mercredi 26 septembre 2012

Saint CYPRIEN, martyr et Sainte JUSTINE, vierge et martyre



Saint Cyprien et Sainte Justine

Martyrs

(† 314)

Les parents de Cyprien, très superstitieux, le vouèrent au démon dès son enfance; ils le firent élever dans le paganisme; il se livra à l'astrologie judiciaire et à la magie. Avec le secours de ses connaissances, il s'abandonna à toutes sortes de crimes et se déclara ennemi acharné de la religion chrétienne.

Il y avait à Antioche une jeune vierge nommée Justine, non moins distinguée par ses rares qualités que par sa naissance. Ses parents étaient idolâtres; mais elle avait eu le bonheur de connaître Jésus-Christ, et sa conversion fut bientôt suivie de celle de sa famille. Un jeune homme nommé Agladius, païen, conçût pour elle une violente passion, et pria Cyprien de l'aider par les secours de son art. Ce magicien mit tout en oeuvre, sans que rien pût lui réussir. Il consulta le démon, qui lui promit de lui servir d'auxiliaire; mais de nouvelles tentatives ne furent pas plus heureuses; la vierge priait, elle imprimait sur elle le signe du salut, et le démon s'enfuyait confondu. Cyprien, désespérant du succès, dit au démon: "Eh bien! Te voilà vaincu? -- Oui, dit l'esprit infernal, j'ai vu un signe, et j'ai été vaincu. -- Quel est ce signe? reprit Cyprien. -- J'ai vu le signe du Crucifié. -- Le Crucifié est donc plus grand que toi? Fuis loin de moi, imposteur! Tu m'as trompé trop longtemps."

Le démon chercha à étouffer Cyprien, mais il le mit en fuite par l'invocation du Dieu de Justine et par le signe de la Croix. Le jeune Agladius, plein d'admiration au récit que lui fit Cyprien, se convertit lui-même à Jésus-Christ. Emprisonnés par les persécuteurs après avoir été préservés l'un de l'huile bouillante et l'autre des flammes du bûcher, ils eurent la tête tranchée.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950

SOURCE : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/saint_cyprien_et_sainte_justine.html


La légende de ces deux saints était très populaire dès le IVème siècle. Leur culte a été introduit à Rome au Moyen-âge, leur fête dès le XIIIème siècle.

Leçon des Matines (avant 1960)

Troisième leçon. Cyprien, qui, d’abord magicien, devait être Martyr, fut prié par un jeune homme épris d’un amour ardent pour Justine, vierge chrétienne, de l’amener, par des enchantements et des maléfices, à lui faire partager sa passion. Cyprien consulta le démon afin de connaître comment il pourrait y parvenir. Mais le démon lui répondit qu’aucun artifice ne réussirait contre les vrais adorateurs du Christ. Impressionné par cette réponse, il commença dès lors à regretter les égarements de sa vie passée, et, laissant de côté la magie, se convertit pleinement à la foi du Christ, notre Seigneur. Pour ce motif, on l’arrêta en même temps que la vierge Justine. Tous deux furent souffletés et accablés de coups, après quoi on les jeta en prison, dans l’espoir qu’ils renonceraient à leur résolution. Mais lorsque, plus tard, on les en fit sortir, ils se montrèrent fermement décidés à persévérer dans la religion chrétienne ; alors on les plongea dans une chaudière remplie de poix, de graisse et de cire en fusion, et on finit par les frapper de la hache, à Nicomédie. Leurs corps abandonnés sans sépulture, demeurèrent six jours dans cet état ; des matelots, durant la nuit, les placèrent secrètement sur leur navire et les portèrent à Rome. Ils furent d’abord ensevelis dans la propriété de Rufine, noble dame romaine ; puis transférés dans la Ville même et déposés dans la basilique Constantinienne, auprès du baptistère.

SOURCE : http://www.introibo.fr/26-09-St-Cyprien-et-Ste-Justine



SAINT CYPRIEN, MARTYR, ET SAINTE JUSTINE, VIERGE ET MARTYRE.

« Qui que vous soyez que séduisent les mystères des démons, nul de vous ne surpassera mon zèle pour ces faux dieux, ni mes recherches à leur sujet, ni la vaine puissance qu'ils m'avaient communiquée, moi, Cyprien, dès l'enfance au service du dragon dans la citadelle Palladique. Apprenez de moi la tromperie de leurs illusions. Une vierge m'a montré que leur pouvoir n'est que fumée. Le roi des démons s'est arrêté à la porte d'une enfant, sans pouvoir la franchir. Celui qui tant promet, n'est que menteur. Une femme se joue de celui qui se vante d'agiter la terre et les deux. Le lion rugissant n'est qu'un, moucheron qui se dérobe, devant Justine la chrétienne et la vierge (Confessio Cypriani Antiocheni, I, II). »

Cyprien fut d'abord adonné à la magie, Martyr ensuite. Justine était une vierge chrétienne, qu'il avait entrepris d'amener par enchantements et sortilèges à consentir à la passion d'un jeune homme. Mais le démon, consulté, ayant répondu qu'aucun procédé ne lui réussirait contre de vrais disciples du Christ, cette réponse frappa tellement Cyprien que, déplorant amèrement son genre de vie passé, il dit adieu aux arts magiques et se convertit sans réserve à la foi du Seigneur Christ. Saisi de ce chef avec la vierge Justine, ils furent tous deux souffletés et battus de verges, puis jetés en prison pour éprouver la fermeté de leur résolution. Mais comme, tirés de là, ils affirmaient leur inébranlable attachement à la religion chrétienne, on les précipita dans une chaudière remplie de poix, de graisse et de cire embrasées. Enfin ils moururent sous la hache à Nicomédie. Leurs corps, jetés à la voirie, restèrent six jours sans sépulture ; jusqu'à ce qu'une nuit, des matelots, les ayant enlevés secrètement sur leur barque, les portèrent à Rome ; ils y furent d'abord ensevelis sur le domaine d'une noble femme appelée Rufine ; transportés plus tard à l'intérieur de la Ville, on les déposa dans la basilique Constantinienne de Latran, près du baptistère.

O VIERGE, celui-là même qui tentait de vous perdre est aujourd'hui votre vivant trophée de victoire. O Cyprien, la carrière du crime est devenue pour vous l'entrée du salut. Puissiez-vous triompher ensemble à nouveau de Satan, dans ce siècle où les sciences occultes recommencent à séduire tant d'âmes, déséquilibrées par la perte de la foi. Contre un danger si grand, contre tout péril, puissent les chrétiens s'armer comme vous du signe de la Croix ; et l'ennemi sera contraint de redire : « J'ai vu un signe terrible, et j'ai tremblé ; j'ai vu le signe du Crucifié, et ma force a fondu comme la cire (Acta Cypriani et Justinae.). »

Dom Guéranger. L'Année liturgique

SOURCE : http://www.abbaye-saint-benoit.ch/gueranger/anneliturgique/pentecote/pentecote05/032.htm


Saint Hiéromartyr CYPRIEN et la vierge JUSTINE

(Nous suivons ici la notice du Synaxaire de Constantinople, éd. Delehaye p. 98-100).

Cyprien vivait à Antioche sous le règne de l'empereur Dèce (vers 250). Il était riche et de noble naissance, et brillait particulièrement dans la philosophie et les pratiques magiques. A cette époque vivait à Antioche une jeune vierge à la beauté éblouissante, fille d'Aidesios, prêtre des idoles. Elle assista un jour à la prédication du Diacre Praülios, venu répandre les paroles de vie éternelle dans le peuple. Elle en fut si frappée qu'elle crut immédiatement de tout son cœur au Christ. La foi et l'amour de Dieu la transformèrent tellement qu'elle entraînât sa mère qui convainquit également son époux, si bien qu'ils demandèrent tous trois le Saint Baptême à l'Evêque Optat. Par la suite, Justa décida de consacrer sa virginité au Seigneur et de demeurer tout le reste de sa vie dans la chasteté, le jeûne et la prière. Un jeune païen, nommé Aglaïdas, tomba éperdument amoureux de Justa et se désespérant de voir toutes ses avances repoussées, s'adressa à Cyprien, afin qu'il déclenchât la passion dans le corps de la pure vierge au moyen de ses charmes2. Après avoir consulté ses livres, Cyprien invoqua les démons dont il s'était assuré les services. Mais rien ne pouvait parvenir à tenter la jeune fille et à déclencher en elle les assauts de la concupiscence, tant son amour pour son céleste Epoux était puissant. Constatant qu'à trois reprises les démons qu'il avait envoyés à Justa avaient été vaincus par la grâce du Christ et le signe de la Croix, Cyprien reconnut que la Foi des Chrétiens avait une puissance plus grande que tous les artifices de son art démoniaque. Il crut lui aussi, demanda le Baptême à l'Evêque Anthime, renonça à sa science et brûla publiquement ses livres de magie. Il devint par la suite lui-même Evêque et consacra Justa Diaconnesse, en lui donnant le nom de Justine. Pendant la persécution de Dèce, ils furent tous deux capturés et emmenés à Damas pour y être torturés. On les conduisit ensuite devant l'empereur à Nicomédie, où ils eurent, sur son ordre, la tête tranchée.

