Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
The Writer Christine de Pizan at Her Desk

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saint Sabina, Martyr

Sabina of Rome (feast day 29 August)

Probably born late in the first century CE, Sabina of Rome is said to have been the daughter of a man named Herod Metallarius and the widow of a Roman senator named Valentinus. She was converted to Christianity by her slave, Serapia--who has her own complicated story.

Sabina's slave, Serapia of Syria, was born in Antioch and had come to Rome with her parents--after their death, she had given everything she owned to the poor and then had sold herself into slavery, thus entering Sabina's household.

St. Sabina, detail of a fifteenth-century altarpiece
showing the life of Saint Sabina,
Antonio Vivarini,
Church of Saint Zaccaria, Venice
After Serapia's martyrdom in 119 (stories about the circumstances vary--she had either been denounced and executed as a witch, or she was arrested after she had refused to honor the Roman gods), Sabina retrieved Serapia's remains and buried them in her family's tomb.

Sabina of Rome was denounced as a criminal and accused of being a Christian. She was executed in 125 and later canonized as a saint. In 430, Sabina's remains were transferred to a basilica on the Aventine Hill, built on the site of her house in Rome. 

Basilica of Saint Sabina at the Aventine,