The Nun Euphrosyne was born at the beginning of the fifth century in the city of Alexandria.
She was the only child in her family of illustrious and rich parents. Her mother died early. She was raised by her father, Paphnutius, a deeply believing and pious Christian. He frequented a monastery, the hegumen of which was his spiritual guide.
When Euphrosyne turned age eighteen, her father wanted her to marry. He set off to the monastery to his spiritual guide to receive blessing for the planned wedding of his daughter. The hegumen conversed with the daughter and gave her his blessing, but Saint Euphrosyne yearned for the monastic life. Secretly having accepted tonsure from a wandering monk, she left her father’s house and decided to enter a monastery in order to lead her life in solitude and prayer.
She feared, however, that in a women’s monastery her father would find her. Calling herself the eunuch Izmaragdus, she went to that very selfsame men’s monastery, which since childhood she had visited with her father. The monks did not recognise Euphrosyne dressed in men’s garb, and so they accepted her into the monastery. Here in a solitary cell, in works, fasting and prayer, Saint Euphrosyne spent thirty-eight years and attained to high spiritual accomplishment.
Her father grieved over the loss of his beloved daughter and more than once, on the advice of the hegumen, he conversed with the monk Izmaragdus, revealing his grief and receiving spiritual comfort.
Before her death, the Nun Euphrosyne revealed her secret to her grieving father and asked that no one except him should prepare her body for burial. Having buried his daughter, Paphnutius distributed all his wealth to both the poor and to the monastery, and then he accepted monasticism. For ten years right up to his own death, he asceticised in the cell of his daughter.