Orthodox icon | Saint Sophia of Milano with Fides, Spes and Caritas | 25050


  • Russian icon
  • 17.5 x 14 cm | 6.9 x 5.5 in
  • 19th century


These Holy Martyrs lived in Italy during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (117-137). They came from a godly and wealthy family, and their mother brought them up in the faith, hope, and love that she named them. One day while they were in Rome, the three young girls and their mother were arrested by order of the emperor, who had heard the call of their faith and virtue. Surprised by the steadfastness shown by the three daughters during the interrogation, despite their young age, he had them brought out one by one, believing that this would make it easier for him to persuade them to apostasy. Pistis/Fides (“Faith”), who was 12 years old, was the first to be brought before the tyrant. Fearless, she rejected his flatteries and denounced his godlessness and vain machinations against Christians. In a rage, the emperor had her stripped and mercilessly beaten. Then her breasts were torn off, from which milk flowed instead of blood. The further tortures had no effect either, for God’s power protected the saint. Encouraged by her mother to endure with joy the death that united her to Christ she finally beheaded. Then the Emperor had Elpis/Spes (“Hope”) brought in, who was 10 years old. As unshakable in her profession of Christ as her sister, she was flogged and then thrown into a fiery furnace, which died as soon as the flames touched her, for her love for God burned hotter than any earthly fire. After some more tortures, she too completed her life by the sword and giving thanks to God. Nearly insane with anger, Hadran summoned the third sister, Agapi/Caritas (“Love”), who was only 9 years old. But he found in the child the same manly determination as in the other sisters. So he had her hanged and so tightly that her limbs broke. Then they threw her into a fiery furnace, but an angel freed her. Finally, she too was beheaded. Sophia the mother rejoiced in spirit at the victorious departure of her daughters to the dwelling places of the saints, but her human heart was overcome with pain, so that a little later she gave up the ghost to the Lord at her children’s grave.

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Orthodox icon | Saint Sophia of Milano with Fides, Spes and Caritas | 25050
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