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- Education and Career
- Postgraduate studies
- Relationship with the saints
- Internal struggle before entering the monastery
- Entering the monastery
- His service in the monastery
- Simplicity of heart
- Humility and kindness
- Daily visit to cemetry tafoos
- Metanio to workers
- Foreknowledge of his departure time
- The last moments
- Heavenly testimonies
- The word of HG Bishop Mettaous
Abouna Petronius ElSoriany was born in Cairo, in the Coptic Hospital on Ramses St. in Cairo on June 1st, 1981 (Feast of Jesus Christ entering into Egypt). His laymen name was: Remon Roshdy Shafik. The name Remon means “The light of the world”. He followed the steps of St. Anthony the Great and St. Pakhomius.
He grew as a good-hearted child avoiding arguments. He had a quite voice to the extent that no one ever heard him talk in a loud voice. Even when he was still an infant, he never cried to the extent that his mother marveled of his calmness and his angelic voice. When he grew up he was known by his calm comforting voice and his marvelous smile that never departed his face until the moment of his departure.
In his youth, he was very kind having the virtue of unlimited forgiveness to his offenders. If he felt that anyone was angry with him, he would run to him and beg for forgiveness; if that person was not forgiving, he used to cry and even kneel before him asking for forgiveness. He never cared for his own personal dignity but was always fond of satisfying the heart of God.
His prayers were always mixed with his tears and he used to pour his soul before the LORD Jesus Christ kneeling in a quiet corner in his room, praying more than six hours.
Eduation and career
Dr. Remon always excelled in all his education stages and always got the first place among his mates. He was characterized among peers of high manners beside his study excellence. He finished his high school in 1999 having a grade of 97.5% and joined Medical school of Am-Shams University where he graduated with honors. Thus he was an example of the successful Christian youth Who glorified the name of God all his life.
Dr Remon joined the Life Hospital, and all his co-workers knew him and called him the “ANGEL” No one would hear him talking as he was quiet, meek, serving in the hospital with all love and honesty. As SO many monks and nuns used to come repeatedly to the hospital he loved serving them and a strong bond grew with them. He got close to them and got to know them better. Because of great love for them he used to stay working in the hospital non-stopto make sure the monks and nuns are getting the best care.
Dr. Remon started his studies towards his Master degree in Cardiac Surgery and he successfully passed all exams. At his last exam, H.G. Bishop Methaos, Bishop and Abbott of El Sorian Monastery talked to him asking: Do you wish to become a monk in this Monastery now, not waiting to finish you last exam? Dr. Remon joyfully answered without thinking: “yes, now Seyedna”, and it was a test for him to know his serious attachment to the Monastery and his love and longing to monasticism; as usual he excellently passed it.
Relationship with the saints
One of Dr. Remon co-workers in the hospital told that one day H.E. Late Anba Mikhael, Metropolitan of Assiut, was visiting the hospital and it was a big crowd around H.E. and it was hard to get even close to greet him. One of his friends asked they go to greet H.E. and take his blessing, he refused and said H.E. has the feelings towards me and if H.E. wants, he will give me the chance. Indeed H.E. ordered amid that crowd to bring him this Dr. Remon, and as he was approaching, H.E. Anba Mikhael, crossed him and said, “your heart is enlightened with the love of Christ lad”.
As Dr. Remon heard these words, he felt shy and departed from the place saying: He did not mean me”. It seems that it was a heavenly testimony from the mouth of a pure saint that Remon was like an angel walking on earth, usually escaping from all glory and dignity.
It was counted that Abouna Botros Doss (a priest of St. Mary Church in Khalafawy) came to the hospital to get the blessing of Mother Trivina and give her communion. He asked her if Tamav Eriny ever appeared to her to comfort her? She replied: She did not come but she appeared today to Dr. Remon and asked him to prophesy that Mother Trivina would suffer for a while, then she w get the blessing in heaven.
Abouna Botros marveled and went to Dr. Remon to ask him if he really saw Tamav Enny that day. He gazed and asked Abouna Botros on how he knew. Dr. Remon then asked Abouna to not tell anyone about this. Abouna Botros later counted that he knew then the spiritual stature that Dr. Remon reached before joining the Monastery, given that Tamav Eriny appeared to him and he saw the saints.
Also, Abouna Petronius got to know Abouna Faltaous ElSoriany through his work in the hospital, had a strong relation with him, and loved him very much. He was so much affected by him who prophesied that Abouna Petronius would be exempted from military service before even going through the medical examination for the military service.
