紀念日 / Memorial date
Saint Irene, the Great Martyr
The holy Great Martyr Irene of Thessaloniki was born in the city of Magedon in Persia during the fourth century. She was the daughter of the pagan king Licinius, and her parents named her Penelope.
Penelope was beautiful, and her father kept her isolated in a high tower from the time she was six so that she would not be exposed to Christianity. An old tutor, Apellian, was assigned to give her the best education. Apellian was a Christian, and he told the girl about Christ the Savior and taught her the Christian Faith and the Christian virtues.
Through a divine revelation she was brought to faith in Christ and at Baptism was renamed Irene. The name Irene means peace. In her zeal for piety, she broke in pieces all the idols of her father, who commanded that she be trampled underfoot by horses. But while she remained unharmed, one of the horses rose up and cast down her father, killing him. By her prayer, she raised him to life again, and he believed and was baptized.
Afterwards, in many preaching journeys, Saint Irene suffered torments and punishments for her faith but was preserved by the power of God, while working dread miracles and converting many thousands of souls.
In the city of Callinicus, she was arrested again and tortured by the pagan authorities. She was placed into three bronze oxen which were heated by fire, but miraculously she remained uninjured. Thousands of idolaters embraced Christianity upon seeing the miracle.
By 330, the Persian king Sapor II (309-379) had heard of St. Irene’s great miracles. To prevent her from winning more people to Christ, she was arrested, beheaded, and then buried. However, God sent an angel to raise her up again, and she went into the city of Mesembria. After seeing her alive and hearing her preach, the local king was baptized with many of his subjects.
At last, she came to Ephesus. The Lord revealed to her that the end of her life was approaching. On the outskirts of the town, she found a new tomb. After making the Sign of the Cross, she went inside, telling her companions to close the entrance to the cave with a large stone. Two days after her death, her gravestone was found lifted off, and her grave empty.
According to the Western Martyrologies, Saint Irene was martyred in Thessaloniki after being thrown into the fire, while according to the Menologion of Emperor Basil II, Saint Irene completed her martyric contest by being beheaded. And as St. Nikolai says in the Prologue: “Thus, St. Irene, by her suffering and miracles converted over one-hundred thousand pagans to the Faith of Christ.”
St Irene is one of the twelve Virgin Martyrs who appeared to St Seraphim of Sarov (commemorated January 2) and the Diveyevo nun Eupraxia on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1831 AD.
Hymns / Troparion (Fourth tone)
O Jesus, your lamb Irene cries out to You with great love: O my Bridegroom, I long for You in great pain. I am crucified with you, and in baptism I am buried with You. I suffer for your sake in order to reign with You. I die for You in order to live in You. Accept me as an immaculate victim since I am immolated for your love. Through her intercession, O merciful One, save our souls.
Hymns / Kontakion (Third tone)
Anointed with the sweetness of virginity, you were beautiful in your martyrdom, O virgin Irene. Robed in crimson from your blood, you exposed the lies of the godless. For this the Creator crowned you in triumph.