By H.G. Bishop Ermia
“And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Saint Pope Kyrillos VI | Beautiful Egypt #388
On the ninth of next March, the Copts of Egypt and the world celebrate the golden jubilee of the departure of Saint Pope Kyrillos VI (the one hundred sixteenth Patriarch of the See of Mark), who the Church canonized on Thursday, June 20, 2013, 43 years after his departure from this world.
Pope Kyrillos VI desired to live and die as a stranger, but God’s will chose him to become the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Yes, he fled from the world to the austere life of monasticism, devoting his life to God. God made him the shepherd of shepherds because he was a shepherd according to his heart, as the Bible says: “And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
Saint Pope Kyrillos VI Biography
Azer Youssef Atta (Saint Pope Kyrillos VI) began his life journey on August 8, 1902, in Toukh Al Nasara town. He lived in Damanhur with his family, who moved later to Alexandria. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree, he worked in Cook Shipping navigation company in Alexandria in 1921.
Saint Pope Kyrillos VI | The Monk
Azer longed for monastic life, so he decided to train himself on the life of solitude, retreat, fasting, and prayer. Then he resigned amidst everyone’s surprise, trying to discourage him, but he insisted on the path that he chose for himself. Azer headed to the Monastery of Saint Virgin Mary, known as Al-Baramous; where he was ordained a monk on February 25, 1928, named Mina Al-Baramousi. He studied at the Theological School in Helwan, then was ordained a priest in July 1931.
Priest Monk Mina Al-Baramousi refused to be ordained a bishop, so he fled to the Monastery of Saint Anba Shenouda, the Archimandrite in Sohag; for God was preparing him for another mission. After returning to his monastery, he reclused in a cave in the desert, an hour-walking far from the monastery.
Saint Pope Kyrillos VI | The Windmill
In 1936, Priest Monk Mina Al-Baramousi moved to Old Cairo’s desert to live in a windmill known afterward as “The Windmill of Pope Kyrillos.” Monk Mina the Recluse abided by daily prayer; his life began to attract many to him, as it was a light illuminating the path for them. His Australian manager said about him: “This young man has taught me how to respect him”! Also, Dr. Hassan Fouad, the director of Arab Antiquities, said about him: “Oh, father: You have raised the heads of the monks and have honored the Egyptian man. I send my warm greetings to you!”.
Saint Pope Kyrillos VI | The Archpriest
In 1941, Priest Monk Mina Al-Baramousi was assigned the presidency of the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Mount Qalamun, and in the meantime, he was promoted to an archpriest; he was moving between the mill and the monastery. However, the outbreak of the Second World War (1939-1945) hindered Archpriest Mina the Recluse from continuing his reclusion in the mill. He frequented the Southern Monastery of Archangel and the Church of Saint Virgin Mary in Babylon Stairway.
In 1947, he built a church in the name of martyr Saint Mina the Wonderworker; then he established a residence for students in 1949.
“Take it, Father Mina, I have granted it to you.” Pope Yoannis the Nineteenth | Saint Pope Kyrillos VI ~ Beautiful Egypt #388
Saint Pope Kyrillos VI | The Rod
The divine care had chosen Archpriest Mina the Recluse for the mission of taking care and tending the subjects of St. Mark the Apostle. Several signs came, including the dream Archpriest Mina the Recluse narrated to some of his close associates when he was still a monk living in the windmill.
Pope Yoannis the Nineteenth appeared in a dream to Archpriest Mina the Recluse and told him: “Look, Father Mina, the crosier was broken while I was climbing the mountain, I am very sad for it.” So, he replied: “Will Your Grace leave it for me for a little while?” He gave him the rod, then he fixed it and gave it back to him. The Pope rejoiced and told him: “Take it, Father Mina, I have granted it to you.”; So, he took it from his hand.
Archpriest Mina Recluse was ordained a patriarch on May 10, 1959. As for choosing the Patriarch’s name, it has a story…
Stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
H.G. Anba Ermia General Bishop Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center
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