Abdas of Susa
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Abdas, (also Abda, Abdias, and Audas) was bishop of Susa in Iran (Socrates of Constantinople also calls him "bishop of Persia"). He was born in fourth-century Chaldor to a Zoroastrian mother. The latter educated him in matters of virtue.
After Abdas was educated and reached adulthood, he was ordained a Christian priest, and built up in his hometown a monastery and a school, which he took personal care of and which grew to have around 60 teachers, as some say.[who?] Abdas baptized many converts in Chaldor, which caused the magi to arrest him. In his prison, Abdas was subjected to humiliations, hunger and pain, but remained a Christian until his release.
During the persecution that was led by Shapur II against the Christians, a tree-cross[clarification needed] grew up from the ground and supposedly caused numerous miracles.[according to whom?] This tree brought many people around it, where they built a monastery, which Abdas later joined and used as a base to preach his faith. Abdas became a bishop over Kaskhar (Susa), and many people become his disciples.
Engaged in a dispute with the local magi in AD 420, he was accused of burning down one of their temples, a pyramid of Ahura Mazda. King Yazdegerd ordered the bishop to restore and repair the building at his own expense; upon Abdas's refusal the King ordered the destruction of the churches. These events soured the relationship between the Christian church and the Persian government, which had previously been good, and caused a wave of persecution against the Christians in Persia. Beyond this, Abdas is supposed to have helped Maruthas in driving out a demon from Yezdegerd's son. Nothing else certain is known of him. Tradition adds to this that he was one of the first martyred in the persecution (he was clubbed to death), and for this he is considered a saint. His companions in the killings included the priests Hashu and Isaac, the secretary Ephrem, the hypodeacon Papa, the laymen Daduk and Durdan, and Papa, a brother of Abdas himself. His feast day is 5 September or 16 May in the Roman Catholic Church, and March 31 in the Syrian church.
- Maronite Heritage, http://www.maronite-heritage.com/LNE.php?page=16May
- De Lacy O'Leary; The Syriac Church and Fathers (2002)
- Smith, William & Wace, Henry (editors); A dictionary of Christian biography, literature, sects and doctrine, "Abda", (1877). (96MB PDF)
- Theodoret, Ecclesiastical history, Blomfield Jackson (translator) (1892)
- Holweck, F. G., "A Biographical Dictionary of the Saints". St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1924.