Saint Anysia, a devout Christian, lived in Thessalonica during Emperor Maximian’s rule (284-305). Following her parents’ demise, who had instilled in her deep Christian faith, Anysia sold all her possessions and gave the proceeds to the poor. She then embarked on a life marked by fasting, vigil, and prayer.

Anysia was deeply passionate about her faith. She often reflected on the transitory nature of youth, expressing a preference for old age and lamenting the temporal distance from the afterlife. She was wary even of sleep, seeing it as a vulnerability against her spiritual ‘enemy’.

Emperor Maximian, during his reign, intensified the persecution of Christians. He issued a decree allowing the killing of Christians without any legal repercussions. This led to widespread violence and the deaths of many Christians in various places.

An incident occurred when Anysia was on her way to church. A pagan soldier confronted her, insisting she participate in a sun festival and offer sacrifices. Anysia refused and tried to leave, but the soldier aggressively tried to remove her veil. In a bold act of defiance, she pushed him away, spat in his face, and proclaimed her allegiance to Jesus Christ.

This act of resistance infuriated the soldier, who then killed her with his sword. Onlookers who gathered around her body mourned her death and openly criticized the emperor for his harsh decree, which had led to the loss of many innocent lives. Christians later buried Anysia near the city gates and erected a chapel over her grave to honor her martyrdom.

Photo credit: Dr. med. Detlef Bihn via Wikimedia Commons

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