While he was working in the hospital, he met with Mother Trivina, the sister of Tamav Eriny, who told him that she saw both Saint Mary and the saint Abouna Bishoy Kamel beside him. In addition, she prophesied of his monasticism.
Internal Struggle Before Entering The Monastery
Struggle started in the heart and mind of Dr. Remon between his longing to monasticism and his fear to leave the service of the patients, priests and the mothers in the hospital. Remon was regularly going to confession with Abouna Ruweis Badie, priest of St. Mary of Khalafawy, who encouraged him to take the decision to go the Monastery; however, Dr. Remon faced an internal struggle.
His longing for life with our Lord Jesus Christ was growing day after day until he decided to leave the world and every thing therein for His sake. But he had feeling of responsibility towards the monks and nuns whom he used to take care of. He feared lest they would be differently treated after his departure.
He worried for whom he used to take the blessing of that service. All these fears were hindering him but after the words of Abouna Faltaous El Soriany “go and bring you bags and come with me to the Monastery”, he felt that this address was announcement from heaven to accept to be among the monks, so his heart was gladdened. He accepted the call and went to the ElSorian Monastery on Thursday April 29th, 2010 at 7:58 pm.
Entering the monastery
Remon, the youth, entered the monastery and his heart’s desire was fulfilled. He stayed for 3 years under test under the name Brother Elias. He was an example of purity, love, meekness, humility and active service while he never stopped to treat the sick fathers, the monks, whom he gave extreme care. He never cared for his own comfort. He was ordained a monk taking the name of “Petronious El Soriany” on June 28, 2013.
His service in the monastery
He used to work in the medical office of the monastery serving the fathers as much as he could and more. He went to the needy to serve. If any person blamed him of not responding promptly he apologize and visit more than once. He never defended himself even as a normal human was in need of rest. His life in the monastery was characterized by several virtues, which could be summarized as follows.
Simplicity of heart
Through the witness of everyone, his heart was like children’s heart in simplicity, easiness, non-complication and never getting angry. During this period, no one has ever seen him frowning in someone’s face whatever the work pressure or troubles. He used to say always: “whenever troubles surround me, I like to sit in my cell for I do not want to burden anyone with things he has nothing to do with it, and there is not solution or comfort except from God Himself”, and he used to practically apply this to himself, and stay all day in his cell.
Humility and kindness
Abouna Petronius was a role model of humility and simplicity of heart. One priest counted that Fr. Petronius told that in prayers he’d say to the Lord “Lord, I am extremely weak and weaker than weakness itself not able to do anything nor face any of the problemss be with me and support me”. So through his prayers, the Lord supported him in all his life circumstances. Because of his great humility, he never justified any blame directed to him but he used to say “I am a sinner” and you could hear these words from him even he was not guilty in anything.
He was so kind towards the workers of the monastery. When many workers asked for his help, whether financially or not he would give cheerfully. If he asked any worker of a small job, he would still pay the worker a full day wage from his own money.
Daily visit to cemetry tafoos
One of the monastery elders to whom Abouna Petronius used to ask advice, counted that Abouna Petronius used to take communion daily and visited the cemetery of the monastery (Tafoos). He used to visit the cemetery after the praise and before the liturgy to get the blessing of the departed fathers, especially Abouna faltaoua whom he had strong bond with and loved very much.
One of the fathers warned him of not going to cemetery in darkness lest the devils will fight with him. However, Abouna Petronius was fond of visiting the cemetery to have quiet time and to pray for his beloved ones and contemplate about the end of this perishing world. In one of his visits the devil fought with him fiercely.
When he got fearful the first time, he crossed himself. A heavenly light was shown before him and Archangel Michael was standing before him smiling and comforting him and kept guarding him until Abouna Petronius finished his visit. That was a strong proof that heavens was so close to his pure heart which was living with his friend the martyrs and saints in a strong spiritual friendship. Really he was living heaven on earth longing always to departing.
Fr Petronious gives metania to workers
It is said that Abouna Petronius used to help one of the poor workers in his personal matters. One day this worker saw Abouna Petronius helping another worker so he felt jealousy and sensed that the other worker took his place in Fr. Petronius heart. He was angry and started dealing with Abouna differently and improperly. When Fr. Petronius felt it, he asked him of the reason of his change when he answered: “now you have many workers helping you and have no need of me “. Abouna answered him in love and humility: I cannot stop loving you and I am always by your side and never forget you, but I help your needy brothers as well.
