Melania the Younger, Nun of Rome

I am fascinated by names, words, etc.  They all come from something.  The First Lady of the US, shares her name with this pious woman from the 4th century.  The other very interesting thing is the misunderstanding from most westerners that the Middle East and North Africa has always been populated as it is today.  However, it is clear that this area was rife with Christians and the Christian faith.  Many of our earliest Church zealots came from this region.  In this case, from present day Tunis.

Reading from the Synaxarion:

Saint Melania the Younger, who was born in 388, was the grand-daughter of Saint Melania the Elder (see June 8). Her father Publicola was an Eparch of Rome. She was joined in wedlock to a husband and became the mother of two children, both of which she lost shortly thereafter. Thus, having agreed with her husband to pass the rest of their lives in abstinence and chastity, and taking her mother Albina with her, she went off to Africa. They ransomed 8,000 captives; furthermore, they built two monasteries – one for men and one for women – in the city of Tagaste, which was in the district of Tunis. After seven years they moved to Jerusalem. Thereafter Melania shut herself up in a small and narrow hermitage by the Mount of Olives, and wearing away her body with fasting and vigil, she reposed in 434.


Christmas Past

Sometimes, we are so overjoyed with the pageantry of the celebration of the Nativity, we might forget the intense struggle of Christians to “bring” us the true faith.  Christmas should be a time of joy and celebration, but let us not forget the struggles of past believers:

20,000 Martyrs burned in Nicomedia

Reading from the Synaxarion:

All these Saints, some 20,000 in number, were burned alive in the year 303, while they were gathered in church. This came to pass during the reign of Diocletian and Maximian. According to the Synaxarion, this took place on the day of Christ’s Nativity. Eusebius (Eccl. Hist. VIII, 6) says that, of the Christians then living in Nicomedia, all were slain by imperial decree – some by the sword, and others by fire, and that, because of their divine and inexpressible ardour, both men and women cast themselves into the fire.

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!


This time of year is so beautiful and meaningful for us.  Our lives are so intertwined with the, almost 10% of the year, involved with the “holidays”.  So, it is so important to remember the entire reason for this festive, and yes, hectic time.

The celebration of the special relationship that we have with God.  We, who were created by a Creator, were joined by that very Creator, in a manner that is indescribable.  He became one us,  his own creations!

Wow!  Amazing.  Beautiful. Special beyond words and measure.

I find this translated into Arabic especially poignant.  I hope that you do as well.