Anastasia the Patrician
|Saint Anastasia the Patrician|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church, Coptic Church, Eastern Catholic Churches, Eastern Orthodox Church|
Saint Anastasia the Patrician (Anastasia Patricia; fl. 567) was a Byzantine courtier and Saint. She was the wife of a consul and a lady-in-waiting to the Byzantine empress Theodora. Justinian I, Theodora's husband, pursued her, arousing Theodora's jealousy. Anastasia tried to avoid any trouble and left for Egypt. She arrived at a place called Pempton, near Alexandria, where she founded a monastery which would later be named after her.
Following the death of Theodora in 548, Justianian attempted to get Anastasia to return to Constantinople, to no avail. Instead, Anastasia left for Scetis, looking for help from Abba Daniel, hegumen of the monastery at that time. In order to safeguard Anastasia, he put her in a monastery cell 18 miles from Scetis where she was allowed to dress as a monk and take up the life of a hermit; at a time when this was only permitted of men. He visited her every week and ensured that one of his disciples supplied her with water. Anastasia dwelt in seclusion for twenty-eight years.
In 567, aware of her approaching death, she wrote several words for Abba Daniel on a piece of broken pottery and placed it at the entrance to the cave. The disciple found an ostracon with the words "Bring the spades and come here." When Daniel heard this, he knew Anastasia was near death. He went to visit her with his disciple and to give her communion and hear her last words. Daniel revealed the full details of her story to his disciple after her death.
Her story comes to us in one recension of the Copto-Arabic Synaxarion and by a tale of Daniel of Scetis. Her feast day is 10 March in the Eastern Orthodox, Latin and Eastern Catholic Churches, and on 26 Tobi in the calendar of the Coptic Church. She has been adopted by today's LGBT community as an example of a "transgender" saint.
- "St. Anastasia the Patrician of Alexandria", Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
- Conner, Randy P.; Sparks, David Hatfield; Sparks, Mariya; Anzaldúa, Gloria (1997), Cassell's Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol, and Spirit: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Lore, Cassell, p. 57, ISBN 0-304-33760-9
- Atiya, Aziz S. The Coptic Encyclopedia. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-02-897025-X
- Coquin, Rene Georges. "Anastasia, Saint", The Coptic Encyclopedia, Vol. I, MacMillan (1991)