On July 17, the Greek Orthodox Church commemorates the Feast Day of Agia Marina.
Marina was born in Pisidian Antioch of pagan parents. At the age of twelve, Marina learned about the Lord Jesus Christ: how He became incarnate of the All-pure Virgin and how He worked many miracles, suffered death on the Cross and gloriously resurrected. Her young heart became inflamed with love for the Lord and she vowed that she would never marry, and in her soul, she further desired to suffer for Christ and be baptised in the blood of martyrdom.
Her father hated her for her faith and did not consider her as his daughter. The imperial deputy, Olymbrius, learning from Marina that she was a Christian, at first desired that she would become his wife. When Marina refused, he ordered her to bow down before the idols. St. Marina replied: “I will neither bow down nor offer sacrifice to the breathless and dead idols, who do not recognise themselves and do not know that we honour or dishonour them. I will not give them the honour that belongs only to my Creator.”
Then Olymbrius subjected Marina to harsh torture, and threw her into prison, completely covered with wounds and blood. In prison, Marina prayed to God. After her prayer, the devil appeared to her in the guise of a horrible serpent that entwined itself around her head. When she made the sign of the Cross, the serpent burst apart and vanished. Then she was engulfed with a heavenly light, and it seemed to her that the walls and roof of the prison vanished, and a radiant, towering cross appeared. A white dove perched atop the cross, issuing forth a voice which said: “Rejoice Marina, the rational dove of Christ, daughter of Zion in the highest, for your day of rejoicing, draws near.”
Then, Marina was healed of all her wounds and pains by the power of God. The demented judge tortured her the following day, both in fire and in water, but Marina endured all, as though she were in another body. Finally, he condemned her to be beheaded. Before her death, the Lord Jesus appeared to her, accompanied by angels. She was beheaded during the reign of Diocletian; but in soul and power, she has remained alive in the heavens and on earth. A hand of St. Marina reposes in the Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos.
There is also a monastery dedicated to St. Marina with a portion of her miracle-working relics, located atop Mount Langa in Albania, overlooking Lake Ohrid. Countless miracles have occurred and still occur in this monastery, witnessed not only by Christians but by many Muslims as well. So much respect did the Turks have for this holy place, that they never dared disturb either the monastery or its property. At one time a Turk was the guardian of the monastery.
It should be noted that Agia Marina is especially invoked for deliverance from demonic possession.
Today is also the name day of Marina and Marinos.