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Menas of Egypt

"Saint Menas" redirects here. For other uses, see Saint Menas (disambiguation).

Menas of Egypt (also Mina, Minas, Mena, Meena; Coptic:Ⲁⲃⲃⲁ Ⲙⲏⲛⲁ; 285 – c. 309), a martyr and wonder-worker, is one of the most well-known Coptic saints in the East and the West, due to the many miracles that are attributed to his intercession and prayers. Menas was a Coptic soldier in the Roman army martyred because he refused to recant his Christian faith. The common date of his commemoration is November 11, which occurs 13 days later (November 24) on the Julian calendar.

Saint
Menas of Egypt
Martyr and wonder-worker
Born285
Nikiou, Egypt, Roman Empire
Diedc. 309
Phrygia, Anatolia, Roman Empire (modern-day Turkey)
Venerated inOriental Orthodoxy
Eastern Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Church
CanonizedPre-Congregation
Major shrineMonastery of Saint Mina
Church of Saint Menas (Cairo)
Feast
AttributesChristian Martyrdom, man with his hands cut off and his eyes torn out; man with two camels; young knight with a halberd, an anachronistic depiction of his time in the Roman army
Patronagefalsely accused people; peddlers; traveling merchants; Heraklion

His feast day is celebrated every year on 15 Hathor in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, which corresponds to November 24 on the Gregorian Calendar. In Eastern Orthodox churches that follow the old style or Julian calendar, it is likewise celebrated on November 24. In the Eastern Orthodox churches that follow the new style or Revised Julian calendar, as well as in the Catholic Church, it is celebrated on November 11.

Contents

Menas was his original name, according to the story his mother called him "Mēna" because she heard a voice saying amēn. Minas (Μηνᾶς) is how he is known in Greek and Armenian, while in Coptic he is known as "Mīna" (مينا).

St. Menas and boatman on a Makurian manuscript from c. 1000

There are many sources written in different languages (Koine Greek, Coptic, Old Nubian, Ge'ez, Latin, Syriac, Armenian) relating to Menas.

Menas was born in Egypt in 285 in the city of Nikiou, which lay in the vicinity of Memphis. His parents were ascetic Christians but did not have any children for a long time. His father's name was Eudoxios and his mother's name was Euphemia. On the feast of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, Euphemia was praying with tears before an icon of the Virgin for God to give her a son. A sound came from the icon saying "Amen". A few months later, Euphemia gave birth to a boy and named him Menas.

Eudoxios, a ruler of one of the administrative divisions of Egypt, died when Menas was fourteen years old. At the age of fifteen Menas joined the Roman army and was given a high rank due to his father's reputation. Most sources state that he served in Cotyaeus in Phrygia, although some say his appointment was in Algeria. Three years later he left the army, longing to devote his whole life to Christ, and headed towards the desert to live a different kind of life.

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

The soldiers who executed Menas set his body on fire for three days but the body remained unharmed. Menas' sister then bribed the soldiers and managed to carry the body away. She embarked on a ship heading to Alexandria, where she placed his body in a church.

When the time of persecution ended, during the papacy of Athanasius of Alexandria the pope had a vision of an angel appearing to him and ordering him to load Menas' body on a camel and head towards the Libyan Desert. At a certain spot near a water well at the end of Lake Mariout, not far from Alexandria, the camel stopped and wouldn't move. The Christians took this a sign from God and buried Menas' body there.

The Berbers of Pentapolis rose against the cities around Alexandria. As the people were getting ready to face them, the Roman governor decided to secretly take the body of Menas with him to be his deliverer and his strong protector. Through Menas' blessings, the governor overcame the Berbers and returned victorious. However, he decided not to return the body to its original place and wanted to take it to Alexandria. On the way back, as they passed by Lake Mariout at the same spot where the body was originally buried, the camel carrying the body knelt down and would not move. People moved the body to another camel, but the second camel would not move either. The governor finally realized that this was God's command. He made a coffin from decay-resistant wood and placed the silver coffin in it.

