Life of Pope Gobrial VII
They called him Ebn Mehana, from Manshia Abo Aysha near El Moharaq monastery, his dad was hegeman Girgis Rafael, St. Marqurious church servant in Cairo. He was a monk at El Sorian monastery by the name of Rafael.
The thrown of Saint Mark was vacant for one year and eight months, the bishops and church leaders choose father Rafael to become the new Pope.
Father Rafael the monk became Pope Gobrial VII, pope (95) on the blessed Sunday 4th of Babah, 1242 for martyrs, which equivalent to October 1st, 1525 AC. During the time of Sultan El Mozfer Sliman Ebn Othman, and the governor of Egypt Ahmad Basha.
This Pope spared no effort to rebuilt the eastern monasteries such as Anba Antonious and anba Paula monasteries at El Araba also El Maymon monastery and other church buildings.
He also rebuilt the guest building, fence and cells at El Moharq monastery. They accused him of collecting monies for himself but the truth is to help with rebuilding the churches and monasteries.
Anba Paula’s monastry’s destroyed during his time by the Bany Atya Arabs, which they hung a monk there and stool all belongs, all monks ran away which made the pope very sad and due to his great love of rebuilding the monasteries to took on himself to rebuild it.
The congregation respected and loved him.
When King David II passed away on September 2nd, 1540 AD, which who was the reason for separation between Ethiopian and Egyptian churches. His blessed son Ekladious or Sagad El Awal became the king of Ethiopia on 1540 AD.
The first thing that king did is eliminated the Portuguese defective pope power Yoaz Barmodz, he asked him to leave the county, but if he want to stay he can be only a guest, while all the country will follow the mother Coptic church and the pope of Alexandria.
The king requested from Pope Gobrial VII to ordain metropolitan (Bishop), the pope choose a man by the name of Youssef and called him Youssab III on 1547 AD.
After the ordination in Egypt he went back to Ethiopia, meet the king and a good relationship started between the two churches after eighty years of hardship. The other defected pope return back to his country and was there till he died.
King Ekladious was brave all his live, when he went to defend his country from the Moslems, most of his army left him except twenty solders and 18 Portuguese solders, finally they arrested him and beheaded him. He was hanged for three years until an Armenian merchant bought him and buried him with respect.
When the king of Constantinople John 8th gave up on the unity between the Romans and Latin with roman pope, he tried with the Coptic Church since he realized the suffering from Moslems, he sent messenger to pope Gobrial offering the unity and protection. The pope kindly refused the offer.
There were two roman priests in Ethiopia, so the king asked the pope to talk to the king not to harm them, but they were bad and sent a letter to bishop of Rome that only way for unity is by force. The Roman bishop requested them to return, the mission failed.
He was a pope for forty three years and twenty five days; he reposed in Christ on Tuesday 29th of Babah 1285 Coptic year, which equal to October 26, 1568 AD. The reason for his death was the fine imposed by Sultan on Christian and Jews due to the incoming war, the pope left sad to anba Antonious monastery, when he arrived to the boat he passed away.
The monastery of anba Antonious commemorated that event on the saint Anthony’s church wall, below Saint Anthony and saint Paul’s Icon saying” at the blessed Tuesday d9th of Babah the year 1285 for martyrs, pope Gobrial the ninty five among popes reposed. There were a number of monastery monks near him at the sea shore. They transported his body to Cairo on 25th of Hator at the same year, the funeral took place at Saint Marqorious church where he was buried inside a new tomb, under Saint Marqorious relic. Eighty five Bishop and priest attended the prayer and large number of peoples….”
Pope Gobrial VII was tall with a strong body and the holly spirit was upon him, he used to fast and pray a lot. He rebuilt several monasteries such as Saint Anthony and Saint Paul at the red sea, also Saint Anthony monastery known as El Gemiza.
May the Lord repose his soul in the possum of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Amen