Once upon a time, there was a venerable maiden, Justa by name.
Her father was Aedesius and her mother, Cledonia,
from the majestic city which Antiochus founded.
Near that city, is a field, crowned with laurel,pleasant to behold,
and mighty cypress trees wave their boughs,
and silver drops of holy Castalia drip.
There was a certain man there, Praulius, the bearer of Christ,
a very holy man, a wise minister of God
who was crowned with good cheerand faith,
and studied the prophetic books, always singing
the good faith and the holy voice of the prophets.
The noble maid continuously heard from him–
for there was a light-bearing window nearby–while she looked from her
into the house of the man appointed minister,
the great acts of God and the body
that the immortal took on, and the message of the great and noble prophets…
The arrow of divine love put (all) this into the heart of the maiden,
and she was no longer able to hide her burning passion within.
…she said to her dear mother,
“Listen to your little girl, mother.
Trusting false and wretched demons, we are in distress.
They are made of stone and from fresh hewn trees
and burnished gold or radiant silver
and made from the white bones of dead animal
by the hands of vigorous men. If someone
from the race of Israel would come near, he would publicly
smash them with his words and prayers without even lifting a finger.”
But (her mother) grew angry; thinking things dear to demons,
she said, ” – – – let this counsel (idea) never
come to your father’s ears.”…
There was a certain Aglaidas a wealthy man,
extremely well born, who excelled in cunning and
whose heart was possessed by the lawless desire for idols.
Upon seeing the very lovely maiden habitually rushing to
the houses of almighty God, he was distracted in his thoughts,
and he sent many men and women as well,
begging her parents that he would marry
the holy maid to share his bedchamber.
But she grievously was accustomed to send away all the young men and women,
because she established the Lord Christ as her only suitor.
But (Aglaidas) gathered a crowd, since he intended
to defile the holy maiden by force among the Lord’s seats.
Those who were following her shouted greatly,
and everyone rushed out of the rooms with weapons
and forthwith caused Aglaidas’ oncomers to disappear.
But because he held pure lust in his heart
and as if struck with blindness, he hid himself to try to grab the girl.
But she immediately performed the powerful sign of Christ,
threw the wretch forthwith on his back, and with her hands tore
Aglaidas’ body as well as his cheeks with their curly foam.
She rent his beautiful clothes and in all she caused laughter,
since she ran the same course as glorious Thecla.
After she did these things, she returned to the house of God.
But Aglaidas grew angry and requested of an evil man,
Cyprian, the counseler of impious magic,
offering to him two talents of gold
and of shining silver, that he compel by force
the maiden, however unwilling she be, to consent to amatory activity (…)
Aglaidas did not know the power of Christ, the untiring one.
Because the magician pitied the wretch, with an invocation
he quickly summoned an irksome, evil-working demon.
When he quickly arrived, he said, “Why do you call on me? Speak.”
Aglaidas said, “The love for one Galilean girl
has tamed me terribly in my heart. Tell me, whether you are
powerful enough to bring her to my bed, for I deeply desire her.”
The dimwitted adversary agreed to give that which should not be hoped for.
And Cyprian immediately addressed the villain,
“Tell me your deeds, so that I might have confidence.”
And the demon answered, “I was once the best of the angelic ranks,
but in obeying my father, I abandoned the highest Lord
of the seven-vaulted sphere. All that I have done,
you shall know: I will relate it. The foundations of the pure heaven
through my wickedness I myself shook up and divided in two;
I cast an array of the heavenly host to earth;
in turn, I deceived Eve, the mother of mortals, by force;
I separated Adam from delightful paradise;
I myself made the hand of Cain fratricidal;
I drenched the earth with blood, and it (the earth) bears thorny
and meager fruit for the race of mortals all because of me.
I accomplished wonders inimical to God–I made
adulterous beds, I beguiled the human mind
to worship feeble idols, and I revealed to men
how to make a sacrifice to a horrid bull.
I myself urged the Hebrews destructively to stretch on a cross
the mighty Word of God, the eternal Son.
I have confounded cities and thrown down their high walls.
By dancing a jig, I derail many marriages with strife.
Since I have accomplished all these evils and countless others,
how will I not also obtain this holy, sagacious maiden?”
