Agnes, St (1)

Agnes, ST. (1),

a virgin who at the age of twelve (or thirteen) was beheaded at Rome, under Diocletian. The acts of her martyrdom said to have been written by Ambrose are spurious, but the substance of her history, as given by Prudentius (14th hymn, Περὶ Στεφάνων) and Ambrose (De Virgincibus, lib. i), amount to this: St. Agnes, having made a profession of Christianity and virginity, was persecuted by her suitors. She was sentenced bv the judge to be confined in a brothel, and one who tried to outrage her there was struck with blindness, but was restored through her intercession. 'This miracle, however, did not save her life, for shortly after, having refused to offer incense to idols, she suffered martyrdom. A church at Rome in her honor, said to have been built in the time of Constantine, was repaired by pope Honorius in A.D. 625-638, and another was built at Rome by Innocent X. The Latin, Greek, and Anglican churches celebrate her festival Jan. 21; the Greeks also Jan. 14 and July 5, and the Latins Jan. 28. Her name stands in the black-letter calendar of the English Prayer-book on Jan. 21, and it is one of four (St. Margaret's, St. Lucy's, and St. Agatha's days being the other three) appointed in England by the Synod of Worcester, under W.alter de Cantilupe, in 1240. See Baillet, Vieses d Saint., January 21; Butler, Lives; Ruinart, ῥActa Sine. p. 457; Moreri, who cites Bollandus, Acta, April.

St. Agnes was the favorite saint of the Roman women. Her effigy is found on the ancient glass and earthenware of the Christians of the 3d century.- She bears the palm as martyr, but seldom the book, or accompanied by the lamb; these two last were later symbols. When alone, she is generally placed between two trees; sometimes she is at the side of the Virgin Mary; sometimes between the Lord and St. Laurence, between St. Vincent and St. Hippolytus, between St.' Peter and St. )Paul. See Jameson (Mrs.), Sacred -and Legend. Art. p. 600 sq.

 
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