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discernment

Recently I have been listening to this homily by Metropolitan Athanasius of Limmasol during my lunch breaks at work. It’s on the greatest of all virtues, discernment. As a social worker whose job is almost completely made up of listening to people I found the following portion of the elder’s homily particularly meaningful. And so, I decided to share his God-inspired words (starting at minute 31):

How is discernment born? Only a humble person can discern things… A proud person never… What is the reason?  Because a proud person always listens to his own thoughts and to whatever he himself believes to be right. [He] never [listens] to other people’s suggestions… Whereas, a humble person, may have specific thoughts on certain issues, but listens to his brothers, [listens] to what other people have to say. This can be seen everywhere: that indeed, a humble person is the [only] one who can truly obtain this liberty of discernment. He has no prejudice inside; he’s not prejudiced but totally free in advance and accepts his brother and listens carefully.

St. Sophronios says, referring to father-confessors: “When you accept someone for confession, be careful not to have any prejudice against him in advance so that God [will] send you information on what to say to him.” If you are prejudiced against him, then God’s will vanishes and your words are your own and you speak through your own prejudice. If, for example, someone comes to confess his sins and I think to myself, “This is a good boy, he could make a good priest perhaps I should talk to him and persuade him to become a priest” and I don’t remain free to see who this person is and what he is looking for, but I have formed an opinion inside me in advance, then certainly God is not going to reveal His own will but things will function in a human way. So, it’s very important for one not to be prejudiced in any way, namely to have a predetermined point of view.

This is very important particularly in our social life. Because unfortunately, conversation – which is the most important means of communication – is founded not so much on talking to other people as [it is] on listening to them. But in order for you to listen to other people, you have to be free and pure and let the person say exactly what he wants to say. In this way being a [blank slate] will allow you not only to see what the other person wants to say but also what he would have liked to have said. So, discernment is an offspring of humbleness. Only a humble person can discern things; a proud person is prejudiced. He’s stuck in his own predetermined point of view.

…A person who is prejudiced is not able to listen to God’s Word nor speak the word of God. And especially we, the shepherds of the Church, have to be very careful here, all of us fathers-confessors should not, beforehand, be prejudiced against our brothers but do as the Holy Scriptures say: “I will hear what the Lord God will say concerning me” (Psalm 84:9). In order for God to talk to us we need to be all ears and not be prejudiced. But even in families the father won’t be able to listen to his children if he’s prejudiced because whatever they might tell him, he will insist on imposing his own point of view. And the one spouse won’t listen to [his] partner because he will be stuck in his own thoughts and ideas. This doesn’t mean that we’ll be passive creatures without our own opinions. Of course we’ll have our own opinions but without passionately adhering to our own opinion. The saints were such free people that they offered respite to those who approached them. They [made] an environment of respite for all people. And a good spiritual father, a good father, a good spouse, and a good colleague is the one who offers respite to his brother.

An excerpt from The Sweetness of Grace: Stories of Christian Trial and Victory, Chapter  Two: Blessed Are Those Who Mourn (for they shall be comforted), pp. 57-58. 

parable-publican-pharisee-iconThe Subway-station Publican

We stepped off the subway and onto the multicolored tile floor of the station. As we were swept along with the surging crowd my eyes fell on a beggar. To see a beggar in a subway station was not strange in Seoul, South Korea, but to see a beggar lying prostrate, his face to the ground, was.

I don’t definitively remember us giving him change; I only remember his hands, cupped and poking out in front of his head. He didn’t even raise his eyes to those passing by. He simply and humbly begged.

A sight such as that would most likely have stayed with me, but on that day all the more because of what day it was.

We had just come from the Korean Orthodox Church, St. Nicholas, having celebrated the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. And so, when we saw the man lying prostrate on the ground our minds were immediately drawn toward the icon of the publican: prostrate, humble, not daring even to raise his eyes as he supplicated for mercy. Here in front of us was such a one. What an example of humility right before our very eyes.

We walked up the staircase leading to a different subway line, discussing among ourselves the sheer coincidence that we would see such a beggar on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee.

