June 18: Saint Marina the Monk

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Marina was a Christian saint of Byzantine Syria, in the area now part of Lebanon, who lived in the 6th century

She was the daughter of wealthy Christian parents. Her mother died while she was very young and her father, a pious man, decided to renounce the world and leave for the Monastery. To remain with him, Marina dressed like a man and changed her name into Marino. She hid her femininity from the monks and she managed to disguise her sex so well that one day, after a journey during which the monks had slept at an inn, she was accused of raping a girl. She was the innkeeper’s daughter who had been was seduced by a soldier, got pregnant and blamed Marino (Marina).
She did not defend herself , but with humility accepted the severe punishment pronounced by the Abbot: she was expelled from the monastery and given the baby to bring up. She spent the rest of her life living ascetically at the door of the Monastery and looking after the child.

Her identity as a woman was only revealed after her death, when her body had to be prepared for burial.

 

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