Saint Catherine, Virgin and
Martyr, the most brilliant of virgin martyrs
Saint Catherine of Alexandria, also known as Saint Catherine of the Wheel and The Great Martyr Saint Catherine (ἡ Ἁγία Αἰκατερίνα ἡ Μεγαλομάρτυς) born ca 282, died ca 305 AD, became a Christian around the age of fourteen, and herself converted hundreds of people to Christianity. Having decided to remain a virgin all her life, she announced that she would only marry someone who surpassed her in beauty, intelligence, wealth, and dignity. This has been interpreted as an early foreshadowing of her eventual discovery of Christ. Catherine was the beautiful daughter of the pagan King Costus and Queen Sabinella, who governed Alexandria. Her superior intelligence combined with diligent study left her exceedingly well-versed in all the arts and sciences, and in philosophy. When only eighteen years old, Catherine presented herself to the Roman emperor Maximian who was violently persecuting the Christians, upbraided him for his cruelty and endeavoured to prove how iniquitous was the worship of false pagan gods. At that time the emperor came to Alexandria and summoned all the people to a pagan festival. Saint Catherine grieved over the madness of the emperor and the people, and when the day of the festivities arrived, she went into the temple and fearlessly confessed the true God. Astounded at the young girl's audacity, but incompetent to vie with her in point of learning the tyrant detained her in his palace and summoned fifty philosophers whom he commanded to use all their skill in specious reasoning to to try to convince Catherine that she was suffering from delusion. But she emerged from the debate victorious. Several of her adversaries, conquered by her eloquence, declared themselves Christians and were at once put to death. Maximian then tried to seduce Catherine with an offer of a consort's crown, and when she indignantly refused him, he had her beaten and imprisoned. Meanwhile the empress Faustina eager to see so extraordinary a young woman, went with Porphyry, the head of the troops, along with the soldiers of the guard, to visit her in her dungeon, when they in turn yielded to Catherine's exhortations, believed, were baptized, and immediately won the martyr's crown. Soon afterwards the saint, who far from forsaking her Faith, effected so many conversions, was condemned to be killed on a spiked wheel. When she was fastened to the wheel, her bonds were miraculously loosed and the wheel itself broke, its spikes flying off and killing some of the onlookers. The emperor, enraged beyond control, then had her beheaded. Over 1,100 years following her martyrdom, St. Joan of Arc identified Catherine as one of the Saints who appeared to her and counselled her. The later widely publicised 'pagan martyr' Hypatia of Alexandria could be an invention inspired to provide a counterpart to Saint Catherine of Alexandria for the sake of the contemporary anti-Christian crusade in the Dark Ages of the Third Millennium.
Roman Catholic Church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, virgin and martyr, Bethlehem, adjacent to the shared Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity. Hic de Virgine Maria Jesus Christus natus est Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary. Fine Art Photography by Zbigniew Halat
Myslakow Sleza Massif, Silesia, Poland, Roman Catholic church St Catherine Virgin and Martyr. Fine art photography by Zbigniew Halat
Borzygniew, vicinity of Sleza Massif, Silesia, Poland, the Poland oldest (1262 AD) Roman Catholic church dedicated to St Barbara, Virgin and Martyr. Fine art photography by Zbigniew Halat