Thursday, September 3, 2015

Saint Vasilissa the Martyr of Nicomedia

St. Vasilissa of Nicomedia (Feast Day - September 3)


On the same day Saint Vasilissa, having been delivered to the beasts and remained unharmed, was perfected in peace.


Having beheld Vasilissa with the fearsome beasts,
She now stands before the fearsome throne of the King of all.

When Alexander was governor of Nicomedia, there was a persecution against the Christians. At that time Saint Vasilissa was accused of being a Christian, and stood before Alexander. She was therefore questioned by him concerning this and then boldly responded that she was a pious Christian, for which she was struck in the face. Having been struck she thanked God, for which she was stripped naked and beat with rods. Because the Saint thanked the Lord even more, the governor grew angry, so he ordered that the Martyr be laid out on the ground and beaten. She was beaten so much that her entire body was swollen. Enduring such torment, the Saint cried out: "My God, I thank You!" For this the governor ordered that the ankles of the Martyr be pierced, and to run an iron hook through them. From the hook a chain was tied, and from the chain the Saint was hung upside down. Beneath the blessed one, there was boiling pitch, lead and sulfur so that she was breathing in dirty smoke, and the purpose of this was that the Lord's athlete would die slowly through suffering from smoke inhalation. But the Saint endured the torment with joy, as if she was delighting and resting in Paradise, therefore she thanked God even more.

The governor saw that she viewed these punishments playfully, so he ordered a furnace be lit and to have her thrown inside. The Martyr of Christ sealed herself with the sign of the Cross, and entered the furnace, in which she stayed for a long time without suffering harm, and this miracle amazed everyone. After this the governor ordered the Saint be taken out of the furnace, and that two large lions be unleashed against her. The Saint prayed, and thus remained unharmed. When the governor Alexander saw all these things, his soul was pricked, and he fell at the feet of the Saint, saying: "Have mercy on me servant of the heavenly King, and forgive me for your torments that I brought upon you. Make me also a soldier of your King, because, as you said, He accept sinners." Then the Saint thanked Almighty God, and catechized the governor. She then brought him to Bishop Anthony of Nicomedia, who baptized him into the Church.

After being baptized, the governor again fell down before the Saint, begging her saying: "Servant of the true God, pray for me, that I may be forgiven of my evils that I did against you, and that my life will end with a good confession of faith." Thus the Saint prayed for him, and so the governor immediately gave up his soul, glorifying and blessing God. Saint Vasilissa buried the relic of the governor and with the Bishop they entombed him. She then went out of the city of Nicomedia, where she found a rock, and standing on it she prayed. And O the wonder! Immediately water gushed out of the rock. After the Saint drank from the water, and thanking God, she walked a little further and said: "Lord, receive my spirit in peace." She thus went to the Lord with joy and thanksgiving. When Bishop Anthony heard this, he buried and entombed her all-august relic near that rock from which gushed forth water through the prayer of the Saint, which continues to pour out until today.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Strengthened by the power of faith, thou didst contend for Christ our God, O glorious Vasilissa; thou didst endure every affliction and by thy courage didst shame the pagan gods. We beseech thee to deliver us from the power of the evil one.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Thou wast adorned with the grace of virginity and the beauty of martyrdom, O Vasilissa, Bride of Christ. Thou didst bear thy lamp and run to thy Bridegroom and wast crowned with incorruption. Pray for those who faithfully praise thee.

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