Today (27 January) we commemorate St Devota (or perhaps Julia), virgin martyr in Corsica (4th century) – and I think we should include her master Eutychius, who was murdered for his defence of Devota’s faith (and virtue, doubtless). From Miss Dunbar:
Devota, a young girl in Corsica, took refuge in the household of Eutychius, a senator, that she might serve God in safety under his protection. Soon afterwards Barbarus, the governor, or a barbarian chief, came with a fleet to Corsica, and held a great feast and sacrificed. When he heard that Eutychius had a girl in his house who worshipped some crucified Jew and despised the gods of the Romans, he demanded that she should be given up and compelled to sacrifice. Eutychius refused this demand, saying that no power on earth would compel her so much as to bend her head to a heathen god.
” Give her up to me: she shall soon obey,” said the tyrant.
” I would not give her up for all your gold,” replied Eutychius.
The enraged persecutor, not daring to attack Eutychius openly, had him poisoned, and then he seized Devota, who, on her renewed refusal to sacrifice, was tied by the hands and feet, and dragged over sharp stones ; she meanwhile sang a psalm of praise, and prayed that Eutychius might be numbered among the elect, because he had died for his kindness to her.
When she was stretched on the equuleus [rack], a voice from heaven was heard encouraging her, and her spirit was seen to ascend thither in the form of a dove. The Christians took her body by night, and placed it in a ship to take to Africa ; but the wind was contrary, their lives were endangered by a fearful tempest, and they were compelled to take the opposite course. They were then guided by a dove to the place now called Monaco, where they buried the martyr in the church of St. George.
Devota’s relics are still venerated in Monaco and Corsica.
Troparion in Tone 1 to the holy martyr Devota (+312)
You were born in Corsica, on the ‘Isle of Beauty,’
And you were martyred for your Christian faith.
The faithful made away with your precious body
And laid it in a boat bound for Africa.
But a great tempest blew it instead to Monaco.
Saint Devota, pray to the Lord for our souls!
– troparion translated from a French original by Claude Lopez-Ginisty at Acathistes et offices orthodoxes