The Nun Anthusa

Commemorated on April 12

      The Nun Anthusa was daughter of the Iconoclast emperor Constantine Copronymos (741-775) from his first wife from among the Khazars. She and her brother, the future emperor Leo the Khazar (775-780), were twins born on 25 January 750. The empress suffered very much with their birth. Constantine Copronymos summoned from prison the Hegumeness Anthusa (Comm. 27 July) and besought her prayers. The Nun Anthusa foretold the birth of twins and their fate. The daughter, born with the prediction of the Nun Anthusa, was named in her honour. When she grew up, the emperor began to urge her to marry. But Saint Anthusa from the time of her youth yearned for monasticism and would not agree to his suggestions. After the death of her father, she used all her personal property for the aid of the poor and the orphaned. The pious empress Irene (780‑802), spouse of Leo the Khazar, regarded Saint Anthusa with love and esteem and invited her to be a co-regent. But Saint Anthusa did not wish for worldly honours. Being at court, she put on clothes corresponding to her position as an imperial daughter, but beneathe it she wore an hair-shirt.
      Saint Anthusa took monastic vows from the holy Patriarch Tarasios (784-806). She founded at Constantinople the Omonea monastery, known for its strict rule (ustav). The Nun Anthusa was herself an example of humility she herself did hard work, she cleaned the church and carried water; during mealtime she never sat at table but instead served the sisters. She kept strict watch, that no one left the monastery without especial need. The humble and gentle ascetic lived to age 52, and died peacefully in the year 801.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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