Monday, November 12, 2012

St Mennas (November 12)

Saint Mennas (285 – c. 309) was born in Egypt to Christian parents, and his father was a senior bureaucrat.  He joined the Roman army at 15 and served for three years, but then left to become a  hermit.

He was martyred after receiving a vision that encouraged him to declare his faith to the then ruler of the area:

"After spending five years as a hermit, Menas saw in a revelation the angels crowning the martyrs with glamorous 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. His endless sufferings and the tortures that he went through, have attracted many of the pagans, not only to Christianity, but also to martyrdom."

Many miracles were worked through his relics (his body was preserved by his sister), and he was an extremely popular saint for centuries.  Indeed, the sixth century icon above, currently in the Louvre, is reputedly one of the oldest in existence.

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