г. Рио-де-Жанейро
Saint Zenaida

Martir Zenaida

24 October (11 October according to the old style church calendar).

Sister saints Zenaida and Philonella were born in Tarsus, District of Cylicia, Asia Minor (at present — Turkey). Tradition says that they were relatives of apostle Paul. Having seen great changes in the life of their uncle apostle Paul, who earlier on was totally against christians and persecuted the church of God. At that time his name was Saul. But later on he turned to Christ and became preacher of the christian faith. Young maidens meditated about the cares of this world and, having been taught by St Paul, wanted to work entirely for Christ.

After choosing the only thing that mattered for their souls, and having been instructed and confirmed in the faith of Christ, Zenaida and Philonella visited and walked through towns and villages, preaching the Gospel and healing for free every disease and affliction in people. Having left their mother and renounced their property, these maidens performed truly apostolic work.

They had in their hearts the words of the prophet David: «How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity», Zenaida and her sister decided to live in a cave near the town of Demetriade north of Tarsus. There their lives were equated to those of angels. Zenaida was healing all diseases and Philonella, spending her time in prayer and fasting, performed great miracles. But it was God’s will that these pearls shoudl not be hidden from people, who needed their assistance and ministry.

More and more people were seeking the holy sisters in their cave. Healing bodily problems for free the holy sisters were also curing peoples' souls and instructing them in Christian faith. Seeing such grace in these maidens, Christians were strenghtened and many pagans turned to Christ’s faith and were baptised. It is not known for how long the Martyrs Zenaida and Philonella were in Demetriade.

Pagans who lived in the area were angered because, as a result of the maidens' preaching and miracles performed, the idols' shrines were becoming empty and adoration of devils decreasing. Warnings and threats of pagans had no effects on saint maidens. But then, overcome by fury, they entered the cave at night and stoned them to death. Their sould thus gained paradise dwellings. It was in this manner that saints maidens Zenaida and Philonella met death of martyrdom. Holy saints Zenaida and Philonella are praying for the cure of every spiritual and bodily malady.