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Saint Juliana of Nicomedia

Saint Juliana was born in 286 AD and was the daughter of a very wealthy and popular pagan named Africanus and had moved to the city with her family after being born in Nicomedia (an ancient city in modern day Turkey). As a child she was bethroed to the Senator Eleusius, then one of the advisors to the Emperor. In secret, she converted to Christianity and was baptized. She had to convert in total secrecy - her father had joined in the persecutions against Christians in the empire.

As the wedding approached, Saint Juliana went to her father and told him of both her conversion and refusal to be married. In a fit of anger over the marriage refusal and Christian identity, he handed her over to the Senator who was now serving as governor. He again demanded she be married to him and when she refused he immediately called for her torture and execution. While in prison, between tortures, a demon pretending to be an angel appeared to her and urged her to make sacrifice to the pagan gods. When she realized it was a demon and not an angel, she cried out

"Lord God of heaven and earth, do not desert me, nor permit your handmaid to perish."

Saint Juliana was beheaded in 304 AD along side Saint Barbara during the persecution of Emperor Maximian. A noblewoman by the name of Sephonia gathered her remains and brought them to Campania in Italy.

Saint Juliana of Nicomedia and her story became extremely popular throughout Europe during the middle ages, especially in the Netherlands. Sometime in the 13th century her remains were moved from Campania to Naples. Her feast day is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church on February 16th and in the Greek Orthodox on December 21st.

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