St. Sophia And Her Children: Faith, Hope, And Love - Feast Day September 17th
The 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. 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.
The official 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 the sisters in turn, Hadrian urged them to offer sacrifice to the goddess Artemis. The young girls (Faith was 12, Hope was 10 and Love was 9) remained unyielding.
Then the emperor gave orders to torture them. They burned at the holy virgins over an iron grating, then threw them into a red-hot oven, and then into a cauldron with boiling tar, but the Lord by His Unseen Power preserved them.
The 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.
They subjected St. Sophia to another grievous torture: the mother was forced to watch the suffering of her daughters. She displayed adamant courage, and during this whole time she urged the girls to endure their torments for the sake of the Heavenly Bridegroom. All three maidens met their martyr's end with joy. They were beheaded.
In order to intensify the inner suffering of St. Sophia, the emperor decided to let her take the bodies of her daughters. She placed their remains in coffins and reverently conveyed them on a wagon beyond the city and buried them on a high place. St. Sophia sat there for three days by the graves of her daughters, and finally she gave up her soul to the Lord. Believers buried her body there also. The relics of the holy martyrs rest at El'zasa, in the church of Esho since the year 777.
Taken From The OCA Website.
For a description of this icon and the troparion and kontakion for this saint please click here