Cyprian was a pagan magician of Antioch who had dealing with demons. By their aid he sought to bring St. Justina, a Christian virgin, to ruin; but she foiled the threefold attacks of the devils by the sign of the cross. Brought to despair, Cyprian made the sign of the cross himself and in this way was freed from the toils of Satan. He was received into the Church, was made pre-eminent by miraculous gifts, and became in succession deacon, priest and, finally, bishop, while Justina became the head of a convent.
During the Diocletian persecution, both were seized and taken to Damascus, where they were shockingly tortured. As their faith never wavered, they were brought before Diocletian at Nicomedia, where at his command they were beheaded on the bank of the river Gallus. The same fate befell a Christian, Theoctistus, who had come to Cyprian and had embraced him.
After the bodies of the saints had lain unburied for six days, they were taken by Christian sailors to Rome, where they were interred on the estate of a noble lady named Rufina and later were entombed in Constantine's basilica.
Propers for Cyprian and Justina of Antioch - Martyrs
Almighty and Everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy holy martyrs Cyprian and Justina : Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in their triumph may profit by their example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with
thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Lesson - Jeremiah 15:15-21.
The Holy Gospel - St. Mark 8:34-38