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St. Helen at Sinope


Commemorated on November 1

Helen was a young teenage girl who lived during the 1700s with her parents in the Christian enclave at Sinope in Pontus. While walking to the market one day, she passed the house of the local governor. Upon seeing how beautiful she was, he decided to make her his mistress. After she was seized by his servants and brought before him, he made two attempts on her virginity. However, he was prevented from doing so by a power that separated him from her like an invisible wall. Instead, he locked her in a room in his home, but she escaped and ran home to her parents.

Learning that she had escaped, the governor threatened the Christian community that they all would be massacred unless Helen was returned to him. The Christian leaders persuaded Helen’s father to return his daughter. The governor made several more attempts at defiling her, but once again was restrained as if by an invisible wall. Throughout this ordeal, Helen recited the Six Psalms and the prayers that she knew by heart. Realizing that he was powerless, the governor ordered that she be tortured to death. The executioners subjected Helen to several cruel torments before killing her by driving two nails into her skull and then beheading her. They put her body in a sack and threw it into the Black Sea.

Later, Greek sailors followed a heavenly light to the place in the Black Sea where the sack had sunk, and divers retrieved the Saint’s relics, which immediately revealed themselves as a source of healing for many. Her body was taken to Russia; and her head was placed in the church in Sinope, where it continued to work miracles, especially for those who suffered from headaches. When the Greeks were driven from Sinope in 1924, refugees took the head with them. It is venerated today in a church near Thessalonika.

By permission of abbamoses (