Lives of Saints - St. Xeni Christianity - Books
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery;'                but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.                If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                'It was also said, 'Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,'                but I tell you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away commits adultery.                'Again you have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to the Lord your vows,'                but I tell you, don't swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God;                nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.                Neither shall you swear by your head, for you can't make one hair white or black.                But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No.' Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.                'You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'*                But I tell you, don't resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.                If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also.                Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.                Give to him who asks you, and don't turn away him who desires to borrow from you.                'You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor,* and hate your enemy.*'                But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,                that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven.               
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St. Xeni

St. Xeni is known to have been born into an upper class family of Rome and to have been baptised with the name of Eusebia. She also has been known to have taken life very seriously, harbouring a piety which went undetected even by her parents, who placed more emphasis on her social training than on her spiritual guidance, despite the fact that they were dedicated members of the Christian faith.

Church attendance for her family was regular and sincere but lacked the intensity felt by the daughter, which escaped the notice of the parents even when she joined them in their many acts of charity, which they could well afford. Considered unsmiling and distant by youngsters who tried to reach her heart, the quite personable and lovely Eusebia endeared herself to the community as a whole who construed her quiet solitude as difference and not the indifference seen by those who sought to probe the inner reaches of her mind which was preoccupied with thoughts of the Saviour.

As she grew into her Saviour however, the comparative isolation which she found from time to time grew more and more elusive as families gathered closer to hers with sons who would have her as a bride. It was the family that arranged nuptials, and she was barely seventeen when a husband was selected for her from among the many eligible young men of Eusebia's social level. She had made a decision for Christ and rather than create any unpleasant scenes which might mark disobedience to her parents' will, she observed that calling she heard to a higher will, and she decided to quietly slip away.

With the assistance of a servant and confidante, she arranged passage on a boat bound for the Holy Land and left unnoticed with some regret that she had to leave her parents in this manner but with high hopes of fulfilling her lofty ambition. Eusebia's first order of business was a visit to the tomb of Jesus Christ where she paused in prayer for divine guidance and for forgiveness for having offended her parents. After several such prayerful visits, she, for reasons known only to her, left the Holy Land to go to the island of Kos in the Aegean where she met a highly respected monk named Paul, who saw at a glance the grace within this gentle creature of God whom he dubbed "Xeni," meaning the stranger, which is what she considered herself, and the name she adopted from there on.

Paul sensed that there were great things in store for this visitor to his island and arranged to have her settle in an isolated hut which afforded her privacy and the solitude she needed for prayer and meditation. She emerged from isolation after a period of time with an aura of the Divine so evident that Paul urged her to make herself known on the island to do what she could for a people that knew little but poverty. She not only brought to these islanders a rare kind of spiritual guidance, but a rarer still power of healing which made her the cynosure of all who came to revere her in life as one sent from heaven.

When her friend and benefactor, the monk Paul, was made bishop of the area, he asked Xeni to become a deaconess of the Church, an invitation which she hesitated to accept until a contingent of islanders prevailed upon her to put aside her doubts and assist the bishop who would in turn assist her in doing God's work. Forewarned in a vision of the imminence of her death, Xeni walked out of the village quietly to her bed and fell asleep in the Lord on February 6. The beam of light that shone brilliantly in her room as she died left no doubt as to her ascent to Heaven.


Our Holy Mother Xenia of Rome

Born in Rome, St. Xenia was the only daughter of a famous senator. Drawn by the love of Christ, she refused to marry, as her parents desired. In order to escape marriage, she fled from her home with two of her slaves and came to the island of Kos, to a place called Mylassa. There she started a community for virgins, remaining there in asceticism until her death. Though she was a weak woman, she had great perseverance in fasting, prayer and vigils. She often spent entire nights standing in prayer, dressed more poorly than her sisters, and often put ashes from the censer on her bread when she ate. In the year 450, at the hour of her death, a wonderful sign appeared over the monastery: a wreath of stars encircled a cross more resplendent than the sun. Her relics healed many of the sick. Her two slave girls followed the example of their abbess in all things, and, when they reposed, were buried by their wish at the feet of blessed Xenia.

Troparion, Tone 3:
Thou didst live the life of a stranger in the world/ and wast estranged to every sin;/ thou didst abandon comforts and fleeting honors/ and betroth thyself to thine Immortal Bridegroom./ O glorious Xenia, entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion, Tone 2:
Celebrating the memory of the life thou didst live as a stranger,/ and honoring thee with love,/ we praise Christ Who gave thee power to grant healings to all./ O Xenia, ever pray to Him for us all.


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