Lives of the Saints
The Martyrdom of Mînâs, the Saint, and Warrior, and Martyr of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May his prayer be with us ! Amen.
This holy man and martyr, the blessed Mînâs, belonged to a district of Egypt, the
name whereof was Ktw, which was called after the name of a certain governor, who
built therein a tower and made strong the walls thereof. The name of the father of
Saint Mînâs was 'Awdeksis (Eudoxius) and the name of his mother was 'Awfomya
(Euphemia); they were Christians, and the people loved Eudoxius. And his brother
(Anatolius) rose up against him, and made false accusations against him to Abrayos
the king, and the king appointed him to Abrakiya. Now he was exceedingly rich.
And he carried his possessions and his wife from Alexandria to Abrakiya, and his was
angry with his wife, for they had no child.
On one occasion when his wife went to church on the Festival of Our Lady Mary, the
Mother of God, Jesus Christ our Lord, the Word of the Father (to whom be praise for
ever and ever, Amen !), and saw the people bringing in their children to be blessed by
our Lady, the Holy Virgin, she wept bitter tears and prayed, and made supplication
and entreaty, [for a child, and] she heard a voice from Our Lady which said, "Amen."
Then she conceived and brought forth a son, and she called him "Mînâs"; now she
took this name from [the word] "Amn". And his father rejoiced, and set free the
malefactors from the prison, and he gave much alms to the poor.
And when the child grew up he taught him whatsoever was necessary, and the
doctrine of the Holy Scriptures; and [the boy] trained himself in fasting and in prayer.
And when he was eleven years old his father died, and three years later his mother
died also; and he sorrowed exceedingly because he was alone and because he was an
orphan, and he gave all his goods to the poor, and withdrew to the church where he
toiled in fasting and prayer.
And the governor who was appointed over Afrakaya after his father, loved Mînâs
exceedingly, and he took him by guile and made him a soldier; now at that time he
was fifteen years of age, and he made him his deputy.
And in the second year of the Gaius Valerius [the emperors] called upon all people to
worship the polluted gods, and their edict was exceedingly evil. And they wrote
letters, and sent them into every country and province under their rule, and they
came even to the borders of Kwatilam and to the cities of Africa. And at that time
there ruled in that country Arkorikos and Abdadikon and Melyanos, and the officers of
the military service, and with them was Mînâs, the blessed man and true martyr of
our Lord Jesus Christ, and he shone in their midst like a star. And the governors made
haste to perform the command which was written in the Edict, which spoke thus:
"Rejoice, O all ye people, for we have decreed honours for the gods, [as is] right, and
we ourselves desire greatly that whatsoever is decreed for them shall be performed
with due reverence and with the zeal which is befitting. For this reason we have
written unto every governor of every city, and unto every general of every army, and
unto all men, and even unto women and children, that they may perform the service
which is meet for the gods with all due care and reverence. And we decree, by our
honour, that every one who shall set himself in opposition to our Imperial Edict shall
at all times be punished and flogged without mercy."
And straightway the heralds proclaimed in every city, to men and women alike, that
they must undertake to worship the gods, and to return to their service. And because
of this Edict, a great commotion took place, and [the governors] compelled the people
to promise that they would carry out the orders of the wicked Emperors.
And when Saint Mînâs also perceived this, he departed to the desert, and he lived
there and worked like a peasant. And he said, "I have seen sin and corruption in the
city, and I have left it and fled away therefrom. I will abide in the desert, and I shall
see my God and Redeemer Jesus Christ." And he dwelt there for many days in great
privation, and he toiled hard. And after a time the grace of God alighted upon him,
and he saw heaven open, and the interior thereof was filled with angels of light who
were carrying crowns of light, and laying them upon the heads of those who had
consummated their martyrdom. And the angels were making them to ascend into
heaven with great splendour, and they were shining like the sun. And Saint Mînâs
longed to become a martyr for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And as he was meditating upon this matter, a voice from heaven cried out and said
unto him, "Blessed art thou, Mînâs, for thou hast been called, and the fair beauty of
thy mind hath made itself manifest from thy youth until this day. And thou shalt
receive crowns incorruptible, like [those of] the Holy Trinity, O thou who art the
firstborn of their love: one for thy virginity, and one for thy patient endurance, and
one for thy martrydom. And thy martyrdom shall be greater than the martyrdoms of a
multitude of martyrs, and thy name shall be honoured, and multitudes of people shall
come from every part of the world, and shall take refuge in thy church which shall be
built in the land of Egypt, and works of power shall be manifest, and wonderful
things, and signs, and healings shall take place through thy holy body."