Some eighty days later, yet again we encountered our subway-station publican. It was Pentecost Sunday and we were again transferring to the next line. This time I distinctly remember giving him change. First my brother, than my sister-in-law put money into his cupped hands. I reached into my pocket and saw that I only had 300 won (about 30 cents). I cringed that that is all I had, but still I reached down and put the nearly useless amount of money into the beggar’s hand. To my shock he grabbed my hand and pulled it close to his lowered head and kissed it. A kiss from a lowly beggar: perhaps not something most would consider a great gift – or so it might seem to one not on the receiving end of such a gift. I pulled my hand back in surprise. He raised his eyes and I saw he was crying. Tears began to well up in my own eyes.

subway

Some man who misunderstood the situation, thinking I was distressed by this beggar, began to come toward us. I made some gesture to show him everything was alright and I turned to go.

The feeling that energized in me the moment the dear publican kissed my hand is something very difficult to express. It is very humbling to have one’s hand kissed, even more so when all I gave to the poor beggar was a mere 30 cents. But that is life in Christ: all we have to offer God is a few cents and He gives us back one hundred fold.

I never saw our friend again, but I have never forgotten him. Every Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee he is brought to mind and I reflect on how much his humble gesture, his humble kiss, made me feel like I had received the blessing of a great saint. Truly, angels are disguised in many forms, and encounters with seemingly insignificant people can be as special as those with angels.

20190203_084433

Glory to God, Holy Lady of Vladimir Mission has a new home!

Although we have not yet reached the “promised land” (a church building), we have “come forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2). On the very feast on which we read these hymns and readings – that is, the feast of the Presentation (Meeting) of Our Lord in the Temple (February 2) – our Mission moved out of the Anglican College’s chapel we borrowed on weekends and into our own worship space.

 

 

 

And although we cannot yet “afford a Lamb”, the Lord has accepted our “two turtledoves” (Leviticus 5:7) as “a present out of the midst of the children of Israel”. Our new worship space is in a house with room enough for a Sunday school classroom, a dining area, and a living room-turned-chapel.

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On Saturday, February 2, everyone pitched in to clean and move things from the College chapel and from the domestic chapel until, finally, after many hours of work, we had a modest but beautiful chapel set up. Let God be glorified!

For the first time since the Holy Lady of Vladimir Orthodox Mission was established in September of 2003, the Mission’s worship space does not have to be set-up and dismantled every weekend.

We brought all of the liturgical furniture from the domestic chapel to our new space but we still need to hang icons on the walls and do a few more things. These pictures are from our very first Sunday. Note the candles! After being prohibited from lighting candles for the past two years it was wonderful to be able to light prayer offerings for our loved ones again.

20190203_112158From the bottom of our hearts we thank everyone who has donated to our Mission. (You can read about that request here.) Fr. John commemorates you and the names you submitted to us at every Divine Liturgy. And for those who pray for us, we bow down in gratitude for your holy prayers. Our current arrangement is for one year. God knows what is to follow. With St. John Chrysostom we say, “Glory to God for all things!”

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

First Sunday_1

african martyrs

When the Lord deemed it fitting He called His saints out of the African lands: holy Perpetua, Felicity, Saturus, Saturnius, Revocatus and Secundulus, to witness to their faith through suffering death. Thus, we have as an inheritance the flourishing tree of Orthodoxy, for they shed their blood, watering the seedling. Wherefore we cry aloud:

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs Perpetua, Felicity, and your companions

As a catechumen, O holy Perpetua, thou wast taken captive and while in prison thy father besought thee to denounce Christ. But boldly thou didst proclaim that thou couldst be called by no other name but Christian. Wherefore we marvel at thy conviction and cry out to thee thus:

Rejoice, thou who art a shining example for all catechumens

Rejoice, thou who chose the heavenly over thine earthly father

Rejoice, thou who refused to be called anything other than a Christian

Rejoice, being freed from the bondage of sin through baptism while yet in prison

Rejoice, for being informed by the Spirit thou prayed only for endurance of the flesh

Rejoice, Married Matron mother of a son

Rejoice, thou who wast tempted by womanly anxiety for thy suckling child

Rejoice, thou who wast ministered to by the holy deacons Tertius and Pomponius

Rejoice, thou who didst commend thy son to the care of thy mother

Rejoice, thou who didst comfort thy brother, a catechumen in the faith

Rejoice, thou who didst look upon the dungeon as a palace

Rejoice, Bold One asking the Lord whether thou wouldst die a martyr’s death

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs Perpetua, Felicity and your companions

Beholding a heavenly vision, holy Perpetua wast informed of her martyrdom. She was found worthy to see with spiritual eyes the contest of salvation. And looking upon the bronze ladder she didst see holy Saturus going up ahead of her, calling after her to follow. Wherefore we call to her:

