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THE SUFFERING OF THE HOLY GREAT MARTYR MARINA


St. Marina was born in Antiochia Pisidia[1 - [1] Pisidia - Asia Minor region.] of noble parents, but darkened by heathen godlessness. Her father Edesius was an idol priest; he gave his daughter Marina, who was left without a mother in her infancy, to a nurse who lived in a village fifteen racetracks away from the city. When the girl grew up with the wet nurse, she showed herself to be beautiful in body and even more beautiful in soul, she was distinguished by reasonableness and good nature.

Since the persecution of Christians was raised in those times, the priests and clerics, teachers of the word of God, hid for fear of the tormentors, some in the deserts and mountains and caves, and others in the villages among the common people; they hid disguised as nothing, but nevertheless, wherever they could, they taught the holy faith, even secretly, and converted many from idolatrous error to Christ. It also happened to the twelve-year-old girl Marina that she heard a word from a man of God about Christ Jesus, the true God: how He was incarnated by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Immaculate Virgin, and was born of Her, preserving her virginity; how He creates many miracles; how He willingly suffered for the salvation of people, how He died and rose again and ascended to heaven and established infinite life and glory and an eternal kingdom to those who believe in Him and love Him.

Hearing this, the sensible girl Marina believed in Christ and her heart was ignited with divine love, and she neither thought nor spoke about anything else, but only about Christ Jesus. And she turned into an ear when she heard that there was talk about the true God. And just as she believed in Him with her heart, she was not ashamed to confess Him with her mouth, even though she had not yet been baptized, since there was no Christian priest to baptize her. And Marina wished to shed her blood for Christ and to be baptized with it as a baptismal font, as she had heard of many holy martyrs who were baptized in their own blood, laying down their souls for the Lord; and she wanted to imitate them.

Edesius, finding out that his daughter Marina believed in Christ, hated her, and stopped considering her as his daughter, and treated her like a stranger. And the virgin placed all her hope in the Heavenly Father. When she was fifteen years old, she once went out to the field to see her father's sheep that were grazing there. It happened that on that occasion she was met by the eparch of the eastern provinces, Olimvrios, an angry torturer of Christians, who was going to Antioch Pisidia. Seeing a very beautiful girl, the eparch was amazed by her unusual beauty, and she immediately captivated him so much that he thought of taking her as his wife. Therefore, he stopped, he began to ask her: From which family are you, girl? whose daughter are you, and what is your name? Tell me the truth about yourself. I see that you are beautiful, and if you are of single parents, I will enter into a lawful marriage with you; if you are someone's slave, I will buy you back and take you to myself.

The virgin, who was more adorned with wisdom than beauty, meekly answered whose daughter is she and what is her name; and she does not hide the fact that she is a servant of Christ, that she believes in one God who created heaven and earth, that she is united to Him with heartfelt love and that she does not want another husband. Hearing that, the she was a Christian, the eparch who had received from the emperor the right to torture Christians, he immediately ordered the soldiers to take her and take her to the city after him, but with more honor: because of her virginal wise words he loved her even more and hoped that she would , threatening her with torture, quickly turn her away from Christ and win her as his wife. And the virgin, led by the soldiers, prayed aloud to God, saying: Lord Jesus Christ, my God! do not leave me and do not give my soul to perish! Let not my enemies overcome me! let not my hearing be defiled by their cunning words! let my mind not be changed by their heathen flatteries! let my heart not be afraid of their terrible threats! don't let my faith be thrown into the mire! do not be happy because of me, the evil devil! but send me help from the height of Your holy throne, give me wisdom, open my mouth, so that, strengthened by Your power and encouraged by Your grace, I may answer the torturer's questions without fear. Oh, my Lord! look mercifully upon me at this hour! for behold, I am now as a sheep among wolves, as a bird among hunters, and as a fish in a net; come therefore and deliver me from all the snares of the demons!

Thus, they prayed on the way until they reached the city of Antioch of Pisidia. When they arrived in the city, the eparch, according to his pagan custom, first offered sacrifices to his pagan gods, gave solemn praise to his emperor, and when he found Christians, he seized them and threw them into prison, to preserve them until torture; and he entrusted the virgin Marina to the care of some respectable women. The next day, he organized a solemn trial before the people, and ordered that first Marina be brought to him for questioning, because everyone was overcome with thoughts of her. When the virgin was brought, he gazed lustfully at her unspeakable beauty and became more and more enflamed with carnal love for her. Then he began to speak flatteringly to her: All the gods know, O beautiful virgin! to pity your youth and spare your young body blooming with beauty. Therefore, I beg you, listen to me, and make a sacrifice to the gods, that it may be well with you: because you will immediately receive many properties and riches, and you will be happier than all your peers and more respected than all the women in this city.