And when Saint Mînâs heard this he rejoiced. And he rose up straightway and came
into the city, whilst the unbelievers were gathered together in the place of festival,
and being lifted up in the Spirit he began to sing a psalm whilst the governors were
seated there with all the people, and he said, "I have come to those who have sought
me, and I am found by those who make enquiry for me." And they held their peace,
for they were amazed, and they marveled at his striving when they saw him in the
garb of the Christians.
And the governor said unto him, "Who art thou?" And he said, "I am Mînâs, a holy
man, the servant of my Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the universe.
And the governor said unto him, "Art thou a stranger, O my son, that thou hast dared
to come hither in this guise, and to prevent the people from performing their service
by thy words." And there were there some who recognized him, and they said to the
governor, "We know this man. He is a soldier from [the troops of Awtidikon.
And the governor said unto him, "Art thou a soldier ?" And Mînâs said unto him, "Why
didst thou leave military service ? Was it because thou wast an alien or a Christian ?"
And the governor commanded them to put him in prison. And on the following day
they brought him forth with the people into the marketplace, and the unbelieving
governor said unto him, "How is it that thou darest to come into the marketplace to
be punished like a slave, and to put to shame the emperors by saying, "I am a
Christian" ? Now tell me. Why did thou forsake military service ? Where hast thou
been living during these [last] days ? And whence hast thou come ?"
And Mînâs said unto him, "I am a man of the land of Egypt, and because I wished to
become a soldier of the heavenly king I forsook the fleeting soldiery of this world."
And the governor said unto him, "Where hast thou been until this day ?" And Saint
Mînâs said unto him, "Through love for Christ I chose to dwell with the lions in the
desert, rather than to become corrupted with those who know not God, for it is
written, "Let not my soul be corrupted with sinners, nor my life with the men of blood,
in whose hand there is violence."
And the governor said unto him, "Sacrifice now to the gods, and forsake thine error,
for thou art a soldier who hast forsaken thy service and hast called thyself a
Christian. Have pity on thy life, O man, and draw nigh and offer sacrifice to the gods,
and return to thy duty, and draw nigh and preserve thyself from torture."
And the saint said unto him, "I wish to please the King of Kings, and to receive from
him and to wear deathless crowns. Imagine not that thou canst make me to return
through terror of thee, for I hold in contempt thy tortures (or, punishments), because
I burn with desire to follow the example of my Lord Jesus Christ." And the governor
said, "Carry him away, and bind him tightly with cords hands and feet, and flog him
with an ox-hide whip." And he said unto him, "Since thou art a soldier return to thy
duty to the Emperor." And the blessed Mînâs said, "It is better for me to remain a
soldier, and to return to the service of the Emperor Christ, Who is the Great King."
And straightway they flogged him with a sever flogging, until the ground was soaked
with his blood, and he sank down upon the earth. And the governor said unto him,
"Sacrifice to the gods, O man, before any more of thy flesh be flogged off thee by the
And Mînâs said unto him, "O evil counselor, I will not return [to the service of the
Emperor] through thy cruel torturing. Continue them, therefore, for God is my Helper,
and he is able to provide healing for the wounds which thou inflictest."
And the governor, in the stupidity of his heart, said, "Flog him again, and hang him
up upon a tree, and scrape his flesh off his body with scrapers." And whilst they were
doing this the governor said unto him, "Art thou frightened by this torture, O Mînâs ?
Or art thou well acquainted with floggings of this kind ?" And the saint said unto
him, "Dost thou imagine that thou wilt be able to destroy my determination by this
torture ? I am a soldier of Christ, and He will help me to be strong."
And the governor said, "Torture him again." And he said unto him, "If thou hast
another king show me thy king." And Mînâs said unto him, "O man of folly, wouldst
thou blaspheme the king of heaven ?" And the governor said unto him, "Who is the
king of who thou sayest I cannot know him ?" And the blessed Mînâs said, "He is
Jesus, the Son of God, the Living One, the First, the Creator of All."