Alleluia

Contemplating the narrow ladder holy Perpetua didst understand the struggle to enter Paradise, for as a vile serpent the devil lies waiting to strike. Yet encouraged by her teacher she didst trod on its head and ascended the ladder, her gaze fixed upward. Wherefore we cry to her:

Rejoice, thou who didst declare the serpent powerless in the name of the Lord

Rejoice, thou who didst proclaim the way to Life impossible for the negligent

Rejoice, thou who didst follow holy Saturus’ example in death as in life

Rejoice, thou who didst ascend and enter a vast garden

Rejoice, thou who didst stand in the company of many clothed in white

Rejoice, thou who wast greeted by the venerable Shepherd

Rejoice, thou who wast given to eat food sweeter than honey

Rejoice, thou who didst awake from thy vision at the word ‘amen’

Rejoice, Holy Saturus who wast found worthy to ascend the ladder first

Rejoice, O father who gave thyself up for the sake of the catechumens

Rejoice, Encourager of Perpetua to follow after thee in thine ascent

Rejoice, you who confidently forsook all hope in this world

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs Perpetua, Felicity and your companions

During their meal the martyrs were all called to the tribunal, and once there they all proclaimed themselves Christians. Refusing to offer sacrifice to the idols for the Emperor’s prosperity, they left the procurator Hilarian baffled, who knew not how to chant:

Alleluia

Ever faithful to the Lord the martyrs professed their faith before the procurator, and the crowd which had gathered. The sentence was read out against them, they were to be sent to the beasts. Cheerfully they returned to the dungeon, and thus we cry out:

Rejoice, Holy Contesters in the stadium of Carthage

Rejoice, Firm Pillars of the faith, convicted for the sake of Christ

Rejoice, Blessed Martyrs whose blood watered Orthodoxy

Rejoice, Holy Perpetua whose father once again tempted thee

Rejoice, thou who didst refuse to sacrifice even for the sake of thy child

Rejoice, thou who didst sorrow for thy father in his ignorance of the Faith

Rejoice, thou who didst proclaim nothing happens outside of God’s providence

Rejoice, thou who stood firm though confronted by the familial bonds of nature

Rejoice, thou who didst trust God would provide for thy son

Rejoice, thou whose child wast miraculously weaned though still a small infant

Rejoice, Band of Martyrs bound together by common love for Christ

Rejoice, you who were led to the dungeon as though to a bridal-chamber

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs Pertetua, Felicity and your companions

Fervently praying, Perpetua didst hear the name “Dinocrates”, who wast her departed brother in the flesh. As she didst behold in a dream, the little one was in a dark place and thirsty. But he was unable to drink of the fountain for the height was very great. Wherefore, she didst supplicate for him and we cry to her:

Alleluia

Great was her joy when Perpetua saw yet another vision wherein Dinocrates was healed of his infirmities. He drank his fill from the fountain – for he had been benefited by her ardent prayers, wherefore we praise her thus:

Rejoice, thou who didst help thy brother though a gulf was fixed between you

Rejoice, Deliverer from the suffering torments of Hades

Rejoice, thou who didst deem it laudable to pray with tears for thy brother

Rejoice, thou who didst spend thy days and nights supplicating God

Rejoice, Holy Martyr who supplicates for us on earth as thou didst for thy brother

Rejoice, little Dinocrates for thou wast delivered by thy sister’s prayers

Rejoice, thou whose face was healed once diseased by ulcers

Rejoice, thou who is now clothed in fine apparel

Rejoice, all ye in Hades, comforted by the prayers of the righteous

Rejoice, O fountain for thy ledge was lowered

Rejoice, O ever-flowing water who dost satisfy those who drink of thee

Rejoice, Golden Cup who dost provide nourishment for the thirsty

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs Perpetua, Felicity and your companions

Having seen the joy of her brother, Perpetua didst rejoice that he no longer was tormented – for where once was an ulcer there remained only a scar. And in drinking the water from the golden cup his thirst was quenched. Whenceforth, he ran off to play as children do, and we cry to her:

Alleluia

Influenced by the grace of the martyrs, Pudens, the prison-guard’s heart was softened and he began to magnify them. Thus being filled with mercy he permitted many to enter the dungeon so that all might be comforted. Wherefore they extolled the martyrs thusly:

