Sunday , December 15 2019
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Saint Marina, Zakynthos celebrates

Today is the celebration of St. Marina. Known to the English as Margaret the Virgin-Martyr.
In her memory, the village of Fagia, at the foot of the Zakynthian hills a ‘panagiri’ will take place to honour her name in true Zakynthian style at 21.00p.m tonight, just as the sun goes down.

click on link for map  

Another church in honour of her name that has just recently been brought back to life, is a small little church along the road towards the KTEL bus station, in the area known as Kaminion. The parish which is connected to the well known Zakynthian church of Saint Lazaros will be starting its celebrations this evening at 20.00p.m tonight.

click on link for map

According to the version of the story in Golden Legend, she was a native of Antioch, and she was the daughter of a pagan priest named Aedesius. Her mother having died soon after her birth, Margaret was nursed by a pious woman five or six leagues from Antioch. Having embraced Christianity and consecrated her virginity to God, she was disowned by her father, adopted by her nurse and lived in the country keeping sheep with her foster mother (in what is now Turkey). Olybrius, Governor of the Roman Diocese of the East, asked to marry her but with the price of her renunciation of Christianity. Upon her refusal she was cruelly tortured, during which various miraculous incidents occurred. One of these involved being swallowed by Satan in the shape of a dragon, from which she escaped alive when the cross she carried irritated the dragon’s innards. The Golden Legend, in an atypical passage of skepticism, describes this last incident as “apocryphal and not to be taken seriously”. She was put to death in A.D. 304.

Saint Margaret, as Saint Marina, with associations to the sea, ‘may in turn point to an older goddess tradition’, reflecting the pagan divinity of Aphrodite.
In Zakynthos, it is a tradition not to go swimming in the sea on her name day, as they regard that all illnesses that St. Marina will take from those in need are thrown into the sea. You will often hear the Zakynthians today say ‘ Then pame gia banio, ina Agia Marina!’ we aren’t going swimming today, it’s St. Marina!

About Louise Inzk

Louise is Australian born and has been a Greek citizen since 1991. She has deep cultural ties with the island, often writing about Zakynthian Traditions and Culture. She is also an active member of the Volunteer Group of Zakynthos, Giostra Di Zante and is a member of the women's choir "Rodambelos". Her love of the island and all it offers saw her joining the Zakynthos (Zante) Informer admin team in 2014.

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