The Holy MonkMartyr Michael the Black-Robed
Commemorated on May 23, July 29
The Holy MonkMartyr Michael the Black-Robed lived in the IX Century, and came from the city of Edessa (Mesopotamia) of Christian parents. He was a zealous disciple of Saint Theodore of Edessa (Comm. 9 July). Having distributed to the poor the inheritance left him by his parents, he set off to Jerusalem to venerate the Holy Places. Jerusalem at the time was in the grips of the Mahometans. Saint Michael remained in Palestine and settled in the monastery of Saint Sava. One time he was sent from the monastery to Jerusalem to sell goods for the monks. At the marketplace, the eunuch of the Mahometan empress Seida, having noticed that the monastery goods were both fine and well-made, took him along to the empress. The young monk caught the fancy of the empress, who tried to entrap him in the snare of sin, but her intent proved to be in vain. Then by order of the enraged Seida they beat the monk with canes, and then accused him before the emperor of being an enemy of Mahometanism. Having interrogated the monk, the emperor began to urge him to accept the Mahometan faith, but Saint Michael answered: "I implore thee – either send me back to the monastery to my instructor, or be baptised in our Christian faith, or cut off my head, and I shall then expire to Christ my God". The emperor gave orders to give the saint a cup with deadly poison, which Saint Michael drank and remained unharmed, so after this the emperor gave orders to cut off his head. The death of the martyr occurred in Jerusalem, but the monks of the monastery of Saint Sava transported the body of the saint to their Laura and buried it there with reverence. At the beginning of the XII Century the relics of the holy martyr were seen there by Daniel, the hegumen of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, in his making of pilgrimage to the Holy Places.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.