And the governor said unto him, "Knowest thou not that the Emperors are wroth
about Christ, and that they have ordered to be tortured every one who shall mention
Christ ? Why then dost thou confess His name ?" And Mînâs said unto him, "Even
though they be wroth with me I will continue to confess him for ever, and I want to
escape from this vain world. For it is written, "Who shall separate us from the love of
Christ, ? Shall sorrow, or tribulation, or affliction, or nakedness ?" I know there is
nothing which is able to kill Christ."
And the governor said unto him, "Behold, thou hast prepared thyself for torture, and
thou shalt therefore be tortured in the flesh." And Mînâs said unto him, "In truth thy
tortures cannot make me submissive, for in me is Jesus Christ, Who will help me at
all times, for He helpeth those who fear Him in every matter, as long as it be for their
And the governor said, "Bring ye to me lighted torches which burn brightly, so that I
may be able to overcome therewith the stupidity of his heart, and may bring to
nothing his strength." And when they placed the burning torches on his flesh (or,
body), and they rested on his bosom and burned his flesh, he perceived them not.
And the governor said unto him, "O Mînâs dost thou not feel the fire ?" And Saint
Mînâs said unto him, "My Lord Jesus Christ Himself maketh me strong, for it is
written, "When thou fallest into the fire it shall not burn thee." And Holy Scripture
saith, "Ye shall not fear those who kill your bodies, but who are not able to kill your
souls. Fear, however, Him that is able to destroy the soul and the body in the
Gehenna of fire."
And the governor said unto him, "Being a soldier, how is it that thou knowest this
scripture ?" And the blessed Mînâs said, "Our Lord Jesus Christ said, "When they take
you before kings and governors, consider not what ye shall say, for it shall be given
unto you forthwith what ye shall speak.""
And the governor said unto him, "Did thy Christ know that thou wast about to suffer
in this manner ?" And Saint Mînâs said unto him, "Christ is God in very truth, and He
knoweth what is about to come to pass before it happeneth."
And the governor said unto him, "Cease now from this [talk]: offer sacrifice to the
gods, and depart to thy appointed work, and follow thy duty as a soldier." And the
saint, the martyr of Christ, said unto him, "I am a soldier of the Heavenly King, as I
have told thee before; do this that thou wishest. Thy tortures are in my flesh, but my
soul and understanding worship my God, the Heavenly King."
And the governor said unto him, "Dost thou wish me to have patience with thee for
two or three days so that thou mayest ponder thy decision, and desist from this folly
which hath come upon thee ?" And Mînâs said unto him, "I have known my decision
for many days: I cannot deny the God of heaven and earth. Consider thou that three
days have passed since I came here and confessed that I was a Christian; I will never
sacrifice to the gods, and, moreover, I will never obey thee."
And the governor was wroth, and he commanded them to bring sharp iron stakes and
drive them into the ground. And they tied ropes to the neck (or, body) and hair of
Saint Mînâs, and dragged him over the iron stakes. And Saint Mînâs endured this
[torture] with patience and the governor was not able to prevent him from confessing
Jesus Christ. And he said unto the governor, "To make thee to relieve me from
tortures even more cruel than these which thou art inflicting upon me I would not
deny the Lord God, my God. I will not over sacrifice to devils, and I will not perform
the will of thy father Satan."
and the governor said unto those whom he had commanded to torture him, "Throw
him on the ground, and tie a stone to his neck, and flog him because he called the
gods "devils"." And whilst they were flogging him the governor said unto him, "Beat
him on the sides of his head, for I perceive that he can withstand the torture." And as
for Mînâs, whilst they were flogging him he held his peace, and uttered no word.
And one of those who were sitting there, whose name was Habta-dahaya
(Heliodorus), said unto the governor, "Dost thou not know that the race of Christians
never turns backward, and that when they are tortured they bear the tortures
patiently, for death is better to them than life ? Pass the sentence of death then
upon him, and weary thyself no longer with torturing him."
And the governor said unto him, "O Mînâs, sacrifice to the gods, and I will bestow
honours upon thee." And Saint Mînâs said unto him, "Let thine honour be to the men
of destruction.. As for me, I am about to receive the honour which awaiteth me, and
to be reckoned among the soldiers of Him that made me His own. As it is written,
"Your reward is great in heaven." For the honour which is thine [to give] is a
phantom, and before God it is nothingness; but faith in God, and the honouring of His
Name, and thanksgiving to his Majesty, shall make us heirs of the light of holiness
and of life everlasting."
