St. Crescentia at Lucania


Commemorated on May 16 (also on June 15)

St. Crescentia suffered for Christ in 303 during the reign of Emperor Diocletian, along with the holy martyrs Vitus and Modestus. She was the governess of St. Vitus, and tried to save the boy when his father wanted to kill him because he would not abandon his faith in Christ.

St. Crescentia and the boy’s tutor, St. Modestus, who were also Christian, secretly took the boy from his parental home. They found a boat at the river, with an angel entering the boat with them. They reached the Italian district of Lucanium, where the saints lived quietly, hiding from those who sought to persecute them. The holy youth continued to heal the sick and convert pagans to Christianity, with his fame soon spreading throughout the region.

Sts. Vitus and Modestus were arrested and thrown into prison, with Diocletian ordering that they both be tortured. St. Crescentia came out of the crowd and confessed that she was also a Christian. She reproached the emperor for his cruelty, and he sentenced her to be tortured along with the others.

St. Vitus called out to God, “O God, save us by Thy power and deliver us.” An earthquake then struck the city, and many pagans died beneath the collapsed buildings. Diocletian fled in fear. An angel released the martyrs and took them to Lucanium.

St. Vitus prayed that God would accept their souls in peace and not deprive those who kept their memory of His benefaction. A Voice came from Heaven saying, “Thy prayer is heard.” The saints then joyfully surrendered their souls to God.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)