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Commemorated on April 13
The Holy Martyress Thomaida was born into a Christian family in the city of Alexandria. In her childhood she was educated in piety and loved to read Holy Scripture.
At 15 years of age the girl entered into marriage with a fisherman, – also a Christian. The young couple lived in the household of the husband’s family, where Saint Thomaida was loved for her mild and gentle disposition, and virtue and prudence.
The father-in-law of Saint Thomaida, at the prompting of the devil, was captivated by her beauty. When his son went out at night for fishing, he began seeking to lead his daughter-in-law into sin. In vain did Saint Thomaida admonish the senseless old man, reminding him about the last Judgement and about the penalty for sin. Infuriated by the steadfastness of Saint Thomaida, he thoughtlessly seized a sword and began to threaten her with death. But Saint Thomaida answered resolutely: “Even if thou cut me in two, I shall not stray from the commandments of the Lord”.
Overcome with passion, the father-in-law swung the sword and struck Saint Thomaida. The saint received a martyr’s death for her prudence and faith in the commandments of God in the year 476.
Divine chastisement befell the murderer. He instantly became blinded and was not able to go out the door to flee. In the morning there arrived companions of the saint’s husband. They opened the doors and saw the body of the saint and the blood-stained blind old man. The murderer himself confessed his evil deed and asked to be condemned to death by execution.
During this time there arrived in Alexandria from a wilderness skete the Monk Daniel. He bid the monks of the nearby Oktodecadia monastery to take the body of the martyress to bury in the monastery cemetery. Some of the monks were perplexed, how it should be possible to bury a woman with monks. The monk Daniel answered: “This girl – is a mother for me and you. She died for purity”.
After a solemn funeral the Monk Daniel returned to his own skete. Soon one of the young monks began to complain to him, that fleshly passions tormented him. The monk Daniel ordered him to go and pray at the grave of the holy martyress Thomaida. The monk did the bidding of the elder. During the time of prayer at the grave he fell into a light sleep. Saint Thomaida then appeared to him and said: “Father, have my blessing and go in peace”.
Having awakened, the monk felt at joy and peace in his soul. And after this the fleshly struggle no longer disturbed him. Abba Daniel explained to him: “The blessing – was the gift of the martyress’ prudence; the ascetic deeds of purity hold such power before God”.
In later times many found at the grave of Saint Thomaida both spiritual joy and release from their passions. The relics of Saint Thomaida were transferred to Constantinople to one of the women’s monasteries. In the year 1420 the Russian pilgrim archdeacon Zosima viewed them.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.