish tribes that had made Judaism a significant religion of the nations of the world a few centuries before Jesus arrived at Jerusalem. Moreover, this reference to the “nations” does not mean that the pagan nations of the time honored the Lord as pagans and made worthy sacrifices or offerings to his name — as has been implied by all the other translations.

Number One Reason: Jesus teaches, “Judge not”

 

Surprise! The simple way to rid yourself of emotional pain, mental anguish, negative feelings, a lack of energy, depression, ineffective communication, anger, and fear is to “stop judging other humans”.
The average judgments your brain makes each day, according to several authors is 35,000. To make things even worse, “as a general matter, it is always true that our brains made us do it. Each of our behaviors is always associated with a brain state (Reference Studies ).
Here of late, several abnormal human behavior patterns have manifested through irrational acts of unjustifiable and unreasonable outbursts of violence. Flopping back and forth on knowing who to blame, what is the cause, the citizens of the world community are having difficulty is facing reality. Some folks immediately are willing to place the blame on everything except the individuals who committed the violent acts.
The back story is all too familiar; mental illness, undo external influence from another person or group, a human religious belief system, or abnormal childhood environment. To make this simple I would like to invite you to take notice of one of the oldest stories of the human race. This story is found in the Ancient Aramaic Scriptures and the Qur’an Surahs.
The Lord God molded Adam from the dust to resemble Himself,* and He blew on their faces the breath* of life and Adam became a living soul.
The Lord God had consecrated Paradise in Eden from before, and there He set Adam whom He had molded.
The Lord God supplied from the earth all that is pleasing to the sight and delicious to eat angarden eden found pictured the Tree of Life in the midst of Paradise.
The river flowed out of Eden to irrigate the Paradise, and from there it divided and became four tributaries.*
The name of the first is Pishon, that is the one which goes around all the land of Havilah, where there is gold.
The gold of that land is good, where there is also lapis lazuli and beryl stones.*
The name of the second river is Gighon, that is the one that goes around all the land of Cush.
The name of the third river is Tigris, which goes before Ashur, and the fourth river is the Euphrates.
The Lord God fetched Adam and left them in the Paradise of Eden, so as they may work the land and guard it.
The Lord God commanded Adam and told them, you may eat of all the trees of Paradise that are edible,
The Tree of Knowledge of good and evil you may not eat, because on the day you eat of it, you will dieEden Location Map the death.*
The Lord God said, “It is not well that Adam should be alone; I shall make a helper like Adam.”
The Lord God molded from the earth all the creatures of the wilderness and all the birds of the sky, and He brought them to Adam to see what he would call them, and whatever Adam called those living souls, that became their name.

Adam named all the four-legged animals and all the birds of the sky and all the creatures of the earth. And out of them there was not found a helper like Adam.
The Lord God cast a calm over Adam and they slept, and He consecratedone of Adam’s ribs and He placed flesh in its stead.
The Lord God transformed the rib that He consecrated from Adam to be the wife and He brought it to Adam. Adam said, “As of now
this bone from my bone and this flesh from my flesh shall be called the wife, because she was consecrated from the man.” Because of that the man leaves his father and mother and catches himself a wife. And they become both one flesh. They were both naked, Adam and his wife were not embarrassed.

According to the story, Adam knew the Lord God had not designed him to be a judge between “good and evil”.
One interesting word in the Ancient Aramaic translation is the use of the plural word of “them” when speaking with Adam. It specifically says, God fetched Adam and left “them”. I find this very interesting. However, we cannot assume anything, unwritten in the text.

Jesus Messiah refers to this portion of Scripture in His teaching about marriage in what is referred to as the New Testament.


*2:1 Lit. Ar. idiomatic figure of speech: “Powers.”
*2:7.1 Lit. Ar. word: “Adam-tha,” or portrait.
*2:7.2 Lit. Ar. id.: “Breeze.”
*2:10 Lit. Ar. idiomatic figure of speech: “Heads.”
*2:12 Lit. Ar. idiomatic construction: “There beryllium and rocks of beryl.”
*2:17 Lit. Ar. idiomatic expression: “Death you shall die.”
*2:21 Definition: to declare or set apart a building, area of ground, or specific spot as holy
*2:23 Lit. Ar. id.: “This season.”

