April 13, 2011

Saint Thomais the Martyr of Alexandria

St. Thomais of Alexandria (Feast Day - April 14)

The Holy martyr Thomais was born into a Christian family in the city of Alexandria. She was raised in piety, and loved to read spiritual books.

When she was fifteen, the girl married a fisherman, who was also a Christian. The young couple lived in the house of her husband's family, where St Thomais was loved for her mild and gentle disposition, and for other good traits.

St Thomais' father-in-law, at the prompting of the devil, was captivated by her beauty. One night, when his son went out fishing, he attempted to lead his daughter-in-law into sin. Horrified, St Thomais admonished the senseless old man, reminding him of the Last Judgment and the penalty for sin. Infuriated by her steadfastness, he seized a sword and threatened to cut off her head. St Thomais answered resolutely, "Even if you cut me to pieces, I shall not stray from the commandments of the Lord." Overcome with passion, the old man cut St Thomais in two with the sword. The saint received the crown of martyrdom in the year 476.

Divine punishment overtook the murderer. He became blind and could not find the door in order to escape. In the morning, the companions of the saint's husband came to the door. They saw the body of the saint, and the blind old man covered with blood. The murderer confessed his evil deed and asked to be taken to the judge for punishment. He was beheaded for his crime.

At this time, St Daniel of Skete (June 7) happened to be in Alexandria. He told the monks of the Oktodekadian monastery (at the eighteenth mile on the road leading west from Alexandria) to bring the body of the martyr to the monastery and bury her in the cemetery with the departed fathers. Some of the monks were scandalized because he wanted to bury a woman's body with the monks. St Daniel replied, "She is a mother to me and to you, because she died for her chastity."

After the funeral St Daniel returned to his own skete. Soon one of the young monks began to complain to him that he was tormented by fleshly passions. St Daniel ordered him to go and pray at the grave of the holy martyr Thomais. The monk did the bidding of the Elder. While he prayed at the grave, he fell into a light sleep. St Thomais appeared to him and said, "Father, accept my blessing and go in peace."

When he awakened, the monk felt joy and peace in his soul. After this, he told St Daniel that he was no longer bothered by the temptations of the flesh. Abba Daniel exclaimed, "Great is the boldness of those who have struggled for chastity."

Many found both spiritual joy and release from their passions at the grave of St Thomais. Her holy relics were transferred to Constantinople to one of the women's monasteries. The Russian pilgrim Archdeacon Zosimas venerated them in 1420.

St Thomais is invoked by those seeking deliverance from sexual impurity. Other saints whose intercession we seek for this purpose are: St John the Much-Suffering (July 18) and St Moses the Hungarian (July 26).


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Whoever suffers because of his evil deeds
Does not have a share with the angels:
Whoever suffers for the will of God,
And for the sake of Christ, misfortunes endures,
Either from the faithful or from the unfaithful,
That one, will gaze upon the face of God.
Thomais, handmaiden of God,
According to her heart, was, a true, devoutly-praying person.
But, for the sake of God's law, she suffered
From her father-in-law, arrogant.
Leave, O father-in-law, my poor body alone!
Of the Most High God are you not afraid?
The human body, even though it is plain mud
Because of the soul, by God, to us, it is given.
If, with sin, the body we defile,
Of our soul, we are breaking the wings,
From the Living God, we are separating it,
And to the unclean one, we give it as a booty.
From passion blind, the father-in-law axed her to pieces;
May God forgive! The righteous one uttered.
But to the murderer, blindness befell -
The two-fold blindman, around Hades crawls.