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The Holy Martyress Hermionia

Com­mem­o­rat­ed on Sep­tem­ber 4

The Holy Mar­tyress Hermio­nia was a daugh­ter of the holy Apos­tle Philip (Comm. 14 Novem­ber). Want­i­ng to see the holy Apos­tle John the The­olo­gian, Hermio­nia with her sis­ter Euthykhia set off to Asia (Asia Minor) in search of the saint, but dur­ing the time of their jour­ney they learned the saint had died. Con­tin­u­ing on, the sis­ters met up with a dis­ci­ple of Saint Paul named Petro­n­ias, and copy­ing him in every­thing, they became his dis­ci­ples. Saint Hermio­nia, hav­ing mas­tered the heal­ing arts, ren­dered help to many a Chris­t­ian and by the pow­er of Christ she healed the sick.

Dur­ing this peri­od, the emper­or Tra­jan (98−117) waged war against the Per­sians and he came with his army through the vil­lage where the saint lived. When they report­ed that Hermio­nia was a Chris­t­ian, he gave orders to bring her to him. At first the emper­or with casu­al admo­ni­tions sought to per­suade the saint to renounce Christ. When this did not suc­ceed, he com­mand­ed that she should be struck on the face at length, but she joy­ful­ly endured this suf­fer­ing. More­over, she was com­fort­ed by a vision of the Lord, sit­ting upon the throne of judge­ment, in sem­blance of Petro­n­ias. Con­vinc­ing him­self that she was adamant in her faith, Tra­jan sent her away. Hermio­nia lat­er built an hos­pice in which she took in the sick, doc­tor­ing their infir­mi­ties both of body and soul.

Tra­jan’s suc­ces­sor as emper­or, Adri­an, again com­mand­ed that the saint be brought to tri­al for con­fess­ing the Chris­t­ian faith. At first, the emper­or com­mand­ed that she be beat­en mer­ci­less­ly, then they pierced the soles of her feet with nails, and final­ly they threw her into a caul­dron with boil­ing tar, tin and sul­phurous brim­stone. But the saint bore every­thing giv­ing thanks to God. And the Lord ren­dered her His mer­cy: the fire went out, the tin flowed off, and the saint remained unharmed. Adri­an in sur­prise went up to the place of tor­ture and touched at the caul­dron, to ascer­tain whether it had cooled. But just as he touched at the caul­dron, he burned the skin on his hand. But even this did not dis­suade the tor­tur­er. He gave orders to heat red-hot a sort of fry­ing-pan and put upon it the holy mar­tyress. And here again hap­pened anoth­er mir­a­cle. An Angel of the Lord scat­tered about the hot coals and burnt many that stood about the fire. The saint stood on the fry­ing-pan, as though on green grass, hymn­ing forth praise to the Lord. Descend­ing the fry­ing-pan, the holy mar­tyress seemed to appear will­ing to offer sac­ri­fice to the pagan god Her­cules. The delight­ed emper­or gave orders to take her off to the idol­ous tem­ple. When how­ev­er the saint prayed there to God, a loud thun­der-clap was heard, and all the idols in the pagan tem­ple fell and shat­tered. In a rage the emper­or ordered that Hermio­nia be led out beyond the city and behead­ed. Two ser­vants – Theodou­los and Tim­o­thy – were entrust­ed to car­ry out the exe­cu­tion. Going along the way, they want­ed to com­mit iniq­ui­ty against the saint, but just as they were con­sid­er­ing this, their hands with­ered. Then they believed in Jesus Christ and with repen­tance they fell at the feet of Saint Hermio­nia. They besought her to pray to the Lord, that He should sum­mon them to Him­self before her, which through this prayer tran­spired. After this, hav­ing prayed, she also expired to the Lord (+ c. 117).

© 1996–2001 by trans­la­tor Fr. S. Janos.