Misunderstood: Christian vs Muslim

The Noble Qur’an References

In the following weeks I will endeavor to help explain some of the reasons for the misunderstood ideas that have hindered peace between the Muslim’s and the Christians.

Misunderstood – Christianity vs Islam

Did Jesus Really Say through the writing of St. Matthew, “I Come to Bring a Sword”?

Even if you look up this word translated “Sword” in the Greek or Hebrew language you will discover it should have been translated, “division” or to divide.

Notice how it reads in the Ancient Aramaic: Saint Matthew 10:34-42 Aramaic –Ancient Aramaic Version in English

“Do not expect that I have come to cast peace over the earth. I did not come to spread peace, except destruction.”

Continue to read what St. Matthew writes about what Jesus teaches. You will find His own definition in the following scriptures.

  1. “For I came to divide the man against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law.
  2. “And the enemies of the man are the children in his house.
  3. “Whoever is more merciful for father and mother more than me, is not worthy or useful to me, and whoever is more merciful for son and daughter more than me, is not worthy of or useful to me.
  4. “And whoever does not bear his cross and follow me, is not worthy of me.
  5. “Whoever seeks himself, loses himself, and whoever loses himself because of me, finds himself.
  6. “Whoever receives you, receives me. And whoever receives me, receives the One who sent me.
  7. “Whoever receives a prophet in the name of a prophet, receives a prophet’s recompense, and whoever receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man receives a righteous man’s recompense.
  8. “And whoever gives one of these small ones, who go by the name of disciple, a cup of water to drink, though it is only cold water, amen I am telling you, their recompense shall not be lost.”

In The Noble Qur’an, the manifestation speaking for ‘IESA [Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. And affection from Us and purity, he was fearing of Allah, dutiful to his parents, he was not a disobedient tyrant. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And peace be upon him the day he was born and the day he dies and the day he is raised alive.

Now, if you stop with this Surah, it would leave the impression that Muslims believe that Jesus was resurrected. But, I can assure you that every Muslim I have talked with over one hundred Muslims and due to a writing in the Qur’an do not understand that Jesus died on the cross to reconcile humanity back into harmony with Allaha.

It is very obvious that even though many times the Qur’an refers to “the people of the Book” or a story in the Book or “the Book”, never does it refer to what we call the New Testament. For this reason the good news of the teachings of Jesus and his disciples who followed Him faithfully in the first five hundred years is a part of the Qur’an, with exception to reference St. John the baptizer, his father and Mary, the mother of Jesus.

For example, read the following few Surah’s I mention below. Bear in mind, I am only making reference to these Surah’s to help us understand the Muslim point of view, according to the Qur’an. Mainly, to emphasize how the religious have misunderstood each other.

One of the core ways for misunderstanding is by receiving incomplete data. Part of the distrust between the religious is the language itself. Misunderstandings can be mistranslation and various language.

In some cases, we simply lack the data to understand what another person is meaning in their definition of even simple words. Consider some of Jesus’ phrases, which sound familiar to the Western mind, but perhaps we have not fully understood.  It is cases like these where studying the text through the Eastern mind that helps with our understanding.

To be continued.

God is ONE…. Alexandria, Egypt

As Mark was entering Rakotis, a suburb of Alexandria, after his trip from Cyrene to the Pentapolis the strap of his sandal fell off. He found a cobbler, Anianus, to repair it. While he was working on the sandal, the awl slipped in Anianus’ hand, piercing it. Anianus cried “Heis ho Theos” (“God is one”)in response to the pain. Mark took the opportunity of Anianus’ scream to preach the Gospel of Christianity to him, at the same time reportedly miraculously healing Anianus of his wound.

How it was that Anianus was a monotheist in Alexandria is a matter of conjecture. Some have suggested that he was himself a Jew, or perhaps a pagan native who had come under the influence of the wealthy Jewish community, and learned his monotheistic beliefs there. Others have held that Anianus was a noble, although this does seem to be contrary to the documents available.

