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September 17, 2016

Saints Lucy the Widow and Geminianus her Spiritual Son

Sts. Lucy and Geminianus (Feast Day - September 17)


For Lucy
In peace, O Christ, your servant Lucy passed,
Entering into a place of peace.

For Geminianus
Full of courage the Martyr Geminianus,
Staunchly endured beheading by the sword.

Saint Lucy was a wealthy Roman lady who was a widow of thirty-six years when the persecution of Diocletian (284-304) and Maximian (286-305) broke out in 303. Therefore she was seventy-five years old when her son Eutropus, who was darkened by idolatry, denounced her as a Christian and had her brought before Diocletian.

Lucy boldly confessed her faith in Christ before the emperor, and reproved him for worshiping idols in vain. For this she was placed inside a cauldron of burning pitch, in which despite her feeble age she endured for three days. When Diocletian heard that she was still alive, he ordered her to be dragged around the city, with weights loaded on her body, while she was insulted by the populace.

When Lucy was paraded by the house of Geminianus, the statues of Roman gods in his home shattered miraculously and a dove made the sign of the Cross over the head of Geminianus. He followed Lucy, asking for instruction in the Christian faith as well as baptism. For this he too was brought before the emperor and imprisoned with Lucy, whom she instructed and took as her spiritual son. A priest named Protasius helped him with his request for baptism, and seventy-five people were converted to Christianity by the example of Geminianus.

After three months in prison an Angel of the Lord conveyed Lucy and Geminianus to Taormina in Sicily and from there to Mendilas, where they converted many pagans to Christianity. And when persecution came to the faithful of that region, Lucy took refuge in the mountains, where she delivered her soul in peace to the Lord, while Geminianus accomplished his martyrdom by being beheaded.*


* The commemoration of Saints Lucy and Geminianus was included in the Tridentine Calendar and remained in the General Roman Catholic Calendar until 1969 under September 16, but was then omitted as a duplication of the December 13 feast of Saint Lucy, while the Geminianus mentioned in the story of Saint Lucy was seen to be a merely fictitious personage. The Orthodox Church distinguishes the two Saint Lucy's since they have nothing in common except their names and place of origin, and still commemorates Saint Geminianus since there is no good reason to doubt his existence, even if some elements of the tale is exaggerated a bit for the sake of teaching a deeper message.