Saint Euphemia (Greek: Ευφημία Late Koine Greek [efiˈmia]), "well-spoken [of]", known as the All-praised in the Orthodox Church, is a Christian saint, who was martyred for her faith in 303 AD. According to Christian tradition, this occurred at Chalcedon.

According to tradition, Euphemia was arrested for refusing to offer sacrifices to Ares. After suffering various tortures, she died in the arena at Chalcedon from wounds sustained from a lion. Her tomb became a site of pilgrimages. She is commemorated on September 16.

Saint Euphemia
Martyrdom of St. Euphemia
Mural depicting the martyrdom of St. Euphemia (Church of St. Euphemia, Rovinj, Croatia)
Virgin, Martyr
Died303 A.D.
Chalcedon, Bithynia
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Protestant Churches
Major shrineOrthodox Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George, Istanbul, Church of St. Euphemia, Rovinj, Croatia
FeastSeptember 16 (martyrdom)
July 11 (miracle)
AttributesClothed as a pious woman with her head covered, surrounded by one or a few lions, often holding a wheel or a cross

Historical background

Euphemia's name and year of death are recorded in the 5th century Martyrologium Hieronymianum, the earliest extant list of Christian martyrs. The year, 303, was the first year of the Great Persecution under Roman emperor Diocletian. The Fasti vindobonenses, a collection of liturgical documents from the 4th to 6th centuries, says she died on the 16th of October. Other than this, there is no verifiable historical information about Euphemia.[1] Egeria, who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land about 381-384 and wrote an account of her travels, relates being shown the site of Euphemia's martyrdom in Chalcedon.[1] Euphemia became a famous saint and stories about her accumulated; the Golden Legend, a collection of hagiographies from about 1260, includes an account of her martyrdom.[1]


Mantegna, santa eufemia, capodimonte
Saint Euphemia, Andrea Mantegna, tempera on canvas, 1454

St. Euphemia lived on the cusp of the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. According to tradition, she was the daughter of a senator named Philophronos and his wife Theodosia in Chalcedon, located across the Bosporus from the city of Byzantium (modern-day Istanbul).[2] From her youth she was consecrated to virginity.

The governor of Chalcedon, Priscus, had made a decree that all of the inhabitants of the city take part in sacrifices to the deity Ares. Euphemia was discovered with forty-nine other Christians hiding in a house and worshipping God, in defiance of the governor's orders.[2] Because of their refusal to sacrifice, they were tortured for a number of days, and then, all but Euphemia, sent to the Emperor for trial.[3] Euphemia, the youngest among them, was separated from her companions and subjected to particularly harsh torments, including the wheel, in hopes of breaking her spirit. She was placed in the arena, where lions were sent out to kill her, but they instead licked her wounds. It is believed that she died of wounds from a wild bear in the arena.[2]

Eventually, a cathedral was built in Chalcedon over her reputed grave.

Miracle during the Council of Chalcedon

The Council of Chalcedon, the Fourth Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church, took place in the city of Chalcedon in the year 451. It repudiated the Eutychian doctrine of monophysitism, and set forth the Chalcedonian Definition, which describes the "full humanity and full divinity" of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

Present at the council were 630 representatives from all the local Christian Churches. The meetings were quite contentious, and no decisive consensus could be reached.

According to the Synaxarion of Constantinople, a collection of hagiographies, both parties wrote a confession of their faith and placed them on the breast of Saint Euphemia within her tomb. After three days the tomb was opened and the scroll with the Orthodox confession was seen in the right hand of St Euphemia while the scroll of the Monophysites lay at her feet.[1]


Saint Euphemia Sarcophagus in Rovinj, Croatia 2006-08-28
Sarcophagus containing some of the relics of Saint Euphemia in Rovinj, Croatia.

When the persecution of Diocletian ended, the Christians laid Saint Euphemia’s reputed relics in a golden sarcophagus, placed within a church that was dedicated to her. Her relics attracted crowds of pilgrims for centuries.

St. Euphemia Reliquary
Russian-made reliquary of Saint Euphemia in the Church of St. George in Istanbul.

Around the year 620, in the wake of the conquest of Chalcedon by the Persians under Khosrau I in the year 617, the relics of Saint Euphemia were transferred to a new church in Constantinople. There, during the persecutions of the Iconoclasts, her reliquary was said to have been thrown into the sea, from which it was recovered by the ship-owning brothers Sergios and Sergonos, who belonged to the Orthodox party, and who gave it over to the local bishop who hid them in a secret crypt. The relics were afterwards taken to the Island of Lemnos, and in 796 they were returned to Constantinople.[3] The majority of her relics are still in the Patriarchal Church of St. George, in Istanbul.

Feast days

The primary feast day of Saint Euphemia, celebrated by both Eastern and Western Christians is September 16 in commemoration of her martyrdom. Additionally, Eastern Orthodox Christians commemorate her miracle at the Council of Chalcedon on July 11.

