Saint Irene of Lecce

Saint Irene of LecceAlso known as

  • Erina
  • Eiréne



The daughter of a wealthy, pagan named Licinius, her father considered Irene so beautiful and such a desirable marriage that he kept her locked in a tower with 13 guards. She received instruction in Christianity directly from God, was baptized by Saint Timothy, and when her father brought idols to the tower for her to worship, Irene would smash them. To punish her refusal of paganism, Licinius tied Irene behind a horse so it would drag her to death; she was miraculously unharmed, and the horse bit Licinius, giving him an injury that festered and killed him. However, Irene prayed for her father who was then brought back to life. Licinius converted, the father and daughter teamed up as evangelists and converted thousands of pagans. This angered the antiChristian governor Ampelio who captured, imprisoned and tortured Irene, and ordered her to renounce her faith; she refused. Martyr.

Details of time and place are absent in the earliest version of her story, but later retellings add them, change them, move her from place to place, increase the number of pagans converted, link her to many, many miracle stories, and eventually place her martyrdom in Persia just as Contantine the Great is born.




Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Irene of Lecce“. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 May 2021. Web. 17 June 2021. <>