Saint Mina, this great heavenly creation, was the son of lovely Egypt with ancestral roots in Nikeus’u.
His grandfather on his father’s side was the governor of the region. His father Eudoxius was a wealthy man loved by his fellow citizens for his many virtues. Because of his mercy, this man’s brother envied and betrayed him to the Emperor Carinos1″ with false information. The emperor did not accept this report and appointed Eudoxius as a governor to the Africa region.t Later, however, the brother eventually became a governor.
The Commemorations for St. Mina, The Wonderworker is Hator 15.
Eudoxius’ wife, Euphemia, the mother of the saint, was a godly woman who lived a life of prayer and fasting. She was barren, and continually prayed to the Lord Jesus to give her a child of purity, and because of this she kept a special fast daily until evening. She gave many donations to strangers, widows and orphans.
During the commemoration of Virgin Mary’s death, on the 21st Toba, Euphemia went to church and saw women in state of joy and delight carrying their children. She stood contrite before the icon of the Lord’s mother, raised her heart, wept, and pleaded deeply with the Lord Jesus to give her children. While she was praying, she heard a voice coming from the icon of the Lord Jesus, as He was cradled in the arms of His mother, St. Mary the Holy Virgin, saying: “Amen, Mina.” She rejoiced and went home to tell her husband Eudoxius about what had happened. His heart was filled with great joy.
When the days of her pregnancy were completed, Euphemia gave birth to this Saint and named him Mina• according to the voice she heard. This was about the year 286 A.D.
Mina’s parents gave careful attention to provide him with spiritual instruction. They trained him in church doctrine and took him to saintly priests who taught him with theology books. He learned quickly and would revisit the church day and night. He was committed to praying and fasting, so his soul was full of virtue and purity. He was a spiritual boy similar to the prophet Samuel.
When he was 11 years old his father passed away. Three years later, his mother passed away. He inherited their great wealth. However, he continued practicing his spiritual life of prayers, fasting, donations, and benevolences.
Later, at the age of 15 years, Mina entered the army when a royal decree was issued, in all cities, commanding those who were fit for military life to enter the army. Mina was among those chosen. The governor, who took over after his father, appointed him as his deputy to lead the army. All the people loved him for his meekness and humility.
In 303 A.D., the two emperors Diocletian and Maximian issued a decree commanding• the people to worship and sacrifice to idols. Saint Mina could not endure seeing so many people submitting to this decree and becoming demon-possessed through the deception of satanic command.
The saint arose, courageously distributed his inheritance and property among the needy, retired from his post, and left for the wilderness. It was possible there to experience what he desired, the intimacy with the Trinity through his Savior and beloved Jesus. He repeated the saying: “I have seen rebellion and disputes in the city. So I have escaped and resorted to the wilderness hasting for my God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
In the wilderness, he fasted until evening and spent whole nights in prayer.
After 5 years in the wilderness, having engaged in deep denial of self, fasting and prayers, as well as devout meditation and Bible reading, Mina was standing and praying one day, and God’s heavenly grace shone upon him. He saw the heavens opened and a multitude of shimmering angels carrying gleaming golden crowns, placing them on the heads of the saints who had completed their suffering and witness. The saints were shining like the sun and the angels were carrying them with great honor to the heavens.
Then Saint Mina yearned to become a martyr in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord heard the longing of his heart fired with love. While he was thinking about this, a voice from Heaven came to him and said:
“Blessed are you Mina because you have been called to godliness since your childhood. Therefore, you will receive three imperishable crowns in the name of the Holy Trinity for whom you have suffered: one for your celibacy; one for your solitude in the wilderness; and one for your martyrdom. Your name will be more famous than many martyrs as I shall make people of each tribe and tongue come and worship Me in your church that will be built in your name in the region of Egypt… Moreover, you will receive inexpressible honor and glory in My eternal kingdom.”
Immediately after the saint heard the Heavenly Voice, he was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit and indescribable happiness, arose and walked towards the city. By coincidence, the governor and a great multitude of people were meeting together in the city square celebrating a feast. The saint stood in the middle of the celebration and said in a loud voice: “I was sought by those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me.” (Is. 65:1, Rom. 10:20)
The crowd was astonished by this appearance and there was silence. They could not speak because of the awesome glory surrounding the Saint, which commanded respect in spite of his holy humility and rough clothing. The governor asked about what had occurred. The saint answered him, “I am a Christian.” The governor was astounded and told him: “You are a stranger and dare to come amidst the celebration? Do you desire to interfere with the annual ceremony of the Kings’ feast, ignoring their commands?” During this time, the eyes of the crowd were upon the Saint, scrutinizing him, his noble appearance, and his rare courage despite his humble clothes. Some of the people at the celebration said to the governor, “We know this young man well. Five years ago, he was the commander of our troop and he was an honorable prince respected by everyone”.
At that moment the governor in surprise shouted at the Saint saying, “You there, why did you leave your military life? Moreover, why did you confess that you are a Christian?”
The Saint answered: “I am really a solider, but because of your worship of idols, I preferred to be a soldier for my Lord Jesus Christ the King of heaven and earth. I dwelt in the wilderness with the lions in order not to intermingle and perish with you”.
Then, the governor ordered that he be cast in prison until the next day when the celebration of the Kings’ feast would end so that the governor would have more time to torture him.
The following day, the governor commanded that Mina be brought to him and began shouting at him saying: “How dare you come in the midst of us yesterday, careless of the decree, unafraid of the Kings?”
