Bishop Sarabamoun

Bishop Sarabamoun

Was born in Esna (the martyrs city) on Christmas day, January 7, 1860, his name was Yohanna. He went to El Sorian monastery at the age seventeen to become a monk, he was ordained monk at the Easter eve 1878 by the name of Yohanna El Esnawy, during the time of hegomain Yohanna Bishara the abbot. On 1931, the Manara (lighthouse) magazine wrote about anba Sarabamon, explaining the truth overcome lie under its footsteps saying:"I used to read a lot about St. John the roman, owner of the golden bible, who left his father kingdom and follow the bible “. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me, and he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me, he who find his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:37-39). And also “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul” (Matthew 16:26). I was very sick and I said to God; if you hail me I will go to the monastery; my Lord Jesus Christ hailed me, immediately I left my home and went to El Sorian Monastery on 1877 seeking myself salvation. Was ordained a priest on the Easter eve 1877, then hegomain on 1887. Anba Kyrolos choose him to be the abbot of El Sorian monastery at El Natron Valley. He had movement in the reconstruction of the monastery, where he built cells for the monks and palace for the visitors. Also renewed the monastery garden and build five housed in Cairo and bought ten acres to increase the monastery income to 120 Egyptian pounds per month, which was a lot of money that time. The monks were in the spiritual growth, providing them with all their needs, so that all the love and praise him and they did not even want to move away from him due to the many qualities and good provided. His Holiness Pope Cyril V has been identified on Sunday, July 12, 1897, to ordain Fr. Abd El Misseh El Anba Bishoy bishop for Assyut City and Fr Marcos El Anba Paula bishop for Sudan. On the day of ordination, Fr Marcos ran away because his brother scares him from Sudan. So he send to get him any monk from El Ezbawya church in Cairo, he found Fr Yohanna which agreed to accept the Godly command. He was ordained bishop for Sudan. It's most important; In the Sudan before the ordination of Bishop sarabamon the majority of Christians have left Sudan during the reign of the Mahdi, the few that remained in Sudan has been under pressure and that many of them returned to Christianity, and some did not. Hence the designation of a El Mesalma neighborhood Om-drman. After the opening of the Sudan in 1899 the Copts again returned to Sudan. In two years the purchased a large lot north of Om-drman and built their homes, so it is called El Nassara terrace. And they started their business, especially in trade. Bishop Sarabamon arrives to Sudan after one year of his ordination and start building the first Coptic Church in an area was giving to church by the government. He built elementary school next to the church and when school could not pay the teachers salaries, he sold his own Donkey (the only transportation he had) for seven Sudanese pounds and give to the school to pay out teachers salaries. The principal was Habib Salama, in 1904 chose the Church place of Our Lady in Khartoum (Currently the diocese) and to lay the foundation stone in the Pope Kyrollos V of his first visit to Sudan. He also sent an engineer from the Patriarchate, to oversee the construction. Arrived a letter from His Holiness the Pope to anba Sarabamon saying: Sent to you Mr. Hamza the engineer for a monthly salary of 6.00 LE plus the Donkey food, his transportation that time, that time the golden pound = .97 LE. Pope Cyril has contributed a portion of the costs, also contributed a large part of the costs.

Ibrahim Khalil one of the richest in Sudan (Anba Danial’s Father) was consecrated in the second visit of Pope Cyril V of the Sudan on February 14, 1909. He was accompanied by Deacon Habib Girgis, same time he promoted anba Sarabamon to metropolitan. In 1912 built St. George church in east Khartoum, and St Mary Church in Omdorman. On 1914 built St. Mary church in Atbarah. On 1915 built St. George church in Abyad, and Damer and Portsudan Churches. On 1919 built the Coptic collage in Khartoum, and on 1924 built the Coptic collage for girls, he give a lot of attention to education in Sudan, so that schools had a higher standard of education than any other school in the country, providing school with best teachers. It served both, Christians and Muslims equally. Bishop Sarabamon use to go around Egypt collecting donations, asking people to donate what would buy a chicken that time (few pennies), as he saying God accept even the lowest gift. He was a friend of saints, whoever visited him at his cell used to hear him talking with Saint Mary, Archangel Michael, Archangel Gabriel and other saints. During the seventy five years his time on earth, there were many living saints such as Anba Abraam the bishop of Fayoom, and Anba Michael El Bihery his disciple, also abona Abd El Messeh El Masaudy. Had the simplicity and purity of heart, as our lord Jesus Christ said:” blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8). Once visited by the governor-general, without prior notice, he saw Anba Sarabamon dressed in a simple cloth and carrying building material for the builders, once he saw him, he went and change his cloth and told him; I’m a monk and the monk has to work hard to control his body and gain virtue, the governor respected him more and donated large some of money to help with the building, then asked for his blessing before he leave.

Some of Anba Sarabamon miracles:

-There was a generous man his name is Makar, he was famous and rich, no one knew where he hide his money, anba Sarabamon when to his hiding place and asked him to donate all his cash because he needs it and the Lord will bless you, Mr. Makar was surprised but he did, and God blessed his live more and became a famous man that everybody knew him by name.

-He used to go to the zoo and stop by the lion cage, and call him to come out of his hiding place, the lion always gets out to meet with him like a friend, then he put his blessed hand on the lion head, blessing him and ask him to go back, which he does.

-One day he used the electric train and sat at a place designated for women, the ticket master refused and ask him to move to another place, he said; son I’m an old man just let me set there. He refused and asked him to leave; he left and starts waking on his feet. The train did not move, the mechanic checked everything and did not what is the problem, someone said go call the old man and see what will happen, he ran after him and apologize for what he did and asked him to come back and set anywhere he want, once anba Sarabamon sat down at the same place the train start moving again.

-there was a lady by name OM Saber has a high fever (Typhoid Fever), 42c, they call anba Sarabamon to read the absolution before she die, he came and asked for one egg, he prayed for hour and half and asked the lady to eat it, once she did, the temperature went back to normal!

-He had the talent of cast away demons, once there was a house that the resident suffers of rocks falling on them all the time, they called anba Sarabamon which he asked for a cup of water, prayed and sparkles the water around the house, everything stop from that moment.

-Once there was a family issue between a husband and wife, they went to him for advise, he sat with the wife while left the man at his room, the man saw 10 LE bill, he took it, then left with his wife later, on his way home he had a lot of pain on his eye so he could not see, he went back to anba Sarabamon and confess of steeling the money, he laughed and got a cup of water pray and put some on the man’s eye which back to normal, and told him this is not my money, plus if you need anything just ask me and I will give it to you, no need to steel.

During his last days there was a dispute between him and father Youhanna Salama (which was supported by the British government), so pope Kyrellos called both to Egypt, however after he arrived, the pope past away on 1927 and anba Sarabamon spent the rest of his life in Egypt till he died in Christ on July 18, 1935. He was buried on St. Abo Sefeen, old Egypt. May his blessing be with us all amen.

After his death Sudan chair stayed vacant for 12 years, until Pope Anba Usab ordained new bishops on 1947.