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December 8, 2011

Saint Seraphima the Virgin Martyr of Antioch

St. Seraphima the Virgin (Feast Day - July 29)

The Holy Virgin Martyr Seraphima, a native of Antioch, lived at Rome during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian (117-138) with the illustrious Roman Sabina, whom the Saint converted to Christianity. During the persecution against Christians begun by order of the emperor, the governor Berillus gave orders to bring Saint Seraphima to trial. Desirous for the crown of martyrdom from the Lord, at the first summons she fearlessly went to the executioner. The devoted Sabina accompanied her. Catching sight of the illustrious lady, Berillus at first set free the maiden, but after several days he again summoned Saint Seraphima and began the trial.

The governor bid the saint honour the pagan gods and offer them sacrifice, but she boldly confessed her faith in the One True God – Jesus Christ. Then Berillus gave her over to two shameless youths to defile her. The holy martyress besought the Lord to defend her. Suddenly there began an earthquake and the two youths fell crippled to the floor. On the following day the governor learned that his plan had failed. Thinking, that the saint was an adept at sorcery, Berillus besought her to return the youths to health and the gift of speech, in order that they themselves might report about the miracle. The Saint, praying to the Lord, ordered the youths to stand up, and they at once rose up and told the judge that an Angel of the Lord had shielded the saint, and prohibited them from approaching her. The fierce governor did not believe his servants and he continued to urge Saint Seraphima to offer sacrifice to the idols. But the holy martyress remained unyielding even then, when they scorched at her with burning candles and mercilessly beat her with canes. Harsh punishment overtook the pitiless governor: chips from the sticks, which the saint was beaten with, caught him in the eyes, and after three days the tormentor went blind. Powerless before the unyielding Christian, the judge ordered her beheaded. Sabina with reverence buried the body of her holy teacher.