One of the sweetest saints in all of Orthodoxy dwelt in relative obscurity for seventeen centuries until she chose, at the bidding of God, to reveal herself to a humble priest in the bustling city of New York. This priest was Father George Nasis, the priest of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.
In one of Father Nasis customary periods of meditation and prayer there appeared before him a very lovely girl who announced herself as Xenia, a martyred saint of the Church. Not only did she reveal herself for the first time in 1700 years, but she requested of the good priest that he paint her likeness, and that in the icon her hands appear clasping a cross.
At first Father Nasis kept the incident to himself, not wanting to be ridiculed. Finally, however, he could contain himself no longer. Upon telling his superiors, scholars went in search of St. Xenia’s ancient manuscripts in a vain attempt to find her name mentioned. At long last, St. Xenia’s name was found in an ecclesiastical work where she is described as having long, golden-blond hair, blue eyes, and features which made her outstandingly beautiful. She was born in 291 in the town of Kalamata, in the Peloponnese region of Greece, and was raised with an abiding faith in Jesus Christ. At maturity, the depth of her faith outshone her physical beauty.
The Magistrate Domitianos of Kalamata was taken with Xenia, and offered her a proposal of marriage. Xenia, however, declined this proposal because Domitianos refused to accept Jesus Christ, clinging instead to the idols of the ancient past. In an effort to change Xenia’s mind, Domitianos had her jailed on spurious charges, with the stipulation that she could be released if she accepted his offer. However, when months of incarceration and abuse failed to budge the devout Xenia, she was put to death. Shortly thereafter she was sainted in recognition of the many miracles attributed to her. In the year 318 the Feast Day of May 3 was bestowed upon her.
The icon of St. Xenia still adorns the Annunciation Church and, for more than forty years, has been the site of miracles.
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