Preparing a monk’s body for burial, these nuns make a shocking discovery: Brother Marinos was a woman. Marina was raised a devout Christian by her widowed father, Eugenius, who entered a monastery when she reached marriageable age. She refused to wed; instead, she disguised herself as a man and entered religious life with him. Later accused of impregnating an innkeeper’s daughter, Marina was banished and obliged to raise the child alone. Ten years later she was readmitted to the monastery, where she was assigned duties of especially hard labor. Dead at age forty, her secret revealed, Marina worked miracles at her funeral and, becoming a saint, was venerated for her silent obedience to authority.
The Discovery of St. Marina’s Disguise, from Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legend, in French, Belgium, Bruges, 1445–65. MS M.675, fol. 136 (det.). Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan, 1911.