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The Paradise Of The Holy Fathers Volumes 1 and 2 by Saint Athanasius Of Alexandria

IN this city of Ancyra there were also many other virgins who led lives of ascetic excellence, and they were two thousand, or more, in number; and they kept themselves in restraint and served God with great humility. And among them were also famous women who triumphed with glorious strenuousness in the contending of the fear of God, and of those was Magnâ, the chaste and proved wife; now I know not whether I ought to describe her as a virgin or as a widow, for this woman, owing to the pressure which was put upon her by her mother, was yoked unto a husband. But she used to make pretences to her husband in divers ways, and she avoided his embraces by urging the bodily sickness which she had on her as an excuse, and thus she was, according to what the members of her household said, preserved spotless from him. Now, after a short time the man died, and he left everything which he had unto her alone, and she exchanged the things of time for those which were everlasting, and she offered herself wholly to God and devoted herself unto the things which belonged unto the life which is to come; and thus she lived a life in the great chastity of the fear of God, and even the Bishops were put to shame by the sight of her. Now the rest of the building (i.e., the edifice of her spiritual excellences,) she made perfect in the furnace of the love of voluntary poverty, and whatsoever there remained untoher she gave, as it is written, gladly unto the churches, and monasteries and houses for receiving poor strangers, and unto the orphans and widows; and she abode continually in the church and served God, and awaited the hope which was to come.








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