The Lausiac History – Potamiaena

Saint Potamiaena the ElderArticle

This blessed man Isidore, who had met Antony of blessed memory, told me a story which is worth recording, which he had heard from Antony. There lived in the time of Maximianus the persecutor a very beautiful maiden called Potamiaena, a certain man’s slave. Her master failed to seduce her, though he besought her eagerly with many promises. At last mad with rage he handed her over to the then prefect of Alexandria, giving her up as a Christian and one who abused the times and the Emperors because of the persecutions, and suggesting this to him with the help of money: “If she falls in with my design, keep her without punishment.”‘ But if she should remain puritanical, he asked that she might be punished, lest continuing to live she should mock at his licentious ways. She was brought before the tribunal and the fortress of her soul was attacked by various instruments of torture. For one of them, the judge had a great cauldron filled with pitch and ordered it to be heated. When the pitch was now bubbling and terribly hot, he gave her the choice: “Either go away and obey the wishes of your master, or know that I shall order you to be plunged into the cauldron.” But she answered and said: “God forbid that there should be another such judge, who orders one to submit to licentiousness.” So in a fury he ordered her to be stripped and thrown into the cauldron; but she lifted up her voice and said: “By the head of your Emperor whom you fear, if you have decided to punish me thus, order me to be let down gradually into the cauldron that you may know what endurance the Christ, Whom you know not, bestows on me.” And being let down gradually during a space of one hour she died when the pitch reached her neck.

MLA Citation

  • Bishop Palladius of Helenopolis. “Potamiaena”. The Lausiac History, 1918. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 April 2019. Web. 29 July 2021. <>