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St. Sophia

There are two groups of martyrs called Sophia (Wisdom), Faith, Hope, and Charity. The names sound like pious fiction and some scholars have doubted either group’s existence. Early writers generally did not realize that two different groups were being referred to. However, evidence in early martyrologies of both the Western and the Eastern Church points to their historical existence. During the reign of Hadrian, a Roman woman, Sophia and her three young daughters Pistis (Faith), Elpis (Hope), and Agape (Charity) were martyred. Another source relates that Sophia died three days after her daughters had been martyred as she was praying near their tomb. All four were buried on the Aurelian Way. During a later persecution Sapientia (Wisdom) Spes (Hope), Fides (Faith) and Caritas (Charity) were killed and buried close to the St. Cecilia’s tomb in the catacomb of St. Callistus; the relationship of these four women to each other is not known. The feast of the first mentioned St. Sophia is September 30.

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