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Stäfa commune (Zürich canton, Switzerland)

Last modified: 2010-12-30 by rob raeside
Keywords: staefa | st verena | water jug | comb |
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[Flag of Stäfa] image by Pascal Gross

Argent St. Verena stantant clad, haired and haloed Or and cloaked Gules holding in dexter a Comb of the second and in sinister a water jug Vert.

St. Verena was Christian martyr of the 3rd century, connected with Coptic (Egyptian) church, but with strong Swiss connections. From a Coptic Church website:

The story of the Theban legion (from Thebes, present day Lurer in Upper Egypt) is a spectacular example of witnessing to the Christian faith. Maximian, the second in command to Emperor Diocletian, ordered the legion to camp at the border of Gaul (France) in preparation to crush a rebellion there (285 AD). The legion camped in present day Switzerland. The night before the attack, Maximian ordered the legion to accompany him to the pagan temple to pray to the gods. The Coptic soldiers unanimously refused to obey and declared that they were Christians, a declaration that angered Maximian. 

[In spite of a bloody argumentation by Maximian the legion refused and they were all wiped out by Diocletian's rage.] 

An accompanying nurse named Verena witnessed all this. After a few days of prayers and meditation, she came to the realization that God, in His wisdom, had spared her to do His work as a missionary to those pagans. Therefore, she spent the rest of her life preaching Christ to the people of Switzerland. In addition, she taught them basic hygiene. To this day she is portrayed in her icon as having a water jug in one hand and a comb in the other. 

Željko Heimer, 27 May 2001

I seem to remember (but I cannot find my sources, so take my statement with caution) that Saint Gingolph (who gave his name to the city split between France and Valais/Wallis canton in Switzerland, and probably to Saint-Gengoux-le-National, in Burgundy, France) and Saint Maurice (who gave his name to the abbey of St.Maurice d'Agaune, now located in the city and district of the same name) were also martyrs of this legion.

Ivan Sache, 27 May 2001