St. Agnes of Rome
Commemorated on January 21
The holy Virgin Martyr Agnes was born in Rome during the third century. Her parents were Christians, and they raised her in the Christian Faith. From her youth she devoted herself to God, and dedicated herself to a life of virginity, refusing all other suitors.
When she refused to enter into marriage with the son of a city official, one of his associates revealed to him that Agnes was a Christian. The wicked official decided to shame the holy virgin, and ordered that she be stripped and sent to a brothel for disdaining the pagan gods. But the Lord would not permit the saint to suffer. As soon as she was disrobed, long thick hair grew from her head covering her body. An angel was also appointed to guard her. Standing at the door of the brothel, the angel shone with a heavenly light which blinded anyone who came near the holy virgin.
The son of the official also sought to defile the virgin, but fell down dead before he could touch her. Through the fervent prayer of St. Agnes, he was restored to life. Before his father and many other people he proclaimed, “There is one God in the heavens and on earth: the Christian God, and the other gods are but dust and ashes!” After seeing this miracle, 160 men believed in God and were baptized, and then suffered martyrdom.
At the demand of the pagan priests, St. Agnes was given over to torture. They tried to burn her as a witch, but the saint remained unharmed in the fire, praying to God. After this, they killed her by stabbing her in the throat. Through her death at the age of thirteen, St. Agnes inherited eternal life. The holy virgin martyr was buried by her parents in a field they owned outside of Rome.
Many miracles occurred at the grave of St. Agnes. Her holy and grace-filled relics rest in the church built in her honor, along the Via Nomentana.
Troparion (Tone 4) –
Your lamb Agnes,
calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice:
“I love You, my Bridegroom,
and in seeking You, I endure suffering.
In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You,
and I died so that I might live with You.
Accept me as a pure sacrifice,
for I have offered myself in love.”
Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)