Saint Afra

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Saint Afra (died 304) was a Christian martyr.

Biography

Although many different accounts of her life exist, the most widely known is that of an unreliable Carlovingian version, the Acts of St Afra, set down many centuries later. According to this source, she was a originally a courtesan in Augsburg, having come there from Cyprus, maybe even as the daughter of the King of Cyprus. She possibly ran a brothel in that town, or worked as a prostitute in the Temple of Venus. As the persecution of Christians during the reign of Eastern Roman Emperor Diocletian began, Bishop Narcissus of Gerona (in Spain) arrived there and lodged with Afra and her mother, Hilaria. The bishop did not know their profession, but soon converted them. She continued to hide the bishop from the authorities, but was arrested, and condemned to be burnt to death. Her mother and her maids Ligna, Eunonia and Eutropia later suffered the same fate, for interring her in a vault.

In an alternative, and earlier document, it is stated that she was beheaded, rather than burnt. The Martyrologium Hieronymianum (a compilation of martyrs) mentions Afra as having "suffered in the city of Augsberg" and as being "buried there".

Sainthood

The feast of Saint Afra occurs on 5 August (although according to some missals it is on 6 August or 7 August). To this day, her remains are kept in the Benedictine monastery of St. Ulrich and St. Afra, having first been displayed there in 1012.

External links

This article incorporates text from the public domain Catholic Encyclopedia.de:Afra von Augsburg nl:Afra van Augsburg

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