And when the governor saw the strength of the faith of the martyr he commanded
them to kill him, and he passed on him sentence saying, "We commanded this soldier
Mînâs, a deserter who would not return to [the service of] the Emperor, and who
would not sacrifice to the gods, to be punished; he shall now suffer the punishment
of death. And because he would not obey, and worship the gods, we further command
that they throw his body into the fire."
And straightway they took the blessed martyr Mînâs to the place of execution, and all
of the men of the city followed after him to see the martyrdom of the blessed Mînâs,
who marched to death rejoicing, with his face shining with light. And he was in the
garb of the Christians, and he spake words of confidence to those who knew him, and
the apparel which was on him sang (?), and no temptation came upon him. Nay, he
placed his confidence in God, and made supplication to him, and he made haste to
the doom which had been decreed concerning him, and he cried out upon Christ Who
had made him ready for these beautiful things.
And Saint Mînâs turned his face towards the heavens, and stretched his holy hands
upwards, and, confessing his grace, said, "I give thanks unto Thee, O God of heaven,
Jesus Christ, because thou hast neither forsaken me, nor removed thyself far from
me, so that the enemy might destroy me, and because thou hast given me the power
not to deny Thy Holy Name. And now keep Thou me in this hour, and grant me
strength to endure to my end. And take Thou my soul unto Thyself, O my God Jesus
Christ, and I will bow down to Thee always." And having said these words, he came
to the place of martyrdom, and he stretched out his neck quickly, and [the headsman]
smote it with a sword, and his head rolled away from his body. And the guards carried
away his holy body and cast it into the fire, and departed.
And there were certain fellow soldiers of Saint Mînâs who were believers; now they
were exceedingly many in number, and they put out the fire, and took his body and
his head, and placed them in a shroud made of costly linen and perfumed with many
sweet scents. And they carried them into the house of one of their number, and
placed them in a coffin with great joy, and they praised God who had given him the
power to endure. Now there was no trace of fire on his body. Thus was consummated
his martyrdom on the fifteenth day of the month Khadar (i.e. November 11). And he
departed to our Redeemer Jesus Christ, Who is the King in truth, to Whom be praise,
and honour, and might, for ever and ever. Amen.
This holy and blessed Mînâs, the precious martyr, was perfect in his strength, and in
stature, and in faith, and in sweetness of disposition, from his youth up; and in his
later years he was gentle, and merciful, and a lover of the poor and the stranger.
And after his martyrdom was consummated, as we have already said, a host of
soldiers came to fight against the five cities, and the country was disturbed, with the
borders thereof. And there came forth an order for a troop of soldiers to proceed from
Phrygia, to fight against the men of Mareotis.
And Atnasis (Athanasius) the governor wished to take the body of Saint Mînâs with
him that it might be unto him a helper and a deliverer. And having opened the door
[of the place] wherein his body was, there shone upon him a great light. And having
hidden the body from the men so that they might not prevent him, he carried it away,
and took it up into a ship, and departed.
And when they arrived in the sea which is between Africa and Alexandria, there
appeared unto them in the water certain terrible beasts. Now they were the most
terrifying; their necks were long and thick, and their faces were like unto the faces of
camels. And they stretched out their necks towards the ship so that they might
snatch out from it those who were therein. And arrows of fire went forth from the
body of Saint Mînâs into their faces, and they fled and hid themselves in the sea. And
they came back, and the arrows of fire again prevented them [from seizing the men];
and after this they bowed low before the Saint and departed. And all those who were
in the ship marveled, and they believed in God, and they glorified Mînâs the martyr,
and gave thanks unto him because they had been saved through his body.
And after five days they came to the city of Alexandria, and they went forth from that
place and took the body of Saint Mînâs the martyr with them. And they went up in the
ship from Alexandria to the shore of the sea of Mareotis, where they fought a battle;
and they made supplication to Saint Mînâs, and to his body, and he conquered the
mighty men of war, and slew them through his entreaty, until they came to Mesten on
the border of Mareotis.
