Akylina (or Angelina), the holy New Martyr of Christ was from Thessalonica, from the village of Zagliveri situated in the Ardameri Diocese. She was the offspring of a pious mother. Her martyrdom took place from the following set of circumstances.
One day the Saint’s father quarreled and wrestled with a Turkish neighbour (since both Christians and Turks lived side by side in this place). By the Evil One’s collaboration he struck and slew the Hagarene. Whereupon he was arrested by the local authorities, who led him to the pasha of Thessalonica to have him condemned. Now he was terrified of death and sought acquittal, so he offered to become a Muslim. (Alas, his fall!) Therefore, they did not execute him. At that time Akylina was an infant nursing on her mother’s milk. After the passage of some time, the Turks enjoined her father that he must have his daughter become a Muslim. He told them:
“Do not be concerned about my daughter. She is under my authority and I will convert her when I want.”
However, Akylina’s mother remained anchored in the Faith of Christ and never ceased every hour to exhort her child to stand firmly in the Faith of Christ and not to ever deny Jesus Christ.
When the maiden reached 18 years of age, the Turks once again spoke with her father concerning the conversion. At this point he summoned Akylina and said:
“My child, other Turks have approached me daily on the matter of your accepting Mohammedanism. Therefore, either now or a little later, you will become a Muslim, only make the decision in a day or two, so the Muslims will not harass me.”
Yet the Saint, who was ignited and enflamed with the love of Christ, with great courage declared:
“Perhaps you think that I have the same little faith as yourself to deny my Maker and Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ Who submitted to the cross and death for our sake? I refuse. I am prepared to undergo the woeful torment, even death, for the love of Christ.”
By these superb and admirable statements she was not the daughter of the thrice-miserable father, but truly the daughter of Christ the Heavenly King!
Observing the Saint’s unswerving belief, the father went before the Turks and divulged to them:
“I am unable to induce my daughter to change her beliefs; you do with her whatever you will.”
Upon hearing this they went into a flurry, and immediately dispatched men of the court to apprehend the Martyr. Seeing them approaching, the Saint’s blessed mother took hold of Akylina, and gave her this final instruction:
“Lo, my most beloved child and my sweetest daughter, Akylina. Behold, fruit of my womb, the hour has arrived of which I have warned you. Therefore, my girl, attend and obey my admonition. Display courage in the torments which you will face and do not renounce Christ.”
Likewise, Akylina replied:
“Have no fear, my mother, for I have this intention. The All-kind God will be my help. Pray for me.”
Thus, they bid each other farewell with tears.
The servant of the judge bound the Saint and led her to the tribunal. The compassionate mother followed after her beloved daughter to the place of condemnation, since motherly feelings could not conceive of being separated from her dear child. However those that had taken her intocustody, locked her outside the courtyard. Akylina was taken inside into the presence of the judge, who in a coarse manner blurted out to her:
“Eh! You, become a Muslim.”
The Saint exclaimed:
“No, I will not become one. Never will I forsake my belief and my Master Christ!”
Hearing this, the judge became incensed. Therefore he commanded that the Saint be undressed and be left wearing only her chemise. Then they tied Akylina to a column and two servants beat her with rods for many hours. Notwithstanding, the Martyr underwent this torture bravely.
Afterwards the judge and other Turks had the Martyr brought forward again before them. They began to flatter Akylina and promise her expensive gifts if she would renounce the faith. But the bride of Christ possessed in her heart love towards her sublime Bridegroom Christ and would not even consider their offers. Furthermore, since he was extremely wealthy, he brazenly proposed to her:
“Akylina, become a Muslim and I will make you my son’s bride.”
Christ’s Martyr replied with an immense daring:
“You and your son go to perdition.”
With these words the judge’s wrath was kindled. They tied her again as before and flogged her for many hours. When they unfettered her for a third examination, the judge asked her:
“Hapless one, are you not embarrassed to be beaten naked in front of so many men?”
He said this because from the countless blows her slip was in shreds and she was exposed. The judge continued:
“Either you become a Muslim or have your bones shattered before all.”
In refutation she declared:
“And what attraction does your faith have for me to deny my Christ, or what miracle of your religion shall I believe, since you have filthy and indecent lives?”
O fearless testimony! A noble reply worthy of heavenly praise, not from a gentle and delicate young girl, but from a valiant giant!
All within earshot were disgraced, essentially by the brilliancy of her truthful speech. They were at a loss at how to deal with her. In their rage they scourged the Saint mercilessly a third time, leaving her as dead. The earth was reddened by her blood and her flesh fell in pieces to the ground. Next they untied the Martyr and had her carried by a Christian who was present to her mother’s home. Whereupon the mother embraced her daughter who was breathing her last, and asked:
“My child, what have you done?”
As she came to herself slightly, the Martyr exerted much effort to answer, and opening her eyes, beheld her mother:
“O my mother, what else could I do except that which you instructed me? Behold, according to your command I have preserved my confession of faith inviolate.”
Akylina’s mother raised her arms and eyes towards heaven and glorified God. After conversing with her mother, the Martyr surrended her soul into the hands of God on September 27, 1764 and received the martyr’s crown.
St. Akylina’s most venerable and sacred relics straightaway emitted a marvelous fragrance so divine that all the streets which they traversed with her martyric relics for burial were filled with scent. At night a heavenly light descended upon and illuminated Akylina’s tomb like a shining star. All the Christians who observed this phenomena praised God, to Whom is due glory and power unto endless ages. Amen.
Feast Day:September 27
Source: This Life was written by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite and was translated in New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke, Translated by Leonidas J. Papadopoulos, Georgia Lizardos & others St Nectarios Press, Seattle, Washington 1985.
On May 22,2012, Metropolitan John of Lagada officially announced the finding of the Holy Relics of Saint Akylina and described all of the wondrous events that followed and brought confirmation of the relics.