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Bad Zurzach, Switzerland
|Venerated in||Coptic Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Churches
Oriental Orthodox Churches
Roman Catholic Church
|Attributes||comb; water jar|
|Patronage||poor; sick; lepers; young girls, nurses, Pieter|
Verena, (Coptic: Ϯⲁⲅⲓⲁ Ⲃⲓⲣⲏⲛⲁ) is venerated as a saint by the Coptic Orthodox Church, by the Roman Catholic Church, and by the Eastern Orthodox Church. According to tradition, she was associated with the Theban Legion and died on the 4th day of Thout (September 14).
Tradition states that she was brought up in the 3rd century in the Theban region (modern day Luxor in Upper Egypt) in a noble Christian family, who handed her over to Bishop Sherimon, Bishop of Beni Suef, who in turn taught her and baptized her as a Christian.
Travel to Switzerland
According to tradition, Saint Verena joined the Theban Legion in its mission to Rhaetia (part of modern-day Switzerland) and was a relative of Saint Victor of the Theban Legion. The soldiers' relatives were allowed to accompany them in order to look after them and take care of their wounds.
When Saint Maurice, Saint Victor and the other members of the Theban Legion were martyred, Saint Verena led the life of a hermit. First, she settled in a place called Solothurn, but later moved into a cave near present-day Zurich. She comes from Garagous village, Qous, Qena, Egypt. As a hermit, Verena fasted and prayed continuously. According to tradition, several miracles were performed through her intercession. Verena was particularly concerned over young girls and used to look after them spiritually and physically, due to her expertise as a nurse.
As a result of her fame, legend states that the local governor arrested her and sent her to jail, where Saint Maurice appeared to her to console and strengthen her. After she was released from jail, she continued her good works.
Due to her, many converted to Christianity. Saint Verena served the poor by offering them food and companionship. She is often portrayed washing people's hair in an effort to help remove their head lice. Moreover, she enjoyed serving the sick, especially those suffering from leprosy. She used to wash their wounds and put ointments on them, not fearing infection. She died in Switzerland.
Return of part of relics to Egypt
In October 2004, a delegation from Saint Mary & Saint Verena's Coptic Church in Anaheim, California in the United States of America, along with Bishop Serapion of Los Angeles and Fr. Joseph Boules, traveled to Switzerland to bring a part of Saint Verena's relics to Anaheim. Her church, now located in Yorba Linda, California, now has a shrine dedicated to her relic.
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