Saint Euphrosyne

Commemorated September 25

Saint Euphrosyne sacrificed the comforts of wealth, family life and worldly identity for a life of anonymous, humble dedication to Christ. Born in Egypt in the 5th century, Euphrosyne lost her mother early. She was left in the care of her extraordinarily rich father, Paphnutius, who was attentive to his only child. When she came of age, Paphnutius arranged for Euphrosyne to be married to a suitable man. On her wedding day Euphrosyne cut her hair, put on male attire, and left home for a monastery. She presented herself as a eunuch called Smaragdus.

For thirty-eight years, ‘Smaragdus’ worked tirelessly, serving an elder in complete obedience. Her previous life of luxury and ease dissolved into one of shining asceticism. After thirty-eight years, she became ill. God revealed to her the time of her death and Euphrosyne called her father to her bedside to reveal the truth to him. Saint Euphrosyne had never abandoned her father in prayer. She instructed him to donate all his possessions to the monastery and attend to her burial. As soon as she divulged what she had kept in her heart for so long, her soul was taken to God in great peace. Paphnutius fell to the ground in shock.

Once he recovered, he realised it was wrong to bemoan his daughter who so evidently had won ever-lasting life. His tears were transformed into joy. He gave up everything that held him to the world and he too became a monk, thus following Euphrosyne’s footsteps. The hope of meeting her again drew him to a renewed devotion to God. Paphnutius occupied Euphrosyne’s former cell where, after living righteously for ten years, he in his turn fell asleep in peace. We also commemorate St Paphnutius on the 25th of September.


Source: Lychnos August / September 2016