Saint of the Month
St. Julian of Antioch
Julian of Antioch was born in the 3rd century to a rich and respected Roman family. At the age of 18, when forced by his parents to marry a young woman from Antioch, Basilissa, he agreed with her that they should preserve their virginity. For many years the married couple lived peacefully, although they did not demonstrate their faith openly in order not to hurt their parents. When their parents died, Julian and Basilissa devoted themselves solely to spiritual life. Julian established a monastery, and Basilissa a nunnery. Basilissa died shortly afterward and many years later she was canonized.
During the persecution of Christians under Emperor Diocletian, Julian provided shelter to church hierarchs in his house-monastery.
Subsequently, he was reported to governor Martian. Even his noble origin could not protect Julian from arrest and torture. Still, owing to the power of his faith, managed to convert more than 20 Roman soldiers in prison. Upon learning this, Martian ordered heinous tortures for Julian and had him thrown into a pit with vipers and scorpions. According to the legend, the animals did not hurt him, which helped convert even more soldiers. Martian then ordered an immediate execution. Julian and Basilissa were martyred around 305.
Julian and Basilissa’s relics were preserved in Chile, Piemont. They were probably transferred from Syria during the Arabic invasion or when Emperor Leo III the Isaurian ordered destroying of saints’ relics (ca.741).
Feast day: January 9th
Reference: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives
By some accounts, Julian of Antioch was executed by drowning. The first mention of rescuing drowning people can be found in the Bible, in the Fourth Book of Kings. The Romans used to say that a civilized man should know how to read, write, and swim. In Amsterdam, a Society for Rescuing Drowning People was founded in 1767.
In Poland, for many years the Volunteer Water Rescue Service (WOPR) has watched over the safety of people at swimming areas. The WOPR was founded in 1962. Now it has 60,000 rescuers throughout the country.
The WOPR: rescues people in the water.
• ensures the rescuers keep raising their qualifications and stay fit so that they can effectively fulfill their moral and professional obligation of saving lives.
• carries out inspections, evaluating the safety of people at public swimming areas and similar places employing lifeguards.
Ancient Biblical Lands in Today’s World
1. D; 2. F; 3. J; 4. I; 5. H; 6. G; 7. C; 8. E; 9. B; 10. A.
According to the legendary Passion, the story of St. Martina’s martyrdom, she was the daughter of Roman aristocrats. In the Church, she was a deaconess – a woman who vowed to remain unmarried and serve the poor. She lived in rather peaceful times for the Church. Emperor Alexander Severus, who reigned from 222-235, did not encourage his subjects to persecute Christians. He even included Jesus Christ among gods venerated by the emperor’s family. So it is difficult to determine was caused aggression toward Martina. The Passion mentions a love motif in her story. Supposedly, Alexander Severus courted the beautiful Christian, but she rejected him, raising his anger, An old legend holds that the emperor tried to force Martina to make an offering to Apollo and Artemis. Supposedly she brought about phenomena that destroyed the statues and shrines of gods and killed the priests.
Hence, the emperor’s tribunal sentenced her to death. She was thrown to the lions, but the animals didn’t hurt her. The persecutors tried to burn her at the stake, but a heavy rainstorm extinguished the flames. Eventually, she was beheaded, giving witness to the faith.
The cult of St. Martina is linked with Rome. Pope Honorius I (625-639) dedicated a church built on the ruins of the Senate Chancellery at the Roman Forum to her. Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644) “rediscovered” this early Christian saint in 1634.
Feast day: January 30th
Patroness of Rome
Reference: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives
We often say that faith can move mountains, treating these words as just a nice metaphor. Perhaps St. Martina may be an example of this. Even if we do not trust the legend that the power of her faith destroyed large stone statues and temples, we can still admire the perseverance and calm with which she withstood torture. This is the power of faith.
The Christians displayed the particular power of faith in times of great repressions in 303-305, under Emperor Diocletian. One of the victims was St. Juliana of Nicomedia, a virgin, and martyr. She was the only Christian in her family. She refused to marry a high-ranking state official who was a pagan. The husband-to-be denounced her as a Christian and her father – who chaired a tribunal – ordered her to be tortured. When Juliana unfailingly persisted in her faith, he sentenced her to death. Like St. Martina, Juliana accepted the decision calmly, giving her life for the faith.