Virgin-martyrs Domna and 20,000 Martyrs burned in Nicomedia

December 28

Saint Domna lived during the time of the persecution of Christians by Maximian in Nicomedia. She was a pagan priestess in the royal palace, however she in a way managed to obtain a copy of the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of Saint Paul. Having read these, her heart burned with longing to learn more about the Christian faith. She secretly went with a young Christian girl to the Bishop, Saint Anthimus, who taught them about Christ and baptised them. Domna then began to serve the poor, giving away her valuables as well as food from the imperial palace. When it was found out that she was giving away the palace’s food, she was beaten in order to confess her deeds, but she remained silent. She was then locked up in prison to die from starvation, but an angel attended to her and she survived. After this, she left for a monastery where the Abbess immediately upon hearing her story, dressed her in a monk’s clothes so that she might be disguised. Eventually she was found out and the emperor sent soldiers to destroy the monastery. Some nuns, including Domna, fled, but some were taken to prison and were beaten severely. Domna lived for much time in a cave in the wilderness, surviving off plants. She eventually returned to the city only to find that 20,000 martyrs had been burned alive in a church, refusing to come out and offer sacrifice to the idols. She wept for a long time considering herself unworthy as she did not suffer with the martyrs. She found some of the bodies of the martyrs along the sea shore and reverently buried them. She daily burned incense before the graves of the martyrs and constantly recited prayers. When this was discovered by the emperor, he ordered that she be executed. Thus, the Virgin Martyr Domna was beheaded and earned herself the double crown of virginity and martyrdom.

Ἀπολυτίκιον
῏Ηχος γ’. Θείας πίστεως.
Δόμναν ᾄσμασιν ἐπευφημοῦμεν, νύμφην πάνσεμνον, τοῦ Θεανθρώπου, τῆς παρθενίας τὸ εὐῶδες κειμήλιον· Χριστομαρτύρων σεπτὸν ἐγκαλλώπισμα, καὶ ᾽Εκκλησίας ἀγλάϊσμα ἔνθεον. Αὕτη ἔλαβε, τὸ στέφος τῆς ἁγιότητος, καὶ δόξαν ἐκ Τριάδος τὴν αἰώνιον.
Κοντάκιον
Ἦχος β’. Τὰ ἄνω ζητῶν.
Εἰδώλων θεούς, ἠρνήθης Δόμνα ἔνδοξε, Χριστὸν δὲ Θεόν, τὸν κόσμον λυτρωσάμενον, ἐπιγνοῦσα ἔσπευσας, ὑπὲρ Αὐτοῦ τυθῆναι ὡς σφάγιον· σὺν χοροῖς δὲ μαρτύρων ἀεί, πρεσβεύεις Κυρίῳ, ὑπὲρ πάντων ἡμῶν.

Troparion — Tone 2
Blessed is the earth that received your blood, Domna, passion-bearer of the Lord, / and holy is the dwelling place which received your spirit. / You triumphed over the enemy in the stadium / and you preached Christ with boldness. / Since He is good, we pray that you beseech Him to save our souls.
Kontakion — Tone 1
Their souls strengthened by faith, the twenty thousand martyrs accepted their suffering by fire, / and cried out to You, the One born of the Virgin: / “Like gold, myrrh, and frankincense, the gifts of the Persian kings, / receive our whole burnt offering, O Eternal God.”