Happy name day to all Sophias, Sofia, Elpida and Agapi who celebrate today September the 17th.
About Saint Sophia
Saint Sophia, who is also referred to as Sophia the Martyr, was alive during the early days of the Christian Church. It is unknown of when exactly she was born, but we do know that she resided in the region that we know as Italy today. She is mostly associated with her three daughters and the fact that she was a widow.
Her daughters are an especially important part of her story. She was a strong Christian and when her children were born, she named them after the three virtues that are mentioned in the Bible – Faith, Hope, and Love meaning in Greek Elpida, Agapi and Pisti. They were all alive during a time when the Emperor Hadrian regularly tortured Christians in order to prevent the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Despite this, her whole family were Christians.
Martyrdom of Saint Sophia
Saint Sophia and her daughters didn’t hide their religion even thought they knew that Christians were being regularly persecuted. Antiochus, a Roman official, told the Emperor Hadrian that Sophia and her daughters were Christians. Hadrian ordered that they be brought to Rome in order to persuade them to denounce their Christianity.
Knowing that they were to be brought to the emperor, they prayed to Jesus Christ for strength. When the time for them to appear to Hadrian, those witnessing it would later remark as to how composed they looked. Hadrian told them to denounce their religion during this meeting, and all four of them stayed true to their beliefs.
He tried to get each of the girls to make a sacrifice to Artemis, one of their pagan goddesses. The girls each refused. As a result of this, all three of the girls were tortured in gruesome ways. Hadrian’s hope is that this would then persuade Sophia to turn her back on Christ. She didn’t. She took her daughters’ bodies, buried them, and stayed by their graves until she perished. All four of them are considered to be martyrs.