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The Nun Euphrosynia

Com­mem­o­rat­ed on Sep­tem­ber 25

The Nun Euphrosy­nia was born at the begin­ning of the V Cen­tu­ry in the city of Alexan­dria. She was the only child in her fam­i­ly of illus­tri­ous and rich par­ents. Her moth­er died ear­ly. She was raised by her father, Paph­nu­tios, a deeply believ­ing and pious Chris­t­ian. He fre­quent­ed a monastery, the hegu­men of which was his spir­i­tu­al guide. When Euphrosy­nia turned age 18, her father want­ed her to mar­ry. He set off to the monastery to his spir­i­tu­al guide to receive bless­ing for the planned wed­ding of his daugh­ter. The hegu­men con­versed with the daugh­ter and gave her his bless­ing, but Saint Euphrosy­nia yearned for the monas­tic life. Secret­ly hav­ing accept­ed ton­sure from a wan­der­ing monk, she 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 Izmarag­dos, she went to that very self­same men’s monastery, which since child­hood she had vis­it­ed with her father. The monks did not recog­nise Euphrosy­nia dressed in men’s garb, and so they accept­ed her into the monastery. Here in a soli­tary cell, in works, fast­ing and prayer, Saint Euphrosy­nia spent 38 years and attained to high spir­i­tu­al accom­plish­ment. Her father griev­ed over the loss of his beloved daugh­ter and more than once, on the advice of the hegu­men, he con­versed with the monk Izmarag­dos, reveal­ing his grief and receiv­ing spir­i­tu­al com­fort. Before her death, the Nun Euphrosy­nia revealed her secret to her griev­ing father and asked, that no one except him should pre­pare her body for bur­ial. Hav­ing buried his daugh­ter, Paph­nu­tios 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 asceti­cised in the cell of his daugh­ter.

© 1996–2001 by trans­la­tor Fr. S. Janos.