July 7

From the Prologue

During the reign of the adversaries of Christ, Emperor Diocletian and his son-in-law Maximian, there lived in Anatolia two pious and elderly souls, Dorotheus and Eusebia. They were devout Christians, wealthy but childless. Unceasing in prayer they obtained a child from God, this holy Dominica. From her childhood, Dominica consecrated herself to God restraining from everything that unruly children do. When she matured, beautiful in body and soul, many suitors came to ask for her hand in marriage but she refused them all saying that she betrothed herself to Christ the Lord and that she desires nothing more than to die as a virgin. One of the rejected suitors denounced Dominica and her parents to Emperor Diocletian as being Christians. The emperor ordered that Dominica's parents be tortured and after torturing them banished them to the town of Melitene where they died enduring much suffering for Christ. Diocletian, however, sent Dominica to Maximian to stand trial. As Dominica confirmed her faith in Christ before Maximian, he ordered that she be placed on the ground and flogged with oxen whips. After that, the emperor handed her over to the commanders, at first Hilarion and then, after his death, to Apollonius. Both of them tortured Dominica in a beastly manner in all possible ways but all was in vain. When St. Dominica lay in the prison cell, completely covered with wounds, Christ the Lord appeared to her, healed her and said: "Dominica, do not be afraid of torture, My grace is with you." And truly, the Grace of Christ saved this martyr both from fire and from wild beasts from which the godless judges thought that she would certainly meet death. Seeing the miraculous salvation of Dominica from so many deaths, many pagans believed in Christ. However, they were all beheaded. Dominica said to Apollonius: "In no manner can you turn me away from my Faith. If you throw me into the fire, I have an example in the Three Youths [Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego]; if you throw me before wild beasts, I have an example in Daniel the Prophet; if you toss me into the sea, I have an example in Jonah the Prophet; if you give me over to the sword, I will remember the honorable Forerunner [John the Baptist]; life for me is to die for Christ." Then Apollonius ordered that Dominica be beheaded. Dominica knelt on her knees, raised her hands to heaven and prayed to God that He would have mercy and save all those who would celebrate her memory and to give rest to her soul together with the souls of her parents. Upon completing her prayer, she rendered her soul to God before the sword was lowered on her head. Dominica suffered honorably and was received into eternal joy in the year 289 A.D. in Nicomedia.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas