Saints of the Day – Anysia of Salonika

Saint Anysia of SalonikaArticle

Born in Thessaloniki, Greece; died 304. Anysia’s parents were both rich and pious. She herself led a life of unobtrusive prayer, using the money and estates her parents had left her to relieve the poor.

An ancient legend, dating back to the beginning of the 4th century, tells us that one day a Roman soldier accosted her as she was on her way to a meeting of Christians. When he discovered her faith, he became even more abusive, deciding to make sport with her by dragging her to a temple to make a pagan sacrifice. Anysia resisted. The retiring saint habitually covered her face with a veil, but the soldier ripped it away to peer at her. She struggled all the more and spit in his face. In his rage he drew his sword and thrust it through her, killing the saint immediately.

It is discreetly and silently that Anysia fell one day on the field of honor of our faith. Only her given name has remained, but she lives forever in the eternal name of God himself. The martyrs are the saints of saints. They are at the very top of the supreme hierarchy. There is no more sumptuous brocade than the red robe of martyrs, for the real letters of nobility are written and sealed in blood. It is enough to have truly suffered a single hour in the flesh, to have truly spilled a pint or two of one’s blood, to be able to measure the immense compass, the prodigious significance of the Passion and death of Our Lord and the martyrs who followed him.

Death itself is nothing. But each of us has the instinctive desire to hold on to life. To wait for death faithfully, prepare oneself for it serenely, face it with indifference, that is a great deal. But to accept, seek out, gladly demand not only death, but also the hideous test of torture, that is still more. For the theologians of a purely scholastic stoicism are not displeased by the sufferings of the body. “It is not death I fear, but dying,” said Montaigne. Scorn for the torment of torn flesh, quivering, this is the great miracle, the unbelievable miracle, of the faith and the will of the martyrs. They do not fear death. They do not fear dying.

Anysia, little martyr of Salonika, replays the eternal drama of innocent weakness overcome by blind brute force. And generally, hardly has the sword been sheathed when remorse, grace, and the frenzy of conversion burn and transport the soul of the powerful. The powerful are overcome by the seemingly weak. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 August 2020. Web. 31 July 2021. <>