Menas of Egypt

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[[Image:StMina.gif|frame|Coptic icon of St Menas the Wonder-worker]]The holy, glorious and right-victorious [[Martyr]] '''Menas''' (or ''Mina''; 285-309 A.D.), the [[Wonder-worker]], is one of the most well known Egyptian saints in the East and the West, due to the many miracles that are performed through his [[intercession]]s. His [[feast day]] is celebrated on [[November 11]] (or  in the [[Coptic]] church on [[Coptic Calendar|Hathor]] 15 ([[November 24]])).
  
  
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==Life==
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Saint Menas was born in Egypt in 285 A.D., in the city of Niceous (Nakiyos or Nikiu), which lies in the vicinity of Memphis. His parents were real [[ascetic]] Christians; his father's name was Audexios (or Eudoxius) and his mother's name was Aufimia (or Euphemia). On the feast of St. [[Theotokos|Mary]], the mother who did not have any children was praying in front of the [[icon]] of the Virgin with tears that God would give her a blessed son. A sound came to her ears saying "Amen," and thus she called her son Menas.
  
[[Image:StMina.gif|frame|St Mina the Wonders Maker]]
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His father, a ruler of one of the administrative divisions of Egypt, died when Menas was 14 years old. At the age of 15, Menas joined the army. He was given a high rank because of his father's reputation and was stationed in Algeria. Three years later he left the army longing to devote his whole life to [[Christ]]. He headed towards the desert to live a different kind of life.
Saint Mina (285-309 A.D.), who is called the blessed faithful, was martyred on Hathor 15 (November 24). His father, Eudoxius, was a native of the city of Nakiyos (Nikiu) in Egypt and was its Governor. His brother was envious of him and he brought charges against him before the Emperor. The Emperor transferred him to Africa and appointed him Governor over it. The people were pleased with him because he was merciful and God-fearing.
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His mother Euphemia had no children. One day she went to church on the feast of our Lady, the Virgin, the Mother of God, at Attribes. She saw the children in the church wearing their beautiful clothes with their parents. She heaved a sigh and wept before the icon of the Virgin Mary, entreating her to intercede for her before her beloved Son, in order that He would give her a son. A voice came from the icon saying, "Amen." She rejoiced in what she had heard and realized that the Lord had heard her prayers. When she returned to her home and told her husband about it, he replied, "May God's Will be done."
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After spending five years as a [[hermit]], he saw in a revelation the [[angels]] crowning the martyrs with glamorous crowns, and longed to join those martyrs. While he was thinking about it, he heard a voice saying: "Blessed are you, Abba Menas, because you have been called for the pious life from your childhood. You shall be granted three immortal crowns; one because of your [[celibacy]], the second because of your asceticism, and the third for your martyrdom."
  
The Lord gave them this saint and they called him Mina, according to the voice that his mother heard. When he grew, his parents taught him reading and writing and they reared him in a Christian manner. When he was eleven years old, his father departed at a good old age. Then his mother departed three years later. Saint Mina devoted his life to fasting, praying and to living a Christian life. Because of everyone's love towards him and his father, they placed him in his father's position. In spite of that, he did not forsake his worshipping.
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Immediately he felt as if the earth under him was vanishing, and he was overwhelmed with great eagerness to be carried away to heavens. In a mood of valor he hurried to the ruler, declaring his Christian faith. His sufferings attracted many of the pagans, not only to Christianity, but also to martyrdom.
  
When the Emperor Diocletian had reneged Christianity and issued his orders to worship idols, many were martyred for the Name of the Lord Christ. Saint Mina left his position and went to the desert, where he stayed many days worshipping God with all his heart.
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==Relics==
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The saint's assassins tried to burn his [[relics]] but failed. The saint's body remained in the fire for three days and three nights, and was not harmed. His sister came and gave the soldiers money and they let her take the body. She embarked with her brother's body on one of the ships heading to Alexandria, where they placed the saint's body in the church there.
  
