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St. Rhipsime

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Feastday: September 29
Death: 290

Virgin martyr who was put to death with a group of fellow virgins in Armenia. According to her unreliable acts, she belonged to a community of virgins under the direction of Gaiana in Rome. Renowned for her extreme beauty, she supposedly attracted the attentions of Emperor Diocletian and was forced to flee Rome with the other members of the community. They went first to Alexandria, Egypt, and then settled in Valarshapat, where Rhipsime's beauty again gained notice. Brought before King Tiridates. Rhipsime refused the royal favors and was put to death by being roasted alive. Gaiana and all of the other maidens except one, called Christiana, were massacred by Armenian soldiers. Christiana later became a missionary in Georgia. While it is certain that Rhipsime and the virgins were martyred in Armenia, the details of their deaths were most likely fictitious. They are honored as the first Christian martyrs of Armenia. 


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