St. Lucy

O Jesus, Your lamb Lucy cries out to You with great love: “O my Bridegroom, I long for You in great pain; I am crucified with You; and in baptism I am buried with You. I suffer for your sake in order to reign with You in order to live in You. Accept me as a spotless victim, since I am immolated for Your love!” Through her intercessions, O Merciful One, save our souls! (Apolytikion)

St. Lucy, the glory of Syracuse in Sicily, lived during the persecution of Diocletian (end of the 3rd century). Her name means “light” (from the Latin lux) and her life and martyrdom sheds the divine light on all who ask her intercessions.

Lucy and her mother went to the tomb of the holy virgin Martyr Agatha at Catania in Sicily to pray for her mother’s health. Agatha appeared to Lucy and told her she would become the glory of Syracuse.” When they returned home, she consecrated her virginity, broke her engagement and sold her dowry to distribute the money to the poor.

Needless to say, this recent decision did not make her former fiance very happy! He denounced Lucy as a Christian to the governor of Syracuse. Like St. Katerina before her, Lucy offered her thanks that she would be able to witness to her love of Christ through her death.

At first Lucy was condemned to be defiled in a brothel, but, no matter what her persecutors would do, they could not move her. They attached her to several yoke of oxen, and even lit a fire all around her, but she could not be budged. Finally, she was beheaded.

Crowning of "St. Lucy" in a Swedish town

The celebration of St. Lucy’s day is particularly associated with the Scandanavian countries. A young girl, wearing white with a red sash and crowned with candles (reminiscent of her name of “light”), leads a procession of women carrying lighted candles. They sing songs in honor of St. Lucy as well as Christmas carols. The celebration is probably originally associated with the winter solstice, since December 13 in the Julian calendar falls around that time, and celebrates the return of the light. As the celebration of St. Lucy, it reminds us of the radiance of the divine light from one who loved our Lord so deeply.