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St. Euphemia of Chalcedon

IV Century
Martyred in the IV Century, St. Euphemia is the patroness of the church at which the Council of Chalcedon (451) was held. The legends of her death are largely discounted, but the facts that her body was preserved and that a church was erected shortly after the end of the persecution to house it do not allow the denial of her existence. Egeria describes the cult of Euphemia at Chalcedon in the IV Century, and the saint's name appears in the Ambrosian canon.

The stories say that Euphemia refused to attend a festival in honor of Ares (Mars). She was then taken to a judge named Priscus and was tortured. Some say she was burned at the stake, while tales of a later origin claim she was thrown to wild animals and a bear mauled her to death.

During the Council, the Nicene and Eutychian creeds are said to have been placed in her tomb, which was then sealed. Three days later, it was opened. The Eutychian creed lay at her feet, while she held the Nicene.

Her relics were, according to Latin writers, taken to Rome in 617. Byzantine writers say they were taken to Constantinople in 620. Constantine Copronymus is said to have ordered them thrown into the sea, and Irene rescued them. They are kept at Selymbrin, at the mouth of the Bosphorus.

Karen Rae Keck


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