According to pious legend Juliana was born in Nicomedia in the third century AD. Her father was a prominent pagan, Africanus. When she was young she was betrothed to Eleusius, a senator close to the emperor. Unbeknown to both Africanus and Eleusius, Juliana had accepted baptism, and had decided to remain a virgin for Christ. When she refused to marry she was brought before a judge, who happened to be her former fiancé. Eleusius tortured her and threatened her with death if she did not agree to marry him. Again she refused, replying ‘At the resurrection of the righteous, there won’t exist burnings and wounds but only the soul. So Eleusius, I prefer to have now the wounds of the body which are temporary, rather than the wounds of the soul which torture eternal.’ She was then beheaded. The year of her martyrdom was 304.
St Juliana is the patron saint of the ill and of childbirth. Her feast day is on February 16.
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