Saint Tatiana Day
On January 25th Russian Orthodox Church celebrates a religious holiday - Tatiana Day, which is also known as a Students Day.
Who was Tatiana and why this is a Students Day?
Tatiana Day is named after Saint Tatiana, who was Christian martyr in 2nd century Rome during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus.
According to legend, she was the daughter of a Roman civil servant who was secretly Christian, and raised his daughter in the faith. When she reached the age of maturity, Tatiana decided to remain a virgin, betrothing herself to Christ. She was made a deaconess in one of the Roman churches and served God in fasting and prayer, tending the sick and helping the needy.
When Rome was ruled by the sixteen-year-old Alexander Severus (from 222 to 235), all power was concentrated in the hands of the regent Ulpian, an evil enemy and persecutor of Christians.
To be Christian was dangerous, and one day the regent Ulpian captured Tatiana and they brought her into the temple of Apollo to force her to offer sacrifice to the idol. She prayed instead, and miraculously, an earthquake destroyed the idol and part of the temple. The idol was smashed into pieces, and part of the temple collapsed and fell down on the pagan priests and many pagans.
Tatiana was then blinded, and beaten for two days, before being brought to a circus and thrown into the pit with a hungry lion. But the lion did not touch her and lay at her feet. As they were taking the lion back to its cage, it killed one of the torturers.
The next day a death sentence being pronounced, and after being tortured once again, Tatiana was beheaded with a sword on January 12 (by Julian calendar) or (January 25 in the Gregorian calendar), around AD 225 or 230.
This is why January 25th is her feast day.
Her father was also executed with her, because he had raised her to love Christ. The miracles performed by Saint Tatiana are said to have converted many people to the fledgling religion.
You probably wonder what was the role of The Holy Virgin Martyr Tatiana in Russian history and why it's a Students Day?
In 1755 on Tatiana Day, January 25th, the Empress Elizabeth of Russia endorsed a petition to establish a university in Moscow - the first Russian University.
The church of Saint Tatiana was later built in the university campus, the Russian Orthodox Church declared Saint Tatiana the patron saint of students, and Tatiana Day has become celebrated as Russian Students Day.
Luckily enough Tatiana Day coincides with the end of winter examination session when students have all the reasons to celebrate!
Dublin Unitarian Church