Today (22 December) I can’t find any British commemorations (P.S. however, of course there are several on celt-saints), but a Roman virgin martyr is an important saint for today in the Orthodox calendars: Great-Martyr Anastasia of Rome. The Catholic Encyclopedia says, ‘This martyr enjoys the distinction, unique in the Roman liturgy, of having a special commemoration in the second Mass on Christmas day. This Mass was originally celebrated not in honour of the birth of Christ, but in commemoration of this martyr, and towards the end of the fifth century her name was also inserted in the Roman canon of the Mass.’ From Miss Dunbar:
Acta Sanctorum entry is largely in Greek, which I don’t have, but it summarises a bit more of her martyrdom in Latin: ‘Ignem S. Anastasia sustinet et ungulas ferreas. Amputatis mamillis, evulsis unguibus, exsecta lingua, excussis dentibus horrendum torquetur. Aquam petenti propinat S. Cyrillus et accipit palmam. Denique S. Virgo gladio percussa a beata Sophia magistra sepelitur.’ – St Anastasia survived the fire and the iron hooks (‘iron’ is a nice pun with ‘cruel’). By her breasts having been cut off, her nails pulled out, her tongue cut out, her teeth cast out, she was horribly tortured. She asked for water; St Cyril gave her to drink and himself accepted the palm [of martyrdom]. Then the holy virgin, having been pierced with a sword, was buried by the lady (or teacher) Sophia.
‘Parmacolytria’ should be ph/farmakolitria, medicine-for-poisons, to do with her powers to dissolve poisons – and thus spells, as potions and charms were often associated – Αγία Αναστασία η Φαρμακολύτρια.
The Oct 28 and Dec 25 Anastasias are not the same person according to Miss Dunbar, but sometimes one has both or either feast day… I’m confused. The Bollandists only give one, on 28 October.
Your lamb Anastasia, calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice:
“I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering.
In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, and I died so that I might live with You.
Accept me as a pure sacrifice,
for I have offered myself in love.”
Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.
Kontakion – Tone 2
Those in temptations and afflictions hasten to your temple
And are restored by the grace that dwells in you,
For you ever pour forth healings for all the world,
O great Martyr Anastasia!
Troparion – Tone 5
As a martyr you emulated the deeds of the martyrs,
To whom you ministered,
And, striving valiantly, you overcame the enemy.
You are an abundant and overflowing source of grace
For all who come to you, O godly-minded Anastasia!