Re: [orthodox-synod] WOMEN SAINTS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH AND ISLAM
- I know the first saint, St. Argyra is commemorated on April 30th.
Does anyone know when the latter two saints are commemorated??
> Published by Pravoslavie.ru, February 3, 2004
> WOMEN SAINTS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH AND ISLAM
> In the recent years due to the increased migration and not less strong
> proselytism many of us have found ourselves if not in Moslem environment
> but at least with many Moslem neighbours. Those neighbours as all people
> are different but as a rule they don't hide their faith, their conviction
> in its superiority and rather often take attempts to make people
> acquainted with it.
> Alas, such a sad event when, baptized in the Orthodox church girls and
> women, get married Moslems and some of them even adopt Islam, happens
> rather often. Those who do not adopt it personally have to be prepared to
> their children becoming Moslems ? such are laws of Islam. And as shows the
> practice it results in the family misfortune, sufferings and grief of
> those women.
> If to contemplate, it is not surprising. Not by mere chance the church
> forbids to marry those belonging to different faith. Such marriage will
> not be consecrated by the church canons, hence, blessed by God, also the
> main thing is that in its essence the married couple should be single in
> everything. It is a natural law and desire of human souls. But if such
> unity is missing in the most essential thing ? faith ? it will not be
> present in other things. In the beginning it can be easily disguised with
> mutual affection, but without the real unity as grounds, the affection is
> fading away fast and the inner discord inevitably shows up on the surface
> and under this or that pretext it will start darkening the relations, with
> time more and more.
> Some unhappy women, realizing this by intuition, adopt Islam. But, as
> practice shows, such a step doesn't make the tempted women happy, as
> apostasy is a heavy sin which, if no repentance follows, invokes severe
> recompense still in this life. A lot of terrifying examples are known from
> the life of such "Russian Moslem women" whom their husbands threw away
> from homes, took away children, beat, treated as beasts. God can not be
> profaned: what we sow we shall mow...
> Vice versa, there are cases, not numerous though, when orthodox girls
> succeeded in persuading their Moslem fiances to adopt the true faith. And
> after baptism and church wedding such marriages were very strong and
> happy. In this regard we will remember several cases when orthodox women,
> strong in faith and love for Christ, after having conflicted the Islam
> world, could bring the great fruit of sacredness, proving the superiority
> of the true faith.
> Saint Argery (Argyrie)
> Icon of Saint Argery (Orthodox church of St Cosmos and St Damian. Avignon,
> In the early 18th century in the Oman Empire in the provincial town of
> Prusse there lived a beautiful Greek girl called Argery. She was brought
> up by pious parents and in her youth years she met her love ? a kind Greek
> youth. They got married in the church and their honeymoon was happy. But,
> their Turkish neighbour was inflamed with lust towards Argery and tried
> with his sweet words to talk her into committing adultery in the absence
> of her husband. The pious wife declined his encroachments. Then the
> embittered Turk slandered her before the judge of Prusse by telling that
> she had promised to become Moslem. According to the laws of Sheriyat, a
> person who expressed the wish to become Moslem must adopt Islam; if he
> denies thereafter he must be punished: for a man ? death penalty, for a
> woman ? life imprisonment. The judge, having believed the plaintiff,
> immediately put Argery into prison. Her husband, wishing to avoid the
> biased judgment demanded its transferal to Istanbul.
> But it didn't help. Both Argery and the Turkish plaintiff came to the
> court of the capital and the Moslem claimed against her, giving the false
> evidence about her before the judge. Argery replied that she had never
> said anything like she was charged with and was not going to betray her
> faith, that she was a Christian and wanted to die as a Christian.
> According to the judge's order she was beaten and thrown into prison, and
> sentenced to the life imprisonment.
> Fear, bitter separation with her beloved husband, difficulties of
> imprisonment, not to say of the regular insults from her criminal Moslem
> neighbours. Torment of the body, of the soul, of the heart ? without
> interruption, from day to day. And she could stop all this at any moment ?
> once she agrees to adopt Islam...
> But spiritual joy helped her to overcome the sufferings and temptations.
> The martyr herself exhausted her body with fasting and other kinds of
> abstinence as was witnessed by other Christian women who were imprisoned
> together with the saint and later released.
> So, she laboured in the prison during seventeen years. With such joy was
> filled the saint's heart because she was imprisoned for Christ, for such
> consolation she considered her imprisonment that when one Christian called
> Manuil Curtsibasis offered her freedom she refused choosing the prison
> better than the tsar chambers. In such a way, imprisoned for the sake of
> Christ, she passed away on 30th April 1725. Her holy relics were laid in
> the church of St. Paraskevi by the blessing of Patriarch Paisios, and till
> nowadays patriarchs, bishops, priests and rulers bow before them.
