Commemorated on November 28
St. Anna was a noblewoman who sold all her possessions and gave the money to the poor. She received the monastic tonsure from St. Stephen the New while he was living on Mt. Auxentius in Bithynia. He sent her to live in the women’s monastery called Trichinarion (“Community of Hairshirt-Wearers”).
The iconoclasts tried to stop St. Stephen from venerating the holy icons with flattery, bribery, and threats, but all their efforts were in vain. They then accused him of visiting the Trichinarion Monastery at night and falling into sin with the nun Anna. Although her own maidservant testified against her (she was promised her freedom and marriage to a nobleman if she did), St. Anna denied any guilt.
The emperor’s soldiers came to the monastery and seized St. Anna and brought her before him, but she refused to lie about St. Stephen. Emperor Constantine threw her into a dungeon in Constantinople. The next morning the emperor, before an assembled crowd, had St. Anna brought before him. Since she insisted that both she and St. Stephen were innocent, the emperor had her stripped naked in the sight of all. During her interrogation, she remained silent. Meanwhile, her maidservant falsely swore that St. Stephen had sinned with St. Anna.
Angered by her refusal to speak, the emperor had St Anna stretched out on the ground, where soldiers beat her with rods. During this torment, she said, “I have never sinned with Stephen. Lord, have mercy.” The soldiers continued to beat her until she was almost dead.
The emperor returned to his palace, leaving orders that St. Anna be imprisoned in one of the city’s abandoned monasteries. There she departed to the Lord, receiving from Him the twin crowns of virginity and martyrdom.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)