Rejoice, Bold Intercessors before the throne of God

Rejoice, Bright Lamps burning in Northern Africa

Rejoice, for you patiently abided in dark dungeons

Rejoice, for you are now delivered into the light of Paradise

Rejoice, Perfect Examples of Christian friendship

Rejoice, Salt of the earth and light of the world

Rejoice, for you were condemned to death by the earthly Emperor

Rejoice, for you are now crowned with life by the Heavenly King

Rejoice, Contesters with unconquerable courage

Rejoice, Brave Warriors setting out to do battle for Christ

Rejoice, Peaceful souls eagerly awaiting His embrace

Rejoice, for from your bloodshed an abundance of life sprung forth

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs Perptua, Felicity and your companions

Just before the games, holy Perpetua beheld a vision of the upcoming day’s spiritual contest: hearing a loud knock she opened to the deacon Pomponios, clad all in white. He besought her to follow him and with much effort they arrived at the arena, wherefore we cry:

Alleluia

Knowing she was to contend with beasts, Perpetua marveled that none were sent out against her, but soon saw an Egyptian of ill-repute approach as her opponent. Thus she was striped and clothed with oil, while the Egyptian wallowed in dust. Wherefore encouraged by her vision we cry out:

Rejoice, thou who didst not shrink back in fear of the Egyptian

Rejoice, Brave Contender against the forces of evil

Rejoice, thou who wast found worthy to have angels as thine helpers

Rejoice, thou who wast offered a branch of golden fruit if victorious

Rejoice, Solider of Christ combating in the front lines

Rejoice, Fierce Fighter who didst smote thine enemy while trotting on air

Rejoice, Champion who didst dash thine enemy to the ground

Rejoice, thou who didst step on his head as though on a serpent

Rejoice, Victor over the enemy who hinders our ascent to heaven

Rejoice, thou who didst receive thy prize from the master of the gladiators

Rejoice, Conqueror of him who leads us to the gate of death

Rejoice, thou who didst understand that thine was the victory

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs Perpetua, Felicity and your companions

Lifted into the air by angels, O holy Saturus, in thy vision thou and holy Perpetua wert carried into the heavens. For contending well you were granted the promise the Lord had given you. Wherefore with the angels we cry out to you:

Alleluia

Marvelous trees with flowers of all kinds didst you pass by while being upborne by angels to venerate the Heavenly King. Trembling, they laid you down and you entered clothed in white raiment, and thus we cry out:

Rejoice, you who were carried by angels toward the East

Rejoice, you who didst pass over the Earth’s edge

Rejoice, Blessed Ones who didst overlook wondrous gardens

Rejoice, Marveled at by angels more glorious than the rest

Rejoice, Witnesses to the beauty of the heavenly kingdom

Rejoice, you who looked upon trees unknown to this earth

Rejoice, Spectators of leaves that sang without ceasing

Rejoice, you who met thy fellow-martyred companions

Rejoice, called upon by angels to go in and salute the Lord

Rejoice, Worthy Ones clothed in white raiment

Rejoice, Observers of a palace with walls made of light

Rejoice, Hearers of the thrice holy hymn chanted unto the Trinity

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs Perpetua, Felicity and your companions

Noticing in that place a man sitting, having hair like white as snow – yet youthful of countenance – you were borne up by angels to reverently kiss him. Whereupon he passed his hand over your faces and you offered the kiss of peace to the surrounding elders. And thus, together with them we cry to you:

Alleluia

Optatus the bishop, and Aspasius the priest and teacher stood on either side of the door from which you exited. Falling at your feet they supplicated the two of you to make peace between them. Wherefore you rose them up and embraced them with love. Marveling at your humility we cry to you:

Rejoice, Holy Ones worthy to see divine visions

Rejoice, Encounterers of spiritual parents in the heavenly garden

Rejoice, you who didst keep company in heaven with those on earth

Rejoice, you who didst receive humble bows done in your honour

Rejoice, you who didst humbly reciprocate the simple gesture

Rejoice, Peacemakers among thy fellow Christians

Rejoice, Poor in Spirit who didst win the kingdom of heaven

Rejoice, Mourners who art comforted eternally

Rejoice, Thirsters for Righteousness who have been satiated

Rejoice, Meek Ones who shall inherit the earth

Rejoice, Merciful Ones who have obtained much mercy

Rejoice, Pure of heart for you see God perpetually

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs Perpetua, Felicity and your companions

Putting aside the dissensions between them, Optatus and Aspasius followed the instructions of the angels and took heed of the advice given them. Thus did the angels warn Optatus to correct his people so that they might not continue in their crooked ways; wherefore we cry:

