RECOGNITIONS OF CLEMENT: Sinai Epitome (Arabic)
This is a digest from the Clementia in which the Flavius family reunites;
thus the title of the work - Recognitions.
(From a MS. in the Convent at Mount Sinai. No. 508)
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one Elohim. The Anointed One is Ioue, my strength, my help, and my hope. This is the story of [how] Clement recognized his parents and his brothers by means of Kefa the Sholiach, chief of the Shlichim, blessed in the faith; and this is the teaching of the above-mentioned devoted man Peter, while he was at Tripolis. (From now on we call Peter by his real name, Shimeon Kefa.)
When I Clement had completed three months with Kefa, he commanded me to fast for three days, and then we went to fountains of water on the seashore, and he baptized me there and with me Maroones, the man who had entertained us. Then he appointed him Sholiach of Tripolis, and (with him) twelve Mevakrim, with sharathim. Then he left the people of Tripolis, and went out to Antioch in Syria.
The reason for my meeting him was this: while I was in the city of Rome, in my youthful years, I had carried chastity and righteousness to a great length, as also the recollection of death, and meditation about the soul, whether it is mortal or immortal, and about this world, whether it had a beginning or not, and whether it will perish or not. While I thought on these things, I did not cease frequenting the place of philosophers and wise men, and I did not find anything more from the Porch than a deceitful and vain thing, and I thought I would go to Egypt to those magicians [who chanell] of the dead, and while I thought about this, look, news was spread in the empire of Tiberius concerning a man in the land of Judaea who was preaching the eternal kingdom of Ioue and who confirmed that by many mighty deeds. Behold, Barnabas came to Rome preaching the Anointed One, and the wise men were mocking him. Meanwhile I knew he was engaged in a righteous purpose; and I adopted his evidence, and I forsook like dogs those who do not accept the word of salvation; and I took Barnabas, and I entertained him at my house, and I heard speeches from him; and when they were going out to the land of Judea, I went out with him, and in fifteen days we came to Caesarea; and I heard that Kefa was in it, and that he intended to debate with Simon (the Magus / Magician) the next day; and when I went to his place, Barnabas brought me in to him. And Kefa received me with much affection, and he was very glad of what I had done to benefit Barnabas in Rome, and he confirmed my vocation, and commanded me to come to him, as he intended to travel to Rome; and when I promised him this, I asked him about the soul and about the world, and he made clear to me briefly by examination the folly that enters into people by means of sin: such is what overclouds the minds of people like smoke.
Then he explained to me the coming of the Anointed One, and the resurrection to life. In the morning, behold, Zacchaeus came saying that Simon (Magus) had postponed the contest for seven days. Kefa completed our teaching about the science of the world, according to what the Ruach haQodesh gave him. And after this we went to Tripolis, to the place in which I was baptized, and from there Kefa sent Niceta and Aquila with others to Laodicea, and told them to wait for him at the door of the city. But I and he went to Antaradus, and I thanked him for taking me with him as his follower, and he said to me: “If I send you to a place to buy for us what is necessary, will you die?” I answered and said to him: “You are to me a substitute for my father and my mother and my brothers; you have been the cause of my knowing the truth; and you have made me an equal in a great people. Will you then put me in the place of a slave?”
And Kefa answered, joking and said to me: “Do you think that you have never been a slave? Who will watch over my undressing and dressing? and who will prepare me the many dishes that are necessary to the cooks, and this in the greatness of skill that is designed for luxurious people for the gratification of desire that is a great satisfaction, and I am clothed by it with abundance; and do not imagine that you will know anything of this if you are with me, for I do not get anything but the smallest bit of bread, and some oil with a little pulse; and all my wardrobe is these rags you look upon, and I need nothing else, for my mind looks on the good things that are eternal, and does not turn to what is mean. And I am surprised at you, for you are a man brought up in the enjoyment of the world, and you have despised all this, and you are contented with things in moderation. But I and my brother Andrew were brought up in orphanage and poverty and misery, and we were accustomed to toil and that we should bear exhaustion. For this reason I will endure from you toil and slavery to yourself.”
