Are there any male virgin-martyrs who died in defense of chastity?


I feel that reading the stories of the holy virgin martyrs, most notably the ones who died defending their purity such as St. Agnes and St. Maria Goretti, have greatly inspired me to chastity! I’ve made friends with them through prayer, they exert peer-pressure on me to be pure. Pure-pressure, if you will!

I’ve tried to inspire my little brother to chastity by telling him about these holy virgin martyrs, but they’re all female. Maybe he would be able to relate better to a male virgin martyr.

I’m looking for saints that follow the following criteria:

  1. Must be male
  2. Must be a virgin
  3. Must be a martyr
  4. The martyrdom must be in defense of chastity

So far, the only male saints I’ve found satisfying these criteria are the Uganda Martyrs, because they chose death rather than accepting the king’s homosexual advances. However, neither my brother nor I are homosexual, and neither were the Uganda Martyrs I suspect, so this story isn’t that inspiring to chastity.


you’re going to have a hard time with no. 4


Charles Lwanga and his companions were 19th century martyrs, one of the king’s beefs was that these guys refused to engage in sexual relations with him.

That wasn’t the “only” reason for their execution, and whether Mr. Lwanga was a virgin at the time of his martyrdom isn’t recorded.


Not all female virgin-martyrs died “in defense of chastity,” FWIW. Cecilia and Joan of Arc were both killed for purely political reasons.


Good points! I guess St. Agnes honoring her vow of perpetual virginity wasn’t the only reason for her martyrdom, as she also refused to worship false gods. However, her virginity and martyrdom were still closely related, since it was her refusal of marriage which caused her to be reported as a Christian in the first place; unlike, for example, Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross whose virginity (as far as I know) was not under attack at all.

And, you’re right, we can’t know for sure if certain saints were virgins or not. We can be pretty sure (even though not 100% certain), though, if the saint either took a vow or was very young.


I know, but for the purposes of this thread I’m trying to narrow the focus on virgin-martyrs who did die in defense of chastity. Even though the Holy Innocents were technically “virgin-martyrs,” their story doesn’t really motivate one to chastity. :frowning:


We’ve had this thread before on CAF (Google will bring up all the old threads).
The consensus is that there were a lot of male saints who were virgins, including numerous priests, members of religious orders, and laymen who were married but they and their wives agreed to remain celibate.
Some of these people were martyred, but the vast majority of them didn’t die in defense of their chastity.

The notable exceptions are the Ugandan martyrs, and also St. Philosophus, who is venerated by the Orthodox Church but is pre-schism so should be acceptable to Catholics too. He was beheaded after he took extreme means to avoid being aroused by a harlot who was sent to tempt him.

There are certainly a lot of male saints who weren’t martyred, but faced and overcame struggles with sexual temptation, including St. Augustine, St Francis of Assisi (rolled in thorns to get over it), St. Thomas Aquinas (ran away from a harlot sent into his cell to tempt him), and St. Padre Pio (who discussed his difficulty with sexual temptation).


+1 Thank you for introducing me to St. Philosophus! Saints like this are exactly what I’m looking for! :grinning:


I’d also imagine St. Philosophus is accepted by as well.

He has a Catholic saint’s page as well, although there’s not a lot of info.


Good luck. Male virginity just never had the same socio-religious significance that female virginity did in pagan societies. Not to mention that men had a lot more autonomy when it came to marriage (and in general), so remaining celibate didn’t have the same radical implications for men that it did for women.


You’re absolutely right!

In light of what you’ve said, it’s ironic that the virgins mentioned in the Book of Revelation are male virgins. I wonder if St. John was deliberately trying to inspire men to pursue perpetual virginity, assuring them that the crown of virginity isn’t only for women.


That may very well be the case. I know Paul fervently promoted virginity for both sexes.


Here’s one who isn’t an official saint yet, only a Servant of God (first step on the path to sainthood). But you can pray to him privately, and also pray for his canonization.


Does not fulfil the criteria but I think the OT story of Joseph resisting the advances of his master’s wife would be a good example for him.


Most often when the word virgin is used in Scripture or early Church writings it is meant as a girl or woman who is not married.


I know that St Ephrem isn’t a martyr but there is a beatriful story about him resisting the advances of a loose woman.
There is also St Casimir who was also a model of charity and chastity.


Martyrs die rather than reject their faith in Jesus Christ

Dying to defend your chastity has more with the culture of the time, when rape carried such a negative stigma, the victim would’ve rather have died.

Heckm when the Turks were invading norther Greece back in the early 20th century, villagers seeing they would be overrun, threw their daughters off cliffs to their deaths, rather than have them raped by the advancing Turkish soldiers.

This was the distorted mindset about sex in those times.

A saint is one who dies for Christ and that alone. They’d rather be raped than deny Jesus.



I wouldn’t say it’s ironic. The Christian life has always called unmarried men to be virgins. So there have been many of them.

The part that’s hard is finding a man who was killed for his virginity, because there were not many women going around killing virgin men who didn’t have sex with her. However, a homosexual / bisexual ruler very well could have killed a subject who refused to have unchaste sex.


@JimR-OCDS +1 You’re right! The holy virgin martyrs died rather than deny Christ.

I remember reading how Saint Agnes’ captors made a deal with her that she would be spared from rape if she would become a pagan vestal virgin, but she refused to “consecrate” her virginity to their “gods.”

Thomas Aquinas and the other theologians tell us that, even if one is raped, they would still technically remain virgins in God’s eyes and would still receive the Crown of Perpetual Virginity.

But to willfully cooperate in sins of impurity, like the virgin martyrs were tempted to do, would be to deny Christ. And that is why I find their stories so inspiring! In this day and age, where temptations against chastity are everywhere, we can look to their example and choose even death (if need be) rather than mortal sin.


Agnes refused to consecrate herself to their pagan gods.

This is the impurity she was guarding, not he physical virginity.


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