The Lives of Sts. Cyprian and Justina
Christianity vs. Sorcery. THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, which began with the presumption of imagining itself the
most enlightened of all ages, has in reality proceeded of imagining some of the blackest
years of all human history. Symptomatic of this truly dark age is the revival in recent
decades of interest and active participation in witchcraft and sorcery. Much of this
interest is on the level of dilettantism and crude amateurism, but more and more often it
produces real results, leads to an actual contact with demonic powers, and causes the
eternal damnation of souls caught in the web of nets far more subtle and deadly than the
beginning occultist imagines.
All this is not new to Orthodox Christians. In the history of the world's
religions there is a whole tradition of sorcerythe service of the pagan gods, which
are demons (Psalm 95:5). This is the religious tradition which Christianity replaced in
all lands that accepted the Gospel, and which now comes back in power to destroy
Christianity and to conduct mankind to Antichrist.
The Life of Sts. Cyprian and Justina gives one of the fullest accounts in
Christian literature of sorcery and its power over menand its final defeat by the
power of Christ. It is not the product of someone's imagination, but is based on the
first-hand testimony of one who was a leading servant of the demons himself.
Let Orthodox Christians read and become sober, and resolve with the more
firmness and determination to work out their salvation against the powers of darkness in
fear and trembling. And let him who has in his heart even a spark of repentance take
courage and hope, for this Life is also the surest proof that God's mercy is stretched out
even to the most lost of souls. If the sorcerer Cyprian could be saved and become a mighty
intercessor for the demon possessed, then there is hope for those also who even now have
fallen into the darkest and most unnatural sins of our dark age.
The Life and Sufferings of the Holy Martyrs Cyprian and Justina (Commemorated October 2/15)
Kontakion, Tone 1
converted from the art of sorcery, O divinely wise one,*
to the knowledge of God,* and wast manifested to the world as a
most wise physician,* granting healing to those who honor thee, O
Cyprian together with Justina.* With her, then, entreat
the Master, the Lover of mankind,* that He may save our souls.
IN THE REIGN of Decius (249-251) there lived in Antioch (of Pisidia) a certain
philosopher and renowned sorcerer whose name was Cyprian, a native of Carthage. Springing
from impious parents, in his very childhood he was dedicated by them to the service of the
pagan god Apollo. At the age of seven he was given over to magicians for the study of
sorcery and demonic wisdom. At the age of ten he was sent by his parents, as a preparation
for a sorcerer's career, to Mount Olympus, which the pagans called the dwelling of the
gods. Here there were a numerous multitude of idols, in which demons dwelled.
On this mountain Cyprian studied all manner of diabolical arts: he mastered various
demonic transformations, learned how to change the nature of the air, to bring up winds,
produce thunder and rain, disturb the waves of the sea, cause damage to gardens, vineyards
and fields, to send diseases and plagues upon people; and in general he learned a ruinous
wisdom and diabolical activity filled with evil. In this place he saw a numberless legion
of demons, with the prince of darkness at their head; some stood before him, others served
him, still others cried out in praise of their prince, and some were sent into the world
in order to corrupt people. Here he likewise saw in their false forms the pagan gods and
goddesses, and also diverse phantoms and specters, the invocation of which he learned in a
strict forty-day fast. He ate only after the setting of the sun, and not bread or anything
else, but only acorns from oak trees.
