Saint Marina the Monk
Marina the monk.jpg
Marina (in red) being brought to a monastery by her father Eugenius. 14th century French manuscript.
Died July 19[1] 508 AD[2]
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church; Maronite Church; Eastern Orthodox Church; Coptic Orthodox Church
Feast February 12; February 12 in the Eastern calendar as well

Marina the Monk (sometimes known as Pelagia, Mary of Alexandria, Marinus, Marinos, Marina the Syrian) (6th century?) is venerated as a saint. She is considered a female "Desert Father".[3] Her legend may be a pious fiction: it states that her father Eugene (Eugenius), a Bithynian who wanted to become a monk, took both himself and his daughter Marina (whom he disguised as a boy) to a monastery. This monastery has been identified as the Monastery of Qannoubine, in the Holy Valley, Lebanon.

For seventeen years, Marina lived both as a monk and a boy named Marinus. However, misfortune disrupted Marina's tranquillity:

Once, it became necessary, during a monastic obedience outside the monastery, that Fr. Marinos lodge at the inn. The innkeeper's wayward daughter, believing that Fr. Marinos was a man, burned with desire for the young monk. After pursuing the monk and humiliating herself when repulsed by Mary, the wanton innkeeper's daughter sought revenge. She accused the righteous Fr. Marinos of seducing her. She did this because she already had illicit relations with a soldier and had conceived by him.[4]

After she was accused of impregnating this woman, Marina was dismissed from the monastery. Marina still did not reveal her identity and became a beggar at the monastery’s gates. Marina was forced to take custody of the child and was finally readmitted to the monastery with her "son." There, Marina performed the lowliest tasks and was forced also to perform severe penances. Her sex was finally revealed at her death.


Marina is venerated by the Maronite Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church. Her legend was sometimes confused with that of Saint Pelagia, "Pelagia" being a Greek translation of the Latin-derived name Marina.


  1. The Star Quest Production Network
  2. [1]
  3. "St. Mary of Alexandria - A 'Desert Father' in Disguise"
  4. "St. Mary of Alexandria - A 'Desert Father' in Disguise"

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