SOURCE : http://calendrier.egliseorthodoxe.com/sts/stsoctobre/oct02.html



SAINTE JUSTINE, VIERGE

Justine est ainsi nommée de justice; car par sa justice, elle a rendu à chacun ce qui lui appartient à Dieu l’obéissance, à son supérieur le respect, à son égal la concorde, à son inférieur la discipline, à ses ennemis la patience, aux misérables et aux affligés la compassion, à elle-même de saintes oeuvres et au prochain la charité.

Justine, vierge de la ville d'Antioche, était la fille d'un prêtre des idoles (1). Tous les jours étant assise à sa fenêtre, elle entendait lire l’évangile par le diacre Proctus, qui enfin la convertit. La mère en informa son père au lit, puis s'étant endormis tous deux, J.-C. leur apparut avec des anges et leur dit : « Venez à moi, et je vous donnerai le royaume des cieux. » Aussitôt éveillés, ils se firent baptiser avec leur fille. C'est cette viergeJustine tant tourmentée par Cyprien qu'elle finit par convertir à la foi. Cyprien s'était adonné à la marie dès son enfance ; car il n'avait que sept ans quand il fut consacré au diable par ses parents. Comme donc il exerçait l’art magique, il paraissait changer les matrones en bête de somme, et faisait une infinité d'autres prestiges. Il s'éprit d'un amour brûlant pour la vierge Justine, et il eut recours à la magie afin de la posséder soit pour lui, soit pour un homme nommé Acladius, qui s'était également épris d'amour pour elle. Il évoque donc le démon afin qu'il vienne à lui et qu'il puisse par son entremise jouir de Justine. Le diable vient et lui dit : « Pourquoi  m’as-tu appelé? » Cyprien lui répondit : « J'aime une vierge du nombre des Galiléens ; peux-tu faire que je l’aie et accomplisse avec elle ma volonté? » Le démon lui dit : « Moi: qui ai pu chasser l’homme du paradis, qui ai amené 'Caïn à tuer son frère, qui ai fait crucifier J.-C. parles Juifs, et qui ai jeté le trouble parmi les hommes; je ne pourrais donc pas faire que tu aies une jeune fille, et que tu obtiennes d'elle ce qu'il te plait ? Prends cet onguent et épars-le autour de sa maison en dehors; puis je surviendrai, j'embraserai son coeur de ton amour, et je la pousserai à se rendre à toi. » La nuit suivante le démon vient auprès de Justine et s'efforce de porter son coeur à un amour illicite. Quand elle s'en aperçut, elle se recommanda dévotement au Seigneur et elle protégea tout son corps. du signe de la croix. Mais au signe de la sainte Croix, le diable effrayé s'enfuit, vint trouver Cyprien et resta debout devant luis Cyprien lui dit : « Pourquoi ne  m’as-tu pas amené cette vierge ? » Le démon lui répondit : « J'ai vu sur elle un certain signe ; j'ai été pétrifié, et toutes les forces,  m’ont manqué. » Alors Cyprien le congédiai et en appela un plus fort. Celui-ci lui dit : « J'ai entendu ton ordre, et j'en ai saisi l’impossibilité : mais je le rectifierai, et je remplirai ta volonté : je l’attaquerai, et je blesserai son coeur d'un amour de débauche et tu feras d'elle ce que tu désires. » Le diable vint et s'efforça de persuader Justine en enflammant son esprit d'un amour coupable. Mais elle se recommanda dévotement à Dieu et par un signe de croix, elle éloigna entièrement la tentation ; ensuite elle souffla sur 1e démon qui fut chassé aussitôt. Alors le démon confus s'en alla, s'enfuit se tenir debout devant Cyprien. Cyprien lui dit : « Et où est la vierge à laquelle je t'ai envoyé?

« Je  m’avoue vaincu, répondit le démon, et je tremble de dire de quelle manière : car j'ai vu un certain signe terrible sur elle, et, aussitôt j'ai perdu toute force. » Alors Cyprien se moqua de lui et le renvoya. Il évoqua ensuite le prince des démons. Quand celui-ci fut arrivé, Cyprien lui dit : « Quelle est donc votre puissance? elle est bien chétive pour qu'elle soit annihilée par une jeune fille ? » Le démon lui dit : «J'y vais aller et je la tourmenterai par différentes fièvres, ensuite j'enflammerai son esprit avec plus de force; je répandrai dans tout son corps nue ardeur violente, je la rendrai frénétique, je lui présenterai divers fantômes, et à minuit je te l’amènerai. » Alors le diable prit la figure d'une vierge et il vint dire à Justine

« Je viens vous prouver, parce que je désire vivre avec vous dans la chasteté : néanmoins, dites-moi, je vous prie, quelle sera la récompense de notre combat ? » Cette sainte vierge lui répondit: « La récompense sera grande et le labeur bien petit. » Le démon lui dit : « Qu'est-ce donc que ce commandement de Dieu « Croissez et multipliez et remplissez la terre »? Je crains donc, bonne compagne, que si nous restons dans la virginité, nous ne rendions vaine la parole de Dieu et que nous ne soyons exposées à la rigueur d'un jugement sévère comme désobéissantes et comme contemptrices : et ensuite que nous ne soyons pressées gravement, par le moyen sur lequel nous comptons pour obtenir une récompense. » Alors le coeur de Justine commença à être agité de pensées étranges, par les suggestions du démon, et à être enflammé plus fortement de l’ardeur de la concupiscence; en sorte qu'elle voulait se lever et s'en aller. Mais cette sainte vierge revenue à elle, et connaissant celui qui lui parlait, se munit aussitôt du signe de la croix, puis soufflant sur le diable, elle le fit fondre comme cire : or, elle se sentit délivrée à l’instant de toute tentation.

Peu après, le diable prit la figure d'un très beau jeune homme; il entra dans la chambre où Justine reposait sur un  lit; il sauta avec impudence sur son lit et voulut se jeter sur elle pour l’embrasser. Justine voyant cela et reconnaissant que c'était l’esprit malin fit de suite 1e signe de la croix et fit fondre le diable comme de la cire. Alors le diable, par la permission de Dieu, l’abattit par la fièvre, causa la mort de plusieurs personnes, et, en même temps, des troupeaux et des bêtes de trait, et fit annoncer par les démoniaques qu'il régnerait une grande mortalité dans tout Antioche, si Justine ne consentait pas à se marier. C'est pourquoi tous les citoyens malades se rassemblèrent à la porte des parents de Justine, en leur criant qu'il fallait la marier et qu'ils délivreraient par là toute la Ville d'un si grand péril. Mais comme Justine refusait absolument de consentir et que pour ce prétexte tout le monde la menaçait de mort, la septième almée de l’épidémie, Justine pria pour ses concitoyens et elle éloigna toute pestilence. Le diable voyant qu'il ne gagnait rien, prit la figure de Justine elle-même afin de salir sa réputation; puis se moquant de Cyprien il se vantait de lui avoir amené Justine. Le diable courut donc trouver Cyprien sous l’apparence de Justine et il voulut l’embrasser comme si elle eût langui d'amour pour lui. Cyprien en le voyant crut que c'était Justine, et s'écria, rempli de joie : « Soyez la bienvenue, Justine, vous qui êtes belle entre toutes les femmes. » A l’instant que Cyprien eut prononcé le nom de Justine, le diable ne le put endurer, mais dès que ce mot fut proféré, il s'évanouit aussitôt comme de la fumée. C'est pourquoi Cyprien, qui se Voyait joué, resta tout triste. Il en résulta que Cyprien fut encore plus enflammé d'amour pour Justine ; il veilla longtemps à sa porte, et comme à l’aide de la magie il se changeait tantôt en femme, tantôt en oiseau, selon qu'il le voulait, dès qu'il était arrivé à la porte de Justine, ce n'était pas une femme, ni un oiseau, mais bien Cyprien qui paraissait aussitôt. Acladius se changea aussi par art diabolique en passereau et vint voltiger à la fenêtre de Justine. Aussitôt que la vierge l’aperçut, ce ne fut plus un passereau qui parut, mais Acladius lui-même qui fut rempli alors d'angoisses extrêmes et de terreur, parce qu'il ne pouvait ni fuir, ni sauter. Mais Justine, dans la crainte qu'il ne tombât et qu'il ne crevât, le fit descendre avec une échelle en lui conseillant de cesser ses folies, pour qu'il ne fût pas puni par les lois comme magicien. Tout cela se faisait avec une certaine apparence au moyen dès illusions du diable.

