The Martyress Christina
Commemorated on July 24
The Martyress Christina lived during the III Century. She was born into a rich family, and her father was governor of Tyre. By the age of 11 the girl was exceptionally beautiful, and many wanted to be married to her. Christina’s father, however, envisioned that his daughter should become a pagan-priestess. To this end he situated her in a special dwelling, where he had set up many gold and silver idols, and he commanded his daughter to burn incense before them. Two servants attended to Christina.
In her solitude Christina began to ponder over the thought, – who had created this beautiful world? From her room she was delighted by the stars of the heavens and she constantly came back to the thought about the One Maker of all the world. She was convinced, that the voiceless and soul-less idols standing in her room could not create anything, since they themselves were created by human hands. She began to pray to the One God with tears, beseeching Him to reveal Himself. Her soul blazed with love for the Unknown God, and she intensified her prayer all the more, and combining with it fasting.
One time Christina had the visitation of an Angel, which instructed her in the true faith in Christ, the Saviour of the world. The Angel called her a bride of Christ and announced to her about her future act of suffering. The holy virgin smashed all the idols standing in her room and cast them out the window. In visiting his daughter Christina’s father, Urban, asked her where all the idols had disappeared. Christina was silent. Then, having summoned the servants, Urban learned the truth from them. In a rage the father began to slap his daughter on the face. The holy virgin at first remained quiet, but then she revealed to her father about her faith in the One True God, and that by her own hands she had destroyed the idols. Urban then gave orders to kill all the servants in attendance upon his daughter, and he gave Christina a fierce beating and threw her in prison. Having learned about what had happened, the mother of Saint Christina came in tears, imploring her to renounce Christ and to return to her ancestral beliefs. But Christina remained unyielding. On another day Urban brought his daughter to trial and urged her to offer worship to the gods, to ask forgiveness for her misdeeds, but he saw instead her firm and steadfast confession of faith in Christ.
The torturers tied her to an iron wheel, beneathe which they set a fire. The body of the martyress, turning round on the wheel, was scorched from all sides. They then threw her in prison.
An Angel of God appeared at night, healing her from her wounds and strengthening her with food. Her father, in the morning seeing her unharmed, gave orders to drown her in the sea. But an Angel sustained the saint while the stone sank down, and Christina miraculously came out from the water and re-appeared before her father. In terror, the torturer imputed this to the doings of sorcery and he decided to execute her in the morning. But by night he himself suddenly died. Another governor, Dion, was sent in his place. He summoned the holy martyress and likewise tried to persuade her to renounce Christ, but seeing her unyielding firmness, he again subjected her to cruel tortures. The holy martyress was for a long while in prison. People began to throng to her, and she converted them to the true faith in Christ. Thus about 300 were converted.
In place of Dion, a new governor Julian arrived and anew set about the torture of the saint. After various tortures, Julian gave orders to throw her into a red-hot furnace and lock her in it. After five days they opened the furnace and found the martyress alive and unharmed. Seeing this miracle take place, many believed in Christ the Saviour, and the torturers executed Saint Christina with a sword.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.