Life of Mar Aba – chapter 21

21.  When the holy one heard this, he praised God: “I praise you, Lord Christ, Lord of all kings and King of all lords, that you have done me, a weakling, this great honour, that I am persecuted and reviled, because I confess you in truth as God, your Father and the holy, life-giving Spirit, and that I, for the sake of your great and terrible name, have been handed over by your persecutors to prison and imprisonment.  Show your mercy, O Lord,  to me and to all your holy church, which is useful and profitable for the glory and increase of your holy name.”

Then he said to the Mopetan Mopet, “The earth in all its fullness, the world and all its inhabitants, belong to the Lord.”[1]  Boldly he took the Rad of Azerbaijan by the hand and said, “Come, take me wherever you have been ordered to take me; see, I am happy with you.”  The vigorous fighter  (ἀγωνιστής) went to the field of combat in the strong power of Christ, and after his struggle had lasted seventy days, by the power of Christ he had not been overcome by the magians, but was strengthened by the struggle.  The lamb of Christ emerged victorious, so that he might go and battle with the young lions.

After the Rad handed him over to the captain (aïnbed) and the gendarmes of the province, the Christians at the court of the King of Kings arose; they went with the blessed one and accompanied their spiritual father, who was being sent by his enemies to prison.  They remembered the spiritual milk, which they had drawn constantly from his teaching, and the good shepherd, who taught and pastured them on the meadow of his spiritual words, and of which they were deprived.  Some wept and sobbed, others tore their clothes and hair, others kissed his tortured feet and took grace from his footsteps. 

The blessed one was very sad, and worried about what he saw his flock do, more than a wet-nurse, and they wept more than children if their mother is taken into captivity.   Lastly he prayed in great pain, blessed them, and handed them over to God and the words of his grace, and so they parted.

I had not realised that the preceding chapters were all still taking place at court.  I must go and look back at what I wrote.

Clearly the Rad of Azerbaijan is worried about being involved in such high politics, where he stands to gain nothing, and where, if anything happens to Mar Aba, he might fall foul of the king’s displeasure; for clearly the King of Kings is allowing all this rather than ordering it.  Mar Aba sees the chance to conciliate him and seizes it.

  1. [1]I.e. that wherever he is, God is with him.

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