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May 5: Feast Day of Saint Irene the Great Martyr

May 5: Feast Day of Saint Irene the Great Martyr

May 5: Feast Day of Saint Irene the Great Martyr

On May 5 the Greek Orthodox church commemorates the Feast Day of Saint Irene the Great Martyr.

Saint Irene was the daughter of a princelet called Licinius; named Penelope by her parents, through a divine revelation she was brought to faith in Christ and at Baptism was renamed Irene.

In her zeal for piety, she broke in pieces all the idols of her father, who commanded that she be trampled underfoot by horses. But while she remained unharmed, one of the horses rose up and cast down her father, killing him. By her prayer, she raised him to life again, and he believed and was baptized.

Afterward, in many journeyings, Saint Irene suffered torments and punishments for her faith but was preserved by the power of God, while working dread miracles and converting many thousands of souls.

At last, she came to Ephesus, where she fell asleep in peace, in the first half of the fourth century. Two days after her death, her gravestone was found lifted off, and her grave empty.

St Irene is one of the twelve Virgin Martyrs who appeared to St Seraphim of Sarov (commemorated January 2) and the Diveyevo nun Eupraxia on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1831 AD.

At least two churches were dedicated to Saint Irene in Constantinople, and she is also the patroness of the Aegean island of Thera, which is commonly called Santorin (or Santorini), a corruption of “Saint Irene.”

By her holy prayers, may the Lord have mercy upon us and save us.

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