In any event, Mark was invited to Anianus’ house, where he taught Anianus’ family the Gospel and baptized them all. A large number of natives of the area were quickly converted by Mark and his followers, causing those citizens who did not convert to feel obliged to defend their local gods against the new faith

Ordination of Anianus

Mark, the outsider, decided it might be best if he were to leave the area for a while. He ordained Anianus to be bishop in his absence. He also ordained three presbyters and seven deacons at the same time, charging the group of them with watching over the church of the area in his absence.

Mark was gone for a period of two years, during which time he is said to have gone to Rome, Aquileia, and the Pentapolis, preaching, performing miracles, and winning converts to Christianity at each location. On Mark’s return, he found that the church in Alexandria had grown significantly, and that they were able to build a church for themselves at Bucolia on the shore of the eastern harbor of Alexandria, also known as the Portus Magnus of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Following the of Mark on the 30th day of Baramudah, Anianus became the patriarch of the church in Alexandria. He would remain in that capacity for over seventeen and one-half years. During that time, the number of Christians in the area grew significantly, and Anianus ordained new priests and deacons for the growing church. The extent of the evangelization they performed is unknown, although it has been thought by some that it was done at least somewhat covertly, given the hostility the pagan population demonstrated to the new faith. Anianus died in bed, and was buried next to Mark at the church in Baucalis.

Additional Reference: ANIANUS, the immediate successor as patriarch (68-85) to Saint MARKI the Evangelist and his first convert to the new religion in the region of Alexandria. When Mark I entered Rakotis, a suburb of Alexandria, following his journey from Cyrene in the Pentapolis, the strap of his sandal broke off. He found a cobbler named Anianus to repair it. While working on the sandal, an awl slipped and pierced Anianus’ hand. He then cried “Heis ho Theos,” the Alexandrian Greek for “God is one,” an utterance that opened the way for Mark to preach monotheistic Christianity to him while miraculously healing his wound in the name of Jesus. It is difficult to know whether Anianus was Jewish or a pagan native under the influence of the opulent Jewish community and its monotheistic teachings in Alexandria. Consequently, Mark was invited to Anianus’ home, where he taught his family the Gospel and baptized them all. This proved to be the beginning of a rich harvest of other converts in this area, which provoked the pagan citizens to defend their local gods against the intruder. Thus Mark decided to disappear for the time being from the scene of imminent strife. He ordained Anianus as bishop, together with three presbyters and seven deacons, to watch over the spiritual welfare of the flock during his absence. He was away for two years and is said to have gone to Rome, Aquileia, and the Pentapolis, performing miracles and baptizing an increasing number of converts. He returned to Alexandria to find that the new faithful had multiplied and were able to build their own church at Bucalis on the shore of the eastern harbor—the Portus Magnus of the Ptolemies. The HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS describes that place as “the Cattle-Pasture, near the sea, beside a rock from which stone is hewn” (Vol. 1, pt. 1, p. 145 [47]). After Mark’s martyrdom on the 30th of the Coptic month of Baramudah, the second day after Easter, which happened to be the same day as the festival of the Alexandrian god Serapis, Anianus assumed the leadership of the nascent church as its second patriarch. He remained in this capacity for seventeen years, six months, and nine days, during which the believers in Christ increased in numbers and he ordained new priests and deacons for them. It is not known whether other churches were built in addition to Bucalis, but we must assume that most of the missionary work was limited to Alexandria and that it was conducted secretly to avoid the hostility of the pagan population. At any rate, the new patriarch survived the rule of the Roman emperors Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, and Titus. During the reign of Domitian (81-96), he died in his bed, probably in 83 or 85, and was laid to rest next to Saint Mark in Bucalis. The Western view that Anianus was the first patriarch of the Coptic church is denied by the Copts, who place him as the second, insisting that their first patriarch was Saint Mark, the founder of their church. The official church view is the one adopted throughout this work. BIBLIOGRAPHY Atiya, A. S. History of Eastern Christianity. Millwood, N.Y., 1980. O’Leary, D. The Saints of Egypt. Amsterdam, 1974. Roncaglia, M. Histoire de l‘église copte, Vol. 1. Beirut, 1966 (6 vols., in progress). Smith, W., and H. Wace. Dictionary of Christian Biography, 4 vols. New York, 1974. Tillemont, L. S. N. Mémoires pour servir à l‘histoire écclesiastique, Vol. 2. Paris, 1711. AZIZ S. ATIYA

Reference Two:

The first biography of the history of the holy Church. The history of Saint Mark, the Disciple and Evangelist, Archbishop of the great city of Alexandria, and first of its Bishops.

