St. Daria and those with her at Rome
Commemorated on March 19
Sts. Chrysánthus and Daria and St. Claudius the Tribune with his wife, Hilaria, and their sons Jason and Maurus, and Diodorus the Presbyter and Marianus the Deacon, were martyred in Rome under Emperor Numerian in the third century.
St. Chrysánthus came from a pagan family who had moved to Rome from Alexandria. He received an excellent education, and he read books in which pagans discussed Christianity. The young man, however, wanted to read books written by Christians themselves. He finally managed to find a copy of the New Testament, which enlightened his soul.
Seeking someone to instruct him in the Holy Scriptures, he found the presbyter Carpophoros hiding from persecution, and received holy Baptism from him. After this, he began to preach the Gospel. Chrysánthus’ father tried to turn his son away from Christianity, and married him to Daria, a priestess of Minerva.
Chrysánthus managed to convert Daria to Christ, and the young couple agreed to lead celibate lives. After the death of Chrysánthus’ father, they began to live in separate houses. St. Chrysánthus converted several young men to Christ, and many pious women gathered around St. Daria.
The people of Rome complained to Governor Celerinus that Sts. Chrysánthus and Daria were preaching celibacy and attracting too many young men and women to monasticism. Chrysánthus was arrested and sent to Claudius for torture.
The torments, however, did not shake the bravery of the young martyr, since the power of God clearly aided him. Struck by this, Claudius came to believe in Christ and accepted holy Baptism together with his wife, Hilaria, their sons, Jason and Maurus, and all his household and soldiers. When news of this reached Emperor Numerian, he commanded that they all be executed. Claudius was drowned in the sea, and his sons and soldiers were beheaded. Christians buried the bodies of the holy martyrs in a nearby cave, and St. Hilaria constantly went there to pray. The pagans began to follow her on her journeys to the gravesites, and led her off to torture. The saint asked that they give her a few moments to pray, and as soon as she finished, she gave up her soul to God. A servant buried St. Hilaria in the cave beside her sons.
The torturers sent St. Daria to a brothel, where she was protected by a lion sent by God. A certain man who tried to defile her was knocked to the ground and pinned down by the lion, but the creature did not kill him. St. Daria preached to the man about Christ and set him on the path of salvation.
St. Chrysánthus was thrown into a foul-smelling pit, into which all the filth of the city flowed. However, a heavenly light shone on him, and the pit was filled with a sweet fragrance.
Emperor Numerian ordered Sts. Chrysánthus and Daria to be turned over to the executioners. After many cruel tortures, the martyrs were buried alive.
In a cave near their place of execution, Christians began to gather to honor the anniversary of the saints’ martyrdom. They celebrated Church services and partook of the Holy Mysteries. Learning of this, the pagan authorities sealed the entrance to the cave, and those that remained within received the crown of martyrdom. Two of these martyrs were the Presbyter Diodorus and the Deacon Marianus.
Troparion (Tone 1) –
Let us honor the like-minded pair of martyrs
Chrysánthus, scion of purity, and supremely modest Daria.
United in holiness of faith,
they shone forth as communicants of God the Word.
They fought lawfully for Him and now save those who sing:
“Glory to Him who has strengthened you!
Glory to Him who has crowned you!
Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!”
Kontakion (Tone 1) –
In the sweet fragrance of holiness, O Chrysánthus,
you drew Daria to saving knowledge.
Together in contest you routed the serpent,
the author of all evil,
and were worthily taken up to the heavenly realms.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)