| Saint Eugenia, Virgin Martyr
(Died 256): The Iconography
According to the Golden Legend Eugenia was the daughter of a prominent Roman who was posted to Alexandria in the third century.
In Alexandria she became an accomplished student of pagan philosophy, which she studied with two companions named Protus and Hyacinthus. However, she was also looking into the writings of St. Paul when one day she and her companions heard Christians singing a hymn to the one Creator. This led the three to convert to Christianity, and Eugenia subsequently entered a monastery – presenting herself as a man because women were not allowed.
Some years later she was brought on charges before the prefect of Alexandria, her own father, who had thought she was dead. The discovery led to the old man's conversion, eventual selection as bishop of Alexandria, and finally his martyrdom.
Eugenia then traveled to Rome and converted many. During the persecution of Valerian she was tied to a great stone and cast into the Tiber. This did not work, so the executioners put her into a roaring fire. Failing that, they shut her up in a dark cell without food, but Christ illuminated the cell and brought her a shining white loaf. At last she was beheaded on the feast of the Nativity, December 25.
The recovery of a lost daughter and the voyages between famous places, added to the usual miraculous escapes from death, are characteristic of the genre of "hagiographic romance" (Stouck 517 et seq.), but there is some basis for believing that Eugenia was "an authentic Roman martyr" (Butler IV, 612).
Eugenia's Wikipedia page has an Orthodox icon in which she holds a cross and a scroll, but these are so common in Orthodox images that they cannot be considered attributes of this particular saint. Nor do attributes appear in the few Western images I have found.
Feast day: December 25 (Roman), December 24 (Orthodox).
At left, a page from her story in the Menologion of Basil.
In the apse mosaics of the Euphrasian Basilica, 6th cent.Hagiography: