A Garner of Saints – Saint Christina

detail of the lithograph 'Saint James the Less and Saint Christina' by N J Strixner, 1829; part of the Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Born at Tyro in Italy, of a very noble family. Her father shut her up in a tower full of gold and silver idols and attended by twelve servants. As she was very beautiful many suitors came to seek her, but her parents wished to preserve her for the worship of the gods. Christina, however, hated the gods and put the offerings which were sent to them in the window. The servants informed her parents of this and they sought to bring her to sacrifice by gentle words. But she broke her father’s idols and distributed the gold and silver to the poor. When her father returned to worship, he found that the idols were gone and learned what had happened from the servants. Furious with rage, he caused his daughter to be stripped and beaten by twelve men until they were too tired to continue. Christina was then put in chains and cast into prison. When her mother heard of this she tore her clothes and went to the prison and besought her daughter to yield and have pity on her. But Christina remained firm and steadfast. Then her father sent for her and commanded her to sacrifice else he would cast her off and subject her to the torture. She refused, and he caused her flesh to be torn with nails, but she took the pieces and cast them in his face crying, “Eat what you have engendered, tyrant.” Then he bound her on a wheel and lighted a fire beneath, but the flames spread out and killed 500 men. Her father attributed this to magic and sent her back to prison, where an angel came and ministered to her, making her whole again. Her next punishment was to be cast into a lake with a millstone about her neck, but an angel bore her up and Christ descended from heaven and baptised her there, after which the archangel Michael brought her in safety to the bank. Her father, undeterred, ordered that she should be beheaded, but the same night he perished suddenly. His work was taken up by the prefect Dion who cast her into boiling oil and pitch. From this test she once more emerged unhurt, when the prefect caused her head to be shorn and brought her to Apollo. Here she commanded the idol and immediately it fell to dust, which so terrified the prefect that he expired on the spot, but 3,000 men were converted by the miracle. A third prefect named Julian caused Christina to be shut up in a furnace, where she remained for five days accompanied by angels, singing and walking about uninjured. The judge attributed this to magic and sent vipers to poison her, but they hung about her aflectionately without doing her any harm, while they killed a man who wished to set them on her. Christina raised the man and converted him, dismissing the serpent to the desert. Then the prefect caused her breasts to be cut off and milk flowed from them instead of blood; he next ordered her tongue to be cut off, but it flew in his eye and blinded him, while it continued to speak. Then the judge gave orders that two arrows should be thrust into her, and thus she perished. Her body was buried at Venice by the monks of Saint Mark. She suffered in the year 287. 24th July.

Attributes

  • Millstone or sometimes two arrows.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Christina”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 April 2017. Web. 21 October 2017. <>