Thomas Cosmades





Among the believers, Fazilet Hemshire was an exemplary follower of Christ.  Her life was above reproach.  This suited her name which means 'virtue'.  Being a Turkish woman, she was persecuted severely.  Once she was even taken to the vali[1] of Marash from which city she came.  The vali questioned her in exact terms about why she had abandoned Islam and followed Christianity.  Her bold witness to the vali became kind of a legend among believers.  She said she found no reality in Islam, and had made her commitment not to a religion but to Jesus Christ, and that no person on earth could move her away from Him.  Vahram thought Fazilet would make a wonderful life partner and approached her for marriage.  She showed no interest whatsoever, so for Vahram the subject of marriage was dropped and never mentioned again.  The thought of marriage had occurred to him a few times before, but he had never taken any serious initiative.  To live in the reality of God's call was always his first love.  His heavenly Father gave him several sisters in the Lord to be helpers, such as Aygul, Sirpuhi, Altun, Rebekka, Hayguhi¼  These rallied to his every need, always helping and supporting him more effectively than any mother or natural sister ever could have done.

Those who followed his life and looked into his spiritual service sometimes asked the question: "Could this man be a mystic?"  The pre-reformation scene of mystics in Europe is known by those acquainted with church history.  As far as it can be ascertained, he knew nothing about mysticism.  Probably he had never even heard of it.  The only languages he could speak properly were Armenian and Turkish. Later he picked up conversational Arabic and Spanish.  He had never had the opportunity to read the life and works of such well-known mystics as Thomas a Kempis, St. Bernard de Clairvaux, St. Hildegard, Master Eckhart, Madame Guyon or Francois Fenelon.

Probably he bordered on mysticism with an element of mystical devotion to God, an extraordinary sense of worship, and persistent intercessory life. He was deeply dedicated to the sinless Christ and to the infallible Word of God.  He had a non-complaining attitude in all circumstances, such as when he went hungry.  He had a different view of the world, of people and events than that of the ordinary person.  He practiced fasting and avoided superfluous words.  Some observed that they often saw his lips moving, and they wondered what it meant.  Supplicating on his knees was his daily practice, and he was in continuous prayer as he went around.  Bernard de Clairvaux (1091-1153) expresses it in this hymn:                                                                

"Jesus the very

thought of Thee

With sweetness fills my breast;

But sweeter far Thy face to see,

And in Thy presence rest."

The supreme passion of his life was to feed his soul on God's Word in order to fully know his Savior.  He fervently pursued a deeper understanding of Christ's redemptive offer, for which he expressed his boundless devotion.  The longing of his soul was to be so comforted by Christ's resources that he could comfort others and draw unbelievers into the riches of this fascinating life.  The consequence of his search was the discovery of Christ's reality resulting in a testimony which activated enthusiasm and commitment in others to pursue the same course for their lives.  His deep desire to bring sinners to Christ may be explained by this whole-hearted commitment to his Lord’s commission.

He was not a prophet of noble descent like Isaiah or David, but a man with a prophetic message that drew many to the reality of justification by faith. He humbly declared God's holy Word with the skill of Apollos which attracted people away from the natural course they were following to the unseen kingdom that is above.

Vahram was just himself.  There was nothing pretentious or counterfeit about him.  Among God's servants having their roots in Anatolia he holds a special place.  Only eternity will reveal what was achieved through him in Istanbul in the thirties and forties.  His heart overflowed with love towards everyone — Muslims, Christians, Jews, irreligious folks.  He reckoned himself debtor to all.  It was not unusual for him to attend three or four house meetings in one day, and at each meeting he would lead men and women to Christ.  It was highly unlikely for him to leave any meeting without someone being converted or being drawn closer to the Savior.  Beginning in Turkey, he proclaimed the good news of God with singular devotion in the Middle East and then in South America, as far as Chile.

"But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? 

And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?

 And how are they to hear without a preacher? 

And how can men preach unless they are sent? 

As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!"

 (Romans 10:14, 15)


  [1] vali - governor of a province


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