Bassa of Edessa

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The Holy martyr Bassa of Edessa, with her sons Theognis, Agapius and Pistus, were martyred during the reign of emperor Maximian Galerius in the early fourth century for refusing to offer sacrifice to idols. They are commemorated of August 21.

Life

St. Bassa lived in the city of Edessa in Macedonia with her sons Theognis, Agapius and Pistus,. Although she was married to a pagan priest, she had raised her sons from childhood in the Christian faith and had passed it on to her sons.

During the reign of Emperor Maximian Galerius in the first decade of the fourth century, her husband, their father, denounced St. Bassa and her sons to the governor. The sons, inspite of threats, refused to offer sacrifice to idols. For their refusals they were tortured and eventually martyred.

For her part, St. Bassa was thrown into prison and starved. Becoming weakened by hunger, she was visited by an angel who strengthened her with heavenly food. She was placed under torture of various sorts, yet remained unharmed by fire, water, and beasts that were used in her torture. Brought to a pagan temple, she shattered the statue of Zeus. Taken to a stormy sea, she was thrown into a whirlpool to be drowned. However, to surprise of those who had thrown her into the sea, a ship sailed up to her, and three radiant young men pulled her out of the water. (St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain suggests that these were her children, martyred earlier).

Eight days later St. Bassa was delivered by ship to the governor of the island of Alona, not far from Cyzicus, in the Propontis, or Sea of Marmora, where she was once again tortured. There, she was beaten with rods before she was beheaded.

By the year 450, a church had been dedicated in the honor of the holy martyr Bassa at Chalcedon.

Sources

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