Zlata Maglenska - A Bulgarian Saint
Suffered for Christ in 1795, her memory is commemorated on the 26th of October
This virgin-martyr Zlata (Also know as Khrisa in church use), was born in a village named Slatina in the Maglenska Eparchy of Bulgaria (Maglen was a Middle-Age city in southern Macedonia - today's Greece). Poor by birth, because she was the daughter of a poor Christian, who besides her had three other daughters, she was wealthy in her choices and the natural beauty she possesed. Pre-chosen by God because of her strong faith and her virginity and wisdom, she was also naturally beautiful, which became the reason for her to finish her life in suffering and martyrdom.
One of the local Turks, seeing her great beauty, was tempted by Satan and was waiting for the right moment to fulfill his evil desires toward her. Then one day when Zlata had gone out with some local women to gather wood, that Turk found out and he plotted with some other Turks and abducted her and took her to his house. He tried with many flashy promises to convert Zlata to his faith. He told her that if she because Turk, he would take her as his wife. Then he threathened her that if she didn't heed his words, he would torture her. Zlata called upon Christ in her mind to help her and answered "I believe in my God Jesus Christ and will not deny him even if you caused me to endure a thousand tortures and cut my body to pieces".
When the Turks heard this, they understood that they themselves are not going to succeed in changing Zlata's mind. They then decided to ask their women to try to persuade Zlata to convert - believing that women are better than men in the art of persuasion.
For six months, the Turkish women left no wile, no magic, no trick, untried to change Zlata's mind to make her convert to their faith. But Zlata was firmly established in her Rock of faith - Jesus Christ.
They then brought her parents and sisters and threatened them that if they did no convince Zlata to accept their faith, they would kill her and subject them to the worst kinds of torture. Her family tried (out of fear) to soften the harden than diamond soul. They pleaded with her "Our daughter please, our life and yours is at stake her, deny Christ in appearence to save us and yourself, Christ is merciful and will forgive you this sin you committed under duress." Here let each one of us think how difficult was the fight Satan took up to make Zlata waver in her faith. But the Power of Christ won over the devil's schemes. Because the rational and good-souled Zlata rose above flesh and blood, above the laws of nature. Zlata turned to her parents and sisters and said these words worth of admiration: "You who ask me to deny Christ - the True God - are no longer my sisters and parents. My father will be my God Jesus Christ, my mother, the holy Mary mother of God, as for brothers and sisters, the holy saints."
Truely the words of the Psalmist came true with Zlata: "My father and mother abandaoned me, but God will accept me" Psalms 26:10.
When the Turks realized that wiles and threats are not going to work with Zlata, they started to torture her. For a whole three months, they beat her with sticks, then they started flaying her skin and hanging it in front of her eyes. Then with a heated piece of metal they pierced her heard from one ear to the other so that smoke came out of her nose and mouth.
Christ's sufferer endured torture that the most brave of men would break at, but she endured it all strengthened by the power of Christ and her love for Him, because as Simeon Metafrast said: "Oh soul, attached to Christ by Love, consider suffering as nothing, but in the middle of hardship, you enjoy it and bloom."
When Zlata heard that father Timothy, superior of Mount Athos's holy monastery Stavronikita, was somewhere nearby, she sent him a message through a fellow Christian asking him to pray for her so that she is made worthy of finishing her tortured path.
As for her calous-hearted torturers, more ferocious than wild beasts, they did not have enough of all the torture they subjected Zlata to, they even got more vicious and hung God's lamb on a wild pear tree, and attacked her body with knives cutting it to pieces.