The Holy Martyress Helikonida

Commemorated on May 28

      The Holy Martyress Helikonida lived during the III Century in the city of Thessalonika. During a time of persecution against the followers of Christ, Saint Helikonida arrived in the city of Corinth and began to urge the pagans to give up serving senseless idols and instead worship the One True God, the Creator of the universe. She was arrested for this preaching and brought before the governor Perinaus, who both by flattery and by threats in vain attempted to persuade the saint to offer sacrifice to idols. The holy martyress was subjected to tortures, but she bravely endured them. They then threw her into an hot furnace, but she emerged from it unharmed, because an Angel of the Lord had cooled the flames. Thinking the saint a "sorceress", the governor pondered over new torments for her. From her head they began to tear at the skin, and to burn at her breast and head with fire. And having halted the torture, the judge again attempted to urge Saint Helikonida to offer sacrifice to the idols, promising her honours and the title of priestess. Suddenly the saint appeared to consent, and with merriment the pagan-priests and the people led her to the pagan-temple amidst the sounds of trumpet and drum and, at the request of the saint, they left her there alone. But Saint Helikonida, filled with an heroic strength, cast down and smashed all the idols. Having waited a long while, the pagan-priests went into their temple. Seeing the destruction, they went into a vicious rage and cursed at the holy virgin with shouts of: "Put the sorceress to death!" They began to beat the holy martyress, and then they threw her into prison, where she spent 5 days. In prison Christ the Saviour together with the holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel appeared to the holy martyress and healed her of her wounds. Finally, they despatched the saint for tearing-apart by wild beasts. They set loose upon her three hungry lions, but the beasts came up to the martyress meekly and lay down at her feet. The pagan mob shouted and demanded "Death to the sorceress". But at this point the lions pounced up from the arena and jumped at the people, who fled in terror. Not knowing what else to do, the governor gave orders to cut off the head of Saint Helikonida. The saint went with joy to execution and heard a Voice, summoning her to the Heavenly habitations. Her body was reverently buried by Christians.
      Her end transpired in the year 244.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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