Melania the Younger

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Saint Melania the Younger
Melania the Younger, nun of Rome (Menologion of Basil II).jpg
Miniature from the Menologion of Basil II
Born c. 383
Died 31 December 439(439-12-31)
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Eastern Catholic Churches
Feast December 31

Saint Melania the Younger (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 Honorius, son of Theodosius I. She is the paternal granddaughter of Melania the Elder.

The Feast of Melania the Younger is held on December 31 (the Julian calendar's December 31 falls on January 13 on the Gregorian calendar). In Ukraine, Malanka ("Melania's Day") is celebrated on January 13.


Melania was born to Valerius Publicola - the son of Valerius Maximus Basilius and Melania the Elder) and his wife Albina.[1] She married her 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 and used some it to free 8,000 slaves.[2] 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. Melania had "vast domains in Sicily" and also held land in Britain.[3][4]


An account of Melania's pursuit of the ascetic life survives in a hagiography composed by Gerontius c. 452.[5]


  1. ^ Valerius Maximus Basilius was a descendant of Octavia the Younger and C. Claudius Marcellus Minor, through their granddaughter Valeria Messala (daughter of Claudia Marcella Minor).
  2. ^ Septimia was the great-granddaughter of Pomponius Bassus, the great-great-grandson of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, which made her the Emperor's descendant.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Elizabeth A. Clark, The Life of Melania the Younger. New York, 1984.
  • 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.

External links[edit]