Le diable, vaincu en toutes circonstances, revint trouver Cyprien et resta plein de confusion devant lui. Cyprien lui dit : « N'es-tu pas vaincu aussi, toi? Quelle est donc votre force, misérable, que vous ne puissiez vaincre une jeune fille, ni l’avoir sous votre puissance; tandis qu'au contraire elle vous vaine elle-même et vous écrase si pitoyablement? Dis-moi cependant, je te prie, en quoi consiste la grande force qu'elle possède? » Le démon lui répondit : « Si tu me jures que tu ne  m’abandonneras jamais, je te découvrirai la vertu qui la fait vaincre. » « Par quoi jurerai-je, dit Cyprien? » « Jure-moi par mes grandes puissances, dit le démon, que tu ne  m’abandonneras en aucune façon. » Cyprien lui dit : « Par tes grandes puissances, je te jure de ne jamais t'abandonner. » Alors comme s'il eût été rassuré, le diable lui dit : « Cette fille a fait le signe du crucifié, et à l’instant j'ai été pétrifié; j'ai perdu toute force, et j'ai fondu comme la cire devant le feu. » Cyprien lui dit : « Donc le crucifié est plus grand que toi?» « Oui, reprit le démon, il est plus grand que tous, et il nous livrera au tourment d'un feu qui ne s'éteindra pas, nous et tous ceux que nous trompons ici. » Et Cyprien reprit : « Donc et moi aussi, je dois me faire l’ami du crucifié afin que je ne  m’expose pas à un pareil châtiment. » Le diable répartit : « Tu  m’as juré, par les puissances . de mon armée, que nul ne peut parjurer, de ne jamais me quitter. » Cyprien lui dit : « Je te méprise toi et toutes tes puissances qui se tournent en fumée : je renonce à toi et à tous tes diables, et je me munis du signe salutaire du crucifié. » Et à l’instant le diable se retira tout confus. Cyprien alla alors trouver l’évêque. En le voyant, celui-ci crut qu'il venait pour induire les chrétiens en erreur et lui dit : « Contente-toi de ceux qui sont au dehors, car tu ne pourras rien contre l’église de Dieu; la vertu de J.-C,, est en effet invincible. » Cyprien reprit : « Je suis certain -que la vertu de J.-C. est invincible. » Et il raconta ce qui lui était arrivé et se fit baptiser par, l’évêque. Dans la suite il fit de grands progrès tant dans la science que dans sa conduite, et quand l’évêque fut mort, il fut Ordonné lui-même pour le remplacer. Quant à sainte Justine il la mit dans un monastère et l’y fit abbesse d'un grand nombre de vierges sacrées. Or, saint Cyprien envoyait fréquemment des lettres aux martyrs qu'il fortifiait dans leurs combats. Le comte de ce pays aux oreilles duquel la réputation de Cyprien et de Justine arriva, les fit amener par devant lui, et leur demanda s'ils voulaient sacrifier. Comme ils restaient fermes dans la foi, il les fit jeter dans une chaudière pleine de cire, de poix et de graisse; elle ne fut pour eux qu'un admirable rafraîchissement et ne leur fit éprouver aucune douleur. Alors le prêtre des idoles dit au préfet : « Commandez que je me tienne vis-à-vis de la chaudière et aussitôt je vaincrai toute leur puissance. » Et quand il fut venu auprès de la chaudière, il dit : « Vous êtes un grand Dieu, Hercule, et vous, Jupiter, le père des dieux ! » Et voilà que tout à coup du feu sorti de la chaudière le consuma entièrement: Alors Cyprien et Justine sont retirés de la chaudière, et une sentence ayant été portée contre eux, ils furent décapités. Leurs corps, étant restés l’espace de sept jours exposés aux chiens, furent dans la suite transférés à Rome; on dit qu'ils sont maintenant à Plaisance. Ils souffrirent le 6 des calendes d'octobre, vers l’an du Seigneur 280, sous Dioclétien.

(1) Saint Grégoire de Nazianze et l’impératrice Eudoxie ont écrit les actes de saint Cyprien et de sainte Justine, sur lesquels a été compilée cette légende.

La Légende dorée de Jacques de Voragine nouvellement traduite en français avec introduction, notices, notes et recherches sur les sources par l'abbé J.-B. M. Roze, chanoine honoraire de la Cathédrale d'Amiens, Édouard Rouveyre, éditeur, 76, rue de Seine, 76, Paris mdcccci



Sts. Cyprian and Justina

Christians of Antioch who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Diocletian at Nicomedia, 26 September, 304, the date in September being afterwards made the day of their feast. Cyprian was a heathen magician of Antioch who had dealing with demons. By their aid he sought to bring St. Justina, a Christian virgin, to ruin; but she foiled the threefold attacks of the devils by the sign of the cross. Brought to despair Cyprian made the sign of the cross himself and in this way was freed from the toils of Satan. He was received into the Church, was made pre-eminent by miraculous gifts, and became in succession deacon, priest, and finally bishop, while Justina became the head of a convent. During the Diocletian persecution both were seized and taken to Damascus where they were shockingly tortured. As their faith never wavered they were brought before Diocletian at Nicomedia, where at his command they were beheaded on the bank of the river Gallus. The same fate befell a Christian, Theoctistus, who had come to Cyprian and had embraced him. After the bodies of the saints had lain unburied for six days they were taken by Christian sailors to Rome where they were interred on the estate of a noble lady named Rufina and later were entombed in Constantine's basilica. This is the outline of the legend or allegory which is found, adorned with diffuse descriptions and dialogues, in the unreliable "Symeon Metaphrastes", and was made the subject of a poem by the Empress Eudocia II. The story, however, must have arisen as early as the fourth century, for it is mentioned both by St. Gregory Nazianzen and Prudentius; both, nevertheless, have confounded our Cyprian with St. Cyprian of Carthage, a mistake often repeated. It is certain that no Bishop of Antioch bore the name of Cyprian. The attempt has been made to find in Cyprian a mystical prototype of the Faust legend: Calderon took the story as the basis of a drama: "El magico prodigioso". The legend is given in Greek and Latin in Acta SS. September, VII. Ancient Syriac and Ethiopic versions of it have been published within the last few years.

Sources

KAULES in Kirchenlex., s.v.; ZAHN, Cyprian von Antiochien und die deutsche Faustsage (Erlange, 1882); RYSSEL, Urtext d. Cyprianschen Legende in Archiv f. neuere Sprachen u. Litt. (1903), XX, 273-311; Bibl. hagiog. lat., 308; see also BUTLER, Lives of the Saints, 25 September; and (ibid.) BARING-GOULD, Lives of the Saints.

Meier, Gabriel. "Sts. Cyprian and Justina." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 26 Sept. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04583a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Michael T. Barrett. Dedicated to JoAnn Smull.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04583a.htm



Saint Cyprien et le démon. Sainte Justine et le démon. Cote : Français 245 , Fol. 109. 
Jacobus de Voragine, Legenda aurea (traduction de Jean de Vignay), 
France, Paris, XVe siècle, Jacques de Besançon.



September 26

SS. Cyprian and Justina, Martyrs

The Empress Eudocia, wife of Theodosius the Younger, (who chose her for his consort on account of her learning and skill in philosophy,) wrote the history of SS. Cyprian and Justina in a beautiful Greek poem, consisting of three books, commended by Photius, who has given an abstract of this work; but the poem itself is lost, with many other elegant poetical compositions of that princess. The authentic acts of these martyrs are likewise lost. But we have still extant the confession of St. Cyprian, written by himself, the same that was made use of by St. Gregory Nazianzen and Eudocia; also two other genuine pieces, the one entitled, The Conversion of Justina and Cyprian; the other, An Account of their Martyrdom. Also Prudentius, hymn. 13, p. 215. St. Gregory Naz. Or. 18, (though they, by mistake, confound this St. Cyprian with the bishop of Carthage,) and Photius, Bibl. Cod. 184, give us the history of these martyrs. On their Latin acts see Card. Baronius, &c. On the Greek of two sorts, Lambecius, Bibl. Impel. Vindeb. t. 8, p. 247, 257, 262. Montfauc. Bibl. Coislin. p. 210. See Tillemont, t. 5. Ceillier, t. 4, p. 89. Orsi, t. 4, p. 80. Jos. Assemani in Cal. Univ. t. 5, p. 269, ad 2 Oct.

A.D. 304.

ST. CYPRIAN, surnamed the Magician, was an illustrious instance of the divine grace and mercy. He was a native of Antioch, (not the capital of Syria, but a small city of that name, situated between Syria and Arabia,) which the Romans allotted to the government of Phœnicia, to the jurisdiction of which province this martyr was subject. The detestable superstition of his idolatrous parents put them upon devoting him from his infancy to the devil, and he was brought up in all the impious mysteries of idolatry, judicial astrology, and the black art. In hopes of making great discoveries in these infernal pretended sciences, he left his native country, when he had grown up, and travelled to Athens, Mount Olympus in Macedon, Argos, Phrygia, Memphis in Egypt, Chaldæa, and the Indies, places at that time famous for superstition and magical arts. When Cyprian had filled his head with all the extravagances of these schools of error and delusion, he stuck at no crimes, blasphemed Christ, and committed secret murders, to offer the blood, and inspect the bowels of children, as decisive of future events. His skill was employed in attempting the modesty of virgins; but he found Christian women proof against his assaults and spells.