One day he saw the heavens open and the martyrs crowned with beautiful crowns. He heard a voice saying, "He who toils for the Name of the Lord Christ shall receive these crowns." He returned to the city over which he was Governor and confessed the Name of the Lord Christ. Knowing that he belonged to a noble family, they tried to dissuade him from his faith and promised him honors and precious gifts. When he did not change his mind, they threatened him and the Governor ordered him to be tortured. When the Governor failed to turn him away from his faith in the Lord Christ, he sent him to his brother so that he might influence him but he failed also. Finally, he ordered his head to be cut off with the sword, his body to be cast in the fire and his ashes to be scattered in the wind. The body remained in the fire for three days and three nights, but it was not harmed.
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When the time of persecution ended, during the papacy of [[Pope]] [[Athanasius of Alexandria]], the believers loaded the saint's body on a camel and headed towards the western desert (after an angel appeared to the Patriarch informing him to do so). At the spot that the Lord had designated, the camel stopped and refused to move. There, near a water well, they buried the saint's body.  That place is the same as where [[St. Mina Monastery (Mariut, Egypt)|the saint's present-day Coptic Orthodox monastery]] is located at the end of Lake Mariut, not far from Alexandria, Egypt.
  
His sister came and gave the soldiers a lot of money and they let her take the body. She put it in a sack made of fronds and decided to go to Alexandria, as her brother had previously advised her. She embarked with her brother's body on one of the ships to Alexandria.
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Later on, the Berbers of Pentapolis rose against the cities around Alexandria. The people were getting ready to face the Berbers, and the governor decided to take the body of St. Menas with him to be his deliverer and his strong protector. He took the body secretly and through the saint's blessings, he overcame the Berbers and returned victorious.
  
During their trip, sea beasts came out of the water and attacked the passengers aboard the ship. They were frightened and screamed with fear. The Saint's sister prayed to the Lord and asked for the intercession of her brother. While the passengers were in fear, fire went forth from her brother's body and burned the faces of the beasts. They dived immediately into the water and as they reappeared, the fire burned them again. They finally dived and did not reappear.
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The governor decided not to return St. Menas' body to its original place (in Mariut) and wanted to take it to Alexandria. On the way back, they passed by Lake Mariut, St. Menas' original place. The camel carrying the body knelt down and would not move in spite of frequent beatings. They moved the body over another camel, but this second camel did not move from its place. The governor finally realized that this was the Lord's command. He made a coffin from decay-resistant wood and placed the silver coffin in it. He then returned it to its place and invoked St. Menas' blessings before returning to his city.
  
When the ship arrived at the city of Alexandria, most of the people went out with the father, the Patriarch. They carried the holy body with reverence and honor and entered the city with a venerable celebration and placed it in the church, after they shrouded it in expensive shrouds. When the time of persecution ended, the angel of the Lord appeared to the Patriarch, Athanasius of Alexandria. The angel informed him of the Lord's command which was to place the body of Saint Mina on a camel and to take it out of the city without letting anyone lead it, but to follow it from a distance until it stopped at a place that the Lord had designated. They walked behind the camel until they arrived at a place called Lake Bayad, in the district of Mariout. There they heard a voice saying, "This is the place where the Lord wishes the body of his beloved Mina to be placed." They lowered the body and placed it in a coffin, then they situated it in a beautiful garden and many miracles happened through the body.
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Later, his burial place was revealed when a shepherd was feeding his sheep in that area and a sick lamb fell on the ground. As it struggled to get on its feet again, its scab was cured. The story spread quickly and the sick who came to this spot recovered from whatever illnesses they had just by laying on the ground.
  
Later on, the Berbers of Pentapolis (the five cities) rose against the cities around Alexandria. The people were getting ready to face the Berbers, and the Governor decided to take the body of Saint Mina with him to be his deliverer and his strong protector. He took the body secretly and through the blessings of this Saint, he overcame the Berbers and returned victorious.
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During that time, the daughter of [[Zeno (emperor)|Zinon]], the Christ-loving Emperor at Constantinople (ruled 474-475, 476-491), was leprous. His advisers suggested that she should try that place, and she did. At night St. Menas appeared to the girl and informed her that his body was buried in that place. The following morning, she bathed in the well and was healed. She related her vision about St. Menas to her servants and that he cured her.  Immediately, Zinon ordered the saint's body to be dug out, and a church to be built there.  
  