Terracotta pilgrim's Menas flask impressed with Saint Mina between two camels, Byzantine, probably made at Abu Mina, Egypt, c. 6th–7th century. (Louvre Museum)

Most versions of the story state that the location of the tomb was then forgotten until its miraculous rediscovery by a local shepherd. A shepherd was feeding his sheep in that location, 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 lying on the ground. The Ethiopian Synaxarium describes Constantine I sending his sick daughter to the shepherd to be cured, and credits her with finding Menas' body, after which Constantine ordered the construction of a church at the site. Some versions of the story replace Constantine with the late-5th century emperor Zeno, but archaeologists have dated the original foundation to the late 4th century. According to the Zeno version, his daughter was leprous and his advisors suggested that she should try that place, and she did. At night Menas appeared to the girl and informed her that his body was buried in that place. The following morning, Zeno's daughter was cured and she related her vision about the saint to her servants. Zeno immediately ordered Mina's body to be dug out and a cathedral to be built there.

After his martyrdom in the early fourth century, Menas acquired a reputation for miraculous healing powers. The cult of Saint Menas was centered on Abu Mena near Alexandria. Sick people from all over the Christian world used to visit that city and were healed through the intercessions of Menas, who became known as the Wonders' Maker. Today, numerous little clay Menas flasks, or bottles for holy water or oil on which the saint's name and picture are stamped, are found by archeologists in diverse countries around the Mediterranean world, such as Heidelberg in Germany, Milan in Italy, Dalmatia in Croatia, Marseille in France, Dongola in Sudan, Meols (Cheshire) in England, and the holy city of Jerusalem, as well as modern Turkey and Eritrea. Pilgrims would buy these bottles and take them back to their relatives.

Patronage

Menas is the patron saint of many German and Swiss towns. He was venerated as the protector of pilgrims and merchants. St. Menas is also noted for healing various illnesses.

Iconography

Menas is generally shown between two camels, the animals that, according to the legend, returned his body to Egypt for burial.

Most likely Mina of Mareotis, Mina of Cotyaes, and Mina of Constantinople, are all the same person honored in different places. Menas is sometimes called Mina the Soldier also called the "Wonder worker" in the West, where he is venerated as a military saint.

As soon as Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria became pope and patriarch on Saint Mark's Throne, he began to put the foundations for a great monastery close to the remains of the old city. Today, the Monastery of Saint Mina is one of the most famous monasteries in Egypt. The relics of Saint Mina, as well as that of Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria lie in this monastery. The cathedral of Saint Mina was destroyed during the Arab invasions of the 7th century.

Pottery pilgrim bottle, for storing water from the spring of Saint Menas. Byzantine period. From Alexandria, Egypt. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London

According to orthodox Christian belief, in June 1942, during the North-Africa campaign that was decisive for the outcome of the Second World War, the German forces under the command of General Rommel were on their way to Alexandria, and happened to make a halt near a place which the Arabs call El Alamein. An ancient ruined church nearby in Abu Mena was dedicated to Saint Menas; there some people say he is buried. Here the weaker Allied forces, including some Greeks, confronted the numerically and militarily superior German army, and the result of the coming battle of El Alamein seemed certain. During the first night of engagement, at midnight, Saint Menas came out of his ruined church and appeared in the midst of the German camp at the head of a caravan of camels, exactly as he was shown on the walls of the ruined church in one of the frescoes depicting his miracles. This astounding and terrifying apparition so undermined German morale that it contributed to the brilliant victory of the Allies. Winston Churchill said of this victory: "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." He also wrote: "Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein, we never had a defeat.

