Abdas of Susa
|Venerated in||Roman Catholicism |
Abdas was born in fourth-century Chaldor to a Zoroastrian mother, who educated him in matters of virtue. After Abdas reached adulthood, he was ordained a Christian priest, and built up in his hometown a monastery and a school, which grew to have around 60 teachers. Abdas baptized many converts in Chaldor, which caused the magi to arrest him. In prison, Abdas was subjected to humiliations, hunger and pain, but remained a Christian until his release. Abdas became a bishop in Kaskhar (Susa).
Abdas was an associate of Maruthas of Martyropolis. Abdas is supposed to have helped Maruthas in driving out a demon from King Yezdegerd's son. However, his impetuosity, put an end to the good relations between the Persian king and the Christian community. Engaged in a dispute with the local magi in AD 420, Abdas destroyed one of the fire temples of the Zoroastrians. Complaint was made to King Yazdegerd, who ordered the bishop to restore the building and make good all damage that he had committed. Abdas refused to rebuild a heathen temple at his own expense. 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. The result was that orders were issued for the destruction of all churches, and these were carried out by the Zoroastrians, who had regarded with great envy the royal favour extended to Maruthas and his co-religionists. Before long the destruction of churches developed into a general persecution, in which Abdas was one of the first martyrs.
His companions included the priests Hashu and Isaac, the secretary Ephrem, the hypodeacon Papa, the laymen Daduk and Durdan, and Papa, a brother of Abdas himself were also killed. His feast day is 5 September or 16 May in the Roman Catholic Church, and March 31 in the Syrian church.
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