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Saint Marina
Saint Marina

Marina was born in Qlamoun North Lebanon sometime in the fifth century . Her father was a pious man. Her mother died while Marina was very young. This has made her father renounce the world and leave for the Monastery of Qannoubine in the Holy Valley; accompanying him was his daughter, whom he dressed like a man. It is said that her parents names were Ibrahim and Baddoura or and Eugene and Theodora. It is also said that her when the father became a monk left her in the care of her caretaker and after a few years he returned to see her, at which time she insisted on going wherever he went. In any event,  father and daughter entered into monkshood with the daughter still pretending to be a man. As a monk she was known by the name Marinos.

Although young, Marina occupied herself with the practice of monastic virtues with utmost spirit and minuteness. She was silent and reticent with bowed head and eyes, concealed the features of her face and eyes with a hood.

One day she was sent to a neighboring town on a mission for the Monastery. He was obliged to spend the night at the house of a friend of the monks named Paphnotius.

Paphnotius had a young girl who had fallen into adultery and was found pregnant. Upon finding out, her father was enraged and demanded the name of the perpetrator. His daughter told him that Marinos the Monk had raped her the night he spent in their house. Her father went straight to the Monastery and told the Superior, who was surprised for he knew that Marinos is pious and pure. The Superior called Marina and scolded her, but Marina said nothing to defend herself and did not reveal that she was a woman. Consequently, the Superior was very perplexed and considered Marina’s silence to be an admission of guilt. He then sentenced Marina to dismissal and to be thrown outside the Monastery.

Marina resigned herself to the will of God and stayed at the door of the Monastery praying and living off the leftovers of the monks’ food. Her father had long since died.

When Paphnotius' daughter delivered, Paphnotius brought the child, a boy, to the Monastery and gave him to Marina to raise.Marina took the boy and began raising him with what the monks used to bring in th way of goat's milk and of leftovers from their table. Marina carried the shame of this hideous accusation without any complaints and still did not reveal that she was a woman. It is believed that upon receiving the child to raise, she cut a piece from her habit to swaddle him and that upon her retreat into the grotto to raise the child, she miraculously was able to nurse the infant from her own breasts.

Another version states that she used to feed the child milk, donated by the shepherds who used the pastures in the vicinity of her grotto. This situation lasted four years until the Superior had compassion for her and let her enter the Monastery under very strict conditions.

Marina persevered in her ascetic work until the hour of her death when the features of his face glowed with a heavenly light. She asked forgiveness from all and she forgave all those who sinned against her. She then gave up her spirit. The Superior then ordered that the body be prepared for burial outside the Monastery. It is not known how long she lived after the accusation, there are mainly two versions, one claiming that it was 4 years and another states that it was around 20 years.

It was a great moment of astonishment when the monks found that Marina was infact a woman and not a man. The Superior and the monks fell on their knees before asking God and marina for forgiveness.  Legend tells that when she died, the bells of the monastery rang on their own.  As for the father of the sinful daughter, he was ashamed and came to make a statement before everyone. As for the daughter, she spent her life crying and repenting at the tomb of Marina.

Tradition has it that Tourza, a village in north Lebanon about 29km from Besharre, was the place of the sin that was laid on Marina. It is believed that because of the slanderer’s action, this village remained forever poor and was several times destroyed by earthquakes.

The sanctity of Marina spread all over Lebanon, people from all its regions came to the Monastery of Qannoubine to be blessed by her body. Her tomb became a source of cures and graces.

Lebnaan Lebnaane - Lebanon is Lebanese - Le Liban est Libanais - لبنان لبناني
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