When he was fifteen years old he began to receive lessons from seven great sorcerers;
from them he learned many demonic secrets. Then he went to the city of Argos, where,
having served the goddess Juno for a time, he learned many practices of deception from her
priests. He lived also in Taurapolis (on the island of Icara) in the service of the
goddess Diana; and from there he went to Sparta, where he learned how to call forth the
dead from the graves and to force them to speak by means of various incantations and
spells. At the age of twenty, Cyprian came to Egypt, and in the city of Memphis he learned
yet greater charms and incantations. In his thirtieth year he went to the Chaldeans, and
having learned astrology there, he finished his studies. After this he returned to
Antioch, being perfect in all evil-doing. Thus he became a sorcerer, magician, and
destroyer of souls, a great friend and faithful slave of the prince of hell, with whom he
conversed face to face, being vouchsafed to receive from him great honor, as he himself
"Believe me," he said; "I have seen the prince of darkness himself, for
I propitiated him by sacrifices. I greeted him and spoke with him and his ancients; he
liked me, praised my understanding, and before everyone said: 'Here is a new Jambres,
always ready for obedience and worthy of communion with us!' And he promised to make me a
prince after my departure from the body, and for the course of earthly life to help me in
everything. And he gave me a legion of demons to serve me. When I departed from him, he
addressed me with these words: 'Take courage, fervent Cyprian; arise and accompany me; let
all the demonic ancients marvel at you.' Consequently, all of his princes also were
attentive to me, seeing the honor shown to me. The outward appearance of the prince of
darkness was like a flower. His head was crowned by a crown (not an actual, but a phantom
one) made of gold and brilliant stones, as a result of which the whole space around him
was illuminated; and his clothing was astonishing. When he would turn to one or the other
side, that whole place would tremble; a multitude of evil spirits of various degrees stood
obediently at his throne. I gave myself over entirely into his service at that time,
obeying his every command." Thus did St. Cyprian relate of himself after his
From this it is evident what kind of man Cyprian was: as a friend of the demons, he
performed all their works, causing evil to people and deceiving them. Living in Antioch,
he turned many people away to every kind of lawless deed; he killed many with poisons and
magic, and slaughtered young men and maidens as sacrifices for the demons. He instructed
many in his ruinous sorcery: some he taught to fly in the air, others to sail in boats on
the clouds, still others to walk on water. By all the pagans he was revered and glorified
as a chief priest and most wise servant of their vile gods. Many turned to him in their
needs, and he helped them by means of the demonic power with which he was filled: with
some he cooperated in their adulteries, with others in anger, enmity, revenge, jealousy.
Already he was entirely in the depths of hell and in the jaws of the devil; he was a son
of gehenna, a partaker of the demonic inheritance and of their eternal perdition. But the
Lord, who does not desire the death of a sinner, in His unutterable goodness and His mercy
which is not conquered by the sins of men, deigned to seek out this lost man, to draw out
of the abyss one who was mired in the filth of the depths of hell, and to save him in
order to show to all men His mercy; for there is no sin which can conquer His love of
He saved Cyprian from perdition in the following way.
THERE LIVED AT THAT TIME in Antioch a certain maiden whose name was Justina. She came
from pagan parents; her father was a priest of the idols, Aedesius by name, and her mother
was called Cledonia. Once, sitting at the window of her house, this maiden, who had then
already reached womanhood, by chance heard the words of salvation out of the mouth of a
deacon who was passing by, whose name was Praylius. He spoke of our Lord Jesus Christ's
becoming man, that He had been born of the Most Pure Virgin and, having performed many
miracles, had deigned to suffer for the sake of our salvation, had risen from the dead
with glory, ascended into the heavens, and sits at the right hand of the Father and reigns
eternally. This preaching of the deacon fell on good soil, into the heart of Justina, and
began quickly to bring forth fruit, uprooting in her the thorns of unbelief. Justina
wished to be instructed in the Faith by this deacon better and more completely, but she
did not dare to seek him out, being restrained by a maiden's modesty. However, she
secretly went to the church of Christ, and often hearing the word of God, with the Holy
Spirit acting in her heart, she came to believe in Christ.
Soon she convinced her mother of this also, and then brought to the faith her aged
father as well. Seeing the understanding of his daughter and hearing her wise words,
Aedesius reflected within himself thus: "The idols are made by the hands of men and
have neither soul nor breath, and therefore how can they be gods?" While he was
reflecting on this, once at night he saw during sleep, by Divine consent, a wondrous
vision: he saw a great multitude of light-bearing Angels, and in their midst was the
Saviour of the world, Christ, Who said to him: "Come to Me, and I will give you the
Kingdom of Heaven."
After rising in the morning, Aedesius went with his wife and daughter to the Christian
Bishop, whose name was Optatus, begging him to instruct them in the Faith of Christ and to
perform upon them holy Baptism. At the same time he informed him of the words of his
daughter and of the angelic vision which he had seen himself. Hearing this, the Bishop
rejoiced at their conversion, and having instructed them in the Faith of Christ, he
baptized Aedesius, his wife Cledonia, and their daughter Justina; and then, having given
them communion of the Holy Mysteries, he let them go in peace.
