Saint Marina (Marino)
The comune of Santa Marina and its patron saint, celebrated
on 18th June, have the same name.
Saint Marina's story is peculiar (although other female saints
had a similar story) and it’s sometimes confused with
that of other Marinas. It seems that Marina lived in the 5th
century but it’s not certain where. Several places where
Marina is venerated (Egypt, Thrace, Bithynia, Sicily, and
Lebanon) claim being her birthplace.
When Marina's father widowed, he went to live in
a monastery. To remain with him, Marina disguised herself
as a man and joined him in the monastery and changed her name
in Marino. When the monks left the monastery for a long journey
and had to sleep at an inn, the innkeeper’s daughter
was seduced by a soldier, got pregnant and blamed Marino (Marina).
Marina was expelled from the monastery and was given the baby
to bring up. Anyway she continued to live near the monastery,
crying and repenting, although unjustly blamed. Impressed
by so much repentance, after three years the prior admitted
her again to the monastery, where she lived as a very good
monk, as before.Some time later Marino/Marina died and when
preparing the body for the burial the monks realised that
Marino was actually a woman and so they understood that she
had been victim of defamation and that she had accepted it.
Comune of Santa Marina
as seen by Viola in music, Everything about the viola
The comune of Santa Marina is in the Campania region, on top
of a hill, at 415 metres above the sea level, surrounded by
beautiful countryside and has about 3300 residents. Within
its territory is the village of Policastro, quite famous seaside
holiday resort, which also gives name to the Golfo di Policastro
(Gulf of Policastro).
Around the 7th century some families running away from persecutions
established themselves here among the mountains. They founded
a church (still existing). It was founded by Greeks and was
of Greek rite until around 1000. This is proved by the saints
venerated by them, Saint Calogero and Saint Marina of Bithynia.
Maybe it’s because of their veneration for Saint Marina
that the village took her name.
To defend themselves, they built their houses on the eastern
side of the hill, very close to each other, so that they couldn't
be seen from the sea, with only one narrow access road, with
staircases, curves and windows to watch the access. More people
came to live at Santa Marina, after the destruction of other
villages nearby, so the town developed and became the seat
of a tribunal.
In Saint Francis times they built a small church with a monastery,
still existing, which was then enlarged and now shows an exceptional
Altar in pure Baroque style.
From the square in front of the church you can enjoy two
spectacular views: the rocky Infreschi promontory, with its
wonderful clear blue sea and, on the other side you can admire
see the Apennines hills, with their top covered with snow.
Olive groves with a mild breeze from the sea and snowy tops,
what a contrast!
From the end of 16th century Santa Marina was the seat of
Count Carafa, a noble family from Naples (Napoli) from which,
by the way, 26 bishops and 12 cardinals came (one became pope
Paul IV), and Santa Marina was of the Kingdom of Naples until
the unification of Italy in 1861.
Nowadays it can rely on tourism thanks to the beautiful coasts
and sea of its gulf. Due to its position, the weather is mild
for most of the year, hot in summer and cooler inland and
in winter, ideal for a holiday!
St. Marina came from a wealthy family of
pagans in the city of Antioch. She was raised with no knowledge
of Christ in her life. Yet at the tender age of fifteen, Marina
defeated the devil and all his snares, through the faith in
Jesus Christ. A child born a non-believer, became a believer
and defeated the Devil.
At a young age Marina’s parents passed away
and she went to live with a nanny, who was a practicing Christian.
Each and every night Marina would hear the stories of how
ordinary people, with faith in Christ, became martyrs for
Christ’s sake. The nanny spoke with such reverence for
these “saints” that Marina was inspired and yearned
to taste the sweet mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Though
men were drawn to her beauty, she was drawn to a life with
God – to be the Bridesmaid of Jesus Christ.
And it came to pass that one day Marina was indeed tested
and tempted by the Devil’s snares. The governor of Antioch,
a rich and powerful man who was accustomed to getting what
he wanted, fancied Marina and desired her. But when his soldiers
came to her, she told them that she belonged to Christ. When
the governor heard this, he was distressed for he lusted after
her with blinding fire. So he had her brought to him by force
and offered her to worship his idols and to forsake God. But
He demanded to know of her that she could defy him. To which
she replied, "I am Christian. I believe in the Lord Christ,
and my name is Marina." He made many promises and promised
to marry her, but she still did not heed to his will. When
she cursed his idolatry ways and insulted him, he grew angry
and ordered her body scraped with iron combs, and then rubbed
with vinegar, salt and lime. For to his selfish and greedy
view, if he could not have her, then let no one have her.
But the governor only saw her from the outside, but God sees
us from the inside. God cares not for the beauty of the ever-dying
flesh – but for the eternal growth of our spirit inside.
And through this spirit, strengthened by the Holy Spirit,
she endured with patience.
