Kyriaki (martyr)

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Saint Kyriake of Nicomedia
Saint nedelja (kyriaki) bulgaria icon.gif
Bulgarian Orthodox icon of St Kyriake
Great-Martyr
Born Nicomedia
Died 289 A.D.
Chalcedon
Honored in
Eastern Orthodox Church
Roman Catholicism
Major shrine Church of St Kyriake, Istanbul
Feast 7 July
Patronage patron of Servia, Greece

Saint Kyriake (Greek: Αγία Κυριακή, Agía Kyriakí̱; Italian: Santa Domenica; Bulgarian: Света Неделя, Sveta Nedelya) was the only child of Greek parents Dorotheus and Eusebia. They were devout Christians, wealthy but childless. Unceasing in prayer they obtained a child and since she was born on a Sunday (the day of the Lord, Kyriake, in Greek), she was given the name Kyriake.

From her childhood, Kyriake consecrated herself to God. When she matured, beautiful in body and soul, many suitors came to ask for her hand in marriage but she refused them all saying that she betrothed herself to Christ the Lord and that she desires nothing more than to die as a virgin. A magistrate of Nicomedia also wished to betroth Kyriake to his son, especially since she came from a wealthy family, but as he was also rejected he denounced Kyriake and her parents to emperor Diocletian as Christians.

The emperor ordered her parents to be tortured and Dorotheus was beaten until the soldiers grew tired and were unable to continue. Since neither flattery nor torment had any effect, Diocletian exiled Dorotheus and Eusebia to Melitene (located between Cappadocia and Armenia) where they died enduring much suffering for Christ. He then sent Kyriake to Nicomedia to be interrogated by his son-in-law and co-ruler, Maximian.

The Church of St. Kyriake in Istanbul.

Kyriake refused to renounce her faith and as a result Maximian ordered for her to be whipped. The men tortured Kyriake in every possible way, but her faith wouldn't be broken. One night, as she lay in prison, God spoke to her and said: "Don't be afraid of torture Kyriake. My spirit is with you". She survived through many terrible ordeals and since Maximian failed to convince the young woman to change her faith he sent her to Hilarion, the eparch of Bithynia, at Chalcedon. He told Hilarion to either convert Kyriake to paganism, or send her back to him.

Hilarion tried his best to achieve this goal. One of the tortures he tried was to keep her suspended by her hair for several hours while soldiers burned her body with torches. Finally, she was taken down and thrown into a prison cell. That night Christ appeared to her and healed her wounds. Seeing the miraculous salvation of Kyriake many pagans believed in Christ; they were all beheaded however.

Kyriake was tortured again by Apollonius, who succeeded Hilarion. When she was cast into a fire, the flames were extinguished. When she was thrown to wild beasts, they became tame and gentle. Apollonius then sentenced her to death by the sword. As she was given a few minutes to pray, she asked God to receive her soul and to remember those who honored her martyrdom. Upon completing her prayer, she rendered her soul to God before the sword was lowered on her head.

At the time of her death she was 21 years old. Her feast day is on 7 July in Orthodox Church and on 6 July in Catholic Church (as saint Dominica).

The island of Aghia Kyriake in the Dodecanese islands in Greece is named after the Saint. Also Aghia Kyriake is the patron Saint of Servia a small town in Northern Greece.

Hymn[edit]

A hymn, in Greek troparion, dedicated to St. Kyriake is sung in the fifth Byzantine tone:

O virgin martyr Kyriake
You were a worthy sacrifice
When you offered your pure soul to God;
Wherefore Christ has glorified you,
And through you pours forth graces abundantly on all the faithful,
For He is the merciful Loving God!

Source[edit]

  • Biography of Saints, Antiochian Orthodox Church of North America[1]
  • "The Prologue from Ohrid", Serbian Orthodox Church of Western America[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "St. Kyriake of Nicomedia | Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese". Antiochian.org. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Prologue from Ohrid". Westsrbdio.org. Retrieved 16 December 2011.