Questions about St Christina

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QUESTION 1

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What does the name Christina mean?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 1

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The name Christina means "Little Christ".

"He Who ordereth all things according to His providence / granted thee the name of Christ / as thou didst deserve; / for thou didst have a better end / in both thy name and thy works, / having betrothed thyself to Christ / piously and with faith. / And as the daughter of the King of heaven // thou dost rejoice with Him, praying for us, O martyr." (Vespers for St Christina, Sticheron at "Lord I have cried", Tone 4)

"Thou didst truly demonstrate the twofold working of thy Christian name: / in betrothing thyself to Christ in the purity of thy virginity, / with the blessing of the Father and by the activity of the Spirit / thou didst shine forth more brightly than the rays of the sun / in thy steadfast endurance of torture. / Wherefore, thou didst offer thyself / as a pure and unblemished sacrifice on the altar of heaven, / and dost rejoice forever with the choirs of virgins and martyrs. / With them, O Christina, namesake of Christ, // beg thou that peace and great mercy be given to those who honor thee." (Glory at Lord I have cried)


 

QUESTION 2

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When is St Christina commemorated? What "rank" is her feast?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 2

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St Christina is remembered July 24. This is Aug 6 on the civil calendar. Her feast is a "six stichera" service. This means that 6 stichera are sung for her during vespers.


 

QUESTION 3

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Approximately when did St Christina live, and where? What was her upbringing?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 3

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St Christina lived in the third century, when paganism was still very prevalent. She grew up in the city of Tyre. Her parents were pagan, and her father Urban was the governor. She was brought up in idolatry until Christ revealed Himself to her at the age of about 11. Her father made her live in a tower in order to hide her great beauty until she was full grown. In her tower, Christina saw the beauty of God's creations and yearned to know the True God. God saw this, and revealed Himself to her through His angel.


 

QUESTION 4

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Because St Christina is a _______, icons of her show her holding a ______. Explain


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 4

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Because St Christina is a martyr, icons of her show her holding a cross in her right hand. By Holy Tradition, martyrs are depicted holding a cross, which indicated their willingness to give up their temporal lives for Christ, just as Christ gave up His human life on the cross.


 

QUESTION 5

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What is the Gospel reading that commemorated St Christina? Why?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 5

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The Gospel reading for St Christina, and most women martyrs is about the "sinful woman" who anointed Christ's feet shortly before His passion (Luke 7:36-50). The woman "loved much" because she had been "forgiven much". The martyrs love much because they are also illuminated with the knowledge of the forgiveness of God.

"Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." (Luke 7:47)

All of us has much that is forgiven. Those who truly love God are those who feel this forgiveness in the depths of their being. Such ones perform outstanding acts of love and devotion, like the woman who anointed the Lord, and all the martyrs who laid down their life for the one Who calls them "friend".


 

QUESTION 6

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How did St Christina learn the Christian faith? Did she have obstacles?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 6

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St. Christina's parents were pagans, and did not teach her about the True Faith. She didn't learn of it until Christ revealed it to her through His angel when she showed a great desire to learn of God. She then smashed all the idols in her tower, thus incurring the wrath of her father, who had her tortured.


 

QUESTION 7

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When was St Christina baptized? Be careful answering this one!


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 7

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St Christina was baptized by her blood at her martyrdom for Christ.

" Thy ewe-lamb Christina, O Jesus, crieth out with a loud voice: / "I love Thee, O my Bridegroom, and, seeking Thee, I suffer. / I am crucified and buried in Thy baptism. / I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; / I die for Thee, that I may live with Thee. / Accept me, who sacrifice myself for Thee with love, like an unblemished offering!" // By her supplications save Thou our souls, in that Thou art merciful." (Troparion for St Christina, Tone 4)


 

QUESTION 8

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Describe St Christina's passion.


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 8

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When St Christina was illuminated with the truths of the Christian faith from the angel, her pure soul loathed all the idols surrounding her, and she smashed them to pieces. This action enraged her father Urban, who, forgetting his natural love for his daughter, tortured her. The evening before he planned to have her executed, Urban, in full health, was taken from this life. She was then tortured by Urban's two successors, the first being Dion, who also died unexpectedly. Her last persecutor, Julian, cut off the holy one's breasts and also her tongue, which the holy one threw back in his face, blinding him. After many other tortures, which inspired many of the inhabitants of Tyre to follow the Christian faith, she was finally beheaded.

"Neither the passionate attachment of thy parents, / nor the pleasure of food, /nor possession of riches, O glorious one, nor threats of torments, / neither fire, the sword, the abyss or the wheel, / nor yet the attack of wild beasts / were able to separate thee from the love of the Creator, O virgin martyr Christina, // thou glory and boast of the martyrs." (Vespers, "Lord I have cried", Tone 4)


 

QUESTION 9

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Approximately how old was St Christina when died?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 9

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St Christina was just a girl when she was martyred, eleven years old.


 

QUESTION 10

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St Christina's relation and conflict with her parents deserves careful scrutiny, and has much to teach us.

What should we learn about faith and priorities by observing St Christina as our example? What words of Christ should come to mind when we contemplate Christina's struggles with her parents (if you cannot quote them directly, just give the gist of them in a paraphrasement).

This is a very important concept, which too many fail to understand, and many even fail to convert to the Orthodox faith because of problems similar to, but much less extreme than Christina's.


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 10

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We must love the Church and Christ above all, including family, and follow Him even unto death. Christ said, "He who loves husband, or wife, or mother or father or son or lands more than Me is not worthy of Me." This means that we need to give up these temporary things, such as family, if the prohibit us from following Christ.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. {35} For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. {36} And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. {37} He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. {38} And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. {39} He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (Mat 10:34-39)

"Desiring the heavenly Father, / O glorious one, / thou didst spurn thine impious father; / and loving the Jerusalem on high / as thy mother, / thou didst reject thy mother's overweening love, / and, deified by Christ with all, / thou didst afterward lay down thy life, O martyr, // undaunted by tortures." (Vespers, "Lord I have cried", Tone 4)


 





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