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E01846: Fragments of the Coptic Life of *Marina (S00936), describing her severe asceticism, living disguised as a monk, and her endurance and faith when suffering false accusation; composed most likely during the 5th–7th century.

online resource
posted on 2016-09-12, 00:00 authored by gschenke
K 09450, K 09439, and K09515

The Life of Marina who as a child joined her widowed father to live in a male monastery under the name Marinos, is well known. Her feast day is listed in the Synaxarium of the Coptic Church on 15 Mesore (8 August). When Marina’s father died, she remained at the monastery growing up disguised as a young monk. Even when she was accused of fathering a child, she took the blame and accepted the punishment rather than disclose her disguise. Expelled from the monastery proper, she cared for the infant who grew up as a monk himself under her guidance. Only after death, was her true identity was revealed and in return, her endurance and faith were celebrated.

K 09450:
ⲁⲥϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲇⲉ ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲉϥⲉⲣ ⲛⲟϭ · ⲙⲡⲉⲗⲁⲁⲩ ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉⲙⲉ ⲉⲡⲉϥⲙⲩⲥⲧⲏⲣⲟⲛ ⲁϥⲧⲁⲁϥ ⲛϩⲉⲛⲛⲟϭ ⲛⲁⲥⲕⲏⲥⲥ · ⲙⲛ ϩⲉⲛⲡⲟⲗⲓⲧⲁ ⲉⲩϩⲏⲡ ·:·· ⲛⲧⲉⲣⲉ ⲛⲉⲥⲛⲏⲩ ⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲣⲟϥ · ϫⲉ ⲙⲡⲉⲗⲁⲁⲩ ⲛⲃⲱ · ⲣⲱⲧ · ⲉⲧⲉϥⲙⲟⲣⲧ · ⲁⲩⲙⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ϫⲉ ⲙⲁⲣⲛⲟⲥ ⲡⲉⲥⲟⲩⲣ ·:·· ⲁⲧⲉϥⲯⲩⲭⲏ ϣⲛⲉ ⲛⲥⲁ ⲡⲱⲣϥ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ

‘And it happened, when he grew up, no one knew his secret. He put himself through great asceticism and withdrawn existence. When the brethren saw that no hair grew on his beard, they called him “Marinos, the eunuch”. His soul was searching for seclusion.’

Text: W. C. Till. Translation: Gesa Schenke.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Marina, Egyptian ascetic living disguised as a monk : S00936

Saint Name in Source

ⲙⲁⲣⲛⲟⲥ ⲡⲉⲥⲟⲩⲣ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives of saint


  • Coptic

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits


The three leaves from a former parchment codex,K 09450, K 09439, and K09515, are housed at the Papyrus Collection in Vienna. The manuscript is datable to the 9th to 11th centuries, while the composition itself is most likely not later than the 6th century. Fragments of two other Coptic codices attesting this story are known, see Till, KHML I, 27, for details.


Marina seems to have become a symbol of endurance and faith, similar to Job.


Text: Till, W.C., Koptische Heiligen- und Martyrlegenden. Vol. 1 (Rome: Pont. institutum orientalium studiorum, 1935), 26–33. Further reading: O'Leary, De L., Saints of Egypt (London: SPCK, 1937), 187–188.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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