Saint Kyriaki of Nicomedia
A 19th century Bulgarian Orthodox icon of Saint Kyriaki.
|Venerated in||Eastern Orthodox Church|
|Major shrine||Church of St Kyriaki, Istanbul|
|Patronage||patron of Servia, Greece|
Kyriaki was born in Nicomedia to Greek parents Dorotheus and Eusebia. They were devout Christians, wealthy but childless. Unceasing in prayer they obtained a child and since she was born on Sunday, the Lord's Day, she was given the name Kyriaki, the Greek word for Sunday.
From her childhood, Kyriaki consecrated herself to God. As she was a beautiful young woman, many suitors asked for her hand in marriage, but she refused them all saying that she wished to die as a virgin, as she had dedicated herself to Jesus Christ. A magistrate of Nicomedia also wished to betroth Kyriaki to his son, especially since she came from a wealthy family, but when she once more rejected his proposal, he denounced Kyriaki and her parents as Christians to Emperor Diocletian.
Diocletian ordered the family to be arrested and upon their refusal to honor the pagan gods, Dorotheus was beaten until the soldiers grew tired and were unable to continue. Since torment had no effect, Diocletian exiled Dorotheus and Eusebia to Melitene in eastern Anatolia. Kyriaki was sent to Nicomedia to be interrogated by his son-in-law and co-ruler, Maximian, who promised her wealth and marriage to one of Diocletian's relatives if she worshiped the pagan gods. When Kyriaki refused to renounce her faith, Maximian ordered that she be whipped. The soldiers who assumed the flogging had to be replaced three times as they eventually became tired.
Since Maximian failed to convince the young woman to change her faith, he sent her to Hilarion, the eparch of Bithynia, in Chalcedon, either to convert Kyriaki to paganism, or send her back to him. Hilarion tried his best to achieve his goal, including promises and threats, but when all these proved ineffective, he ordered her torture. Kyriaki was suspended by her hair for several hours, while soldiers burned her body with torches. She was finally taken down and thrown into a prison cell. During the night, Jesus Christ appeared to her and healed her wounds. Seeing the miraculous salvation of Kyriaki, many pagans converted to Christianity, but they were all beheaded. The next day, Hilarion announced that the gods had healed her of pity and urged her to go to the temple and give thanks to them. When she was brought to the pagan temple, Kyriaki prayed that God would destroy the idols and a sudden earthquake toppled the idols and shattered them to pieces. Hilarion blasphemed God and then he was struck by lightning and died on the spot.
Kyriaki was tortured again by Apollonius, the successor of Hilarion. She was thrown into a fire, but the flames were extinguished, and then to wild beasts, but they became tame and gentle. Apollonius then sentenced her to death by the sword. As she was given a little time to pray, she asked God to receive her soul and to remember those who honored her martyrdom. Upon completing her prayer, she rendered her soul to God before the sword was lowered on her head. Pious Christians took her relics and buried them. At the time of her death, she was 21 years old.
In honor of Saint Kyriaki, several settlements in Greece bear the name Agia Kyriaki (Greek: Αγία Κυριακή, Agía Kyriakí), as well as an island of the same name in the Dodecanese. Saint Kyriaki is the patron saint of Servia, a town in Western Macedonia, Greece.
A troparion dedicated to Saint Kyriaki is sung in the fifth Byzantine tone:
O virgin martyr Kyriaki,
You were a worthy sacrifice
When you offered your pure soul to God;
Wherefore Christ has glorified you,
And through you pours forth graces abundantly on all the faithful,
For He is the merciful Loving God!
A 15th century fresco depicting Saint Kyriaki (Nedela) on the right in Pobožje, Republic of Macedonia.
Some of the churches dedicated to Saint Kyriaki.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saint Kyriaki.|
- St. Kyriake of Nicomedia - Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America