The governor decided not to return the body of the saint to its original place and wanted to take it to Alexandria. On the way back, they passed by Lake Bayad, Saint Mina's original place. The camel carrying the body knelt down and would not move in spite of frequent beatings. They moved the body over another camel, but again this second camel did not move from its place. The Governor finally realized that this was the Lord's command. He made a coffin from decay-resistant wood and placed the silver coffin in it. He then returned it to its place and invoked Saint Mina's blessings, then returned to his city.
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==Historical significance==
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===St. Menas in Mariut===
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When [[Arcadius]] and [[w:Honorius (emperor)|Honorius]] reigned (383–408 and 393-423), they also ordered that a large city to be built there and named after the saint.<ref>[http://www.stmina-monastery.org/abu_mena.htm Abu Mena (Abu Mina)]</ref> Sick people from all over the world would visit the city and were healed by the intercession of St. Menas, the Miracle-maker. That is evident from the numerous little clay bottles on which his name and picture are engraved. These were discovered by archeologists in diverse countries around the Mediterranean world, such as Heidelberg, Germany; Milan, Italy; Dalmata, Yugoslavia; Marseille, France; Dengela, Sudan; and Jerusalem. Visitors from these cities and others would buy these bottles, usually containing oil or water for blessing, and take them back to their relatives.
  
When the Lord wanted to disclose the location of Saint Mina's holy body, He did it in this manner. There was a shepherd in the desert. One day a sheep with mange slipped down into the water of a well near the place of the saint's body. The sheep then came out of the water and rolled over in the sand of that place, and instantly the sheep was healed. When the shepherd saw this miracle, he was amazed. He took some of the sand and mixed it with water and smeared it over every sheep with mange, as well as on those with other infirmities, and immediately they were healed.
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The historian Edith L. Butcher recorded that destruction started to take place in the city, and its inhabitants were degraded after the Arab conquest. During the period after Haroun El-Rasheed ([[Islam|Muslim]] ruler), the Berbers attacked the city and burned a large portion of it. At the time of El-Mamoun (Muslim ruler), he ordered that the entire city be taken down, and then he used its numerous marble pillars to build his palace and mosques. It is only in the 20th century that international missions began to search for the city and the church (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
  
The news of these miracles spread in all the countries until the Emperor at Constantinople heard of them. He had an only daughter and she was leprous. Her father sent her to the place where the Saint's body was and she inquired from the shepherd how these miracles were happening. She took some of the sand, moistened it with water, smeared it on her body and slept the night in that place. In her sleep she saw Saint Mina saying to her, "Arise early and dig in this place, and you will find my body." When she woke up, she found herself cured. She began digging as she was told and she found the holy body. She sent word to her father, informing him of the news. The Emperor rejoiced exceedingly, thanked the Lord and glorified His Name. He then sent men and money and built a church in that place and it was consecrated on the fifteenth day of the Month of Paoni.
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===The New Cathedral of St. Menas===
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As soon as Pope [[Cyril VI (Atta) of Alexandria|Cyril (Kyrillos) the Sixth]] was installed on St. [[Apostle Mark|Mark]]'s Throne, he began to put the foundations of a great monastery close to the remains of the old city. Thus, the old monastery of St. Menas was resurrected, and the Copts were able to visit it once again and to be blessed by the saint. What is even more interesting is that Pope Kyrillos VI stated in his will that his body should not be buried in the new famous Cathedral of St. Mark in Cairo, but in the monastery of his personal friend and intercessor, St. Menas the Miracle-maker.
  
