Euphemia the Holy and Great Martyr

September 16

Euphemia was born in Chalcedon. Her father Philophronus, a senator, and her mother Theodorisia were devout Christians. Euphemia was a beautiful virgin in body and in soul. When the Proconsul Priscus held a feast and offered sacrifices to Ares in Chalcedon, forty-nine Christians avoided this foul sacrificial offering and hid themselves. However, they were discovered and brought before Priscus. Among them was St. Euphemia. When the arrogant Priscus asked them why they defied the imperial decree, they replied: “Both the emperor’s and your command should be obeyed, if they are not contrary to the God of heaven; but if they are contrary to God, they should not only be disobeyed, but should also be opposed.” For nineteen consecutive days, Priscus imposed various tortures on them. On the twentieth day he separated Euphemia from the others and began to flatter her for her beauty, attempting to win her over to idolatry. As his flattery was in vain, he ordered that the virgin be tortured again. First, they tortured her on the wheel, but an angel of God appeared to Euphemia and shattered the wheel. Then they threw her into a fiery furnace, but she was preserved by the power of God. Upon seeing this, two soldiers, Victor and Sosthenes, came to believe in Christ, for which they were thrown to the wild beasts, and thus gloriously ended their earthly lives. Euphemia was then thrown into a pit filled with water and every kind of poisonous vermin; but she made the sign of the Cross over the water and remained unharmed. She was finally thrown to the wild beasts and, with a prayer of thanksgiving to God, gave up her spirit. Her parents buried her body honorably. Euphemia suffered in the year 304 and entered into eternal joy. She is also commemorated on July 11.

Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume Two.

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