The Holy Great-martyr Dominica (Cyriaca, or Nedelja) of Nicomedia (289)

During the time of the Emperors Diocletian and his son-in-law Max- imian, both adversaries of Christ, there lived in Anatolia two pious and elderly souls, Dorotheus and Eusebia. They were devout Christians, wealthy but childless. 

Through unceasing prayer, they obtained a child from God— the holy Dominica. From her childhood, Dominica consecrated herself to God, abstaining from everything that unruly children do. When she had matured and was beautiful in body and soul, many suitors came to ask for her hand in marriage; but she refused them all, saying that she had be- trothed herself to Christ the Lord and desired nothing more than to die as a virgin. One of the rejected suitors denounced Dominica and her parents to Emperor Diocletian as Christians. The emperor ordered that Dominica’s parents be tortured, and after torturing them, banished them to the town of Melitene—where they died, having endured much suffering for Christ. Diocletian sent Dominica herself to Maximian to stand trial. Since Dominica confirmed her faith in Christ before Maximian, he ordered that she be placed on the ground and flogged with bullwhips. After that, the emperor handed her over to the commanders, first to Hilarion and, after his death, to Apollonius.

Both of them tortured Dominica in a beastly manner, in all possible ways, but all was in vain. When St. Dominica lay in the prison cell, completely covered with wounds, Christ the Lord appeared to her, healed her, and said: “Dominica, do not be afraid of torture; My grace is with thee.” And indeed the grace of Christ saved this martyr from the fire and from the wild beasts, which the godless judges thought would bring about her certain death. Seeing Dominica miraculously saved from such a death, many pagans came to believe in Christ—and they were all beheaded. Dominica said to Apollonius: “In no manner can you turn me away from my Faith. If you throw me into the fire, I have the example of the Three Youths; if you throw me before wild beasts, I have the example of Daniel the Prophet; if you toss me into the sea, I have the example of Jonah the Prophet; if you give me over to the sword, I will remember the honorable Forerunner. Life, for me, is to die for Christ.” Then Apollonius ordered that Dominica be beheaded.

Dominica knelt down, raised her hands to heaven, and prayed to God, that He would save and have mercy on all those who would celebrate her memory, and that he would give rest to her soul together with the souls of her parents. Upon completing her prayer, she rendered her soul to God, before the sword was lowered onto her neck. Dominica suffered honorably in Nicomedia, and she was received into eternal joy, in the year 289.