  1. "Menas of Egypt - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America".
  2. "Martyr Menas of Egypt". oca.org. Retrieved2018-03-17.
  3. "Saint Menas". www.digitalegypt.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved2018-03-17.
  4. Menas the Miracle Worker, Saint – Claremont Coptic Encyclopedia
  5. "St. Menas". www.copticchurch.net. Retrieved2018-03-17.
  6. "Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Menas". www.newadvent.org. Retrieved2018-03-17.
  7. "Saint Mina Coptic Orthodox Church". 2007-10-06. Archived from the original on 2007-10-06. Retrieved2018-03-17.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  8. "Saint Menas – Saints and Martyrs– Treasures of Heaven". www.learn.columbia.edu. Retrieved2018-03-17.
  9. Grossmann, Peter (1998). "The Pilgrimage Center of Abû Mînâ". in D. Frankfurter (ed.), Pilgrimage & Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt. Leiden-Boston-Köln, Brill: p. 282
  10. "Ampullae". www.stmina-monastery.org. Retrieved2018-03-17.
  11. "Menas", Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, (Alexander Kazhdan, ed.), New York: Oxford University Press, p. 1339
  12. "The Miracle of Saint Menas in El Alamein in 1942". www.johnsanidopoulos.com. Retrieved2018-03-17.
  13. "A warrior saint for Veteran's Day – This Side of Glory". This Side of Glory. 2012-11-12. Retrieved2018-03-17.
  14. "El Alamein – Revealing the Secret Turning Point of World War II". www.godlikeproductions.com. Retrieved2018-03-17.
  15. The Great Egyptian and Coptic Martyr – St Mina Monastery
Wikimedia Commons has media related toSaint Menas.