Saint Marina answered: I have learned to confess the heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son and the Holy Spirit, One in the Trinity of the true and living God, and I am used to bowing to Him and always offering Him a sacrifice of praise, and I will not bow down to gods that I do not know, nor will I offer sacrifices to them who are without soul and without feeling and do not know themselves: for they are not aware whether they are honored or ungrateful. That is why I will not give them the respect that is due to my Creator!

The eparch said: I beseech you again, Marinus, listen to me and show respect to the invincible gods, knowing for sure that if you listen to my advice, you will immediately be honored in the eyes of all the citizens: for I will take you to wife, and all will begin to love you. respect you as my dear wife, and I will give you respect and fame, and you will be the joy and sweetness of my life. And if you disobey me and reject the love I have for you, then know that you will experience many evils: because you will force me to put you to torture against my will, and destroy such beauty of yours, health and sweet life; you will be subjected to angry and unbearable torments and you will perish by fire and iron.

The saint answered: Do not hope, eparch, that with flattery or threats you will change my faith in Christ into your unbelief, because I am a faithful servant of my Lord who willingly suffered for me. And when He suffered the cross and death for me, not sparing His most holy body, received from the Most Pure Virgin Mary, then I am certainly obliged to suffer and die for Him, not sparing my sinful body and health at all. So don't think you're going to scare me with your threats! Here, I am ready for all suffering and all death, because the One in whom I hope will strengthen me. And everything you tell me about marriage, about reputation, about fame, about riches, it's all more disgusting to me than stinking mud. Should I reject my Immortal Bridegroom - Christ, the King of Heaven, and enter marriage with a stinking dog that is dead in the soul? Never!

Hearing such words from St. Mary, the eparch was very offended and very angry, and immediately, turning love into enmity and hatred, he ordered that the bride of Christ be stripped naked, spread on the ground, and mercilessly beaten with rods. The saint would be beaten so mercilessly for a long time, that her virginal body was disintegrating from the wounds, and blood flowed in streams from the wounds, watering the ground. Observing this, the people were filled with sympathy for her, a wonderful girl, so cruelly tortured, and many wept. And the messenger shouted: Marina, make a sacrifice to the gods! don't lose your beauty for nothing! Don’t deprive yourself of this sweet life before your time!

However, the martyr, raising her spiritual eyes to God, prayed, asking for help from above and strengthening in the feat of suffering: she too, supported by the grace of Christ, did not feel pain in the tortures, but as in a sad body she endured the wounds that were inflicted on her. And some of the people said to her: Girl, why are you destroying your own beauty with your disobedience? Look how cruel the judge is, he will execute you, and your memory will disappear from the earth; and we pity you! - And the saint answered them loudly with a reproach: Oh, cunning advisers and evil helpers, filled with the spirit of seduction! As the serpent of old gave Eve cunning counsel in paradise, so now you advise me to depart from my God. Depart from me, you creators of iniquity, because you will not offend me, who has surrendered myself to Christ with all my soul!

Then, when the servants ceased with the beating of the holy martyr, the torturer said to her: This is the beginning of your torments, Marina, and if you remain persistent in your disobedience, you will experience even greater torments. - The saint answered: Do what pleases you and your father the devil, and I do not pay attention to the torment, because I am helped by Christ who will soon put all your tricks to shame.

The eparch became even more enraged and ordered that the martyr be nailed to the torture board and her body scraped with iron tridents. And she, raising her eyes to heaven, said: Many enemies have surrounded me, thinking evil of me, but You, my Lord, look at me, send me the help of Your life-giving Spirit. May He give me the wisdom to confess Your most holy name until my last breath, and may He give me the strength to heroically oppose the devil and his servants, to defeat them and put them to shame! Appoint me to be an example to those who love You and keep their virginity for You, so that together with them I may stand on Your right hand at the time of Your righteous judgment!

Thus, the holy martyr prayed, and the merciless servants, like cannibals, tore her holy body with tridents harder and harder, and pieces of her body fell to the ground, and her blood flowed, and her bare bones were visible. The eparch, unable to look at such angry torture, covered his face with his hands and turned away from her, and all those present were horrified at the saint's suffering. Then, the torturer addressed the martyr again with the words: When will you, o Marina, have mercy on yourself? There, your body is already torn! Come on, at least make a sacrifice to the gods now, so that it will not be destroyed! - The martyr answered: Oh, disgusting dog and pig! you eat human flesh, and come here pretending to be merciful and pretending to pity me! But I do not feel sorry for myself for the sake of Christ, who did not spare Himself, but gave Himself up to great suffering for my sake. If I listen to your foolish advice and spare my body, how will my soul be crowned in the kingdom of heaven?

