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Saint Demiana
Our Previous Patron Saint

There was a governor named Mark who lived in Egypt toward the end of the third century. As a governor and ruler, Mark ruled several districts in Egypt and he had only one daughter, whom he called Demiana.  She was very beautiful both from within and without and her beauty and good character were legendary. Mark loved his daughter deeply and raised her in a true Christian manner.

Saint Demiana loved God, prayed unceasingly, and enjoyed reading the Holy Books in the seclusion of her room. In fact, she often cried while praying because she felt the love of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, filling her heart.

When Saint Demiana turned fifteen years old, her father requested her to marry one of his noble friends. However, Saint Demiana refused because she vowed herself as a bride to the Lord Jesus Christ, preserving her chastity and virginity.  She intended to live without marriage all her life preferring to serve the Lord Jesus Christ over marriage. Saint Demiana asked her father to build a palace for her on the outskirts of the city so that she could live in it as a nun and live far away from the city so that she may live in seclusion and contemplation and solitude.

Mark, knowing his daughter’s deep desire for a righteous life, reluctantly decided to grant Saint Demiana’s wish and built her a large palace. Saint Demiana changed the palace into a convent and lived in it with forty of her friends. They were all virgins devoting themselves to be Christ’s brides. The Lord’s hand was hovering over them giving them protection and strength and comfort.

 

During this time, Diocletian the Emperor began to torture and kill the Christians who refused to worship his idols. When Mark was invited to kneel before the statutes and offer incense, he refused initially. However, Diocletian was able to convince Mark by promising to give him a higher position in the Roman Empire. When Saint Demiana heard that her father had knelt before the idols, she left the palace immediately going to her father with tears and grief.  When Saint Demiana saw her father, she bravely said “What is it that I heard about you? I would have preferred to hear about your death rather than to hear that you have renounced your faith to worship gods made by hands and forsaken God who created you from non-existence into being. If you do not return to your first faith and renounce the worship of stones, you are not my father and I am not your daughter” and left him astounded.

Mark was greatly moved by the words of his daughter and he wept bitterly repenting of his sin of denying Christ. He immediately went to Diocletian and confessed the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Emperor could not convince him with threats and promises, he ordered Mark beheaded.

When the Emperor learned that it was Mark’s daughter who turned him way from worshipping the idols, the Emperor sent a prince to try to first gently convince Saint Demiana to worship idols. The prince went to her with two hundred soldiers and the instruments of torture. When the prince arrived at Saint Demiana’s palace, he said to her “I am a messenger sent from the Emperor Diocletian. I came to call upon you according to the Emperor’s orders, to worship his gods, so that he can grant you all that you desire.”

Saint Demiana zealously exclaimed May God denounce the messenger and the one by whom he was sent. Don’t you have any shame at all to call stones and wood as gods, which are inhabited by devils? There is no god in heaven or on earth except one God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Eternal Creator, the Everlasting, who is everywhere, who knows all the secrets, and who can cast you in hell and into the everlasting torment.

As for me, I am the maidservant of my Master and my Savior Jesus Christ
                             And His Good Father and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity.                              

In Him I confess,
   Upon Him I depend,
In His Name I die,
  By Him I live forever.”

 

The prince became exceedingly angry and ordered her to be placed in a torture machine squeezing her body until her blood poured on the ground. The forty virgins were standing watching and weeping over her sufferings. When they put Saint Demiana in prison after torturing her, the Angel of the Lord appeared touching her body and healing her of all her wounds.

The prince continued to use all kinds of tortures he could possibly imagine to inflict pain upon Saint Demiana; one time by tearing her flesh and another time by boiling her in crude oil. Through all afflictions and sufferings, the Lord healed her completely. When the prince became weary seeing that all his attempts were in vain, he gave the order to behead her head and the forty virgins with her. Thus, they all received the crowns of martyrdom.

 

Although Saint Demiana’s life occurred more than 2000 years ago, she is still exemplified in our lives.

+ She remained steadfast and faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ
+ Through unceasing prayers she endured the tortures and pain
+ She stood firm an
d in the end was crowned
+ Her stance against her father’s weakness is quiet admirable; she put aside all family attachments and concentrated on the main goal: saving her father's lost soul.

In the first few centuries of Christianity, Christians were tortured and executed for their faith. Today, Christians are attacked, ridiculed, and mocked throughout life in such places as school and work, especially in a changing world where everything is relative and all things are accepted as politically correct.

Standing steadfast, holding on to the Lord Jesus Christ and His teachings, and always keeping the faith in our Savior will deliver us from these temptations, and we too will be crowned at the end.

"Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer … and you will have tribulation … be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Rev 2:10).

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