Written by Stephanie Abrahim~On the fifteenth day of the blessed month of Mesra, the church celebrates the commemoration and departure of the nun, St. Marina. Originally known as Mariam in her youth, she was born in the home of a rich Christian father who had plans of giving her away to be married while he left to become a monk. However, she challenged these expectations by saying to her father, “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.” In that case, she shaved her head and wore the apparel of a man and went to live a life of asceticism with her father.
St. Marina and her father lived in a cell for ten years, fighting the good fight for the Lord. Once her father had passed away, she doubled her fasting, prayer, and asceticism and continued to live as a monk in the monastery. However, conflict arose when she was sent to a city with three other monks concerning business of the monastery. While they were staying at an inn, one of the king’s soldiers who also stayed there had committed adultery with the daughter of the inn keeper, telling the woman that if she becomes pregnant she must say it was because of Abba Marina.
The woman became pregnant and told her father that Abba Marina had done this to her. Her father became enraged and cursed the monks at the monastery. The Abbot was very angry with St. Marina and forced her to leave the monastery. When the woman’s child was born, the father of the child brought the baby to St. Marina and left it with her. She then nursed the child and increased her fasting and prayer much more for three years. The monks felt pity and asked the Abbot to readmit her. Eventually she was allowed into the monastery once again. However, she was forced to endure several duties of cleaning, cooking, etc. along with her usual duties as a monk.
The child grew up and became a monk. After St. Marina had served for forty years, she became sick for three days and had passed away. They had removed her clothing to take her to the place of prayer and discovered that she was a female. They cried, “God have mercy.” The monks informed the Abbot, feeling guilty for what he had put her through. After they prayed over her body, they approached her closely to receive her blessings. Upon approaching her, a monk received sight in his blind eye. Afterwards, the Lord allowed the devil to plague the presence of the woman and soldier who then later confessed their sins in the presence of her body. May her blessings be with us all and Glory be to our God forever Amen.
St. Marina is an extraordinary woman. She is an example of someone who was willing to give up her life and do everything possible to serve the Lord. St. Marina felt that the married life was not going to fulfill her spiritually, so she gave up everything just to live a life of monasticism and simplicity. Often times people are prone to stray away from God when the going gets rough. However, she put her heart and soul into her prayers and fasted when trials of the world afflicted her. May the Lord teach us to remain faithful to Him and to continue to stay strong in our spiritual warfare with the devil as St. Marina did.