St. Eulalia, Martyr, of Spain
St. Eulalia lived in Spain, near the city of Barcionum (now Barcelona). She was raised by her parents in piety and the Christian Faith. Already at fourteen years of age, she spent a solitary life in her parental home with others of her own age, occupied in prayer, the reading of Holy Scripture, and handicrafts.
During the time of the persecutions against Christians under Emperors Diocletian and Maximian, Governor Dacian arrived in the city of Barcionum to rid it of Christians. Hearing of this, St. Eulalia secretly left her home at night, and by morning had made her way into the city. Pushing her way through the throng of people, the girl made a bold denunciation of the judge for forcing people to renounce the True God in order to offer sacrifice to devils instead.
Emperor Dacian gave orders to strip the girl and beat her with rods, but she steadfastly endured the torment and told the judge that the Lord would deliver her from the pain. She was tied to a tree and her skin was torn with iron claws, and they then burned her wounds with torches.
During her tortures, Dacian asked the saint, "Where then is your God, Whom you have called upon?" She answered that the Lord was beside her, but that Dacian in his impurity could not see Him. During the saint's prayer: "Behold, God helps me, and the Lord is the defender of my soul" (Ps. 53/54:4), the flames of the torches turned back upon the torturers, who fell to the ground.
St. Eulalia began to pray that the Lord would take her to Heaven to Himself, and with this prayer she died. People saw a white dove come from her mouth and fly up to Heaven. A sudden snowstorm then covered the martyr's naked body like a white garment.
Three days later, St. Eulalia’s parents came and wept before her hanging body, but they were also glad that their daughter would be numbered among the saints. When they took St Eulalia from the tree, one of the Christians, named Felix, said with tears of joy: "Lady Eulalia, you are the first of us to win the martyr's crown!"
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)