Monday, July 07, 2008

Saint Κυριακή (Kyriaki)


It's my Name Day today - we who name children and newly baptised converts after Saints all have the feast day of the Saint whose name we bear to celebrate. My patron Saint/namesake Saint (both are true) is St Kyriaki, which means 'belongs to the Lord'. It's also the Greek word for Sunday - the Lord's day - and my priest calls me Sunday a lot. He's the one person in the world who gets away with it. In Latin it's Dominica (where the name Dominique comes from) and in slavic languages it's Nedelja.

I'll post what I did for it later - but here's my post honouring her, anyway, which is what the focus of today should be.

First, here's her story:
During the reign of the adversaries of Christ, Emperor Diocletian and his son-in-law Maximian, there lived in Anatolia two pious and elderly souls, Dorotheus and Eusebia. They were devout Christians, wealthy but childless. Unceasing in prayer they obtained a child from God, this holy Kyriaki. From her childhood, Kyriaki consecrated herself to God restraining from everything that unruly children do. When she matured, beautiful in body and soul, many suitors came to ask for her hand in marriage but she refused them all saying that she betrothed herself to Christ the Lord and that she desires nothing more than to die as a virgin. One of the rejected suitors denounced Kyriaki and her parents to Emperor Diocletian as being Christians. The emperor ordered that Kyriaki's parents be tortured and after torturing them banished them to the town of Melitene where they died enduring much suffering for Christ. Diocletian, however, sent Kyriaki to Maximian to stand trial. As Kyriaki confirmed her faith in Christ before Maximian, he ordered that she be placed on the ground and flogged with oxen whips. After that, the emperor handed her over to the commanders, at first Hilarion and then, after his death, to Apollonius. Both of them tortured Kyriaki in a beastly manner in all possible ways but all was in vain. When St. Kyriaki lay in the prison cell, completely covered with wounds, Christ the Lord appeared to her, healed her and said: "Kyriaki, do not be afraid of torture, My grace is with you." And truly, the Grace of Christ saved this martyr both from fire and from wild beasts from which the godless judges thought that she would certainly meet death. Seeing the miraculous salvation of Kyriaki from so many deaths, many pagans believed in Christ. However, they were all beheaded. Kyriaki said to Apollonius: "In no manner can you turn me away from my Faith. If you throw me into the fire, I have an example in the Three Youths [Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego]; if you throw me before wild beasts, I have an example in Daniel the Prophet; if you toss me into the sea, I have an example in Jonah the Prophet; if you give me over to the sword, I will remember the honorable Forerunner [John the Baptist]; life for me is to die for Christ." Then Apollonius ordered that Kyriaki be beheaded. Kyriaki knelt on her knees, raised her hands to heaven and prayed to God that He would have mercy and save all those who would celebrate her memory and to 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 on her head. Kyriaki suffered honorably and was received into eternal joy in the year 289 A.D. in Nicomedia.

The only child, Saint Kyriaki,
Her parents, for the Faith died
Parents; God's saints.
The orphan, Saint Kyriaki,
What she possessed, to the poor she gave,
Only body and garment remained
And that, she sacrificed for Christ,
Kyriaki, as the dew, pure,
To be bribed by anything, did not allow,
To be lured by anyone, did not allow
Neither to be frightened by anything did allow.
But to suffering as to a wedding goes
Severe sufferings and deep wounds,
But sweet is the Name of Jesus!
Bitter pains, harsh humiliations,
But sweet is eternal reigning!
Her entire body, with red blood,
But the joy of Paradise is sweet!
O Kyriaki, God's chosen one,
And for Christ, wonderful martyr,
With a sword from the earth you were driven,
Wedded in glory, in heaven you were
Teach us the Faith to honor,
Encourage us, our life to give for her [the Faith],
By your prayers, help us
Wonderful candle, amidst the candles of Paradise.

(both from the Prologue From Ohrid by St Nikolai Velimirovic - the poem seems a little odd because it was originally written in Serbian. The icon is by the nuns of the convent of St Elizabeth in California)

20 comments:

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What a wonderful saint to be named after!

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