Born 3rd century Garagos, Egypt Died 4th century,Bad Zurzach, Switzerland. Venerated in Coptic Orthodox Church,Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches,Roman Catholic Church
Feast 14 September (4 Thout)
Verena is venerated as a saint by the Coptic Orthodox Church, by the Roman Catholic Church, and by the Eastern Orthodox Church. According to tradition, she was associated with the Theban Legion and died on the 4th day of Thout (September 14).
Tradition states that she was brought up in the 3rd century in the Theban region (modern day Luxor in Upper Egypt) in a noble Christian family, who handed her over to Bishop Sherimon, Bishop of Beni Suef, who in turn taught her and baptized her as a Christian.
Travel to Switzerland
View of the hermitage near Solothurn, where she is said to have resided.
According to tradition, Saint Verena joined the Theban Legion in its mission to Rhaetia (part of modern-day Switzerland) and was a relative of Saint Victor of the Theban Legion. The soldiers’ relatives were allowed to accompany them in order to look after them and take care of their wounds.
When Saint Maurice, Saint Victor and the other members of the Theban Legion were martyred, Saint Verena led the life of a hermit. First, she settled in a place called Solothurn, but later moved into a cave near present-day Zurich. She comes from Garagous village, Qous, Qena, Egypt.
As a hermit, Verena fasted and prayed continuously. According to tradition, she performed several miracles. Verena was particularly concerned over young girls and used to look after them spiritually and physically, due to her expertise as a nurse.
As a result of her fame, legend states that the local governor arrested her and sent her to jail, where Saint Maurice appeared to her to console and strengthen her. She was released from jail, and continued to perform miracles. Due to her, many converted to Christianity. Saint Verena was interested in serving the poor and used to offer them food. Moreover, she enjoyed serving the sick, especially those suffering from leprosy. She used to wash their wounds and put ointments on them, not fearing infection. She died in Switzerland.
The Mercy of Saint Verena, Stuttgart, 1524
Return of part of relics to Egypt
In 1986, a delegation from Saint Verena’s Church in Switzerland, brought to Egypt a part of Saint Verena’s relics.
The first Coptic church consecrated in the name of Saint Verena is Saint Maurice and Saint Verena’s Church in Cairo, which was consecrated by HH Pope Shenouda III on February 22, 1994.
In October 2004, a delegation from Saint Verena’s (Saint Mary & Saint Verena’s) Coptic Church in Anaheim, California in the United States of America, along with Bishop Serapion of Los Angeles and Fr. Joseph Boules, traveled to Switzerland to bring a part of Saint Verena’s relics to Anaheim. Her church in Anaheim now has a shrine dedicated to her relic.