When Aedesius had become strengthened in the Faith of Christ, the Bishop, seeing his
piety, made him a presbyter. After this, having lived virtuously and in the fear of God
for a year and six months, Aedesius in holy faith came to the end of his life. As for
Justina, she valiantly struggled in the keeping of the Lord's commandments, and having
come to love her Bridegroom Christ, she served Him with fervent prayers, in virginity and
chastity, in fasting and great abstinence. But the enemy, the hater of the human race,
seeing such a life, envied her virtues and began to do harm to her, causing various
misfortunes and sorrows.
AT THAT TIME there lived in Antioch a certain youth named Aglaias, the son of wealthy
and renowned parents. He lived luxuriously, giving himself entirely over to the vanity of
this world. Once he saw Justina as she was going to church, and he was struck by her
beauty. The devil instilled shameful intentions into his heart. Being inflamed with lust,
Aglaias by all means strove to gain the good disposition and love of Justina and by means
of deception to bring the pure lamb of Christ to the defilement which he planned. He
observed all the paths by which the maiden would walk, and, meeting her, would speak to
her cunning words, praising her beauty and glorifying her; showing his love for her, he
strove to draw her into fornication by a cunningly-woven net of deceptions. The maiden,
however, turned away from him and fled from him, despising him and not desiring even to
hear his deceptive and cunning speeches. But the youth did not grow cool in his desire of
her beauty, and he sent to her the request that she should agree to become his wife.
She, however, replied to him: "My Bridegroom is Christ; Him I serve, and for His
sake I preserve my purity. He preserves both my soul and my body from every
Hearing such a reply from the chaste maiden, Aglaias, being instigated by the devil,
became yet more inflamed with passion. Not being able to deceive her, he intended to seize
her by force. Having gathered to his aid some foolish youths like himself, he waylaid the
maiden in the path along which she usually walked to church for prayer; there he met her
and, seizing her, began dragging her by force to his house. But she began loudly to
scream, beat him in the face, and spat on him. The neighbors, hearing her wails, ran out
of their houses and took the immaculate lamb, St. Justina, from the hands of the impious
youth as from the jaws of a wolf. The disorderly youths scattered, and Aglaias returned
with shame to his house. Not knowing what more to do, he decided, with the increase of
impure lust in him, upon a new evil deed: he went to the great sorcerer and magician
Cyprian, the priest of the idols, and having informed him of his sorrow, begged his help,
promising to give him much gold and silver. Having heard out Aglaias, Cyprian comforted
him, promising to fulfill his desire. "I will so manage," he said, "that
the maiden herself will seek your love and will feel passion for you even stronger than
that which you have for her."
Having thus consoled the youth, Cyprian let him go, full of hope. Then, taking the
books of his secret art, he invoked one of the impious spirits who, he was sure, could
soon inflame the heart of Justina with passion for this youth. The demon willingly
promised to fulfill this and proudly said: "This deed is not difficult for me,
because many times I have shaken cities, crumbled walls, destroyed houses, caused the
shedding of blood and patricide, instilled hatred and great anger between brothers and
spouses, and have brought to sin many who have given a vow of virginity. In monks who have
settled in mountains and were accustomed to strict fasting and have never even thought
about the flesh, I have instilled adulterous lust and instructed them to serve fleshly
passions; people who have repented and turned away from sin, I have converted back to evil
deeds; many chaste people I have thrown into fornication. Will I really be unable to
incline this maiden to the love of Aglaias? Indeed, why do I speak? I will swiftly show my
powers in very deed. Take this powder" (here he gave him a vessel full of something)
"and give it to this youth; let him sprinkle the house of Justina with it, and you
will see that what I have said will come to pass."
