Feast Day: July 20
Patronage: childbirth, pregnant women, dying people, kidney disease, peasants, exiles, falsely accused people; Lowestoft, England; Queens’ College, Cambridge; nurses; Sannat and Bormla, Malta
Birth: 289 Antioch, Pisidia
Death: 304 (aged 15)
Attributes: slain dragon (Western depictions); hammer, defeated demon (Eastern Orthodox depictions)
Life: Margaret, known as Margaret of Antioch in the West, and as Saint Marina the Great Martyr (Greek: Ἁγία Μαρίνα) in the East, is celebrated as a saint on July 20 in the Western Rite Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches, on July 17 (Julian calendar) by the Eastern-Rite Orthodox Church and on Epip 23 and Hathor 23 in the Coptic Churchs.
Said to have been martyred in 304, she was declared apocryphal by Pope Gelasius I in 494, but devotion to her revived in the West with the Crusades.
She was reputed to have promised very powerful indulgences to those who wrote or read her life, or invoked her intercessions; these no doubt helped the spread of her cultus.
Margaret is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, and is one of the saints who spoke to Joan of Arc.
According to the version of the story in Golden Legend, she was a native of Antioch and the daughter of a pagan priest named Aedesius. Her mother having died soon after her birth, Margaret was nursed by a Christian woman five or six leagues (6.9–8.3 miles) from Antioch. Having embraced Christianity and consecrated her virginity to God, Margaret was disowned by her father, adopted by her nurse, and lived in the country keeping sheep with her foster mother (in what is now Turkey). Olybrius, Governor of the Roman Diocese of the East, asked to marry her, but with the demand that she renounce Christianity. Upon her refusal, she was cruelly tortured, during which various miraculous incidents occurred. One of these involved being swallowed by Satan in the shape of a dragon, from which she escaped alive when the cross she carried irritated the dragon’s innards. The Golden Legend describes this last incident as “apocryphal and not to be taken seriously” (trans. Ryan, 1.369).
As Saint Marina, she is associated with the sea, which “may in turn point to an older goddess tradition”, reflecting the pagan divinity, Aphrodite.
Saint information: Wikipedia
– Christi Simus Non Nostri