Saint Anastasia

SAINT ANASTASIA

(feast day, 26 Tubah), sixth-century founder of a monastery. The story of Saint Anastasia is transmitted by the Lower Egyptian of the Copto-Arabic SYNAXARION (Basset, 1916, p. 703; Forget, 1954, p. 234 [text]; 1953, p. 414 [trans.]) and by the tale of DANIEL HEGUMENOS of SCETIS (Wadi al-Natrun), in which it occupies the second place (Guidi, 1900, pp. 535-64; 1901, pp. 51-53).

Anastasia was the wife of a consul and a patrician. She was pursued by the emperor JUSTINIAN and thus aroused the jealousy of the empress THEODORA. To avoid the worst, she went off to Alexandria, and at a place called the PEMPTON she founded the monastery called by her name (also known as the Monastery of the Patrician). After Theodora died in 548, Justinian tried to get Anastasia to return to Constantinople, but she left her monastery and went in search of Apa Daniel, who was then HEGUMENOS of Scetis.

Daniel installed her in a cell 18 miles (27 km) from Scetis. He secretly paid her a visit once a week and supplied her with water through one of his disciples. In 576, twenty-eight years after her arrival in Scetis, Daniel’s disciple found an with the words “Bring the spades and come here.” When Daniel received this message, he knew that Anastasia’s death was near. He went with his disciple to give her communion and receive her last words. Daniel revealed her story to his disciple after burying her.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Cauwenberg, P. van. Etude sur les moines d’Egypte. Paris and Louvain, 1914.
  • Delehaye, H. Synaxarium Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae. , 1902.
  • Evelyn-White, H. G. The of the , Pt. 2, The of the of Nitria and Scetis. New York, 1932.
  • Guidi, I., ed. “Vie et récits de l’abbé Daniel de Scété.” Revue de l’Orient chrétien 5 (1900):535-64; 6 (1901):51-53.