Having said this, the demon vanished. Cyprian called Aglaias and sent him to sprinkle
the house of Justina secretly with the contents of the demon's vessel. When this had been
done, the demon of fornication entered the house with the flaming arrows of fleshly lust
in order to wound the heart of the maiden with fornication, and to ignite her flesh with
Justina had the custom every night to offer up prayers to the Lord. And behold, when,
according to custom, she arose at the third hour of the night and was praying to God, she
suddenly felt an agitation in her body, a storm of bodily lust and the flame of the fire
of gehenna. In such agitation and inward battle she remained for quite a long time; the
youth Aglaias came to her mind, and shameful thoughts arose in her. The maiden marveled
and was ashamed of herself, feeling that her blood was boiling as in a kettle; now she
thought about that which she had always despised as vile. But in her good sense Justina
understood that this battle had arisen in her from the devil; immediately she turned to
the weapon of the sign of the cross, hastened to God with fervent prayer, and from the
depths of her heart cried out to Christ her Bridegroom: "O Lord, my God, Jesus
Christ! Behold how many enemies have risen up against me and have prepared a net in order
to catch me and take away my soul. But I have remembered Thy name in the night and have
rejoiced, and now when they are close about me I hasten to Thee and have hope that my
enemy will not triumph over me. For thou knowest, O Lord my God, that I, Thy slave, have
preserved for Thee the purity of my body and have entrusted my soul to Thee. Preserve Thy
sheep, O good Shepherd; do not give it over to be eaten by the beast who seeks to devour
me; grant me victory over the evil desire of my flesh."
Having prayed long and fervently, the holy virgin put the enemy to shame. Being
conquered by her prayer, he fled from her with shame, and again there came a calm in
Justina's body and heart; the flame of desire was quenched, the battle ceased, the boiling
blood was stilled. Justina glorified God and sang a song of victory.
The demon, on the other hand, returned to Cyprian with the sad news that he had
accomplished nothing. Cyprian asked him why he had not been able to conquer the maiden.
The demon, even against his will, revealed the truth: "I could not conquer her
because I saw on her a certain sign of which I was afraid."
Then Cyprian called a yet more malicious demon and sent film to tempt Justina. He went
and did much more than the first one, falling upon the maiden with great rage. But she
armed herself with fervent prayer and laid upon herself yet a more powerful labor: she
clothed herself in a hair shirt and mortified her flesh with abstinence and fasting,
eating only bread and water. Having thus tamed the passions of her flesh, Justina
conquered the devil and banished him with shame. And he, like the first one, returned to
Cyprian without accomplishing anything.
Then Cyprian called one of the princes of the demons, informed him about the weakness
of the demons he had sent, who could not conquer a single maiden, and asked help from him.
This prince of demons severely reproached the other demons for their lack of skill in this
matter and for their inability to arouse passion in the heart of the maiden. Having given
hope to Cyprian and promised to seduce the maiden by other means, he took on the
appearance of a woman and went to Justina. And he began to converse piously with her, as
if desiring to follow the example of her virtuous life and her chastity. Conversing in
this way, he asked the maiden what kind of reward there might be for such a strict life
and for the preservation of purity.
Justina replied that the reward for those who live in chastity is great and beyond
words, and that it is very remarkable that people do not in the least concern themselves
for such a great treasure as angelic purity. Then the devil, revealing his shamelessness,
began with cunning words to tempt her, saying: "But then how could the world exist?
How would people be born? After all, if Eve had preserved her purity, how would the human
race have increased? In truth marriage is a good thing, being established by God Himself;
the Sacred Scripture also praises it, saying: Let marriage be had in honor among all,
and the bed undefiled (Heb. 13:4). And many saints of God also did they not
enter into marriage, which God gave them as a consolation, so that they might rejoice in
their children and praise God?"
Hearing these words, Justina recognized the cunning deceiver, the devil, and, more
skillful than Eve, conquered him. Without continuing this conversation, she immediately
fled to the defense of the Cross of the Lord and placed its honorable sign on her
forehead; and her heart she turned to Christ her Bridegroom. And the devil immediately
vanished with yet greater shame than the first two demons.
In great disturbance, the proud prince of the demons returned to Cyprian, who, finding
out that he had not managed to do anything, said to him: "Can it be that even you, a
prince powerful and more skillful than others in such matters, could not conquer the
maiden? Who then among you can do anything with this unconquerable maiden's heart? Tell me
by what weapon she battles with you, and how she makes powerless your mighty power?"