And when the governor wished to return to Phrygia he wanted to carry the body [of
the saint] with him. And he placed it upon a camel, but the camel was unable to
move with it, and he placed it on another camel, and the camel was unable to rise
up; in this manner he placed it upon all the camels that were with him, and there was
not one which was able to carry it away. And 'Atnasis (Athanasius) the governor was
sorry, but he knew that this matter was from God, and he left the body there.
And he made a picture of saint Mînâs the martyr on a wooden tablet, dressed as he
had known him in the apparel of a soldier, with pictures of the beasts [of the sea]
which resembled camels, at his feet, and they were worshipping him. And he laid that
picture upon the body of saint Mînâs, to obtain his prayers, and then he took it with
him that it might be unto him a means of deliverance and a place of refuge on the
sea and in war. And he made for his body a coffer of wood, shag which neither
becometh worm-eaten nor rotten, and he buried it in that place, and returned to his
own country with his soldiers. Now God desired to make manifest this wonder and
power through the body of Saint Mînâs. And the lame son of a certain man of that
country went and saw a lamp casting a light upon the place of the grave of Saint
Mînâs the martyr, and he drew nigh thereto and threw himself down on the ground.
Now there were certain strangers standing [there]. And the father of the youth was
looking for his son, and when he found him there he beat him; and the youth leaped
up and ran away in front of them, and his foot was healed, and the people who were
there marveled. Then the youth told them what he had seen, and God opened their
eyes, and they saw the lamp burning, and they believed. And all the people who were
suffering from divers diseases went forth to the grave of Abba Mînâs, and they were
healed by the power of God, and by the petition of Saint Mînâs, and there was great
joy there, and the fame of him was noised abroad beyond Mareotis. And all those who
were there, both those who were sick and those who were possessed of devils, went
to that place, and they were healed and recovered.
Then they built above his grave a church, which was like unto a tent, and they hung
up in it a lamp similar to that which they had seen [over the grave], and at that time
it burned both by day and by night, and it was fed with scented oil. And if any man
took of the oil of that lamp, and carried it away to a distance, and anointed a sick
person therewith, that sick person was healed forthwith of the disease from which he
had been suffering.
And a church was built in that place in the name of the saint in the days of Saint
Athanasius, Archbishop of Alexandria, by the help of Taos, the God-loving king, so
that the people might gather together to him, and celebrate festivals therein. And
when it was finished, Saint ... the Archbishop gathered together Bishops and priests,
and they placed the body of Mînâs the martyr in it, and they consecrated it in the
days of the holy Emperor Theodosius and Abba Theophilus the Archbishop. And there
was built there a great church to the name of Mary, for the [use of the] multitudes of
people who gathered together to the Church of Saint Mînâs.
And the Emperor Zeno visited it during his reign, and he built houses there, and he
commanded the soldiers to build their barracks there, and a fortress. And, moreover,
the nobles of the country of Egypt built their palaces there, and they came thither at
all times because of the multitude of signs which appeared there in the days of
Timothy, the Archbishop. And at length a mighty city, with beautiful buildings, was
completed there, and Zeno the emperor called it ...; and an exceedingly large number
of people dwelt there. And the righteous Emperor commanded that one hundred and
twenty-three thousand fighting-men should guard it against foreign tribes; and they
guarded both the church and the people who came thereto. And the Emperor
commanded that their food should be provided by the people of Mareotis. And he
commanded that those who came to the church should contribute a fixed sum for the
maintenance thereof, and that they should carry thereto the sick folk every year.
And it remained thus until the days of Herkaldes (Heraclius) the Emperor of Rome,
through whom the Muhammadans obtained power in the land of Egypt, and the
people continued to go to the church of the saint and martyr from all parts of the
country, and he made manifest unto them signs and wonders. And they brought unto
him votive offerings, and he performed their wishes, and they came back rejoicing,
and they were glad because of what he had done for them. And the fame of his signs,
and works, and power, and of his prayer to God reached unto the borders of [all]
countries. May he beseech God, our God and Redeemer Jesus Christ, to preserve us,
and all the sons of baptism, through the prayers of Our Holy Lady, Mary the Virgin,
and of all the saints and martyrs.
Here endeth the martyrdom of the holy Martyr Mînâs.
May God keep us through his prayers for ever. Amen.
