The Holy Martyr Aquilina, a native of the Phoenician city of Byblos, suffered under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Her parents raised her in Christian piety. When the girl was only twelve years old, she persuaded a pagan friend to convert to Christ. One of the servants of the imperial governor Volusian accused her of teaching others not to follow the religion of their fathers. The girl firmly confessed her faith in Christ before the governor and said that she would not renounce Him. Volusian tried to influence the young confessor through persuasion and by flattery, but seeing her confidence, he ordered her to be tortured.
They struck her upon the face, then they stripped her and beat her with whips. The torturer asked, "Where then is your God? Let Him come and take you out of my hands".
The saint answered, "The Lord is here with me invisibly, and the more I suffer, the more strength and endurance will He give me."
They drilled through the martyr's ears with heated metal rods. The holy virgin fell down as if dead. The torturer thought that the girl had actually died, and he gave orders to throw her body outside the city to be eaten by dogs.
By night a holy angel appeared to St Aquilina, roused her and said, "Arise and be healed. Go and denounce Volusian, so that he and his plans may come to nothing."
The martyr went to the court of the governor and stood before Volusian. Seeing St Aquilina, he called for his servants and ordered them to keep watch over her until morning.
In the morning he sentenced St Aquilina to death, saying that she was a sorceress who did not obey the imperial decrees. When they led the saint to execution, she prayed and gave thanks to God for allowing her to suffer for His Holy Name.
A voice was heard in answer to her prayer, summoning her to the heavenly Kingdom. Before the executioner could carry out the sentence, the martyr gave up her spirit to God (+ 293). The executioner feared to disobey the governor's orders, so he cut off her head although she was already dead.
Christians piously buried the martyr's body. Later, her relics were taken to Constantinople and placed in a church named for her.
Troparion - Tone 4
Your lamb Aquilina, calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice:
"I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering.
In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You,
and I died so that I might live with You.
Accept me as a pure sacrifice,
for I have offered myself in love."
Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.
Kontakion - Tone 3
You ascended to the heights through martyrdom, all-honorable Aquilina,
having purified your soul through the virtues of your virginity.
You were wounded with love for Christ your bridegroom,
before whom you stand rejoicing with the angels;
together with them unceasingly pray for us all.