Being conquered by the power of God, the devil unwillingly acknowledged: "We
cannot behold the sign of the Cross, but flee from it, because it scorches us like fire
and banishes us far away."
Cyprian became angry at the devil because he had put him to shame, and reproaching the
demon, he said: "Such is your power that even a weak virgin conquers you!"
Then the devil, desiring to console Cyprian, attempted yet another undertaking: he took
on the form of Justina and went to Aglaias with the hope that, having taken him for the
real Justina, the youth might satisfy his desire, and thus neither would the weakness of
the demons be revealed, nor would Cyprian be put to shame. And behold, when the demon went
to Aglaias in the form of Justina, the youth leaped up in unspeakable joy, ran to the
false maiden, embraced her and began kissing her, saying: "How good it is that you
have come to me, fair Justina!"
But no sooner had the youth pronounced the word "Justina" than the demon
immediately disappeared, being unable to bear even the name of Justina. The youth became
greatly afraid and, running to Cyprian, told him what had happened. Then Cyprian by his
sorcery gave him the form of a bird and, having enabled him to fly in the air, he sent him
to the house of Justina, advising him to fly into her room through the window. Being
carried by a demon in the air, Aglaias flew on the roof. At this time Justina happened to
look through the window of her room. Seeing her, the demon left Aglaias and fled. At the
same time, the phantom appearance of Aglaias also vanished, and the youth, falling down,
was all but dashed to pieces. He grasped the edge of the roof with his hands and, holding
on to it, hung there; and if he had not been let down to the ground by the prayer of St.
Justina, the impious one would have fallen down and been killed.
Thus, having achieved nothing, the youth returned to Cyprian and told him of his woe.
Seeing himself put to shame, Cyprian was greatly grieved and thought himself of going to
Justina, trusting in the power of his sorcery. He turned himself into a woman and into a
bird, but he did mpt manage to reach as far as the door of the house of Justina before his
false appearances disappeared, and he returned with sorrow.
AFTER THIS CYPRIAN began to gain revenge for his shame, and by his sorcery he brought
diverse misfortunes on the house of Justina and on the houses of all her relatives,
neighbors and friends, as once the devil had done to righteous Job (Job 1:15-19, 2:7). He
killed their animals, he struck down their slaves with plagues, and in this way he brought
them to extreme grief. Finally, he struck with illness Justina herself, so that she lay in
bed and her mother wept over her. Justina, however, comforted her mother with the words of
the Prophet David: I shall not die, but live, and I shall tell of the works of
the Lord (Psalm 117:17).
Not only on Justina and her relatives, but also on the whole city, by God's allowance,
did Cyprian bring misfortune as a result of his untamable rage and his great shame.
Plagues appeared in the animals and various diseases among men; and the rumor spread,
through the activity of the demons, that the great sorcerer Cyprian was punishing the city
for Justina's opposition to him. Then the most honorable citizens went to Justina and with
anger tried to persuade her not to grieve Cyprian any longer, and to become the wife of
Aglaias, in order to escape yet greater misfortunes for the whole city because of her. But
she calmed them by saying that soon all the misfortunes which had been brought about with
the help of Cyprian's demons would cease. And so it happened. When St. Justina prayed
fervently to God, immediately all the demonic attacks ceased; all were healed from the
plagues and recovered from their diseases. When such a change occurred, the people
glorified Christ and mocked Cyprian and his sorcerer's cunning, so that from shame he
could not show himself among men and he avoided meeting even friends.
Having become convinced that nothing could conquer the power of the sign of the cross
and the name of Christ, Cyprian came to his senses and said to the devil: "O
destroyer and deceiver of all, source of every impurity and defilement! Now I have
discovered your infirmity. For if you fear even the shadow of the cross and tremble at the
name of Christ, then what will you do when Christ Himself comes to you? If you cannot
conquer those who sign themselves with the sign of the cross, then whom will you tear away
from the hands of Christ? Now I have understood what a non-entity you are; you are not
even able to take revenge! Listening to you, 1, wretched one, have been deceived, and I
believed your tricks. Depart from me, accursed one, depart! For I must entreat the
Christians that they might have mercy on me. I must appeal to pious people, that they
might deliver me from perdition and be concerned over my salvation. Depart, depart from
me, lawless one, enemy of truth, adversary and hater of every good thing!"
