St. Menas was born to a pious Christian ascetic family in Niceous, Egypt near Memphis in a.d. 285. His mother, Euphemia, had prayed before an icon of the Virgin Mary, asking for a blessed son, and she heard the reply of “Amen.” Menas, or Mina, is a variant of Amen or Amin. His father, Eudoxius, was a ruler of a district of Egypt with a good reputation, but he died when St. Menas was only 14 years old. At age 15, St. Menas entered the Roman army, was made an officer because of his father’s reputation, and was sent to Algeria. After three years of serving, he left his position in the army when an order came to persecute Christians.
St. Menas retired to a deserted mountain and became a hermit, praying to God, fasting, and controlling his thoughts and body by God’s grace. After five years he received in a vision that three crowns awaited him, one for asceticism, one for celibacy, and one for martyrdom. He left immediately, after putting on his military attire, to go before the people of Cotyaeum during their pagan festival, stopping the festivities and proclaiming his faith in Christ. He was flayed, burned, and finally beheaded in a.d. 309.