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24th January 2013

Xenia, Deaconess of Rome (24th January)

posted in Feast Days, Saints by Helen @ 9:20 am |

Xenia was born with the name Eusebia, in Rome in the fifth century.


Eusebia was the only daughter born to a distinguished and wealthy family. Her father was a Roman senator.


Eusebia’s marriage had been arranged and in order to avoid this, she fled with two handmaids to Mylassa on the island of Kos in Asia Minor. Upon her arrival she was given the name Xenia, which means ‘stranger’ in Greek, as she was a newcomer.

Xenai established a community for virgins and remained there until here death. She was ordained a deaconess by her spiritual father Paul, who became the Bishop of Mylassa.

Xenia was widely known as a healer and turned no one away, she helped the grief stricken, the destitute and sinners, amongst which she counted herself. Among her listed traits are those of virtuousness, charity, and humility. Xenia was dedicated to her faith and would often spend nights standing in prayer and also fasting.


It is said that Xenia had forseen her death, which took place in c.450. There are numerous references in writings about Xenia which speak of ‘a brilliant cross brighter than the sun’ appearing over her monastery ‘wreathed in a circle of stars.’

The handmaids, who had fled with Xenia and followed her example, asked to be buried at her feet when they died. Many people are said to have been cured when touching the relics of Xenia, in faith.

Xenia is remembered in the Orthodox Church on the 24th of January.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the fourth Tone:

In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Mother; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous Xenia, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.

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