The Holy Martyr Leonilla
January 29 (January 16, Old Calendar)
The holy Martyr Leonilla, together with her grandsons the Martyrs Speusippus, Eleusippus, and Meleusippus, suffered for Christ in France in the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180). The three brothers were triplets. At first, only Leonilla was a Christian, while her grandsons were pagans. After much advice on the part of the pious Leonilla and a local priest, the three brothers were baptized. Being baptized, they began to witness their faith with youthful fervor, and in their zeal went out and smashed all the idols in the area. Accused and brought before the judge, they acknowledged their actions and openly confessed their faith in Christ.
The judge threw them into prison, then summoned their grandmother and directed her to go to the prison and counsel her grandsons to deny Christ and to worship the idols. Leonilla went off without a word to the prison. Instead of advising her grandsons to deny the true faith, however, she encouraged them not to give up, but to persevere to the end in all their sufferings and to die for Christ. When the judge examined them again and saw their yet stronger steadfastness in the faith, he condemned them to death. All three were first hanged on one tree, where they hung 'like strings of a lute,' and after that flogged, and then finally burned. A woman, Jovilla, stirred by the courage of these martyrs, cried out, "I too am a Christian!" They immediately seized her and beheaded her with a sword, together with the aged St. Leonilla. The Greek Emperor Zeno (474-491) handed the relics to a French nobleman from the town of Lantre, where they remain to this day.
Holy Protection Russian Orthodox Church
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