ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ  ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ

Archdiocese of the Western USA

Mor Shmuel (Samuel) of Qartmin, May 15 ܡܪܝ ܫܡܘܐܝܠ ܕܩܪܬܡܝܢ

St. Samuel (A.D. 409)


His Early Life

Yuhannon, the father of Samuel, was a wealthy and good man who was the leader of his village Eshtin. It was near a town called Sawro (the neck of the valley) which is in the vicinity of Mardin. Because Yuhannon did not have children, he was always giving alms to the needy and poor of his village. He was praying to God to give him a child.


God heard his prayer and his wife became pregnant and gave birth to a son and named him Samuel. An angel of God appeared saying to Yuhannon, "the child will become famous and the name of the Lord will be glorified."


Samuel, son of Yuhannon, grew up in the fear of God. He was sent to the village school where he received the necessary studies. From his childhood there were signs of holiness appearing in him. When he arrived at the age of puberty, he started to love the ascetic life and he chose for himself to be alone. He sought righteousness day after day and lodged in a residence three kilometers from his village. He built there a monastery and eight brothers came to love with him. God gave his father another son, Shomir, who helped his brother in the building of the monastery.


Samuel left there going to the mountains above Nusaybin ܢܨܝܒܝܢ (Nisibis, an ancient city). It is written in the history of St. Ephrem the Syrian that Nusaybin was completely a Syrian/Aramaic city in language and culture in the 4th century. It was on the Roman/Persian border then. Today it is under the rule of the Turks. The name of Nusaybin means, "planted (place)" It was named because of the numerous gardens. It was named by the Greeks as Antioch Macedonia because of the river Macidos that runs through the middle of the city.


He spent three years there till the other monks found him on that mountain. Many brothers came to him because they wanted to leave the world. They stayed with him, calling him Abay (Father) because they were amazed at his ascetic life. After he stayed in the monastery about seven years there grew to be about thirty brothers.


Mor Karpos the bishop of Sawro ܨܘܪܐ came to visit him and ordained him a priest. The bishop came because he was fleeing the persecution of the Persians. Shappur II (310-379 AD) who was call 'one with broad shoulders', was cruel in his persecution of Christians. His persecution of the Christians lasted 14 years. He was cruel to the Romans also. His troops took over the region of Amida (Diyarbakir), Dara, Edessa (Urfa), and Harran and they burned them. Then he returned to Nusaybin. Some of his troops climbed the mountain and burned Mor Samuel's monastery (Mor Abay). The troops took Karpos to their Marzaban (leader) which is mentioned in the inscriptions of Nusaybin and asked him many questions about his religion. He wanted him to deny Jesus. When he could not convert him he had his head cut off. Mor Samuel was able to retrieve the body of the martyred bishop. He buried him with great honor in the monastery which he afterward renewed.


Mor Samuel in Qartmin

Then Mor Samuel left the monastery secretly and took with him the relics of the martyred Mor Karpos. He came to the village of Qartmin where he settled in the south near the spring.


There was in Qartmin a leader named Saliba. His smallest son was sick. He was four years and seven months old. When he was very sick, his father took him to Mor Samuel to pray for his son. He went with him and prayed for him and he recovered from his illness. His father gave many alms to the poor people and he built a temple at Qartmin for the honor of the martyred Mor Karpos. Every year he invited poor people to a feast on the day of his martyrdom.


When he grew up, Shemoun was taken by his father to Mor Samuel who gave him the clothes of a monk. Every day Shemoun was enlightened in the knowledge of God and he excelled in fasting and prayer. He imitated his teacher as he loved the ascetic life of silence.


Samuel Looks for a Place to Build his Monastery

The life story of Mor Samuel teaches us that his disciple Shemoun was bringing water to him from the spring in a basket. The first day when he brought the water in a basket, he had not asked him how to do it. His Abbot was happy to see this. One day at the well he found there some girls washing clothes. Some evil thoughts came to his mind. He was not able to fill his basket with water again. He could not keep water in the basket. He retuned to his Abbot ashamed and he told him the story. Mor Samuel said, "Let us go from this place before we are caught in the trap of Satan." Shemoun said, "Let it be as you will, my Abbot." When they finished the morning prayer they left asking God to prepare a place for them to dwell.