The worker kept stubborn and insisted to leave his service even though Abouna was the one helping him. It could end at this point, but not with Abouna Petronius of the great heart that could not sleep when he knew that one of God’s sons is angry with him. He wanted to gain his love and he went to the worker and said to him: “do not be angry” and did a metania for him and said “forgive me if I offended you”. What all this love and humility that we knew in Abouna Petronius the angelic monk.
Foreknowledge of his departure time
Abouna Petronius kept attending daily liturgies and taking Communion all his life in the monastery. The last liturgy he attended was on Friday July 4th, 2014. He told one of the fathers: “the days of my sojourn on earth are about to end” and said to another: “this is going to be the last liturgy to attend with them.’ How marvelous that Abouna Petronius reached this high degree of transparency that made him know the time of his departure from this world.
After he went to confession, he went to Cairo Friday evening and as he arrived to Cairo he called his brother to meet with him and stayed in Cairo to say farewell to his family from Friday to Monday. It was strange that on Abouna’s bag it was written something that no one noticed except after his departure; this verse: “Blessed is the man whom You choose and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts.’ St. Mary’s icon was also on his bag.
Astonishing also was the presence of a picture inside the bag with writing: “It is better for me to leave this passing world before it leaves me”. All these signs were prophesies by Abouna Petronius of his own immediate departure.
The last moments
In the midnight of Monday July 7th, 2014, Fr. Petronius felt a strong chest pain but he pretended to be fine to comfort all around and to let them not fear. But as checking his blood pressure it was too low to an alarming state (60/50), and he started talking to St. Mary saying: “O Virgin either to strengthen my soul or you take me with you”. When the doctor saw his low blood pressure he started giving him some injection to raise the blood pressure and then the ambulance arrived and on the way to the hospital his blood pressure started to increase to regular (110/70) then Mina started talking with Abouna saying: “Do not worry Abouna your blood pressure is good and you are safe now”.
Abouna answered: “I am now departing Mina” and as Mina wondering from his words and repeated to him that he is fine but Abouna repeated his words again and as he reached the hospital, his hands went down to the ground while his eyes was looking to heaven as it he is seeing something. It was clear that St. Mary heard his words to her to come and take his with her, and his pure spirit was released to heaven in peace without any sign that he was dead, but he only closed his eyes as if he was going into sleep.
Note: he died precisely on 7/07/2014
Abouna Petronius told one of his relatives that he saw in a vision Pope Shenouda III, and Fr Faltaous El Sorianni clothing him with a beautiful white tonic and congratulating him, and he did not know that they were announcing to him his departure to heaven. Next day after his departure one of his friends (brother of late Fr. Stephanos) said that he saw Abouna Petronius in heaven wearing a beautiful white tonic and many crowns on his head and surrounded by many angels.
Fr Petronius with Philopateer Mercurius
On the third day of his departure. one of the fathers told that he saw in a vision the great martyr Philopateer Mercurius accompanied by Abouna Petronius, he asked him: “Why did you take Abouna Petronius in this young age?” The martyr answered: for the purity of his heart and because he is a monk with a good heart; if you reach his heart purity and his place in heaven you have to struggle so many years; knowing that the coming of the Lord is at hand, so repent for the second coming is very near, and tell all the monks, nuns, priests and laymen to repent”.
All these great heavenly consolations to you that assure us that the distinct place of Abouna Petronius the angel of the Syrian Monastery is a great rank among the pure saints. Now we ask you our beloved Abouna Petronius to remember us before the throne of the Lord of Glory to help and support us to continue the journey of our life safely till we meet you in the heavenly kingdom. Amen.
Abouna Petronious appears for a patient with a brain tumour
My aunt was sick with a brain tumor, and she had to undergo a serious operation. We prayed and asked the intercession of Father Petronius. The operation took approximately 6-7 hours. After the departure of doctors, a monk (Abouna Petronius) appeared to her and healed her and now she is in very good health.
The Miracle in the Ambulance Car
At one time during the work of Dr Remon Roshdy “Abouna Petronius El Soriany” at the Life Hospital in Cairo, and before he went to the monastery, went with ambulance to save Father Abdelmassih Fouad, one of the Holy and saintly fathers. While Dr Remon (Father Petronius) was performing first aid to Abouna he was surprised that Father Abdelmassih asked him saying “Do you know who is sitting beside you in the ambulance?
