Saint Marina the Monk

Saint Marina is celebrated on two occasions: on 18 June her memorial day and on 17 July, when her relics were transferred from Constantinople to Venice in 1231.

Marina of Bithynia is a Christian saint of Byzantine Syria, the area now part of Lebanon, venerated as a saint by the Catholic, Orthodox and Coptic Churches, who probably lived between the fifth and sixth centuries.

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 retire to a Monastery. Since women were not allowed to enter, in order to stay with him, she disguised as a boy and changed her name from Marina, suitable for a girl, to Marino, its male correspondent.
She hid her femininity from the monks so well that, one day, after a journey during which the monks had slept at an inn, she was accused of raping a girl, the innkeeper’s daughter who had been seduced by a soldier, got pregnant and blamed Marino.
She did not defend herself , but with humility accepted the severe punishment pronounced by the Abbot: her expulsion from the monastery together with the newborn child to bring up. Therefore she spent the rest of her life living ascetically at the door of the monastery, doing penance for a fault she had not committed, and raising the baby with makeshift means.
Once readmitted inside the convent, Friar Marino put herself at the complete service of the other religious. But her body, weakened by the many sacrifices she had been obliges to make, did not last long.

Great was the surprise of the monks when, while preparing the body for burial, they discovered her true identity.

Santa Marina viene festeggiata in due occasioni: il 18 giugno e il 17 luglio, quando si celebra la traslazione delle sue reliquie da Costantinopoli a Venezia, avvenuta nel 1231.

Marina di Bitinia, una regione dell’Asia Minore, è venerata come santa dalla Chiesa cattolica, da quella ortodossa e da quella copta. Il periodo in cui visse è incerto: potrebbe essere vissuta fra il V ed il VI secolo.

Figlia di ricchi genitori cristiani, rimase orfana di madre quando ancora era bambina. Il padre, uomo pio, decise di rinunciare al mondo e ritirarsi in un monastero, Siccome alle donne non era permesso entrarvi, per poter restare con lui, Marina si vestì da uomo e cambiò il nome in Marino.
Nascose la sua femminilità così bene che un giorno, dopo un viaggio durante il quale i monaci avevano dormito in una locanda, fu accusata di aver violentato una ragazza: la figlia dell’oste che era stata sedotta da un soldato, e, rimasta incinta, aveva incolpato Marino (Marina).
Non si difese, ma accettò con umiltà il severo castigo pronunciato dall’abate: l’espulsione dal monastero insieme al bambino da allevare. E fu così che trascorse il resto della sua vita: vivendo asceticamente alla porta del monastero, facendo penitenza per una colpa che non aveva commesso e allevando il piccolo (che chiamò Fortunato) con mezzi di fortuna.
Una volta riammesso all’interno del convento fra’ Marino si mise al completo servizio degli altri religiosi. Ma il suo fisico fiaccato dai tanti sacrifici non resse a lungo.

Quale fu la sorpresa dei monaci quando, mentre preparavano il suo corpo per la sepoltura, scoprirono il suo vero sesso.

PS: su questa strabiliante storia ho scritto un racconto che, per evitare problemi di collegamento, ho riproposto qui

37 thoughts on “Saint Marina the Monk

  1. Luisa ! Great are those who hides his/her identity till last . How less intelligent are we ? We come to the conclusion so instantly as if we have to have our last supper . As if no opportunity will ever come before us for finding the truth . As if we are the men/women who have to say only last word in this world . It was what happened to Her Holiness Saint Marina . It should not be taken as male domination or female suffering . It should be taken as our hidden animalistic instincts we still have . Even after so many years of our civilization . Story of Her Holiness Saint Marina is an eye opener for those whose properties are so called faith , belief and religion . Thanks !

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  2. Pardon the cynicism of an ex-Catholic (me), but I don’t see her acceptance of guilt and punishment for someone else’s rape as an act of saintliness (assuming the story is true). The raped girl got away with lying, and the soldier got away with rape — where is the justice in that? In the first place, It’s questionable if some of these so-called saints even ever existed. In the second place, who are mere human beings to decide that a dead person is a saint in heaven (assuming there is a heaven).

    I could go on, but I’ve “probably” ranted long enough!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I look at the criticism of why someone became a saint and the motives of those who chose them for sainthood and I would still rather have this method of adoration than today’s adoration of celebrity and notoriety. What makes people worship movie stars and athletes, when many of them have no other claim to fame and worship than the money they make from the worshippers. We all need a reason to strive to be better human beings and the purported deeds of those who have been canonized seem to set those reasons. Thanks for sharing Luisa. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Allan, I thank you for this wise reflection on the difference between the worship of a saint or a rich star.
      In the Catholic church we have a saint for every occasion, and I have one or two of them to whom I turn in case of need. I know this can be considered childish, but it helps me psychologically🙏🙏🙏
      Have a lovely Saturday 💙

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nemmeno io riesco ad aprire il tuo racconto, Luisa, e ne sono dispiaciuta. Non conoscevo questo racconto-leggenda e ti ringrazio per averlo postato. Nonostante la “follia” del presente io credo che esista qualcuno, intendo tra gli esseri umani, che ci indichi la giusta direzione verso il Cielo. Sereno pomeriggio a te 🙏❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have found this explanation : “The process for being declared a saint is ancient, traditional, and often mysterious. Evidence must be presented to persuade Church officials that the person in question in fact lived a virtuous life, had faith, and had the support and help of God. The Church also looks at miracles as evidence that God is working through that person.”

      Liked by 1 person

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