St. Marina

stmarina01The 23rd of Abib is the commemoration of the martyrdom of the blessed St. Marina the Martyr of Antioch, who overcame the Devil. She was one of the daughters of the nobles of Antioch. Her parents were pagan. When her mother died, her father sent her to a nanny to raise her, who was a Christian. She taught Marina the Faith of Christ. When Marina reached the age of fifteen years, her father died. One day she heard her nurse talking about the biography of the martyrs and what glory they receive in the Kingdom of Heaven. She longed to become a martyr in the Name of the Lord Christ. One day St. Marina went out of her house with her maiden servants, and on her way she passed by Lopharius Ebrotus, the governor, who admired her much when he saw her. He ordered her brought to him. When the soldiers came to her, she told them that she was Christian. In turn, when they told the governor this, he was distressed for he liked her, and he had her brought to him by force. He offered her the worship of the idols and asked her to forsake God, but she refused. Then he asked her, “What is your name? and from where are you?” She told him, “I am Christian. I believe in the Lord Christ, and my name is Marina.” He tried to persuade her by many promises and promised to marry her, but she did not heed him. When she cursed and insulted him, he ordered her body scraped with iron combs, then rubbed with vinegar, salt and lime, which they did. Nevertheless, she endured with patience. They cast her in prison, thinking that she was about to die. Immediately the angel of the Lord came, and healed all her wounds. While she was standing up praying, and her hands were extended in the form of a cross, a huge and terrifying serpent came forth. When she saw it she was frightened and her whole body trembled. The serpent swallowed her up, and her soul almost departed from her. She made the sign of the cross and prayed while she was in the belly of the serpent. It split open and fell on the ground dead. St. Marina went out unharmed.

The next morning, the governor ordered her brought to him. When he saw that she was well, he marvelled much, and told her, “Marina, your sorcery has become evident today, so listen to me.Worship the gods and much good would be for you, and I will give you all that I have promised you.” She looked to him and to the dumb idols with contempt and said, “I worship the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the God of heavens and earth, and whatever you wish to do with me, do, for I will not heed you.” The governor ordered her hanged on the wheel, the squeezing wheel, and squeezed very tightly. They did so, then cast her in prison. The angel of the Lord came to her, and healed her. Then the Devil appeared to her and said, “O Marina, if you obey the governor that would be for your good for he is merciless, and he wishes to erase your name from the face of the earth.” She realized that he was the Devil. Straight away she caught the hair of his head, and she took an iron rod and started to beat him, saying, “Stop it O Satan.” Then she bound him with the sign of the cross, not to depart from before her until he told her all about what he does to the human race. When she pressed him, he told her, “I am the one who makes adultery, stealing, blasphemy, and earthly desires, good and desirable to the human. And if I do not overcome him, I steer sleep and laziness against him, so he will not pray and ask for the forgiveness of his sins.” The Saint straight away expelled him.

When the governor saw her he marvelled much, then he ordered to uncover her body, and to fill a large cauldron with melted lead, and to immerse her in it. When they did so, she asked the Lord to make this a baptism for her. The Lord sent his angel in the form of a dove. She immersed while saying, “In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God Amen.” A voice from heaven called her and said, “O Marina you have been baptised in the baptismal water.” She rejoiced exceedingly, and those who were present heard what had happened to the saint. Many of them believed, and the governor ordered to cut off their necks, and afterwards ordered to cut off St. Marina’s holy head. The executioner took her and went outside the city, then told her, “My lady Marina, I see the angel of the Lord and with him a crown of bright light.” She said, “I ask you to tarry on me until I have prayed.” She extended her arms and prayed fervently, then told the executioner, “Do what you have been ordered to do.” She bowed her neck to the executioner who told her, “I could not do so.” The saint told him, “If you do not do so, you would not have a share in the Kingdom of God.” When he heard what she said, he took the sword and cut her neck off then he cut his neck also while he was saying, “I believe in the God of St. Marina.” He fell down beside her and he received the crown of martyrdom in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Lord had manifested from her body many signs and healing miracles. Her body is presently located in the church of the Lady the Virgin Mary in Haret El-Roum.

May her prayers and intercession be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.

stmarina02On the 15th of Misra, 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 straight away, 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 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 and severe rules upon the Saint. She performed very hard labour, 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 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, 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. 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.