Kyrillos first life:
VI was born on Saturday, August 2, 1902 and was called Azer Ata. His father Ata,
was a church deacon and belonged to a middle class family. After completing high
school, Azer went to work for a shipping company in Alexandria. Azer was content
with little food and the ground to sleep on. Then much against his family's
wishes, he resigned his job with the intention of becoming a monk and entered
the Monastery of El-Baramous on Wednesday, July 27, 1927. He was ordained monk
on Saturday, February 25, 1928 and was named Mina after the name of Saint Mina (Menas
or Mena), his patron saint. He was ordained priest on Saturday, July 18, 1931.
He also attended the Helwan Theological College and was rated one of the top
Kyrillos as a Monk:
love for God was so great that he desired a life of solitude. Only thirty years
old at the time, the monks refused his request saying, "You are only thirty
years old and your monastic life is only five years. Do you want to pursue the
life of solitude in the desert whereas many others before you have struggled for
the same goal for thirty or forty years and failed?" The assembly of monks did
not change Father Mina's decision and he lived in a cave near the monastery. He
pursued a life of solitude at El-Natron Valley in the western desert between
Cairo and Alexandria, then he headed the Monastery of Saint Anba Samuel the
Confessor at Zawarah in upper Egypt and devoted a great deal of effort toward
the restoration of this historic landmark.
When the monastery of Saint Samuel was restored, he left that area and moved to
a deserted windmill in El-Moukatam mountain at the outskirts of Cairo. This
windmill was totally abandoned and very dangerous. It was miles from the nearest
city. Many dangerous animals can be found there at all times, like scorpions and
snakes. Here, Father Mina spent his time praying and contemplating because of
his love for his Saviour.
It goes without saying that Father Mina had many obstacles to overcome which
Satan setup. First Satan instigated the guard of Antiquities not to carry water
to the monk. Afterward, God sent one of his saints in a dream to rebuke the
guard. So he woke up and carried water to Father Mina who was in urgent need for
incident, Satan sent robbers to the windmill. The robbers beat Father Mina and
injured his head. When Father Mina regained consciousness, he noticed he was
bleeding. He crawled to the icon of Saint Mina and put the icon on his head. The
bleeding stopped at once. Father Mina then went to the hospital to be treated.
The doctors were surprised when they found out that he walked 15 miles from the
also built a church at Ancient Cairo under the name of Saint Mina. He lived in
this church till his ordination as Pope of Alexandria and the Holy See of Saint
Mark in 1959. He found himself surrounded with college students, many of them
were from outside Cairo, so he started a dormitory for students who needed this
service. This informal program produced the first church-affiliated dormitory in
modern times in Egypt, and produced many Church leaders, some of them became
bishops and priests later on, e.g., the late bishop Samuel and His Holiness Pope
Shenouda III (his successor), etc.
Mina used to clean the dormitory and the lavatories by himself without letting
anybody know, and would not let anyone else do this job. By humiliating himself
and serving others, he fulfilled our Lord's commandment: "But it shall not be so
among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And
whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of
man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a
ransom for many." (Matthew
20:26 -- KJV)
Pope of Alexandria:
was ordained Pope on Sunday May 10, 1959 and was named Kyrillos VI. Before him,
five popes of Alexandria bore the name Kyrillos (Cyril); the first of them was
Saint Cyril the Great of Alexandria, the pillar of faith, who acted against
Nestorianism and used the title Theotokos, meaning God bearer, or Mother
of God, for the Virgin Mary.
enthronement day of our holy father, Pope Kyrillos VI declared that by becoming
the pastor, he was also the loving and vigilant pastor of all. At the end of the
liturgy, all people gathered around him and he began to bless them individually,
standing for long hours with meekness and patience. The metropolitans and
bishops felt pity for him after noticing the sweat and his fatigue. They
beseeched him to rest. But the pope refused to send anybody away and insisted on
finishing. From then on, Pope Kyrillos continued
abolished any barrier between him and his sons. As a result, one could meet the
pope whenever in need, even if he was sick or even if one came by night while
everybody else slept. When he was asleep, his patron saint, Saint Mina, would
awaken him. Once, as Father Raphael Ava Mina says, someone went to Pope Kyrillos
to pray for him because all medical effort to heal him had failed. But the Pope
was asleep so the person was about to go home. But Saint Mina awakened the Pope
to give him his blessings. The man was surprised to find the pope calling him by
his name even though he had never seen him before.
The amount of documented miracles performed by Pope Kyrillos and his patron
saint, St. Mina, is immense. It is said that nearly every person who lived in
the days of Pope Kyrillos witnessed a personal miracle, whether healing from
various diseases, miraculous solving of difficult life problems, casting out of
devils or just revelation of people's past. And till our present day, Pope
Kyrillos performs miracles which are documented. There are many printed volumes
documenting the miracles of Pope Kyrillos. Originally published in Arabic by
'Pope Kyrillos the VI Society', many of these volumes were also translated to
English, French and other languages.
might ask why does it matter if Pope Kyrillos performed miracles. In fact some
have asserted, as the Pharisees did, that miracles are the work of the devil.
