ST. MARINA THE ASCETIC
Coptic Date: 15 Mesore
On this day, the church celebrates the commemoration of the departure of the nun St. Marina, who was the daughter of a very rich Christian man. Her name was Mariam, and her mother died when she was a little girl. Her father raised her, and brought her up well. When he wanted to give her in marriage, and to go himself and become a monk in one of the monasteries, she told him, 'O my Father, why would you save your own soul, and destroy mine?' He answered saying, 'What shall I do with you? You are a woman.' She told him, 'I will take off my woman's dress and will put on the garb of a man.' She rose
up straightway, shaved off the hair on her head and put on the garb of a man. When her father saw her strong determination and persistent desire, he gave all his possessions to the poor, keeping only a very little for himself, and he called her Marina instead of Mariam (Mary).
Then he went to one of the monasteries, and lived in one of the cells with his daughter, for ten years, fighting the spiritual fight. Then her father, who was an old man, died. St. Marina was left by herself, and she doubled her fasting, prayers and increased her asceticism. No one knew that she was a woman, and they attributed her soft voice to her intense asceticism and vigilant prayers.
Once the abbot of the monastery sent her, together with three monks, to the city on certain business of the monastery, and they lodged in an inn. That same night, one of the king's soldiers lodged in that inn, and he saw the daughter of the owner of the inn, and he defiled her virginity. He instructed her to tell
her father, 'that the young monk, Father Marina, did that to me.' When she had conceived, and her father knew that, he asked her and she answered saying, 'that it was the young monk, abba Marina, who did that to me.' Her father then became angry, went to the monastery and began to curse and insult the monks. The Abbot met with him, comforted and calmed him down and then sent him away.
The Abbot then called this saint and rebuked her much. When she knew what had happened, she wept and bowed down and said, 'I am young, I have sinned, forgive me O my Father.' The Abbot was furious with her, and cast her out of the monastery. She dwelt outside of the monastery for a long time. When the daughter of the innkeeper had the baby, her father took him to St. Marina, set him down
before her and left. She took the child, moved among the surrounding shepherds and nursed him with milk. She increased her fasting and prayers for the three years that she was expelled from the monastery. The monks felt pity upon her and asked the Abbot to readmit her. The Abbot consented to their request and readmitted her to the monastery after he had laid heavy penalties and severe rules upon the Saint. She performed very hard labors, such as cooking, cleaning, and watering, as well as her regular monastic duties.
When the child grew, he became a monk. After St. Marina had completed forty years, she fell ill for three days then departed in peace. The Abbot ordered her to take off her old ragged clothes and dress her with new ones prior to carrying her to the place of praying. When they removed her clothing, and found that she was a woman, they all shouted out saying, 'God have mercy.' They informed the Abbot who came, marveled, and wept because of what he had done to her. The Abbot then called the innkeeper and told him that the monk Marina was a woman not a man. The innkeeper went to where her body was and wept much. After they prayed over her body, they came forward to be blessed from her body. One of the monks had sight only in one eye, he put his face close to her body and immediately he gained sight in his blind eye. After she was buried, God allowed a devil to torment the inn keeper's daughter and the soldier, her friend, and brought them to where the Saint was buried and both confessed their iniquity in front of everyone. God manifested innumerable miracles through her blessed body. May her prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.