> Martyr Khadijah-Maria
> Among Bulgarian new martyrs stands apart a Rodopian martyr Khadijah-Maria
> who lived in 19th century. Born in islamized Bulgarian family, Khadijah
> came back to the bosom of the Orthodox Church. Baptism of Khadijah took
> place in the old chapel in Vylkushin hay, to keep the secret. There was a
> big barrel and the priest Konstantin (future bishop and metropolitan of
> Xanphia Illarion), who lived in Memkin house in Radkov family, baptized
> the girl. The new-born Christian concealed it for the whole year so that
> nobody would know, and she passed the candles and communion bread to the
> church with other people while at home she was praying and made bows.
> But by word of mouth the rumour was spread all over the whole village.
> Women secretly called her Tijah-Maria (Tijah is the Bulgarian version of
> the girl's Turkish name), because her Christian name was Maria. It became
> known to her fanatic brothers who came to Derekjoy, found out if it was
> true but she denied that she had been baptized. The next year Tijah-Maria
> was preparing herself for meeting Paskha: coloured the eggs, cooked the
> Easter cakes, made candles, kneaded dough for the Communion bread, in
> anticipation of the Feast. Her brothers who lived in another village came
> secretly in order to check the rumours. On the Maundy Thursday she came
> back from the church and stepped away to her neighbours, while her
> brothers entered her house. There they found the coloured eggs, Easter
> cakes, burning icon-lamp and became sure that she had become "giaour". Her
> brothers hid themselves in the hay. In the evening Tijah-Maria returned
> and, after long prayers, went to bed and fell asleep. In her sleep her
> embittered Moslem brothers started strangling her, when half-strangled,
> they filled her mouth with rags, took her out of the house and put under
> the big blossoming plum tree and there killed her with two shots. The next
> morning the women sent their children to find out what had happened in
> Tijah's house. They saw her lying killed under the blossoming plum tree.
> There she was lying as she was for three days, ? everybody was afraid to
> come and see that she was dead. Over her grave a rose was planted, on St.
> George's Day the women sent for picking up flowers from Tijah's coffin
> which they were keeping through the year for "healing".
> Martyr Platonide
> In the same 19th century in Russia another girl was living in the Tartar
> family. Having learnt from missionaries about the Orthodox Faith and
> having loved Christ with all her heart, she decided to be baptized. Her
> parents however conceived to give her in marriage to a fellow-villager
> without asking her opinion and consent. But the love for Christ turned out
> to be stronger than the love for parents and on the eve of the wedding she
> escaped from home.
> She found the shelter in a convent. There she was baptized, learnt the
> church canons, there, with time, she took the veil with the name
> Platonide. Some years later she was blessed for the hermit life, and
> having left for solitary places of Yekaterinburg region, in wild forests
> close to the town of Revda matushka Platonide laid up a cell and close to
> it, upon her prayers the spring burst out. There she laboured, leading her
> life in spiritual deeds.
> Fanatic natives of Platonide were seeking for the chance to kill her but
> for the sake of holiness of the ascetic a bear protected her. Later the
> bear was killed and they succeeded in killing her with the gun as they
> were afraid to approach her closely. Thus for witnessing Christ the
> ascetic acquired the martyr's halo.
> She was buried in the place of her deeds. Her worshippers erected a chapel
> over matushka's grave, which was standing until the revolution came. Her
> spring called by the name of Platonide became famous as wonder-working and
> many pilgrims before the revolution as well as in Soviet times came there
> to worship the martyr. Even up till nowadays cases of wonderful miracles
> worked through it are known. For example, last year the local newspaper
> informed about a little boy who lost his way in the forest, that he was
> found alive and sound near the spring Platonide. This is how God glorified
> her disciple.
> Nowadays, too, many Moslem girls and women find Christ and get the same
> joy protecting against all burdens, as the above saints. For example, in
> Perm Tartar parents drove her daughter out of home because she was
> baptized. The Kazakh artist of culture, documentary filmmaker Elza
> Dilmukhammedova was converted into the Orthodox Faith. Recently Nazima
> Khanafi Muhammed, the direct grand-daughter of Imam Shamil, the head of
> Chechen people in the war against Russia in 19th century, has been
> converted into the Orthodoxy. Thus the power of God overcomes the human
> sickness and wins over all adversities.
> Yuri Maximov
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