There lived at Antioch a young lady called Justina, whose birth and beauty drew all eyes upon her. She was born of heathen parents, but was brought over to the Christian faith, and her conversion was followed by that of her father and mother. A pagan young nobleman fell deeply in love with her, and finding her modesty inaccessible, and her resolution invincible, he applied to Cyprian for the assistance of his art. Cyprian was no less smitten with the lady than his friend, and heartily tried every secret with which he was acquainted to conquer her resolution. Justina, perceiving herself vigorously attacked, studied to arm herself by prayer, watchfulness, and mortification against all his artifices and the power of his spells. “She defeated and put to flight the devils by the sign of the holy cross,” says Photius, from Eudocia. 1 St. Cyprian writes in his Confession: 2 “She armed herself with the sign of Christ, and overcame the invocation of the demons.” St. Gregory Nazianzen adds: “Suppliantly beseeching the Virgin Mary that she would succour a virgin in danger, she fortified herself with the antidotes of fasting, tears, and prayers.” Cyprian finding himself worsted by a superior power, began to consider the weakness of the infernal spirits, and resolved to quit their service. The devil, enraged to lose one by whom he had made so many conquests of other souls, assailed Cyprian with the utmost fury, and, having been repulsed in several other assaults, he at length overspread the soul of the penitent sinner with a gloomy melancholy, and brought him almost to the brink of despair at the sight of his past crimes. God inspired him in this perplexity to address himself to a holy priest named Eusebius, who had formerly been his school-fellow: by the advice of this priest he was wonderfully comforted and encouraged in his conversion. Cyprian, who, in the pressure of his heart, had been three days without eating, by the counsel of this charitable director took some refreshment, and, on the following Sunday, very early in the morning, was conducted by him to the assembly of the Christians; for though it was forbidden for persons not initiated by baptism to assist at the celebration of the divine mysteries, this did not regard other devotions, to which such as were under instruction in the faith might be admitted. These assemblies were then held very early in the morning, both to watch in prayer, and for fear of the heathens. So much was Cyprian struck at the awful reverence and heavenly devotion with which this act of the divine worship was performed, that he writes of it: 3 “I saw the choir of heavenly men, or of angels, singing to God, adding at the end of every verse in the psalms the Hebrew word Alleluia, so that they seemed not to be men.” 4 Every one present was astonished to see Cyprian introduced by a priest among them, and the bishop was scarcely able to believe his own eyes; or at least to be persuaded that his conversion was sincere. But Cyprian gave him a proof the next day by burning before his eyes all his magical books, giving his whole substance to the poor, and entering himself among the catechumens. After due instruction and preparation, he received the sacrament of regeneration from the hands of the bishop. Agladius, who had been the first suitor to the holy virgin, was likewise converted and baptized. Justina herself was so moved at these wonderful examples of the divine mercy, that she cut off her hair in order to dedicate her virginity to God, and disposed of her jewels and all her possessions to the poor. St. Gregory Nazianzen beautifully describes the astonishing change that was wrought in Cyprian, his edifying deportment, his humility, modesty, gravity, love of God, contempt of riches, and assiduous application to heavenly things. The same father tells us, that, out of humility, with earnest entreaties, he prevailed to be employed as sweeper of the church. Eudocia, quoted by Photius, says he was made door-keeper; but that, after some time, he was promoted to the priesthood, and, after the death of Anthimus the bishop, was placed in the episcopal chair of Antioch. Joseph Assemani thinks, not of Antioch, but of Damascus, or some other city in Syria.

The persecution of Dioclesian breaking out, Cyprian was apprehended, and carried before the governor of Phœnicia, who resided at Tyre. Justina had retired to Damascus, her native country, which city at that time was subject to the same presidial; and, falling into the hands of the persecutors, was presented to the same judge. She was inhumanly scourged, and Cyprian was torn with iron hooks, probably at Damascus. After this they were both sent in chains to Dioclesian, residing at Nicomedia, who, upon reading the letter of the governor of Phœnicia, without more ado, commanded their heads to be struck off: which sentence was executed upon the banks of the river Gallus, which passes not far from the city of Nicomedia. Theoctistus, also a Christian, was beheaded with them for speaking to Cyprian as he was going to execution. Their relics were procured by certain Christians who came from Rome, and were carried by them thither on board their vessel. In the reign of Constantine the Great a pious lady, named Rufina, of the family of Claudius, built a church in their memory, near the square which bears the name of that prince. These relics were afterwards removed into the Lateran basilic.

If the errors and disorders of St. Cyprian show the degeneracy of human nature corrupted by sin, and enslaved to vice, his conversion displays the power of grace and virtue to repair it. How strangely the image of God is disfigured in man by sin appears by the disorders of his spiritual faculties, the understanding, and will in which the divine resemblance was stamped in the creation. Not only beasts and other creatures have revolted from his dominion, and the shattered frame of his body is made a prey to diseases and death, but his will is rebellious, and the passions strive to usurp the empire, and destroy in his soul the government of reason and virtue. Also the understanding, that should be the eye to the blind will, is itself blind, and the light within us is become darkness. In the state of innocence it was clear, serene, and free from the vapours of the passions: it directed the verdict of the imagination and the senses, and gave to the soul, by intuition and without study, a full view into all speculative natural truths, suited to man’s condition; but its most valuable privilege was, that it taught man all the practical rules and notions of moral virtue firm and untainted, so that he carried this law in his bosom, and had but to look into his own conscience for the direction of his actions in the practice of all moral virtue, which, by the strong assistance of grace, was always easy to him. His understanding was also enlightened by a perfect divine revelation, and his will found no obstacle in the exercises of all theological and other supernatural virtues. The most fatal consequence and punishment of his disobedience we deplore in the extravagances, folly, crimes, and errors into which men are betrayed when they become once enslaved to their passions. Religion and faith alone secure us from these dangers, enlighten our understanding, and offer us the means to restore the rectitude of the will.

Note 1. Cod. 181. [back]

Note 2. P. 310. [back]

Note 3. Cod. p. 329. [back]

Note 4. The ingenious Mr. Wharton, sub-preceptor of Westminster school, who had travelled into France, in his Essay on the Writings and Genius of Mr. Pope, among several miscellaneous anecdotes, makes the following reflection: (p. 825,) “I believe few persons have ever been present at the celebrating a mass in a good choir, but have been extremely affected with awe, if not with devotion.—Lord Bolingbroke, being one day present at this solemnity, in the chapel at Versailles, and seeing the bishop elevate the host, whispered his companion, the marquiss de ————, ‘If I were king of France, I would always perform this ceremony myself.’” This is the testimony of professed adversaries and scoffers. See also Dr. Taylor, &c. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume IX: September. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/9/261.html


ST. JUSTINA


Justina is said of justice, for by justice she rendered to every each that was his: that is to wit, to God obedience; unto her superior prelate, reverence; to her like and semblable, concord; to them that were beneath and inferior, discipline; to her enemies, patience; unto wretches and to them in distress, compassion and works of pity; and to herself, holiness.

Justina the virgin was of the city of Antioch, daughter of a priest of the idols. And every day she sat at a window by a priest which read the gospel, of whom at the last she was converted. And when the mother of her had told it unto her father in his bed, Jesu Christ appeared to them with his angels, saying: Come to me, I shall give to you the kingdom of heaven. And when he awoke, anon they did them to be baptized with their daughter.

Justina’s Conversion of the Magician Cyprian

And this virgin was strongly grieved and vexed of Cyprian, and at the last she converted him to the faith of Jesu Christ. And Cyprian from his childhood had been an enchanter, for from the time that he was seven years old he was consecrated by his parents to the devil. And he used the craft of necromancy, and made women to turn into juments and beasts as them seemed, and many other things semblable. And he was covetous of the love of Justina, and burnt in the concupiscence of her, and resorted to his art magic that he might have her for himself, or for a man named Acladius, which also burnt in her love.

Then he called a devil to him, to the end that he might by him have Justina, and when the devil came he said to him: Why hast thou called me?

And Cyprian said to him: I love a virgin, canst thou not so much that I may have my pleasure of her?

And the devil answered: I that might cast man out of Paradise, and procured that Cain slew his brother, and made the Jews to slay Christ, and have troubled the men, trowest thou I may not do that thou have a maid with thee, and use her at thy pleasure? Take this ointment and anoint withal her house withoutforth, and I shall come and kindle her heart in thy love, that I shall compel her to assent to thee.

And the next night following the devil went and enforced him to move her heart unto unlawful love. And when she felt it, she recommended herself devoutly to God, and garnished her with the sign of the cross, and the devil, all afraid of the sign of the cross, fled away from her, and came again to Cyprian and stood before him.

And Cyprian said to him: Why hast thou not brought to me this virgin?

And the devil said: I see in her a sign which feared me, that all strength is failed in me.

Then Cyprian left him, and called another devil more stronger than he was. And he said: I have heard thy commandment and have seen the non-power of him, but I shall amend it and accomplish thy will.

Then the devil went to her, and enforced to move her heart in love, and inflame her courage in things not honest. And she recommended her to God devoutly, and put from her that temptation by the sign of the cross, and blew on the devil, and threw him anon away from her. And he fled all confused and came tofore Cyprian, and Cyprian said to him: Where is the maid that I sent thee for? and the devil said: I acknowledge that I am overcome and am rebutted, and I shall say how, for I saw in her a sign horrible, and lost anon all my virtue.

Then Cyprian left him, and blamed him, and called the prince of the devils. And when he was come he said: Wherefore is your strength so little, which is overcome of a maid ?

Then the prince said to him: I shall go and vex her with great fevers, and I shall inflame more ardently her heart, and I shall arouse and bedew her body with so ardent desire of thee that she shall be all frantic: and I shall offer to her so many things that I shall bring her to thee at midnight.

Then the devil transfigured himself in the likeness of a maid, and came to this holy virgin, and said: I am come to thee for to live with thee in chastity, and I pray thee that thou say what reward shall we have for to keep us so.

And the virgin answered: The reward is great, and the labour is small.

And the devil said to her: What is that then that God commanded when he said: Grow and multiply and replenish the earth? Then, fair sister, I doubt that if we abide in virginity that we shall make the word of God vain, and be also despising and inobedient, by which we shall fall into a grievous judgment, where we shall have no hope of reward, but shall run in great torment and pain.

