Saint Margaret of Antioch
Written by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.

St Margaret of Antioch (also known as Marina) was a princess of sorts. She was born in Antioch in Pisidia. She was thrown out of her father Theodosius' house for embracing Christianity, which she learned from her nurse, Theotimus. He father was said to be, Aesiduis of Antioch, in another version. He was a pagan priest during the reign of Roman Emperor Diocletian.

Margaret was a beautiful young girl. At age fifteen, when she was watching her father's sheep with some of her friends, a Roman prefect, Olybius was attracted to her. Olybius ordered his servants to abduct Margaret. He had plans to marry her if she was free or make her his concubine if she was a slave. As soon as he learned she was a Christian, he was repulsed. She wanted to convert him, and he got angry and imprisoned Margaret. The next day he asked her to give up her religion and go back to pagan ways. She was imprisoned for refusing to return to her father's religion. Olybius then threatened to torture or kill her. Margaret was used to wealth and friendly people. She suffered the agony of the rack, but wished to die rather than return to paganism.

She was sent back to prison and prayed to God that her enemy be made visible. A dreadful dragon appeared and ate her. She made the sign of the cross. The cross she was carrying grew to enormous proportions, and the beast burst open. Then a handsome young man came to her (the Devil in disguise). He whispered sweet things in her ear, but she knew him not, so she knocked him down knowing it was a trick.

She questioned the Devil about why he harassed all Christians. He said he detested goodness and that Solomon had put a number of demons in a vase. After Solo,on died, his power over the vase and its contents subsided. The vase began to smoke and had flames. Curious members of Solomon's court were curious, and opened the vase. In opening this vase, they also let free the demons, who could again torment those on earth.

Margaret was taken from her cell again the next morning, and she still refused to denounce Chriatianity. She was then st on fire, and plunged into a tub of water. She said a prayer and the tub sides fell down allowing her to escape. She had no burns. It is thought that Olybius did not wish to really kill her at this point, thinking he might scare her into submission.

Five thousand people were converted as a result of Margaret's "miracle." However, they were all beheaded as Christians.

After all his attempts, Olybius decided that he wanted her beheaded too. No woman was worth all this. Margaret asked to say a prayer before her execution. She prayed for herself and her tormentors.

Joan of Arc heard the voice of Saint Margaret of Antioch.

Her day is July 20th (Hallam, 45, and Water, Mark, A Year With Saints. Liguori, Missouri: Liguori Publications. 1997)

British Table

This page is updated and designed by Maggie Sypniewski, BFA
Last updated on February 21, 2006