In the time of the dispensation of the merciful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when he appointed for himself disciples to follow him, there were two brothers living in a city of Pentapolis in the West, called Cyrene. The name of the elder of them was Aristobulus, and the name of the other was Barnabas; and they were cultivators of the soil, and sowed and reaped; for they had great possessions. And they understood the Law of Moses excellently well, and knew by heart many of the books of the Old Testament. But great troubles came upon them from the two tribes of the Berbers and Ethiopians, when they were robbed of all their wealth, in the time of Augustus Caesar, prince of the Romans. So on account of the loss of their property, and the trials which had befallen them, they fled from that province, in their anxiety to save their lives, and travelled to the land of the Jews.

Now Aristobulus had a son named John. And after they had taken up their abode in the province of Palestine, near the city of Jerusalem, the child John grew and increased in stature by the grace of the Holy Ghost. And these two brothers had a cousin, the wife of Simon Peter, who became the chief of the disciples of the Lord Christ; and the said John whom they had surnamed Mark, used to visit Peter, and learn the Christian doctrines from him out of the holy Scriptures.

And on a certain day, Aristobulus took his son Mark to the Jordan, and while they were walking there a lion and a lioness met them. And when Aristobulus saw them approaching him, and perceived the violence of their rage, he said to his son Mark: “My son, seest thou the fury of this lion who is coming to destroy us ? Escape now, and save thyself, my son, and leave them to devour me, according to the will of God Almighty.” But the disciple of Christ, the holy Mark, answered and said to his father: “Fear not, my father, Christ in whom I believe will deliver us from all danger.”

And when the lions approached them, Mark, the disciple of the Lord Christ, shouted against them with a loud voice, and said: “The Lord Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, commands that you be rent asunder, and that your kind be cut off from these mountains, and that there be no more offspring to you here for ever.”

Then the lion and the lioness burst asunder in the midst at that moment, and perished straightaway; and their young were destroyed. And when Aristobulus, the father of Mark, saw this great miracle which was manifested by his son, through the power of the invincible Lord Jesus Christ, he said to his son: “I am thy father who begat thee, Mark, my son; but today thou art my father, and my saviour and deliverer. And now, my dear son, I and my brother pray thee to make us servants of the Lord Jesus Christ whom thou preachest.” Then the father of holy Mark and his uncle began to learn the doctrines of Christ from that day.

And Mary, the mother of Mark, was the sister of Barnabas, the disciple of the apostles.

After this, the following event took place. There was in those regions, in a town called Azotus, a very large olive-tree, the size of which was greatly admired. And the people of that city were worshippers of the moon, and prayed to that olive-tree.

So when the holy Mark saw them pray, he said to them: “As for this olive-tree, which you worship as God, after eating its fruit and burning its branches for fuel, what can it do? Behold, by the word of God whom I worship, I will command this tree to fall to the ground, without being touched by any tool.”

Then they said to him: “We know that thou workest the magic of the Galilean thy master, and whatever thou wilt thou doest. But we will call upon our god the moon, who raised up for us this olive tree that we might pray to it.”

The holy Mark answered and said to them: “I will cast it down to the ground; and if your god shall raise it up, then I will serve him together with you”.

And they were satisfied with these words. And they removed all men from the tree, saying: “See that there be no man concealed in it”.

Then the holy Mark raised his face to heaven, and turned himself towards the East, and opened his mouth and prayed saying: “O my Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, hear thy servant, and command the moon, which is a second attendant on this world, and gives light by night, to let its voice be heard by thy decree and by thy authority, before these men who have no God, and to make known to them who created it, and who created all creation, and who is God, that they may serve him; although I know, O my Lord and God, that it has no voice nor power of speech, and that it is not customary for it to speak to anyone; so that its words might be heard at this hour through thy irresistible power, that these men who have no God may know that the moon is not a god, but a servant under thy authority, and that thou art its God. And command this tree, to which they pray, to fall to the ground, so that all may recognise thy dominion, and that there is no God but thou, with the good Father and the Holy Ghost, the giver of eternal life. Amen.”

