St. Sophia and Her Three Daughters, 

Faith, Hope, and Love

St. Sophia Icon

How can St. Sophia and her Three Daughters intercede for us? 

St. Sophia is known for teaching and speaking the truth even when it results in the death of her own family. Faith, Hope, and Love are pure examples of defending their faith no matter their age. Many students pray to St. Sophia and her daughters for strength and courage in any persecution they are facing in their lives.

The Life of St. Sophia and her Daughters

The Holy Martyrs Saint Sophia and her Daughters Faith, Hope and Love were born in Italy. Sophia 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, and they did not hide their faith, openly confessing it before everyone.

The faith of Saint Sophia and her daughters was brought to the attention of Emperor Hadrian. Emperor Hadrian ordered that they be brought to Rome. When they appeared before the emperor, all those present were amazed at their composure. They looked as though they had been brought to some happy festival, rather than to torture. Hadrian urged Faith, Hope, and Love, one by one to offer sacrifice to the goddess Artemis, but each daughter stood strong in their faith. 

The emperor then ordered Faith, Hope, and Love to be tortured. St. Sophia was subjected to another type of grievous torture: she 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. At the time of their martyrdom, Faith was twelve, Hope was ten, and Love was nine.

In order to intensify St. Sophia’s suffering, the emperor permitted her to take the bodies of her daughters for burial. Sitting by their graves for three days, 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. Their relics have rested at El’zasa, in the Church of Esho, since the year 777.

Feast day: September 17

Adapted from “St. Sophia and Her Three Daughters” gs.

Discussion Questions

  1. What parallels are there between your own life and the life of Saint Sophia and her daughters? Have you had an experience in your life where you have been called to defend the faith like Saint Sophia? Did you follow Saint Sophia’s example?
  2. How is St. Sophia’s martyrdom different from most martyrs in the Church? Why is she considered a martyr even though she did not die like her daughters? How can we strengthen our character such that we could withstand persecution or martyrdom?
  3. At the time of their martyrdom, Saint Faith was twelve, Saint Hope was ten, and Saint Love was nine. What fundamental experiences did you have in your childhood that influenced your relationship with God? What role did your parents play in that experience? How do those experiences influence who you are today and how you live your life in Christ?

Learn their Troparion

“Like a most fruitful olive tree you did blossom forth. In the folds of the Lord, Sophia most pious, and to Christ you did bring sweetest fruit. The tender sprouts of your womb, through divine martyrdom, Agape along with Hope, and Faith, the God minded, with whom do we entreat for all of us.”

Pray to them

O holy Saint Sophia, mother and protector of the Christian faith, pray for us who are struggling to defend our faith. Just as you led your daughters to the crowns of martyrdom, help us bear our crosses. Blessed Saints Faith, Hope and Love, intercede for us that we may attain even a sliver of your courage and youthful wisdom. Saints Sophia, Faith, Hope, and Love, please intercede for us. Amen. 

Related Saints

St. Katherine

St. Anastasia

St. Argyre

St. Paul the Apostle

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