And Cyprian said to the baneful demon, the rejoicer in evil,
“Take this herb and in a circle sprinkle the room
of the daughter of Aedesius; I will come later
and place her father’s mind into her heart.
And in a trance she will obey whatever you want.”
At that same time, the pious maiden, with her face to the ground,
in the third hour of the night sang of the noble God.
But when the girl deep in her heart began to tremble
and she perceived in her mind’s eye the evil worker’s treachery,
she burned with fire in both her kidneys and quickly set her thoughts on
the Lord, whom she constantly longed for. Then with her hand she forthwith
the sign of the cross over her whole body and said lovingly,
“Lord of all, glorious God, father of the immaculate child,
Jesus Christ, you who bound the Tartarean,
serpentine monster into its shadowy abode,
dearest Lord, you saved all those whom the serpent imprisoned in fetters.
With your hand you have delineated the stellar heaven and
in the midst of chaos you have firmly situated the earth on a watery foundation.
You supplied fiery brands to Titan’s progeny,
you yoked the silvery moon to the night,
entirely in your image you fashioned mortal man
whom you enjoined to satisfy themselves in the garden’s pleasure.
But by the advice of the most shameful beast, the serpent,
man was separated from the wooded plain, but once again you
sought him out and preserved his life, Lord, thanks to your compassionate heart.
(…) Come, save your servant by your mighty will; let shameful
disgrace not conquer me. O performer of lasting things, for your sake
85 I very much wish to remain a holy virgin always.
For I love you with all my heart, blessed Jesus,
my praiseworthy master. For you have kindled
a blazing torch of desire for you and placed it in my heart.
Therefore, never subjugate your servant to the hand
of your enemy, the abominable, lawless anti-God.
Blessed one, never allow me to transgress your decrees
but ward off the conceited sinner, the terrible sophist.”
When she had said each of these things, she quickly
girt her body with the sign of God, and straightway set in flight
the grotesque demon with the name of Christ.
She completely routed the scoundrel.
But the demon in great shame returned to the magician
whereupon Cyprian inquired, “Where is the girl
whom I bid you bring here in all haste?”
And the enemy replied, “Do not ask me everything precisely,
for when I saw the terrible sign, I became afraid.”
But the magician smiled, with faith in nefarious deeds,
and once again, he called another dreaded demon, Beliar.
He said to Cyprian, “I have learned your command
and this one’s dismal failure; therefore my father has sent me
as an aide to your distress.” The magician, immediately pleased by this,
answered, “This is the plan, demon: the entire house of the holy maiden
bind with a potion. And I will go behind you.
I intend immediately to persuade her.” He went on his way, but the most holy,
reverent maiden was praying through the middle of the night
to the Lord and issued forth these words from her mouth,
“In the middle of the night I rose from my bed
to confess, o great one, the sins I have committed
before your justice and unerring judgment.
I beg you, Lord, do not allow me to come upon evils
but guard my body, Lord, so that it may forever be unharmed
and provide for me the burning torch of virginity
that I might know the bridal chamber with my husband,
Christ, and I will honor the vows I made–
for His is the power and glory together with honor, amen.”
While she prayed each of these things, the demon
with eyes cast down with shame fled because of her courage.
He returned to the magician, and Cyprian
asked him, “Tell me demon, where is she whom I bid you
lead here, the girl?” The demon answered,
“The sign (of the cross), which I saw, conquered me with its power–
it (the sign) is a thing entirely horrible to everyone, overwhelming and
Then Cyprian called another demon, more powerful still,
the one who ruled all the others and who was the father of dark-eyed (creatures).
He said to the demon, “Have you yielded, since you are a nobody, feeble one?”
And the demon bravely answered him, “In a moment, I will bring
that maiden to you–better be ready.”
Cyprian retorted, “Give me a sign
that by doing so you are close to victory.”
The demon said, “First I will confuse her members with fevers.
Then after the sixth day when I have terrified her once again,
at night I will bring her to you quite ready.”
The insolent one went and stood before the holy maiden
taking the guise of another young woman, similar in dress.
He sat on her bed and deceptively said,
“I have arrived, from this very morning
enjoying with you lovely virginity, when indeed
Christ the Lord sent me forth in order to make me perfect.
So, dear friend, tell me this: what sort of reward is there
for lovely virginity and what kind of payment is offered
–I see that you are similar to a corpse–
for a sun-scorched lifestyle and a table dry as a bone?”
