St. Ourania icon

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Orthodox icon of Saint Ourania, the Virgin-Martyr.

Commemorated September 1.

Saint Ourania  was one of the forty women virgin martyrs who lived in Adrianoupolis of Thrace, in northeast Greece. They were were disciples of Deacon Ammoun. The names of these glorious Christian women are as follows:Adamantine, Athena, Akrive, Antigone, Arivea, Aspasia, Aphrodite, Dione, Dodone, Elpinike, Erasmia, Erato, Ermeneia, Evterpe, Thaleia, Theanoe, Theano, Theonymphe, Theophane, Kalliroe, Kalliste, Kleio, Kleonike, Kleopatra, Koralia, Lambro, Margarita, Marianthe, Melpomene, Moscho, Ourania, Pandora, Penelope, Polymnia, Polynike, Sapfo, Terpsichore, Troada, Haido, and Harikleia.

During that time, around 305 AD, the emperor of the eastern region of the Roman Empire was Licinius, a dreadful persecutor of Christianity. Licinius had instituted a decree for the annihilation of all Christians who refused to sacrifice to idols. These women and Deacon Ammon were arrested by Vavdon , the ruler of Adrianoupolis because they would not fall down and venerate the idols but would only pay tribute to the true God.

They united their godly prayers, and immediately and miraculously the priest of the idols was airborne. He remained suspended and hung in midair for many hours, and finally he landed on the ground and died. Deacon Ammoun was tortured severely but they caused no apparent harm to this athlete of Christ. They were all sent to Heraklea of Thrace, to the tyrant Licinius.

Along the way they were encouraged by Deacon Ammon to only gaze on their Bridegroom when they were to endure the pains of physical torture.  Licinius ordered to have ten of the virgin martyrs burned by fire, and another eight beheaded, along with deacon Ammoun. Another ten were put to death by the sword, being struck in the mouth or in the heart, thus giving up their spirit.

Of those remaining, six were martyred by being forced to swallow sizzling hot iron marbles, and the last six were cut to pieces by knives.

Reference: O.C.A.

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