Daughter of Paphnutius, a rich citizen of Alexandria, Egypt, born in her parents’ old age due to the prayers of a monk who was a friend of the family. When she was grown, her family arranged a marriage for her to wealthy young noble, but she preferred religious life. While her father was on a retreat, Euphrosyne gave away her possessions, then became a nun and spiritual student of the monk who had prayed for her birth. To hide from her family, she wore men’s clothes, and became a monk, using the name Smaragdus. She became famous for her holiness and wisdom, and became a spiritual teacher of her father, who did not recognize her. On her deathbed she revealed her true identity to her father who then became a monk, and lived in her cell the remaining ten years of his life.
Modern scholarship indicates this was probably pious fiction that was mistaken for history, and that Saint Euphrosyne never existed.
- Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
- Catholic Encyclopedia
- New Catholic Dictionary
- Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints
- “Saint Euphrosyne of Alexandria“. Saints.SQPN.com. 22 January 2013. Web. 22 May 2013. <>