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Greatmartyr Marina of Antioch in Pisidia (17 July)

The Holy Great Martyr Marina was born in Asia Minor, in the city of Antioch of Pisidia (southern Asia Minor), into the family of a pagan priest. In infancy she lost her mother, and her father gave her into the care of a nursemaid, who raised Marina in the Orthodox Faith. Upon learning that his daughter had become a Christian, the father angrily disowned her. During the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), when she was fifteen years old, Saint Marina was arrested and locked up in prison. With firm trust in the will of God and His help, the young prisoner prepared for her impending fate.

The governor Olymbrios, charmed with the beautiful girl, tried to persuade her to renounce the Christian Faith and become his wife. But the saint, unswayed, refused his offers. The vexed governor gave the holy martyr over to torture. Having beaten her fiercely, they fastened the saint with nails to a board and tore at her body with tridents. The governor himself, unable to bear the horror of these tortures, hid his face in his hands. But the holy martyr remained unyielding. Thrown for the night into prison, she was granted heavenly aid and healed of her wounds. They stripped her and tied her to a tree, then burned the martyr with fire. Barely alive, the martyr prayed: “Lord, You have granted me to go through fire for Your Name, grant me also to go through the water of holy Baptism.”

Hearing the word “water”, the governor gave orders to drown the saint in a large cauldron. The martyr besought the Lord that this manner of execution should become for her holy Baptism. When they plunged her into the water, there suddenly shone a light, and a snow-white dove came down from Heaven, bearing in its beak a golden crown. The fetters put upon Saint Marina came apart by themselves. The martyr stood up in the fount of Baptism glorifying the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Saint Marina emerged from the fount completely healed, without any trace of burns. Amazed at this miracle, the people glorified the True God, and many came to believe. This brought the governor into a rage, and he gave orders to kill anyone who might confess the Name of Christ. 15,000 Christians perished there, and the holy Martyr Marina was beheaded. The sufferings of the Great Martyr Marina were described by an eyewitness of the event, named Theotimos.

Up until the taking of Constantinople by Western crusaders in the year 1204, the relics of the Great Martyr Marina were in the Panteponteia monastery. According to other sources, they were located in Antioch until the year 908 and from there transferred to Italy. Now they are in Athens, in a church dedicated to the holy Virgin Martyr. Her venerable hand was transferred to Mount Athos, to the Batopedi monastery.

Marina was born in Pisidian, Antioch of pagan parents. At the age of twelve, Marina learned about the Lord Jesus Christ: how He became incarnate of the All-Pure Virgin and how He worked many miracles, suffered death on the Cross and gloriously resurrected. Her young heart became inflamed with love for the Lord and she vowed that she would never marry, and in her soul she further desired to suffer for Christ and be baptized in the blood of martyrdom. Her father hated her for her faith and did not consider her as his daughter. The imperial deputy, Olymbrius, learning from Marina that she was a Christian, at first desired that she would become his wife. When Marina refused, he ordered her to bow down before the idols.

St. Marina replied: “I will neither bow down nor offer sacrifice to the breathless and dead idols, who do not recognize themselves and do not know that we honor or dishonor them. I will not give them the honor that belongs only to my Creator.” Then Olymbrius subjected Marina to harsh torture, and threw her into prison, completely covered with wounds and blood. In the prison Marina prayed to God. After her prayer, the devil appeared to her in the guise of a horrible serpent that entwined itself around her head. When she made the sign of the cross, the serpent burst apart and vanished.

Then she was engulfed with a heavenly light, and it seemed to her that the walls and roof of the prison vanished, and a radiant, towering cross appeared. A white dove perched atop the cross, issuing forth a voice which said: “Rejoice Marina, rational [discerning] dove of Christ, daughter of Zion in the highest, for your day of rejoicing draws near.” Then, Marina was healed of all her wounds and pains by the power of God. The demented judge tortured her the following day, both in fire and in water, but Marina endured all, as though she were in another body. Finally, he condemned her to be beheaded. Before her death, the Lord Jesus appeared to her, accompanied by angels. She was beheaded during the reign of Diocletian; but in soul and power, she has remained alive in the heavens and on earth. A hand of St. Marina reposes in the Monastery of Vatopedi on Mt. Athos.

There is also a monastery dedicated to St. Marina with a portion of her miracle-working relics, located atop Mount Langa in Albania, overlooking Lake Ohrid. Countless miracles have occurred and still occur in this monastery, witnessed not only by Christians, but by many Muslims as well. So much respect did the Turks have for this holy place, that they never dared disturb either the monastery or its property. At one time a Turk was the guardian of the monastery.

This Martyr lived during the reign of Claudius II (268-270). She was from Pisidia of Cilicia and was the only daughter of a certain priest of the idols. On being orphaned by her mother, she was handed over to a certain woman who instructed her in the Faith of Christ. When she was fifteen years old, she was apprehended by the ruler of Olmbrius, and when asked her name, homeland, and faith, she answered: “My name is Marina; I am the offspring of the Pisidia; I call upon the Name of my Lord Jesus Christ.” Because of this she endured bonds, imprisonment, and many whippings, and was finally beheaded in the year 270. Saint Marina is especially invoked for deliverance from demonic possession.

Apolytikion of Great Martyr Marina

Fourth Tone

O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.

Kontakion of Great Martyr Marina

Third Tone

Adorned with the beauty of Purity, O Virgin; crowned with the stigmata of martyrdom; stained with the blood of your struggles; and brilliantly radiant with healing wonders, piously, O Marina, you received the trophy of victory for your struggles.

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