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Commemorated on January 21
The Holy Martyress Agnes was born at Rome during the III Century. Her parents were Christians and they raised her in the precepts of the Christian faith. From her youthful years she devoted herself to God, and decided to dedicate herself to a life of virginity. When she refused to enter into marriage with the son of the city official Symphronius, one of his associates revealed to him that Agnes was a Christian. The wicked governor decided to subject the holy virgin to shame and he gave orders to strip and send her off to an house of harlotry for her insult against the pagan gods. But the Lord would not permit the shaming of the saint – on her head there instantly grew out her long thick hair covering her body from people; later situated in the house of harlotry the saint shone with an Heavenly light, which blinded the sight of anyone approaching her. The son of the governor, himself having come to dishonour the virgin, fell down dead in merely having touched her hand. But through the fervent prayer of Saint Agnes he was restored to life and before the face of his father and many other people he proclaimed: “There is One God in the heavens and on earth – the Christian God, and the other gods be but dust and ashes!” In seeing this miracle, 160 men believed in God and were baptised, and then in short order accepted a martyr’s death from the pagans.
Saint Agnes, at the demand of the pagan priests, was given over to torture. They tried to burn her in a bon-fire as a witch, but the saint remained unharmed in the fire, praying to God, and after this they killed her with a strike of the sword to the throat. The holy virgin martyress was buried by her parents not far from the city of Rome (in about the year 304).
At the grave of Saint Agnes occurred many a miracle. The relics of Saint Agnes rest at Rome in a church on the outskirts, built in honour of her name, along the Via Nomentana