And when I heard this from him I shuddered at it, and took an example on hearing this from a man whom the world cannot equal, and my eye wept. And when he saw me crying, he said to me: “Why are your eyes weeping?” And I answered him, saying: “In what have I sinned against you, that you make me to hear such a speech?”
And Kefa said: “If I did wrong in saying I would serve you, you did a greater wrong at the first when you did not see that, and there is no equality in this, yet it is fitting that I should do this to you.” But I said, “O you, Sholiach from Ioue, savior of our souls, it is not fitting that you should do this.” And Kefa answered and said: “Behold, I would have accepted your opinion, if it were not that our Master, who came for the salvation of the world, to whom alone be honor, bore slavery, that He might persuade us not to be ashamed to serve our brothers. And He washed my feet and hands, saying, Do this way to your brothers.” And I Clement said to him, "I thought I should conquer you in speech, and I was a fool, but I thank Ioue who has put you in the place of parents."
And Kefa said to me: “Have you any kinsfolk?” And I said to him, "There are noble men in my family nearly related to Caesar the Emperor. And he, the husband of my mother, possesses dignity, and by her we are three boys, twins before me, as my father told me, and I do not even know them, nor my mother, except by a faint recollection; for after them my mother gave birth to me, and her name was Matthidia, and my father's name was Faustinian and my brothers, Faustus and Faustinianus. And when I was in my fifth year, my mother saw a vision in her sleep, as my father related to me afterwards, that if the woman did not take her children immediately and go out of Rome and travel for ten years, she would perish, both she and they. But my father, when he heard this, carried them into a ship, with provisions, secretly, with many servants, and sent them to travel to Athens, and he kept me only with him in order to console me, being overwhelmed with grief of this. And when a year had passed after that, my father sent to Athens goods and money, in order that he might know their state; and the messengers went, and did not return. And in the third year he sent others for that [purpose], and they departed, and came in the fourth year to tell that they had not found the lads, nor their mother, and that these had never got to Athens at all; and they did not find a trace of them. And when my father heard this, he sorrowed with a great sorrow, and he was in much perplexity, but he neither knew how to find them nor where to weep for them.
And he went to the shore of the sea, and I with him, and he began to ask the sailors from every place where ships had been wrecked for four years past, if any of them had seen a drowned woman with her boys; and he did not fall in with the certainty of the matter, for no one can explore the expanse of the ocean. So he made me his heir in Rome, and appointed guardians over me; and I that day was twelve years old, and he went from Rome in a ship, and departed to places to look for them. And now I have not heard news of him, nor seen a letter, and do not know if he is alive or dead, while I think that he must have died, and now today it is twenty years since he separated from me.”
And when Kefa heard this, his eyes wept from pity, and he said to those believers who were with him: “One gains experience by what this man's father has suffered. It shows concerning believers who are not vain heathens, who suffer here without reward in the last day, that those of the believers who are tried here endure suffering for the forsaking of their sins by means of it.” And when Kefa said this, one of those present answered before all, and besought Kefa, saying, Behold, tomorrow our journey will be to the Island of Aradus in the sea that you may see it. And there are there great pillars of winewood, and the sight of them is wonderful.” And Kefa allowed us to go, and said to us: “When you (pl.) arrive, do not go all of you together to the wonderful place, that no misfortune befall you."
So we went, and came to the island, and we got down out of the ship where the pillars were, and every one of us began to turn to some of the marvels that were there. But as Kefa went to the pillars, behold, a woman sitting outside the gates was asking alms. And when Kefa saw her, he said to her: “O woman, what is diseased in your limbs, that you have submitted to this humiliation of begging, and you do not increase what Ioue has given you by the work of your hands, so that you could even give bread to me from day to day?' And the woman sighed, and said: “O would that I had hands able for jobs and work. but they are in the form hands, yet they are dead, even when I bite them with my teeth.” And Kefa answered and said: "And what is the cause that obliges you to do this?” And the woman said: "The cause of it is only weakness; if I had boldness or strength, I would have thrown away my life from a mountain, or in the deep, and I would have had rest from the sorrows and the cares with which my people reproach me.'
