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Saint Catherine of Alexandria and her syncretism with Obba Nani the Orisha

Saint Catherine of Alexandria Day

As part of the history that belongs to us we talk about our ancestors, the slaves brought to Cuba in colonial times.

The same ones who were in danger with the fear rooted in their skin so as not to lose their roots, identity and religiosity.

And as traces in time they stomped on and came with their culture, their religion and their beliefs, beliefs that are maintained and respected to this day.

In the Yoruba heritage, as part of transculturation, each Orisha adopted the name of Catholic Saints, a process called "syncretism", a comparison based on their characteristics being similar to their African deities.

Today in Cuba in the Rule of Osha or Santeria our legacy is still maintained and although many criticize this practice, the history and the mixture of roots is sacred and what has been adopted has remained.

In my opinion and with respect, I say that our heritage has been syncretism and it should be respected.

Obbá Nani the Yoruba Orisha, was syncretized with:

  • Saint Rita of Casia and
  • Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

What does Saint Catherine of Alexandria represent? His story

  • Saint Catherine of Alexandria celebrates its feast on November 25.

This Christian martyr dates from the XNUMXth century and her cult spread throughout Europe between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries.

The saint is implored against sudden deaths and is incorporated into the group of Auxiliary Saints for her power to heal and save.

The oldest document that offers news about the life of Saint Catherine is the Passio, which was originally written in Greek between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries. As early as the XNUMXth century it is known in the Latin version.

Another text that he writes about this Saint is the Conversio.

It is said that Saint Catherine was born in Egypt into a family of the nobility of Alexandria around the year 290.

Patroness of philosophers and students

Catalina had a great intelligence and very soon she stands out for her extensive studies that placed her in the same category of philosophers and great poets of that time.

One day Jesus Christ appears to him and decides to consecrate his life to him and from that moment he commits himself and surrenders himself to God, body and soul.

In the period from 306 to 312 the emperor Maxentius visits Alexandria with the aim of leading a pagan festival and demands that his subjects make sacrifices to the Gods.

Catherine went to the temple where the emperor was and made him the sign of the cross, she also rebukes him and urges him to know his true God and challenges him to a philosophical debate.

But it turns out that from that debate the wise men present came out converted to Christianity because of Catherine's words and the wisdom she shared.

This provokes the rage of the emperor and orders to execute the wise men but not before asking Catherine to marry one of them, to which she refused.

The emperor tried hard to persuade Catherine with promises, but he could not, so he had her flogged and locked behind bars.

There in prison she was visited by the Empress and Porfirio, an officer who ends up converting along with numerous soldiers to Christianity.

How did Saint Catherine of Alexandria die?

The life of this saint was full of sacrifices to exalt and defend her faith.

After so much siege, Catherine was finally tortured on the orders of Maxentius with a cogwheel machine with very sharp blades.

According to the story, when those blades touched Catalina's body, the wheels break and she comes out safe and sound.

Porfirio, the officer, the soldiers and the empress try to mediate in favor of Catherine, but the emperor orders them to kill everyone.

Catherine is finally beheaded and her tomb had been found on Mount Sinai, where there is a monastery that bears her name and everyone goes on pilgrimage.

Especially Santa Catalina is esteemed by the pilgrims of the Holy Land.

Legend has it that the monks of that monastery on Mount Sinai found the body of a young woman whom they identify as Catherine of Alexandria.

According to the Passio, the body had been placed there by angels. 

  • If you want to know more about the Yoruba syncretism of this saint with the Orisha Obba, queen of sacrifice, selfless love and total dedication of the spirit, we leave you some interesting texts about this African deity.

We share articles about the Orisha Obba:

Saint Catherine of Alexandria Day
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