And at that hour, as soon as he had finished his prayer, a great darkness occured, at midday, and the moon appeared to them shining in the sky. And they heard a voice from the moon, saying: “O men of little faith, I am not God, that you should worship me, but I am the servant of God and one of his creatures, and I am the minister of Christ my Lord, whom this Mark, his disciple, preaches; and it is he alone that we serve and to whom we minister”. At the same moment the olive tree fell. And great fear came upon all who witnessed this miracle.

But as for the people who worshipped and served the tree, they were angry, and rent their garments, and seized the holy Mark and beat him, and gave him up to the unbelieving Jews, who cast him into prison. That night the holy Mark saw in his sleep the Lord Christ, saying to Peter: “I will bring forth all those that are in prison.” So when he awoke from his sleep, he saw the doors of his prison open; and he and all those with him in prison went forth; for the gaolers of the prison were asleep like dead men. But the multitudes who witnessed what took place said: “There is no end to our work with these Galileans, for they do these deeds by Beelzebub, the chief of the devils.”

And Mark was one of the Seventy Disciples. And he was one of the servants who poured out the water which Our Lord turned into wine, at the marriage of Cana in Galilee. And it was he who carried the jar of water into the house of Simon the Cyrenian, at the time of the sacramental Supper. And it was also he who entertained the disciples in his house, at the time of the Passion of the Lord Christ, and after his resurrection from the dead, where he entered to them while the doors were shut.

And after his Ascension into heaven, Mark went with Peter to Jerusalem, and they preached the word of God to the multitudes. And the Holy Ghost appeared to Peter, and commanded him to go to the cities and the villages which were in that country. So Peter, and Mark with him, went to the district of Bethany, and preached the word of God; and Peter remained there some days. And he saw in a dream the angel of God, who said to him: “In two places there is great dearth.” So Peter said to the angel: “Which places meanest thou?” He said to him: “The city of Alexandria with the land of Egypt, and the land of Rome. It is not a dearth of bread and water, but a dearth arising from ignorance of the Word of God, which thou preachest.” So when Peter awoke from his sleep, he told Mark what he had witnessed in his dream. And after that, Peter and Mark went to the region of Rome, and preached there the word of God.

And in the fifteenth year after the Ascension of Christ, the holy Peter sent Saint Mark, the father and evangelist, to the city of Alexandria, to announce the good tidings there, and to preach the word of God and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is due glory, honour and worship, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the one God forever. Amen.

CHAPTER II.

Martyrdom of the holy Mark, and his preaching in the city of Alexandria.

In the time of the dispensation of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, after his Ascension into heaven, all the countries were allotted among the apostles, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that they might preach in them the words of the good tidings of the Lord Jesus Christ. And after a time it fell to the lot of Mark the evangelist to go to the province of Egypt, and the great city of Alexandria, by the command of the Holy Ghost, that he might cause the people to hear the words of the gospel of the Lord Christ, and confirm them therein; for they were in error and sunk in the service of idols, and in the worship of the creature instead of the Creator. And they had many temples to their contemptible gods, whom they ministered to in every place, and served with every iniquity and magical art, and to whom they offered sacrifices among themselves. For he was the first who preached in the province of Egypt, and Africa, and Pentapolis, and all those regions.

So when the holy Mark returned from Rome, he betook himself first to Pentapolis and preached in all its districts the word of God, and shewed many miracles; for he healed the sick, and cleansed the lepers, and cast out devils by the grace of God which descended upon him. And many believed in the Lord Christ through him, and broke their idols which they used to worship, and all the trees which the devils used to haunt, and from which they addressed the people. And he baptized them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, the One God.

And so the Holy Ghost appeared to him, and said to him: “Rise and go to the city of Alexandria, to sow there the good seed which is the word of God.” So the disciple of Christ arose and set out, being strengthened by the Holy Ghost, like a combatant in war; and he saluted the brethren, and took leave of them and said to them: “The Lord Jesus Christ will make my road easy, that I may go to Alexandria and preach his holy gospel there.” Then he prayed and said: “O Lord strengthen the brethren who have known thy holy name that I may return to them rejoicing in them.” Then the brethren bade him farewell.

