Saint Melania was born to extremely wealthy, yet very devout Christian parents in Rome. At fourteen years of age, Melania was betrothed to an illustrious eighteen-year-old, Apinianus. Although this was against her will, she consented to the will of her parents. Melania asked her husband if they could live in chastity, however her husband wished to have two children in order to inherit their property and then he would consent to renouncing the world. Melania gave birth to a daughter whom they dedicated to God, and also a son, who was born premature and died shortly after childbirth. Seeing how his wife was suffering in the world, Apinianus vowed to spend the rest of their lives in chastity. Their elder daughter died suddenly and Melania removed her illustrious clothing and jewels, desiring to devote herself to God completely. She received the blessing of her parents and Melania with her husband sought out the monastic life. Giving away their immense wealth, which included lands from Britain to Syria, they built countless churches, hospitals, and orphanages in the surrounding lands. Melania eventually travelled to Jerusalem where she built two monasteries on the Mount of Olives, one for men and the other for women, where she dwelt and lived in extreme asceticism, locking herself up in her cell from Theophany to Easter in order to pray. Here, she became a close acquaintance of Saint Jerome who even came to her for spiritual counsel. She toiled for the rest of her life in strict asceticism, converting many pagans and heretics to Orthodoxy. She reposed in peace in the year 439 AD.
Ήχος δ’. Ταχύ προκατάλαβε.
Οσίως ανύσασα, των αρετών την οδόν, τω Λόγω νενύμφευσαι, ω Ανυσία σεμνή, και χαίρουσα ήθλησας, αίγλη δε απαθείας, λαμπρυνθείσα Μελάνη, ήστραψας εν τω κόσμω, αρετών λαμπηδόνας, και νυν ημίν ιλεούσθε, Χριστόν τον Κύριον.
Ήχος δ’. Ο υψωθείς εν τω Σταυρώ.
Καταυγασθείσα την ψυχήν φρυκτωρίαις, του αναλάμψαντος ημίν εκ Παρθένου, εν αρεταίς διέλαμψας Πανεύφημε, πλούτον γάρ σκορπίσασα, επί γην εφθαρμένον, εναπεθησαύρισας, τον ουράνιον πλούτον, και εν ασκήσει έλαμψας φαιδρώς, Όθεν Μελάνη, σε πόθω.
Troparion — Tone 4
You tread to the end of the path of virtue and were betrothed to God the Word. You rejoiced in the contest, O Anysia; And you, O Melania, shone with the light of dispassion, Together, radiant with virtue in the world. And now we ask you to implore Christ the Lord that he may be gracious to us!
Kontakion — Tone 3
As a two-fold lamp you illumine the Church of Christ / with truly mystical radiance. / You brought forth a hundred-fold fruit through your contest, O Anysia; / and you shone forth in asceticism, O Melania. / You were both found worthy of the incorruptible life of the righteous.