Melania the Younger
|Saint Melania the Younger|
Miniature from the Menologion of Basil II
|Died||31 December 439
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Eastern Catholic Churches|
Saint Melania the Younger (also Melanie; born in Rome c. 383, died in Jerusalem on December 31, 439) is a Christian saint and Desert Mother who lived during the reign of Emperor Flavius Augustus Honorius, son of Theodosius I. She is the paternal granddaughter of Melania the Elder.
Born to Valerius Publicola or Poplicola (son of Valerius Maximus Basilius and wife Melania the Elder) and Albina, she was married to a paternal cousin, Valerius Pinianus, at the age of thirteen. After the early deaths of two children, she and her husband converted to Christianity, maintaining a celibate life thereafter. Upon inheriting her parents' wealth, she gave it all away to the poor. Melania and Pinianus left Rome in 408, living a monastic life near Messina (Sicily) for two years. In 410, they traveled to Africa, where they befriended Augustine of Hippo and devoted themselves to a life of piety and charitable works. Together they founded a convent of which Melania became Mother Superior, and cloister of which Pinianus took charge. In 417, they traveled to Palestine by way of Alexandria, living in a hermitage near the Mount of Olives, where Melania founded a second convent. After the death of Pinianus c. 420, Melania built a cloister for men, and a church, where she spent the remainder of her life.
Rosemary Ruether, "Mothers of the Church: Ascetic Women in the Late Patristic Age," in Women of Spirit: Female Leadership in the Jewish and Christian Traditions, Rosemary Ruether and Eleanor McLaughlin, eds., New York, Simon and Schuster, 1979.
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