So Mark journeyed to the city of Alexandria; and when he entered in at the gate, the strap of his shoe broke. And when he saw this, he thought: “Now I know that the Lord has made my way easy.” Then he turned, and saw a cobbler there, and went to him and gave him the shoe that he might mend it. And when the cobbler received it, and took the awl to work upon it, the awl pierced his hand. So he said: “Heis ho Theos”; the interpretation of which is, “God is One”. And when the holy Mark heard him mention the name of God, he rejoiced greatly, and turned his face to the East and said: “O my Lord Jesus, it is thou that makest my road easy in every place.”

Then he spat on the ground and took from it clay, and put it on the place where the awl had pierced the cobbler’s hand, saying: “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, the One living and eternal God, may the hand of this man be healed at this moment, that thy holy name may be glorified.” Then his hand at once became whole.

The holy Mark said to him: “If thou knowest that God is one, why dost thou serve these many gods?” The cobbler answered him: “We mention God with our mouths, but that is all; for we know not who he is.”

And the cobbler remained astonished at the power of God which descended upon the holy Mark, and said to him: “I pray thee, O man of God, to come to the dwelling of thy servant, to rest and eat bread, for I find to-day thou hast conferred a benefit upon me.” Then the holy Mark replied with joy: “May the Lord give thee the bread of life in heaven!” And he went with him to his house. And when he entered his dwelling, he said, “May the blessing of God be in this house!” and he uttered a prayer.

After they had eaten, the cobbler said to him: “O my father, I beg thee to make known to me who thou art that hast worked this great miracle.” Then the saint answered him: “I serve Jesus Christ, the Son of the ever living God.” The cobbler exclaimed: “I would that I could see him.” The holy Mark said to him: “I will cause thee to behold him.”

Then he began to teach him the gospel of good tidings, and the doctrine of the glory and power and dominion which belong to God from the beginning, and exhorted him with many exhortations and instructions, of which his history bears witness, and ended by saying to him: “The Lord Christ in the last times became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and came into the world, and saved us from our sins.” And he explained to him what the prophets prophetised of him, passage by passage.

Then the cobbler said to him: “I have never heard at all of these books which thou speakest of; but the books of the Greek philosophers are what men teach their children here, and so do the Egyptians.”

So the holy Mark said to him: “The wisdom of the philosophers of this world is vanity before God.” Then when the cobbler had heard wisdom and the words of the Scriptures from the holy Mark, together with the great miracle which he had seen him work upon his hand, his heart inclined towards him, and he believed in the Lord, and was baptised, he and all the people of his house, and all his neighbours. And his name was Annianus.

And when those that believed in the Lord were multiplied, and the people of the city heard that a man who was a Jew and a Galilean had entered the city, wishing to overthrow the worship of the idols, their gods, and had persuaded many to abstain from serving them, they sought him everywhere; and they appointed men to watch for him. So when the holy Mark knew that they were conspiring together, he ordained Annianus bishop of Alexandria, and also ordained three priests and seven deacons, and appointed these eleven to serve and to comfort the faithful brethren. But he himself departed from among them, and went to Pentapolis, and remained there two years, preaching and appointing bishops and priests and deacons in all their districts.

Then he returned to Alexandria, and found that the brethren had been strengthened in the faith, and had multiplied by the grace of God, and had found means to build a church in a place called the Cattle-pasture [Ta Boukolou], near the sea, beside a rock from which stone is hewn. So the holy Mark greatly rejoiced at this; and he fell upon his knees, and blessed God for confirming the servants of the faith, whom he had himself instructed in the doctrines of the Lord Christ, and because they had turned away from the service of idols.

But when those unbelievers learnt that the holy Mark had returned to Alexandria, they were filled with fury on account of the works which the believers in Christ wrought, such as healing the sick, and driving out devils, and loosing the tongues of the dumb, and opening the ears of the deaf, and cleansing the lepers; and they sought for the holy Mark with great fury, but found him not; and they gnashed against him with their teeth in their temples and places of their idols, in wrath, saying: “Do you not see the wickedness of this sorcerer?”

