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December 25

St Eugenia of Rome - December 25

Saint Eugenia of Rome
Abbot, Virgin, Martyr
(Late 2nd Century –
Around 258)

“We have plenty of everything; we cure in the name of God, and seek no reward from man.”

Saint Eugenia of Rome

Her Early Years

Eugenia was a young noblewoman born in the late 2nd century to the most distinguished and noble parents named Philip and Claudia. Philip moved to Alexandria, Eqypt with his family when he was sent by the Emperor Commodus to be Prefect of Egypt.

Young Eugenia grew into a lovely and well-cultured young lady. Suitors fell over themselves, seeking her hand in marriage. Notably among her suitors was Aquilus, son of a consul. But, Eugenia turned down all marriage requests. In the secret of her heart, she wants to remain a virgin.

In Alexandria, Eugenia had the occasion to learn about the Christian Faith. In particular, when she encountered the Epistles of Saint Paul, it showed her clearly the vanity of the world. She yearned with all her soul to become a Christian, but kept this a secret from her parents.

Departed Home Disguised as a Man

At that time, Christians were banished from Alexandria by the command of the emperor. Wishing to learn more about Christian teachings, she asked permission to visit one of the family estates outside the city, supposedly to enjoy the countryside. At night, Eugenia left in the company of her two servants Saints Protus and Hyacinthus, dressed in men’s clothes. She and her servants were baptized at a certain monastery by Bishop Helenus, bishop of Heliopolis. She called herself Eugene while pretending to be a eunuch, and took up the monastic life in a monastery of men. Her parents mourned for her, but could not find her.

Eugenia made such great progress in the monastery that she surpassed young and old alike. Her manner was that of great humility, much love, intelligence and prudence and everyone was proud of her. The abbot died and the eyes of all were turned upon Eugenia who was appointed his successor.


By her ascetic labors, Eugenia acquired the gift of healing. Once, a rich young woman named Melanthia turned to her for help since she had quartan ague (malaria). Eugenia healed Melanthia of her illness by praying and using anointed oil. Melanthia sent many gifts to Eugenia. These gifts, however, were always declined, as Eugenia said, ” We have plenty of everything; we cure in the name of God and seek no reward from man.”

Seeing “Eugene,” this woman burned with an impure passion. When she was spurned, she falsely accused Eugenia of adultery. For this accusation, Eugenia came to trial before the Prefect of Egypt (her father) and was forced to reveal her secret. Her parents and brothers rejoiced to find the one for whom they had long grieved.


Philip and Claudia, with their two sons and all their dependents, became Christians. Philip was made a bishop and later was slain while saying his prayers. After his death, his widow and children returned to Rome, Italy. They converted many to the faith of Christ.

Her Martyrdom

By order of the Emperor Valerian, Eugenia was thrown into the Tiber River with a stone tied round her neck. But, the stone broke and she was uninjured. Next, Eugenia was put in a burning furnace, which immediately became cold. Then, she was put in a dark prison, which was miraculously illumined. Having been there in prison ten days without food, she received a white loaf from Jesus Christ, who told her that on Christmas Day she should be admitted into heaven. Accordingly, on Christmas Day around 258 in Rome, Italy the executioner was to the prison where she is said to have been beheaded by the sword. She is buried in Apronianus cemetery on the Via Latina in Rome, Italy.

Note: Although Saint Eugenia’s Acta present an elaborate account of her life, it is regarded by some as more of a melodramatic adventure novel rather than an accurate historical account.

Born :                    Late 2nd century in location unknown

Died:                     December 25, around the year 258 in Rome, Italy

Beatified:             Pre-Congregation

Canonized:          Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:            December 25

Patron Saint:       None



According to tradition, Saint Eugenia of Rome disguised herself as a man, was baptized and acted as a monk at an abbey where she would later become abbot –  all to follow her vocation while increasing her Christian faith. She would go onto convert many others including her servants Saints Jantus and Hyacinthus as well as her mother and father. But, following Christ comes at steep price – her own life beheaded as a martyr.

While we may not have to be disguised to follow our vocation and increase our faith, what lengths will you go today to follow Christ through loving acts of kindness to others around you?


Saint Eugenia of Rome,

Faithful martyr and witness to the Gospel, you demonstrated unwavering courage and faithfulness to Christ, even in the face of persecution and adversity.

Intercede for us so that we may be strengthened in our own faith to use our minds and talents in service to God.

Pray for us, that we may follow Christ faithfully and bear witness to His love and truth in all that we do.

Saint Eugenia of Rome, pray for us. Amen.


Saint Links 

Bartleby – Rev. Alban Butler. Volume XII: December. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. December 25 St. Eugenia, Virgin and Martyr

Catholic Online – St. Eugenia

CatholicSaints.Info – Golden Legend – Saint Eugenia

Christian Iconography – Saint Eugenia: The Iconography

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America – Eugenia the Righteous Nun-martyr of Rome

Lives of the Lady Saints – December 25. Eugenia/Eugenios, Who Was Beheaded on Christmas

National Catholic Register – St. Eugenia: Virgin, Martyr, Myth?

Orthodox Christian Network – Saint Eugenia the Abbot

Orthodox Church in America – Nun-Martyr Eugenia of Rome

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Eugenia (d.258)

Saint of the Day – December 25 Saint Eugenia

Video Link

Wisdom of Saint Eugenia of Rome: Today’s Quotation – YouTube (Divine Mercy Prayer)