Agape, Chionia, and Irene

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Saints Agape, Chionia, and Irene
Agape, Chionia, and Irene.jpg
Agape, Chionia, and Irene
Born Thessalonica
Died 304 AD
Feast April 3

Saints Agape, Chionia, and Irene (Greek: Αγάπη, Χιονία και Ειρήνη meaning Love, Purity, and Peace, born in Thessalonica) were three virgin sisters who, according to Christian tradition, were martyred for their faith in the year 304 AD. The story of their martyrdom is the subject of an 11th century medieval Latin drama by the secular canoness, Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim, the first known female playwright. Their feast day is April 3.

Story[edit]

Agape, Chione and Irene were brought before Dulcitius, governor of Macedonia, on the charge of refusing to eat food which had been earlier offered in sacrifice to the gods. He asked Agape and Chionia where they had developed this objection to such food, and Chionia responded that she had learned it from her Lord Jesus Christ. She and Agape again refused to eat the sacrificed food, and were burned alive.

Meanwhile Dulcitius found that Irene had been continuing to keep Christian books, in violation of existing law. He examined her again, and she declared that when the decrees against Christians had been published, she and several others fled to the mountains. She would not name the others who had fled with her, and stated that only they knew where the books were being kept. Upon returning home from the mountains, they hid the books they had kept. Dulcitius then ordered Irene to be stripped and exposed in a brothel. This was done, and no one mistreated Irene at the brothel. The governor then gave Irene a second chance to abide by the laws, which she refused. Dulcitius then sentenced her to death. The books that had been found with her were burned as well.

Three other individuals were tried with the sisters. Of these, one woman was remanded as she was pregnant. The fates of the other two are unknown.

References[edit]