And on the first day of the week, the day of the Easter festival of the Lord Christ, which fell that year on the 29th of Barmudah, when the festival of the idolatrous unbelievers also took place, they sought him with zeal, and found him in the sanctuary. So they rushed forward and seized him, and fastened a rope round his throat, and dragged him along the ground, saying: “Drag the serpent through the cattle-shed! [Syromen ton boubalon en tois Boukolou!]” But the saint, while they dragged him, kept praising God and saying: “Thanks be to thee, O Lord, because Thou hast made me worthy to suffer for thy holy name.” And his flesh was lacerated, and clove to the stones of the streets; and his blood ran over the ground.

So when evening came, they took him to the prison, that they might take counsel how they should put him to death. And at midnight, the doors of the prison being shut, and the gaolers asleep at the doors, behold there was a great earthquake and a mighty tumult. And the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and entered to the saint, and said to him: “O Mark, servant of God, behold thy name is written in the book of life; and thou art numbered among the assembly of the saints, and thy soul shall sing praises with the angels in the heavens; and thy body shall not perish nor cease to exist upon earth.”

And when he awoke from his sleep he raised his eyes to heaven, and said: “I thank thee, O my Lord Jesus Christ, and pray thee to receive me to thyself, that I may be happy in thy goodness.” And when he had finished these words, he slept again; and the Lord Christ appeared to him in the form in which the disciples knew him and said to him: “Hail Mark, the evangelist and chosen one!” So the saint said to him: “I thank thee, O my Saviour Jesus Christ, because thou hast made me worthy to suffer for thy holy name.” And the Lord and Saviour gave him his salutation, and disappeared from him.

And when he awoke, and morning had come, the multitude assembled, and brought the saint out of the prison, and put a rope again round his neck, and said: “Drag the serpent through the cattle-shed!” And they drew the saint along the ground, while he gave thanks to the Lord Christ, and glorified him, saying: “I render my spirit into thy hands, O my God!” After saying these words, the saint gave up the ghost.

Then the ministers of the unclean idols collected much wood in a place called Angelion, that they might burn the body of the saint there. But by the command of God there was a thick mist and a strong wind, so that the earth trembled; and much rain fell, and many of the people died of fear and terror; and they said: “Verily, Serapis, the idol, has come to seek the man who has been killed this day.”

Then the faithful brethren assembled, and took the body of the holy Saint Mark from the ashes; and nothing in it had been changed. And they carried it to the church in which they used to celebrate the Liturgy; and they enshrouded it, and prayed over it according to the established rites. And they dug a place for him, and buried his body there; that they might preserve his memory at all times with joy and supplication, and benediction, on account of the grace which the Lord Christ gave them by his means in the city of Alexandria. And they placed him in the eastern part of the church, on the day on which his martyrdom was accomplished (he being the first of the Galileans to be martyred for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in Alexandria), namely the last day of Barmudah according to the reckoning of the Egyptians, which is equivalent to the 8th day before the kalends of May among the months of the Romans, and the 24th of Nisan among the months of the Hebrews.

And we also, the sons of the orthodox, offer glory and sanctification and praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom is due laud and honour and worship, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the Giver of Life and Consubstantial One, now and forever.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The St. Pachomius Orthodox Library, St. Mark’s Day 1996.

Have mercy, O Lord, upon Thy servants the translator Basil and the
scribes Tychon, Marsha, Michael, George, Mark, Margaret, Andre,
Simrete Selassie, and Edward!

“Religions Together for Humanitarian Action”

On 27 May 2015, a Symposium “Religions Together for Humanitarian Action” was held in Geneva, organized by the Order of Malta in cooperation with the World Humanitarian Summit Secretariat. It focused on the specific contribution of faith-based actors to humanitarian action and how they could improve assistance and protection to victims of armed conflicts, as well as facilitate reconciliation.

The Symposium contributes to the global debate leading to the World Humanitarian Summit, which will be held in Istanbul in May 2016.

More information on the content of the Symposium in English could be found here.

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