When Arcadius and Honorius reigned, they ordered a city to be built there. Multitudes of people came to that church asking for the intercession of the blessed Saint Mina. The Lord had honored him with many signs and wonders that appeared from his pure body. When the Arabs came to Egypt, they attacked the city and the church was destroyed, only ruins remained. When His Holiness, the late Pope Abba [[Cyril VI of Alexandria (Coptic)|Kyrillos VI]] was ordained Patriarch over the See of Saint Mark, he took interest in building a large [[Saint Mina Monastery in Mariut|monastery]] in the region of Mariout in the name of Saint Mina. He spent a great deal of money in establishing it. There are now many churches in the monastery, visited by many Orthodox worshippers who go there to receive blessings and to pray. He also bought one hundred acres (400,000 m²) of land and built a fence around it. In this monastery, he ordained a number of monks who had a high degree of scientific and religious education.
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==Reference==
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*<references />
  
==Source==
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==Sources==
* [http://www.copticchurch.net/classes/synex.php?sa=1&month=3&day=15&btn=View St Mina the Wonders' Maker]
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* [http://www.stmina-monastery.org/stmina.htm St. Mina] ([[Coptic]])
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* [http://www.stmina-monastery.org/inotherchurches.htm Beyond the Coptic Orthodox Church] (Coptic)
  
==External Link==
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* [http://www.stmina-monastery.org/ St. Mina Monastery in Mariut on the Web]
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==External links==
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* [http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?FSID=103277 Martyr Menas of Egypt] ([[OCA]])
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* [http://www.goarch.org/chapel/saints/285 Menas of Egypt] ([[GOARCH]])
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* [http://www.westsrbdio.org/prolog/my.html?month=November&day=11 The Holy Great-martyr Menas] (''[[Prologue of Ohrid]]'')
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* [http://www.comeandseeicons.com/m/inp09.htm Icon of St. Menas of Egypt]
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* [http://www.stmina-monastery.org/ St. Mina Monastery in Mariut on the Web] (Coptic)
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* [[w:Saint Mina|Saint Mina]]. Wikipedia.
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* Great [[Synaxarion|Synaxaristes]]: {{el icon}} ''[http://www.synaxarion.gr/gr/sid/1149/sxsaintinfo.aspx Ὁ Ἅγιος Μηνᾶς ὁ Μεγαλομάρτυρας «ὁ ἐν τῷ Κοτυαείῳ»].'' 11 Νοεμβρίου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
  
 
[[Category:Martyrs]]
 
[[Category:Martyrs]]
 
[[Category:Saints]]
 
[[Category:Saints]]
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[[Category:Ante-Nicene Saints]]
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[[Category:Byzantine Saints]]
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[[Category:Egyptian Saints]]
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[[Category:Wonderworkers]]
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[[Category:4th-century saints]]
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[[el:Μηνάς, Άγιος]]
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[[ro:Mina]]
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[[ar:مارمينا العجائبي]]

Latest revision as of 07:39, November 26, 2012

Coptic Orthodox Cross
Note: This article or section represents an Oriental Orthodox (Non-Chalcedonian) perspective, which may differ from an Eastern Orthodox (Chalcedonian) understanding.
Coptic icon of St Menas the Wonder-worker
The holy, glorious and right-victorious Martyr Menas (or Mina; 285-309 A.D.), the Wonder-worker, is one of the most well known Egyptian saints in the East and the West, due to the many miracles that are performed through his intercessions. His feast day is celebrated on November 11 (or in the Coptic church on Hathor 15 (November 24)).


Contents

Life

Saint Menas was born in Egypt in 285 A.D., in the city of Niceous (Nakiyos or Nikiu), which lies in the vicinity of Memphis. His parents were real ascetic Christians; his father's name was Audexios (or Eudoxius) and his mother's name was Aufimia (or Euphemia). On the feast of St. Mary, the mother who did not have any children was praying in front of the icon of the Virgin with tears that God would give her a blessed son. A sound came to her ears saying "Amen," and thus she called her son Menas.

His father, a ruler of one of the administrative divisions of Egypt, died when Menas was 14 years old. At the age of 15, Menas joined the army. He was given a high rank because of his father's reputation and was stationed in Algeria. Three years later he left the army longing to devote his whole life to Christ. He headed towards the desert to live a different kind of life.

After spending five years as a hermit, he saw in a revelation the angels crowning the martyrs with glamorous crowns, and longed to join those martyrs. While he was thinking about it, he heard a voice saying: "Blessed are you, Abba Menas, because you have been called for the pious life from your childhood. You shall be granted three immortal crowns; one because of your celibacy, the second because of your asceticism, and the third for your martyrdom."

