The relics of Saint Marina, one of the first Christian saints who lived in Lebanon, returned home to the famous Qadisha Valley where they are set to be displayed until July 23.
The relics were brought from Venice where they have been kept and venerated by the Catholic Church for around 200 years.
Marina was born in a wealthy family in north Lebanon in the 6th century. Her mother died when she was still very young. Her father, Eugenius, was a pious and devout Christian man.
As Marina reached marriage age, Eugenius decided to marry her off and live in the monastery of Qannoubin in the Qadisha Valley to dedicate his life to God. When Marina learned of her father's plan, she asked him why he intended to save his own soul and destroy hers.
"What shall I do with you? You are a woman", her father answered.
Then, Marina decided that she would renounce women's clothing and live as a monk "in the grab of a man".
Eugenius, seeing his child’s strong determination, gave all his possessions to the poor and headed along with Marina to the Qannoubin monastery, where they hid the daughter's identity from the monks with her living under the name "Marinos".
Ten years later, Marina’s father died.
One day, Marinos was sent to a neighboring town on a mission for the monastery. As the journey was long, he was forced to spend the night at the house of a friend of the monks named Paphnotius.
Paphnotius had a young girl who had fallen into adultery and got pregnant. Upon finding out, her father was enraged and demanded the name of the perpetrator. His daughter told him that Marinos the Monk had raped her the night he spent in their house. Her father went straight to the Monastery to report what happened.
When scolded by his superior, Marinos said nothing to defend himself and, therefore, was expelled from the monastery.
When the girl who accused Marinos of rape delivered, her father brought the child, a boy, to the Monastery and demanded that the alleged father raises his son.
Marinos, who lived in a place near the monastery after his expulsion, took the boy and began raising him as monks brought him their food leftovers.
When Marinos died, the monastery's Superior ordered that his body be prepared for burial. It was then that the monks found that Marinos was actually a woman.