Said Kefa: “And are those who kill themselves saved from punishment, or do they suffer more of it in Gehenna with the souls who did this way to kill them?' And the woman said, "O would I were sure that in Gehenna there are living souls, that I might go there and see my loved ones, even if I were in torment.” And Kefa said: “And what is it that grieves you, O woman, tell me; and if I knew perhaps I could cure you, and convince you that in Gehenna there are living souls, and give you skill that you should not desire (to go) with them to drowning, or to anything else, and that you may go out of the body without torment.”
And she was glad at the promise, and she began to relate to him, saying: "I am a woman who was possessed of dignity, and a nobleman wedded me, a man of position, related to Caesar the Emperor. And I had twin sons by him, and I had another son besides them, and after that the brother of my husband fell in love with me, and I persuaded him to live in chastity, and I did not tell my husband of his wicked desire towards me. And I resolved that I would not consent to him, nor defile the couch of my husband, besides exciting hatred between them, and that would be a reproach to me before all my people, and I resolved on going out of the city with my son for a short time till this bad wind should cease and vengeance should pass from me, and I left my other son with his father that he might be comforted by him, and I dreamed in a dream as if I saw a vision in the night saying to me: “O woman, go out with your children from here until a time that I will show you your return, and if not, you will perish with your husband and children." left off
And so I it happened; and when I told my husband he shuddered at that, then he rose, and carried me into a ship with my boys, and many servants, and much goods, and sent us to Athens, and while we travelled on the sea, the winds arose against us, and the waves came over us, and we were engulfed in the night, and every one who was with us was drowned and I, miserable being, was thrown with a wave to the side of a rock, and I was inveigled by it (into) a hope of finding my boys alive. On that account, I did not throw myself to the depths and go to rest, and this, by my life, would have been case then, when I was overwhelmed with grief. And when the dawn approached I began to turn and grope for my drowned sons, and I mourn and bewail them with tears, whilst I did not see one of them nor their drowned bodies; and when the people of the place saw me, they pitied me and covered me.
Then they sought for my boys in the depths, and did not find them. And there came to me women comforting me, and they were reminded of the misfortunes and the grieves they had suffered like to what had befallen me, and that was a thing that increases my grief because there were no other misfortunes but [such as] mine with which they consoled me. And they invited me to go to them (two) and I went to a poor woman when she invited me to go to page her, and she said to me, "I had a husband, who died by drowning in the sea, and left me that day, being of my own age, and since then I have known no man, though many invited me to wedlock, and I preferred chastity and piety towards my husband. Come, we will go into one life and one household, and I lived with her that she might keep her affection for her husband. And after that I had a pain in my hand, and the woman my house-companion had a paralytic stroke there in the house, and since then for some time I sit here begging alms for myself and for my friend. And now I have explained to you my affair and my story, and fulfill now your promise to me, that you may give me the cure, by means of which it will be possible for me to hasten from this world with my friend." And when the woman said this, Kefa fell the more into you thought, and he was then standing, and I Clement came up to Kefa, and said to him, "O good Teacher, where have you been, for I have been seeking you for some time. What dost you command us to do?” And he said, “Go forward and wait for me in the ship.” And I did as he commanded me. And he renewed the questioning of the woman, and said to her, “Tell me about your family, and your city, and your children, and their names, and I will give you the medicine.” And the woman did not wish to tell him about that, and she began to tell him untruthfully, that she might get the medicine. And she said to him, “I am a woman of Ephesus, and my husband was from Sicily,” and she changed the names of her boys; and Kefa saw that she was trustworthy, and said to her, ”I had been thinking, that you wouldst have had a good fortune of joy this day, because I thought that you were a woman whose affairs I know.” And the woman adjured him, saying: “I ask you to tell me what you know, for I do not think that among women there is one more wretched than I.” And Kefa began to relate to her truly, and said, “There is with me a lad my follower, in search of the certain knowledge of Ioue, and he is from Rome; besides, he told me about a father whom he had, and twin brothers, and he believed