Then by the enticement of the devil the heart of the virgin was smitten with evil thoughts, and was greatly inflamed in desire of the sin of the flesh, so that she would have gone thereto, but then the virgin came to herself, and considered who that it was that spake to her. And anon she blessed her with the sign of the cross, and blew against the devil, and anon he vanished away and melted like wax, and incontinent she was delivered from all temptation.

A little while after, the devil transfigured him in the likeness of a fair young man, and entered into her chamber, and found her alone in her bed, and without shame sprang into her bed and embraced her, and would have had a done with her. And when she saw this she knew well that it was a wicked spirit, and blessed her as she had done tofore, and he melted away like wax.

And then by the sufferance of God she was vexed with axes and fevers. And the devil slew many men and beasts, and made to be said by them that were demoniacs that, a right great mortality should be throughout all Antioch, but if Justina would consent unto wedlock and have Cyprian. Wherefore all they that were sick and languishing in maladies lay at the gate of Justina's father and friends, crying that they should marry her and deliver the city of that right great peril. Justina then would not consent in no wise, and therefore everybody menaced her. And in the sixth year of that mortality she prayed for them, and chased and drove thence all that pestilence.

And when the devil saw that he profited nothing, he transumed and transfigured him in the form of Justina for to defoul the fame of Justina, and in mocking Cyprian he advanced him that he had brought to him Justina. And came to him in likeness of her, and would have kissed him as if she had languished for his love. And when Cyprian saw him and supposed that it had been Justina, he was all replenished with joy, and said: Thou art welcome, Justina, the fairest of all women.

And anon as Cyprian named Justina, the devil might not suffer the name, but as soon as he heard it he vanished away as a fume or smoke. And when Cyprian saw him deceived, he was all heavy and sorrowful, and was then more burning and desirous in the love of Justina, and woke long at the door of the virgin, and as him seemed he changed him sometimes into a bird by his art magic, and sometimes into a woman, but when he came to the door of the virgin he was neither like woman nor bird, but appeared Cyprian as he was.

Acladius, by the devil's craft, was anon turned into a sparrow, and when he came to the window of Justina, as soon as the virgin beheld him, he was not a sparrow, but showed himself as Acladius, and began to have anguish and dread, for he might neither fly ne leap, and Justina dreading lest he should fall and break himself, did do set a ladder by which he went down, warning him to cease of his woodness, lest he should be punished as a malefactor by the law.

Then the devil, being vanquished in all things, returned to Cyprian, and held him all confused tofore him, and Cyprian said to him: And how art not thou overcome, what unhappy is your virtue that ye may not overcome a maid, have ye no might over her, but she overcometh you and breaketh you all to pieces? Tell me, I pray thee, in whom she hath all this great might and strength.

And the devil said: If thou wilt swear to me that thou wilt not depart from me ne forsake me, I shall show to thee her strength and her victory.

To whom Cyprian said: By what oath shall I swear?

And the devil said: Swear thou by my great virtues that thou shalt never depart from me.

And Cyprian said: I swear to thee by thy great virtues that I shall never depart from thee.

Then the devil said to him, weeping to be sure of him: This maid maketh the sign of the cross, and anon then we wax feeble and lose all our might and virtue, and flee from her, like as wax fleeth from the face of the fire.

And Cyprian said then to him: The crucified God is then greater than thou?

And the devil said: Yea, certainly he is greater than all others, and all them that we here deceive, he judgeth them to be tormented with fire inextinguishable.

And Cyprian said: Then ought I to be made friend of him that was crucified, lest I fall hereafter into such pains.

To whom the devil said: Thou hast sworn by the might and virtues of my strengths, the which no man may forswear, that thou shalt never depart from me.

To whom Cyprian said: I despise thee, and forsake thee and all thy power, and renounce thee and all thy devils, and garnish and mark me with the sign of the cross, and anon the devil departed all confused.

Then Cyprian went to the bishop, and when the bishop saw him he weened that he were come to put the Christian men in error, and said: Let it suffice unto thee, Cyprian, them that be without forth, for thou mayst nothing prevail against the church of God, for the virtue of Jesu Christ is joined thereto, and is not overcome.

And Cyprian said: I am certain that the virtue of our Lord Jesu Christ is not overcome.
And then he recounted all that was happened, and did him to be baptized of him. And after, he profited much, as well in science as in life. And when the bishop was dead, Cyprian was ordained bishop, and placed the blessed virgin Justina with many virgins in a monastery, and made her abbess over many holy virgins. St. Cyprian sent then epistles to martyrs and comforted them in their martyrdom.

The Martyrdom of Saints Justina and Cyprian

The earl of that country heard of the fame and renomee of Cyprian and Justina, and he made them to be presented tofore him and demanded them if they would do sacrifice. And when he saw that they abode steadfastly in the faith of Jesu Christ, he commanded that he should be put in a caldron full of wax, pitch, and grease, burning and boiling. And all this gave to them marvellous refreshing, and did to them no grief ne pain.

And the priest of the idols said to the provost of that place: Command me, sire, to stand and to be tofore the caldron, and I shall anon overcome all their virtue.
And then he came tofore the caldron and said: Great is the god Hercules, and Jupiter the father of gods. And anon the great fire issued from under the caldron and anon consumed and burnt him.

Then Cyprian and Justina were taken out of the caldron and sentence was given against them, and they were both beheaded together. And their bodies were thrown to hounds and were there seven days, and after they were taken up and translated to Rome, and as it is said, now they rest at Placentia. And they suffered death in the seventh calends of October [September 26], about the year of our Lord two hundred and eighty, under Diocletian.

Compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, 1275
Englished by William Caxton, First Edition 1483
From the Temple Classics Edited by F.S. Ellis
Also available in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format

SOURCE : http://www.christianiconography.info/goldenLegend/justina.htm

The Lives of Sts. Cyprian and Justina

Christianity vs. Sorcery. THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, which began with the presumption of imagining itself the most enlightened of all ages, has in reality proceeded of imagining some of the blackest years of all human history. Symptomatic of this truly dark age is the revival in recent decades of interest and active participation in witchcraft and sorcery. Much of this interest is on the level of dilettantism and crude amateurism, but more and more often it produces real results, leads to an actual contact with demonic powers, and causes the eternal damnation of souls caught in the web of nets far more subtle and deadly than the beginning occultist imagines.

All this is not new to Orthodox Christians. In the history of the world's religions there is a whole tradition of sorcery—the service of the pagan gods, which are demons (Psalm 95:5). This is the religious tradition which Christianity replaced in all lands that accepted the Gospel, and which now comes back in power to destroy Christianity and to conduct mankind to Antichrist.

The Life of Sts. Cyprian and Justina gives one of the fullest accounts in Christian literature of sorcery and its power over men—and its final defeat by the power of Christ. It is not the product of someone's imagination, but is based on the first-hand testimony of one who was a leading servant of the demons himself.

Let Orthodox Christians read and become sober, and resolve with the more firmness and determination to work out their salvation against the powers of darkness in fear and trembling. And let him who has in his heart even a spark of repentance take courage and hope, for this Life is also the surest proof that God's mercy is stretched out even to the most lost of souls. If the sorcerer Cyprian could be saved and become a mighty intercessor for the demon possessed, then there is hope for those also who even now have fallen into the darkest and most unnatural sins of our dark age.

The Life and Sufferings of the Holy Martyrs Cyprian and Justina (Commemorated October 2/15)

Kontakion, Tone 1
Thou wast converted from the art of sorcery, O divinely wise one,*
to the knowledge of God,* and wast manifested to the world as a
most wise physician,* granting healing to those who honor thee, O
Cyprian together with Justina.* With her, then, entreat
the Master, the Lover of mankind,* that He may save our souls.

IN THE REIGN of Decius (249-251) there lived in Antioch (of Pisidia) a certain philosopher and renowned sorcerer whose name was Cyprian, a native of Carthage. Springing from impious parents, in his very childhood he was dedicated by them to the service of the pagan god Apollo. At the age of seven he was given over to magicians for the study of sorcery and demonic wisdom. At the age of ten he was sent by his parents, as a preparation for a sorcerer's career, to Mount Olympus, which the pagans called the dwelling of the gods. Here there were a numerous multitude of idols, in which demons dwelled.

On this mountain Cyprian studied all manner of diabolical arts: he mastered various demonic transformations, learned how to change the nature of the air, to bring up winds, produce thunder and rain, disturb the waves of the sea, cause damage to gardens, vineyards and fields, to send diseases and plagues upon people; and in general he learned a ruinous wisdom and diabolical activity filled with evil. In this place he saw a numberless legion of demons, with the prince of darkness at their head; some stood before him, others served him, still others cried out in praise of their prince, and some were sent into the world in order to corrupt people. Here he likewise saw in their false forms the pagan gods and goddesses, and also diverse phantoms and specters, the invocation of which he learned in a strict forty-day fast. He ate only after the setting of the sun, and not bread or anything else, but only acorns from oak trees.

When he was fifteen years old he began to receive lessons from seven great sorcerers; from them he learned many demonic secrets. Then he went to the city of Argos, where, having served the goddess Juno for a time, he learned many practices of deception from her priests. He lived also in Taurapolis (on the island of Icara) in the service of the goddess Diana; and from there he went to Sparta, where he learned how to call forth the dead from the graves and to force them to speak by means of various incantations and spells. At the age of twenty, Cyprian came to Egypt, and in the city of Memphis he learned yet greater charms and incantations. In his thirtieth year he went to the Chaldeans, and having learned astrology there, he finished his studies. After this he returned to Antioch, being perfect in all evil-doing. Thus he became a sorcerer, magician, and destroyer of souls, a great friend and faithful slave of the prince of hell, with whom he conversed face to face, being vouchsafed to receive from him great honor, as he himself testified.

