St. Gaatha, the Queen, along with others, in the Crimea


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Commemorated on March 26

St. Gaatha was one of twenty-six martyrs who were killed by the Goths around 375 under Jungerich, a persecutor of Christians. Ancient synaxaria of the Gothic Church recount the martyrdom of twenty-six Christians in the time of Emperors Valentinian, Valens, and Gratian. King Jungerich was enraged to see his subjects embracing Christianity because of the preaching of the Arian bishop, Ulfilas, and therefore ordered many of them to be tortured and executed, often without trial.

King Jungerich’s ministers placed a statue in a chariot and paraded it before the tents where Christians met for church services. Those who worshiped the idol and offered sacrifice were spared, but the rest were burned alive in the tent. Jungerich also gave orders to burn down a church during divine services. In the fiery inferno, 308 people perished, of whom only twenty-one are known by name. There was also an anonymous man who came to the tent and confessed Christ. He was martyred with the others.

In the reign of Valentinian and Theodosius in the late fourth century, the Gothic king’s widow, Gaatha (who was an Orthodox Christian), and her daughter, Duclida, gathered up the relics of the holy martyrs and brought them to Syria with the help of some priests and a layman named Thyellas. Gaatha later returned to her native land where she was stoned and died as a martyr along with her son, Agathon.

The relics of the holy martyrs were left to Duclida, who went to Cyzicus in Asia Minor and gave some of the relics for the founding of a church. St. Duclida died in peace.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)