St. Justina of Nicomedia
Commemorated on October 2
The holy Virgin Martyr Justina suffered for Christ in Nicomedia with the Hieromartyr Cyprian and the Martyr Theoctistus in 304.
Justina lived in Antioch in the late third century. After turning her own father and mother away from pagan error and leading them to the true faith in Christ, she dedicated herself to the Heavenly Bridegroom and spent her time in fasting and prayer.
When the youth Aglaides proposed marriage, Justina refused, for she wished to remain a virgin. Cyprian was a pagan sorcerer, and Agalides sought his help by asking for a magic spell to charm Justina into marriage. But no matter what Cyprian tried, he could accomplish nothing since the saint overcame all the wiles of the devil through prayer and fasting. Cyrian sent demons to attack the holy virgin, trying to arouse fleshly passions in her, but she dispelled them by the power of the Sign of the Cross and by fervent prayer to the Lord. Even though one of the demonic princes and Cyprian himself assumed various guises through the power of sorcery, they were not able to sway St. Justina, who was guarded by her firm faith in Christ. All the spells dissipated, and the demons fled at the mere mention of her name.
In a rage, Cyprian sent down pestilence and plague upon Justina’s family and the city where they lived, but was again thwarted by her prayers. Once he realized the powerlessness of the demons, Cyprian rejected his way of life and became a Christian. He was baptized and was later consecrated a bishop. He converted so many pagans to Christ that in his diocese there was no one left to offer sacrifice to idols, and the pagan temples fell into disuse. St. Justina withdrew to a monastery and was chosen Abbess.
Later, during the persecution of Christians under the Emperor Diocletian, Bishop Cyprian and Abbess Justina were arrested and brought to Nicomedia, where after fierce tortures they were beheaded with the sword. St. Cyprian, fearful that the holy virgin’s courage might falter if she saw him put to death, asked for time to pray. St. Justina joyfully inclined her neck and was beheaded first. The soldier Theoctistus, seeing the guiltless sufferings of St. Justina, fell at Cyprian’s feet and, declaring himself a Christian, was beheaded with them.
Troparion (Tone 4) –
You abandoned ungodly darkness, becoming a light of truth;
You were illustrious as a pastor;
You were glorified in contest:
O righteous Father Cyprian together with godly Justina,
Intercede for us before God the Creator of all!
Kontakion (Tone 1) –
You turned from the art of sorcery to the knowledge of God,
and were shown forth as a skilful healer for the world, Cyprian, inspired by God.
Together with Justina you grant cures to those who honor you;
with her, pray to the Master who loves mankind that He may save our souls.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)