Saint Margaret also called Marina; belonged to Pisidian Antioch in Asia Minor, where her father was a pagan priest. Her mother dying soon after her birth, Margaret was nursed by a Christian woman. Having embraced Christianity and consecrated her virginity to God, she was disowned by her father and adopted by her nurse.
It happened that Margaret was just as beautiful as she was humble, just as pleasant to sight as she was chaste. Unfortunately, her pleasant countenance and her beauty, at the age of fifteen, attracted a provost (a type of police governor in the area) named Olibrius, under the Emperors Maximian and Diocletian.
Olibrius hated all Christians, and commanded that those who followed God be put to death. That day Margaret was tending the sheeps, a lustful Olybrius caught sight of her, and attracted by her great beauty sought to make her his concubine or wife. So he ordered his servants to bring the fair maiden before him.
The servants of Olibrius told the governor that Margaret was a Christian, and not fit for Olibrius. But Olibrius called her before him and asked her, “Are you free, or are you a slave?”
The blessed Margaret answered, “I am a free woman, and God’s slave.”
Olibrius would not accept Margaret as a Christian. When neither cajolery nor threats of punishment could succeed in moving her to yield to his desires, he had her brought before him in public trial at Antioch, and treatened her with death unless she renounced the Christian faith. An attempt was made to burn her, but the flames left her unhurt. She was then bound hand and foot and thrown into a cauldron of boiling water, but at her prayer her bonds were broken and she stood up uninjured. Then Olibrius ordered her to prison.
The next day, Olibrius ordered Margaret before him again. And again, she refused to reject Christ. Cruelly, she was hanged in an instrument and beaten with iron rods. They then used iron combs to tear her flesh down to the bone, causing her blood to run as if water from a spring. Still, the weary and beaten Margaret refused to pay homage to any of the other gods, so Olibrius ordered her back to prison.
There was a legend when Margaret was in prison : Margaret, bright as a blossom on a tree, at the age of fifteen, prayed, bleeding in the tiny prison cell allotted to her. She asked the Lord to reveal the fiend that fought with her, and then appeared a dragon. The dragon seeks to devour her, but before it can swallow her, it was slain by the sign of the cross, Margaret made. She beats the dragon with a symbol that frees her body.
In the morning, still unrelenting in her faith, the provost ordered her to be thrown in to the fire and her body to be burned with brands. Thereafter, the tormenters moved her body to a large vessel filled with boiled water, in order to extend the pain and suffering. However, Margaret rose out of the water without injury, crying out to the Lord that this water might be the water that baptizes her into everlasting life.
Thunder cracked across the air as a dove, from high in the sky, placed a golden crown on Margaret’s head. Five thousand people, having seen such a sight, had Faith kindled within them, and in a very short time, for Christ’s love, all five thousand of them died by beheaded by order of the same provost, Olibrius. Margaret, too, received the same sentence, in order to prevent her Faith from spreading further.