Holy Martyr Matrona of Thessalonica
The Holy Martyr Matrona of Thessalonica suffered in the third or fourth century. She was a slave of the Jewish woman Pautila (or Pantilla), wife of one of the military commanders of Thessalonica. Pautila constantly mocked her slave for her faith in Christ, and tried to convert her to Judaism. St Matrona, who believed in Christ from her youth, still prayed to the Savior Christ, and secretly went to church unbeknownst to her vengeful mistress.
Pautila, learning that St Matrona had been to church, asked, “Why won’t you come to our synagogue, instead of attending the Christian church?” St Matrona boldly answered, “Because God is present in the Christian church, but He has departed from the Jewish synagogue.” Pautila went into a rage and mercilessly beat St Matrona, tied her up, and shut her in a dark closet. In the morning, Pautila discovered that St Matrona had been freed of her bonds by an unknown Power.
In a rage Pautila beat the martyr almost to death, then bound her even more tightly and locked her in the closet. The door was sealed so that no one could help the sufferer. The holy martyr remained there for four days without food or water, and when Pautila opened the door, she again found St Matrona free of her bonds, and standing at prayer.
Pautila flogged the holy martyr and left the skin hanging in strips from her body. The fierce woman locked her in the closet again, where St Matrona gave up her spirit to God.
Pautila had the holy martyr’s body thrown from the roof of her house. Christians took up the much-suffered body of the holy martyr and buried it. Later, Bishop Alexander of Thessalonica built a church dedicated to the holy martyr. Her holy relics, glorified by many miracles, were placed in this church.
The judgment of God soon overtook the evil Pautila. Standing on the roof at that very place where the body of St Matrona had been thrown, she stumbled and fell to the pavement. Her body was smashed, and so she received her just reward for her sin.