St. Ebba the Younger was abbess of the great monastic foundation of Coldingham in the Marshes on the Scottish border overlooking the North Sea, which had been founded two centuries earlier by St. Ebba the Elder, the daughter of the King of Northumbria and sister to Ss. Oswald and Oswy.
During a Danish invasion of Scotland in 879, St. Ebba feared for her virginity because of the Viking’s reputation for raping and massacring women. She gathered her nuns in the chapter house and encouraged them to follow her example. Thereafter, she cut open her nose and upper lip with a razor to discourage rape by the invaders. The entire community did likewise.
Their appearance so disgusted the invaders that the women were saved from rape but not from death. The Danes soon returned and set fire to the convent. The entire monastic community perished in the flames.
Troparion (Tone 1) –
Having finished your course and kept the Faith unto the end
In the agony of immolation ye died for Christ
The Lamb and Shepherd, slain as reason-endowed ewe-lambs
Wherefore, magnifying Him with joyous soul
We celebrate your holy memory today,
O right wondrous and glorious Ebba and all those of thy flock who suffered with thee.
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