The Venerable Martinian,
Sts. Zoia and Svetlana
February 26 (February 13, Old Calendar)
Near the end of the fourth century, a holy monk, St. Martinian, lived in Greece. At the age of 18, he retreated to a mountain in Cappadocia (now western Turkey), where he spent 25 years in fasting, vigils and prayer. In his youthful body there swelled the passions of the flesh, and his soul was perplexed by demonic temptation, but St. Martinian vanquished them by strict fasting, prayer and toil. A very beautiful, dissolute woman named Zoia came with the purpose of visiting him and tempting him to leave the monastic life and marry her. The saint was sorely tempted; to fight this temptation, he walked barefoot into a fire and stood until this temptation was destroyed in him.
Zoia was so impressed by the love and devotion of this hermit for God that she repented bitterly, and asked St. Martinian to pray for her. She went to the monastery of St. Paula in Bethlehem. She lived there in heroic asceticism as a hermit and anchorite. Repenting of all her sins, she received the gift of wonderworking from the Lord. Until the end of her life, St. Zoia abstained from wine, sustained herself on bread and water every other day, and slept on the ground.
St. Martinian withdrew to an uninhabited rocky island and lived there for several years under an open sky, receiving food from a boatman for whom the Venerable one braided baskets.
At the place of St. Martinian's venture, a young maiden, Svetlana (Photynia), was thrown by the waves onto the island after a shipwreck Accepting the maiden on his island, St. Martinian, anticipating temptation, threw himself into the sea. With God's help he arrived at the southern part of Greece. After this, St. Martinian roamed for two years, and died peacefully in Athens in the year 422. St. Svetlana remained on the island, passed some six years in solitude and good deeds, and emulated St. Martinian's God-pleasing life. She also died peacefully.
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