[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Menas the Wonderworker


III/IV Centuries
When the shrine to St. Menas, a complex of baths near Alexandria, was excavated in the early XX Century, workers found ampullas, small bottles, that depict the saint with camels. From this, scholars infer that Menas was a camel driver before he enlisted in the army. Legends say that Menas was an Egyptian Christian who deserted from the Roman army during the persecutions of Diocletian. Menas, who is supposed to have hidden in a cave, repented of his desertion and returned to KotyŠum in Phrygia, where he had been stationed, where he professed his faith publically, possibly at the annual games. He was beheaded c. 295/303, and his body was returned to Egypt. His tomb and basilica at Mareotis became a national shrine and a popular pilgrimage destination. Arabs destroyed the shrine, called "the glory of the Libyan desert," in the VII Century.

Karen Rae Keck



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