Christina of Tyre
Saint Christina lived during the third century. She was born into a wealthy family. Her father was a general named Urban. Christina was graced with great beauty and many men asked her father for her hand in marriage. He refused their offers because he wished for her to become a pagan priestess and so he locked her in a tower where he had set up idols and ordered her to offer incense to them.
In her solitude, Christina meditated on the beauty of creation and the therefore infinite beauty of its Creator. From her tower, she was delighted by the stars of the heavens, and was convinced that the voiceless and inanimate idols in her room could not create anything, being themselves created by human hands. She began to pray to the One God with tears, entreating Him to reveal Himself. Her soul blazed with love for the Unknown God, and she intensified her prayer all the more, combining it with fasting.
God revealed Himself to Christina through an angel, who instructed her in the true faith in Christ. The angel, called her a bride of Christ and told her that she would suffer for her faith. Christina smashed all the idols in her room and threw them out the window. Shortly thereafter, Christina’s father visited her and questioned her about the whereabouts of the idols. She remained silent. Her father then learnt that Christina had destroyed the idols from her servants.
In a rage, Christina’s father began to slap her face. At first, she was quiet, but then she told her father about her faith in the One True God, and that she had destroyed the idols with her own hands. Her father gave orders to kill all the servants who had attended his daughter, and he fiercely beat Christina and threw her in prison. Having learned about what had happened, Christina's mother came crying to her daughter’s cell and urged her to renounce Christ. However, Christina remained unyielding. The next day, her father brought Christina to trial and ordered that she worship the pagan gods and ask forgiveness for her sins. Instead, she gave a firm and steadfast confession of her faith in Christ.
Her father ordered that Christina be tied to an iron wheel, beneath which was lit a fire. Her body, turning round on the wheel, was scorched on all sides. She was then thrown back into prison.
That night, an angel, appeared and healed her wounds and strengthened her with food. Seeing her unharmed, her father gave orders to drown her in the sea. A large stone was tied around her and she was cast into the ocean. However, the stone sunk to the bottom and she miraculously came out of the water and reappeared before her father. Her father ascribed this event to sorcery, and he decided to execute her in the morning. However, that same night, he suddenly died.
Governor Dion was sent in his place. Dion ordered Christina to renounce Christ, but seeing her unyielding firmness, he again subjected her to many tortures. She was then thrown back into prison where Dion thought she would eventually perish. However, people began to flock to her, and she converted about 300 people to the true faith in Christ.
In place of Dion, a new governor, Julian, arrived and resumed Christina’s torture. Julian ordered that she be locked in a red-hot furnace. After five days the furnace was opened and Christina was found alive and unharmed. Seeing this miracle, many came to believe in Christ the Savior.
Saint Christina gave up her soul after her heart, which so fervently loved Christ, was pierced by soldiers' lances.
Apolytikion - Tone 5
Your lamb Christina, O Jesus, Calls out to You in a loud voice: I love You, O my bridegroom, And in seeking You, I endure suffering. In Baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, And died so that I might live with You. Accept me as a pure sacrifice, For I have offered myself in love. By her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.
Kontakion - Tone 4
O Venerable Christina, You appeared as a shining dove, With a pair of golden wings Alighting in the Highest Heavens. Therefore we celebrate your glorious feast And bow before the place that holds your relics. Pray that we may receive grace and healing for body and soul.