"Believe me," he said; "I have seen the prince of darkness himself, for I propitiated him by sacrifices. I greeted him and spoke with him and his ancients; he liked me, praised my understanding, and before everyone said: 'Here is a new Jambres, always ready for obedience and worthy of communion with us!' And he promised to make me a prince after my departure from the body, and for the course of earthly life to help me in everything. And he gave me a legion of demons to serve me. When I departed from him, he addressed me with these words: 'Take courage, fervent Cyprian; arise and accompany me; let all the demonic ancients marvel at you.' Consequently, all of his princes also were attentive to me, seeing the honor shown to me. The outward appearance of the prince of darkness was like a flower. His head was crowned by a crown (not an actual, but a phantom one) made of gold and brilliant stones, as a result of which the whole space around him was illuminated; and his clothing was astonishing. When he would turn to one or the other side, that whole place would tremble; a multitude of evil spirits of various degrees stood obediently at his throne. I gave myself over entirely into his service at that time, obeying his every command." Thus did St. Cyprian relate of himself after his conversion.

From this it is evident what kind of man Cyprian was: as a friend of the demons, he performed all their works, causing evil to people and deceiving them. Living in Antioch, he turned many people away to every kind of lawless deed; he killed many with poisons and magic, and slaughtered young men and maidens as sacrifices for the demons. He instructed many in his ruinous sorcery: some he taught to fly in the air, others to sail in boats on the clouds, still others to walk on water. By all the pagans he was revered and glorified as a chief priest and most wise servant of their vile gods. Many turned to him in their needs, and he helped them by means of the demonic power with which he was filled: with some he cooperated in their adulteries, with others in anger, enmity, revenge, jealousy. Already he was entirely in the depths of hell and in the jaws of the devil; he was a son of gehenna, a partaker of the demonic inheritance and of their eternal perdition. But the Lord, who does not desire the death of a sinner, in His unutterable goodness and His mercy which is not conquered by the sins of men, deigned to seek out this lost man, to draw out of the abyss one who was mired in the filth of the depths of hell, and to save him in order to show to all men His mercy; for there is no sin which can conquer His love of mankind.

He saved Cyprian from perdition in the following way.

THERE LIVED AT THAT TIME in Antioch a certain maiden whose name was Justina. She came from pagan parents; her father was a priest of the idols, Aedesius by name, and her mother was called Cledonia. Once, sitting at the window of her house, this maiden, who had then already reached womanhood, by chance heard the words of salvation out of the mouth of a deacon who was passing by, whose name was Praylius. He spoke of our Lord Jesus Christ's becoming man, that He had been born of the Most Pure Virgin and, having performed many miracles, had deigned to suffer for the sake of our salvation, had risen from the dead with glory, ascended into the heavens, and sits at the right hand of the Father and reigns eternally. This preaching of the deacon fell on good soil, into the heart of Justina, and began quickly to bring forth fruit, uprooting in her the thorns of unbelief. Justina wished to be instructed in the Faith by this deacon better and more completely, but she did not dare to seek him out, being restrained by a maiden's modesty. However, she secretly went to the church of Christ, and often hearing the word of God, with the Holy Spirit acting in her heart, she came to believe in Christ.

Soon she convinced her mother of this also, and then brought to the faith her aged father as well. Seeing the understanding of his daughter and hearing her wise words, Aedesius reflected within himself thus: "The idols are made by the hands of men and have neither soul nor breath, and therefore how can they be gods?" While he was reflecting on this, once at night he saw during sleep, by Divine consent, a wondrous vision: he saw a great multitude of light-bearing Angels, and in their midst was the Saviour of the world, Christ, Who said to him: "Come to Me, and I will give you the Kingdom of Heaven."

After rising in the morning, Aedesius went with his wife and daughter to the Christian Bishop, whose name was Optatus, begging him to instruct them in the Faith of Christ and to perform upon them holy Baptism. At the same time he informed him of the words of his daughter and of the angelic vision which he had seen himself. Hearing this, the Bishop rejoiced at their conversion, and having instructed them in the Faith of Christ, he baptized Aedesius, his wife Cledonia, and their daughter Justina; and then, having given them communion of the Holy Mysteries, he let them go in peace.

When Aedesius had become strengthened in the Faith of Christ, the Bishop, seeing his piety, made him a presbyter. After this, having lived virtuously and in the fear of God for a year and six months, Aedesius in holy faith came to the end of his life. As for Justina, she valiantly struggled in the keeping of the Lord's commandments, and having come to love her Bridegroom Christ, she served Him with fervent prayers, in virginity and chastity, in fasting and great abstinence. But the enemy, the hater of the human race, seeing such a life, envied her virtues and began to do harm to her, causing various misfortunes and sorrows.

AT THAT TIME there lived in Antioch a certain youth named Aglaias, the son of wealthy and renowned parents. He lived luxuriously, giving himself entirely over to the vanity of this world. Once he saw Justina as she was going to church, and he was struck by her beauty. The devil instilled shameful intentions into his heart. Being inflamed with lust, Aglaias by all means strove to gain the good disposition and love of Justina and by means of deception to bring the pure lamb of Christ to the defilement which he planned. He observed all the paths by which the maiden would walk, and, meeting her, would speak to her cunning words, praising her beauty and glorifying her; showing his love for her, he strove to draw her into fornication by a cunningly-woven net of deceptions. The maiden, however, turned away from him and fled from him, despising him and not desiring even to hear his deceptive and cunning speeches. But the youth did not grow cool in his desire of her beauty, and he sent to her the request that she should agree to become his wife.

She, however, replied to him: "My Bridegroom is Christ; Him I serve, and for His sake I preserve my purity. He preserves both my soul and my body from every defilement."

Hearing such a reply from the chaste maiden, Aglaias, being instigated by the devil, became yet more inflamed with passion. Not being able to deceive her, he intended to seize her by force. Having gathered to his aid some foolish youths like himself, he waylaid the maiden in the path along which she usually walked to church for prayer; there he met her and, seizing her, began dragging her by force to his house. But she began loudly to scream, beat him in the face, and spat on him. The neighbors, hearing her wails, ran out of their houses and took the immaculate lamb, St. Justina, from the hands of the impious youth as from the jaws of a wolf. The disorderly youths scattered, and Aglaias returned with shame to his house. Not knowing what more to do, he decided, with the increase of impure lust in him, upon a new evil deed: he went to the great sorcerer and magician Cyprian, the priest of the idols, and having informed him of his sorrow, begged his help, promising to give him much gold and silver. Having heard out Aglaias, Cyprian comforted him, promising to fulfill his desire. "I will so manage," he said, "that the maiden herself will seek your love and will feel passion for you even stronger than that which you have for her."

Having thus consoled the youth, Cyprian let him go, full of hope. Then, taking the books of his secret art, he invoked one of the impious spirits who, he was sure, could soon inflame the heart of Justina with passion for this youth. The demon willingly promised to fulfill this and proudly said: "This deed is not difficult for me, because many times I have shaken cities, crumbled walls, destroyed houses, caused the shedding of blood and patricide, instilled hatred and great anger between brothers and spouses, and have brought to sin many who have given a vow of virginity. In monks who have settled in mountains and were accustomed to strict fasting and have never even thought about the flesh, I have instilled adulterous lust and instructed them to serve fleshly passions; people who have repented and turned away from sin, I have converted back to evil deeds; many chaste people I have thrown into fornication. Will I really be unable to incline this maiden to the love of Aglaias? Indeed, why do I speak? I will swiftly show my powers in very deed. Take this powder" (here he gave him a vessel full of something) "and give it to this youth; let him sprinkle the house of Justina with it, and you will see that what I have said will come to pass."

Having said this, the demon vanished. Cyprian called Aglaias and sent him to sprinkle the house of Justina secretly with the contents of the demon's vessel. When this had been done, the demon of fornication entered the house with the flaming arrows of fleshly lust in order to wound the heart of the maiden with fornication, and to ignite her flesh with impure lust.

Justina had the custom every night to offer up prayers to the Lord. And behold, when, according to custom, she arose at the third hour of the night and was praying to God, she suddenly felt an agitation in her body, a storm of bodily lust and the flame of the fire of gehenna. In such agitation and inward battle she remained for quite a long time; the youth Aglaias came to her mind, and shameful thoughts arose in her. The maiden marveled and was ashamed of herself, feeling that her blood was boiling as in a kettle; now she thought about that which she had always despised as vile. But in her good sense Justina understood that this battle had arisen in her from the devil; immediately she turned to the weapon of the sign of the cross, hastened to God with fervent prayer, and from the depths of her heart cried out to Christ her Bridegroom: "O Lord, my God, Jesus Christ! Behold how many enemies have risen up against me and have prepared a net in order to catch me and take away my soul. But I have remembered Thy name in the night and have rejoiced, and now when they are close about me I hasten to Thee and have hope that my enemy will not triumph over me. For thou knowest, O Lord my God, that I, Thy slave, have preserved for Thee the purity of my body and have entrusted my soul to Thee. Preserve Thy sheep, O good Shepherd; do not give it over to be eaten by the beast who seeks to devour me; grant me victory over the evil desire of my flesh."

