Saint Katherine the Great – Our Patron Saint
In 2002, the OCF Student Advisory Board was challenged to find out who was to be the patron saint of our beloved OCF, to watch over the work of our ministry, as well as our beloved students. After much prayer, reflection and discussion, it was revealed to the SAB that OCF’s patron saint would be St. Katherine. The students were moved by prayer and discernment that she was the ideal role model for college-aged young adults. She herself was in her late-teens to early-twenties when she was martyred. She was highly educated and used her knowledge of the Orthodox Christian faith to defend the Orthodox faith, often to those who were much older and considered more educated than she. St. Katherine held firm to the truth of the Orthodox Church through the substance of her convictions. Her firm conviction in the faith, revealed by her words and deeds, converted many to the faith. Thus, it has been revealed that St.Katherine was to be the patron saint of OCF.
The Life of Saint Katherine the Great of Alexandria
Saint Katherine, who was from Alexandria, was the daughter of Constas (or Cestus). She was an exceedingly beautiful maiden, most chaste, and illustrious in wealth, lineage, and learning. By her steadfast understanding, she utterly vanquished the passionate and unbridled soul of Maximinus, the tyrant of Alexandria; and by her eloquence, she stopped the mouths of the so-called philosophers who had been gathered to dispute with her. She was crowned with the crown of martyrdom in the year 305. Her holy relics were taken by Angels to the holy mountain of Sinai, where they were discovered many years later; the famous monastery of Saint Katherine was originally dedicated to the Holy Transfiguration of the Lord and the Burning Bush, but later was dedicated to Saint Katherine. According to the ancient usage, Saints Katherine and Mercurius were celebrated on the 24th of this month, whereas the holy Hieromartyrs Clement of Rome and Peter of Alexandria were celebrated on the 25th. The dates of the feasts of these Saints were interchanged at the request of the Church and Monastery of Mount Sinai, so that the festival of Saint Katherine, their patron, might be celebrated more festively together with the Apodosis of the Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos. The Slavic Churches, however, commemorate these Saints on their original dates.
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Mode
Let us praise the most auspicious bride of Christ, the divine Katherine, protectress of Sinai, our aid and our help. For, she brilliantly silenced the eloquence of the impious by the sword of the spirit, and now, crowned as a martyr, she asks great mercy for all.
Kontakion in the Second Mode
O friends of martyrs, now divinely raise up a renewed chorus,praising the all-wise Katherine. For, she proclaimed Christ in the arena, trampled on the serpent, and spat upon the knowledge of the orators.
Reading courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Apolytikion courtesy of Narthex Press
Kontakion courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Icon courtesy of Michael Kapeluck