(The translation by Drescher (1942) 66-70, of the latter part of the encomium which
records the history of the shrine at Abu Mina)
... And so they built over the grave a small oratory like atetrapylon. They hung a light
in the middle of it, like the one before. The light remained burning, without ever
going out, day and night. All who took away the oil of the lamp to distant lands
received healing; so that a great concourse gathered there as well as countless
multitudes coming thither at all times unceasingly.
But they suffered distress because the place was a desert and they lacked water and
the benefit of the holy mysteries. Accordingly, the chief citizens of Alexandria and
those of Mariotes and all the rulers of Egypt besought the holy Athanasius, the
archbishop, to build a wondrous memorial-church to the glory of God and the holy Apa
Mena and the joy and exultation of all the people who came to it. And St. Athanasius
was unable because of the trials caused by the impious Arians persecuting him (??).
But God brought to nought the ..... (about 12 letters undeciphered in the Coptic
text)..... of the heretics. He raised up the just and pious king, Jovian. The church took
honour again in his days. Then the holy Athanasius undertook the carrying-out of the
peoples' request to the glory of God and his holy martyr. When the God-loving king,
Jovian, heard, he wrote bidding the stratelates of Alexandria help the holy Athanasius
with money for the building of the church ..... (2 lines or about 20 letters
undeciphered in the Coptic text)....... And so he gave orders with great power (?). He
brought it to completion in all beauty, adorning it with magnificent marbles glistening
In the days of the just kings, Valens and Valentinus his brother, the sons of the king
Jovian of happy memory, they wrote to the Augustal of Alexandria, Tatian. He
proclaimed to all the bishops the combat of the holy Apa Mena (?). And so the
bishops met together and deposited the remains of the holy Apa Mena in the crypt
which had been made for them. They celebrated the feast of the consecration of the
church on the first of Epip. Countless, great wonders and miracles were wrought by
him. And people were coming from every place, bringing gifts to his shrine, because
of the healing favours which God granted him.
When some time had passed until the days of Theodosius the Great, with Arcadius
and Honorius, his sons, in the days of the archbishop Theophilus, there being great
peace and prosperity in their reign, (it befell that) when the feast of the holy martyr
came around, on the fifteenth of Hathor, many great multitudes gathered. And there
was distress because the church could not hold the multitudes but they were standing
outside in the desert. The holy archbishop, Apa Theophilus, was present. On seeing
the distress in which the people were, he wrote to Arcadius, the king. And the king
ordered the building of a spacious memorial-church. And they were labouring with
royal power and might, with decorative skill like (that shown in) the Temple of
Solomon. And he made it one with the memorial-church which the holy Athanasius
had already built. When he had brought it to completion in all beauty, he convened a
synod of bishops and all the rulers of Egypt. They consecrated it in glory and honour.
Now it befell in the days of Timotheus, the confessor-archbishop, in the days of Zeno,
the God-loving king, that the blessed king heard of the wonders and miracles and
cures that took place at the shrine of the holy Apa Mena. He marvelled. He gorified
God Who glorifies His saints. Then the archbishop, Timitheus, told the king Zeno,
about the barbarians who came over Mariotes, afflicting the shrine and all the
churches of Mariotes. Then the king ordered all the nobles of senatorial rank in his
kingdom to build each of them his palace there. Furthermore, he wrote to the rulers of
Alexandria and those of Egypt, (bidding) each of them in every place to build himself
a house there till they made it a city. And so it was built and given the name
Martyroupolis. Multitudes gathered to it from every land and resided in it.
The king, Zeno, also established there a garrison of 1200 soldiers against the inroads
of the barbarian horde. And the God-loving king did this as an aid to the whole of
Mariotes and the shrine likewise. He gave them the annona from the revenues of
Mariotes. He also gave to the shrine some eparchies of Egypt, remitting their taxes
that the money might be used for the expenses of the church and the hostels which
he built at it.
In the time of Anastasius, the king, pious zeal filled the heart of the Praetorian
Prefect because he too heard of the wonders and miracles wrought by the holy Apa
Furthermore, he saw the hardships suffered by the many multitudes coming to the
shrine. For, whenever they came up from the lake and entered upon the desrt there,
they found no resting place or water til they reached the holy shrine. The Prefect built
lodging-houses by the lake and hostels for the multitude to stay at. And he had the
market established among them in order that the multitudes might find and buy all
He constructed large depositories where the multitudes could leave their clothes and
baggage and everything which they brought to the shrine. When he had finished
everything, he called it Philoxanite after himself. He also set up porticoes at different
points where the people might rest. He established watering-places along the roads,
leaving at them water-jars, from the hostels as far as the church, with ten-mile
intervals between one watering place and another, for the refreshment of the people
bringing gifts to the shrine.
