Τετάρτη, 27 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017

Saint Euphrosyne of Alexandria (the monk Smaragdos)


Orthodox Church in America (icons from here)


Commemorated on September 25

Saint Euphrosyne of Alexandria was born at the beginning of the fifth century in the city of Alexandria [during the reign of Saint Theodosius the Younger (408-450)]. She was the only child in her family of illustrious and rich parents. Since her mother died early, she was raised by her father, Paphnutius, a deeply believing and pious Christian. He frequented a monastery, the igumen of which was his spiritual guide.
When Euphrosyne turned eighteen, her father wanted her to marry. He went to the monastery to his spiritual guide to receive his blessing for the planned wedding of his daughter. The igumen conversed with the daughter and gave her his blessing, but Saint Euphrosyne yearned for the monastic life.

She secretly accepted tonsure from a wandering monk, left her father’s house and decided to enter a monastery in order to lead her life in solitude and prayer. She feared, however, that in a women’s monastery her father would find her. Calling herself the eunuch Smaragdos, she went to the very same men’s monastery which she had visited with her father since childhood.

The monks did not recognize Euphrosyne dressed in men’s garb, and so they accepted her into the monastery. Here in a solitary cell, Saint Euphrosyne spent 38 years in works, fasting and prayer, and attained a high level of spiritual accomplishment.

Her father grieved over the loss of his beloved daughter and more than once, on the advice of the igumen, he conversed with the monk Smaragdos, revealing his grief and receiving spiritual comfort. Before her death, the nun Euphrosyne revealed her secret to her grieving father and asked that no one but he should prepare her body for burial. Having buried his daughter, Paphnutius distributed all his wealth to both the poor and to the monastery, and then he accepted monasticism. For ten years right up to his own death, he labored in the cell of his daughter.

Troparion & Kontakion
 

Troparion — Tone 1

As an ascetic you hid your womanhood / And your falling-asleep was an amazement, O Euphrosyne. / Though a woman, you toiled as a man, / And by your prayers you save those who honor you! 


Kontakion — Tone 2

Desiring the life on high and forsaking all earthly pleasures, / You lived as a man among men, O Euphrosyne. / For the sake of Christ your Bridegroom, / You spurned earthly betrothal!

Apolytikion (from Greek Orthodox Daily Posts for Inspiration)
Plagal Fourth Mode


The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Mother. For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By Your actions you taught us to look beyond the flesh for it passes, rather to be concerned about the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy Euphrosyne, your soul rejoices with the angels. 


See also

The holy anarchists... in the Egyptian Desert
African Saints (tag)

Hymn to the African Saints
 

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