Dr Remon answered ‘Who Abouna?!?! Father Abdelmassih replied and said “the Virgin St Mary, Archangel Michael, St Mina, St George and Abu Sefien, you are a big blessing” Dr Remon marveled of what Father Abdelmassih said. After saving his life, he rushed and went home earlier than his usual arrival time by several hours. His younger brother asked him about the reason that made him return at this time.
Dr Remon (Father Petronius) replied “Today I was in the ambulance car and sitting next to me was the Virgin St Mary, Archangel Michael, St Mina, St George and Abu Sefien”, and then he started crying, bitterly and said” I’m not worthy “. And went to his room and began to pray fervently with lots of tears.
Nancy. H “graduate”
Father Petronius did a miracle with me. I was doing postgraduate studies and the examinations were difficult and I did not study well and was very scared, and I knew Father Petronius Elsonanty accdently during the exam’s days from Facebook and I knew he is quick to respond to any requests. I requested his intercession and I passed with very good results. Please keep praying for me so I can complete my studies through his intercession. Truly he never fails anyone who asked his intercession…
Prayer of Fr Petronius El Sorianny
Lord, I feel like all my emotions and my feelings are worth nothing compared to Your generous love and sweating kindness and Your unlimited compassion and I who am I to stand in front of You, I am too lowly even to speak, all I know is that Your love is what drives me forward. I often feel that Your presence is with me even in the smallest things.
I love Your saying, my Father “without Me you can do something” (Jn15:5), without You, I am worth nothing, and pretty much in all my problems I do not find a solution but I find You working on solving them Yourself, & find myself O my Lord, that I am just a spectator of the events. Forgive me & Absolve me Lord, I’m poor and I can’t do anything but You are doing everything.
I don’t understand and don’t know what to do, I always feel that I am the lost sheep and You always look after me and You guide me to Your pastures & even carry me over Your shoulders. If I lose the way, I find myself in a place and situation other than what I was in, because You are watching and looking after me.
The words of HG Bishop Mettaous
Abouna Petronius, before he became a monk, was a diligent youth. He had a Bachelor of medicine and specialized in Cardiology. I met him in El Hayat hospital dressed in his white coat during his night shifts, when I went to visit one of the patients. Abouna Petronius stayed with me the whole duration of the visit, moving with me from one room to the other, from one dormitory to the other, and wouldn’t leave me alone until I got into my car and left.
e had a very nice way of dealing with others, and many times told me about his desire to join the monastery. I was extremely patient with him to prove his genuine ambition towards monasticism. I saw in him virtues such as meekness & simplicity of heart which made him fit and qualified to meet the prerequisites of monasticism. As a result I allowed him to enter the monastery.
Abouna Petronius had a great start in the monastery, we found in him obedience, humility, enthusiasm, and a sacrificing service for the monks. As he was a doctor, he found an opportunity to serve everyone including the old and young monks. If any of the monks called on him for a simple flu, he immediately ran to aid him, and fulfilled his duty completely by examining him, checking on him, and bringing the medication he needed.
He was also taking care of the pharmacy, which meant that he was a doctor and pharmacist at the same time. He used to go to the pharmacy to prepare the medicines if needed, not caring about the heat of summer, the cold of winter, nor the long distances between the qalali (cells) & he used to walk all of these distances on his feet. He used to do all of this with love, seriousness and eagerness, without waiting for a compliment or thanks from anybody, and followed up the case of each monk until they became better.
He took the blessing of service as described by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible, “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. Whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave” He served his brothers a great & humble service. He served all in a kind and fairly spirit, beside his balanced warm relationship. He attended the mass daily and receive Holy Communion along with his monastic canon in the cell which included deep fervent prayers and readings. He was always rushing like he knew he wouldn’t live long.
He wanted to collect as many virtues as possible and many blessings at the same time, and always said to himself “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise redeeming the time, because the days are evil”. We have lo his active services, but gained him as a strong intercessor with the Lord. The earth lost him and the heaven gained him.
The angels rejoiced with him because he lived a pure life on Earth, & so there will be much joy among the angels of God. God rejoiced by his coming as he is precious in the eyes of the Lord and the Saints. God Points to him and says, as stated in the Gospel of this morning “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”
We congratulate you our beloved Father for attaining the paradise. The One who helped you, help us to complete our struggle in peace till the last breath. God bless you and glory to God forever Amen.