Christine is so beautiful that her father keeps her locked in a tower, like a fairy tale princess, so that no man can gain access to her. But Christine becomes a Christian and refuses to sacrifice to her father's pagan gods. Her father has her tortured, but still she will not renounce her faith. Finally he orders the servants to tie a stone around her neck and to cast her into the sea. Miraculously, though, she survives, and her father is convinced that she is some kind of supernatural witch. Other miraculous events ensue until Christine is finally martyred.
[Notes by LKG]
This story is part of the Women Saints unit. Story source: The Golden Legend edited by F. S. Ellis (1900).
(painting by Francesco Cairo)
Here followeth the life of S. Christine
But she being inspired of the Holy Ghost, abhorred the sacrifice of the idols, and the incense that was delivered to her to do sacrifice with, she hid it in a window, and when her father came, the maidens and chamberers said to him: Thy daughter despiseth to offer to our gods, and saith that she is christian.
Then her father provoked her with sweet and fair words for to do sacrifice to their gods.
To whom she said: Call me not thy daughter, but this to whom sacrifice belongeth. I will not offer to no dead gods. But to God of heaven I offer sacrifice of laud and praising.
Then said her father to her: O my daughter, thou oughtest not to offer to one God, lest the others be wroth to thee.
To whom she said: Thou hast said well, not knowing the truth. I offer truly sacrifice to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
Then said the father: If thou worshippest three, why wilt thou not adore the others?
To whom she said: They three be but one God. After this Christine brake all the gods, and the gold and silver she gave to poor people.
Her father then came again for to worship his gods; and he not finding them demanded of the maidens what Christine had done to them: and when he had knowledge what she had done, commanded her to be despoiled, and to be beaten with twelve men unto the time that they began to fail, and were so weary that they might no more.
Then Christine said to her father: O thou that without honour and with shame art abominable to God, for they that beat me fail and be faint, require thy gods that they give to them strength if they may.
Then he did do bind her with chains of iron, and did do set her in prison. And when her mother heard that, she rent her clothes, and came to the prison, and fell down at her daughter's feet and said: My daughter Christine, the light of my eyes, have pity on me.
To whom she said: Why callest thou me thy daughter? wottest thou not well that I have the name of my God?
And when she might nothing make her to turn from her faith, she returned to her husband, and told to him what she had answered to her.
Then the father commanded that she should be brought tofore him in judgment, and said to her: Do sacrifice to our god, or else thou shalt suffer many torments, and shalt no more be called my daughter.
To whom she said: Thou hast gotten to me great grace, for now thou callest not me daughter of the devil. What is born of the devil is a devil. Thou art the son of the same Sathanas.
Then he commanded that her flesh should be all torent, and drawn with hooks of iron, and her tender members to be all tobroken and departed from other.
Christine then took part of her flesh and threw it in the visage of her father saying: O tyrant, take the flesh, which thou hast gotten, and eat it.
Then her father set her upon a wheel, and put under fire and oil, and the flame issued out so great that it slew and burnt five hundred men.
The father ascribed all this work to necromancy, and said she had done that by witchcraft, and commanded her again to prison, and bade her servants when it was night, that they should bind a great stone to her neck and cast her into the sea.
And anon, as they had so done, the angels took her up, and Christ descended, and baptized her in the sea, saying: I baptize thee in the name of God my father and in me Jesu Christ his son, and in the Holy Ghost, and committed her to Michael the archangel, which led her to the land.
And when her father heard that she was come again to land, he smote his forehead and said to her: By what witchcraft dost thou these things, that in the sea thou exercisest thy cursed works?
To whom Christine said: O thou fool and unhappy! I have received this grace of Christ.
Then he commanded that she should be put in prison, and on the morn to be beheaded. And that same night Urban her father was found dead.
Then after him followed and succeeded a wicked and evil judge, named Dion, which did do make a tub of iron, and did do put therein pitch, oil and rosin, and set them afire. And when it was ready, he made Christine to be cast therein, and made four men move the tub that she should be the sooner consumed.
Then Christine praised God, and thanked him that she was so renewed, and rocked as a child in a cradle.
Then the judge being wroth made her head to be shaven, and naked to be led through the city unto the temple of Apollo, whom she commanded to overthrow, and anon fell down into powder. And when the judge heard thereof, he died and gave up his spirit.
After him Julianus succeeded, which did do set afire a great furnace, and Christine to be cast therein. Wherein she abode five days with angels, singing and walking unhurt, and after issued out thereof safely without harm.
And when Julianus heard thereof, he said that she did all this by art magic and witchcraft, and did do be put to her two adders, two servents and two asps. The serpents licked her feet, the two asps hung at her breasts, and did her no harm, and the two adders wound them about her neck and licked up her sweat.
Julianus then said to his enchanter: Art thou not an enchanter? Move the beasts. And when he began to move them they made assault to him and slew him forthwith.
Then Christine commanded that they should go to a desert place, and she raised the enchanter that was dead to life again, then Julianus commanded that her breasts should be cut off, out of whom flowed milk with blood.
Then he made her tongue to be cut out of her head, but Christine lost not her speech for cutting out of her tongue, but took it and threw it in the visage of the judge and smote out therewith one of his eyes.
Then was Julianus wroth and made to shoot at her.
And she was smitten with one arrow in the side, and with another unto the heart, and she so smitten yielded up her soul unto God, and thus suffered martyrdom about the year of our Lord two hundred four score and seven.
Her body was buried in a castle Bolsena between the old town and Viterbo and Tirus, which was not far from that castle which is now destroyed.
Next: Saint Martha