Crispina of Tagora

(d. 304)

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St Augustine (354—430) Doctor of the Church


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(d. 304),

martyr. Her Acts record that she was interrogated at Tebessa (Africa) by the proconsul Annius Anullinus, who tried unsuccessfully to persuade her to ‘offer sacrifice to all our gods for the welfare of the emperors in accordance with the laws of the Augusti Diocletian and Maximian’. She answered: ‘I have never sacrificed and I shall not do so save to the one true God and to our Lord Jesus Christ, his Son, who was born and died.’ Later she added: ‘I am ready to undergo any tortures…rather than defile my soul with idols which are stones and the works of men's hands.’ Anullinus then ordered the court notary to have her ‘hair cut and her head shaved with a razor until she is bald, that her beauty might first thus be brought to shame’. When this proved ineffectual, and the minutes of the trial were read, Anullinus said: ‘Seeing that Crispina has persisted in infamous superstition and refuses to offer sacrifice to our gods in accordance with the heavenly decrees of the Augustan law, I have ordered her to be executed with the sword.’ Crispina replied: ‘I bless God who has so deigned to free me from your hands. Thanks be to God.’ She was then executed by the sword on 5 December, her feast day. Augustine frequently praised her in his writings.

A.C.M., xliv, 302–9;B.L.S., xii. 51–3;Propylaeum, pp. 567–8;H. Delehaye, Les passions des martyrs et les genres hagiographiques (1921), pp. 110–14;Augustine, De sancta Virginitate, 44 (P.L., 40, 422).

Subjects: Christianity.

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