Other Versions (1)
- From Father Louis Cheikho
" ... It is the saint about whom the archbishop of
revered memory His Lordship Joseph Debs consulted us by saying that his feast
day is celebrated by Maronites on June 3rd and that a church is dedicated to him
in the village of Kfarçgâb. We had answered His Lordship in the magazine Al
Maxreq, X, 1907, 672-672. Then we found some information about Mar Awtel in the
Jacobites book of saints, in a handwritten copy belonging to His Beatitude the
patriarch Ignatius Ephrem II Rahmani. It is also mentioned in the Bibliotheca
Orientalis of Assemani (11,255) and in the calendar of Çlîba the Jacobite (MRS
185-195), on the dates of October 9th and June 3rd.
Of all those references, we learn that Awtel or
Awtilios was born in a city called Magdal or Magdaloun in the land of Lycia in
Asia Minor (2), in the 6th century A.D.
His two parents were pagan but his was converted very
young, became Christian and ran away from the paternal home to avoid marriage.
He boarded and ran away to the city of Moumista (probably al-Maççîça)
delivering his fellow passengers from a tempest where they would have perished.
He came to Constantinople, led an ascetic life in one of its monasteries, then
came back to his fatherland before spending some time in the region of Antioch,
then back in Lycia. There, he converted the pagans of this region, christened
them and ended his life in the desert in a monastery which he built nearby and
where he lived up to his death. In the calendar of the antiochian Church of al-Bîrûnî
that we published in Maxreq VI, 1903,69, a martyr called Uwaytilyos is mentioned
on the date of September 23rd. But we were not able to determine if it is Mar
Awtel or another saint.
P.S. (from Youakim Moubarac) We find
other information in the answer already made by Father Cheikho to HL Debs in
1907, that the Byzantines would have called Saint Awtel, according to Fr Peeters,
Agios Attaros and that they celebrated his feast day between the 2nd and the 7th
of June. He delivered his fellow passengers who wanted to make him a slave by
capturing him. According to the Jacobite book of saints, he remained 20 years in
Constantinople (3), went back home after the death of his parents, spent
some time in Seleucia (4) and in Antioch (5) before reaching Lycia.
There, he joined the monastery of Mar Âba (?), became monk and made miracles.
He left the monastery because he did not want to become elected superior. He was
served in his ultimate retirement in the desert by a man whom he had cured of
the bite of a snake (cf. I. MR FIEY, o.c ., p. 32)... "
Notes of the Editor
(1) This article is based on
the work of the great historian Father Louis Cheikho sj and especially on his
work Awliya" Allah fi Lubnan edited in Beirut in 1914. Youakim Moubarak
translated it to French and enriched its contents and published it in his
Pentalogie Antiochienne / Domaine Maronite - Tome II - Volume I - year 1984 -
Editor Cenacle Libanais - Beirut - Lebanon.
(2) Today, in modern Turkey,
the ancient land of Lycia came to occupy most of the Teke Peninsula at the
south-west corner of Anatolia, roughly defined as the area of Turkey lying south
of a line drawn from Dalyan to Antalya.
(3) Constantinople (also
Byzantium) is the older and traditional name of the modern city of Istanbul in
Turkey. It is located between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara.
(4) Seleucia in Syria
functioned as the sea-port of Antioch and lay near the mouth of the Orontes.
Paul and his companions sailed from this port on their first missionary journey
(Acts 13:4). This city was built by Seleucus Nicator, the "king of
Syria." It is said of him that "few princes have ever lived with so
great a passion for the building of cities. He is reputed to have built in all
nine Seleucias, sixteen Antiochs, and six Laodiceas." Seleucia became a
city of great importance, and was made a "free city" by Pompey. It is
now a small village, called el-Kalusi.
(5) The city of
Antioch-on-the-Orontes (modern Antakya) is located in what is now Turkey.
Located on the eastern side of the Orontes River, it was founded near the end of
the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, who made it the capital of his empire
in Syria. Seleucus I had served as one of Alexander the Great's generals, and
the name Antiochus occurred frequently amongst members of his family.