This continued from the time of Heraclius the king, until the Saracens took the land;
and all the peoples rejoiced and were glad and took gifts to his shrine because of the
wonders which were wrought there and the healing favours received from him. For
most true is the word which Our Saviour spake, "I shall glorify him who glorofies Me".
Since, therefore, the holy Apa Menas worshipped God with his whole heart, with piety
from his youth, with fastings and prayers and purity from his birth to his
consummation, and at last offered up his body as a living, holy sacrifice pleasing to
God, let us beseech him that he may intercede for us too; for he is fit to make
remembrance of us before Him Whose desire is mercy, Our Lord Jesus Christ, through
Whom is glory to the Father and to Himself and to the Holy Spirit, Life-giving and
Consubstantial, now and always, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Translation from E.A.W. Budge (1909), 39-43)
The fifteenth Day of Khadâr
On this day Saint Mînâs, the interpretation of whose name is "faithful and blessed",
became a martyr. The father of this holy man was one of the men of the city of
Nâkîûyôs, whose name was 'Awdôkyôs (Eudoxius), and he was a prefect and governor.
And his brother was jealous of him, and made an accusation against him to the king,
who sent him away to the country of Afrâkya (Phrygia), and appointed him governor
over that country. And the people of that country rejoiced in him, for he was a
merciful man, and he feared God. Now the mother of Saint M had no child. And one
day, on the festival of our holy Lady the Virgin Mary, she went to church, and she saw
the sons of the church wearing fine apparel, and coming to church, and she cried out
and wept before the image of our holy Lady the Virgin Mary, and she entreated her to
make supplication to God on her behalf that He might give her a son. And there went
forth a voice from the image of our holy Lady the Virgin Mary, saying, "Amen." And
she told her husband of the voice which she had heard from the image of our Lady
Mary; and her husband said unto her, "The Will of God be done." And after a few days
God gave her this holy son, and she called his name "Mînâs", according to the voice
which she had heard from the image of our Lady Mary.
And when he had grown up a little Eudoxius taught him the Scriptures and spiritual
doctrine. And when he was eleven years old, his father died, being a very old man.
And about three years later his mother died; and Saint Mînâs was left by himself,
fasting and praying. And although the officers, on account of their great love for his
father, gave him his father's position, he would not forsake the worship of Christ.
And when Diocletian denied [Christ] he commanded all the people to worship idols,
and many became martyrs for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory !
And at that time Mînâs left his appointment, and departed to the desert, and he
dwelt [there] many days, contending greatly. And one day he saw heaven open, and
the martyrs crowned with beautiful crowns, and he heard a voice which said unto him,
"He who laboureth for the Name of Jesus Christ, to whom be glory ! shall receive
crowns like unto these." And he returned to the city and confessed the Name of Jesus
Christ, to Whom be glory ! And many men received him because they knew that he
belonged to a noble family. And the governor promised him rich apparel and many
great honours, but he would neither hearken to his command, nor turn from his
excellent counsel. And straightway the governor commanded him to be beaten with a
severe beating, and when the men were worn out with torturing him, the governor
commanded them to cut off his head with a sword. And they cut off his head
straightway, and he received the crowns of martyrdom in the kingdom of the heavens.
And many men became martyrs because of him, and for the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, to whom be glory !
Now the governor had commanded them to cast the body of the holy man into the
fire, but [certain] believing men took the body of the holy man out of the fire, which
had neither touched it nor harmed it, and no injury whatsoever had come upon it. And
they laid it up in a certain place until the end of the days of persecution.
And in those days the men of the region of Maryt (Mareotis) wished to collect a troop
of men from the Five Cities, and they took the body of Saint Mînâs with them that it
might be unto them a help, and might protect them on the way. And as they were
sitting in the ship, the body of Saint Mînâs being with them, beasts came up out of
the sea, and their faces were like unto the faces of serpents, and their necks like
unto those of camels. And they stretched out th eir necks to the body of the holy
man, and licked it; and the men were afraid with a great fear. And there went forth
fire from the body of the holy man and consumed the faces of the beasts. And when
they had come to the city of Alexandria, and had finished their business, they wanted
to return to their country, and to take the body of Saint Mînâs with them. And when
they had set his body upon a camel that camel would not rise up; and though they
beat the camel with a severe beating he would not move at all. And they knew that
this was the will of God, and they built a shrine over the saint, and buried him
therein, and departed.