Popular culture

St. Euphemia is a widely venerated saint among all Eastern Orthodox Christians, not only for her virginity and martyrdom, but also for her strengthening of the Orthodox Faith, and her feast days are celebrated with special solemnity. Churches in her honor have been erected at many places in the Christian world.


A minor planet is named Euphemia.

In the Japanese anime series Code Geass, a major character is named for St. Euphemia.

In Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the protagonist names his pet goat Euphemia.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Castelli, Elizabeth A. (July 15, 2000). "Chapter 39: Asterius of Amasea,Ekphrasis on the Holy Martyr Euphemia". In Valantasis, Richard (ed.). Religions of Late Antiquity in Practice. Princeton University Press. p. 464. ISBN 978-0691057507.
  2. ^ a b c "St. Euphemia the All-Praised", Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
  3. ^ a b "Greatmartyr Euphemia the All-praised", Orthodox Church in America

External links


Dawn-Euphemia is a township in southwestern Ontario, Canada, in Lambton County. Residents primarily are employed by the agricultural industry, or by local industries such as Union Gas distribution centre, along with various smaller agricultural manufacturers or service providers. The township municipal office is located in Rutherford.

Major transportation routes include Cairo Road and Oil Heritage Road directed north–south and Bentpath Line and Lambton Line running east–west. One elementary school serves the area, Dawn-Euphemia School. Students attend secondary school in nearby Petrolia and Dresden, both of which serve as local service centres for residents.

Effie Gray

Euphemia Chalmers Millais, Lady Millais (née Gray; 7 May 1828 – 23 December 1897) was the wife of Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais. She had previously been married to the critic John Ruskin, but the marriage was annulled, and she left him without it having been consummated. Her husband Millais was Ruskin's protégé. This famous Victorian "love triangle" has been dramatised in plays, films and an opera.

She was also an artist and an author for Effie in Venice: Unpublished Letters of Mrs. John Ruskin Written from Venice Between 1849 - 1852 and Selling Light, first published in 2008.

Euphemia (typeface)

Euphemia is a sans-serif typeface for Unified Canadian Syllabics.

Euphemia Dolomite

The Euphemia Dolomite is a geologic formation in Ohio. It dates back to the Silurian.

Euphemia Haynes

Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes (September 11, 1890, Washington, D.C. – July 25, 1980, Washington, D.C.) was an American mathematician and educator. She was the first African-American woman to gain a PhD in mathematics, from the Catholic University of America in 1943.

Euphemia I, Countess of Ross

Euphemia I (d. 1394 x 1398), also called Euphemia of Ross and Euphemia Ross, and sometimes incorrectly styled Euphemia Leslie and Euphemia Stewart (Scottish women in this period did not abandon natal names for married names), was a Countess of Ross in her own right.

Euphemia Mary Goldsborough Willson

Euphemia Mary Goldsborough Willson (June 5, 1836 – March 10, 1896) was a nurse.

Euphemia de Ross

Euphemia de Ross (died 1386), a member of Clan Ross, was Queen of Scots as the second wife of Robert II of Scotland.

Euphemia of Kiev

Evfimija Vladimirovna (Ukrainian: Євфимія Володимирівна, Russian: Евфимия Владимировна), known as Euphemia of Kiev (fl. 1112–died 4 April 1139) was Queen Consort of Hungary by marriage to Coloman, King of Hungary.

Euphemia was the daughter of Grand Prince Vladimir II of Kiev and his second wife, whose name and ancestry are unknown. She was married to King Coloman of Hungary around 1112. However, her husband, who had been suffering from a serious disease, caught her in adultery and immediately sent her back to Kiev. Euphemia gave birth to her son, Boris (1113 – 1155/1156), in her father's court, but the son was never recognised by King Coloman. Afterwards, she lived in a monastery near Kiev till her death.

Euphemia of Pomerania

Euphemia of Pomerania (1285 – 26 July 1330) was Queen of Denmark as the spouse of King Christopher II. She was the daughter of Bogislaw IV, Duke of Pomerania, and his second spouse, Margarete of Rügen.

Euphemia wed Christopher in 1300. The marriage was likely a politically arranged marriage to provide Christopher with political support from the dynasty of her mother as well as that of her father. Not much is known about queen Euphemia.

Euphemia had at least six known children:

Margarete (1305–1340), married Louis V, Duke of Bavaria

Erik (1307–1331)

Otto, Duke of Lolland and Estonia (born c. 1310 – died after 1347)

Agnes (d. 1312), died young

Heilwig (born c. 1315)

Valdemar, King of Denmark (1320–1375)She is buried in the Sorø Abbey.

