Saint Parthena was born in the city of Edessa in Macedonia in the 14th century. As was her name, so was her life, for she was a virgin, living in asceticism and modesty.
In about the year 1375, the Turks attacked Edessa, and the citizens of Edessa opposed them with a strong defense. They were strengthened and encourage by Hieromonk Seraphim, who was the parish priest of the cathedral of the Dormition of the Theotokos. But unfortunately the enemy was numerous and well organized.
One of the elders of the town by the name of Peter, who was the father of Saint Parthena, was paid a lot of money by the Pasha to betray the city. The Turks invaded Edessa on December 26, 1375 from the southeastern part, which he guarded, where one of the main bastions of the city was. Immediately they started a battle, they slaughtered and enslaved its inhabitants with plunders and dishonors. They arrested Father Seraphim, and after cruel tortures, they drowned him in a great waterfall.
Saint Parthena’s evil father, then denied Christ and became a muslim. He then handed over his daughter to be the concubine of the Pasha, after having tried to convince her to renounce Christ. When Saint Parthena heard these words of her father, like another Saint Barbara, she shuddered and rebuked with spiritual bravery her miserable father, and confessed that she would never betray her heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Instead of repenting and being remorseful, he became enraged and was like a wild beast. He began to beat the Saint until blood was spilled and she couldn’t feel anything. He then unclothed her and handed her over to the Turks. The soldiers tortured her for three days. Finally she was led naked to a hill and they buried her alive. This hill is still called “Hill of the Virgin”.
O Holy Saint Parthena, please intercede for us all that we be saved!
Apolytikion – Tone 3
Divine offspring, Edessa’s provider, and equal in honor with the renowned Martyrs, Champion who bears the name Parthena, and rebuked the wickedness of your father, with a godly mind you endured the contest for Christ, wherefore intercede for those who honour you, that our sins be remitted and for great mercy.
Kontakion – Tone 3
Celebrating today, is the city of Edessa, your holy memory, Virgin Martyr Parthena, rejoicing for faithfully rearing you in the Lord, singing of the struggle of your martyrdom, which you accomplished courageously, for the glory of Christ all-praised one.
Rejoice, beauty of the people of Edessa, godly minded Parthena, incorrupt bride of Christ; rejoice amusement of the Orthodox, modest Virgin Martyr worthy of wonder.