She lived in the fourth century AD and is remembered as the greatest church philanthropist. One of the richest women in the world at her time, she gave up all of her wealth to live an ascetic life. She also presented an outstanding example of withstanding great personal tragedies and blows of fate and finding new meaning to life in the service of God.
She was born into the family of a distinguished Roman senator. As she grew up, she strengthened in her desire to dedicate herself to God, yet her parents had arranged a marriage for her to pass on their wealth to their descendants. They married her off to a man named Apiniaus, eventually venerated by the Church. She asked her husband to let her live in chastity or release her from the marriage. Finally, they both reached a compromise – that they first have two children who would become heirs to their property.
Their firstborn was a girl. Their second child, a boy was born very weak and died soon after baptism. Soon, their daughter died as well. Melania’s health deteriorated, as well. Fearing for her life, her husband promised to the Lord that they would both dedicate their lives to Him if He lets Melania live.
Melania recovered, and the couple turned a new page in their lives. Melania was twenty at the time, and Apinuaus was twenty-four. Together, they cared for the infirm and wanderers and helped the poor, and donated money to churches, monasteries, widows and orphans all across the Christian world. On their way from their native Rome to Africa, they were shipwrecked on an island where barbarians had besieged a Roman city demanding ransom. They saved the city from destruction by paying the ransom.
When her husband died, Melania settled in the Holy Land where she established a convent. She desired to build a men’s monastery on the mount of the ascension of the Lord and managed to do so in less than a year when she found a philanthropist. From the Holy Land, she travelled to Constantinople for a time, where she took part in fighting off the Nestorian heresy, keeping multiple faithful in the true faith. She departed to the Lord in Jerusalem at age 56.
The unprecedented historic phenomenon of holiness became the main result of the bloody twentieth century in Russia. It is difficult to find anything comparable to the feat of these people in the whole history of the world.
The Holy Prince Peter and Holy Princess Fevronia They take a special place in the communion of Orthodox saints by exemplifying a model of the relationship of love in a Christian marriage
Saint Luke was one of the most modest disciples of Christ. He was not one of the chosen twelve who were constantly beside the Son of God catching His every word and witnessing His blessed deeds.
As the sages of the East used to say, one would be cursed to live in a time of abrupt change. Saint Sergius of Radonezh lived in one of Russia's most troubled periods and left us some valuable insights that have survived his day.
The courage of the Holy Royal Martyrs, their mercy, steadfast faith and readiness to entrust their fate to the Lord softened the hearts of many and showed the way of the Lord to the generations to come.
Every soul is a mystery. Today we can only guess what really happened… According to the locals, the priest Simeon Kaminsky knew that he was going to be killed. But he preferred to stay and accepted martyrdom for his faith.
Should we make compromises even in situations when this may appear as a concession to evil? In which Christian commandments should we take our guidance? We find answers in the life of Saint John the merciful.