The monk assembly of the thriving monastery of Anba Bishoy in Wadi al-Natroun in Egypt’s Western Desert [some 100km northwest Cairo] have issued a statement mourning the Abbot Anba Sarapamoun who passed away in hospital at dawn on Sunday 8 March 2020, at age 84.
The late Abbot was born Azer Bastauros on 21 February 1937. He took orders at al-Surian Monastery in December 1959, and was ordained a priest in February 1963 and archpriest in July 1967. In June 1973, he was consecrated Bishop-General at the hands of Pope Shenouda III (patriarch in 1971 – 2012), and in May 1977 he was installed Bishop and Abbot of Anba Bishoy Monastery.
Funeral prayers will be held for Anba Sarapamoun at Anba Bishoy Monastery at noon on Tuesday 10 March. His body is now laid in a special shrine next to that of Pope Shenouda who is buried at Anba Bishoy’s.
The late Abbot has been mourned by all who knew him. The monk Ezra Anb Bishoy described him as one of the prominent monastic fathers in modern times; an ascetic with a bright, angelic face that earned him the label: the elder full of light. He was famous for his patience, purity, and sanctity; in whatever problem he faced he always said: God has numerous answers for every difficulty.
“When he became Abbot of Anba Bishoy’s in 1977”, Fr Ezra wrote, “the monastery was very primitive and housed only seven monks. Today, Anba Sarapamoun has made the monastery one of the largest in the world. It is home to some 200 monks, and has given the Coptic Church some 40 bishops. The current patriarch, Pope Tawadros II, was one of Anba Bishoy’s monks; he took orders there in 1989 under the name Br Theodore.
On his Facebook page, Anba Martyros, Bishop of Churches East of the Railway, deeply mourned Anba Sarapamoun as “the monastic Elder of Egypt’s monasteries, a role model for monks and a revered teacher.
“He lived in profound faith; God filled his heart and soul at all times. He firmly believed that ‘God’s will be done’ in his life and those of others.
“Monastic life was for Anba Sarapamoun a comfort full of grace, a lofty purpose for which he strived his entire life, and which he faithfully handed down to his disciples.
“He was a unique model of spiritual fatherhood; a loving, humble, gentle angel; a perpetrator of a school of monastic thought that extolled carrying the burden of asceticism with full faith despite Satan’s harsh battles.
“Egyptians and non-Egyptians alike wondered at Anba Sarapamoun, seeing in him a very special figure who withstood the temptations of this world by exercising a unique wisdom that ‘came from above, from the Father of Lights’ (James 1:17), and which was especially revealed during hard times.
“May the good Lord rest the soul of this blessed man in peace.”
8 March 2020