The Saint replied: “I answered you yesterday. As I said, and I repeat again saying that your worship is defiled.” The governor said: “Now tell me why did you give up your life in the military? And where were you after you left during this long period?”
The Saint answered: “For the sake of my love for Jesus Christ, I chose to be with the wild animals in the wilderness. This is better than living with those who do not know God [and worship idols], that I not perish with you.”
The governor spoke: “I was told about your honorable ancestry and the glory of your fathers. Now, sacrifice according to the decree of the king and I shall write to him requesting that he give you a rank higher than that of your father.”
The Saint answered: “Do you command me to leave my God, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has the power to destroy the soul and body in hell, and follow your profane idols? I shall not leave my Master and God Jesus Christ, the Living Son of God. On the contrary, I ask Him day and night to make me worthy of obtaining the Crown of Life. You should know that I do not fear you and will not obey you. You are rejected with your king and gods.”
When the governor heard this, he commanded that the Saint be tortured in many ways. He tortured him, for example: whipping him with oxen leather whips, hanging him on the hinbazin [a large wheel on which the person’s body was hung that pinned the individual between the ground and the wheel and in order to squeeze and scrape him], tearing his body by dragging him across iron rods fixed in the ground, rubbing his body with coarse hair, putting flames under his body, and breaking his teeth. God, however, supported and healed Mina in everything.
When the governor saw the Saint’s persistence and insistence in not submitting to his command, he wrote a letter to the Prince and told him that Mina was a soldier who left military life because he refused to obey the King’s command to kneel before the gods. And he explained he did not have him killed in order to leave Mina’s desire for martyrdom unfulfilled.
The governor gave four soldiers the letter and custody of the Saint to deliver to the Prince. The soldiers gagged Mina’s mouth and put an iron collar around his neck, dragging him until they reached the coast. Then they tied the Saint’s hands and feet, put him in the bottom of the ship and set sail.
While the Saint was in the bottom of the ship, with his hands and feet bound, he heard a voice telling him:
“Do not be frightened my beloved Mina. I am Jesus your King and God. I shall be with you wherever you go. I shall strengthen and support you and stay by you until you fulfill your destiny of martyrdom.”
Therefore, the Saint was ecstatically happy. His face glowed with Light. The ship arrived at the shore, and when the soldiers took him out, they found his body well, his face luminous as an angel of God, and they could not look at him.
The soldiers took the Saint and the governor’s letter to the Prince, who was judging a group of Christians for their faith. When he read the letter, he looked at the Saint and said to him: “Come and kneel before the gods to avoid a horrible death”. Mina answered him: “I do not kneel except before my Lord Jesus Christ, and He supports and strengthens me to endure your tortures.” The prince sent him to prison until he could study his case.
The Saint was put in a prison which held five hundred twenty Christians who were about to shed their blood in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They rejoiced when they saw him and blessed him. The Saint encouraged them to endure pain and found comfort in being with them.
During this time, the sweet gentleness of the Lord’s Presence came to the Saint who had heard His kind voice, but now He appeared to him in prison. The Lord told Mina about what would happen to him and what He had prepared for him. Then He anointed his body, gave him a blessing of peace, the peace that the world could not take away from him, and ascended to Heaven.
The next day the Prince called for him and said: “Is your heart ready now Mina to present incense to the idols and kneel before them to stop the pain?” The Saint answered him: “I do not kneel to gods made by people’s hands and leave my real God”.
The Prince became angry and commanded that the Saint should be whipped a hundred times with flexible leather ox whips. When the Saint did not submit and deny his faith, the Prince commanded that he would be put in the squeezer [el masarah: a machine for torture] and be cut in half by a saw [monshar: a machine that severs the body]. When the soldiers put the iron saw on the Saint’s body, it melted like wax near a fire by the power of the Savior’s Holy Hands that anointed the Saint’s body. The Saint blessed His kind God.
When the Prince discovered the Saint’s firm adherence to his faith, he gave command to behead him by the sword and that his body be burned and his ashes thrown in the sea.
The soldiers took him to the place of execution. He walked with them happily praying, singing praises. Mina spoke to the crowds who were gathering and following behind him to remain firm in their belief in Christ as he reached the place of execution.
The Saint knelt and raised his eyes toward heaven and prayed a fervent prayer putting his soul into the hands of his Heavenly Father. After praying, Jesus Christ with His Glory descended from Heaven on chariot of Cherubim with thousands and thousands of praising angels. The Saint bowed down to Him and the Lord gave him peace and many promises.
After the Saint heard the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ, he extended his neck and the executioner struck him harshly. Thus he completed his martyrdom on the 15th day of Hatour in the year 309 A.D.
The intercession of Mari-Mina be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
Saint Mina (also Minas, Menas, Mena, Mennas) (285 – c. 309), the Martyr and Wonder-worker, is one of the most well-known Egyptian saints in the East and the West, due to the many miracles that are attributed to his intercession and prayers. Mina was an Egyptian soldier in the Roman army, martyred because he refused to recant his Christian faith. His feast day is celebrated every year on 15 Hathor (November 24) in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and on November 11 in the West and East. Although Mina is recognized as a minor saint in the Western churches, it is considered likely by many historians that he is celebrated in these churches under the name of Saint Christopher (i.e. the "Christ-bearer"), as one of the legends associated with Mina has him, like Christopher, carrying the Christ-Child.