Agape, Chionia, and Irene
Saints Agape, Chionia, and Irene
Agape, Chionia, and Irene
Agape, Chionia and Irene, along with a few others, were brought before Dulcitius, on the charge of refusing to eat food which had been earlier offered in sacrifice to the gods. He questioned them saying: "Wretches, what madness is this of yours, that you will not obey the pious commands of the emperors and Cæsars? Why will you not eat of the meats offered to the gods, like other subjects of the empire?"
Chionia responded: "I believe in the living God, and for that reason did not obey your orders."
Later, during the same examination, Ducitius asked: "Have you not some books, papers, or other writings, relating to the religion of the impious Christians?"
Chionia replied: "We have none: the emperors now reigning have taken them all from us."
After further interrogation, Dulcitius pronounced his sentence: "I condemn Agape and Chionia to be burned alive, for having out of malice and obstinacy acted in contradiction to the divine edicts of our lords the emperors and Cæsars, and who at present profess the rash and false religion of Christians, which all pious persons abhor."
After Chionia and Agape were executed, Dulcitius found that Irene had kept 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.
Four other individuals were tried with the sisters: Agatho, Casia, Philippa, and Eutychia. Of these, one woman was remanded as she was pregnant. The fates of the other three are unknown.
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- Attwater, Donald & John, Catherine Rachel. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-14-051312-4.
- Schiavo, Anthony P. I Am A Christian: Authentic Accounts of Christian Martyrdom and Persecution from the Ancient Sources, Merchantville, NJ: Arx Publishing, 2018. (Includes the complete English translation of the ancient Acts of Agape, Chionia and Irene): ISBN 978-1-935228-18-9
- Full online text of Hrosvitha's play, Dulcitus, Fordham University.