St. Juliana of Nicomedia (286-304)
Patron of Bodily Ills and Sicknesses
Feast Day: February 16
Christian tradition tells us that St. Juliana was born in Nicomedia, an ancient Greek city in present-day Turkey, to illustrious pagan parents. Her father, one of the emperor’s advisors, arranged for her betrothal to a senator. But having been baptized into the faith and dedicating herself to virginity, she refused to marry a pagan.
Juliana’s father, who hated Christians, then handed her over to her arranged fiance, who by that time was the Roman governor of Bithynia. When she refused his proposal, the infuriated governor ordered her to be executed.
A tradition says Juliana, while imprisoned, was visited by the devil, disguised as a messenger from God and who told her to agree to offer sacrifice to pagan idols. Juliana is said to have seen through the deception, and she spat on the devil.
Juliana was severely tortured and ultimately beheaded. She was martyred during the persecution of Maximilian.
Christians in the East and West have venerated Juliana for centuries. Known for opposition to unholy marriage and love for Christ, she has also been invoked for the safe delivery of women in labor and for protection from fever and contagious diseases.