But we have seen otherwise. The miracles of Pope Kyrillos helped strengthening
people's faith and they returned to God. Unveiling people's secrets often leads
them to faith and changes their presumptuous thoughts, as it did with Nathanael
1:45). Nathanael had changed from a doubter who said, "Can anything good come
out of Nazareth?" to a believer saying, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God." The
gift of revelation leads to repentance. The Samaritan woman began her discussion
with Jesus with contempt. But because Jesus revealed her thoughts, she said to
everyone, "Come, see a man who told me all things that I ever did."
said that Pope Kyrillos VI prayed more than 12,000 masses during his lifetime.
He would start the day spiritually at 3:00 or 4:00 am with the Holy Psalmody and
finish the liturgy early so that many of his children can go to school and work.
This continued for thirty five years ever since the pope was a hermit. The mass
service was the source of his strength and greatness. Didn't the Lord say: "I
love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find
8:17 - KJV). The Psalmist also said: "I rise before the dawning of the morning,
and cry for help; I hope in Your word. My eyes are awake through the night
watches, that I may meditate on Your word." (Psalms
119:147-148 - NKJV).
The late Bishop Mina El-Samueli spent a few years of his monastic life with
Father Mina. He recalled this story. He said, "Father Mina the Hermit used to
wake up at 2:00 am, start the midnight Agpeya prayers, bake the 'korban', raise
incense then serve the holy mass which would end around 8:00 am. This meant
spending six continuous hours in prayer. Afterwards, he would meet with those
who were hungry and thirsty for God's mercy. Here is a sick person looking for a
cure which he attains through the prayers of Father Mina. There is another
facing a major decision in need of God's guidance and obtains it through Father
Mina's advice. A third is tormented by a demon and is healed when Father Mina
prays for him... Whoever sat with Father Mina obtained a definite relief, a
heavenly relief. So one would leave knowing that his ship had found a true haven
and his soul was filled with peace."
One day Pope
Kyrillos received a foreign priest in his private room at the old Cathedral of
Saint Mark. The priest, seeing that the room of His Holiness was very humble and
not to the standard a pope deserves, asked His Holiness to give him the
permission to furnish the room and decorate it with the most luxurious
furniture. The Pope laughed and thanked him for his love, saying: "The room in
its current state is still much better than the manger where the Christ was
born." In his first papal letter, Pope Kyrillos said: "Let us disappear for God
to appear with His blessed glory."
achievements in the era of Pope Kyrillos VI were done. Among them are:
of the ancient Cathedral of Saint Mark, the establishment of the Monastery of
Saint Mina at Mariout, and the new Saint Mark's Cathedral at Anba Rouis.
For the first time in the history of the Coptic Orthodox Church, he established
Coptic Orthodox churches in Asia, America, Canada and Australia. He sent priests
to undertake religious services in Europe and Africa. It is also during
his era that the Blessed Virgin Mary transfigured at Zeitoun.
the body (relics) of Saint Mark from Italy. Saint Mark, who wrote the Gospel
bearing his name, is the founder of the Coptic Church. After his martyrdom in
Alexandria in 68 A.D., his body was kept in Egypt but eventually ended up in
Rome. For many centuries, the Coptic Orthodox Church wanted the relics of her
patron saint back.
It was under the papacy of Pope Kyrillos VI that this dream came true, a few
months after the start of the miraculous apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary
at Zeitoun, Egypt. From the time Pope Kyrillos stepped off the plane which
brought the holy relics, hymns, liturgies and doxologies were sung incessantly.
Luminous celestial beings in the shape of white pigeons flew over Cairo Airport
and were seen by all attendants (it was half an hour before midnight and real
pigeons do not fly by night). These beings were similar to the 'doves' that
accompanied the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Zeitoun; they appeared
suddenly and also disappeared suddenly.
The body of Saint Mark was finally placed in the new Cathedral of Saint Mark.
Monasticism, translation as well as social service flourished; many churches
were built. He made the sacred unction (Holy Chrism or meron) used for anointing
the body of the person after being baptised, with the view of being sacred as
the temple of God.
In his last days on our vanishing earth, he was gravely ill with phlebitis. They
hooked a speaker from the great Cathedral to his bedroom at his request because
he could not bear not being able to perform liturgy daily as before. One day the
head mother of one of the convents (monasteries for nuns) wanted to speak to him
on the phone, but the staff wouldn't give out his private number. Anba Kyrillos
appeared to her in a vision, gave her the number and comforted her. She did not
call, but later on she was blessed by seeing him and was rendered speechless
when Anba Kyrillos asked her the reason she did not call on his private line.
Our Father Papa Ava Kyrillos departed on Tuesday, March 9, 1971. Initially, they
buried him under the Altar in the Great Cathedral in Cairo. But when his
successor, H.H. Pope Shenouda III read his will, he had to follow his wishes and
move his holy body to the desert south west of Alexandria, to the Monastery of
Saint Mina which was re-established and immensely expanded by Pope Kyrillos to
honour his patron saint, St. Mina of Mariout.
May the prayers and intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and
of Pope Saint Kyrillos VI and his patron Saint, St. Mina the martyr and
miracle-maker of Mariout be with us. Glory be to God forever. Amen.
Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your
strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)