Commemorated on July 24th
St Christina the Great Martyr of Tyre
The Martyr Christina lived during the third century. She was born into a rich family, and her father was governor of Tyre. By the age of 11 the girl was exceptionally beautiful, and many wanted to marry her. Christina's father, however, envisioned that his daughter should become a pagan priestess. To this end he placed her in a special dwelling where he had set up many gold and silver idols, and he commanded his daughter to burn incense before them; two servants attended Christina.
In her solitude, Christina began to wonder who had created this beautiful world.
From her room the stars of the heavens delighted her and she constantly came back to the thought about the Creator of the entire world. She was convinced that the voiceless and inanimate idols in her room could not create anything, since human hands created them. She began to pray to the One God with tears, entreating Him to reveal Himself. Her soul blazed with love for the Unknown God, and she intensified her prayer all the more, and combined it with fasting.
One time Christina was visited by an angel, who instructed her in the true faith in Christ, the Saviour of the world. The angel called her a bride of Christ and told her about her future suffering. The holy virgin smashed all the idols standing in her room and threw them out the window. In visiting his daughter Christina's father, Urban, asked her where all the idols had disappeared. Christina was silent. Then, having summoned the servants, Urban learned the truth from them.
In a rage the father began to slap his daughter's face. At first, the holy virgin remained quiet, but then she told her father about her faith in the One True God, and that she had destroyed the idols with her own hands. Urban gave orders to kill all the servants in attendance upon his daughter, and he gave Christina a fierce beating and threw her in prison. Having learned about what had happened; St. Christina's mother came in tears, imploring her to renounce Christ and to return to her ancestral beliefs. However, Christina remained unyielding. On another day, Urban brought his daughter to trial and urged her to offer worship to the gods, and to ask forgiveness for her misdeeds. Instead, he saw her firm and steadfast confession of faith in Christ.
The torturers tied her to an iron wheel, beneath which they lit a fire. The body of the martyr, turning round on the wheel, was scorched on all sides. They then threw her into prison.
An angel of God appeared at night, healing her wounds and strengthening her with food. Her father, seeing her unharmed, gave orders to drown her in the sea. An angel sustained the saint while the stone sank down, and Christina miraculously came out of the water and reappeared before her father. In terror, the torturer imputed this to sorcery and he decided to execute her in the morning. That night he himself suddenly died. Another governor, Dion, was sent in his place. He summoned the holy martyr and tried to persuade her to renounce Christ, but seeing her unyielding firmness, he again subjected her to cruel tortures. The holy martyr was for a long while in prison. People began to flock to her, and she converted them to the true faith in Christ. Thus about 300 were converted.
In place of Dion, a new governor Julian arrived and resumed the torture of the Saint. After various torments, Julian gave orders to throw her into a red-hot furnace and lock her in it. After five days, they opened the furnace and found the martyr alive and unharmed. Seeing this miracle take place, many believed in Christ the Saviour, and the torturers executed St Christina with a sword.
Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)
O Lord Jesus, to You Your lamb cries with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, You I love; and seeking You, I now contest, and with Your baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Your sake, that I may reign with You; for You sake I die, that I may live in You: accept me offered out of longing to You as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since You are great in mercy.
Kontakion (Fourth Tone)
O dove of golden wings, you shine like lightning, and flew up to the height of the Heavens, august Christina; therefore, we all celebrate your glorious festival, as we faithfully reverence the worshipful shrine wherein your pure relics are treasured, where you bring forth to all divine cures both for the body and for the soul.