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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 20th, Saint Margaret of Antioch, Virgin and Martyr

St.Margaret of Antioch

July 20th, Saint Margaret of Antioch, Virgin and Martyr

This Margaret is one of the most widely venerated Saints of the Church East and West, who suffered death for Christ at Antioch. In the East she is called The Great-Martyr Marina, which name, like Margaret, signifieth a pearl ; and her feast is kept on July 12th. From the East her fame spread to the West, and in the seventh century her name, changed to Margaret, appeared in an English Litany. During the middle ages she came to be much beloved throughout Europe, being invoked against demoniac possession, and by women in childbirth, and by those who were fearful. In 908 her relicks were stolen from Antioch, and brought to Europe, and finally enshrined in the Cathedral of Monte-fiascone. * According to the late compiled volume of her Acts, she was bon at Antioch in Pisidia, her father being the heathen priest Aedesius, which same put her out to nurse with a Christian woman. From her she learnt Christ, whereupon her father would have none of her. And so she was forced to make her living as a shepherdess, and was seen by the Prefect Olybrius, who for her rare beauty desired her to wife, if she were a free woman, but sin with, if she were a slave ; but she would have nothing to do with him. At his judgement-seat she was questioned by him thus : What is thy name and birth and religion? To whom she answered : Margaret is my name ; I am of noble birth ; and by religion I am a Christian. * Then said the Prefect : The first and second answers befit thee, but the third is a folly, for who can make a god out of one crucified? To whom the Virgin replied : Whence didst thou learn that the Lord Jesus was crucified? To which the Prefect answered : Out of the books of the Christians. And Margaret made answer : Is this thy wisdom? That when in the same books both the passion and glory of Christ are witnessed to thou dost believe one and reject the other? Whereupon she was tried with all kinds of tortures ; and in the darkness of her prison it seemed to her that the devil came as a great and swallowed her up, but could not stomach the cross which she carried, and therefore spewed her forth. And other spiritual trials and agonies came to her during her physical conflict; but in her patience she in such wise possessed her soul in Christ that many came to believe in him ; whereupon she went in triumph to him her Spouse by beheading, namely, in the reign and persecution of Diocletian, early in the fourth century.

Grant, O Lord, that, like as blessed Margaret, thy Virgin and Martyr : by the merits of her chastity and godliness of conversation did ever walk acceptably in thy sight ; so she may at all times effectually intercede for our forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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