Abda and Abdjesus

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Abda and Abdjesus
Bishops, Martyrs
Died16 May, 366 or 375
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Syrian Church
Feast16 May

Abda and Abdjesus were two Christian bishops who were martyred at Kashkar under Shapur II[note 1] on 16 May, in either 366 AD or 375 AD.[1] They were first placed between heavy boards to crush their bones, and later beheaded.

There may have been a political aspect to the persecution, since the king was attempting to establish Mazdeism as the state religion and judged Christians as the natural allies of the Romans.[2] In 339-340 the king began the prosecution with the help of Jews and Magi of bishop of Seleucia and Ctesifonte, Simeone Bar Sabbã, having accused him in the friendly support of Roman Empire. The historian Sozomen wrote about 22 martyrs who were tortured together. In his book he mentioned Abdas and Abdjesus in 15-th and 16-th places in his list of martyrs. This information is worth of trusting because it was written in less than 100 years after their death. ll of the martyrs were first interrogated by the king but later he charged his brother Ardashir to continue. He urged the martyrs to deny Christ and worship the Sun, but they were firm in their faith.[3]

Their feast day is commemorated on 16 May according to the Martyrologium Romanum, the Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church, and in the Syrian Church as well. The biographical text Ausgewählte Akten Persischer Märtyrer by Oskar Braun also mentions the names of several of the other martyrs, including:

  • 16 priests - Abdallah, Simeon, Abraham, Abda of Kashkar, Ajabel, Joseph, Han, Ebedjesu, Abdallah, John, Ebedjesu, Maris, Berhadbesciaba, Rozichaeus, Abdallah, and Ebedjesu
  • 9 deacons - Eliab, Ebedjesu, Marjab, Maris, Abdias, Berhadbesciaba, Han, Simeon, and Maris
  • 6 monks - Papa, Evolesus, Ebedjesu and others, and
  • 7 unnamed virgins.[4]


  1. ^ The Greek text states that they suffered under the brother of King Ardashir II (i.e.: "ἀπεστάλη στὸ Μβεὴτ Λαβάτ, πρὸς τὸν ἀδελφὸ τοῦ βασιλέως Ἀρσήθ").[1] It is well known that under the reign of Shapur, Ardashir II had served as governor-King of Adiabene, where he had reportedly persecuted Christians.



  • Holweck, F. G. A Biographical Dictionary of the Saints. St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1924.
  • Fr. Joseph Irvin Vespers: Orthodox Service Books - Number 6. Lulu Press, Inc, 28 September 2017.
  • Fr. Joseph Irvin The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom: Orthodox Service Books - Number 1, Lulu Press, Inc, 8 July 2017.