Anastasia of Sirmium

Infobox Saint
name=Saint Anastasia
feast_day=December 22 (Orthodox); December 25 (Catholic)
venerated_in=Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches

imagesize= 250px
caption= Saint Anastasia, with a book and palm. "Book of Hours". Liège; c. 1250-1300.
attributes=palm branch (West); red lobe, medicine potter (East)
patronage=martyrs; weavers; widows
major_shrine=Cathedral of St. Anastasia, Zadar

Saint Anastasia (Greek polytonic|Ἀναστασία: "resurrection", often polytonic|Ἁγία Ἀναστασία ἡ Φαρμακολύτρια, "St. Anastasia the Healer" ) was a Christian saint and martyr who died at Sirmium. Concerning Anastasia little is reliably known, save that she died in the persecutions of Diocletian; most stories about her date from several centuries after her death and make her variously a Roman or Sirmian native and a Roman citizen of patrician rank. One legend makes her the daughter of a certain Praetextus and the pupil of Saint Chrysogonus.

Anastasia has long been venerated as a healer and exorcist. Her remains lie in the Cathedral of St. Anastasia in Zadar, Croatia.

She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.


This martyr enjoys the distinction, unique in the Roman liturgy, of having a special commemoration in the second Mass on Christmas Day. This Mass was originally celebrated not in honour of the birth of Christ, but in commemoration of this martyr, and towards the end of the fifth century her name was also inserted in the Roman canon of the Mass. Nevertheless, she is not a Roman saint, for she suffered martyrdom at Sirmium, and was not venerated at Rome until almost the end of the fifth century. It is true that a later legend, not earlier than the sixth century, makes Anastasia a Roman, though even in this legend she did not suffer martyrdom at Rome. The same legend connects her name with that of St. Chrysogonus, likewise not a Roman martyr, but put to death in Aquileia, though he had a church in Rome dedicated to his honour -San Crisogono.

According to this "Passio", Anastasia was the daughter of Praetextatus, a Roman "vir illustris", and had Chrysogonus for a teacher. Early in the persecution of Diocletian the Emperor summoned Chrysogonus to Aquileia where he suffered martyrdom. Anastasia, having gone from Aquileia to Sirmium to visit the faithful of that place, was beheaded on the island of Palmaria, 25 December, and her body interred in the house of Apollonia, which had been converted into a basilica. The whole account is purely legendary, and rests on no historical foundations. All that is certain is that a martyr named Anastasia gave her life for the faith in Sirmium, and that her memory was kept sacred in that church.


The so-called "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" [ed. De Rossi and Duchesne, "Acta Sanctorum", 2 November.] records her name on 25 December, not for Sirmium alone, but also for Constantinople, a circumstance based on a separate story. According to Theodorus Lector [Hist. Eccles., II, 65.] , during the patriarchate of Gennadius (458-471) the body of the martyr was transferred to Constantinople and interred in a church which had hitherto been known as "Anastasis" (Gr. Anastasis, Resurrection); thenceforth the church took the name of Anastasia.

Similarly the cultus of St. Anastasia was introduced into Roman from Sirmium by means of an already existing church. As this church was already quite famous, it brought the feast of the saint into especial prominence. There existed in Rome from the fourth century, at the foot of the Palatine Hill and above the Circus Maximus, a church which had been adorned by Pope Damasus (366-384) with a large mosaic. It was known as "titulus Anastasiae", and is mentioned as such in the Acts of the Roman Council of 499. There is some uncertainty as to the origin of this name; either the church owes its foundation to and was named after a Roman matron Anastasia, as in the case of several other titular churches of Rome (Duchesne), or it was originally an "Anastasis" church (dedicated to the Resurrection of Christ), such as existed already at Ravenna and Constantinople; from the word "Anastasis" came eventually the name "titulus Anastasiae" (Grisar). Whatever way this happened, the church was an especially prominent one from the fourth to the sixth century, being the only titular church in the centre of ancient Rome, and surrounded by the monuments of the city's pagan past.

Within its jurisdiction was the Palatine where the imperial court was located. Since the veneration of the Sirmian martyr, Anastasia, received a new impetus in Constantinople during the second half of the fifth century, we may easily infer that the intimate contemporary relations between Old and New Rome brought about an increase in devotion to St. Anastasia at the foot of the Palatine.

At all events the insertion of her name into the Roman Canon of the Mass towards the end of the fifth century, show that she then occupied a unique position among the saints publicly venerated at Rome. Thenceforth the church on the Palatine is known as "titulus sanctae Anastasiae", and the martyr of Sirmium became the titular saint of the old fourth-century basilica. Evidently because of its position as titular church of the district including the imperial dwellings on the Palatine this church long maintained an eminent rank among the churches of Rome; only two churches preceded it in honour: St. John Lateran, the mother-church of Rome, and Santa Maria Maggiore. This ancient sanctuary stands today quite isolated amid the ruins of Rome. The commemoration of St. Anastasia in the second Mass on Christmas day is the last remnant of the former prominence enjoyed by this saint and her church in the life of Christian Rome.

According to tradition, St. Donatus of Zadar brought Anastasia's relics to Zadar from Constantinople, when he was there with the Venetian duke Beato. They had been ordered by Charlemagne to negotiate the border between the Byzantine Empire and Croatian territories that were in dominion of Frankish Empire of Charlemagne.


External links

* [ Catholic Encyclopedia: "St. Anastasia"]
* [ Patron Saints: Anastasia]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Anastasia — Infobox Given Name Revised name = Anastasia imagesize=200 caption=Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia is the best known Anastasia. pronunciation= gender = female meaning = of the resurrection region = nickname = Nastia, Stacy origin =… …   Wikipedia

  • Anastasia — f Russian: feminine form of the Greek male name Anastasios (a derivative of anastasis resurrection). It has always been popular in Eastern Europe as a result of the fame of a 4th century saint who was martyred at Sirmium in Dalmatia, and in the… …   First names dictionary

  • Anastasia — (c. early fourth century)    Saint and Martyr.    Anastasia was probably martyred in Sirmium, and her relics were removed to Constantinople. A much later tradition makes her of noble Roman origin and a spiritual disciple of St John chrysostom.… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Santa Anastasia — is a basilica church in Rome.Santa Anastasia was built in the late 3rd century early 4th century, possibly by a Roman woman named Anastasia. The church is listed under the titulus Anastasiae in the acts of the 499 synod. Later the church was… …   Wikipedia

  • Saint Anastasia — can refer to:*Anastasia the Patrician *Anastasia of Sirmium *Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia …   Wikipedia

  • Chronological list of saints in the 4th century — A list of 4th century saints: Name Birth Birthplace Death Place of death Notes Gatian     301   Bishop of Tours Vitalis and Agricola     301   Zoilus and 19 Companions   …   Wikipedia

  • St. Anastasia —     St. Anastasia     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► St. Anastasia     This martyr enjoys the distinction, unique in the Roman liturgy, of having a special commemoration in the second Mass on Christmas day. This Mass was originally celebrated not in… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • List of assassinated people — This is a list of persons who were assassinated; that is, important people who were murdered, usually for ideological or political reasons. This list does not include executed persons. TOCright Assassinations in Africa Algeria *Hiempsal, (117 BC) …   Wikipedia

  • Анастасия Узорешительница — Анастасия Узорешительница …   Википедия

  • St. Chrysogonus —     St. Chrysogonus     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► St. Chrysogonus     Martyr, suffered at Aquileia, probably during the persecution of Diocletian, was buried there, and publicly venerated by the faithful of that region. His name is found in the… …   Catholic encyclopedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”