St. Glyceria, Virginmartyr, at Heraclea


Virgin Martyr GlyceriaCommemorated on May 13

St. Glyceria suffered as a martyr for her faith in Christ in the second century during the persecutions against Christians under Emperor Antoninus. She came from an illustrious family, and her father, Macarius, was a high-ranking Roman official. Later, the family moved to the Thracian city of Trajanopolis.

St. Glyceria lost both her father and mother at an early age. Befriending some Christians, she converted to the true Faith and visited the church every day. Sabinus, the prefect of Trajanopolis, received the imperial edict ordering Christians to offer sacrifice to idols, and designated a certain day for the citizens to worship the idol, Zeus.

St. Glyceria made firm her decision to suffer for Christ. She told her fellow Christians of her intentions and begged them to pray that the Lord would give her the strength to undergo suffering. On the appointed day, St. Glyceria made the Sign of the Cross on her forehead and went to the pagan temple.

The saint stood on a raised spot in the rays of the sun, and removed the veil from her head, showing the holy Cross traced on her forehead. She prayed fervently to God to bring the pagans to their senses and destroy the stone idol of Zeus. Suddenly, thunder was heard, and the statue of Zeus crashed to the floor and smashed into little pieces.

In a rage, Sabinus and the pagan priests ordered that St. Glyceria be pelted with stones, but the stones did not touch her. St. Glyceria was then locked in prison, where the priest Philokrates came to her and encouraged the martyr in the struggle before her.

In the morning, when the tortures had started, an angel suddenly appeared, and they torturers fell to the ground in terror. When the vision vanished, Sabinus, who was hardly able to speak, ordered that St. Glyceria be thrown back into prison.

They shut the door securely and sealed it with the prefect’s own ring, so that no one could get in. However, angels of God brought St. Glyceria food and drink. Several days later, Sabinus came to the prison and removed the seal. Going in to the cell,, he was shaken when he saw that Glyceria was alive and well.

Setting off for the city of Heraclea in Thrace, Sabinus gave orders to bring St. Glyceria with them. Bishop Dometius and the Christians of Heraclea came out to meet her and prayed that the Lord would strengthen the saint to endure martyrdom.

At Heraclea, St. Glyceria was thrown into a red-hot furnace, but the fire was extinguished at once by an invisible force. The prefect then gave orders to rip the skin from St Glyceria’s head. She was then thrown into a cell with sharp stones. She prayed incessantly, and at midnight an angel appeared and healed her of her wounds.

When the jailer, Laodicius, came for the saint in the morning, he did not recognize her. Thinking that the martyr had been taken away, he feared he would be punished for letting her escape. He tried to kill himself, but St. Glyceria stopped him. Shaken by the miracle, Laodicius believed in the true God, and he asked the saint to pray that he might suffer and die for Christ with her.

“Follow Christ and you will be saved,” the holy martyr replied. Laodicius placed upon himself the chains with which the saint was bound, and at trial told the prefect and everyone present about the miraculous healing of St. Glyceria by an angel, and confessed himself a Christian. For his belief in Christ, Laodicius was beheaded by the sword. Christians secretly took up his remains, and reverently buried them.

St. Glyceria was sentenced to be eaten by wild beasts. She went to her execution with great joy, but the lioness set loose upon the saint meekly crawled up to her and lay at her feet. Finally, the saint prayed to the Lord, imploring that He take her unto Himself. In answer, she heard a Voice from Heaven, summoning her to heavenly bliss. At that moment, another lioness was set loose upon her. It pounced on St. Glyceria and killed her, but did not tear her apart. Bishop Dometius and the Christians of Heraclea reverently buried her.

St. Glyceria suffered for Christ around the year 177. Her holy relics were glorified with a flow of healing myrrh.

St. Glyceria, whose name means “sweetness,” now rejoices in the unending sweetness of the heavenly Kingdom.

Troparion (Tone 4) –

Your lamb Glyceria, calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice:
“I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering.
In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You,
and I died so that I might live with You.
Accept me as a pure sacrifice,
for I have offered myself in love.”
Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.

Kontakion (Tone 3) –

Through your love for Mary, the Virgin Theotokos,
you preserved your virginity, O Glyceria.
You surrendered your heart to the Lord
and bravely fought until your death.
Therefore, Christ God has granted you a double crown.

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