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September 17, 2016

Synaxarion of Saint Sophia and her Three Daughters Faith, Hope and Love

Sts. Sophia with Faith, Hope and Love (Feast Day - September 17)


To Sophia
As David chants saying for Sophia and her children,
Let the mother be glad now in her prayers.

To Faith, Hope and Love
With faith in you, O Trinity, the three,
Faith, Hope and Love, bowed their necks unto the sword.

On the seventeenth Faith, Hope and Love were beheaded.

These Holy Martyrs lived during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138), and were from a notable and illustrious family of Italy. They were pious just as their ancestors, and they conducted themselves as ones who love God with faith and hope and love and wisdom, just as the names they bore.

One day as they went to Rome, because they were famous and well known through their illustrious family, they were denounced to Emperor Hadrian for their Christian piety. They were immediately brought before him through the palace guard, and when the emperor saw them he marveled. He therefore separated the mother Sophia from her daughters, and discoursed with her about the faith. Seeing that she was fearless, he brought before himself her three daughters, and he began to flatter them in various ways. Recognizing that they were above all flatteries, he decided to put each one on trial separately.

Among them Faith was the first to stand before the tyrant, being twelve years old. And because she nobly rebuked the maliciousness and wiles of the tyrant, for this reason they beat her and had her hands tied behind her back. She was then cruelly beaten with rods. After this they cut off her breasts, and instead of blood there flowed forth milk. They then laid her over a grill which was set on fire, but having remained unharmed by divine help, they put her in a lit cauldron filled with pitch and asphalt. Having been kept unharmed from this torment, she was condemned to die by the sword. As she was going to the place of her execution, her mother Sophia encouraged her to accept death with joy on behalf of Christ. And so the blessed one was beheaded, and received the crown of the contest.

Then Hope stood before the tyrant, the second sister who was ten years old. And having shown herself to be firm and unalterable in the faith, for this she was beaten with rods like the first. Then she was placed in a lit furnace, which swiftly became inefficacious by divine power. Then she was hung up on a wooden stake and scraped with iron claws. After this she was placed in a lit cauldron full of pitch and resin. From this also she was kept unharmed, while many unbelievers were killed when suddenly the pitch and resin spilled out of the cauldron. Finally she also was beheaded, and received the crown of martyrdom.

Then the third sister stood before the tyrant, Love, who was nine years of age. And because with great prudence she confessed piety, the tyrant was astonished by this and was enraged. For this she was hung on a wooden stake and was beaten with straps so much, that she became disjointed in her body. By divine grace however she was restored to health, and placed in a furnace that was burning from various materials. By the care of a divine Angel, the Saint was kept unharmed from the furnace, while those who stood by including the tyrant, were half burnt by the flame which poured out. The senseless Hadrian, despite being half burnt, did not cease his inhumanity, but he ordered that the body of the Martyr be pierced with a spear. Then she was beheaded, like her two sisters.

Their mother Sophia, was greatly gladdened that she gave birth to such blessed children, and she thanked the Lord for them, and had the honorable relics of her daughters buried with splendor. After three days she spread herself over and embraced the tomb of her daughters, and begged God that she also may die. In this way the blessed one delivered her soul into the hands of God. Therefore the soul of the mother is together with her daughters, as well as their bodies, for the renowned one was buried near her daughters.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
The Church celebrates and rejoices in the feast of the three daughters: Faith, Hope, and Love and their mother Sophia, named for her wisdom: for in them she gave birth to the three godly virtues. Now they eternally behold their bridegroom, God the Word. Let us rejoice spiritually in their memory and cry: O our three Heavenly Protectors, establish, confirm and strengthen us in Faith, Hope and Love.

Another Apolytikion in the Fifth Tone
You blossomed in the courts of the Lord as a fruitful olive tree, holy martyr Sophia; in your contest you offered to Christ the sweet fruit of your womb, your daughters Faith, Hope, and Love. Together with them intercede for us all.

Kontakion in the First Tone
Since Faith and Hope and Love were in truth sacred branches of ven'rable Sophia, the namesake of wisdom, by grace they have shown all men that Greek wisdom is foolishness, and in contest they proved to be prizewinning victors; wherefore, they received a crown that never shall perish from Christ God, the Lord of all.

Vesperal Sticheron in the Fourth Tone
Faith, Hope and Love, the offspring of Sophia, seeking with faith the beauty of the most comely Bridegroom, united themselves to Him, having adorned themselves with divine wounds; and they disdained the fire, the multifarious torments and an ignominious death. For their sake, O Lord, free us from evils.