that his mother, as his father had told him, saw in a vision that she should go out of Rome with her sons that she might not perish with her husband, and she went out, and he does not know what became of her, and that his father went in search of her, and news of him failed also, and he does not know what became of him.” And when Kefa said this, the woman fell in a faint, and Kefa came forward, and took her hand, and said to her: ”Have confidence, and trust me, and tell me truly what you have to do with that.” As she recovered from the faint, and wiped her face, she said: “Where is this lad whom you did tell me of?” And Kefa said: “Tell you me first your affair, and I will show you him.” And she said: “I am the mother of this boy.” Said Kefa, “What is his name?” She said: “Clement is his name.” And Kefa said: ”He is the youth who is present, and I commanded him to wait for me in the ship.” And she fell down and did homage to him. And she said: "Hasten first to the ship, that you may show me my only son, for when I see him, I have seen my boys who were drowned here.” And Kefa said to her: “I will do this to you, but when you see him, be silent until you come down from the Island.” And the woman said, “I will do so.” And Kefa took her by he hand, and brought her near to the ship. And when I saw him holding a woman by the hand, I smiled, then I honored him for that, and I began to lead the woman, and when I caught her hand, she cried with a loud voice, weeping and embracing me, and she began to kiss me. And I, because I did not know the thing, thought she was insane, or bewitched, and I pushed her from me. And Kefa said, "Why, my son, dost you push your mother from you?” And when I heard this from him, that she was my mother, my heart was troubled, and my eyes wept, and I threw myself towards her and my heart warmed to her, then weeping overcame me for joy and pity, and I kissed her; and all the people who were there came near us, hurrying to see the beggar woman, how she had recognized her son.
And when we wished to go out from the Island, my mother said to me: ”O my beloved son, it is my duty to say good-bye to the woman who received me, and besides, she is a paralyzed woman, bed-ridden in the house.” And when Kefa heard [this], he marveled at the sense of the woman, and he commanded that the paralyzed woman should be carried on a couch, and they brought her to him. And when they came near, Kefa said, the people listening, "If I am an apostle of Anointed One, let these people now believe, that Ioue is the only one, Creator of all, and the restoration of this woman is complete.” And when Kefa said this, the woman rose whole, and did obeisance to Kefa, and asked him about these things. And he convinced her, and she knew the certainty of the thing; and when all the people heard they wondered with a great wonder and Kefa made them a Speech about religion and about the last day. He said: “Whosoever wishes to hear: the certainty about Ioue for the salvation of his soul, let him travel to Antioch, as I have resolved to stay there for three months; and more obligatory than absence for the merchandise of the gains of the world [is] the search for the salvation of Souls, and the gain of the other [world].” And after the speech of Kefa to the people, I gave a thousand drachmas to the woman whom Kefa had cured, and entrusted them to an honest man, and recompensed the women who all had known my mother; and we travelled to Antaradus with Kefa, and my |24 mother and the rest; and when we arrived at the house, my mother asked me, saying, "How is your father, O my son?” and I said to her, “From the time when he went out in search of you no trace was known of him”; and when she heard that she sighed and grieved. And after a day we went out to Laodicea, and when we came near to it, behold, before the gates disciples of Kefa, Niceta and Aquila, and they met us and took us to the house; and when Kefa saw the place suitable, he was pleased to stay there ten days, and Niceta and Aquila asked me, saying, “Who is this woman ?” and I said to them: “This is my mother, whom Ioue permitted me to know by the forethought of my master Kefa”; and when I said this, Kefa explained to them the certainty of the thing, how it was, according as I had related it about my mother, according as he heard from her, and he it was who had led us to a knowledge of each other. And when Kefa said this, they marveled much when they heard Kefa about the woman and her recollection of her sons Faustus and Faustinianus, and they were astonished at the tale. And they said," Do we see? Is this a vision or the truth? If we are not be-witched it is true." And they beat upon their faces, and they said, "We are Faustus and Faustinianus, and our hearts were straitened when you did begin the tale, and we held firm till we should hear the end of the tale, because many of the things are like one another. And this by my life is our mother, and this is our brother.' And when they said this, they embraced me with much weeping, and they kissed me, and they went in to our mother, and found her asleep.
