Virgin Martyr Seraphima (Serapia) of Antioch

The Holy Virgin Martyr Seraphima, a native of Antioch, lived in Rome in the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138). She resided with Sabina, a woman from a prominent senatorial family, whom the saint had converted to Christianity. During the persecution against Christians ordered by the Emperor, the governor Virilus had Saint Seraphima brought before him for questioning. Wishing to obtain a crown of martyrdom from the Lord, she went fearlessly to face Virilus, and her devoted friend Sabina accompanied her. When he saw that illustrious lady, Virilus at first set the maiden free, but after several days he summoned Saint Seraphima once again and began the trial.

The governor insisted that she honor the pagan gods and offer sacrifice, but she boldly confessed her faith in the one true God, Jesus Christ. Then Virilus gave her to two shameless young men of Egyptian descent so they could defile her. Saint Seraphima begged the Lord to protect her. Suddenly there was an earthquake, and the two men fell to the ground paralyzed and unable to speak. On the following day the governor learned that his plan had failed. Believing that the saint was a sorceress, Virilus told her to restore the young men to health so that they could relate what had happened to them.

After praying to the Lord, Saint Seraphima ordered the men to stand up. They got up at once and informed the governor that an Angel of the Lord had shielded the saint, and prevented them from approaching her. The cruel governor did not believe his servants, and he continued to urge Saint Seraphima to offer sacrifice to the idols. The holy martyr remained steadfast, however, even when they burned her with flaming torches and mercilessly beat her with sticks. Then harsh punishment overtook the governor. Splinters from the sticks with which the saint was beaten, struck him in his right eye, and after three days the tormentor became blind. Powerless before the unyielding Christian, Virilus ordered her to be beheaded. Sabina buried the body of her holy mentor with all due honor and reverence.