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November 11, 2020

The Miracles of the Great Martyr Menas


By Timothy, Archbishop of Alexandria

After the death of the impious Roman pagan emperors Diocletian and Maximian, who hated Christ, the pious Emperor Constantine came to the throne, and the faith which is in our Lord Jesus Christ spread throughout every land. At that time, certain men, citizens of Alexandria and lovers of Christ, found the place where the holy relics of the holy and glorious martyr of Christ, Menas were laid and built a church dedicated to him.

1. It happened that a merchant from the land of Isauria came to Alexandria to purchase wares. Hearing of the numerous miracles and healings which took place at the church of Saint Menas, he said to himself, "I will go to church, that through the prayers of His holy sufferer, God may have mercy on me." So the man took a bag full of gold and left for the church. Reaching Lake Mareotis, which lies near the sea, he crossed on a ferryboat to Loxonetus where he looked about for a place to sleep that night.  He entered one of the houses there and said to the master, "Friend, be so kind as to accept me as a guest in your house tonight, for the sun has already set. I am afraid to continue alone."

The man replied, "Enter, brother; you may sleep here until morning."

The traveler entered the house, lay down, and fell asleep. The master of the house saw that the merchant was carrying a bag of gold, and was filled with desire for it. Urged on by the devil, he resolved to murder his guest and to take the gold. Arising at midnight, he strangled the merchant with his hands, cut his body in pieces, placed them in a basket, and hid them in the innermost room of the house. Soon, however, the man's spirit became greatly troubled, and he began to look about everywhere to find a place where he could bury his victim.

While the man was fretting thus, Christ's martyr Menas appeared riding on a steed, like a soldier sent to do his king's bidding. The holy martyr came to the door of the murderer's house and asked for the guest who had been slain. The murderer pretended to know nothing and said to the Saint, "I do not know what to say to you, my lord. No one has been here."

The Saint dismounted, entered the innermost room, and found the basket. Bringing it out, he asked the murderer, "What is this?"

The man was terrified and fell at the Saint's feet as though dead. Meanwhile, the Saint joined the dead man's severed limbs together and prayed, and the merchant arose. Menas said to him, "Give glory to God," and the dead one awoke as if from sleep. He understood that he had been killed by the master of the house, and he glorified God, falling down before Menas and thanking him. The Saint took the gold from the murderer and returned it to the man whom he had resurrected, saying, "Continue on your way in peace!"

Then the martyr turned to the murderer and beat him severely until the latter begged forgiveness. The Saint forgave him his offense, and after praying for the man, Saint Menas mounted his horse and became invisible.

2. There was a woman named Sophia who came from the region of Thecozelita to venerate Saint Menas. While she was traveling, a soldier passed by. He saw that she was alone, and filled with lust, fell upon her and tried to ravish her, but she withstood him bravely, calling upon the help of the holy Martyr Menas. The Saint did not disdain her cry, and both punished the assailant and preserved the woman undefiled. As the soldier prepared to have his way with her, he tied his horse to his right leg. The horse began to buck and not only prevented his master from accomplishing the vile deed; it also began to drag him along the ground and did not stop until it reached the church of Saint Menas. There it continued to neigh and buck so that a crowd of people gathered around it, for it was a feast day and many people were in the church. The soldier was very frightened because his horse would not cease to buck. No one could help him, and he feared that the horse might seriously hurt or kill him. He laid shame aside and openly confessed his iniquity before all, and straightway the horse became calm. The soldier entered the church and fell down before the Saint, praying and asking forgiveness for his transgression.

3. There were a lame man and a mute woman, who, together with many others, sat by the church of the Saint awaiting healing. At midnight, while all the others were asleep, the Saint appeared to the lame man and said to him, "Go quietly to the dumb woman and take her by the leg."

The lame man said, "O Saint of God, I am not a dissolute man. I would never do such a thing!"

The Saint told him a second and a third time, "If you refuse to do as I tell you, you will not be healed!" The cripple obeyed the Saint and seized the mute woman by the leg. She began to cry out angrily at the lame man, who fled in fear. Then both of them perceived that they had been healed: the dumb woman had spoken, and the cripple had run like a deer. Both gave thanks to God and to the holy Martyr Menas.

4. A certain Jew had a friend who was a Christian. Once, as he was about to travel to a far county, the Jew entrusted to his friend a chest in which he kept a thousand pieces of gold. He tarried in the land to which he had traveled, and the Christian began contemplating keeping the money for himself. He had already decided to do this when the Jew returned and asked him for his gold. To this, the Christian replied, "You gave me nothing, and I took nothing from you."

Hearing this, the Jew despaired of ever seeing his gold again. He said to the Christian, "Brother, no one other than God knows of this matter, and if you will not return the gold I left with you, and deny that you took it, let us go the church of Saint Menas. Swear there that you did not take the chest with a thousand pieces of gold from me."

Both men went to the church, and the Christian swore to the Jew before God that he did not take the gold for safekeeping. Both men then left the church mounted their horses. Immediately the Christian's horse began to buck so violently that it could not be restrained. Breaking its reins, it began to gallop and tossed its master to the ground. As the Christian fell from the horse, his ring slid from his hand and a key from his pouch.

He got up, pursued his horse, calmed it, and then rode off again with the Jew. When they had gone away, the Christian said to the Jew, "Friend, this is a convenient place to dismount and eat."

They dismounted their horses and let them graze, and themselves began to eat. Presently, the Christian looked up and saw his servant standing before him, holding the Jew's chest in one hand and the ring and the key in the other. He was overcome by terror and asked his servant, "What is the meaning of this?"

The servant replied, "A fearsome soldier went to my lady, and giving her this key and ring, said to her, "Return the chest to the Jew without delay, lest your husband falls into misfortune." Therefore, she sent me to you with these things as the soldier commanded."

When the Jew saw this, he rejoiced, and together with the Christian, returned to the church of Saint Menas. There he fell to the ground and asked for Holy Baptism, confessing that because he had witnessed this great miracle, he had come to believe. The Christian begged the Saint to forgive him, acknowledging that he had transgressed God's Commandment. Both received what they desired: one Holy Baptism and the other forgiveness of his sins, and they returned to their homes, rejoicing and glorifying God and exalting His favorite, Saint Menas.

From The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, Chrysostom Press, House Spring, MO, 1997, vol. III, pgs. 176-181.