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Saint Sophia the Martyr (died AD 137) is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church on September 17th. Her Feast Day, for the Catholic Church, is 15th May. Born in Italy, St. Sophia had three daughters: Faith, Hope and Charity, who were named after virtues mentioned by Saint Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.[1]

Saint Sophia the Martyr
Sophia the Martyr.jpg
Saint Sophia and her three daughters: Faith, Hope and Charity (Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow)
Born Unknown
Italy
Died ~137 AD
Rome
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church; Eastern Orthodox Church
Feast May 15 (Catholic Church); September 17 (Orthodox Church)
Attributes A woman accompanied by her three small daughters. Often she or all of them will hold crosses

The daughters are said to have been martyred during the reign of Hadrian (117–138). The guards took Sophia's daughters one by one, from the oldest to the youngest and beat and tortured them to death in an attempt to force their mother, Sophia, to renounce her faith in Christ. She proved her unconditional faith in Christ by proving to people that she and her daughters were willing to go through hard times for their faith. Afterwards, Sophia buried her daughters' bodies and remained by their graves for three days until she died herself.

According to tradition, in 777 AD part of their relics was transferred to the women's convent at Eschau in Alsace.[2]

Troparion of St. Sophia and her three daughters (Tone 5):

Thou didst blossom in the courts of the Lord as a fruitful olive tree, O holy Martyr Sophia; in thy contest thou didst offer to Christ the sweet fruit of thy womb, Charity, Hope and Faith. With them intercede for us all.

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NotesEdit

  1. ^ Sophia's name means "wisdom" in Greek. Her daughters' names are rendered in Greek as Pistis, Elpis, and Agape. In Ukrainian, they are called Віра, Надія і Любов (Vira, Nadia and Lyubov'). In Russian, they are called Vera, Nadezhda, and Lyubov. In Bulgarian, they are called Вeра, Надежда и Любов (Vyara, Nadezhda and Lyubov).
  2. ^ Ekkart Sauser (2000). "Fides, Spes und Charitas: hl. Märtyrerinnen". In Bautz, Traugott. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 17. Herzberg: Bautz. col. 381. ISBN 3-88309-080-8. 

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