Orthodox America


  Saint Melania the Younger


Commemorated December 31

by Melanie Naumenko

       Saint Melania was born in Rome to a wealthy family. She was forced by her parents to marry a young nobleman named Pinian. Melania had two children. She got sick when she was giving birth to her second child. She told her husband she would only get better if they both vowed to God that they would live like a brother and sister. Pinian agreed and soon Melania got better. The children became ill, and died. After their children died, Melania and Pinian traveled to many places and were always doing good works. During their travels, Melania kept strict fast, prayed fervently, and read the Holy Scripture. After their travels, Melania and Pinian settled on the Mount of Olives. In time they both became monastics. Saint Melania founded a monastery in Jerusalem and lived there as a hermit for fourteen years. Throughout her life she donated a great deal of money to monasteries. Melania went to God at age fifty -seven. 

    My family and I went to Jerusalem this summer with Archbishop Laurus. During our pilgrimage we had time to visit Saint Melania's Monastery. The door to the monastery is very small. It is about five feet tall. When we were let into the monastery we were first led into Saint Melania's stone cell. It was a narrow cave, At one end of it were her relics and along the walls were her chains that she wore under her cassock. Then we were taken to the church. It was small but every inch of the walls was covered with icons.

I never saw so many icons of Saint Melania in one place. There were many icons of the Mother of God, too. If you go to Jerusalem, try to find this little monastery. 

Melanie, ten years old, is the daughter of Fr Gregory and Matushka Maria Naumenko She lives in Rochester, NY, where she is homeschooled together with her sister Photina


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