Holy Martyrs Saint Sophia and her Daughters Faith, Hope and Love were
born in Italy. Their mother was a pious Christian widow who named her
daughters 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.
named Antiochus denounced them to the emperor Hadrian (117-138), who
ordered that they be brought to Rome. Realizing that they would be taken
before the emperor, the holy virgins prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus
Christ, asking that He give them the strength not to fear torture and
death. When the holy virgins and their mother 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 torture.
Summoning each of the sisters in turn, Hadrian urged them to offer
sacrifice to the goddess Artemis. The young girls remained unyielding.
the emperor ordered them to be tortured. They burned the holy virgins
over an iron grating, then threw them into a red-hot oven, and finally
into a cauldron with boiling tar, but the Lord preserved them.
youngest child, Love, was tied to a wheel and they beat her with rods
until her body was covered all over with bloody welts. After undergoing
unspeakable torments, the holy virgins glorified their Heavenly
Bridegroom and remained steadfast in the Faith.
St Sophia to another grievous torture: the mother was forced to watch
the suffering of her daughters. She displayed adamant courage, and urged
her daughters to endure their torments for the sake of the Heavenly
Bridegroom. All three maidens were beheaded, and joyfully bent their
necks beneath the sword.
In order to intensify St Sophia's inner
suffering, the emperor permitted her to take the bodies of her
daughters. She placed their remains in coffins and loaded them on a
wagon. She drove beyond the city limits and reverently buried them on a
high hill. St Sophia sat there by the graves of her daughters for three
days, and finally she gave up her soul to the Lord. Even though she did
not suffer for Christ in the flesh, she was not deprived of a martyr's
crown. Instead, she suffered in her heart. Believers buried her body
there beside her daughters.
The relics of the holy martyrs have rested at El'zasa, in the church of Esho since the year 777.