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Saint Aquilina
Saint Aquilina

Aquilina was born in Byblos in 281. Her father's name was Eutolmius. She received her catechism from Evthalios, Bishop of Byblos. Her heart was inflamed with the love of Christ; hence her faith and fervor radiated like the sun in Byblos and its surroundings. At the age of twelve, Aquilina began an endeavor to spread Christianity among her compatriots. That was done through her example and teachings driven by the zeal of apostles and the innocence of children. Due to her preaching, many of the pagans were baptized, especially young lads and maidens. She was reported to the authorities and brought before Magistrate Volusian during the reign of Emperor Diocletian, and, when questioned about her activities she replied "I am Christian". The Magistrate said, "You are leading your friends and comrades away from the religion of our gods to the belief in Christ, the Crucified. Don't you know that our kings condemn this Christ and sentence to death those who worship him? Leave this error and offer oblation to the gods and you shall live. If you refuse, you shall undergo the most atrocious sufferings." Aquilina answered "I am not afraid of suffering at all; rather, I aspire to it because with it I emulate my God, Jesus Christ, and die like Him, so that I am resurrected and glorified with Him."

Upon her response, Volusian ordered that she be flogged. She was then tied and flogged mercilessly. The Magistrate tried again to shake her determination, but she answered with courage: "Neither you nor Satan will be able to impose on me sufferings stronger than my strength to sustain, with the power of my God, Jesus."

Volusian, the Magistrate, tried to forget the matter of this maiden, counting on time to change her position, saying to her: "You are going to change your opinion in a few days, so contemplate the matter." Aquilina answered, "I shall never change my mind. I am determined and I shall not budge. I lived a Christian since my childhood and Christian I shall die." Upon her answer, the Magistrate ordered that her body be lacerated by a sharp rake. This lasted until she fainted and fell on the floor, then her eardrums were punctured with flaming iron rods forcing the brain to discharge through her nose. Volusian thought that she had died so he ordered that she be thrown outside the walls of the city.

Later, it is said with the help of an angel, Aquilina regained consciousness and went before the Magistrate. Upon seeing her, he was astonished and thought that he was dreaming. He ordered that she be imprisoned and decapitated in the morning. The next day, 13th June 293 A.D, she was found dead in her cell. The Christians buried her body outside the city where her tomb became a site for pilgrimage and cures.

Later her holy relics were transported to Constantinople where a great basilica was built in her honor near the Forum of Constantine in the Philoxene quarter. This basilica was later destroyed in a fire. (Aigrain 1924: 1143; Daher 1969: 240; The Lives of the Holy Women Martyrs 1991: 206-207; and Sauma 1994: 89-90)

Lebnaan Lebnaane - Lebanon is Lebanese - Le Liban est Libanais - لبنان لبناني
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