St Juliana was a young lady of Nicomedia, who lived during the fourth century. From her childhood, she had been promised in marriage to Eleusius. Because she had said that she would not marry him unless became prefect, he succeeded in obtaining that rank when he was eighteen. Then, she told her father that she would not marry the prefect unless he was baptized. After some argument, her father had her cruelly beaten and sent her to Eleusius, who said that he would do anything to please her, if only she would sacrifice to his false gods and marry him.
She answered that no torment could convince her either to make the sacrifices or to marry any man who was not a Christian. He replied, “I cannot be a Christian, for, if the emperor heard of it, he would cut off my head.” She then said, “If you fear your perishable emperor, how can you not understand that I dare not forsake or displease the Emperor of Heaven, Who lives for ever.”
Because she persisted in her refusal to marry him, he and her father put her in prison. There the devil appeared to her in the form of an angel, and advised her to sacrifice to the false gods so that she could escape from torture. Juliana made the sign of the Cross over the angel and demanded that he tell her who he was. He said he was Jopher the Black, the son of Beelzebub, and that Juliana had given him more trouble than any of the Saints he had ever tried to trick before her.
After the most horrible tortures, she was beheaded. One hundred and thirty others became Christians as they saw Juliana's sufferings and courage. They were then also beheaded by order of the emperor.
Some years later, when peace had been restored to the Church, a senatress, named Sophronia, traveled through Nicomedia and heard about the glorious miracles of Juliana. She decided to take the body of the Saint with her. When a storm forced her ship on shore at Puteoli, about nine miles from Naples, she chose this place to build a church in honor of St Juliana, whose relics are now spread all over the world.
We commemorate this Holy Virgin Martyr on December 21.
The name “Juliana” is Latin for “youthful.”
Sweetest, bravest, holy virgin Juliana, pray that we may never consider marrying any man who is not a Christian. Thank you for your example of trusting in the power of the Holy Cross. May we always remember this as well. Amen.