Virgin Martyr Saint Glykeria at Heraclea and her jailer Martyr Saint Laodicius (+138)

Virgin Martyr Saint GlykeriaFeastday   May 13/26

The Virgin-Martyr Saint Glykeria suffered for Christ as a martyr because of her faith,  in the second century, during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Antoninus (138-161).   She came from an illustrious family, and her father Macarius was a high-ranking Roman official.   Later, the family moved to Trajanopolis, a city of Thrace.

Saint Glykeria parents died when she was young.  Falling in with Christians, she converted to the true Faith, and she visited the church every day.   Sabinus, the prefect of Trajanopolis, received the imperial edict ordering Christians to offer sacrifice to the idols.   So he designated a certain day for the people of the city to worship the idol Zeus.

Saint Glykeria very much wanted to suffer for Christ.   She her fellow Christians what she was about to do, and she begged them to pray that the Lord would give her the strength to go through the sufferings.   On the appointed day Saint Glykeria made the Sign of the Cross on her forehead, and went into the pagan temple.
The saint went up onto a raised spot in the rays of the sun, and removed the veil from her head, so the holy Cross that she traced on her forehead could be seen by everyone there.   She prayed fervently to God to bring the pagans to their senses and destroy the stone idol of Zeus.   All of a sudden thunder was heard, and the statue of Zeus crashed to the floor and smashed into little pieces.

The prefect Sabinus and the pagan priests were all in a rage, and he commanded the people to stone Saint Glykeria, but the stones did not touch her.   So they locked her up in prison, where the Christian priest Philokrates came to Saint Glykeria, and encouraged the martyr in the struggle that she was about to go through.

The next morning, when the tortures had started, suddenly an angel appeared in the midst of the torturers, and they fell to the ground, overcome with terror.   When the vision vanished, Sabinus, who was hardly able to speak, ordered them to throw the saint into prison.

When they shut the door, they securely sealed it with the prefect’s ring.   They made sure that  no one could get to her.    While she was in prison, angels of God brought Saint Glykeria food and drink.   After many days, Sabinus came to the prison and removed the seal.    Then when he went in by the saint, he was shaken when he saw her alive and well.

Sabinus then went to Heraclea in Thrace, and gave orders to bring Saint Glykeria there also. The Christians of Heraclea came out to meet her with Bishop Dometius, and he prayed that the Lord would strengthen the saint to endure martyrdom.
At Heraclea they cast Saint Glykeria into a red-hot furnace, but the fire was extinguished at once.  Then Sabinus, in a mindless rage, gave orders to rip the skin from Saint Glykeria’s head. Then they threw the martyr into prison onto sharp stones.   She prayed unceasingly, and at midnight an angel appeared in the prison and healed her of her wounds.

When the jailer Laodicius came to get Saint Glykeria the next morning, he did not recognize her.   Thinking that the martyr had been taken away, he feared he would be punished for letting her escape.  He wanted to kill himself, but Saint Glykeria stopped him.  Shaken by the miracle, Laodicius believed in the true God, and he entreated the saint to pray that he might suffer and die for Christ with her.
“Follow Christ and you will be saved,” the holy martyr told him.  Saint Laodicius placed upon himself the chains with which the saint was bound, and at the trial he told the prefect and everyone present about the miraculous healing of Saint Glykeria by an angel, then he confessed himself a Christian.

The Martyr of God, Saint Laodicius was then beheaded by the sword.   Christians secretly took up his remains, and reverently buried them.   Saint Glykeria was sentenced to be eaten by wild beasts.   She went to execution with great joy, but the lioness set loose upon the saint meekly crawled up to her and lay at her feet.

Saint Glykeria prayed to the Lord, begging Him to take her to Himself.     She then heard a Voice from Heaven, summoning her to heavenly bliss.   At that moment, another lioness was set loose upon the saint.  It pounced upon the martyr and killed her, but did not tear her apart. Bishop Dometius and the Christians of Heraclea reverently buried the holy Martyr GlyKeria. She suffered for Christ around the year 177.    Our Lord glorified Saint Glykeria with healing myrrh that flowed from her holy relics.
Saint Glykeria, name means “sweetness,” and she now rejoices in the unending sweetness of our Lord’s heavenly Kingdom.

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