Having prayed long and fervently, the holy virgin put the enemy to shame. Being conquered by her prayer, he fled from her with shame, and again there came a calm in Justina's body and heart; the flame of desire was quenched, the battle ceased, the boiling blood was stilled. Justina glorified God and sang a song of victory.

The demon, on the other hand, returned to Cyprian with the sad news that he had accomplished nothing. Cyprian asked him why he had not been able to conquer the maiden. The demon, even against his will, revealed the truth: "I could not conquer her because I saw on her a certain sign of which I was afraid."

Then Cyprian called a yet more malicious demon and sent film to tempt Justina. He went and did much more than the first one, falling upon the maiden with great rage. But she armed herself with fervent prayer and laid upon herself yet a more powerful labor: she clothed herself in a hair shirt and mortified her flesh with abstinence and fasting, eating only bread and water. Having thus tamed the passions of her flesh, Justina conquered the devil and banished him with shame. And he, like the first one, returned to Cyprian without accomplishing anything.

Then Cyprian called one of the princes of the demons, informed him about the weakness of the demons he had sent, who could not conquer a single maiden, and asked help from him. This prince of demons severely reproached the other demons for their lack of skill in this matter and for their inability to arouse passion in the heart of the maiden. Having given hope to Cyprian and promised to seduce the maiden by other means, he took on the appearance of a woman and went to Justina. And he began to converse piously with her, as if desiring to follow the example of her virtuous life and her chastity. Conversing in this way, he asked the maiden what kind of reward there might be for such a strict life and for the preservation of purity.

Justina replied that the reward for those who live in chastity is great and beyond words, and that it is very remarkable that people do not in the least concern themselves for such a great treasure as angelic purity. Then the devil, revealing his shamelessness, began with cunning words to tempt her, saying: "But then how could the world exist? How would people be born? After all, if Eve had preserved her purity, how would the human race have increased? In truth marriage is a good thing, being established by God Himself; the Sacred Scripture also praises it, saying: Let marriage be had in honor among all, and the bed undefiled (Heb. 13:4). And many saints of God also did they not enter into marriage, which God gave them as a consolation, so that they might rejoice in their children and praise God?"

Hearing these words, Justina recognized the cunning deceiver, the devil, and, more skillful than Eve, conquered him. Without continuing this conversation, she immediately fled to the defense of the Cross of the Lord and placed its honorable sign on her forehead; and her heart she turned to Christ her Bridegroom. And the devil immediately vanished with yet greater shame than the first two demons.

In great disturbance, the proud prince of the demons returned to Cyprian, who, finding out that he had not managed to do anything, said to him: "Can it be that even you, a prince powerful and more skillful than others in such matters, could not conquer the maiden? Who then among you can do anything with this unconquerable maiden's heart? Tell me by what weapon she battles with you, and how she makes powerless your mighty power?"

Being conquered by the power of God, the devil unwillingly acknowledged: "We cannot behold the sign of the Cross, but flee from it, because it scorches us like fire and banishes us far away."

Cyprian became angry at the devil because he had put him to shame, and reproaching the demon, he said: "Such is your power that even a weak virgin conquers you!"

Then the devil, desiring to console Cyprian, attempted yet another undertaking: he took on the form of Justina and went to Aglaias with the hope that, having taken him for the real Justina, the youth might satisfy his desire, and thus neither would the weakness of the demons be revealed, nor would Cyprian be put to shame. And behold, when the demon went to Aglaias in the form of Justina, the youth leaped up in unspeakable joy, ran to the false maiden, embraced her and began kissing her, saying: "How good it is that you have come to me, fair Justina!"

But no sooner had the youth pronounced the word "Justina" than the demon immediately disappeared, being unable to bear even the name of Justina. The youth became greatly afraid and, running to Cyprian, told him what had happened. Then Cyprian by his sorcery gave him the form of a bird and, having enabled him to fly in the air, he sent him to the house of Justina, advising him to fly into her room through the window. Being carried by a demon in the air, Aglaias flew on the roof. At this time Justina happened to look through the window of her room. Seeing her, the demon left Aglaias and fled. At the same time, the phantom appearance of Aglaias also vanished, and the youth, falling down, was all but dashed to pieces. He grasped the edge of the roof with his hands and, holding on to it, hung there; and if he had not been let down to the ground by the prayer of St. Justina, the impious one would have fallen down and been killed.

Thus, having achieved nothing, the youth returned to Cyprian and told him of his woe. Seeing himself put to shame, Cyprian was greatly grieved and thought himself of going to Justina, trusting in the power of his sorcery. He turned himself into a woman and into a bird, but he did mpt manage to reach as far as the door of the house of Justina before his false appearances disappeared, and he returned with sorrow.

AFTER THIS CYPRIAN began to gain revenge for his shame, and by his sorcery he brought diverse misfortunes on the house of Justina and on the houses of all her relatives, neighbors and friends, as once the devil had done to righteous Job (Job 1:15-19, 2:7). He killed their animals, he struck down their slaves with plagues, and in this way he brought them to extreme grief. Finally, he struck with illness Justina herself, so that she lay in bed and her mother wept over her. Justina, however, comforted her mother with the words of the Prophet David: I shall not die, but live, and I shall tell of the works of the Lord (Psalm 117:17).

Not only on Justina and her relatives, but also on the whole city, by God's allowance, did Cyprian bring misfortune as a result of his untamable rage and his great shame. Plagues appeared in the animals and various diseases among men; and the rumor spread, through the activity of the demons, that the great sorcerer Cyprian was punishing the city for Justina's opposition to him. Then the most honorable citizens went to Justina and with anger tried to persuade her not to grieve Cyprian any longer, and to become the wife of Aglaias, in order to escape yet greater misfortunes for the whole city because of her. But she calmed them by saying that soon all the misfortunes which had been brought about with the help of Cyprian's demons would cease. And so it happened. When St. Justina prayed fervently to God, immediately all the demonic attacks ceased; all were healed from the plagues and recovered from their diseases. When such a change occurred, the people glorified Christ and mocked Cyprian and his sorcerer's cunning, so that from shame he could not show himself among men and he avoided meeting even friends.

Having become convinced that nothing could conquer the power of the sign of the cross and the name of Christ, Cyprian came to his senses and said to the devil: "O destroyer and deceiver of all, source of every impurity and defilement! Now I have discovered your infirmity. For if you fear even the shadow of the cross and tremble at the name of Christ, then what will you do when Christ Himself comes to you? If you cannot conquer those who sign themselves with the sign of the cross, then whom will you tear away from the hands of Christ? Now I have understood what a non-entity you are; you are not even able to take revenge! Listening to you, 1, wretched one, have been deceived, and I believed your tricks. Depart from me, accursed one, depart! For I must entreat the Christians that they might have mercy on me. I must appeal to pious people, that they might deliver me from perdition and be concerned over my salvation. Depart, depart from me, lawless one, enemy of truth, adversary and hater of every good thing!"

Having heard this, the devil threw himself on Cyprian in order to kill him; attacking him, he began to beat and strangle him. Finding no defense anywhere, and not knowing how to help himself and be delivered from the fierce hands of the demon, Cyprian, already scarcely alive, remembered the sign of the cross, by the power of which Justina had opposed all the demons' power, and he cried out: "O God of Justina, help me!"

Then, raising his hand, he made the sign of the cross, and the devil immediately leaped away from him like an arrow shot from a bow. Gaining courage, Cyprian became bolder, and calling on the name of Christ, he signed himself with the sign of the cross and stubbornly opposed the demon, cursing and reproaching him. As for the devil, standing far away from him and not daring to draw near to him out of fear of the sign of the cross and the name of Christ, he threatened Cyprian in every manner, saying: "Christ will not deliver you out of my hands!" Then, after long and fierce attacks on Cyprian, the demon roared like a lion and went away.

THEN CYPRIAN took all his books of magic and went to the Christian Bishop Anthimus. Falling to the feet of the Bishop, he entreated him to have mercy on him and to give him holy Baptism. Knowing that Cyprian was a great sorcerer, feared by all, the Bishop thought that he had come to him with some kind of trick, and therefore he refused him, saying: "You do much evil among the pagans; leave the Christians in peace, lest you speedily perish." Then Cyprian with tears confessed everything to the Bishop and gave him his books to be burned. Seeing his humility, the Bishop instructed him and taught him the holy faith, and then commanded him to prepare for Baptism; and his books he burned before all the believing citizens.

Leaving the Bishop with a contrite heart, Cyprian wept over his sins, sprinkled ashes on his head, and sincerely repented, calling out to the true God for the cleansing of his iniquities. Coming the next day to church, he heard the word of God with joyful emotion, standing among the believers. And when the deacon commanded the catechumens to go out, declaring: "Ye catechumens depart," and certain ones were already going out, Cyprian did not wish to go out, saying to the deacon: "I am a slave of Christ; do not chase me out of here." But the deacon said to him: "Since you have not yet been given holy Baptism, you must go out of the church."

To this Cyprian replied: "As Christ my God I liveth, Who has delivered me from the devil, Who has preserved the maiden Justina pure, and has had mercy on me—you will not chase me out of the church until I become a complete Christian."

