St. Christina of Tyre, Martyr
The Martyr Christina lived during the third century. She was born into a rich family, and her father was Governor of Tyre. By the age of 11 the girl was exceptionally beautiful, and many men asked for her hand in marriage. Christina's father, however, wanted his daughter to become a pagan priestess. He placed her in a special room where he had set up many gold and silver idols, and he ordered his daughter to burn incense before them.
In her solitude, Christina wondered who had created this beautiful world. From her room, she was delighted by the stars of the heavens, and she constantly thought about the Creator of the world. She was convinced that the voiceless and inanimate idols in her room could not create anything, since they themselves were created by human hands. She began to pray to the One God with tears, entreating Him to reveal Himself. Her soul blazed with love for the Unknown God, and she intensified her prayer all the more, combining it with fasting.
Christina was visited by an angel, who instructed her in the true faith in Christ. The angel called her a bride of Christ and told her that she would suffer for her faith. Christina smashed all the idols in her room and threw them out the window. Shortly thereafter, Christina’s father visited her and asked where all the idols had gone. Christina would not speak, but summoning her servants, her father learned the truth from them.
In a rage, Christina’s father began to slap her face. At first, she was quiet, but then she told her father about her faith in the One True God, and that she had destroyed the idols with her own hands. Her father gave orders to kill all the servants who had attended his daughter, and he fiercely beat Christina and threw her in prison. Having learned about what had happened, Christina's mother came crying to her daughter’s cell and urged her to renounce Christ. However, Christina remained unyielding. The next day, her father brought Christina to trial and ordered that she worship the pagan gods and ask forgiveness for her sins. Instead, she gave a firm and steadfast confession of her faith in Christ.
Her father ordered that Christina be tied to an iron wheel, beneath which was lit a fire. Her body, turning round on the wheel, was scorched on all sides. She was then thrown back into prison.
That night, an angel appeared, healing her wounds and strengthening her with food. Seeing her unharmed, her father gave orders to drown her in the sea. An angel sustained Christina while the stone sank to the bottom, and she miraculously came out of the water and reappeared before her father. Her father subscribed this event to sorcery, and he decided to execute her in the morning. However, that same night, her father suddenly died.
Governor Dion was sent in his place. Dion ordered Christina to renounce Christ, but seeing her unyielding firmness, he again subjected her to torture. She was then thrown back into prison where Dion thought she would eventually perish. However, people began to flock to her, and she converted about 300 people to the true faith in Christ.
In place of Dion, a new governor, Julian, arrived and resumed Christina’s torture. Julian ordered that she be locked in a red-hot furnace. After five days the furnace was opened and Christina was found alive and unharmed. Seeing this miracle, many came to believe in Christ the Savior.
Finally, St. Christina was executed with a sword.
Troparion (Tone 4) –
Your lamb Christina, O Jesus,
Calls out to You in a loud voice:
I love You, O my bridegroom,
And in seeking You, I endure suffering.
In Baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You,
And died so that I might live with You.
Accept me as a pure sacrifice,
For I have offered myself in love.
By her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.
Kontakion (Tone 4) –
O Venerable Christina,
You appeared as a shining dove,
With a pair of golden wings
Alighting in the Highest Heavens.
Therefore we celebrate your glorious feast
And bow before the place that holds your relics.
Pray that we may receive grace and healing for body and soul.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)