Euphemia of Rügen

Euphemia of Rügen (c. 1280 – May 1312) was the Queen consort of Norway as the spouse of Håkon V of Norway. She is famous in history as a literary person, and known for commissioning translations of romances.

Euphemia of Sweden

Euphemia of Sweden (Swedish: Eufemia Eriksdotter; 1317 – 16 June 1370) was a Swedish princess, spouse of Albert II, Duke of Mecklenburg, Duchess consort of Mecklenburg, heiress of Sweden and of Norway, and mother of King Albert of Sweden.

Lambton East

Lambton East was a federal electoral district represented in the House of Commons of Canada from 1882 to 1935. It was located in the province of Ontario. This riding was created from Lambton riding.

The East Riding of the county of Lambton was initially defined to consist of the townships of Enniskillen, Brooke, Warwick and Bosanquet, the town of Petrolia, and the villages of Oil Springs, Alvinston, Watford, Arkona and Thedford.

In 1903, it was expanded to include the township of Euphemia and the town of Forest. In 1914, it was expanded to include the townships of Zone and Camden in the county of Kent.

In 1924, it was defined as consisting of the townships of Bosanquet, Warwick, Inniskillen, Brooke, Dawn and Euphemia in the County of Lambton, and the townships of Zone and Camden in the County of Kent.

The electoral district was abolished in 1933 when it was redistributed between Lambton West and Lambton—Kent ridings.


Lambton—Kent was a federal electoral district in Ontario, Canada, that was represented in the House of Commons of Canada from 1935 to 1979. This riding was created in 1933 from parts of Kent, Lambton East and Lambton West ridings.

It was initially defined as consisting of:

the part of the county of Lambton contained in the townships of Brooke, Dawn, Enniskillen, Euphemia, Sombra, and Warwick, including the town of Forest, Walpole Island, St. Ann Island and the other islands at the mouth of the St. Clair River; and

the part of the county of Kent contained in the townships of the Gore of Chatham, Gore of Camden, Camden and Zone.In 1947, it was redefined to exclude the village of Arkona (Lambton County); and the townships of Gore of Camden (Kent County).

In 1966, it was defined to consist of:

the part of the County of Kent contained in the Townships of Camden, Chatham, Dover, Harwich, Howard, Orford and Zone;

the part of the County of Lambton contained in the Townships of Brooke, Dawn, Euphemia, Enniskillen and Sombra;

Walpole Island Indian Reserve No. 46.The electoral district was abolished in 1976 when it was redistributed between Essex—Kent, Kent and Lambton—Middlesex ridings.

Lewisburg, Ohio

Lewisburg is a village in Preble County, Ohio, United States, founded in 1818. The current village incorporates two prior villages, the original Lewisburg and Euphemia, which merged in 1916. The population was 1,820 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Dayton Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Palace of Antiochos

The Palace of Antiochos (Greek: τὰ παλάτια τῶν Ἀντιόχου) was an early 5th-century palace in the Byzantine capital, Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey). It has been identified with a palatial structure excavated in the 1940s and 1950s close to the Hippodrome of Constantinople, some of whose remains are still visible today. In the 7th century, a part of the palace was converted into the church–more properly a martyrion, a martyr's shrine–of St Euphemia in the Hippodrome (Ἀγία Εὐφημία ἐν τῷ Ἱπποδρομίῳ, Hagia Euphēmia en tō Hippodromiō), which survived until the Palaiologan period.

Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 129

Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 129 (P. Oxy. 129 or P. Oxy. I 129) is a formal repudiation of a betrothal, written in Greek and discovered in Oxyrhynchus. The manuscript was written on papyrus in the form of a sheet. The document was written in the 6th century. Currently it is housed in the Egyptian Museum (10082) in Cairo.

St Euphemia College

St Euphemia College is an independent Greek Orthodox co-educational primary and secondary day school, located in Bankstown, a south-western suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Named in honour of Saint Euphemia, the College commenced on 30 January 1989 with 29 students from Year K to Year 3. Archbishop Stylianos conducted the official opening of the College on 26 February 1989. The College's secondary school commenced in 1993 with 31 students. The school now provides a comprehensive and religious education for students from Year K to Year 12.

St. Euphemia College was established by the community to preserve the Greek Orthodox culture and ethos in the local community. The Church which is part of the College Campus, was established in 1964. The College belongs to the Greek Orthodox Parish and Community of Bankstown. As of 2013, the Principal was Harry Hirakis.


Stagenhoe is a Grade II listed stately home and surrounding gardens located in the village of St Paul's Walden in Hertfordshire. It is approximately 6 miles (10 km) south of Hitchin. It was the family seat of the Earl of Caithness. Socialite Lady Euphemia Sinclair spent her childhood there and became a friend Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, whose family were neighbours.

It is one of two large manors with fine grounds in the village, the other being the historic home of the Bowes-Lyon family St Paul's Walden Bury.

Virgin Mary
See also

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