FullSizeRenderVirginmartyr Cecilia of Rome

November 22

Saint Cecilia was born in Rome to wealthy and illustrious parents who raised her in the Christian faith. Despite her prosperous upbringing, Cecilia prayed fervently, helping those in need and wore a hairshirt beneath her clothing. From a young age, she vowed to preserve her virginity, however her parents decided to give her in marriage. Not daring to oppose the will of her parents, Cecilia consented to marry the pagan Valerian. She prayed, however, that the Lord might convert her future husband and that He send an angel to preserve her virginity. On their marriage night, Cecilia told her husband that an angel was protecting her and if he dared to touch her, he would be slain. Her husband asked to see this angel, but Cecilia explained that he would only be able to see after he be cleansed of his impurity and unbelief. She explained that he would need to be baptised, and so Valerian visited the Bishop Urban who converted him, along with Valerian’s bother, Tiburtius. The brothers distributed part of their inheritance to the poor and cared for the ill, as well as burying the persecuted Christians. Having been brought to trial by the pagans, the brothers firmly confessed their faith for which they were tortured. One of the torturers, Maximus, was amazed at the steadfastness and serenity of the saints, and asked why they were not afraid of death. The martyrs preached Christ to him, and he was converted and baptised along with his whole family. The next day, the two brother martyrs were beheaded and Maximus was scourged to death for his confession. Wishing to confiscate the dead men’s property, the governor found that Cecilia had already distributed their possessions to the poor, having converted 400 men on the way. She was tortured for three days and then taken to be beheaded. The executioner struck the saint thrice with a sword, but could only wound her. The Holy Virgin Martyr lived three more days, preaching to those around her, and then died with prayer on her lips. Saint Cecilia is considered the patron saint of musicians.

Ἀπολυτίκιον
Ἦχος γ’. Θείας πίστεως.
Θείων τρόπων σου, τῇ ἐπιλάμψει, πρὸς ἀείζωον, εἴλκυσας φέγγος, τὴν αὐτάδελφον δυάδα καὶ σύναυλον, καὶ σὺν αὐτοῖς Κικιλία ἀθλήσασα, τῆς θείας δόξης ὁμοῦ ἠξιώθητε. Μεθ’ ὧν πρέσβευε, δοθῆναι τοῖς εὐφημοῦσί σε, πταισμάτων ἱλασμὸν καὶ μέγα ἔλεος.

Κοντάκιον.
Ἦχος δ’. Ὁ ὑψωθεὶς ἐν τῷ Σταυρῷ.
Τὴν νυμφευθεῖσαν, τῷ Χριστῷ ἑκουσίως, καὶ στολισθεῖσαν, ἀρεταῖς τὴν καρδίαν, θεοπρεπῶς ὑμνήσωμεν Πιστῶν ἡ πληθύς· αὕτη γὰρ κατήσχυνεν, Ἀλμακίου τὸ θράσος, λάμψασα ὡς ἥλιος, μέσον τῶν ἐκζητούντων, καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα ὤφθη τοῖς ἐν γῇ, στήριγμα θεῖον, τὴν πίστιν κρατύνασα.