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May 13, 2015

Saint Glykeria the Great Martyr from Trajanopolis

St. Glykeria the Great Martyr (Feast Day - May 13)


To Glykeria.
The beast's bitter bite of Glykeria,
Was truly more sweet than honey.
On the thirteenth the wild beast bit and killed Glykeria.

To Laodikos the Jailkeeper.
Laodikos in the midst of the people O Word,
God calls you to be led to be struck by the sword.

Glykeria, the holy martyr of Christ, was in her prime during the years of Emperor Antoninus (138-161), and when Savinos was governor of Trajanopolis in Thrace. Hailing from Trani, a seaport in the province of Bari on the Adriatic Sea, she was the daughter of a high-ranking Roman official. Upon her father's death, she became poor and departed for Trajanopolis.

Once, as Governor Savinos sacrificed before the idols, the holy Glykeria traced the sign of the honorable Cross upon her forehead. She then went before the governor, proclaiming herself a Christian and handmaiden of Christ. The governor summoned Glykeria to sacrifice to the idols. When she entered the temple of the idols, she prayed unto Christ.

Straightway, the idol of Zeus was destroyed when it broke to pieces. Enraged, the pagan bystanders cast stones at Christ's witness. However, none of the stones struck the holy woman. Since she remained unharmed, the pagans seized Glykeria and hanged her by the hairs of her head and then lacerated her body.

Afterwards, they imprisoned the Saint in a dungeon. Intending to starve her, they did not give her any food or drink for many days. An angel of the Lord brought Glykeria nourishment, and through this no evil befell her. Indeed, when the governor and his company entered her dungeon, they were astonished to find a platter and vessels containing bread, milk and water, though the cell was locked securely and no one entered therein.

The governor then sentenced the holy woman to be burned in a fiery furnace. However, a cool dew fell from on high, extinguishing the fire. Glykeria exited the furnace unscathed. The executioners then flayed the skin of her scalp to her forehead. Afterwards, binding her hands and feet, they cast her upon a layer of rocks in prison.

In her dungeon, an angel of the Lord descended and loosed the Saint's bonds. The angel then healed the injuries to her skull. Now this restoration was witnessed by the jailor, Laodikos. Amazed at this miracle, he, too, confessed Christ. Straightway, he was beheaded and received the crown of martyrdom.*

Glykeria was then led before Savinos. The governor ordered her thrown to the wild beasts that they might devour her. Without incurring any life-threatening wounds or bruises, after she received a tiny bite from them, that blessed young woman surrendered her soul into the hands of God. Thus, after her manifold struggles, Glykeria, the namesake of sweetness, now delights in the incorruptible sweetness of Paradise.**

Now we shall recount a miracle that suffices to manifest the maiden's boldness before God. Dositheos in his Dodekavivlos records that her holy relics were interred at Heraclea in Thrace. At Heraclea, a copper pot was used to collect divinely-flowing myrrh which gushed from the Saint's tomb. By means of this streaming myrrh, many received miracles, as also attested by Saint Theophylact of Ochrid. The Metropolitan of Heraclea, while in Constantinople, found an impressive gold pot. He bought it with the intention of substituting it for the copper vessel that received that sanctified outflow from the Saint's tomb. However, when the exchange was made, the miracles also ceased.

After shedding tears and making many prayers, the Lord revealed to the Metropolitan of Heraclea that the gold pot was unclean. The vessel was then brought to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Saint John the Faster (+ 595). The Patriarch discovered that the learned chief magician, Paulinus, an idolater, when casting a spell, shed blood into that vessel as a sacrifice unto devils. When this event was recounted to Emperor Maurice (582-602), the Patriarch sought legal remedy against such demonic practices. The Emperor sentenced the magician to be bound to a pillar until he died. Furthermore, the man's sons were beheaded as accomplices in their father's wizadry. O reader, keep in mind the severe punishment received by magicians and sorcerers!


* Saint Laodikos, the jailor of St. Glykeria, is also commemorated by the Holy Church on the 13th of May.

** Saint Glykeria is the patron saint of Galatsi in Attica, where she is especially honored. A Service in her honor was written by St. Theophanes the Branded.

From The Lives of the Holy Women Martrys, Holy Apostle's Convent, Buena Vista, CO, pp. 186-189.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Let us honor the beautiful virgin of Christ, who excelled in the pain of contest. She trampled on the serpent although she was weak in the flesh. For love of Christ she despised her torments and was therefore glorified by God. Let us cry to her: Rejoice, O blessed Glykeria.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Through love for Mary the Virgin Mother of God, you preserved your virginity, O Glykeria. You surrendered your heart to Christ your God, and bravely fight till death. Therefore He has crowned you with a double crown.