And God wished to reveal the [place of the] body of Saint Mînâs. And there was in
that desert a certain shepherd, and one day a sheep which was suffering from the
disease of the scab went to that place, and dipped himself in the water of the little
spring which was near the place, and he rolled about in it and was healed
straightway. And when the shepherd saw this thing, and understood the miracle, he
marvelled exceedingly and was astonished. And [afterwards he used to take some of
the dust from that shrine, and mix it with water, and rub it on the sheep, and if they
were ill with the scab, they were straightway healed thereby. And this he used to do
at all times, and he h eald all the sick who came to him by this means.
And the king of Constantinople heard the report of this matter. And he had an only
daughter who was suffering from a disease of the skin, and he sent her to that place,
but she was unwilling to take off her apparel before the men. And she asked the
shepherd in what way he worked, and how he healed the sick, and the shepherd told
her how he did it. And she took dust from that place, and mixed it with water from
the spring, and she rubbed the whole of her body wherewith. Now she slept that night
in that place. And Saint Mînâs appeared unto her, and said unto her, "When thou
risest up in the morning, dig, and thou shalt find my body"; and straightway she was
healed of her sickness. And having risen up, being healed of her sickness, she
commanded them to dig in that place, and immediately they found the body of Saint
Mînâs. And she rejoiced exceedingly with great joy, and she sent a letter to her father
and made this matter known unto him. And the king built a church over the body of
And a beautiful church was also buit to him in that place in the days of the righteous
Emperors Arcadius (395-408) and Honorius, who commanded them to build a great
city there; and a great city was built there according as the righteous Emperors had
commanded.And they laid the body of Saint Mînâs in that church, and signs and great
wonders were made manifest through his body. And people of all kinds used to cone
into that Church, and they were healed of their sicknesses, and signs and wonders
were made manifest in that church. And Satan was envious, and stirred up certain evil
men of the city, and they destroyed the church, and laid waste the city, and carried
away the body of Saint Mînâs. And other men built a church to him there, and they
laid his body in it, and there more signs and more mighty wonders took place than
before. May his blessing be with, &c.
St. Menas: A Select Bibliography
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Nubian Dialect (London, 1909) [BHO 746]
Delehaye, H. "L'invention des reliques de S. Ménas à: Constantinople", Analecta
Bollandiana 29 (1910), 117-50
Devos, P. "Un récit des Miracles de S. Ménas en copte et éthiopien", Analecta
Bollandiana 72 (1959), 451-63 and 78 (1960), 154-60
Jaritz, F. Die arabischen Quellen zum Heiligen Menas (Heidelberg, 1993)
Van Hooff, G. "Acta Sancti Menae Martyris Aegypti", Analecta Bollandiana 3 (1884),
258-70 [BHG 1250]
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d'Archéologie Copte 32 (1993), 129-137
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monde copte 27-28 (1997), 139-53
Davis, S.J. "Pilgrimage and the Cult of Saint Thecla in Late Antique Egypt", in D.
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Bollandiana 104 (1986), 315-26
Drescher, J. "More about St. Menas", Annales du Service des antiquités de l'Egypte 12
Falls, J.C.E. Three Years in the Libyan Desert: Travels, Discoveries, and Excavations
of the Menas Expedition (London, 1913)
George, B. "Menaslegenden und Pilgerindustrie", Bulletin of the Museum of
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23 (1953), 239-43
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Miedema, R. Der Heilige Menas (Rotterdam, 1913)
Sijppesteijn, P.J. "Two objects with inscriptions from Coptic Egypt", ZPE 20 (1976),
Tulli, A. "Ampolle inedite di S. Mena nel Museo Egizio della Città del Vaticano",
Aegyptus 12 (1932), 230-42
Ward Perkins, J.B. "The Shrine of St. Menas in the Maryût", Papers of the British
School at Rome 17 (1949), 26-71
|The Passion of St Menas of Cotyaeum (BHO