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Saint Menas, the miracle maker

There are many sources written in different languages (Greek, Coptic, Old Nubian, Ethiopic, Latin, Syriac, Armenian) relating to Saint Menas. However, much of their information seems contradictory. It is therefore difficult to gain a clear picture about Menas. The following seems assured:

Menas was a Roman soldier stationed in Phrygia. He abandoned his unit and converted to Christianity. On the 15 Athyr 296 AD he died as martyr and was buried at Mareotis, not far from Alexandria. On this day the Coptic church commemorates Saint Menas. His burial place became one of the most celebrated places of pilgrimage in Egypt, and was adorned with important buildings.

The early development of his cult remains little known. A first healing was a crippled youth, who slept at the grave of Menas and became cured. Ampullae, which were often found in Egypt, were used by pilgrims to carry water or oil home from the tomb of Saint Menas. He is always shown between two camels, the animals that, according to the legend, returned his body to Egypt for burial.

UC 19516


Abu Menas


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