Saints of Africa: April

Saint Mary of Egypt will be honored twice this month. Her feast day is April 1st and on the fifth Sunday of Great Lent as she is an example of repentance and God’s mercy on those who turn to Him. Those unfamiliar with her story can listen to this great Ancient Faith Radio episode.

Mark the Apostle and Evangelist is honored as the founder of the Coptic and Eastern Orthodox Church in Egypt. One of the earliest followers of Christ, he brought the Gospel to Africa peacefully without any thought of domination or physical force. Those who believe that the Christian faith was forced on our ancestors should take a look at Mark’s ministry as well as that of Matthew, Simon the Zealot, Photini (the Samaritan woman), and others who preached Jesus in the Motherland before Captain John H. Hawkins arrived in West Africa with the slave ship “Jesus.” Orthodox Christianity is the universal faith of all mankind.

Mary of Egypt

April 1st:  Mary of Egypt (530) – She is also venerated on the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent.  Mary lived in debauchery from the age of 12 in Alexandria.  She journeyed to Jerusalem where the Holy Spirit confronted her wickedness.  She repented and became a recluse in the Jordan wilderness.  Zosimas of Palestine (April 4th) discovered Mary during Great Lent and gave her the Eucharist before her blessed repose.

April 2nd:  Martyr Polycarp of Alexandria (4th century)

April 5th:  Mark the Athenian (400)  Born in Athens, Mark gave all of his wealth to the poor and was directed by God to a mountain in Libya (or Ethiopia) called Trache.  He was known for great ascetic struggles against his sins for 30 years.  Mark reposed at the age of 130 years.

Virgin Martyr Theodora and Martyr Didymus the Soldier of Alexandria (304)

Monk Publius of Egypt (4th century)

Theonas, Symenon, and Phorbinius of Egypt (4th century)

April 7th:  Serapion the Sidonite, Egyptian Monk (5th century) – Four lessons in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers are attributed to him.

April 10th:  Martyrs Terence, Africanus, Maximus, Pompeius and 36 others in Carthage (250) – Despite horrible tortures, they refused to worship the Roman idols.

April 11th:  Pharmuthius, Egyptian Anchorite (4th century)

April 13th:  Thomias of Alexandria (476)  Murdered by her vile father-in-law that sought to seduce her.  He was caught  in the room he killed her in.  From that time, she assist those who have adulterous temptations.

April 20th:  Athanasius of Mount Sinai (685)  Succeeded John Climacus as Abbot of the Mt. Sinai Monastery.  Known as an instructor against heretical teaching.

April 22nd:  Leonidas of Alexandria (202)  The father of Origen.  His son encouraged him being martyred, “Father, do not concern yourself over us and do not avoid martyrdom because of us.”

April 25th:  Mark the Apostle & Evangelist (68)  Born into a Jewish family in Egypt.  Mark was one of the 70 Apostles in Luke 10:1-24 and accompanied Paul and Peter in the spread of the Gospel.  He wrote his account of the Gospel and left Rome for the Babylon of Egypt and Alexandria.  He established the Church in Africa ordaining clergy in Egypt and Libya.  Both the Coptic and Eastern Patriarchate of Alexandria are descended from this Apostle.  He was martyred by being dragged to death by a horse drawn chariot.

Anianus, Second Bishop of Alexandria (86)  He was a shoe-maker that painfully wounded himself with a needle.  The Apostle Mark healed and preached the Gospel to him.  He was very devout and was consecrated bishop of Alexandria.

April 29th:  John Tolaius, Patriarch of Alexandria (482) – He was sent to Constantinople to request that the Alexandrian Patriarchate be allowed to elect their own Archbishop.  The Emperor Zenon permitted this under the condition that John would not be the elected one.  Returning to Alexandria, John broke the promise and was elected Patriarch.  He was quickly removed by the Governor of Egypt for perjury.  (from Orthodoxy in Africa, by Archimandrite Chrysostom Onyekakeya, Archdiocese of Nigeria)


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