Having heard this, the devil threw himself on Cyprian in order to kill him; attacking
him, he began to beat and strangle him. Finding no defense anywhere, and not knowing how
to help himself and be delivered from the fierce hands of the demon, Cyprian, already
scarcely alive, remembered the sign of the cross, by the power of which Justina had
opposed all the demons' power, and he cried out: "O God of Justina, help me!"
Then, raising his hand, he made the sign of the cross, and the devil immediately leaped
away from him like an arrow shot from a bow. Gaining courage, Cyprian became bolder, and
calling on the name of Christ, he signed himself with the sign of the cross and stubbornly
opposed the demon, cursing and reproaching him. As for the devil, standing far away from
him and not daring to draw near to him out of fear of the sign of the cross and the name
of Christ, he threatened Cyprian in every manner, saying: "Christ will not deliver
you out of my hands!" Then, after long and fierce attacks on Cyprian, the demon
roared like a lion and went away.
THEN CYPRIAN took all his books of magic and went to the Christian Bishop Anthimus.
Falling to the feet of the Bishop, he entreated him to have mercy on him and to give him
holy Baptism. Knowing that Cyprian was a great sorcerer, feared by all, the Bishop thought
that he had come to him with some kind of trick, and therefore he refused him, saying:
"You do much evil among the pagans; leave the Christians in peace, lest you speedily
perish." Then Cyprian with tears confessed everything to the Bishop and gave him his
books to be burned. Seeing his humility, the Bishop instructed him and taught him the holy
faith, and then commanded him to prepare for Baptism; and his books he burned before all
the believing citizens.
Leaving the Bishop with a contrite heart, Cyprian wept over his sins, sprinkled ashes
on his head, and sincerely repented, calling out to the true God for the cleansing of his
iniquities. Coming the next day to church, he heard the word of God with joyful emotion,
standing among the believers. And when the deacon commanded the catechumens to go out,
declaring: "Ye catechumens depart," and certain ones were already going out,
Cyprian did not wish to go out, saying to the deacon: "I am a slave of Christ; do not
chase me out of here." But the deacon said to him: "Since you have not yet been
given holy Baptism, you must go out of the church."
To this Cyprian replied: "As Christ my God I liveth, Who has delivered me from the
devil, Who has preserved the maiden Justina pure, and has had mercy on meyou will
not chase me out of the church until I become a complete Christian."
The deacon related this to the Bishop, and the Bishop, seeing the fervor of Cyprian and
his devotion to the faith of Christ, called him up and immediately baptized him in the
name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Finding out about this, St. Justina gave thanks to God, distributed much alms to the
poor, and made an offering in church. And Cyprian, on the eighth day after his Baptism,
was made a reader by the Bishop; on the twentieth day he was made subdeacon, and on the
thirtieth day a deacon; and in a year he was ordained priest. Cyprian completely changed
his life; with every day he increased his struggles, and constantly weeping over his
previous evil deeds, he perfected himself and ascended from virtue to virtue. Soon he was
made Bishop, and in this rank he led such a holy life that he equaled many great saints.
At the same time he zealously took care of the flock of Christ which had been entrusted to
him. St. Justina the maiden he made a deaconess, and then entrusted to her a convent,
making her abbess over other Christian maidens. By his conduct and instruction he
converted many pagans and acquired them for the Church of Christ. Thus, idol worship began
to die out in that land, and the glory of Christ increased.
Seeing the strict life of St. Cyprian, his concern for the faith of Christ and for the
salvation of human souls, the devil ground his teeth against him And inspired the pagans
to slander him before the governor of the eastern region, saying that he had put the gods
to shame, had converted many people away from them, and was glorifying Christ, Who was
hostile to their gods. And so, many impious ones came to the governor Eutolmius, who was
then governing those regions, and made slanders against Cyprian and Justina, accusing them
,of being hostile to their gods and to the emperor and to all authorities, saying that
they were disturbing the people, deceiving them, and leading them in their footsteps,
disposing them to worship the crucified Christ. At the same time they asked the governor
to give Cyprian and Justina over to death for this. Having heard their request, Eutolmius
commanded that Cyprian and Justina be seized and placed in prison. Then, setting out for
Damascus, he took them with him in order to make judgment upon them.
