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Russian Icon - Three Saints: St. Eudokia, St. Stephen the Protomartyr & St. Martyress Mary

Saint Eudokia was a Samarian woman who lived in Heliopolis of Phoenicia (present-day Baalbek, Lebanon). She was a very beautiful pagan and garnered her wealth by attracting wealthy lovers. Eudokia learned about Christianity from a monk by the name of Germanos and asked him if she, too, could be saved from Judgment. Germanos instructed her to remain alone in her chamber for one week, fasting and praying. Eudokia followed his instructions, and at the end of the week, she had a vision about the Archangel Michael that assured her of Christ's love for all people. At age 30, Eudokia commissioned the building of a monastery near Heliopolis and dispensed much of her wealth in various charitable projects. She rejected all of her suitors, and when one persistent suitor named Philostratus was struck down because of his persistence, Eudokia prayed for him until he recovered and then converted to Christianity. Eudokia persuaded many pagans to convert to Christianity and, by her actions, angered Roman officials who had her beheaded in 107 AD.

Saint Stephen (†c.34), venerated as the protomartyr or first martyr of Christianity was, according to the Acts of the Apostles, a deacon in the early church at Jerusalem who aroused the enmity of members of various synagogues by his teachings. Accused of blasphemy at his trial, he made a speech denouncing the Jewish authorities who were sitting in judgment on him and was then stoned to death.

Saint Martyress Mary was a slave of Tertullus, a Roman official. She was brought up as a Christian. When the persecution against the Christians broke out, Tertullus tried to cause Mary to give up her Christian Faith, but Mary remained firm and constant in the Faith. Tertullus feared that he would lose Mary, if she fell into the hands of the Prefect, so he had her whipped. While the poor girl was being whipped, no kindness was shown to her, and after she was hidden in a dark room. The Prefect found out what had been done to Mary, and Tertullus was charged with hiding a Christian in his house. The young girl was then handed over to the Prefect who commanded her to be tortured with great cruelty. The Judge then handed Mary over to a soldier who allowed her to escape. St. Mary lived the rest of her life doing everything for God, and she died a natural death, possibly in the 4th Century. She is called a Martyr, in the Roman Martyrology, because of the sufferings she bore for the sake of Christ.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 39-1009-004-127-SP1
  • Size: 10 1/4 x 8 1/4 inches (26 x 21 cm)
  • Age: ca. second half of the 19th century
  • Origin: Provincial Russia
  • Materials: Egg tempera and gilding on gessoed wood
  • Price: $775
  • Orthodox Cross
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