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The Holy Eskeem

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The Holy Eskeem - St Shenouda Monastery Pimonakhos Articles

The Eskeem is a Coptic word which means ‘shape’ it is a string of plaited leather with crosses in equal distances, it surrounds the chest and the back. Two big crosses are in it; one at the chest, and one at the back, then 12 more crosses. The hermits who has reached high levels of spirituality wear it, following these strict practices and rules:

1. To read the 150 Psalms daily.
2. To pray the Mid-night praise daily.
3. To do 500 metania daily.
4. To live the life of silence.
5. To continually read the Holy Bible and the lives and sayings of the saints.
6. Fast daily till sunset
7. To keep eat, drink, and sleep to a minimum so that he reaches mental and psychological serenity and purity.

The Rite of Wearing the Eskeem:

It is like the Rite of ordaining monks to a great extent, but the prayers and crossings are done here on the leather plaited Eskeem. In one of the prayers, the Abbot prays “we ask and entreat to Your Goodness O Lover of mankind, make him worthy of this Eskeem, which is the sign of the Holy Cross of Your Only Son, and His life-giving death, to live with Him in eternal life forever. Amen.” Then he clothes the Eskeem on the monk saying: “Put on the seal which is a token of the Kingdom of heaven, the holy Eskeem. Carry on your arms the sign of the glorified Cross. Follow our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ, the True God, to inherit the light of eternal life through the power of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” After finishing the prayers and reading the commandments, the monk participates in the Holy Liturgy and partakes of the Holy Communion