After that, the eparch ordered that the martyr be untied from the torture chamber and thrown into a separate dungeon, deep and dark, full of demon scarecrows, into which those condemned to death were thrown. Sitting alone in that dungeon, the holy martyr prayed to God in the warmth of her soul, crying out from the depths of her heart: Most High God, all the Heavenly Powers approach You with fear, and all the Principles and Powers blink before Your face, and every creature of Yours by Your almighty power maintain, modify, and restore! You, Ruler, look from the height of heaven, from the throne of Your glory, on me, Your humble, unnecessary and unworthy servant: because I trust in You, I have taken refuge in You, and I suffer for Your name's sake. Look, O Merciful! and heal this flattened and torn body of mine like a sack, and renew my soul, and preserve it for Your kingdom! Give me to overcome and trample my enemy as sand is trampled underfoot, so that with Your invincible help I may crush his power, and that Your most holy name may be glorified in me forever.

When night came and the saint was constantly praying to God, the devil dared to scare the martyr with apparitions, since God allowed it for the greater glorification of His beloved. The dungeon suddenly shook and a dark light appeared as if from a smoky fire? Then the devil appeared in the form of a colorful, huge, terrible snake, and his body, if it was visible, was surrounded and encircled by numerous smaller snakes and vipers. Hissing terribly and gaping with its huge and hideous jaws, the snake emitted an intolerable stench; and going around the martyr, gave her great fear and terror; then, gaping his hideous jaws wide open, he attacked the saint and bent her head to swallow her. And it seemed that the martyr would be swallowed by a snake like once the prophet Jonah was swallowed by a whale. However, the holy martyr did not fall into despair or doubt, but, focusing all her mind on God, overshadowed herself with the sign of the cross, and immediately saw how the entrails of the snake were torn open and she came out of it whole and unharmed. And at that moment all that terrible demonic apparition perished: because the earth opened, swallowed the snake and all the snakes with it, and brought them down to hell, and the light of heaven shone on the holy martyr. And she, looking up, saw where the roof of the dungeon opened and sun-like rays descended on her from above; then she saw a large cross that shone with an indescribable light, and above the cross a dove as white as snow, which spoke to her in a human voice: Rejoice, Marina, wise dove of Christ, because you have defeated the evil devil! Rejoice and be glad, daughter of the highest Zion, that the day of your joy has come, in which you will enter the indestructible castle of the Immortal Bridegroom, the Heavenly King, with the wise maidens!

At these words of the holy dove, Marina was filled with unspeakable joy and sweetness, and her torn body began to heal, and she herself felt how the flesh grew in her wounds and the wounds healed, and were covered with skin, and all pain and weakness disappeared; and she again became healthy and beautiful with her whole body, as she was before. She began to joyfully thank God, saying: I bless You, My Master, and I glorify You, Lord my God, and I praise Your name that You took pity on me, visited me, healed my body, strengthened my soul, and did not hand me over to the enemies mine, but you showed me their disgusting forms and threw them into the bottomless pit and drove away their scarecrows from me; and now, rejoicing and rejoicing about You, my God, my Savior, I beg Your loving kindness, make me worthy of the bath of holy baptism, so that, washed with blood and water, I may be worthy to enter Your heavenly sanctuary with Your holy maidens, Your brides, because You are blessed forever.

In such visions and revelations, and in such celebration and rejoicing, Marina spent the whole night, until dawn and the time of her final feat. And when dawn broke, the eparch of Olimvrios sat again on his ungodly and unjust judgment seat, and all the people sat down in the auditorium. The eparch ordered that the martyr be taken out of the dungeon and brought before him to court. And when he saw the martyr with a bright face and completely whole and healthy in her whole body, without any trace of yesterday's wounds, the eparch was greatly amazed and remained silent in astonishment, not understanding how the martyr, who was completely straightened yesterday, was so completely healed in one night. The people also heard about this miraculous healing; and some glorified the power of Christ, while others attributed it to magic. Then the eparch, opening his mouth with difficulty, began to speak to the saint: You see, Marino, how our gods take care of you! They took pity on your youth and beauty and healed you of your wounds. That's why you should also offer grateful sacrifices for the good you received from them; and more that it behooves you to be the imitator and heir of your father, and that, just as he serves the gods in the capacity of a priest, so you too become a priestess and serve the gods all the days of your life.

