Featured Saint 21/08

St Marina the Ascetic

St. Marina, who was the daughter of a very rich Christian man. Her name was Mariam, and her mother died when she was little girl.  When he wanted to give her in marriage, and to go himself and become a monk in one of the monasteries, she told him she did not want to and told him she would dress as a man. She rose up straightway, shaved off the hair on her head and put on the garb of a man. 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 tree 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 same 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 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 long time. When the daughter of the inn keeper 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 upon the Saint.

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 to take off her old clothes and dress her with new ones.
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, marvelled, and wept because of what he had done to her. The Abbot then called the inn keeper and told him that the monk Marina was a woman not a man. The inn keeper went to where her body was and wept much.  God manifested innumerable miracles through her blessed body.