The life of St. Great Martyress Irene (I century)
The Ecclesial fullness remembers St. Irene martyr feast on 18 May; she lived in I century. Irene was a daughter of pagan governor of one Macedonian cities and her pre-Christian name was Penelope.
Her rich father built a big and magnificent palace for the daughter. Penelope had a teacher, who was a Christian; he taught the girl different learnings and at the same time he showed her basis of Christianity and virtuous life.
When the girl was in marriage age she refused to marry and was baptized by Timothy the Apostle with the name of Irene. Being enlightened by the light of Christian Faith, Irene tried to convince her parents to follow her on that path. Irene’s mother was happy because of that news. Father’s first attitude was with patience, but afterwards he became indignant.
One miracle took place once. When Irene refused to venerate the pagan gods, father threw her to the way of wild horses. Animals left the girl unharmed but governor had died there. By the daughter’s prayers he returned to life and immediately confessed his faith to God together with all his family and 3000 persons with them.
Irene bravely preached to Macedonians, but they were pagans and oppressed the Saint often and humiliated her. A governor of one city exposed Irene to different and violent tortures, but Savior kept her safe and she remained unharmed. Her tortures were accompanied with different signs and miracles and even torturers started to believe in Christ.
St. Irene brought to God over 10 000 persons by her sermon.
God revealed to Saint the day of her repose. Irene had closed herself in the cave near Ephes. After couple of days people had opened the cave and did not saw the body of Saint there – God took her to heaven.
The memory of St Irene was pretty venerated in Byzantium and several churches were built and dedicated to her honor.