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Born: Late 200s
Died: 304
FEast: Dec. 25th
Patron of:  
weavers, textile industry, against poisons, against drowning

St. Anastasia

Bio

 

St. Anastasia was born to a pagan nobleman and a Christian mother in Sirmium, an area which is now Serbia and was under Roman rule at the time. Her mother baptized her and secretly raised her as a Christian, as well. When she was older, she was married to another non-Christian named Publius who was a loving husband - until he discovered that she was a Christian. He immediately changed completely and would chain her up, beat her, and mistreat her, instructing his servants to do the same while he was away as ambassador to Persia. However, his boat sank and he drowned on one journey, setting Anastasia free.

She immediately began again to visit Christians in prison, freeing captives, and distributing her wealth and possessions to the poor and suffering. During this time, she wrote letters to St. Chrysogonus who had encouraged her while held in slavery by her husband. He was now in prison, and she went to him and cared for him until he was beheaded for never denying his faith. All Christians in the prisons had been tortured repeatedly until Emperor Diocletian ordered them all be killed in one night. St. Chrysogonus' body was found the next day by a man named Zoilus who wrote to Anastasia that Chrysogonus appeared to him in a dream asking her to encourage three sisters who would be martyred in a few days' time. Anastasia visited the sisters who were indeed tortured and killed soon after.

Her own time was approaching, though, as she had been traveling from city to city administering to and healing prisoners. She was discovered weeping over an empty prison - knowing what had happened to the inmates - and arrested. 

Brought before pagan priest Upian after other officials had ben unable to scare her with torture, Upian offered her riches and torture devices and gave her the choice to deny her faith. She would not, and chose torture. He asked her to reconsider, and tried other methods of persuasion, but when he tried to rape her, he was immediately struck blind and died shortly after.

 

Freed again, Anastasia and her companion Theodota and Theodota's sons began to minister again to prisoners until Theodota was herself martyred, and Anastasia arrested again. This time, she was put in jail to suffer starvation, but, miraculously, she survived without any food. Enraged that the jailer had disobeyed his orders, he assumed, the prefect transferred her to another prison, but survived again without any food.

Finally, the prefect ordered she be put on a boat with other prisoners that had holes drilled in it so that they would all drown. However, the boat made it safely to land, and all prisoners on board converted to Christianity believing Anastasia had performed the miracle.  They were all baptized by her, and taken to an island to finally be put to death.

 

There, St. Anastasia was stretched between four pillars and burned alive. Her relics were taken to Constantinople, and later transferred to Greece.

Prayer

 

So many wish us ill, wish to use us as objects, or think we can be what they want us to be. Others & Life can pull us down. You knew this well, & showed us the only cure is lifting the suffering of others. people try to drown us for that love we give. But you fought and gave dignity to so many other lives. Grant us the bravery to do the same.
Amen.

Art Reflection

 

This portrait was painted after one of my roommates as my main reference. A student in a fashion design major, she not only needed a patron of textiles but she also had suffered at the hands of a complicated relationship. Like Anastasia, though, she had remained true to herself and survived it. I wanted her expression to be quietly contented while also showing determination in her eyes because St. Anastasia did not fear death more than she feared not being able to fulfill her mission, and her joy was in being able to do so.

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