Saint Juliana of Nicomedia

saint-julianaSaint Juliana, daughter of an illustrious pagan named Africanus, was born in Nicomedia; and as a child was betrothed to the Senator Eleusius, one of the emperor’s advisors. When she was young Juliana secretly accepted holy baptism.

Africanus was hostile to the Christians and has arranged for his daughter betrothal to a senator. When the time of her wedding approached, Juliana who has dedicated herself to virginity refused to be married. Her father urged her not to break her engagement, but when she refused to obey him, he handed her over to the Governor, her former fiancé. Elusius again asked Juliana to marry him, but she again refused. The infuriated governor ordered her to be imprisoned and tortured.

While imprisoned, Juliana was visited by the devil, disguised as a messenger from God and who told her to agree to offer sacrifice to pagan idols. Juliana is said to have seen through the deception, and she spat on the devil. Juliana was severely tortured; roasted in flames, then dipped into boiling oil before finally being beheaded in 304. She was martyred during the persecution of Maximilian.

Soon after a noble lady named Sephonia came through Nicomedia and took the saint’s body with her to Italy, and had it buried in Campania. Evidently it was this alleged translation that caused the martyred Juliana, honoured in Nicomedia, to be identified with the Saint Juliana of Cumae evidenced above, although they are quite distinct persons.

Christians in the East and West have venerated Juliana for centuries. Known for opposition to unholy marriage and love for Christ, she has also been invoked for the safe delivery of women in labor and for protection from fever and contagious diseases.

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