And when they had brought the prisoners of Christ, Cyprian and Justina, to him, he
asked Cyprian: "Why have you changed your earlier glorious way of life, when you were
a renowned servant of the gods and brought many people to them?"
St. Cyprian related to the governor how he had found out the infirmity and the
deception of the demons and come to understand the power of Christ, which the demons
feared and before which they trembled, disappearing from before the sign of the precious
cross; and likewise he explained the reason for his conversion to Christ, for Whom he
declared his readiness to die. The torturer did not accept the words of Cyprian in his
heart, but being unable to reply to them, he commanded that the Saint be hung up and his
body scraped, and that St. Justina be beaten on the mouth and eyes. For the whole time of
the long torments they ceaselessly confessed Christ and endured everything with
thanksgiving. Then the torturer imprisoned them and strove by kind exhortation to return
them to idol worship. When he was unable to convince them, he commanded that they be
thrown into a cauldron; but the boiling cauldron did not cause them any harm, and they
glorified God as if they were in some cool place. Seeing this, one priest of the idols, by
name Athanasius, said: "In the name of the god Aesculapius, I also will throw myself
into this fire and put to shame those sorcerers." But hardly had the fire touched him
than he immediately died.
Seeing this, the torturer became frightened, and not desiring to judge them further, he
sent the martyrs to the governor Claudius in Nicomedia, describing all that had happened
to them. This governor condemned them to be beheaded with the sword. When they were
brought to the place of execution, Cyprian asked a little time for prayer, so that Justina
might be executed first; he feared that Justina would become frightened at the sight of
his death. But she joyfully bent her head under the sword and departed unto her Bridegroom
Christ. Seeing the innocent death of these martyrs, a certain Theoctistus, who was present
there, greatly pitied them and, being inflamed in his heart towards God, he fell down to
St. Cyprian and, kissing him, declared himself a Christian. Together with Cyprian he also
was immediately condemned to be beheaded.
Thus they gave over their souls into the hands of God; their bodies, however, lay for
six days unburied. Certain of the strangers who were there secretly took them and brought
them to Rome, where they gave them to a certain virtuous and holy woman whose name was
Rufina, a relative of Claudius Caesar. She buried with honor the bodies of the holy
martyrs of Christ: Cyprian, Justina, and Theoctistus. At their graves many healings
occurred for those who came to them with faith. (Their martyrdoms occurred toward the end
of the third centuryaccording to some, in about the year 268, but according to
others, in 304.)
By their prayers may the Lord heal also our afflictions of body and soul! Amen.
Translated from the Russian Lives of Saints, Moscow, 1904.
SOME MIRACLES OF SAINTS CYPRIAN AND JUSTINA
In 19th-Century Russia
The devout maiden R. was subjected to the same temptation as was once the holy Martyr
Justina: she was pursued by a certain man who, seeing that all his efforts to arouse in
her a mutual love for him remained futile, turned to a sorcerer, and with his help began
to direct magic spells against her. Being forewarned about this through a faithful
servant-woman, and beginning to feel in herself the action of the enemy's power, this
maiden had no one from whom to seek help except God, for she had no acquaintance with
anyone of spiritual life. One night the above-mentioned servant-woman saw a dream wherein
a tall monk entered her lady's room and led her out in a monastic garment. Soon after
this, Elder Anthony of Optina visited this family, although he had not known them before.
In this important visit was clearly expressed the providence of God for this family, as
well as the manifest activity of demons ... When he entered the house (as he later wrote
this maiden), "at first I encountered a whole crowd of demons who with abusive
language forbade me to enter, but the Lord drove them away ... Even though I did not know
the history of your last two years, it was not for nothing that I advised you to pray to
the holy Martyr Justina the virgin, for your situation then was very similar to hers, as I
recently found out, and with my whole soul I thank God with tears that your holy soul has
been delivered from the nets which had caught it!" The servant-woman, when she saw
Father Anthony, recognized that it was precisely he that she had seen in her dream.