The building of the Monastery

How the Angel Marked out the Design of the Temple

They walked with his students to the east and to the south singing Psalms when night arrived. They came to a river which belonged to the pagans. As they passed about a stones throwaway they finished their prayers and they rested.


After they took a little rest, the angel of the Lord came in the likeness of Mor Samuel. He awoke Mor Shemoun saying to him, Stand, my son! Let us lay the foundation of the monastery." He followed the angel to a place of ruins where the angel showed him a big rock on the West side. He said, "Here will be the West door." He returned to the south and showed him another stone and said, "Here will be another door." Immediately they walked a little further East and the angel lifted up and moved a great block of stone, hewn by a mason in ancient times. He raised it from the ground and suspended it at a height of a span or more and left it hanging.


The angel gave Mor Shemoun a measuring line and together they measured out a wide expanse from the East to the West and from the North to the South. Simeon was amazed and marveled at the breadth of this building. Privately he was thinking, "Two people have no need of such a space and size." But the angel, knowing his secret thoughts said to him as if it was the master who spoke, By the power and will of God here my people will be gathered in this monastery."


And this is actually what happened. In the lifetime of the Blessed One, more than four hundred people came to the place, saintly people with powers and healing.


The angel and Mor Simeon returned to where the Blessed Mor Samuel was. While Mor Simeon slept, the angel was raised to heaven. But Simeon had not realized that it was an angel. In this way they had put down the foundation of this wonderful monastery according to the design of Mor Simeon, something which was pointing to the foundation of this wonderful monastery according to the future of the monastery.


Mor Samuel awoke at midnight. When he had finished the midnight prayer, he said to his disciple, "My son, let us finish building. Let us gather stones and make ourselves a house of prayer on the foundations we marked out yesterday evening." Mor Simeon said, Master, have we not spent the whole night marking out the foundations of this huge abbey? We placed blocks of stone in three different places as markers. Moreover, it has taken us all this time since last evening just to measure the vastness of the foundations of the house of prayer. His is it that you are now saying, "Let us build another house of prayer?"


When the saintly old man heard this he understood by the eye of the spirit what had happened, and he realized that his chaste disciple was not talking non-sense. He replied, "Yes, my son, it is just as you said. But now get up and walk! Let us go to the place where we made out measurements, beginning in the evening." They went to the place where the angel made the design. They saw that the stones were put like a sign. When Samuel saw this, he was very happy.


Then they started building the great Temple in the year seven hundred and eight of Alexander (A.D. 396/7), son of Philip, first king of the Greeks when Arcadius Caesar held chief place in the Kingdom of Constantinople, while Honorius was king of the Romans, in the days of Mor Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, and Celestinus, Patriarch of Rome.


When they began building the first part to be built right at the beginning was on the West side, near the two marker stones placed by the angel and Mor Simeon. They placed the first marker in the foundations of the West door. On this stone they engraved a Cross and an Inscription, and everyone gets a blessing from it on entering and on leaving. This door is open to the West. A little way from the North, on the second marker, they placed another door, which looks South. This is called the Reservoir Door. Both are closed now. But the West door is the only one used now. 


The Big Cistern

After the monks increased in number in the monastery a big cistern of water was built. It had three vaults. Rainwater was gathered here. The length was 40 cubits, breadth 36 cubits, and the height 25 cubits. They made channels in the ground from a long distance to gather the water (it was cleaned and restored in the time of Abbot Timotheos Aktas, Archbishop of Turabdin, and is now used for watering the gardens of the monastery). On the inward side of it, Mor Samuel and Mor Shemoun and the rest of the brothers set to and built cells with a wall surrounding themselves. They called it Beth Shuroye. In it they built the Temple of Mor Samuel.


Building in the Times of the Two Kings: Arcadius and Honorarius


News of this Abbey flew all the way to those faithful kings of the Romans: Honorarius and Acadius, sons of the triumphant Theodosius the Elder. Their mother was the sister of Maximus and Domatius, sons of the righteous King Valentius. They had become proven monks and the faithful kings Honorarius and Arcadius sent gifts with much gold in the hands of Rumelius, the chief eunuch. When they reached this place they set down in it limitless wealth. And he built a great vault to the South of the Temple of Samuel. They dug two great pits, one to the north and one to the East of the Temple of Mor Samuel. Furthermore, they built a great dome to the South of the Temple and off the great vault.


