St. Sophia and Daughters icon (1)

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Orthodox Icon of Martyr Sophia and her three daughters at Rome, Faith (Pistis), Hope (Elpis) and Love (Agape).

Commemorated September 17.

Holy Martyrs Saint Sophia and her daughters Faith, Hope and Love. Sophia was a pious Christian who became a widow at a young age. She had three daughters and named them for the three Christian virtues. Faith was twelve, Hope was ten, and Love was nine. St Sophia raised them in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. St Sophia and her daughters did not hide their faith in Christ, but openly confessed it before everyone.

A Roman official named Antiochus denounced them to the emperor Hadrian (117-138) believing they were scorners of the Roman deities and disobedient to the imperial commands., Hadrian the Emperor (118-138) ordered that they be brought to Rome to the Court of Justice. The holy virgin prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking that He give them the strength not to fear torture and death. When they came before the emperor, everyone present was amazed at their composure.

They looked as though they had been brought to some happy festival, rather than to be tortured. Summoning each of the sisters in turn, Hadrian urged them to offer sacrifice to the goddess Artemis. The young girls remained unyielding. The Emperor tried to persuade Sophia to be obedient and to sacrifice to the pagan Gods but She refused and eloquently defended the True God Jesus Christ. The Judge seeing their resolve then separated them to bring them to be examined one at a time.

The words of the eldest daughter who was summoned first angered the judge and he began to torture her. But Pistis seemed glad at being treated in this way. He stripped her and beat her with rods. But there was not a mark on her body. He then ordered to sever her breasts. The tortures continued but in vain. He ordered that she be beheaded. Sophia and her sisters shouted their encouragement to stay true to Christ and that they would be reunited in His kingdom. Sophia showed admirable resolve at these horrible events. She entreated God that her other daughters should also be brought to slaughter as a blameless sacrifice.

Saint Sophia gathered up their remains and laid them in a Church. Sophia continued to live for only three days. Prostrated before the reliquary containing the relics of her daughters she said, "O divine offspring of my womb, receive thy mother where You now abide." She closed her eyes and surrendered her soul into the hands of God. Her relics were taken and put with those of her daughters.

Reference: O.C.A.