The revered maiden replied, “The (immediate)
prize is negligible, but a greater reward follows.”
The plotter of evil himself said, “Was not Eve a virgin
in the plain of paradise with Adam?
But later when she had intercourse in the bed
of the first-born, Adam, she was proclaimed the mother of children.
As a result she begat the race of all mortals,
and she learned all good things.” At that very moment Justa was about
to be persuaded by the demon and go outside,
and the insufferable (demon) went out in front of the child gleefully.
But when she perceived the crafty enemy’s deceit,
she again turned her thoughts to prayer, immediately signed
her body with the cross, issued a call from her mouth,
and cast the blameworthy, weighty demon from the house.
Breathing a bit after the commotion, she said,
“I thank the immortal one: a fiery disease was extinguished.”
The enemy returned once again
to the magician, downcast, put to terrible grief.
And Cyprian struck him (the demon) with reproaches,
“Surely you did not fear the sight of a young quick-glancing woman,
did you? Since you have seen it, tell me how great is her strength.”
The enemy said, “Neither ask nor inquire of me.
I am unable to relate what sort of sign I beheld.
Trembling terribly, I turned tail and fled forthwith.
If you wish to learn more, swear a great oath.”
Cyprian answered and asked, “What sort of oath should I swear?”
The demon answered, “by all the powers
that I have and which I control.” Cyprian heard it and immediate swore
that he would never abandon the arrogant one. Emboldened, the demon
said, “Having seen the sign of the cross of the crucified Christ
I turned and fled.” Cyprian responded,
“Come now, tell me, is he far stronger than you?”
The adversary answered, “listen to me, and I will tell you the truth:
All the things we do here in shameful sin,
handing mortal men over to error,
is befitting for us all. But in yonder life
there is a curved instrument of bronze which
lies aflame in their midst; whoever sins,
mortal or angel, the heavenly beings with it
immediately bear him to the judgment seat of Christ who was crucified.”
And Cyprian enjoined, “Come now, go away, for I am
quickly falling in love (with him); oblige me speedily. I
desire him who loved the cross so that I not suffer similar things.”
The putrid demon replied, “After swearing a great oath
do you care to break it?” Cyprian answered, “Tell me, wretch,
what sort of oath have I now sworn to you?” The demon said,
“(An oath) by my strong powers.” The magician responded,
“I am in fear neither of you nor your deeds, hostile one,
since on this night I have learned from you the whole truth
because of the maiden’s prayers and holy entreaties
and because of the mighty cross.You are very impotent.
For that reason, I will now place on my limbs the powerful sign
which you admit is indeed effectual.
I also reject your friendship thereby renouncing your counsels.”
When he said these things, Cyprian immediately gave honor to Christ
and drove away the shameful demon saying, “Be gone.
I call upon Christ.” The enemy left straightway.
Cyprian gathered his magical books and loaded
them on the stout arms of youths to carry to the house
of the immaculate God. He himself followed behind the books.
When he fell before the feet of the godly priest,
Anthimos, Cyprian approached him and said,
“Servant of the celestial God, I desire
to enlist my heart in the army and book of Christ.” The priest grew angry
and answered him, “Away with your wickedness.
Is it not enough for you, going away from us, to do the things
you wish? Stay away from the Lord’s things
because the power of the Almighty is unconquerable.”
Cyprian responded, “I have gotten to know this in my heart too
that Christ’s power is effective and mighty,
because on this night against a holy girl I sent forth
hostile demons to ensnare the strong-minded girl’s
good sense in deception’s bonds.
But when she recognized them in her mind, through prayer and the sign of Christ
she powerfully conquered them. So bear with me; have pity on me.
Respect your supplicant, o most blessed of men, receive
the books from which I, a sinner, accomplished a myriad of evils.
Destroy them in the fire and pity my soul.”
When the priest was convinced, he took the books and destroyed them all.
Then he blessed Cyprian and sent him away with holy words
strongly encouraging him to enter the church of God.
And Cyprian returned home
and reduced to dust his images of useless idols
and all the gloomy night he whipped his body
saying, “How would I appear in the eyes of Christ
since I have done so many evils? How would I praise God
with my lips that I used to slight others,
even calling upon wretched demons?”