Online Encyclopedia

SAINT AGNES

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 378 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SAINT
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AGNES
  , a virgin martyr of the Catholic Church . The legend of St
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Agnes is that she was a
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Roman maid, by birth a Christian, who suffered martyrdom when but thirteen during the reign of the emperor Diocletian, on the 21st of
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January 304 . The prefect Sempronius wished her to marry his son, and on her refusal condemned her to be outraged before her execution, but her honour was miraculously preserved . When led out to die she was tied to a stake, but the faggots would not burn, where-upon the officer in charge of the troops drew his sword and struck off her head . St Agnes is the
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patron saint of young girls, who, in rural districts, formerly indulged in all sorts of quaint country magic on St Agnes'
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Eve (2oth–21st January) with a view to discovering their future husbands . This superstition has been immortalized in Keats's poem, " The Eve of St Agnes." St Agnes's bones are supposed to rest in the church of her name at Rome, originally built by
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Constantine and repaired by Pope Honorius in the 7th century . Here on her festival (21st of January) two
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lambs are specially blessed after pontifical high mass, and their wool is later
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woven into pallia (see
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PALLIUM) .

End of Article: SAINT AGNES
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MARIA GAETANA AGNESI (1718–1799)

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