Emperor Maxentius carried off Saint Catherine of Alexandria along with other women in the year 305; she was only 18 years old yet had studied much. Maxentius wished to marry her but she refused, wishing to remain a virgin for Christ. He brought 50 pagan philosophers to try to convince her that her belief in Christ was foolish. They spoke with her for many hours and when they had finished Catherine had converted them all to Christ. This enraged the Emperor who had them put to death.
The Emperor had Catherine beaten and placed in the dungeon, during his absence, his wife Faustina and an officer named Porphyrius visited the Saint and were themselves converted to Christ. Porphyrius went on to convert 200 men of the imperial guard. On his return Maxentius had them killed and decided that Catherine too must die. First he had constructed a wheel set with razors. The Saint was tied to its rim, but instead of cutting her to pieces the wheel was broken and some of the splinters and razors wounded her persecutors. Finally the emperor had her beheaded. It is claimed that for many years oil oozed from her bones, which brought forth miraculous cures and conversions.
Because she refused to marry him Greek Christians call her “Aeikatharina” that is “Ever pure”. The monastery of Saint Catherine on Mount Sinai is renown as being the oldest continually occupied monastery in Christendom. The wheel on which she was tortured is remembered in our firework displays by the Catherine Wheel.