St Hermione: A Superhero Saint of Epic Proportions
The name Hermione was made famous in a popular culture kind of way by the loyal morally upright super heroine of Harry Potter fame. Bur her Christian namesake is herself a superhero. St. Hermione has life story would no doubt make a blockbuster movie complete with gory special effects. These would be some scenes from the movie:
Scene 1: a young Hermione along with her sister get lost in a hostile desert of Turkey replete with marauding bandits and thieves. They are on a search to find St. John the Theologian who dies while they are searching for him. Instead they meet with a disciple of St. Paul named Petronius. They are converted and Hermione starts her own healing ministry.
Scene 2 To coerce her to renege on her faith, the evil emperor Trajan had her slapped on the face for hours. (She would literally turn the other cheek, smack, turn the other cheek, smack, and so on). Her reaction? She sang hymns to God and went through it generally in good spirits.
Scene 3: When pressed to betray her faith in Jesus and offer sacrifices to Hercules by Trajan’s successor, Hadrian, pierced the soles of her feet with nails. Not content to see her go by unscathed by tortures that did not affect her, the emperor devised that would be fried in a skillet. The other ingredient were boiling tar, lead and brimstone. But that didn’t phase her. The fire that was cooking her went out, the lead spilled out, and the saint remained unharmed. Hadrian couldn’t believe it. So he himself went up to the place of torture and touched the cauldron to see whether it was actually cold. Like a foolish villain, he burns the skin off his entire hand on the pot. This enrages him even more. He then calls for a giant frying pan and forces his evil henchman to throw her in the middle naked. But through another miracle, the angel of the Lord disrupts the coals under the pan and spills them out scorching those who were near the frying pan. (Yes!!!)
Scene 4 Hermione finds herself in a temple dedicated to the demi-god Hercules. The evil henchmen are wringing their hands waiting for her to offer burnt sacrifices to idols. But just like that, BOOM! A mighty thunderclap is heard demolishing all the statues of the idols. The emperor in a fit orders two of his cut throats to bring her (just like Snow White) into the deep wood, cut off her head and bring back her bloody heart.
Scene 5: The servants, Theotimos and Theodulos, are in a rush to chop off her head. They give her no time to say her prayers. Ack! To their dismay, they see their hands slowly withering into rubbery, brown nothing (can you see the special effects on that one?) In repentance, they fall to their knees and pray. They become instantly converted and therefore saved.
Hermione lives the end of her days establishing hospices (in those days half-hospitals, half-hotel sort of places) and cured many in body and soul. She was the daughter or St. Philip the Deacon. Her feast day is commemorated on September 11th.