Alexandra of Rome

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Alexandra of Rome
Nikolai Bodarevsky 003.jpg
Died April 21, 303
Rome
Feast April 23
Attributes crown

Saint Alexandra of Rome (Αλεξάνδρα) — Christian martyr and saint, known from "Martyrdom of Saint George" as either Emperor Diocletian's wife or the wife of Dacian, a Roman Prefect. She is also sometimes mistaken with Priscilla or Prisca.

According to Frederick George Holweck Saint Alexandra was the reputed wife of the Emperor Diocletian and was secretly converted to Christianity. Jacobus de Voragine listing her name as “Alexandria” describes her as the wife of Dacian the Roman Prefect who persecuted Saint Caprasius of Agen and Saint Maginus. While Saint George was being tortured, Alexandra went to the arena, bowed before him and professed her faith openly. When she questioned whether she was worthy of paradise and of martyrdom without being baptized, Saint George told her “Do not fear, for your blood will baptize you.” She was denounced a Christian and imprisoned on her husband’s orders in Nicomedia, then sentenced to die.

Her husband was so outraged by her conversion that he is said to have uttered “What! Even thou hast fallen under their spell!” Alexandra quietly accepted her sentence and prayed as the guards walked her to the place of execution. She asked if she could rest for a moment. The guards allowed this. She rested by the place of Saint George’s execution at Nicomedia’s City Wall.

Her three servants Apollo, Isaac and Codratus went to prison with her, the first two died of hunger while the last was beheaded with her on April 21, 303 a.d. Her feast day is usually celebrated on April 23, when she is commemorated at the same time along with the soldier martyrs Anatolios and Protoleon and the 630 others who were martyred for professing faith while witnessing George's martyrdom. The Coptic Church venerates her on April 8.

She is sometimes confused with Saint Prisca. Holweck believes that her story was fabricated, de Voragine presents it as legendary but not outright fiction. Prisca was either a Christian or lenient towards Christianity, but never rebelled towards her husband. When Diocletian retired to Spalatum in 305, Prisca stayed with her daughter, Galeria Valeria and son-in-law, Galerius in Thessalonica. When Galerius died in 311, Licinius was entrusted with the care of Prisca and her daughter Valeria. The two women, however, fled from Licinius to Maximinus Daia. After a short time, Valeria refused the marriage proposal of Maximinus, who arrested and confined her in Syria and confiscated her properties. At the death of Maximinus, Licinius had Prisca and her daughter killed in 315.

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