The holy martyress Eudokia (the 2nd century AD) was a saint who lived in a hermitage near the city of Heliopolis (now Baalbeck, Lebanon) and who died a martyr’s death in the first centuries of Christianity.

The accounts of Eudokia’s life survived only in the hagiographic sources. In the opinion of researchers, the saint came to be venerated on the Orient. The earliest redaction of her Life, possibly based on oral tradition, was written in the Syrian language and subsequently translated into Greek. The saint’s Life account of Eudokia’s numerous miracles is half-legendary.

According to this account, the holy martyress Eudokia was a Samarian woman. During the reign of Emperor Trajan she lived in Heliopolis and was a prostitute. Eudokia converted to Christianity after the Archangel Michael rescued her from the arms of Satan. The saint secluded herself in a small hermitage near the city. Those who attempted her to deny Christ died. But saint Eudokia brought them back to life, after which they converted to Christianity. She spent more than fifty years in the monastery fasting and praying. The holy martyress Eudokia was beheaded by the order of the pagan governor of Heliopolis.

In Byzantine and medieval Russian art the holy martyress Eudokia is depicted wearing monastic attire, holding a cross or a scroll. A similar image of her is found on a miniature of the early 11th century Menologion (The State Historical Museum. Греч. 183. Fol. 59). The earliest known image of St. Eudokia is found on the margins of a Novgorodian icon of St. Nicholas with sains on the margins of the late 12th – early 13th century from the State Tretyakov Gallery collections.

St. Eudokia is commemorated on March 14 (March 1, O.S.)

Zhanna G. Belik,

Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.

Olga E. Savchenko,

research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.


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