The Elder understood that the only salvation for this maiden was to go to a convent.
But her relatives did not wish even to hear of this, and Father Anthony did not find it
possible or profitable to persuade them; and therefore he only prayed for her deliverance
from the enemy's nets that surrounded her, and by his letters strengthened her in her
torment from the invisible power of demons, which had been brought against her by the
sorcerer ... By the prayers of Father Anthony, R's mother unexpectedly gave her consent
for her to enter a convent ... However, the sorcerer boasted that he would drag her even
out of the convent. And indeed, the young novice continued to feel within herself the
action of the enemy's power, having repose neither day nor night; and again she found
strength in the prayers and counsel of Father Anthony. The young sufferer received final
deliverance from the temptation of the enemy that tormented her through the prayers of the
great contemporary hierarch, now reposed, Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow. Once he
appeared to her in a dream, read the 60th Psalm, ordered her to repeat after him all the
verses of it, and then gave her the command to read this Psalm daily. On awakening, she
felt that the temptation which had been tormenting her for many years had completely
departed from her.
(Elder Anthony concludes his letter to this maiden, who was then still suffering the
effects of her experience:) "Be full of hope. You and I, even lying flat in bed, will
be saved by the prayers of the saints for us; for if the prayer of even a single saint can
give much help, then when all the saints start to pray for us, without any doubt the
Kingdom of Heaven will be ours!" (Translated from Hieromonk Clement Sederholm, Optina
Elder Anthony, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1973, pp. 100-103, and The Letters
of Abbot Anthony, Optina edition, 1869, pp. 381-2.)
In 20th-century Greece
From the time when, by the grace of God, our monastery was founded in 1961, our
protectors, Saints Cyprian and Justina, have worked many miracles through their
intercession, especially for those suffering from satanic influence or the effects of
A few years ago, after the Sunday Liturgy, while the abbot was still in the altar
taking off his vestments, a young man, about 30 years old, came to one of the side doors
of the iconostasis and in tears said: "Father, save me, help, my home is falling
apart. I have been married 25 days now, but they have done something to me and I can't get
close to my wife. We live as brother and sister, and now we're so much in the hold of
nerves and quarrelling, that if it continues, we will separate."
The abbot tried to calm him, and advised him that when he and his wife had repented of
their sins, they should confess, and after fasting three days, they should come to the
monastery so that a Vigil and Divine Liturgy could be served in their name.
They did as instructed, prepared and came; the Vigil was celebrated and prayers of
exorcism were read over them, and in the morning they left for home. Next Sunday the young
man came to the monastery again, but this time full of joy, and he told with great emotion
what had happened. "When we left here on Thursday morning, we returned home and found
my father very disturbed. When I asked him what was wrong, he said: 'Something fearful
happened last night. While I was sleeping, there appeared before me a tall old man with
gray hair and beard, who woke me up and said: "Get up, my child, and dig there (he
showed me the exact place) to find your son's magic charm." After that he
disappeared. I was so frightened that I stayed in bed waiting for it to get light.'"
(It is evident that the tall old man who appeared was St. Cyprian, who went, while the
Vigil was being celebrated and the prayers being read, to the couple's house to reveal to
his father this demonic business.)
The young man continued: "I asked my father where the old man told him to dig. He
showed me, and forty centimeters down I found these strange things." He gave the
abbot a white handkerchief with a large knot, which proved when opened to contain the dust
of a dead body and the couple's initials. Exorcisms were read over it, and the young man
left again. Two days later the abbot saw an old woman kneeling and weeping before the icon
of St. Cyprian and St. Justina. When asked what had happened, she replied that she was the
mother of the young man from Aspopyrgo, and from the day they had come to the monastery,
they had been completely well, and were living in great happiness. She had come to thank
the Saints, full of gratitude for the great gift they had given. (By Archimandrite [now
Metropolitan] Cyprian of the Monastery of Sts.
Cyprian and Justina; translation first published in The Old Calendarist, monthly
publication of the St. George Information Service, London, England, June, 1975.)
From The Orthodox Word, Vol. 12, No. 5 (70) (September-October,
1976), pp. 135-142, 167-176.