Holy Great-martyr Kyriake

Holy Great-martyr KyriakeJuly 7

During the time of the Emperors Diocletian and his son-in-law Maximian, both adversaries of Christ, there lived in Anatolia two pious and elderly souls, Dorotheus and Eusebia. They were devout Christians, wealthy but childless. Through unceasing prayer, they obtained a child from God – the holy Kyriake. From her childhood, Kyriake consecrated herself to God, abstaining from everything that unruly children do. When she had matured and was beautiful in body and soul, many suitors came to ask for her hand in marriage; but she refused them all, saying that she had betrothed herself to Christ the Lord and desired nothing more than to die as a virgin. One of the rejected suitors denounced Kyriake and her parents to Emperor Diocletian as Christians. The emperor ordered that Kyriake’s parents be tortured, and after torturing them, banished them to the town of Melitene – where they died, having endured much suffering for Christ. Diocletian sent Kyriake herself to Maximian to stand trial. Since Kyriake confirmed her faith in Christ before Maximian, he ordered that she be placed on the ground and flogged with bullwhips. After that, the emperor handed her over to the commanders, first to Hilarion and, after his death, to Apollonius. Both of them tortured Kyriake in a beastly manner, in all possible ways, but all was in vain. When St. Kyriake lay in the prison cell, completely covered with wounds, Christ the Lord appeared to her, healed her, and said: “Kyriake, do not be afraid of torture; My grace is with thee.” And indeed the grace of Christ saved this martyr from the fire and from the wild beasts, which the godless judges thought would bring about  her certain death. Seeing Kyriake miraculously saved from such a death, many pagans came to believe in Christ – and they were all beheaded. Kyriake said to Apollonius: “In no manner can you turn me away from my Faith. If you throw me into the fire, I have the example of the Three Youths; if you throw me before wild beasts, I have the example of Daniel the Prophet; if you toss me into the sea, I have the example of Jonah the Prophet; if you give me over to the sword, I will remember the honorable Forerunner. Life, for me, is to die for Christ.” Then Apollonius ordered that Kyriake be beheaded. Kyriake knelt down, raised her hands to heaven, and prayed to God, that He would save and have mercy on all those who would celebrate her memory, and that he would give rest to her soul together with the souls of her parents. Upon completing her prayer, she rendered her soul to God, before the sword was lowered onto her neck. Kyriake suffered honorably in Nicomedia, and she was received into eternal joy, in the year 289.

Kontakion

The Martyr of Christ hath called us all together now to praise and acclaim her wrestlings and her godly feats; for possessed of manliness of mind, she hath proved to be worthy of her name, being lady and mistress of her mind and the passions of unseemliness.

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