Ten Days away from the Feast of the Nativity, and Orthodoxy has this wonderful way of building up to the great feast, by celebrating a plethora of impressive and wonder-working saints. It’s kind of like a spiritual/theological “warm up” to the great festival welcoming the Incarnation of the Son of God. For instance in December we remember and celebrate:
St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker – “the original Santa Claus” – December 6
Conception of the Holy Theotokos by righteous Anna – December 9
St. Spyridon the Wonder Worker – December 12
Sunday of the Forefathers of Jesus Christ – December 13
St. Ignatius of Antioch (my patron saint) – December 20
Then the “Martyrs” – Juliana and the 630 Martyrs 12/21, Great Martyr Anastasia 12/22, Martyr Eugenia 12/24 and St. Stephen, the first martyr, 12/27
Not the Lucy who provides Charlie Brown with psychotherapy sessions for 5 cents, and pulls the football away every time he is about to kick it, but rather the Holy virgin Martyr Lucy, our sister in Christ who entered paradise on December 13. Memory Eternal to this wonderful saint.
Saint Lucy was born in Syracuse, Sicily during the reign of Diocletian. She distributed her wealth to the poor, and made a vow of virginity. Since she refused to marry him, a rejected suitor denounced her to the prefect Paschasius as a Christian, and she was arrested. She was sentenced to be defiled in a brothel, but with God’s help she preserved her purity.
Then the pagans attempted to burn her alive, but she was not harmed by the fire. Finally, she was killed by a sword thrust to the throat.
The name Lucy (Lucia) is derived for the Latin word for light (lux), and so she is often invoked for afflictions of the eyes. There is a tradition that she was blinded by her torturers, and the church of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples even claims to possess her eyes.
Troparion – Tone 5
Wearing the radiant cloak of virginity
And being betrothed to the Lifegiver Christ
You forsook the love of your earthly betrothed
O Lucy Virgin-Martyr
Therefore as a bridal gift
You have brought to Christ the outpouring of your blood
You also intercede to Him for us all!