Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Saint Kyranna - Bride of Christ

Saint Kyranna was born in Avissoka of Thessaloniki, today known as Ossa in the province of Lagada.

Her external beauty was matched by the beauty of her soul, as she was gifted with the virtues of modesty and prudence. In this way she spent her life close to her parents. But the devil, the hater of good, envying her for her purity and for not being able to lead her to evil with cunning thoughts and sinful thinking so as to make her an instrument of his, found another way to upset her family's happiness and the peacefulness of her youthful and clean soul.

A Turkish janissary, who was a 'soumpasis'―that is, the head of the police station and a tax collector of revenues―fell in love with Kyranna and tried to conquer her with various means of flattery. Kyranna in no way accepted the Turk's flattery and his great promises for money and garments. Nor did she heed his threats that he would severely torture her and kill her in the end if she did not give in to his intentions.

The janissary's insistence was not able to change her Christian mindset. And so disappointed, the janissary, together with other janissaries, grabbed the saint and led her to Thessaloniki. They brought her before the judge under the false accusation that she initially accepted to marry him and change her faith, but she then changed her mind. Her parents followed her to Thessaloniki.
The Turks started using the same tactics, initially using flattery, and then savagery. Kyranna, fearless and undisturbed before those assaulting her will, did not speak. She only said the words:

“I am a Christian and my groom is the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom I offer as a dowry my virginity and him I desire and have desired him from my youth, and for his love I am ready to spill my blood and be made worthy to delight in Him. So hear my answer and do not ask me to tell you anything further”.

After her reply, Kyranna bowed her head in great modesty, fell silent and in her mind prayed to the Lord to strengthen her to the end of her martyrdom.

When the Turks saw her faith in Christ, they were shamed and threw her in prison. The 'soumpasis' received orders from Thessaloniki's castle bey, 'ali afedi' to enter the prison whenever he wished. He regularly entered along with other janissaries and tortured her. One would kick her, another would hit her with a piece of wood or knife, while another would punch her until she fainted. At night the warden would hang her in chains from her armpits and beat her with whatever he could find and leave her hanging in the winter's cold.

A Christian guard would approach him after his anger subsided and would plead him to allow him to lower the saint.

Here, the writer of her martyrdom notes the following:

“The saint was so full of patience, tranquility and silence, that it seemed to you as though another was suffering and not she herself; her whole mind and attention were focused on the heavens and Christ”.

Imprisoned there in the same prison were also other Christians, Jews, and a few Turkish women who told the warden how cruel and godless he was, since he was brutally tyrannizing the woman, who was not at fault.

But instead, he became even more cruel. The awful torture continued for a week.
On the seventh day the torture reached its peak. Enraged, the warden grabbed hold of the Saint, hung her and started beating her mercilessly with a big sliver of wood. The Turkish women were screaming, all the prisoners were yelling at him loudly, and the warden fell on his belly and started crying.

At that moment, the saint breathed her last and her soul soared to be united with Christ, Whom she so greatly desired and for Whose sake she martyred. Between four and five o' clock in the morning a great light suddenly shone in the prison that descended through its roof like lightning. This light filled the martyr's body and the whole prison lit up. The imprisoned Christians cried “Lord have mercy”. The Jews fell on their faces, and the Turkish women yelled: “Oh, oh, the wrongdoing against our poor 'Roman' (term used for Greeks and Byzantines) caught up with us and has fallen like lightning to burn us”. The warden started shaking from fear and asked the Christian guard to let down Kyranna, who was hanging. The guard found Saint Kyranna finished.

The light slowly retreated, but an indescribable fragrance remained for some time throughout the whole prison.

The guard opened up the bars with his keys, untied the saint's hands, respectfully covered her holy relic, lit up the area, lit incensed and sat close to her till dawn. He blessed God for letting him witness such glorious things and touch and take care of the martyr's relic.

In the morning, the glory of the end of the saint and the illumination of the Holy Light spread throughout the whole of Thessaloniki. The Turks kept quiet in shame, and gave permission to the Christians to take the saint's relic, and the Christians felt joy and happiness for the wonders of our True and Living God.

They buried her outside Thessaloniki where they buried other Christians as well, and they distributed her garments to the faithful as a blessing. It was 28 February 1751 A.D.

For centuries the Church has been singing:
“Holy Martyrs, who have struggled well and received the crown, intercede to the Lord to have mercy on our souls”.

“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” - Matthew 10:22
“...and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” - Apostle Paul to Hebrews 12:1

Translated by the Holy Monastery of Pantokrator

Original Source: http://www.impantokratoros.gr/saint-kyranna.en.aspx

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