St. Maria of Alexandria
Commemorated on February 12
St. Maria and her father Eugene lived at the beginning of the sixth century in Asia Minor. After the death of his wife, Eugene decided to withdraw to a monastery. His daughter did not wish to be separated from him, and so she accompanied him, dressed as a man. Together, they entered a monastery not far from Alexandria, and she received the name Marinus.
Marinus became accomplished in virtue, and was distinguished by humility and obedience. When her father died, she intensified her ascetical efforts and received from the Lord the gift to heal those afflicted by unclean spirits.
The “monk” Marinus was sent with “his” other brethren to the monastery gardens, and along the way they spent the night at an inn. The innkeeper’s daughter, having sinned with one of the lodgers, denounced Marinus and named “him” as the father of her child. The girl’s father complained to the abbot of the monastery, who expelled the “sinful brother.” The saint spoke not a word in her defense and began to live outside the monastery walls. When the innkeeper’s daughter gave birth to a boy, he brought it to Marinus. Without a word, he put his grandson down before her and left. The saint took the infant and began to raise him.
After three years, the monks begged the abbot to take the “monk” Marinus back into the monastery. The abbot, who reluctantly gave in to their requests, assigned Marinus difficult obediences, which she fulfilled with the greatest of zeal, while also raising her foster child.
Three years later, the saint peacefully reposed in her cell. The brethren saw the deceased “monk” and the boy crying over “him.” As they began to dress the saint for burial, her secret was revealed. The abbot of the monastery tearfully asked forgiveness of the departed, and the innkeeper followed his example.
The body of St. Maria was reverently buried in the monastery. The innkeeper’s daughter came to the grave of the saint and openly confessed her sin. Immediately, she was freed from the evil spirit which had been tormenting her. The boy whom the saint was raising later became a monk.
The relics of St. Maria were transferred to Constantinople, and were carried off to Venice in 1113.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)