And Kefa said to them, “Do not wake her, lest an emotion of joy overcome her suddenly, and her soul grow small within her.” And when our mother awoke, Kefa began to say to her, "I will instruct you, O woman, about our religion, and our faith in Ioue; we believe in one Ioue, Creator of all this visible world, and we keep His commands, and sanctify and honor [our] parents ; and we live a pure life, and have no communion with the heathen in meat or in drink, unless they are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. And if there is a father or mother or wife or son or brother unbaptized, we |25 do not trust him and do not be grieved if your son is bound by this unless you become like him.' And when she heard this, she said, "And what is necessary, that I should not be baptized today, and that I should not come to this, because my soul has hated false gods, because they inspire the reverse of chastity, on account of which I fled from Rome with my sons Faustus and Faustinian?” And when our mother said this, my brothers Niceta and Aquila did not wait, but they [were] overjoyed and they embraced her and kissed her. And the woman said, "What is this thing?” Said Kefa, "0 woman, keep your presence of mind. These are your sons Faustus and Faustinianus, whom you did think were drowned in the sea, how are they here before you? 'The sea swallowed them in the middle of the night, and how is the one called Niceta, and the other Aquila?” “Let them tell us now that we and you may know.1 And when Kefa said this, the woman fell in a faint from joy, and we restored her with great labor, and when she sat up, she said to us, “I beg of you, my beloved sons, tell me what happened to you in that night.” And my brother Niceta said, "I relate to you, O my mother, that in that night when our ship was wrecked they carried us into the boat, to make merchandise of us, and they rowed with us to the land, and came with us to Caesarea, and they tormented us there with hunger, and beating, in order that we should not say anything that did not suit them. And they changed our names, and sold us to a Jewess, whose name was Justa, and she bought us and educated us, and when we came to years of discretion, we acquired a sure faith in Ioue, and we began disputing and conversing that the godlessness of all the heathen might be reproved; and we learnt the sayings of philosophy, that by this we might examine vain philosophies and reasoning. And we associated with a man, a wizard, whose name was Simon, and we had much affection for him, and he nearly led us astray. And it came to us that there was a prophet in the land of Judaea, and everyone who believed in him would live without sorrow or death, and we thought it was Simon; and after that we met a disciple of our master Kefa, whose name was Zacchaeus, and he exhorted us much and hurried us from the wizard, and conducted us to Kefa, and he led us to the knowledge of the truth. And we seek from Ioue that he would count you worthy to welcome you to the favor to which we have come, that we may be filled with favor towards one another. This is the reason why you did think that we were drowned that night, and we also thought that you had perished in the sea.' And when Niceta said this, our mother ran to Kefa and said, "I ask and beg of you that you wouldst baptize me, that I may not be deprived one day of intercourse with my children.” And we begged this of him; and he commanded her to fast for three days, then after that he baptized her in the sea, in presence of her children, and we took food with her, and we rejoiced at this in the glory of Ioue and the teaching of Kefa, and in the knowledge we had got of our mother; and we learnt that chastity is the cause of salvation to the nations; and after that day Kefa took us to the harbor, and we washed there, and prayed. And behold, an old man sitting there looking towards us, and observing our prayer closely, and after we had prayed, he approached us to reprove us and to say that everything happens by fortune, and that invocation and prayer are useless; and we remained three days to persuade him to change his opinion of this thing. And thereupon, during our discourse to him, we were calling him “O Father”; and he was calling us, "O my sons.”
