February 3, 2019 - Toba 26, 1735
Departure of St. Anastasia
On this day also, St. Anastasia departed. She was from a noble family in the city of Constantinople. She was very beautiful and had a great moral character. Emperor Justin, who was married, wanted to marry her. She refused and went and told his wife. The Empress sent her to Alexandria on a private ship. She built her a convent outside the city of Alexandria and named it after her. When the Emperor knew where she was, he sent for her, but Anastasia escaped and hid herself in the wilderness of Sheheat (Scetis), disguised as a prince. She met with Anba Daniel, the archpriest of the wilderness, and revealed her story to him. He brought her to a cave, and asked one of the elders to fill a water pot for her once every week, and to place the pot at the door of the cave and leave. She remained in this place for 28 years, without anyone knowing that she was a woman. She used to write her thoughts on pieces of pottery, and leave them at the door of her cave. The elder who brought her the water used to take the pieces of pottery without knowing what was written on them and give them to St. Daniel. One day he brought a piece of pottery to St. Daniel who wept when he read it, and said to his disciple, Come with me now to bury the body of the saint in that cave. When they entered her cave, they received blessings from each other. St. Anastasia said to Anba Daniel, For the sake of God, bury me with what I have on my body. Then she prayed and bade them farewell and departed in peace. They wept and buried her. When the disciple was caring for her burial, he found out that she was a woman, and he marvelled in silence. After they buried her, and they returned to their place, the disciple knelt before St. Daniel and said, For the sake of God, tell me her story, for I have seen that she was a woman. The elder told him her story, that she was from one of the noble families of Constantinople, and how she surrendered herself to Christ, forsaking the vain glory of this world. May Her prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.