The saint answered: It is not fitting for me to leave my true and living God and serve your dead gods; on the contrary, you should know the One God of heaven and believe in Him, seeing such power of His in me: because yesterday you tore me to pieces, and now in an hour He made me whole and healthy! So, He is the all-powerful physician of human souls and bodies.

The obstinate eparch again ordered to torture the saint. And they hung her again in the torture chamber, and brought lighted candles, so they set fire to her chest and thighs. And she, having sunk her mind in God with a secret prayer in her heart, suffered in silence; and she would be burned like coal, and the flesh of her body would be roasted as if for eating. And when they took her out of the torture chamber barely alive, she cried out saying: Lord! You make me worthy to pass through fire for Your name; make me worthy to pass through the water of holy baptism, so that, washed from my sins, you may bring me into Your rest.

The torturer, hearing that the martyr mentioned water, said: the poor thing is thirsty, she needs to be given a drink! - And he ordered that they bring a large barrel and fill it with water, then throw the bound martyr into it and drown her. And when the servants took the martyr to throw her into the water, she loudly said: Lord Christ, You lead out of chains, You untie the bonds of death and hell, You raise from the graves with a flash of Your Divine power! You look at Your servant and break my bonds! And may this water be for my desired holy baptism and birth into eternal life, so that, having stripped off the old man, I may put on a new one and appear to You in Your courtroom in a wedding dress!

While the martyr was praying like that, the servants threw her into a barrel full of water, and they began to submerge her in the water. Then the earth shook, and the ropes with which the martyr was tied were cut loose, and the servants, terribly frightened, ran away from the barrel; rays of indescribable light shone over the martyr's head, and the white, sun-like dove seen before appeared again, descending from above and carrying a golden wreath in its beak; and hovered over the martyr's head, touched her head with his feet, then lay down again in the height.

This vision was visible not only to the saint, but also to some of those present, who were worthy of such a vision: because many of the people were secret Christians and deigned to see it. And the saint stood in the water without drowning and sang praising and blessing the great name of the Holy Trinity, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Then a pillar of fire appeared above the saint, reaching up to the sky, and on the pillar a cross as if made of crystal that emitted brilliant rays; and that dove flew up and sat on top of the cross. And there came from above a voice heard by all who spoke:

Peace to you, bride of Christ Marina! Now you will receive an unfading crown of beauty from the hand of the Lord, and you will rest in the kingdom of heaven with the saints.

Hearing this voice and seeing the martyr come out of the water healthy, without any trace of burns, whole body, white and beautiful, immediately many men and women believed in Christ, and openly declared that they were Christians, and seemed ready to die for Christ. The Hegemon was astonished to see how many people had turned to Christ and did not understand what to do. Then, enraged, he brought out against the people the army he had with him, armed with swords, and ordered them to cut down all who glorified the name of Christ. Then whoever in the people was unfaithful or timid fled, and those who truly believed themselves fell under the sword. And both man and women and fifteen thousand people were killed, who, having been baptized with their own blood and cleansed of all sins, entered the joy of their Lord, crowned with martyrdom. (Their commemoration is on July 16).

After that, the eparch sentenced the martyr to be cut and killed with a sword. When they took her to the place of execution, she begged a little time from those who led her, then addressed the people who followed her and advised everyone to know the only true God and to be delivered from demonic deception and idolatrous destruction.

Then she began to pray, and for a long time she prayed for everything. Then suddenly the earth shook, and fear gripped everyone, and many fell to the ground in fear; the executioner also fell. That's when our Lord Jesus Christ appeared with holy angels from heaven to His bride, inviting her to His rest and extending His hands to receive her soul. And she, filled with inexpressible joy, encouraged the executioner to quickly do what he was ordered to do. And she put her fair head under the sword and was cut off; and her soul, taken by the hands of the Lord, would be brought into the heavenly dwellings.

Thus, the holy great martyr Marina completed her martyrdom on the seventeenth day of July. [2] Her suffering was witnessed by the servant of God Theotimus, who observed all her tortures and deigned to be a spectator of those visions that were revealed to the saint. All this he handed over to the faithful for the benefit, and in honor and memory of the beloved bride of Christ, Marina, and in the glory of the Lover of Man, Christ our Savior, to whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory from us, now and always and through all ages. Amen.

[2] St. Marina suffered at the end of the 3rd or beginning of the 4th century. Her holy relics were in Constantinople in the monastery of Pantepopta (= All-Seer of Christ) until the capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204. Now one part of her relics, a hand, is in Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos.

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