On April 3, 304, in Thessalonica, Macedonia, the world witnessed the martyrdom of Saints Agape, Chionia, and Irene, three sisters who paid the ultimate price for their unwavering faith. A document from that era narrates their story, preserving their legacy.

The backdrop to their martyrdom was a decree by Emperor Diocletian in 303, criminalizing the possession of Christian scriptures. This decree placed the sisters in dire straits. Agape, Chionia, and Irene, daughters of pagan parents in Salonika, had hidden several sacred texts. Their devotion to these texts was profound; they lamented the lost opportunity to engage with them freely.

Their arrest wasn’t for the hidden scriptures but for their refusal to consume food sacrificed to pagan gods. Brought before Governor Dulcetius, they were interrogated. Agape spoke, embodying their steadfast faith: “I believe in the living God, and will not by an evil action lose all the merit of my past life.”

Agape and Chionia faced the death sentence, condemned to be burned alive. Irene, due to her youth, initially received a sentence of imprisonment. The execution of her sisters led to a search of their residence, uncovering the concealed scriptures.

Irene’s fate took a dark turn. Sent to a brothel for soldiers, she was subjected to indignities but remained untouched, a testament to her protected state. Her refusal to renounce her faith led to her execution, believed to be either by self-immolation or more likely, an arrow to the throat. The scriptures she and her sisters cherished were destroyed in a public spectacle.

Their feast is April 3rd.

Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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The post Saints Agape, Chionia, and Irene appeared first on uCatholic.

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