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Icon of Saint Catherine (Detail – Sinai, 17th c.) – S07

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Saint Catherine was the daughter of Constas, the wealthy governor of Alexandrian Egypt, and of a noble woman who was a secret Christian.  She therefore received an excellent education in Greek philosophy, medicine, rhetoric and logic, and in secret the Divine Science of the Christian Faith.  Christ appeared to Saint Catherine and gave her a ring as a token of the Heavenly Bride-groom’s love.  When she was 18 years old, the Emperor Maximinus issued an edict ordering everyone to offer sacrifices to idols. 

The beautiful young Catherine came to the Emperor and boldly denounced him, then confounded fifty of his wisest philosophers, whom the Emperor had summoned to persuade her to renounce Christ.  These fifty wise men, together with the general Porphyry, 200 of his soldiers, and the Empress Augusta herself, were all converted to the Christian Faith by the prayers of the holy maiden, and subsequently suffered for Him.  Enduring many tortures, including on a wheel with iron studs, Saint Catherine was strengthened by Christ, and was finally beheaded in the year 305.  Milk flowed out of her body instead of blood.  

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St. Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, Egypt


Pallada, Jeremiah


17th c.