Anysia was a young woman who lived in the year 304, during the reign of the cruel Maximian Galerius. Under his reign, there was much persecution of Christians. She lived in the region of Thessalonica, under the governorship of Dulcitius. Christians were unable to worship in the open so would meet secretly. Anysia was the daughter of rich and noble parents who had died and left her an orphan.
One day as she left her home to go to the assembly of the faithful, she passed by the gates of Cassandra. One of the emperor’s guards took notice of her and stepped in front of her so that she couldn’t pass. He asked her where she was going. Frightened, Anysia made the sign of the cross on her forehead and said nothing. This enraged the soldier and he grabbed her and again demanded that she tell him who she was and where she was going.
Anysia answered, “I am a servant of Jesus Christ, and am going to the Lord’s assembly.”
The soldier quickly replied, “I will prevent that and will bring thee to sacrifice to the gods, for today we adore the sun.” Then the soldier tore off her veil.
When she lifted her arm to keep him from removing her veil, he became even more enraged, drew his sword and ran it through her body so that it came out the other side. Anysia immediately fell to the ground, bathed in her blood, and died.
Anysia’s name appears in Roman Martyrology, in the Greek Synaxary, and the Menology of the emperor Basil on the 30th of December. Even though we have very scant information about her short life, we know that she lived during a time when she wasn’t allowed the freedom to worship God. However, now she abides with our Lord in heaven where she can worship Him forever in peace and joy.
Whether our lives be long or short in this life on earth, Father, we pray that, like St. Anysia, our lives always give glory to You and that we never fear giving our testimony of faith. Give us the grace, Father, to not only boldly testify to the truth, but to defend it as well. And through our actions, may many others be brought to eternal life with You. Amen