Science of the Saints, 27 March, Our Venerable Mother Matrona of Thessalonica

The Holy Martyress Matrona of Soluneia (Thessalonika) suffered in the third or fourth century. She was a slave of the Jewess Pautila, wife of one of the military commanders of Soluneia. Pautila forced her slave into apostasy and conversion to Judaism, but Saint Matrona, having her faith in Christ since her youthful years, still firmly believed in Christ and went to church secretly, unbeknownst to her vengeful mistress.

One time Pautila, having learned that Blessed Matrona had been in church, asked: “Why hast thou not come to our synagogue, but instead did walk to the Christian church?” Saint Matrona boldly answered: “Because in the Christian church God is present, but He is gone away from the Jewish synagogue.” Pautila went into a rage and mercilessly beat Saint Matrona, and having tied her shut her into a dark closet. In the morning Pautila discovered that Saint Matrona had been freed of her bonds by an unknown Power. In a rage Pautila beat the martyress almost to death, then tied her again even more tightly and locked her in the closet, having sealed the door, so that no one might offer help to the sufferer. The holy martyress was there over the course of four days without food or water, and when Pautila opened the door, she again beheld Saint Matrona out of her bonds standing at prayer. In a fierce rage Pautila began to beat the holy martyress with a stout cane and, when the saint was barely breathing, the fierce woman locked her in the room, wherein also the Martyress Matrona gave up her spirit to God.

The body of the holy martyress was thrown from the city wall, by order of Pautila. Christians took up the much suffered body of the holy martyress and reverently gave it over to burial. And later on, the bishop of Soluneia, Alexander, built a church in the name of the holy martyress, in which they put her holy relics, glorified by miracles.

The judgement of God soon overtook the tormentor Pautila at that very place where the body of Saint Matrona had been throw from the high wall. She herself stumbled, fell off it, and was smashed, having received her just reward.

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