Saint Christina is a martyr who lived during the 3rd century A.D. Her icons show her bound to a stone, holding few arrows and with snakes around her feet. There are many stories and accounts regarding the life of Saint Christina. However, the early life of St. Christina is more or less the same in all the texts.
Her parents were staunch believers of the rituals of Paganism. They were idol worshipers and were against
Christianity. The accounts of her early life reveal her father to be a wealthy and a cruel man who had tortured her because of her belief in Christianity (as it was the duty of the military during the government of emperor Diocletian).
Christina was a beautiful child full of love and affection. She was well educated and did not lack any material luxury. Her father was against the practices of Christianity. As he knew about her conversion, he locked his daughter, Christina, together with a few of her pagan girl friends in a huge tower, assuming the confines of the tower would curb her interest in Christianity. Christina saw the beauty of the nature that was God’s creation through the confined tower. She yearned to understand him and pined for more knowledge regarding the presence of God. It is believed God revealed Himself to her through an angel.
Christina was tired of the luxury that was bestowed on her and was greatly moved by the poverty and sufferings of people around her. She broke the gold pagan idols belonging to her father and distributed among the poor and needy. This infuriated her father who punished her cruelly by whipping her with rods and threw her into a dungeon.
In the meantime, she had evangelized many of the pagans in her household. Even when she was in the dungeon she had not lost faith in her belief and remained unshaken. Urbain, her father became her persecutor. He tore her body with iron hooks and tied her to a rack beneath which a fire was kindled. Christina’s faith in God saved her. God turned the flames on the bystanders.
In another incident, a stone was tied around her neck and she was thrown into the lake of Balsena. However, God’s angel saved her again, and her father died after this incident. Christina’s suffering and torture continued even after her father’s death. Urbain had two successors, Dion and Julian. Dion died an unexpected death, after he threw her into a burning furnace. She remained in the furnace unhurt for five days. It was indeed a miracle. Saint Christina was thrown into a cage of serpents. But Christ saved her once again. Julian was her last persecutor; he cut off St. Christina’s tongue and her breast. The Saint prayed to be allowed to finish her course. When she was pierced with arrows, she gained the martyr’s crown at the Amphitheathre of Bolsena. She was buried in the catacombs near to the old Vulsinia city.
The tomb of St. Christina was discovered by Giovanni Batista de Rossi and Henry Stevenson in the 19th century, marked with an inscription dating from the 10th century. Her feast day is July 24th.