Michael V

MICHAEL V

A seventy-first patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (1145-1146). Michael, or Mikha’il ibn Danashtari as he is listed in the HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS, was a monk of the Monastery of Saint Macarius (DAYR ANBA MAQAR). He was a man of fine stature and he was dignified, chaste, and saintly. Nothing is known about his secular life beyond the fact that he was not a highly educated man. Michael concentrated on the art and traditions of monasticism, without aspiring to higher office. When his predecessor, GABRIEL II, died and the bishops and archons began their arduous search for a worthy successor, a monk of Anba Maqar by the name of Wanas or Yunus ibn Kadran came forth and requested the nomination for himself.

This automatically rendered him unworthy of consideration in the eyes of the majority of the congregation, despite the support that he secured from a few members of the community. Thus, it was decided in the absence of a clear choice to write three names on three cards and a fourth with the name of Jesus Christ and place them on the altar. After praying for three successive days and nights, they asked an innocent child to pick up the winning name. Michael’s name emerged from the lot as the Lord’s candidate.

Michael was made a deacon, then a presbyter, and on the third day he became a HEGUMENOS or archpriest. His final nomination was sanctioned by the caliph. He was taken to Alexandria for formal consecration in the Cathedral of Saint Mark, where he was met by the dignitaries of the with great honor. The History of the Patriarchs states that his days were secure and peaceful and that nothing special occurred in his reign beyond the consecration of five new bishops. Nothing is said about simoniacal imposts (CHEIROTONIA) from any of these bishops, and it must be assumed that his short reign was uneventful because he rendered his taxes without protest.

Michael’s patriarchate lasted eight months and four days, the last five months of which he spent severely ill at the Monastery of Saint Macarius, where he died and was buried. Some say that his death was precipitated by poisoning at the hands of the supporters of his old rival Ibn Kadran, but this view is not authenticated.

SUBHI Y. LABIB