April 16, 2015

Holy Martyr Irene of Hellas

St. Irene of Greece (Feast Day - April 16)


You lived peacefully, Martyr Irene,
Yet you did not die peacefully, but by the sword.

The holy Martyr Irene of Hellas* lived during the reign of Decius (249-251). She was a contemporary of SS. Charissa, Nike, Galina, Kallisa (Kallida), Nounechia, Vasilissa, and Theodora who were martyred with the holy Leonidas at Corinth.

It was the Paschal season when Irene was glorifying God with others in their own oratory. The godless magistrate was informed of their congregation. Hence, Irene was arrested and cast into prison. Later, when Irene was removed from her cell, her tongue was cut out and her teeth were uprooted. Finally, the blessed woman, having quaffed a cup of bitter and bloody trials, was beheaded. She then ascended into the heavens bearing her crown of martyrdom.

* The name Hellas and Hellenes, by which the Greeks call their country and themselves, originally designated a small district in Ftiotis. In New Testament times, Hellas or Greece was considered the southern portion of Greece, as distinguished from Macedonia [Acts 20:2]. In popular usage, it could also designate the Roman province officially known as Achaia.

From The Lives of the Holy Women Martyrs, Holy Apostles Convent, Bueno Vista, CO, 1991, pp. 136-37.