Losing her parents at a very young age, Anastasia was raised by the hegumeness of a Christian monastery in obedience, piety, and fear of God. By age seventeen, she became a known ascetic. She was also a beautiful woman.
She entered adult life during the reign of Emperor Decius, who launched a severe persecution of Christians. Aware of her fate, Anastasia got the blessing from the Hegumeness who raised her to become a martyr for God. When armed soldiers came to take her to the prefect, she was ready.
The Prefect used different tactics to get Anastasia to renounce Christ. He complimented her on her physical beauty. He promised her a life of richness and glory in a marriage to a handsome and wealthy nobleman. Yet she stood firm. "My life and my happiness are with Jesus Christ," replied the martyr firmly.
Then her torturers stripped her naked, in humiliation. Anastasia was unshaken. “You can have me beaten and mutilated. Wounds will cover my nakedness, and my blood my shame,” said the woman.
She endured inhuman tortures, but that did not stop her from praising and glorifying God. The inhuman treatment of the saint filled the onlookers with disgust for her torturer and with admiration for her courage. The prefect had her beheaded to end her torture. He ordered her breasts cut off and her body thrown to wild animals, but the Lord did not let the relics of His saint be dishonoured. He sent an angel to the Hegumeness, who led her to her remains. The hegumeness took care of them and buried them with dignity.
The spiritual message of the icon revealed itself with time. It promises eventual forgiveness to the Russian people and the return of the supreme power from the Holy Theotokos after a long period of suffering and repentance.
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