During Pride Month, the life of Saint Marinos provides much to reflect on. St. Marinos was a transgender man and a 6th-century monk. He was added to the Episcopal Liturgical Calendar in 2022, but he was originally venerated in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Coptic Churches. His feast day in the Episcopal Calendar is June 17.
If one has not heard of Saint Marinos, it is likely because he is often called St. Marina the Monk. Marinos is the name he chose for himself when he transitioned, so I use that name when I refer to him. He was born as Miriam. Feminizing Marinos to Marina took place after he passed away.
St. Marinos the Monk.
The father of Marinos wanted to quickly find him a husband and retire to a monastery. When Marinos realized his father’s plans he decided to renounce womanhood and live with his father at the monastery as a man. Eugenius, the father of Marinos, realized the resolve of his child and accepted him as a man and together they went to the monastery.
Father and son shared a cell and engaged in all monastery activities together. After ten years, Eugenius passed away, leaving Marinos alone.
Marinos continued to live as a monk. One day, he had to travel from the monastery and stay at an inn. The owner of the inn was a friend to the monastery and showed Marinos great kindness.
Shortly after Marinos left, the innkeeper’s daughter realized she was pregnant. She claimed that Marinos had assaulted her and impregnated her. Enraged, her father went to the Abbott. The Abbott brought forth Marinos for questioning. Marinos did not deny assaulting the innkeeper’s daughter. Some versions of the story state that Marinos remained silent, as he did not speak, to conceal his secret. Others say that Marinos confessed to being a sinner but did not state what the sin was.
This story reflects the uncomfortable tensions that queer people still struggle with today. Marinos cannot out himself and reveal he is transgender because he may suffer worse punishment. LGBTQIA+ people still suffer in silence under the burdens of false assumptions today. LGBTQIA+ people still have trouble being able to communicate their truths and have their words accepted.
The Abbott kicked Marinos out of the monastery. Marinos had no choice but to live outside the gates begging for food. Once the baby was born, the innkeeper took the infant to Marinos and gave him the baby to raise. While homeless, Marinos raised the baby with the food he received while begging. He lived in the grotto with the baby as it was the only shelter available. He lived a strict ascetic lifestyle in order to have the resources to care for the baby. The monastery eventually took pity on the child and him and after 4 years and allowed them within the walls.
He continued his asceticism and eventually died at the age of 40.
When they began to prepare his body for the funeral, they realized Marinos was physically incapable of impregnating anyone. They felt terrible about the ways they had mistreated Marinos. They realized how patient, gentle, and kind Marinos had been while unable to speak his truth.
During the funeral rites, a monk who was blind in one eye touched the body of Marinos. His full vision was restored. This monk is a symbol of the monastery. They only saw half of Marinos. They could not see all of Marinos and realize the inspiring person he was until he passed away. We should not let any of our LGBTQIA+ companions pass away before we can understand their challenges and assist them in their struggles. Pride month is a time not only to celebrate our authentic selves but also to come into full vision and understanding of the spiritual gifts and wisdom of LGBTQIA+ people.
Greta Moore is the creator of the TikTok page @Saints.andMystics.