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Who was Saint Sophia?

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Quick Answer

Saint Sophia was an Italian widow who lived in Rome during the time of Emperor Hadrian. She and her three daughters, Pistis, Elpis and Agape, are honored by Catholics as holy martyrs for their devout faith in Christ despite being tortured and eventually killed for their beliefs. In life, Sophia and her daughters tried to live as virtuously as they could while pursuing wisdom through the writings of earlier Christian scholars.

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Full Answer

According to the story, when Hadrian heard of the family, he demanded they be brought before him. Putting her faith in God, Sophia went before the emperor's throne and declared herself a Christian, knowing that she and her daughters would likely be killed for their religion. Nevertheless, she instructed her daughters to remain faithful and steadfast in their love of God.

As the emperor spoke to the three daughters, he attempted to transfer their worship and loyalty from Christ to himself. First to reject Hadrian's sovereignty was Pistis (meaning faith), who was stripped, beaten and beheaded for it. Next was Elpis (hope), who Hadrian's men unsuccessfully attempted to burn before killing her with a sword. Finally, the steadfastness of Agape (love) was punished by hanging and beheading.

Saint Sophia is said to have been pleased with the deaths of her daughters, seeing their sacrifice as a gift to the Holy Trinity.

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