Abdas of Susa

Abdas, (also Abda, Abdias, and Audas) was bishop of Susa in Iran. Socrates of Constantinople calls him "bishop of Persia".[1] He was executed under the orders of shah Yazdegerd I after to refusing to rebuild a Zoroastrian fire temple that he had destroyed.

Abdias (Abidas or Obadiah) of Persia (Menologion of Basil II).jpg
Born4th century
Venerated inRoman Catholicism
Eastern Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
FeastMay 16


Abdas was born in fourth-century Chaldor to a Zoroastrian mother, who educated him in matters of virtue. After Abdas reached adulthood, he was ordained a Christian priest, and built up in his hometown a monastery and a school, which grew to have around 60 teachers. Abdas baptized many converts in Chaldor, which caused the magi to arrest him. In prison, Abdas was subjected to humiliations, hunger and pain, but remained a Christian until his release. Abdas became a bishop in Kaskhar (Susa).[2]

Abdas was an associate of Maruthas of Martyropolis. Abdas is supposed to have helped Maruthas in driving out a demon from King Yezdegerd's son.[1] However, his impetuosity, put an end to the good relations between the Persian king and the Christian community. In c. 419-420, Abdas, in cooperation with a band of Christian priests and laymen, levelled a Zoroastrian fire temple, which made the court have them summoned to answer for their actions.[3] Yazdegerd I reputedly asked Abdas; "Since you are the chief and leader of these men, why do you allow them to despise our kingdom, to transgress against our command, and to act in accordance with their own will? Do you demolish and destroy our houses of worship and the foundations of our fire temples, which we have received from the fathers of our fathers to honor?"[3] While Abdas hesitated to answer, a priest in his entourage replied back, saying "I demolished the foundation and extinguished the fire because it is not a house of God, nor is the fire the daughter of God."[3] Demolishing a fire temple was reportedly a way of broadcasting the "victory of Christianity."[3] Abdas ultimately refused to have the fire temple rebuilt, and was as a result, along with his entourage, executed.[3]

Abdas' companions included the priests Hashu and Isaac, the secretary Ephrem, the hypodeacon Papa, the laymen Daduk and Durdan, and Papa, a brother of Abdas himself were also killed. His feast day is 5 September or 16 May[4] in the Roman Catholic Church, and March 31 in the Syrian church.


  1. ^ a b Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical history, vii. 8 Archived 2005-01-18 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Saint Abdas”. New Catholic Dictionary, 29 January 2011 Archived 30 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c d e Payne 2015, p. 47.
  4. ^ "St. Abdas - Catholic Online". Catholic Online. Archived from the original on 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2007-09-08.