Roman maiden who at the age of 13 was executed for her faith when she refused the son of the prefect, saying she was betrothed to Christ. Before she was executed she was condemned to work in a brothel. She was taken there naked, but her long hair covered her body. Once in the brothel, an angel clothed her in light and the whole place was lit up.
Legend has it, that when the prefect's son touched her, an evil spirit appeared and strangled him. Agnes revived him after praying for his life.
When the time for her execution came she was thrown into a fire, put the fire was miraculously put out immediately. She was then pierced by a sword.
She was buried by Via Nomentana, and under Constatine the Great a basilica was built there in her honour. At her funeral pagans threw stones at her coffin and her adopted sister Emerentiana was killed when she tried to guard the grave. The pagans were then killed in an earthquake. After eight days a virgin's wreath appeared on St. Agnes' grave.
The grave was believed to work miracles, and the empress Helena's daughter Constantia was cured from leprosy by it.
She is the patroness of chastity and virgins, children, engaged couples, gardeners and hostels for working women. In art she is depicted with a lamb and/or a dove with a ring in its beak.
Orthodox nameday: 21/1
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