Immediately he felt as if the earth under him was vanishing, and he was overwhelmed with great eagerness to be carried away to heavens. In a mood of valor he hurried to the ruler, declaring his Christian faith. His sufferings attracted many of the pagans, not only to Christianity, but also to martyrdom.

Relics

The saint's assassins tried to burn his relics but failed. The saint's body remained in the fire for three days and three nights, and was not harmed. His sister came and gave the soldiers money and they let her take the body. She embarked with her brother's body on one of the ships heading to Alexandria, where they placed the saint's body in the church there.

When the time of persecution ended, during the papacy of Pope Athanasius of Alexandria, the believers loaded the saint's body on a camel and headed towards the western desert (after an angel appeared to the Patriarch informing him to do so). At the spot that the Lord had designated, the camel stopped and refused to move. There, near a water well, they buried the saint's body. That place is the same as where the saint's present-day Coptic Orthodox monastery is located at the end of Lake Mariut, not far from Alexandria, Egypt.

Later on, the Berbers of Pentapolis rose against the cities around Alexandria. The people were getting ready to face the Berbers, and the governor decided to take the body of St. Menas with him to be his deliverer and his strong protector. He took the body secretly and through the saint's blessings, he overcame the Berbers and returned victorious.

The governor decided not to return St. Menas' body to its original place (in Mariut) and wanted to take it to Alexandria. On the way back, they passed by Lake Mariut, St. Menas' original place. The camel carrying the body knelt down and would not move in spite of frequent beatings. They moved the body over another camel, but this second camel did not move from its place. The governor finally realized that this was the Lord's command. He made a coffin from decay-resistant wood and placed the silver coffin in it. He then returned it to its place and invoked St. Menas' blessings before returning to his city.

Later, his burial place was revealed when a shepherd was feeding his sheep in that area and a sick lamb fell on the ground. As it struggled to get on its feet again, its scab was cured. The story spread quickly and the sick who came to this spot recovered from whatever illnesses they had just by laying on the ground.

During that time, the daughter of Zinon, the Christ-loving Emperor at Constantinople (ruled 474-475, 476-491), was leprous. His advisers suggested that she should try that place, and she did. At night St. Menas appeared to the girl and informed her that his body was buried in that place. The following morning, she bathed in the well and was healed. She related her vision about St. Menas to her servants and that he cured her. Immediately, Zinon ordered the saint's body to be dug out, and a church to be built there.

Historical significance

St. Menas in Mariut

When Arcadius and Honorius reigned (383–408 and 393-423), they also ordered that a large city to be built there and named after the saint.[1] Sick people from all over the world would visit the city and were healed by the intercession of St. Menas, the Miracle-maker. That is evident from the numerous little clay bottles on which his name and picture are engraved. These were discovered by archeologists in diverse countries around the Mediterranean world, such as Heidelberg, Germany; Milan, Italy; Dalmata, Yugoslavia; Marseille, France; Dengela, Sudan; and Jerusalem. Visitors from these cities and others would buy these bottles, usually containing oil or water for blessing, and take them back to their relatives.

The historian Edith L. Butcher recorded that destruction started to take place in the city, and its inhabitants were degraded after the Arab conquest. During the period after Haroun El-Rasheed (Muslim ruler), the Berbers attacked the city and burned a large portion of it. At the time of El-Mamoun (Muslim ruler), he ordered that the entire city be taken down, and then he used its numerous marble pillars to build his palace and mosques. It is only in the 20th century that international missions began to search for the city and the church (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site).

The New Cathedral of St. Menas

As soon as Pope Cyril (Kyrillos) the Sixth was installed on St. Mark's Throne, he began to put the foundations of a great monastery close to the remains of the old city. Thus, the old monastery of St. Menas was resurrected, and the Copts were able to visit it once again and to be blessed by the saint. What is even more interesting is that Pope Kyrillos VI stated in his will that his body should not be buried in the new famous Cathedral of St. Mark in Cairo, but in the monastery of his personal friend and intercessor, St. Menas the Miracle-maker.

Reference

Sources


External links

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