Alleluia

Quivering at the thought that thou might be prohibited to contend – for thou wast with child – O holy Felicity, thou and those with thee didst pour out your supplication to the Lord, that He might grant thee His favour. Immediately He didst hearken unto thy prayer and thou didst bring forth a daughter, wherefore we cry to thee:

Rejoice, thou who didst join in prayer with thy fellow martyrs

Rejoice, Slave in this life but servant of God eternally

Rejoice, Contester for the grace of martyrdom

Rejoice, Fervent Supplicator to God for His favour

Rejoice, Worthy One granted the grace of a safe and early labour

Rejoice, thou who wast not hindered by the ties of thine kindred

Rejoice, thou who didst entrust thy babe to a fellow Christian

Rejoice, thou who didst answer wisely in the face of insult

Rejoice, Wise Councilor proclaiming the strength of Christ in weakness

Rejoice, Sanctified One through the act of childbearing

Rejoice, Brave Martyr who dost remember those in want of children

Rejoice, thou who tasted of the felicity of dying for our Lord

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs Perpetua, Felicity and your companions

Readily prepared to die a martyr’s death, holy Secundulus wast called from this life while still in prison. For though his body knew not the sword his soul had suffered a martyrdom. Wherefore, in His ineffable mercy God preserved him from the beasts, and thus we cry to Him:

Alleluia

Spectators having gathered to gawk at the martyrs, the holy Saturus didst prophetically rebuke them: “Remember our faces for us you will see on the fearful Day of Judgement”. Wherefore, many departed astonished and of those that heard many were converted, and thus we proclaim:

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs whose martyrdom was recorded by the faithful

Rejoice, you who were treated harshly by the fearful tribune

Rejoice, Persecuted Ones out of fear of your escape

Rejoice, Bold Perpetua who didst scold the cruel adjutant

Rejoice, Faithful Ones who didst convert many while in prison

Rejoice, Workers of the vineyard who converted more by your common passion

Rejoice, Partakers of an Agape meal instead of common food

Rejoice, Communioners of the feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord

Rejoice, you who longed to be nourished by Christ instead of meat

Rejoice, you who forewarned the spectators of the coming Judgment

Rejoice, Brave Contesters prepared to fight on the birthday of Caesar

Rejoice, Saints of the Lord eagerly awaiting your death in His name

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs Perpetua, Felicity and your companions

The day of the games having dawned, the holy martyrs prepared for battle. Bravely entering the stadium, they were filled with joy as though in heaven. At the sight of Perpetua many cast down their eyes. Felicity came to her second baptism – from blood to blood, from midwife to gladiator. Wherefore we cry out:

Alleluia

Unable to convince the martyrs to put on the robes of idolaters, the tribune suffered that they should be brought forth as they were. Perpetua began to chant psalms, Revocatus, Saturninus, and Saturus mocked the senseless Hilarian, saying, “Thou judgest us and God thee,” and in this way displayed their bravery. Wherefore we cry to them:

Rejoice, Holy men refusing to wear the robe of the priests of Saturn

Rejoice, Holy women refusing to wear the dress of the priestesses of Ceres

Rejoice, you who refused to have anything to do with lifeless idols

Rejoice, for by your boldness injustice didst yield to justice

Rejoice, for you were scourged before the line of the gladiators

Rejoice, Rejoicers in your sufferings for the sake of Christ

Rejoice, Brave Soldiers fighting in the trenches of a spiritual battle

Rejoice, Holy Perpetua, singing as though trampling on the head of the Egyptian

Rejoice, Holy Felicity, rejoicing that thou wast not left behind in prison

Rejoice, Holy Revocatus, who didst boldly glare at the gawking crowd

Rejoice, Holy Saturninus, who didst taunt the darkened Hilarian

Rejoice, Holy Saturus, who didst yearn only for the heavenly kingdom

Rejoice, Holy martyrs Perpetua, Felicity and your companions

Virtue being her first concern the holy Perpetua bound up her disheveled hair, lest any should think she mourned her glory. Being brought out against the mad cow – placed there to mock their sex – the crowd shuddered at the sight of milk running from the breasts of holy Felicity. Wherefore, we cry to them:

Alleluia

Wishing to wear the more glorious crown, holy Saturninus asked to go against all the beasts, while Revocatus faced the leopard and the bear. In one bite by the leopard holy Saturus was bathed in much blood, wherefore the crowd mockingly called out, “saved and washed,” but we cry out thus:

