Holy Agatha ( Agathia , Agathia ; d. February 5, 251 ) is a third-century Christian martyr , one of the most famous and revered early Christian saints. She died in Catania in Sicily during the period of persecution of Christians by the emperor Decius .
Martyrdom of St. Agatha. Sebastiano del Piombo
February 5, 251Catania
|In the face|
|Day of Remembrance|
Historical background and tradition
The name Agatha is included in the canon of the Mass of the Roman and Ambrosian rites, which proves the antiquity of veneration of the saint. The name of St. Agatha is mentioned in the martyrology of Jerome ( Latin Martyrologium Hieronymianum , mid- 5th century ). Saint Agatha is dedicated to an ancient anthem attributed to Pope Damasius . There is evidence that Pope Symmachus built a temple in honor of St. Agatha in the suburbs of Rome, in particular, he is mentioned in letters from Pope Gregory the Great .
In the VI century , the life of St. Agatha was composed, which, however, did not survive. This life served as the source of three later lives, which are identical in terms of the plot canvas and differ in details.
According to the lives, Agatha was born into a wealthy Sicilian family. She rejected the harassment of the city prefect, after which he subjected her to persecution, using the anti-Christian laws of Emperor Decius. First, Agatha was sent to a brothel, then thrown into prison, where her breasts were cut off. After torment, Saint Agatha was burned at the stake.
It is considered the patroness of Malta , Catania and the whole of Sicily . Memorial Day in the Orthodox Church under the name Agathius on February 5 (18), and in the Catholic Church on February 5 . In Catholic churches on this day they consecrate bread, salt and water, which, according to legend, protect homes from fire. In addition, it is believed that the bread, consecrated on this day in the temple, has the ability of exorcism (the expulsion of the devil from man).
Catania Cathedral is dedicated to St. Agatha.
The catacombs located in Malta in Rabat, a suburb of Mdina , are called the catacombs of St. Agatha, since, according to local legend, the saint was in Malta for some time, hiding from her pursuers.
Iconographic symbols of St. Agatha - a palm branch, a lit torch. Image of St. Agate is often found in the art of the Renaissance and Baroque .
The Order of St. Agatha is an award of the Republic of San Marino .