Catherine of Alexandria

Egyptian missionary, saint depicted with a wheel

Saint Catherine of Alexandria, also known as Saint Catherine of the Wheel and The Great Martyr Saint Catherine (Greek ἡ Ἁγία Αἰκατερίνη ἡ Μεγαλομάρτυς) is a Christian saint and martyr. She is believed to have been a well-known scholar in the 4th century. In the 15th century it was claimed she had spoken to Joan of Arc. The Orthodox Church venerates her as a "great martyr", and in the Catholic Church she is traditionally revered as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Martyr and Virgin
Bornc. 282
Alexandria, Egypt[1]
Diedc. 305
Alexandria, Egypt[2]
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Churches
Oriental Orthodox Churches
Anglican Communion
Lutheran Churches
Major shrineSaint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai
FeastNovember 25
November 24 (Orthodox churches of Russian background)
Attributesthe "breaking wheel"; sword; with a crown at her feet; hailstones; bridal veil and ring; dove; scourge; book; woman arguing with pagan philosophers[3]
PatronageAalsum, apologists, craftsmen who work with a wheel (potters, spinners, etc.), archivists, dying people, educators, girls, jurists, knife sharpeners, lawyers, librarians, libraries, Balliol College, Massey College, maidens, mechanics, millers, milliners, hat-makers, nurses, philosophers, preachers, scholars, schoolchildren, scribes, secretaries, spinsters, stenographers, students, tanners, teachers, theologians, University of Paris, unmarried girls, haberdashers, wheelwrights, Żejtun, Żurrieq,[2][3] Brgy. Sta. Catalina, San Pablo City, Philippines

Catherine was the daughter of Costus, a pagan governor of Alexandria. She announced to her parents that she would only marry someone who was more beautiful, intelligent and rich than herself. In addition, that person needed to have a better social status than she had. Eventually, she discovered Christ. "His beauty was more radiant than the shining of the sun, His wisdom governed all creation, His riches were spread throughout all the world."[1]

She was a martyr, because she died for her beliefs in God. According to legend, she was supposed to die on a breaking wheel, but the wheel broke as soon as she touched it, so her head was cut off instead. Because of this, her main symbol is the spiked wheel, which is known as a Catherine wheel. The Catholic Church of St. Catherine, one of the first Catholic churches built in Russia, was named after her.

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