St Agape, Chioni and Irene healing oil
The St Agape, Chioni and Irene healing oil is dedicated to the three virgin sisters who, according to Christian tradition, were martyred for their faith in the year 304 AD. They were young Thessalonian women of prominence.
Their Early Life
The Holy Martyrs Agape, Irene, and Chionia were sisters who lived at the end of the third century to the beginning of the fourth century, near the Italian city of Aquilea. They were left orphaned at an early age.
Agape, Chione and Irene were brought before Dulcitius, governor of Macedonia, on the charge of refusing to eat food which had been earlier offered in sacrifice to the gods. He asked Agape and Chionia where they had developed this objection to such food, and Chionia responded that she had learned it from her Lord Jesus Christ. She and Agape again refused to eat the sacrificed food, and were burned alive.
Meanwhile Dulcitius found that Irene had been continuing to keep Christian books, in violation of existing law. He examined her again, and she declared that when the decrees against Christians had been published, she and several others fled to the mountains. She would not name the others who had fled with her, and stated that only they knew where the books were being kept. Upon returning home from the mountains, they hid the books they had kept. Dulcitius then ordered Irene to be stripped and exposed in a brothel. This was done, and no one mistreated Irene at the brothel. The governor then gave Irene a second chance to abide by the laws, which she refused. Dulcitius then sentenced her to death. The books that had been found with her were burned as well.
Tradition of oils
The tradition of anointing with sacred oil is very old indeed. It is used in sacraments and also as a devotional practice. The sick person applies the oil and blesses themselves. As they do so, they are asked to pray to whomever the oil is dedicated to. The Irish blessings oils do not have miraculous power. It is God who has the power to heal. Prayer and a gesture of faith, like applying the oil, are important ways for us to express our faith in God’s power. By doing so we place our trust in God.