Margaret the Virgin
|Saint Margaret (Marina) the Great-Martyr|
St. Marina (Margaret) the Great-Martyr. An illustration in her hagiography printed in Greece depicting her beating a demon with a hammer. Date on the picture: 1858.
|Virgin-Martyr and Vanquisher of Demons|
|Died||304 (aged 15)|
|Feast||July 20 in Roman Catholic Church; July 17 in the Eastern Church|
|Attributes||slain dragon (Western depictions); hammer, defeated demon (Eastern Orthodox depictions)|
|Patronage||childbirth, pregnant women, dying people, kidney disease, peasants, exiles, falsely accused people; Lowestoft, England; Queens' College, Cambridge; nurses; Sannat and Bormla, Malta|
Catholic cult suppressed
|1969 by Pope Paul VI|
Margaret the Virgin-Martyr, known as Margaret of Antioch (in Pisidia) in the West, and as Saint Marina the Great-Martyr (Greek: Ἁγία Μαρίνα) in the East, is celebrated as a saint by the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches on July 20 and on July 17 in the Orthodox Church. Her historical existence has been questioned. She was declared apocryphal by Pope Gelasius I in 494, but devotion to her revived in the West with the Crusades. She was reputed to have promised very powerful indulgences to those who wrote or read her life, or invoked her intercessions; these no doubt helped the spread of her cultus.
According to the version of the story in Golden Legend, she was a native of Antioch, and she was the daughter of a pagan priest named Aedesius. Her mother having died soon after her birth, Margaret was nursed by a pious woman five or six leagues from Antioch. Having embraced Christianity and consecrated her virginity to God, she was disowned by her father, adopted by her nurse and lived in the country keeping sheep with her foster mother (in what is now Turkey). Olybrius, Governor of the Roman Diocese of the East, asked to marry her but with the price of her renunciation of Christianity. Upon her refusal she was cruelly tortured, during which various miraculous incidents occurred. One of these involved being swallowed by Satan in the shape of a dragon, from which she escaped alive when the cross she carried irritated the dragon's innards. The Golden Legend, in an atypical passage of skepticism, describes this last incident as "apocryphal and not to be taken seriously" (trans. Ryan, 1.369). She was put to death in A.D. 304.
The Eastern Orthodox Church knows Margaret as Saint Marina, and celebrates her feast day on July 17. She has been identified with Saint Pelagia. "Marina" being the Latin equivalent of the Greek name "Pelagia" who, according to a legend, was also called Margarita. We possess no historical documents on St. Margaret as distinct from St. Pelagia. The Greek Marina came from Antioch, Pisidia (as opposed to Antioch of Syria), but this distinction was lost in the West.
The cultus of Saint Margaret became very widespread in England, where more than 250 churches are dedicated to her, most famously, St. Margaret's, Westminster, the parish church of the British Houses of Parliament in London. Some consider her a patron saint of pregnancy. In art, she is usually pictured escaping from, or standing above, a dragon.
She is recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, being listed as such in the Roman Martyrology for July 20. She was also included from the twelfth to the twentieth century among the saints to be commemorated wherever the Roman Rite was celebrated, but was then removed from that list because of the entirely fabulous character of the stories told of her. Margaret is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, and is one of the saints who spoke to Joan of Arc.
- Mary Clayton; Hugh Magennis (15 September 1994). The Old English Lives of St. Margaret. Cambridge University Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-521-43382-2.
- "Margaret of Antioch" The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. David Hugh Farmer. Oxford University Press 2003. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Accessed 16 June 2007
- MacRory, Joseph. "St. Margaret." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 1 Mar. 2013
- Gábor Klaniczay; Éva Pócs; Eszter Csonka-Takacs (2006). Christian Demonology and Popular Mythology. Central European University Press. p. 124. ISBN 978-963-7326-76-9.
- Westminster Abbey. "St. Margaret's, Westminster Parish details". Archived from the original on 2008-03-05. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
- Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)
- See General Roman Calendar as in 1954
- Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 130
- Acta Sanctorum, July, v. 24—45
- Bibliotheca hagiographica. La/ma (Brussels, 1899), n. 5303—53r3
- Frances Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications (London, 1899), i. 131—133 and iii. 19.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saint Margaret of Antioch.|
- Saint Margaret and the Dragon links
- Middle English life of St. Margaret of Antioch, edited with notes by Sherry L. Reames
- Book of the Passion of Saint Margaret the Virgin, with the Life of Saint Agnes, and Prayers to Jesus Christ and to the Virgin Mary (English) (Latin) (Italian)
- Catholic Online: Saint Margareth of Antioch