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The Holy Martyress Agnes

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