Martyr Anna

Saint Anna was a noblewoman who sold all her possessions and gave the money to the poor. She received the monastic tonsure from Saint Stephen the New while he was living on Mt Auxentius in Bithynia. He sent her to live in the women’s monastery called Trichinarion (Community of hairshirt-wearers).

When the iconoclasts tried to turn Saint Stephen from venerating the holy icons, they tried flattery, bribery, and threats, but all their efforts were in vain. Then they accused him of visiting the Trichinarion Monastery at night and falling into sin with the nun Anna. Although her own maidservant testified against her (she was promised her freedom and marriage to a nobleman if she did), Saint Anna denied any guilt.

The emperor’s soldiers came to the monastery and seized Saint Anna and brought her before him, but she refused to lie about Saint Stephen. Therefore Emperor Constantine threw her into a dungeon in Constantinople.

The next morning the emperor sat in a public building with an assembled crowd, and had Saint Anna brought to his presence. Since she insisted that both she and Saint Stephen were innocent, the emperor had her stripped naked in the sight of all. During her interrogation, she remained silent. Meanwhile, her maidservant falsely swore that Saint Stephen had sinned with her mistress.

Angered by her refusal to speak, the emperor had Saint Anna stretched out on the ground, where soldiers beat her with rods. During this torment, she said, “I have never sinned with Stephen. Lord, have mercy.” The soldiers continued to beat her until she was almost dead.

The emperor returned to his palace, leaving orders that Saint Anna be imprisoned in one of the city’s abandoned monasteries. There she departed to the Lord, receiving from Him the twin crowns of virginity and martyrdom.