Virgin and Martyr
The holy virgin Euphrasia lived in Nicomedia during the reign of Maximian. She was of noble origin, beautiful and virtuous, and faithfully served Jesus Christ. Idolaters seized her and demanded that she sacrifice to demons, but she refused. They flogged her mercilessly; however, they could not break her resolve. Finally, they turned her over to a barbarian, and he took her to his home, intending to rape her. On the way, she prayed silently and ceaselessly to her most pure Bridegroom, Christ the Lord, beseeching Him to preserve her undefiled. Entering the house, the loathsome barbarian ordered her into his room. Euphrasia asked him to wait a moment before he ravished her, because she wished to give him a plant with miraculous power.
“If you wear this sprout on your person, no one can harm you,” she said, hoping to mislead him into thinking she was a sorceress.
“Give it to me later,” replied the barbarian.
“The plant is powerless if touched by a woman who has lost her virginity,” she explained.
The barbarian agreed to let her go into the garden, where she broke off a sprig. She showed it to him, and he asked, “How will I know if you are telling the truth?”
Euphrasia held the sprout against her neck and said: “Strike my neck with a two-handed sword as hard as you can. You will not harm me at all.” The barbarian fetched a sword and brought it down with all his might, decapitating her. Too late, the imbecile realized he had been outwitted, and gnashed his teeth furiously. The wise virgin, who preferred to die rather than be sullied, departed to her Bridegroom Christ, providing us a wondrous example of chastity.
The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints by St. Dimitry of Rostov