||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (July 2013)|
|Great Martyr Euphemia|
Mural depitcting the martyrdom of St. Euphemia (Basilica of Saint Euphemia, Rovinj, Croatia)
|Died||c. 307 A.D.
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Protestant Churches|
|Major shrine||Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George, Istanbul, Saint Euphemia's basilica, Rovinj, Croatia|
|Feast||September 16 (martyrdom)
July 11 (miracle)
|Attributes||Clothed as a pious woman with her head covered, surrounded by one or a few lions, often holding a wheel or a cross|
St. Euphemia lived on the cusp of the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. She was the daughter of a senator named Philophronos and his wife Theodosia in Chalcedon, located across the Bosporus from the city of Byzantium (modern-day Istanbul). From her youth she was consecrated to virginity.
The governor of Chalcedon, Priscus, had made a decree that all of the inhabitants of the city take part in sacrifices to the pagan deity Ares. Euphemia was discovered with other Christians who were hiding in a house and worshiping the Christian God, in defiance of the governor's orders. Because of their refusal to sacrifice, they were tortured for a number of days, and then handed over to the Emperor for further torture. Euphemia, the youngest among them, was separated from her companions and subjected to particularly harsh torments, including the wheel, in hopes of breaking her spirit. She was placed in the arena where Lions were sent out to kill her but they refused, and, instead just licked her wounds. It is believed that she died of wounds from a wild bear in the arena under Emperor Diocletian.
Eventually, a cathedral was built in Chalcedon over her grave.
Miracle during the Council of Chalcedon
The Council of Chalcedon, the Fourth Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church, took place in the city of Chalcedon in the year 451. It repudiated the Eutychian doctrine of monophysitism, and set forth the Chalcedonian Definition, which describes the "full humanity and full divinity" of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.
The council sat in the cathedral consecrated in her name. Present at the council were 630 representatives from all the local Christian Churches. Both the Monophysite and Orthodox parties were well represented at the council, so the meetings were quite contentious, and no decisive consensus could be reached. Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople suggested that the council submit the decision to the Holy Spirit, acting through Saint Euphemia.
Both parties wrote a confession of their faith and placed them in the tomb of the saint Euphemia which was sealed in the presence of the emperor Marcian (450-457), who placed the imperial seal on it and set a guard to watch over it for three days. During these days both sides fasted and prayed. After three days the tomb was opened and the scroll with the Orthodox confession was seen in the right hand of St Euphemia while the scroll of the Monophysites lay at her feet.
This miracle is attested by a letter sent by the council to Pope Leo I:
"For it was God who worked, and the triumphant Euphemia who crowned the meeting as for a bridal, and who, taking our definition of the Faith as her own confession, presented it to her Bridegroom by our most religious Emperor and Christ-loving Empress, appeasing all the tumult of opponents and establishing our confession of the Truth as acceptable to Him, and with hand and tongue setting her seal to the votes of us all in proclamation thereof." 
When the persecution of Diocletian ended, the Christians laid Saint Euphemia’s relics in a golden sarcophagus, placed within a church that was dedicated to her. Her relics attracted crowds of pilgrims for centuries.
Around the year 620, in the wake of the conquest of Chalcedon by the Persians under Khosrau I in the year 617, the relics of Saint Euphemia were transferred to a new church in Constantinople. There, during the persecutions of the Iconoclasts, her reliquary was said to have been thrown into the sea, from which it was recovered by the ship-owning brothers Sergius and Sergonos, who belonged to the Orthodox party, and who gave it over to the local bishop who hid them in a secret crypt. The relics were afterwards taken to the Island of Lemnos, and in 796 they were returned to Constantinople. The majority of her relics are still in the Patriarchal Church of St. George, in Istanbul.
The primary feast day of Saint Euphemia, celebrated by both Eastern and Western Christians is September 16 in commemoration of her martyrdom. Additionally, Eastern Orthodox Christians commemorate her miracle at the Council of Chalcedon on July 11.
St. Euphemia is a widely-venerated saint among all Eastern Orthodox Christians, not only for her virginity and martyrdom, but also for her strengthening of the Orthodox Faith, and her feast days are celebrated with special solemnity. Churches in her honor have been erected all over the Christian world.
Euphemia (typically abbreviated to "Effie") was a common baptismal name.
A Gaijin-Rock band called Area 11 made and released a song called "Euphemia", which is believed to widely based on the afore mentioned anime character.
- Knight, Kevin (ed.), "Letter from the Synod of Chalcedon to Leo (Letter 98)", Letters of Leo the Great, New Advent, retrieved 2007-12-09
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saint Euphemia.|
- Greatmartyr Euphemia the All-praised Orthodox icon and synaxarion (September 16 feast)
- Miracle of the Greatmartyr Euphemia the All-praised at Chalcedon (July 11 feast)