Saint Athanasia of Aegina was a saint who worked in the Byzantine Empire and was an adviser to Empress Theodora II. She served as an abbess and was known for her miraculous healing of the sick and possessed.
St. Athanasia was the daughter of Christian nobles, Niketas and Irene, born around 790. She wanted a spiritual life, but an imperial law required all single women of marriageable age to marry soldiers. When she was 16 years old, at her parent’s urging, she married a young officer. Sixteen days after her wedding, her husband was killed in a battle with raiding Arabs. She again married, this time to a deeply religious man who wished to become a monk. He left to do so with her blessing.
St. Athanasia then gave away the bulk of her possessions, converted their home into a convent, and began building churches. She served as an abbess and was known for her miraculous healing of the sick and those seen as possessed. Her community later moved to Timia near the ancient church of Stephen. Crowds flocked to see her. As her fame grew, she moved to Constantinople looking for solitude as an anchoress in a cell for seven years. While walled away, she was an adviser to Empress Theodora II. After seven years, she returned to Aegina where she died of natural causes three days later at Timia on August 14, 860.