Menas of Egypt
Menas of Egypt Language Watch Edit 160 160 Redirected from Saint Menas Saint Menas redirects here For other uses see Saint Menas disambiguation Menas of Egypt also Mina Minas Mena Meena Coptic Ⲁⲃⲃⲁ Ⲙⲏⲛⲁ 285 c 309 a martyr and wonder worker is one of the most well known Coptic saints in the East and the West due to the many miracles that are attributed to his intercession and prayers Menas was a Coptic soldier in the Roman army martyred because he refused to recant his Christian faith The common date of his commemoration is November 11 which occurs 13 days later November 24 on the Julian calendar Saint Menas of EgyptMartyr and wonder workerBorn285 Nikiou Egypt Roman EmpireDiedc 309 Phrygia Anatolia Roman Empire modern day Turkey Venerated inOriental Orthodoxy Eastern Orthodox Church Roman Catholic ChurchCanonizedPre CongregationMajor shrineMonastery of Saint Mina Church of Saint Menas Cairo Feast15 Hathor Coptic Orthodox Church which coincides with 11 November on the Julian Calendar or 24 November on the Gregorian Calendar 11 November Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches 1 2 AttributesChristian Martyrdom man with his hands cut off and his eyes torn out man with two camels young knight with a halberd an anachronistic depiction of his time in the Roman armyPatronagefalsely accused people peddlers traveling merchants Heraklion His feast day is celebrated every year on 15 Hathor in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria which corresponds to November 24 on the Gregorian Calendar In Eastern Orthodox churches that follow the old style or Julian calendar it is likewise celebrated on November 24 In the Eastern Orthodox churches that follow the new style or Revised Julian calendar as well as in the Catholic Church it is celebrated on November 11 Contents 1 Origin of his name 2 Life and martyrdom 3 Relics 4 Veneration 4 1 Patronage 4 2 Iconography 5 Military saint 6 New Monastery and Cathedral of Saint Mina 7 El Alamein battle 8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External linksOrigin of his name EditMenas was his original name according to the story his mother called him Mena because she heard a voice saying amen Minas Mhnᾶs is how he is known in Greek and Armenian while in Coptic he is known as Mina مينا Life and martyrdom Edit St Menas and boatman on a Makurian manuscript from c 1000 There are many sources written in different languages Koine Greek Coptic Old Nubian Ge ez Latin Syriac Armenian relating to Menas 3 Menas was born in Egypt in 285 in the city of Nikiou 4 which lay in the vicinity of Memphis His parents were ascetic Christians but did not have any children for a long time His father s name was Eudoxios and his mother s name was Euphemia On the feast of the Virgin Mary mother of Jesus Euphemia was praying with tears before an icon of the Virgin for God to give her a son A sound came from the icon saying Amen A few months later Euphemia gave birth to a boy and named him Menas 5 Eudoxios a ruler of one of the administrative divisions of Egypt died when Menas was fourteen years old At the age of fifteen Menas joined the Roman army and was given a high rank due to his father s reputation Most sources state that he served in Cotyaeus in Phrygia 6 although some say his appointment was in Algeria 5 Three years later he left the army longing to devote his whole life to Christ and headed towards the desert to live a different kind of life After spending five years as a hermit Menas saw in a revelation the angels crowning the martyrs with glorious crowns and longed to join those martyrs While he was thinking about it he heard a voice saying Blessed are you Menas because you have been called to the pious life from your childhood You shall be granted three immortal crowns one for your celibacy another for your asceticism and a third for your martyrdom Menas subsequently hurried to the ruler declaring his Christian faith 7 Relics EditThe soldiers who executed Menas set his body on fire for three days but the body remained unharmed Menas sister then bribed the soldiers and managed to carry the body away She embarked on a ship heading to Alexandria where she placed his body in a church When the time of persecution ended during the papacy of Athanasius of Alexandria the pope had a vision of an angel appearing to him and ordering him to load Menas body on a camel and head towards the Libyan Desert At a certain spot near a water well at the end of Lake Mariout not far from Alexandria the camel stopped and wouldn t move The Christians took this a sign from God and buried Menas body there The Berbers of Pentapolis rose against the cities around Alexandria As the people were getting ready to face them the Roman governor decided to secretly take the body of Menas with him to be his deliverer and his strong protector Through Menas blessings the governor overcame the Berbers and returned victorious However he decided not to return the body to its original place and wanted to take it to Alexandria On the way back as they passed by Lake Mariout at the same spot where the body was originally buried the camel carrying the body knelt down and would not move People moved the body to another camel but the second camel would not move either 8 The governor finally realized that this was God s command He made a coffin from decay resistant wood and placed the silver coffin in it Veneration Edit Terracotta pilgrim s Menas flask impressed with Saint Mina between two camels Byzantine probably made at Abu Mina Egypt c 6th 7th century Louvre Museum Most versions of the story state that the location of the tomb was then forgotten until its miraculous rediscovery by a local shepherd A shepherd was feeding his sheep in that location 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 lying on the ground The Ethiopian Synaxarium describes Constantine I sending his sick daughter to the shepherd to be cured and credits her with finding Menas body after which Constantine ordered the construction