Science of the Saints, 13 February, St. Martinian


The Monk Martinian at age 18 settled into the wilderness, somewhat off from the city of Palestinian Caesarea, where he dwelt in ascetic deeds and silence for 25 years, and he was granted a graced gift of healing illness. But the enemy of the race of man would not stop bothering the hermit with various temptations. One time a profligate woman got into a wager with some dissolute people, as to whether she could seduce Saint Martinian, the fame of whose virtuous life had spread throughout all the city. She came to him at night-time under the guise of a wandering suppliant asking night lodging. The saint let her enter, since the weather outside was inclement. But here the wicked guest changed over into her good clothes and began to tempt the ascetic. The saint thereupon rushed out of the cell, set alight a fire and put his bare feet upon the burning coals. He said such as this to himself: “It is hard enough for thee, Martinian, to suffer this temporal fire, now then wilt thou instead suffer the eternal fire, prepared for thee by the devil?” The woman, shaken by the spectacle, became repentant and besought the saint to guide her onto the way of repentance. At his directing she set off to Bethlehem, to a monastery of Saint Paula, where she dwelt for twelve years in strict ascetic deeds until her blessed end. The name of this woman was Zoa.

Having recovered from his scorching, Saint Martinian set off to an uninhabited rocky island, and lived on it under the open sky for several years, nourished by the victuals brought by a certain sailor from time to time, and in return the monk weaved baskets for him.

One time a powerful storm wrecked a ship, and to the island of Saint Martinian the waves carried on the ship debris a maiden named Photinia. Saint Martinian helped her to survive the island. “Remain here,” he said to her, “for here is bread and water, and in two months a boat will come,” and he jumped into the sea and swam off. Two dolphins carried him to dry land. Thereafter Blessed Martinian began to lead the life of a wanderer. And so passed two years. One time, having come to Athens, the saint fell ill, and sensing the nearness of his end, he went into church and lay upon the floor, and calling out to the bishop he besought him to give his body over to burial. This occurred in about the year 422.

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