Catherine of Alexandria, Saint

Catherine of Alexandria, Saint (lived 4th century), Christian virgin and martyr, whose legend is the product of an unknown Carolingian writer. Although she was a popular early martyr, she has no ancient cult and is mentioned in none of the early martyrologies. According to legend, she was extremely learned even as a child. In Alexandria, she rebuked the Roman emperor Maxentius for his persecution of Christians and converted the philosophers he had ordered to debate with her. Maxentius condemned her to be broken on the wheel, but, by a miracle, the wheel collapsed. She was subsequently beheaded. Saint Catherine's body is said to have been discovered on Mount Sinai in about 800. The Monastery of Saint Catherine on Mount Sinai dates from 527, but early pilgrims make no mention of its connection with Saint Catherine. Her traditional feast day, November 25, was dropped from the Roman Catholic calendar in 1969.

"Catherine of Alexandria, Saint," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) Online Encyclopedia 2000 (c) 1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
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