January 8, 2016

Saint Domnica of Carthage

St. Domnica (Feast Day - January 8)


Fleeing the earth heavenly-minded Domnica,
You were raised up to the heavens towards your beloved.
Domnica received her lot on the dark night of the eighth.

Our Holy Mother Domnica flourished during the reign of Emperor Theodosius I the Great (379-395), and came from Carthage in Africa. Having embraced the Christian faith in her youth, she fled her homeland and embarked on a ship for Alexandria. There she came to dwell with four other pagan maidens. Domnica lived virtuously among them and took every opportunity to instruct them in the Gospel. Full of admiration for such a model of Christian perfection, the four maidens decided to abandon their pagan beliefs and embrace faith in Christ. The five maidens then decided to go to Constantinople in order to enter a monastery there.

After arriving in Constantinople by ship, Patriarch Nektarios (Oct. 11), who had been notified of their coming by an angel, was waiting to welcome them with his clergy. He then had all five maidens baptized, giving the following names to the companions of Domnica: Dorothea, Evanthia, Nonna and Timothea. The Patriarch then settled them in a monastery.

As a nun Domnica lived a strict ascetic life, and over time was given the grace to work miracles. This caused her fame to spread throughout Constantinople, and Emperor Theodosius the Great with the Empress and Imperial Court even came to see her. This caused her fame to spread even more, bringing many visitors to the monastery. Because there was no longer any peace and silence in the monastery conducive for a life of prayer, God informed Domnica to go to a remote, demon-haunted location - once a place of execution - which everyone avoided. She requested of Patriarch Nektarios to have a monastery established there, but the Patriarch did not immediately allow this until it was confirmed for him that she was indeed divinely inspired to do so. Therefore he took this request to the Emperor, who immediately took it upon himself to fund the construction of the monastery, together with a chapel dedicated to the Prophet Zechariah.

Upon the completion of the construction of the monastery, Patriarch Nektarios decided to consecrate it on 26 January 388. However, Domnica was adamant that the ceremony take place two days earlier. The Patriarch complied, and did the dedication on 24 January, at which time he also ordained her a deaconess and appointed her abbess. The Saint's foreknowledge was manifested two days later, when the Arians caused a great uproar in the City and shed much blood. She also later foretold the death of the Emperor in 395 and the misfortunes that followed.

In her old age Domnica fell ill and entrusted her spiritual flock to Dorothea. After praying fervently to the Lord that her monastery be preserved and that God would protect the City, she departed in peace. She continued to work miracles after her repose from her tomb. Once, when the monastery was endangered by fire, Saint Domnica and the Prophet Zechariah were seen driving the flames away from the church.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Love for Christ illumined thy nous, and thou didst shine in asceticism like a radiant lamp, O Domnica. Hence the Master revealed thee as a lightbearing guide of monastics in life and word. Intercede with Him, O Godbearer, that all may be saved.

Kontakion in the First Tone
Thou didst gather a choir of virgins by thy holy works and wise teachings. Thou didst lead them to the bridal chamber wherein is the tree of life. By thy prayers grant life to my deadened soul, God-inspired Mother Domnica.