The deacon related this to the Bishop, and the Bishop, seeing the fervor of Cyprian and his devotion to the faith of Christ, called him up and immediately baptized him in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Finding out about this, St. Justina gave thanks to God, distributed much alms to the poor, and made an offering in church. And Cyprian, on the eighth day after his Baptism, was made a reader by the Bishop; on the twentieth day he was made subdeacon, and on the thirtieth day a deacon; and in a year he was ordained priest. Cyprian completely changed his life; with every day he increased his struggles, and constantly weeping over his previous evil deeds, he perfected himself and ascended from virtue to virtue. Soon he was made Bishop, and in this rank he led such a holy life that he equaled many great saints. At the same time he zealously took care of the flock of Christ which had been entrusted to him. St. Justina the maiden he made a deaconess, and then entrusted to her a convent, making her abbess over other Christian maidens. By his conduct and instruction he converted many pagans and acquired them for the Church of Christ. Thus, idol worship began to die out in that land, and the glory of Christ increased.

Seeing the strict life of St. Cyprian, his concern for the faith of Christ and for the salvation of human souls, the devil ground his teeth against him And inspired the pagans to slander him before the governor of the eastern region, saying that he had put the gods to shame, had converted many people away from them, and was glorifying Christ, Who was hostile to their gods. And so, many impious ones came to the governor Eutolmius, who was then governing those regions, and made slanders against Cyprian and Justina, accusing them ,of being hostile to their gods and to the emperor and to all authorities, saying that they were disturbing the people, deceiving them, and leading them in their footsteps, disposing them to worship the crucified Christ. At the same time they asked the governor to give Cyprian and Justina over to death for this. Having heard their request, Eutolmius commanded that Cyprian and Justina be seized and placed in prison. Then, setting out for Damascus, he took them with him in order to make judgment upon them.

And when they had brought the prisoners of Christ, Cyprian and Justina, to him, he asked Cyprian: "Why have you changed your earlier glorious way of life, when you were a renowned servant of the gods and brought many people to them?"

St. Cyprian related to the governor how he had found out the infirmity and the deception of the demons and come to understand the power of Christ, which the demons feared and before which they trembled, disappearing from before the sign of the precious cross; and likewise he explained the reason for his conversion to Christ, for Whom he declared his readiness to die. The torturer did not accept the words of Cyprian in his heart, but being unable to reply to them, he commanded that the Saint be hung up and his body scraped, and that St. Justina be beaten on the mouth and eyes. For the whole time of the long torments they ceaselessly confessed Christ and endured everything with thanksgiving. Then the torturer imprisoned them and strove by kind exhortation to return them to idol worship. When he was unable to convince them, he commanded that they be thrown into a cauldron; but the boiling cauldron did not cause them any harm, and they glorified God as if they were in some cool place. Seeing this, one priest of the idols, by name Athanasius, said: "In the name of the god Aesculapius, I also will throw myself into this fire and put to shame those sorcerers." But hardly had the fire touched him than he immediately died.

Seeing this, the torturer became frightened, and not desiring to judge them further, he sent the martyrs to the governor Claudius in Nicomedia, describing all that had happened to them. This governor condemned them to be beheaded with the sword. When they were brought to the place of execution, Cyprian asked a little time for prayer, so that Justina might be executed first; he feared that Justina would become frightened at the sight of his death. But she joyfully bent her head under the sword and departed unto her Bridegroom Christ. Seeing the innocent death of these martyrs, a certain Theoctistus, who was present there, greatly pitied them and, being inflamed in his heart towards God, he fell down to St. Cyprian and, kissing him, declared himself a Christian. Together with Cyprian he also was immediately condemned to be beheaded.

Thus they gave over their souls into the hands of God; their bodies, however, lay for six days unburied. Certain of the strangers who were there secretly took them and brought them to Rome, where they gave them to a certain virtuous and holy woman whose name was Rufina, a relative of Claudius Caesar. She buried with honor the bodies of the holy martyrs of Christ: Cyprian, Justina, and Theoctistus. At their graves many healings occurred for those who came to them with faith. (Their martyrdoms occurred toward the end of the third century—according to some, in about the year 268, but according to others, in 304.)

By their prayers may the Lord heal also our afflictions of body and soul! Amen.

Translated from the Russian Lives of Saints, Moscow, 1904.

SOME MIRACLES OF SAINTS CYPRIAN AND JUSTINA

In 19th-Century Russia

The devout maiden R. was subjected to the same temptation as was once the holy Martyr Justina: she was pursued by a certain man who, seeing that all his efforts to arouse in her a mutual love for him remained futile, turned to a sorcerer, and with his help began to direct magic spells against her. Being forewarned about this through a faithful servant-woman, and beginning to feel in herself the action of the enemy's power, this maiden had no one from whom to seek help except God, for she had no acquaintance with anyone of spiritual life. One night the above-mentioned servant-woman saw a dream wherein a tall monk entered her lady's room and led her out in a monastic garment. Soon after this, Elder Anthony of Optina visited this family, although he had not known them before. In this important visit was clearly expressed the providence of God for this family, as well as the manifest activity of demons ... When he entered the house (as he later wrote this maiden), "at first I encountered a whole crowd of demons who with abusive language forbade me to enter, but the Lord drove them away ... Even though I did not know the history of your last two years, it was not for nothing that I advised you to pray to the holy Martyr Justina the virgin, for your situation then was very similar to hers, as I recently found out, and with my whole soul I thank God with tears that your holy soul has been delivered from the nets which had caught it!" The servant-woman, when she saw Father Anthony, recognized that it was precisely he that she had seen in her dream.

The Elder understood that the only salvation for this maiden was to go to a convent. But her relatives did not wish even to hear of this, and Father Anthony did not find it possible or profitable to persuade them; and therefore he only prayed for her deliverance from the enemy's nets that surrounded her, and by his letters strengthened her in her torment from the invisible power of demons, which had been brought against her by the sorcerer ... By the prayers of Father Anthony, R's mother unexpectedly gave her consent for her to enter a convent ... However, the sorcerer boasted that he would drag her even out of the convent. And indeed, the young novice continued to feel within herself the action of the enemy's power, having repose neither day nor night; and again she found strength in the prayers and counsel of Father Anthony. The young sufferer received final deliverance from the temptation of the enemy that tormented her through the prayers of the great contemporary hierarch, now reposed, Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow. Once he appeared to her in a dream, read the 60th Psalm, ordered her to repeat after him all the verses of it, and then gave her the command to read this Psalm daily. On awakening, she felt that the temptation which had been tormenting her for many years had completely departed from her.

(Elder Anthony concludes his letter to this maiden, who was then still suffering the effects of her experience:) "Be full of hope. You and I, even lying flat in bed, will be saved by the prayers of the saints for us; for if the prayer of even a single saint can give much help, then when all the saints start to pray for us, without any doubt the Kingdom of Heaven will be ours!" (Translated from Hieromonk Clement Sederholm, Optina Elder Anthony, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1973, pp. 100-103, and The Letters of Abbot Anthony, Optina edition, 1869, pp. 381-2.)

In 20th-century Greece

From the time when, by the grace of God, our monastery was founded in 1961, our protectors, Saints Cyprian and Justina, have worked many miracles through their intercession, especially for those suffering from satanic influence or the effects of black magic.

A few years ago, after the Sunday Liturgy, while the abbot was still in the altar taking off his vestments, a young man, about 30 years old, came to one of the side doors of the iconostasis and in tears said: "Father, save me, help, my home is falling apart. I have been married 25 days now, but they have done something to me and I can't get close to my wife. We live as brother and sister, and now we're so much in the hold of nerves and quarrelling, that if it continues, we will separate."

The abbot tried to calm him, and advised him that when he and his wife had repented of their sins, they should confess, and after fasting three days, they should come to the monastery so that a Vigil and Divine Liturgy could be served in their name.

They did as instructed, prepared and came; the Vigil was celebrated and prayers of exorcism were read over them, and in the morning they left for home. Next Sunday the young man came to the monastery again, but this time full of joy, and he told with great emotion what had happened. "When we left here on Thursday morning, we returned home and found my father very disturbed. When I asked him what was wrong, he said: 'Something fearful happened last night. While I was sleeping, there appeared before me a tall old man with gray hair and beard, who woke me up and said: "Get up, my child, and dig there (he showed me the exact place) to find your son's magic charm." After that he disappeared. I was so frightened that I stayed in bed waiting for it to get light.'" (It is evident that the tall old man who appeared was St. Cyprian, who went, while the Vigil was being celebrated and the prayers being read, to the couple's house to reveal to his father this demonic business.)

The young man continued: "I asked my father where the old man told him to dig. He showed me, and forty centimeters down I found these strange things." He gave the abbot a white handkerchief with a large knot, which proved when opened to contain the dust of a dead body and the couple's initials. Exorcisms were read over it, and the young man left again. Two days later the abbot saw an old woman kneeling and weeping before the icon of St. Cyprian and St. Justina. When asked what had happened, she replied that she was the mother of the young man from Aspopyrgo, and from the day they had come to the monastery, they had been completely well, and were living in great happiness. She had come to thank the Saints, full of gratitude for the great gift they had given. (By Archimandrite [now Metropolitan] Cyprian of the Monastery of Sts. Cyprian and Justina; translation first published in The Old Calendarist, monthly publication of the St. George Information Service, London, England, June, 1975.)

From The Orthodox Word, Vol. 12, No. 5 (70) (September-October, 1976), pp. 135-142, 167-176.

SOURCE : http://orthodoxinfo.com/death/cyprian_justina.aspx

Voir aussi : http://www.christianiconography.info/justina.html