St. Xenia of Rome icon

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Orthodox Icon of Saint Xenia of Rome.

Commemorated January 24.

This Orthodox Icon shows Saint Xenia of Rome who was the only daughter of a Roman senator. From her youth she loved God, and wished to avoid marriage which had been arranged for her. She secretly left her parental home with two servants devoted to her. Through God's Providence when she set sail she met the head of the monastery of the holy Apostle Andrew in Milassa, a town of Caria (Asia Minor) who took her to Milassa. She changed her name, calling herself Xenia [which means stranger or foreigner in Greek].

At Milassa she bought land, built a church dedicated to St Stephen, and founded a woman's monastery. Soon after this, Bishop Paul of Milassa made Xenia a deaconess, because of her virtuous life. The saint helped everyone: for the destitute, she was a benefactress; for the grief-stricken, a comforter; for sinners, a guide to repentance. She possessed a deep humility, accounting herself the worst and most sinful of all. In her ascetic deeds she was guided by the counsels of the Palestinian ascetic, St Euthymius.

The sublime life of St Xenia drew many souls to Christ. The holy virgin died in 450 while she was praying. During her funeral, a luminous wreath of stars surrounding a radiant cross appeared over the monastery in the heavens. This sign accompanied the body of the saint when it was carried into the city, and remained until the saint's burial. Many of the sick received healing after touching the relics of the saint.