Rejoice, Holy Revocatus who wast torn by a bear on a raised bridge

Rejoice, Holy Saturninus who wast granted thy desire to fight all beasts

Rejoice, Holy Saturus who would die first as thou didst prophesy

Rejoice, for the wild boar didst instead turn on its huntsman

Rejoice, for the bear knew better than to attack a martyr

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs for you were covered in the blood of a second baptism

Rejoice, Holy Perpetua, being caught up in theoria while in the arena

Rejoice, for thou wast more concerned for modesty than thy pain

Rejoice, Counselor of catechumens to keep the faith and love among them

Rejoice, Holy Felicity who wast smote for Christ’s sake by the fierce cow

Rejoice, for thy fellow martyr, Perpetua, didst raise thee up

Rejoice, Fair Maidens who didst forsake the beauty of your youth for eternal life

Rejoice, Holy Martyrs Perpetua, Felicity and your companions

Xenial friendship did the holy Saturus extend to Pudens when he did leave him a token of his love – a ring soaked in the blood of his wound. Joining the rest, assembled to be slain by the sword, each did die a martyr’s death. Perpetua directed the hand of the gladiator to her throat, by this showing that the evil spirits feared her most of all. Wherefore, moved by their sacrifice, we cry:

Alleluia

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

sts. pertpetua and felicity2

Christ is born!

NATIVITY

Bethlehem hath opened Eden: come, and let us see.  We have found joy in secret: come, and let us take possession of the paradise that is within the cave.  There, the unwatered Root hath appeared, from which forgiveness flowereth forth: there is found the undug Well, whence David longed to drink of old.  There, the Virgin hath borne a Babe, and made the thirst of Adam and David to cease straightway.  Therefore, let us hasten to this place where now is born a young Child, God before the ages.

-Oikos of the Nativity of Christ

Merry Christmas!

Related imageToday is the feast of St. Juliana of Nicomedia. Here is an excerpt from an anglo-saxon poem written about her and her martyrdom:

I.

Listen—we have heard of heroes deliberating,
deed-brave men determining what occurred in the days
of Maximian, who throughout middle-earth raised up
persecution, an infamous king killing Christian men
and felling churches—a heathen war-leader pouring out
upon the grassy field the sainted blood of the God-praising,
the right-performing. His realm was broad, wide and mighty
across human nations—very nearly across the enormous earth. (1-10)

They traveled among the cities, as he had commanded,
the Emperor’s awful thanes. Often they roused strife with perverted acts,
those that loathed the Lord’s law through criminal skill.
Fiend-ship was aroused, heaving up heathen idols
and slaying the holy, breaking the book-crafty and burning the chosen,
terrifying the champions of God with spear and flame. (11-17)

There was a certain wealthy man of noble kind,
a mighty count. He ruled over guard-cities, ever defending
that ground and holding hoarded treasure in the city of Nicomedia.
Often he eagerly sought an idol, heathen-worship
over the word of God. His name was ascribed as Eleusius
and he had a great and renowned authority.
When his mind began to yearn after the virgin Juliana
curiosity broke him. She bore in her soul the holy troth,
eagerly intending that her maidenhood would be preserved
for the love of Christ, pure from any sin. (18-31)

Then was that woman, with the wish of her father,
betrothed to that wealthy man. He did not fully know the outcome—
how she, young in spirit, despised espoused friendship.
Fear of God was greater in her mind than all the riches that rested
in the possession of that nobleman. Then the wealthy one,
that gold-rich man, was eager in his heart for marriage,
when the woman would most promptly be prepared for him,
a bride unto his home. She firmly set herself against
that warrior’s love, although he owned wealth acquired
within hoard-locks, uncountable jewels upon the earth. (32-44a)

Condemning it all, Juliana spoke a word amongst
a multitude of men: “I can say to you that you need not
trouble yourself so greatly. If you adore and believe
in the True God and exalt his praise, you would recognize
the Comfort of Souls and I would immediately, without faltering,
be prepared to submit to your desire. Likewise I say to you,
if in fact you confide in an inferior god through devil-worship,
or call to heathen idols, you cannot have me
nor can you compel me to be your wedded wife.
Never will you, through your violent spite,
prepare so harsh pain of severe torments
that you should turn me from these words.” (44b-57)

 

You can read the rest here.

May she intercede for us!