Disgusted by their futility, the governor ordered her to
be tossed into prison. Their thinking was that she would die
from the wounds they had created. But the Lord God sent an
angel to heal all her wounds. This is the glory of God. For
in our faith and trust of God’s will are we reborn and
renewed - that through Him all things that are imperfect are
This of course angered the Devil. While she was standing
up praying, with her hands extended in the form of a cross,
a huge and terrifying serpent came forth. When she saw it
she was frightened and her whole body trembled. The serpent
swallowed her up, and her soul almost departed from her. She
made the sign of the cross and prayed while she was in the
belly of the serpent. It split open and fell on the ground
dead. St. Marina went out unharmed. There are many times you
will feel that the world has swallowed you up, and you have
no strength to defeat it. Let not the darkness on the outside
of you, penetrate the light inside you. Call upon God to save
you, to give you strength and He will make all things impossible
The next morning, the governor ordered her to be brought
before him. When he saw that she was well, he marveled and
told her, "Your sorcery has become evident today, so
listen to me. Worship our gods and much good would be for
you, and I will give you all that I have promised you."
To the unbelieving governor, Marina’s healing was the
act of sorcery – for that is all he knew of. In your
struggle to unite with God, you will often find people around
you with no knowledge of God, Jesus Christ and a life with
Christ. They will mock your efforts. Have faith and believe.
For in you may the Lord God work His grace to save not just
you, but (God willing) those who mock you.
After the governor called God’s work “sorcery”,
Marina looked at him and at the dumb idols with contempt and
proclaimed, "I worship the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son
of the Living God, the God of heavens and earth, and whatever
you wish to do with me, do, for I will not heed you."
The angered and frustrated governor ordered her hanged on
the wheel, the squeezing wheel, and squeezed very tightly.
They did and then again cast her in prison, assuming she would
die. The angel of the Lord came to her, and healed her yet
again. Then the Devil appeared to her and said, "O Marina,
if you obey the governor that would be for your good for he
is merciless, and he wishes to erase your name from the face
of the earth." She realized that he was the Devil. Straightway
she caught the hair of his head, and she took an iron rod
and started to beat him, saying, "Stop it O Satan."
Then she bound him with the sign of the cross, not to depart
from before her until he told her all about what he does to
the human race. When she pressed him, he told her, "I
am the one who makes adultery, stealing, blasphemy, and earthly
desires, good and desirable to the human. And if I do not
overcome him, I steer sleep and laziness against him, so he
will not pray and ask for the forgiveness of his sins."
Here in is the powerlessness of the Devil. Only if we give
the Devil power over us, through the temptations of the flesh,
does he have influence. But if we ignore his trappings, he
tries to cast doubt into our prayer efforts. Faith and doubt
are exact opposites. Marina did not care for the death that
was to come to her for she knew that her faith in Jesus Christ
was greater than anything in this world. Lend her story to
your own life, to show how the faith and trust of the Lord
God can save and grant you strength to fight all darkness
of your present day.
When the governor again saw her healed, he again marveled
much, then he ordered to uncover her body, and to fill a large
cauldron with melted lead, and to immerse her in it. When
they did so, she asked the Lord to make this a baptism for
her. The Lord sent his angel in the form of a dove. While
being immersed in the boiling cauldron, she prayed, "In
the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
one God Amen." A voice from heaven called her and said,
"O Marina you have been baptized in the baptismal water."
She rejoiced exceedingly, and those who were present heard
what had happened to the saint. Many of them believed, and
the governor ordered to cut off their necks, and afterwards
ordered to cut off St. Marina's holy head. The executioner
took her and went outside the city, then told her, "My
lady Marina, I see the angel of the Lord and with him a crown
of bright light." She said, "I ask you to tarry
on me until I have prayed." She extended her arms and
prayed fervently. Then she told the executioner, "Do
what you have been ordered to do." She bowed her neck
to the executioner who told her, "I could not do so."
The saint told him, "If you do not do so, you would not
have a share in the Kingdom of God."
When he heard what she said, he took the sword and cut her
neck off then he cut his neck also while he was saying, "I
believe in the God of St. Marina." He fell down beside
her and he received the crown of martyrdom in the Kingdom
of Heaven. The Lord had manifested from her body many signs
and healing miracles.
Her body is presently located in the church of the Lady the
Virgin Mary in Haret El-Roum. May her prayers and intercession
be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
Feastday: June 18
St. Marina Virgin June 18 - She flourished in Bithynia in the eighth century,
and served God under the habit of a monk, with extraordinary
fervor. Her wonderful humility, meekness, and patience are
celebrated in the lives of the fathers of the desert. She
died about the middle of the eighth century. Her relics were
translated from Constantinople to Venice in 1230, and are
venerated there in a church which bears her name. She is also
titular saint of a parish church in Paris, which is mentioned
by the celebrated William of Paris, in 1228. In it is preserved
a portion of her relics, brought from Venice. St. Marina is
commemorated in the Roman Martyrology and in the New Paris
Breviary on the 18th of June; and the feast of the translation
of her relics is kept at Venice on the 17th of July.