St. Samuel (Shem’ un) of Qartmin – Jan 18

Published by Jacob P Varghese on

St Samuel lived early 5th century. His father Yuhannon was a wealthy, good man and a leader of his village Eshtin, near a town called Sawro, Mardin, in Turkey. Yuhannon did not have children and ceaselessly prayed to God to give him a child. He was very pious and always gave alms to the needy and the poor of his village. God heard his prayer, and he was blessed with a son who was named Samuel. An angel of God appeared to Yuhannon and said: “The child will become famous and the name of the Lord will be glorified.”

Samuel (Shemvun or Shemoun) grew up in the fear of God. He completed his studies in the village school. Right from his childhood, many visible signs of holiness and piety in him. From the age around 15, he started to love the ascetic life and chose for himself to be alone. As days passed, he grew in righteousness and solitude. He moved few kilometres away from his village and built a monastery. Eight brothers came to live with him. God gave his father another son, Shomir, who helped his brother in the building of the monastery.

The child will become famous and the name of the Lord will be glorified.”

Samuel later moved the ancient, garden city of Nisbis (now Nusaybin in Turkey), on the plains below a mountain. It was an Aramaic and Syrian city in language and culture, as well as a renowned centre of theological studies for the Church of the East, like Edessa. He lived for about three years, but later other monks, who wanted to stay away from the world, found him there and they too joined him and in a few years the number of monks grew to about thirty. They called him Abbay (father), as they were amazed and impressed at his ascetic life. He stayed here for seven years. He performed many miracles and even brought to end a plague over Hah.

Mar Karpos, the bishop of Sawro, came to visit him and ordained him a priest. The bishop visited Samuel as he was fleeing the cruel persecution of the Persians, that continued for 14 years. The troops of Shappur II took Karpos to their Marzaban (leader) which is mentioned in the inscriptions of Nusaybin and asked him many questions about his religion. He wanted Mar Karpos to deny Jesus which the could not and subsequently they cut his head off. Mar Samuel was able to retrieve the body of the martyred bishop. He entombed him with great honour in the monastery which he afterwards renovated.

Later on, Mar Samuel left the monastery secretly and took with him the relics of Mor Karpos. He came to the village of Qartmin where he settled in the south near the spring. In Qartmin, there was a leader named Saliba. His four year seven-month-old son was sick. His father took him to Mar Samuel to seek his prayers for his son and he recovered from his illness. His father built a temple at Qartamin in the honour of Mar Karpos the Marytr, gave alms to the poor regularly and conducted a feast on mar Kapos martyrdom day. When Shemoun grew up, his father took him to St Samuel and he became a monk and disciple of St Samuel. Mar Shemoun excelled in fasting and prayers, imitating his teacher, began to love ascetic life, live in silence and solitude.  He was enlightened in the knowledge of God. He founded a monastery of Qartmin, at a please miraculously delineated by an angel and was Beth Shroye. It is said that over 400 monk, who sought ascetic life, gathered here. They performed many miracles and deeds of righteousness

When Mar Samuel was to leave this world, he handed over the office of the Abbot to his disciple Mar Simeon. His body was buried in the tomb of saints (Beth Qadisha) and the monk community prayed over his body for seven days. The Orthodox Syrian Church celebrates the feast of Mar Samuel of Qartmin on 18 January.

Categories: Saints

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