Saint ABRAAM I, (Bishop Abraam) (1829-1914),
Bishop of the Fayyum noted for his holiness and devotion to the poor (feast day: 3 Ba’unah). Bishop Abraam was born under the name of Bulus. According to the Copto-Arabic SYNAXARION, his birthplace was ‘Izbat Jaldah in the district of Mallawi in the Minya Province. He received his early education in the village scriptorium, where he read the Bible, memorized the Psalms, and practised church singing. He was made deacon at his village church by Anba Yusab, bishop of Sanabu.
At the age of nineteen, he took the monastic vow at Dayr al-Muharraq (Deir el-Muharraq) near Asyut, under the name of Bulus Ghubriyal al-Muharraqi. There he remained for the next five years, during which he was elevated to the rank of HEGUMENOS. In the meantime, his monastic colleagues elected him head of their monastery. In this capacity, the monastery became a refuge for the poor people of the community, whom he aided unreservedly by the use of its income. In the long run, the monks became dissatisfied with his ways, which they considered as sheer dissipation of the fortunes of the monastery. They complained to Anba Marcus, archbishop of Beheira and acting patriarchal deputy after the decease of Demetrius II, who decided to relieve him from the headship of al-Muharraq. Eventually, he moved to the monastery of Our Lady, known as DAYR AL-BARAMUS (Paromeos Monastery or Baramos Monastery) in Wadi al-Natrun (Wadi El Natrun). There, he concentrated on biblical studies and became closely acquainted with the head of that institution, John the Scribe (Yuhanna al-Nasikh) who later became Patriarch CYRIL V.
In 1881, Cyril V appointed him bishop of the Fayyum, where he became identified as the father of the poor with whom he usually received his meals. When the patriarch offered him the title of metropolitan, he declined on the premise that the Bible mentioned only the titles of presbyter and bishop. His sanctity became known, and people of all faiths, including Muslims, came to seek his blessings. He gave all he possessed to the needy and conducted a strictly ascetic life. People spoke of his performance of miracles through prayer for the sick. At his death on 3 Ba’unah (10 June 1914), his funeral was followed by more than ten thousand people, including Muslims as well as Copts. His remains were deposited in the grave he had prepared for himself at DAYR AL-‘AZAB in the Fayyum, which became a pilgrimage place for his admirers.
MIRRIT B. GHALI