And this was a providence from Ioue, because by it we began to know this word; and Aquila said to me and to Niceta, "Why do you call this stranger Father?" And my brother said to me, “Do not complain of this,” and we continued in our talk to him, and he in that opinion of his, and he said: “Although the discourse has convinced me, yet I think of my wife, whose star and whose fortune was in vice, and she fled from wickedness on account of the disfavor, and she was drowned in the sea.” And I Clement said to him, "And how dost you know that the woman when she fled did not marry one of the slaves, and that she died?” “I know certainly, that she did not marry, because she was chaste, and after her death, my brother related to me how she loved him at first and he, in fidelity towards me and his continence in his chastity, did not wish to defile my bed. And she, poor creature, in her fear of me and of disfavor, used an artifice, and she is not to be blamed, for this was fated against her, and she feigned that she had seen a vision and she said to me that: “if I remain here, I shall perish with my sons.” And when I heard that from her, verily, through my desire for her safety and [that of] her sons, I sent her, and I kept with me a third son whom I had, as she asserted that she saw in her dreams.” And when I heard this from him, I said, "Perhaps this is my father,” and my eye wept. And when my brothers sprung forward, wishing to embrace him, Kefa prevented them, and said to them, ' Be silent till it pleases me.' And Kefa answered and said to the old man,' What is the name of your son, the youngest boy?' And the old man said: “His name is Clement.” And Kefa answered him and said, “If I show you today your chaste wife with her three sons, wilt you believe that a chaste mind is able to conquer animal emotions, and that my discourse which I made to you about Ioue is the truth?” And the old man said, “Just as what you have promised me cannot be, so there cannot be (anything) without fate.” Said Kefa, “I call those present to witness that this day I present to you your wife with her three sons alive in her chastity. And the proof of this is my knowing the certainty of the thing better than you. And I tell you all that she related, in order that you may know and all these may know all this.” And when Kefa said this he began to relate, saying, “This man whom you (pl.) see, my brothers, in his ragged raiment, he is of the people of Rome, of a great lineage, and noble dignity, akin to Cesar, and his name is Faustinianus; and he married a noble woman, and her name is Matthidia; and he had three sons by her, two of them twins, and the third younger than they, whose name is Clement, and this is he, and these are the others, the one Aquila, and the other Niceta, and their names at first were, one Faustus, and the other Faustinianus. And when Kefa said this, and named them by their names, the old man was bewildered, and fainted, and his sons fell upon him kissing him and weeping, supposing that he was dead. And the people were bewildered by this marvel, and Kefa commanded us to lean off from the old man, and he took him by the hand, and raised him, and he related to the people all the misfortunes that had befallen him, and the reason that they happened. And when our mother learned this, she came hurrying, crying and saying: “Where is my husband and master Faustinianus, who has been miserable on account of me for a long time, seeking me in every city?” And while she was crying thus, the old man sprang hastily towards her with tears, and they embraced one another. And after all this Kefa sent away the crowd of people, and commanded them to come the next day and hear the story. And behold, a man of the nobles came with his wife and children to ask us to go to his house, and Kefa did not accept that from him.
And thereupon, behold, [there was] a daughter of the man [who had been] struck by a devil who had possessed her for twenty years, and on that account she was bound with chains, imprisoned in a house; the house was opened suddenly, and the chains were broken, and the devil came out from her; and the girl came and did obeisance to Kefa, and said: "O sir, I have come to you today on account of my salvation, and do not grieve me nor my father.” And Kefa asked them about the girl, and her parents were bewildered when they saw the chains fallen from her, and her request to Kefa. And Kefa had pity on her, and commanded us to go to his house. And on the morrow our father came to us, and did all that Kefa commanded him; and we turned the discourse so that there might be certainty in the controversy, and after very much speech in reproof of folly, Kefa commanded our father not to dwell for any time on what is not necessary to Ioue in religion, but that he should repent, for the end of life is near not only to old men, but also to young ones. And he exhorted the old man with all the people for some days, then he baptized the old man in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, to whom be glory and praise for ever and ever, Amen.
O [you] who reads, pray for him who wrote it.
May Ioue remember you in mercy, Amen, and all believers.
Studia Sinaitica 5 (1896) pp. 15-28 Updated and corrected language by Jackson Snyder 08/12/2009