Saint Bibiana


Saint Bibiana's story is found in the Liber Pontificalis where Pope Simplicius consecrates a Basilica of the Holy Martyr Bibiana which contained her body near the palatium Licinianum. Her name in Etruscan means "who has life".


Saint Bibiana was the daughter of a former prefect, Flavianus, who had been banished by Julian the Apostate. This account, found in the martyrologies of the 9th century, describes that the entire family was persecuted by Julian. While most of her family died a natural death, Saint Bibiana was tortured by Julian and eventually died from the extreme tortures inflicted upon her. A priest by the name of John buried Saint Bibiana next to the rest of her family in the family home and the house was eventually turned into a church.


A later tradition expands upon this story, with Saint Bibiana being a daughter of Flavian, a Roman soldier. Flavian was persecuted by Julian and sent into exile, dying at some point during this exile with his family. His wife Dafrosa was beheaded and Saint Bibiana and her sister Demetria were stripped of all possessions with the hope by Julian that they would die of poverty. When Julian received word that the sisters had been spending their time fasting in praying and were not saddened by living lives of poverty, the local governor Apronianus had them arrested. Demetria was killed on the spot for professing her Christian faith but Saint Bibiana was given over to a woman by the name of Rufina. Rufina attempted to seduce her and force her to break her vows of chastity and virginity but was unsuccessful in her endeavors. In a fit of rage, Apronianus had Saint Bibiana tied to a pillar and beaten with scourges until she died. Through all of the torture, Saint Bibiana endured the pain with cheerfulness that she would soon be meeting Christ in heaven. The roman government left her body in the open wilderness. All of the animals living the wild refused to descrate the body. Two days later, it was located by a Christian priest and given a proper burial.


Her feast day is celebrated on December 2nd.




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