Saint Euphrasia of Nicomedia
Commemorated January 19
The Holy Virgin Martyr Euphrasia was born at Nicomedia into an illustrious family. She was a Christian, and was noted for her beauty. During the persecution of Christians by Maximian, the pagans tried to compel Euphrasia to offer sacrifice to idols. When she refused, she was beaten, and then given to a certain barbarian to be violated.
The saint prayed tearfully to the Lord that He would preserve her virginity, and God heard her prayer. Saint Euphrasia suggested to the barbarian that if he would not defile her, she would give him a special herb which would protect him from enemy weapons and death. But this herb, she explained, held its power only when received from a virgin and not from a woman.
The soldier believed Saint Euphrasia and went with her into the garden. The holy virgin picked the herb, then offered to demonstrate its power. She placed the herb on her neck and told the man to strike her with his sword. With a mighty blow, he cut off her head. Thus her prayer was answered, and the wise virgin offered her soul to God in 303, safeguarding her bodily purity.