of a church at the site Some versions of the story replace Constantine with the late 5th century emperor Zeno but archaeologists have dated the original foundation to the late 4th century 9 According to the Zeno version his daughter was leprous and his advisors suggested that she should try that place and she did At night Menas appeared to the girl and informed her that his body was buried in that place The following morning Zeno s daughter was cured and she related her vision about the saint to her servants Zeno immediately ordered Mina s body to be dug out and a cathedral to be built there After his martyrdom in the early fourth century Menas acquired a reputation for miraculous healing powers The cult of Saint Menas was centered on Abu Mena near Alexandria 10 Sick people from all over the Christian world used to visit that city and were healed through the intercessions of Menas who became known as the Wonders Maker Today numerous little clay Menas flasks or bottles for holy water or oil on which the saint s name and picture are stamped are found by archeologists in diverse countries around the Mediterranean world such as Heidelberg in Germany Milan in Italy Dalmatia in Croatia Marseille in France Dongola in Sudan Meols Cheshire in England and the holy city of Jerusalem as well as modern Turkey and Eritrea Pilgrims would buy these bottles and take them back to their relatives 5 Patronage Edit Menas is the patron saint of many German and Swiss towns He was venerated as the protector of pilgrims and merchants 11 St Menas is also noted for healing various illnesses 2 Iconography Edit Menas is generally shown between two camels the animals that according to the legend returned his body to Egypt for burial 3 Military saint EditMost likely Mina of Mareotis Mina of Cotyaes and Mina of Constantinople are all the same person honored in different places 6 Menas is sometimes called Mina the Soldier also called the Wonder worker in the West where he is venerated as a military saint New Monastery and Cathedral of Saint Mina EditAs soon as Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria became pope and patriarch on Saint Mark s Throne he began to put the foundations for a great monastery close to the remains of the old city Today the Monastery of Saint Mina is one of the most famous monasteries in Egypt The relics of Saint Mina as well as that of Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria lie in this monastery The cathedral of Saint Mina was destroyed during the Arab invasions of the 7th century El Alamein battle Edit Pottery pilgrim bottle for storing water from the spring of Saint Menas Byzantine period From Alexandria Egypt The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology London According to orthodox Christian belief in June 1942 during the North Africa campaign that was decisive for the outcome of the Second World War the German forces under the command of General Rommel were on their way to Alexandria and happened to make a halt near a place which the Arabs call El Alamein An ancient ruined church nearby in Abu Mena was dedicated to Saint Menas there some people say he is buried Here the weaker Allied forces including some Greeks confronted the numerically and militarily superior German army and the result of the coming battle of El Alamein seemed certain During the first night of engagement at midnight Saint Menas came out of his ruined church and appeared in the midst of the German camp at the head of a caravan of camels exactly as he was shown on the walls of the ruined church in one of the frescoes depicting his miracles This astounding and terrifying apparition so undermined German morale that it contributed to the brilliant victory of the Allies Winston Churchill said of this victory Now this is not the end It is not even the beginning of the end but it is perhaps the end of the beginning He also wrote Before Alamein we never had a victory After Alamein we never had a defeat 12 13 14 15 See also EditAgios Minas Cathedral Heraklion Church of Saint Menas Cairo Church of Saint Menas of Samatya Istanbul Minas of Aksum Monastery of Saint Mina Pope Cyril VI of AlexandriaReferences Edit Menas of Egypt Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America a b Martyr Menas of Egypt oca org Retrieved 2018 03 17 a b Saint Menas www digitalegypt ucl ac uk Retrieved 2018 03 17 Menas the Miracle Worker Saint Claremont Coptic Encyclopedia a b c St Menas www copticchurch net Retrieved 2018 03 17 a b Catholic Encyclopedia St Menas www newadvent org Retrieved 2018 03 17 Saint Mina Coptic Orthodox Church 2007 10 06 Archived from the original on 2007 10 06 Retrieved 2018 03 17 CS1 maint bot original URL status unknown link Saint Menas Saints and Martyrs Treasures of Heaven www learn columbia edu Retrieved 2018 03 17 Grossmann Peter 1998 The Pilgrimage Center of Abu Mina in D Frankfurter ed Pilgrimage amp Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt Leiden Boston Koln Brill p 282 Ampullae www stmina monastery org Retrieved 2018 03 17 Menas Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium Alexander Kazhdan ed New York Oxford University Press p 1339 The Miracle of Saint Menas in El Alamein in 1942 www johnsanidopoulos com Retrieved 2018 03 17 A warrior saint for Veteran s Day This Side of Glory This Side of Glory 2012 11 12 Retrieved 2018 03 17 El Alamein Revealing the Secret Turning Point of World War II www godlikeproductions com Retrieved 2018 03 17 The Great Egyptian and Coptic Martyr St Mina MonasteryFurther reading EditWeitzmann Kurt ed Age of spirituality late antique and early Christian art third to seventh century pp 573 578 1979 Metropolitan Museum of Art New York ISBN 9780870991790External links EditWikimedia Commons has media related to Saint Menas The official website of St Mina Monastery in Maruit Martyr Minas Ivory Pyxis with St Mina the British Museum Martyr Menas of Egypt Orthodox Church in America Retrieved from 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