Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saint Margaret of Antioch

Saint Margaret, also known as Margaret of Antioch was the daughter of a pagan priest named Aedesius. Naturally, she was rejected by her father for her faith, and lived in the country with a foster-mother as a shepardess.

A man named Olybrius offered her marriage if she renounced Christianity. Her refusal led to her being cruelly tortured, first by being burned and then they attempted to boil her alive. She was then fed to Satan who was in the shape of a dragon, from which she also escaped alive. Finally, Saint Margaret was put to death by beheading in A.D. 304.

Some historians believe that the group of legends that Saint Margaret is connected with are derived from a transformation of the pagan divinity Aphrodite into a Christian saint. In art, she is usually pictured escaping from the dragon. Saint Margaret was immensely popular in England with over 200 churches dedicated to her. She is also one of the Saints who reportedly appeared to Joan of Arc.

Some say that if Margaret was a historical person, an explanation for the "dragon" could be a rock python. It was a well known animal to the Romans, and often used in circuses. Rock pythons are known to have attacked and even swallowed humans, the snake could well have devoured her whole and later vomited her out.