Wednesday, December 30, 2009

St. Anysia, Martyr

Anysia lived in Thessalonica, an ancient city to which St. Paul himself had first brought the faith of Jesus. Born to a wealthy and pious family, Anysia lived private vows of chastity and poverty. Anysia was a Christian and after her parents' death, she used her great fortune to help the poor.

In her day, there was a cruel persecution of Christians in Thessalonica. The Governor Dulcitius was especially determined to stop all Christians from meeting together for Holy Mass. But Anysia started out one day to try to go to a Christian meeting. As she passed a certain gate, called Cassandra, a guard took notice of her. Stepping out in front of her, he demanded to know where she was going. Frightened, Anysia stepped backwards, making the sign of the cross on her forehead.

At that, the soldier grabbed her and shook her roughly. "Who are you?" he shouted. "And where are you going?" Anysia took a deep breath and replied, "I am a servant of Jesus Christ," she said. "And I am going to the Lord's assembly."

"Oh yes?!" sneered the guard. "I will stop that. I will take you to sacrifice to the gods. Today we worship the sun." At the same time, he snatched off the veil that hung over her face as a sign of her chastity. Anysia put up a good struggle, and the pagan grew more and more furious. Finally in a rage, he drew his sword and ran it through her. The Saint fell dead at his feet.

When the persecution ended, the Christians of Thessalonica built a church over the spot where St. Anysia had given her life for Christ. Anysia died around 304.

2 comments: