Written by Monica Mikhail ~Saints Marana and Kyra were Syrian women that came from Beroea, currently known as Aleppo. These two noblewomen of excellent lineage became holy Mothers, being praised by Bishop Cyril Theodoratos for their extreme and committed practice of asceticism. These Saints left the luxury of their rich lives so that they may concentrate on living a life devoted to God.
In 398 A.D., Saints Marana and Kyra traveled to the outskirts of their city and lived in a small room with no roof which they built themselves. Seeing the new life that they had adopted, their previous maidservants took on this same way of living. They built a room right next to the Saints, but were only able to communicate with them through a small window. Through this window, St. Marana encouraged these young women to continue praying unceasingly to God in longing of gaining a deeper love for Him.
During their life of asceticism, Saints Marana and Kyra endured the turmoil of the rain, snow, and heat that would beat on them through their roofless room. Despite the discomfort, they persevered through this tough environment and never complained for they meditated only on Christ, their Heavenly Bridegroom. He was the one who allowed them to tolerate these hardships with joy and peace. “…We do not look at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
These Saints willingly received very little nourishment. They fasted for three weeks and forty day spans, completing the latter three times throughout their lifetime. Adding to their hardships, they wore chains that weighed them down to the ground. These chains were of such an extreme practice that when Bishop Theodoratos visited them and saw how they were living, he strongly requested that they stop this. In respect to him, they took off the chains that were wrapped around their neck, waist, hands, and feet, but they cast them back on once he left.
Even though they excelled in abandoning their physical needs and desires, they continued to gain virtues by taking on a life of silence. St. Marana only spoke to female visitors on the day of Pentecost and not a word was ever heard from St. Kyra’s mouth.
The only time they ever left the solitude of their dwelling place was when they went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in which they refused to receive any nourishment until they worshipped at the holy places. They also went to visit the shrine of St. Thecla, considered the female proto-martyr and equal-to-the-Apostles, in hopes of becoming more passionate in their love for God.
St. Marana and Kyra lived in asceticism for forty-two years before they departed in peace. They are commemorated by the Church on the 28th of February.
May the Lord grant us the desire to follow in the example of Saints Marana and Kyra, always desiring to grow in earnest love and devotion for Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers. Holy Apostles Convent, 1991.
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/Nick.Papas.Studio
The simple, yet beautiful, lives of Saints Marana and Kyra seem more fulfilling than many of our lives within this world. It is only when they stripped their lives from the riches of this world that they were able to devote themselves wholly to the Lord. The extreme steps they took in their relationship with God granted them ultimate satisfaction in their lives of asceticism. Unlike these Saints, many of us are not called to this simple way of life, but does that mean we are exempt from ever feeling the overflowing amounts of love that these two holy women felt toward God? Is a life of simplicity impossible while living in the world? It begins by seeking the heavenly, rather than the earthly...