Besides this the two emperors sent presents. It was spent by the monks for olive oil for the lamps and candles and also they sent very precious vestments for the altar of the monastery.


As for Mor Samuel, he was glad in his soul and rejoiced in these great buildings. For this ruin formerly had been a house of idols. The saint found bases where statues had been placed. He found inscriptions still intact. When the saint effaced them they offered praises to God day and night.


Mor Samuel heals Theodora, the daughter of king Arcadius

Satan was very angry and he was trying to cheat Mor Samuel. So Satan went and dwelled in Theodora, the daughter of Arcadius. The girl began to cry out, "Samuel, Samuel, let him come out and heal me." When the King heard this, he sent for the Blessed One. But when the messengers reached the saint, he was very displeased because of the length of the journey. So the monks arose with the chiefs of that godly band and knelt in prayer for three days and three nights, not pausing even for a moment or having anything to eat. Then on the fourth night, the saint saw a man of fire with a scroll in his hand on which was written, "Write your name in person and the names of your fellow four hundred companions and say, I Samuel, Abbot of Shuroye, say to you, Oh hater of our race, it is forbidden for you to dwell in this girl or harm any part of her." The Blessed One arose and wrote as he was told. He gave the letter to the messengers who had come from the king. The envoys took the letter in faith and returned to their country and to the king.


When the king saw that the saint had not come with them he boiled with furious rage. He scratched his face with his hands and by the will of God his right eye was tom out. Then being ashamed, he went to an inner room and put a bandage over it. He sat down and wept and moaned. Not only was his daughter in possession of a devil, which was bad enough, but he had a second affliction with a bandage over it. His lacerated eye had disfigured him shamefully. With sobbing he fell into a deep sleep.


In his dream it seemed as if he had fallen into a well, which there was darkness without a single ray of light. In terrible anguish he looked and saw an old man at the top of the well. He had a beautiful white beard and he held in his hand a gorgeous staff. At the top was affixed a Cross that shone like the sun. Seeing the old man, the king wept and wailed, "I implore you in God's name, help me." He had hardly spoken when he came up out of the well and stood beside the old man. He prostrated himself and kissed his feet, weeping, and said, "By your life, my Lord, who are you blessed old man?" To which he replied, "I am Samuel, to whom you sent word about the sickness of your daughter." When the king heard this he cried out, "Blessed am I to have touched your holiness. "


He was still speaking these words in his sleep when he awoke and behold his son came in with the letter which the holy man had sent. The king kissed it and held it to his eyes. In that instant his eye was made whole and became like the other one. Overjoyed, he got up and without opening the letter took it to his daughter. He found her crying out - but it was the demon that spoke with her mouth, "What have I to do with you Samuel? Go chew on your white beard." But when the king opened the letter and read it, the demon came out of the girl in the shape of a dark skinned Indian man, screaming in a loud voice, "You disgust me you rebellious old man. Your cowl stinks. It is your humility that has defeated me." Everyone gave glory to God. It was the year 407 AD. Theodora, daughter of king Arcadius who had been healed, before the death of Samuel (d. 409 AD) built in the monastery a glorious dome from fine stones.


The Abbey received a further benefaction in the days of the victorious king, Theodosius the Younger who is worthy of a good memorial. In the first year of his reign and enthronement in the Great Palace of the Kingdom, sent his servants with gold. When they came to the Abbey they built a round house of eternity, that is a house of saints and a church of the Mother of God. Beside the church to the North they built a double House of Martyrs and two vaults constructed of hewn stones and they erected 15 bed in it. Outside of it they built another house which is called House of the Apostles. Nothing is left of it today. Above these handsome edifices they built a temple to the Forty Martyrs of Sebastia. It has since been renewed and used as a library today. Inside these buildings they created beautiful frescoes adorned and decorated with every color. There are inscriptions in Estrangelo. Nothing is left of these things today.


When Samuel arrived at the time of his death he turned over his office of the Abbot to his disciple Mor Simeon. On Tuesday, 15th of May, in the year 409 AD, he accepted the invitation of his Lord. His body was buried in Beth Qadishe (the tombs of saints). For seven days the community prayed and continuously prayer over his body.


It is said, before the death of Mor Samuel there were gathered in the monastery over 400 students (monks), those who sought the ascetic life. They performed miracles and deeds of righteousness which the tongue cannot recount.


(translated from Syriac by Rev. Fr. Dale Johnson)