The Legend of St Mena

A wonderful retelling of the Old Nubian legend of St. Mena, published by F. L. Griffith in 1903 in Nubian texts of the Christian period, is given at Suburban Banshee here.  Read and enjoy!  It makes plain why hagiographical texts have an appeal!

8 Responses to “The Legend of St Mena”


  1. Maureen

    People forget that the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales had several stories about Jesus and St. Peter roaming around Germany, or Fairytale Land, or wherever these things happen.

    I, however, had my mind thoroughly warped at a young age. :)

  2. Roger Pearse

    I never knew that myself.

  3. adamcmccollum

    I’ve been putting together some material on St Menas. This list is probably not comprehensive, but it’s a start:
    Bacot, Seÿna. 2011. “Quatre Miracles De Saint Ménas Dans Un Manuscrit Copte De l’Ifao (Inv. 315-322.” Le Bulletin De l’Institut Français D’archéologie Orientale 111: 35–73.
    Browne, Gerald M. 1983. “Griffith’s Miracle of St. Menas.” Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 20: 23–37.
    ———. 1989. Literary Texts in Old Nubian. Vol. 5. Beiträge Zur Sudanforschung—Beihefte. Vienna.
    ———. 1994. The Old Nubian Miracle of Saint Menas. Vol. 7. Beiträge Zu Sudanforschung—Beihefte. Vienna.
    Budge, E.A.W. 1909. Texts Relating to Saint Mêna of Egypt and Canons of Nicaea in a Nubian Dialect. London.
    Devos, P. 1960a. “Le Juif Et Le Chrétien, Un Miracle De Saint Ménas.” Analecta Bollandiana 78: 275–301.
    ———. 1960b. “Les Miracles De St. Ménas En Éthiopien.” In Atti Del Convegno Internazionale Di Studi Etiopici, 335–343. Rome.
    Devos, Paul. 1959. “Un Récit Des Miracles De S. Ménas En Copte Et En Éthiopien.” Analecta Bollandiana 77, 78: 451–463, 154–160.
    Drescher, James. 1946. Apa Mena: A Selection of Coptic Texts Relating to St. Menas, Edited, with Translation and Commentary. Publications De La Société D’archéologie Copte. Textes Et Documents. Cairo.
    Griffith, F.L. 1913. “Miracle of St. Menas.” In The Nubian Texts of the Christian Period, 6–15. Berlin: Verlag der königl. Akademie der Wissenschaften.
    Jaritz, F. 1993. Die Arabischen Quellen Zum Heiligen Menas. Heidelberg.

  4. Roger Pearse

    Very useful – thank you!

  5. Maureen

    St. Menas seems like a very interesting figure in his own self, and also in his ups and down of fame among various Christian groups. I just wish I’d known more about him the last time I went to the Egyptian Festival over at our local Coptic church, because he’s one of their patrons.

  6. Dioscorus Boles

    St Menas is a much loved Egyptian saint but his fame was eclipsed to some extent in the Middle Ages after the destruction of te Saint Menas town and monastery in the Western desert by the Arabs. In our modern age, St. Menas’ fame was brought back into Coptic life when Cyril VI (1959 – 1971) became Coptic patriarch – St. Menas was his patron saint from the times he was a solitary monk before his election.

  7. Roger Pearse

    That’s interesting. I had no idea that his popularity had come back again today.

  8. Dioscorus Boles

    Oh, he is hugely popular in Coptic Egypt today, as huge as St. George. The Coptic Church rebuilt a cathederal on the site of the old cathedral which used to attract visitors from allover Byzantium, including royal visitors from Constantinople.