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January 5, 2019

Venerable Menas of Sinai

St. Menas of Sinai (Feast Day - January 5)

Venerable Menas lived in asceticism for fifty-nine years in a certain monastery of Sinai, where he died peacefully in the second half of the sixth century. Myrrh flowed from his holy relics, which was noticed three days after his death. Saint John Climacus speaks of this wonderful man in his book The Ladder of Divine Ascent (Step 4:34), where he is portrayed as a model of blessed and ever-memorable obedience. He writes of him:

As the Lord did not wish to deprive me of the prayer of a holy father in the same monastery, a week before my departure He took to Himself a wonderful man called Menas who occupied the second place after the superior, and had lived fifty-nine years in the community fulfilling all the various offices. On the third day after the falling asleep of this holy man, when we had performed the customary rites over him, suddenly the whole place where the saint was resting was filled with fragrance. Then the great man allowed us to uncover the coffin in which he had been placed, and when this was done we all saw that fragrant myrrh was flowing like two fountains from his precious feet. Then that teacher said to all: ‘Look! The sweat of his toils and labors have been offered as myrrh to God and truly accepted.’

The fathers of that place told us of many triumphs of this most saintly Menas, and amongst others the following: ‘Once the superior wanted to test his God-given patience. In the evening Menas came to the abbot’s cell, and having prostrated before the abbot, asked him as usual to give him instruction. But the abbot left him lying on the ground till the hour of the Office, and only then blessed him; and having rebuked him for being fond of self-display and for being impatient, he ordered him to get up. The holy man knew Menas would bear all this courageously, and therefore he made this scene for the edification of all.’ A disciple of Saint Menas confirmed what was told us about his director, and added: ‘I was inquisitive to know whether sleep overcame him while he lay prostrate before the abbot. But he assured me that while lying on the ground he had recited by heart the whole Psalter.’