January 21, 2019

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Agnes of Rome

St. Agnes of Rome (Feast Day - January 21)


Like a young calf in the fire, as David says,
Agnes pleased you O Word.

The Holy Martyr Agnes was from the great city of Rome, and was from an illustrious family. Because she lived a pure and clean life, in accordance with her name, she taught the women who would come to her the words of truth. She also taught them about prudence and purity, and advised them to recognize Christ as the true God, and to worship only Him. When the ruler of Rome heard about this, he ordered for the immediate arrest of the Saint. She therefore stood before him, and he ordered for her to sacrifice to the idols, and if she did not do so, he said, he would put her in a brothel. The Saint responded: "I will neither sacrifice to your gods, nor will I consider the brothel you threaten me with. I place my hope in God, that I will be released from these clean with His help."

When the lawless ruler heard these things, he called for the keeper of the harlot women, and delivered over the Saint to him, ordering him to first parade the Martyr throughout the city wearing only one garment. Having done this, he brought her to the factory of Satan, namely the brothel, and everyone freely approached near her to dishonor her. As everyone freely approached, they immediately froze and became numb, and their desire cooled off to such an extent, that they became as if dead. Then an arrogant man, who greatly bragged and boasted, reproached the others. He thus entered with such boldness as if he was a horse who had gone mad for a woman, and approaching the virgin he - O the miracle! - immediately fell to the ground dead.

After much time had gone by, one of those who was there cried out with a loud voice, saying: "Great is the faith of the Christians!" Others also entered, and seeing the strange sight of the dead man, with one voice they cried out: "Great is the power of Christ!" When the ruler heard this, he ordered for the Saint to come before him. He said to her: "O wicked woman, in what manner were you able to put the young man to death?" The Saint responded: "When you gave the order for me to be dishonored, then, as I was being led to the brothel, a young man dressed in white followed me. And entering with me into the factory of the devil, he stood next to me, and put to death the desire of the young men that approached me. He is the one that killed the young man you see, because he approached me with great arrogance and boldness. And before he took me in his hands, or spoke to me a shameful word, the youth dressed in white did this thing as you see now before you."

The ruler again said to her: "Who is the one that helped you?" The Saint replied: "The Lord my God sent His Angel, and he guarded me higher than any dishonor." The ruler said: "If you want to confirm for us that you are speaking the truth, call upon your God, and resurrect this dead man." The Saint then lifted up her hands to heaven and prayed, and - O the miracle! - she resurrected the dead man. Seeing this unusual miracle, everyone was in awe. Then the ruler with many others cried out: "Great is the power of the Christians, and of course great is the God of this noble woman!" Some of the impious and unclean yelled out to the ruler: "Remove her from our midst, for whatever wonders she appears to do, she does them all through the art of magic." Then the ruler ordered for the Saint to be burned in the fire.

When the fire was lit up, the Saint first sealed herself with the sign of the honorable Cross, and then she entered into the fire with great courage. Thus having prayer on her lips, the blessed one went off to the heavens, to her desired bridegroom Christ, leaving behind her virginal body in the midst of the flames. When the flame was extinguished, then some Christians secretly took her honorable relic, and buried her with honors, glorifying God.

Apolytikion in Plagal of the First Tone
Having beheld the treasure that bears the name of purity, and having struggled for the glory of Christ like a man, august Agnes the beautiful virgin and all-praised; as a pure sacrifice, she was brought, after completing the struggle, to the fire O Champion, and you burned up the wiles of the devil.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Shining with virginity, gleaming with purity, you achieved martyrdom, manifesting your struggles; inflamed with faith, and divine eros, you bore, the burning fire with the mind of a man, and to the light of glory above, divinely-minded Agnes, you went rejoicing.

Rejoice pure flower of delight, Champion Agnes, undefiled bride of Christ; rejoice you who like a sacrifice, is brought to the Lord, through the fire having completed your struggles.