The Story of the Christian Martyr Saint Philomena
The legends of the martyrs, who suffered and died on behalf of Jesus Christ, always impress people with the cruelty of the tormentors and the fortitude of the saints being healed of even the most severe wounds through sincere faith and prayer. In this blog post, we want to tell you the story of a 13-year-old virgin and martyr, Saint Philomena.
The story of the Christian martyr Saint Philomena
Saint Philomena was born into a wealthy Christian family in Greece. Since childhood, she learned to develop faith and love for God thanks to her parents. At the age of 5, the girl received Holy Communion, and at the age of 11, she decided to dedicate her life completely to Christ.
The terrible story of her martyrdom is related to Emperor Diocletian who was an enemy of the Christian faith. When Philomena’s parents took their daughter to Rome to negotiate with the emperor, the latter, being fascinated by the beauty and purity of the 13-year-old girl, expressed a desire to marry her. However, Philomena refused his proposal since she had already made a vow to Jesus Christ. After her refusal, Diocletian got furious and subjected the girl to terrible suffering. He ordered her to be locked up in a dungeon without food and water, where he tortured her in devious ways for 40 days.
However, after each torture, no matter how terrible and severe it was, the girl remained alive due to the angels and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who appeared to her to heal all her wounds.
Eventually, the cruel emperor, who decided that Philomena was a sorceress, ordered her beheaded. This happened on August 10, 302.
The relics of Saint Philomena, which were found in the Catacombs of Priscilla in Italy in 1802, were buried in a tomb engraved with symbols of her torment. These were a palm branch, three arrows, an anchor, a whip, and a lily flower, the main symbol of the saint’s purity and innocence. An ampoule of Philomena’s blood collected at the time of her death was also found with her relics. St. Philomena’s relics have been kept at the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena in the province of Avellino, Italy since 1805.
The image of the martyr in Christian art
In sacral art, Saint Philomena is usually depicted as a young girl with a wreath on her head and with her hands resting on the chest. Sometimes, lilies or symbols of her torment – arrows and an anchor – can be seen beside her.
Stay with us to learn more interesting stories about the saints and their relics!