July 13, 2010

Saint Golinduc the Persian Who Was Renamed Mary

Saint Golinduc (Golindoux) the Persian (Feast July 13)

Saint Golinduc (Golindoux) lived in Persia during the reign of Chosroes II, King of Persia (590-628), and of Maurice, Emperor of New Rome (582-602). She was a Persian pagan woman, who had a good soul and intention. Endowed with a lucid mind, Golinduc perceived the falseness of the pagan wisdom, and she pondered much about what the true Faith might be. She always sought to do good and she praised God in her life. Her husband, however, was a magician and superstitious.

Once Golinduc came into a trance and saw heaven, a bright place with many happy people dressed in shining clothes. She felt happy and with longing tried to get into that pleasant place. She was prevented by an Angel telling her: "The witnesses of Christ stay here". And immediately his vision was lost, leaving Golinduc feeling sad. When she brought herself under control, she went and found the Christians in the city. "I want to be a witness of Christ," she told them. They received her, gave her catechism and baptized her giving her the name Maria. And her joy was great!

But when her husband learned all about these things, he complained to the king, and King Chosroes II ordered that she be banished into a fortress, which was called "Oblivion". Maria stayed for eighteen years in this fortress living with suffering and deprivation, but having in her heart joy and peace due to her faith in God. Every now and then, people of the king tried to persuade her to deny Christ.

During the reign of Chosroes' successor, his son Ormisdas, there arrived in Persia an ambassador of the Byzantine emperor Mauricius, named Aristobulus. Having learned that for many years Mary the Christian was languishing in prison, Aristobulus repeatedly visited her in prison with the permission of the emperor and taught her to sing the Psalms of David. After the departure of Aristobulus, Ormisdas gave orders to present St Mary-Golinduc before him and for a long time he tortured her, subjecting her to all sorts of beatings and torments. But in all the torments through the intercession of God the Saint was preserved unharmed. When they gave her over for defilement, the Lord made her invisible to the impious and preserved her purity.

In the end she was thrown into a pit, where there was a large and poisonous snake and other reptiles and animals. She was left there for four months but none of the animals ever bothered her. Indeed the terrifying, for others, snake, became so accustomed by Maria's presence that it liked to sleep by her side.

The pagans saw all these things and felt puzzled because, despite the hardships, Maria was in a good state, but they could not believe that it was God who gave her the strength and safeguarded her. They thought that she was a witch. For this reason, after putting her through many hardships, the king ordered that she be beheaded.

She was marked at the neck and was led to the executioner. On the way an Angel of the Lord made her invisible for a moment and took her out of the city. When Saint Maria understood what happened she felt sad because she wanted to became a martyr for Christ. Then the Angel said to her: "Do not feel sad, after going through so much, you are a martyr."

Then, after she glorified God, Maria wanted to go for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There, she spent her time praying in the churches, teaching and supporting the faithful, and giving catechism to the pagans. For this reason she was loved by many people who had her as their mother. In Jerusalem she denounced the Severian heresy, which taught that the divine nature in Christ suffered, which is why they read the Trisagion in the following form: "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, Who was crucified for us, have mercy on us." Indeed, the Patriarch asked her to go to Constantinople to pray for the Christian kings. She replied that she did not have enough time left to do that. True enough, in a short time after saying that, while she was in the Church of Saint Sergius in the city of Antioch Migdonia (Nisibis, today known as Nusaybin in Turkey), she knelt, prayed for the world and delivered her soul to the hands of God.

The Greek Orthodox Church remembers her every year on July 13, while in the Slavic Orthodox Churches on July 12. Codex 266 in Patmos says that her martyrdom was recorded by Eustratios, presbyter of the Great Church, who also wrote the life of Saint Eutychios.


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Golinduc of Persian origin,
The heavens saw and a Christian became,
Began to tread the narrow path
Blows to receive from all sides,
As an iron flint strikes,
From the strike, a glowing fire creates,
Thus, pain a human heart strikes.
Until the flame ignites what in the heart is concealed
And the dark paths of men illuminates,
The soul saves from passions sinful.
Golinduc, full of the Spirit of God,
Roof nor bread, did not have
In the world, any friends did not have;
The world, a camp of sufferers to her was
All she had, all for Christ she gave
Because of suffering, as gold she became,
As gold, by fire tempered
Her entire being thus became.
One by one, the torturers died out
Of their wealth, nothing did they take
Except misdeeds and the name of the Evil One.
Golinduc, before God came
As a beautiful fruitful olive tree,
Pure soul, a kin to the angels.