St. Euphrasia of Nicomedia
Commemorated on January 19
Nicomedia was born into an illustrious family. She was a Christian, and was noted for her beauty. During the persecution of Christians by Emperor Maximian, the pagans tried to compel Euphrasia to offer sacrifice to the idols. When she refused, she was beaten, and then given to a certain barbarian to be violated.
The saint prayed tearfully to the Lord that He would preserve her virginity, and God heard her prayer. St. Euphrasia suggested to the barbarian that if he would not defile her, she would give him a special herb which would protect him from the enemy’s weapons and death. But this herb, she explained, held its power only when received from a virgin and not from a woman.
The soldier believed St. Euphrasia and went with her into the garden. The holy virgin picked the herb, then offered to demonstrate its power. She placed the herb on her neck and told the man to strike her with his sword. With a mighty blow, he cut off her head. Thus, her prayer was answered, and the wise virgin offered her soul to God in 303, safeguarding her bodily purity.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)