Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

The Life of Saint Demiana

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A man named Marcos lived in Egypt toward the end of the third century. Marcos was the ruler of several districts in Egypt and Marcos had only one daughter, who he called Demiana. Saint Demiana was very beautiful both from within and without. Saint Demianas beauty and good character were legendary. Marcos loved his daughter deeply, and he did his best to raise her in a true Christian manner.

Saint Demiana loved God, loved to pray, and loved to read the Holy Books in the seclusion of her room. In fact, Saint Demiana often cried while praying because she felt the love of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ filling her heart.

When Saint Demiana was old enough, her father wanted her to get married to one of his noble friends. However, Saint Demiana refused because she gave herself up as a bride to the Lord Jesus Christ, and she intended to live without marriage all her life. Saint Demiana did not want to marry because she wanted to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Saint Demiana asked her father to build a house for her on the outskirts of the city so that she could live in it as a nun. Saint Demiana wanted a house far away from the city so that she could live away from the world and its temptations.

Marcos, knowing his daughters deep desire for a righteous life, reluctantly decided to grant Saint Demianas wish and built her a large palace. Saint Demiana, always faithful, changed the palace into a convent and lived in it with forty of her friends. The girls were all virgins and the Lords hand was with them, giving them strength and comfort.

During this time, Diocletian the Emperor began to torture and kill the Christians who refused to worship his idols. When Marcos was invited to kneel before the statutes and offer incense, he refused. However, Diocletian was able to convince Marcos by promising to give him a higher position in the Roman Empire.

"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41).

When Saint Demiana heard that her father had knelt before the idols, she left the palace immediately and went to her father very sad. Saint Demiana did not greet her father. Instead, she said, What is it that I heard about you? I would have preferred to hear about your death rather than to hear that you have renounced your faith and forsaken God who created you from non-existence into being, to worship gods made by hands. If you do not return to your first faith and renounce the worship of stones, you are not my father and I am not your daughter, and she left him.

Marcos was greatly moved by the words of his daughter and he wept bitterly. Marcos went to Diocletian and confessed the Lord Jesus Christ. When the emperor could not convince him with threats and promises, he ordered him beheaded.

"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to love those who love Him" (James 1:12).

When the Emperor learned that it was Marcos daughter who turned Marcos away from worshipping the idols, the Emperor sent a prince to try to first gently convince her to worship idols, and if she disobeyed, to behead her. The prince went to her with two hundred soldiers and the instruments of torture. When the prince arrived at Saint Demianas palace, he said to her, I am a messenger sent from the Emperor Diocletian. I came to call upon you according to the Emperors orders, to worship his gods, so that he can grant you all that you want. Saint Demiana shouted in his face saying, May God denounce the messenger and the one by whom he was sent. Dont you have any shame at all to call stones and wood gods, which are inhabited by devils? There is no god in heaven or on earth except one God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Eternal Creator, the Everlasting, who is everywhere, who knows all the secrets, and who can cast you in hell into the everlasting torment. As for me, I am the maidservant of my Master and my Savior Jesus Christ, and his Good Father and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity. Him I confess and upon Him I depend, and in His Name I die, and by Him I live forever.

The prince became exceedingly angry and ordered her to be placed in the Hinbaseen (the squeezing press), until her blood poured out of her body on the ground. The virgins were standing, weeping over her. When they put her in prison, the Angel of the Lord appeared to her, touched her body with his illumined wings, and she was healed of all her wounds. The prince used all his evil imagination to torture Saint Demiana, once by tearing her flesh and another time by placing her in boiling oil. Through it all, the Lord raised her up safely. When the prince saw that all his attempts were in vain, before the steadfastness of this pure virgin he ordered her beheaded, and all the other virgins with her. Thus, they all received the crowns of martyrdom.

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues: And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my names sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved" (Matthew 10:16-22).

Saint Demiana was always faithful to our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and through prayer she was able to endure the torture and pain. Throughout her life, Saint Demiana stood firm and in the end, she was crowned. Her stand against her fathers weakness is quiet admirable; she put aside all family attachments and concentrated on the main goal: saving a lost soul.

In the first few centuries of Christianity, Christians were tortured and executed for their faith. Today, Christians are attacked, ridiculed, and mocked throughout life in such places as school and work. Standing steadfast, holding on to the Lord Jesus Christ, and always maintaining faith in the Lord Jesus Christ the Savior will deliver us from these temptations, and we too will be crowned at the end.

"Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Rev 2:10).

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