Catherine of Alexandria

Exploring Israel

Catherine of Alexandria is according to tradition, a Christian saint and virgin, who was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the emperor Maxentius. According to her hagiography, she was both a princess and a noted scholar who became a Christian around the age of 14, converted hundreds of people to Christianity and was martyred around the age of 18.  Some modern scholars consider that the legend of Catherine was probably based on the life and murder of the Greek philosopher Hypatia, with reversed roles of Christians and pagans. 

In This Photo: Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai


According to the traditional narrative, Catherine of Alexandria was the daughter of Constus, the governor of Alexandria during the reign of the emperor Maximian (286–305). From a young age she devoted herself to study. A vision of the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus persuaded her to become a Christian. When the persecutions began under Maxentius, she went to the emperor and rebuked him for his cruelty. The emperor summoned 50 of the best pagan philosophers and orators to dispute with her; hoping that they would refute her pro-Christian arguments, but Catherine of Alexandria won the debate. Several of her adversaries; conquered by her eloquence, declared themselves Christians and were at once put to death.

Catherine of Alexandria: Torture and martyrdom

Catherine of Alexandria was then scourged and imprisoned. She was scourged so cruelly and for so long that her whole body was covered with wounds, from which the blood flowed in streams. The spectators wept with pity, but Catherine stood with her eyes raised to heaven; without giving a sign of suffering or fear. Maxentius ordered her to be imprisoned without food; so she would starve to death. During the confinement, angels tended her wounds with salve. Catherine of Alexandria was fed daily by a dove from Heaven and Christ also visited her; encouraging her to fight bravely and promising her the crown of everlasting glory.

During her imprisonment more than 200 people came to see her, including Maxentius’ wife, Valeria Maximilla; all converted to Christianity and were subsequently martyred. Twelve days later, when the dungeon was opened, a bright light and fragrant perfume filled it and Catherine of Alexandria came forth even more radiant and beautiful.

Upon the failure of Maxentius to make Catherine of Alexandria yield by way of torture, he tried to win the beautiful and wise princess over by proposing marriage. Catherine of Alexandria refused, declaring that her spouse was Jesus Christ, to whom she had consecrated her virginity.

The furious emperor condemned Catherine of Alexandria to death on a spiked breaking wheel, but, at her touch, it shattered. Maxentius ordered her to be beheaded. Catherine herself ordered the execution to commence. A milk-like substance rather than blood flowed from her neck.

The Church of St. Catherine at Bethlehem

On my guided tours of Bethlehem, you can visit the famous Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria. It is just next to the Church of Nativity. A stairway on the right side of the nave goes down into the complex caves and chambers cut-out from the rock. These include the Cave of St. Jerome and the Chapel of Holy Innocents. So If you feel like you want to know more; so get in touch and let’s go touring! My tours are 9 hours long and are custom-made exactly how my guests want them. Usually, I pick my clients when convenient for them and the tour ends when it gets dark. I recommend you to get in touch as soon as possible that you could get an early bird quote! 

Lastly, I also have free itineraries that you could look at and lots of more information on the site. So, happy exploring my website and I hope to see you soon on one of my private tours of Israel. So Bye for now and don’t hesitate to get in touch! 


Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history. 

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Simon Peter


Second Jewish Temple

The Second Temple was the Jewish holy temple, which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, between c. 516 BCE and c. 70 CE. It gave name to the Second Temple period. ...

The Religious Value of the River Jordan

The Religious Value of the River Jordan as I am sure you can imagine is outstanding. But before elaborating on the subject I would like ...

Jerusalem and the Bible

Jerusalem in the Bible is mentioned first in the Book of Joshua. According to the Bible, the tribes of Israel weren't able to take Jerusalem.

The Sanctification of Jerusalem in Islam

The Sanctification of Jerusalem in Islam is quite an interesting subject.  Jerusalem is the third holiest city in Islam. Though the Quran does not mention ...

Sermon on the Mount

This is very interesting story

What Makes the Wailing Wall So Holy?

So what makes the Wailing Wall (Also known as the Western Wall) so holy? Before answering that question let me give you a short overview ...

The Book of Genesis

The Book of Genesis is the book of beginnings. The Book of the origins of things the beginning of human culture and the people of Israel.

David and Goliath

The story of David and Goliath is one of the more celebrated biblical narratives. this post will tell you all about this fascinating story!

Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus Christ, also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity, the world's largest religion. For more click here

The Last Hours of Jesus

This post is about the last hours of Jesus in Gethsemane, in other words, the beginning of the Passion of Christ in Jerusalem.

Need help?

Skip to content