ST. JUSTINA (St. Youstina)
Coptic Date: 21 Thout
On this day also in the year 257 A.D. the honorable St. Cyprianus and St. Justina were martyred. Cyprianus was from the city of Antioch from a rich and well educated family. He received a great deal of knowledge and education and he pursued his studies in the arts of magic until he excelled in them. The pagans came to him to help them deal with their problems with his magic.
In Antioch there was a very beautiful girl called Justina which means the little. She believed in the Christian faith along with her parents. Her heart was kindled with the love of Christ so she vowed her virginity to the Lord. She went to the church regularly, and a young man saw her and was fond of her. He was not able to obtain what he desired from her for she preserved on prayer and fasting so the Lord would keep her a pure bride for Him.
When this young man gave up all hope, he went to Cyprianus the sorcerer entreating him to fulfill his desire for her. Cyprianus promised him to use all his magic to fulfill his wish. Nevertheless, all his efforts failed, for every time he sends to her demonic powers they find her standing praying, so they go back to him defeated.
When Cyprianus failed, he called the demons and told them, “If you do not bring Justina to me, I shall adopt Christianity.” the devil thought out a device to deceive him. He ordered one of his soldiers to disguise himself and to take the form of Justina and then go to Cyprianus. He hastened and made it known to Cyprianus her coming, so he rejoiced, and arose up to embrace her. Because of his great joy in her, he told her, “Welcome, Queen of women, Justina.” Upon the mere mention of her name, Satan, disguised as he, disappeared like smoke. Cyprianus knew that this was a deceitful trick of Satan who could not stand before the mentioning of her name.
When Cyprianus realized the weakness of the devils before the power of prayers and faith in the Lord Christ, he devoted himself in studying the christian religion. He recognized the great difference between Christianity and pagan philosophy. The Holy Spirit worked in his heart and he believed in the Lord Christ. Immediately Cyprianus rose up and burnt his books of magic, and was baptized by the patriarch of Antioch. He started in true repentance to pray and fast, devoting his time for worship. He sold all his possessions and distributed them among the poor and the needy.
Later on the Patriarch of Antioch ordained him a deacon then priest. When he saw his advancement in piety and virtues, the Patriarch consecrated him a bishop, so he increased in grace and service. St. Cyprianus sought St. Justina built a convent for her where she lived and became the mother of many virgins. When Valerian (253-260 A.D.) incited persecution against the Christians, the Governor seized the holy bishop Cyprianus and St. Justina and many christians. When they came before the court they confessed the Lord Christ without hesitation. Justina was whipped severely with oxtail and Cyprianus was hung in the air and his body was torn with red hot iron rods. In spite of the sever torture they remained steadfast in the faith. They were sent to prison where they praised God for the honor of being tortured for the sake of the name of Christ. When the governor became weary from torturing them, he sent them to Emperor Valerian. When he knew their account, he ordered them beheaded, so they received the crown of martyrdom.
May their prayers and blessings be with us all, and Glory be to God forever. Amen.