The Holy Martyress Pherbutha and her Sister and Servants

Commemorated on April 4

      The Holy Martyress Pherbutha and her Sister and Servants accepted a martyr's death for Christ between the years 341 and 343. Saint Pherbutha and her sister, whose name is unknown, were sisters by birth of the Seleucia bishop Simeon, who suffered for Christ under the Persian emperor Sapor between the years 341-344. Both sisters and their servants had been brought to the court by the empress to attend her. Saint Pherbutha was distinguished by her extraordinary beauty, and the empress suggested to her to enter into marriage to gain high position. The saint refused, since she had given a vow of virginity in total service to God. Soon the empress fell ill. The sorcerers, which they brought in to treat the empress, saw Saint Pherbutha and were struck by her extraordinary beauty. One of them turned to her with a proposal, that she become his wife. The saint answered him, that she was a Christian and had given a vow to remain a bride of Christ.
      The offended sorcerer reported to the emperor, that the reason for the sickness of the empress was poison, given her by servants. By order of the emperor Saint Pherbutha, and her sister and servants were brought to trial.
      At the trial the holy martyresses fearlessly declared, that they were Christians and they would not do the wickedness of which they were accused, and that they were prepared to accept death for Christ.
      The chief judge, the sorcerer Mauptis, was captivated by the beauty of the holy virgin Pherbutha, and he secretly sent to her his servant into the prison with an offer to free her and her companions, if only the maiden would consent to become his wife. The two other judges made similar offers to the holy virgin, secretly one after the other.
      Saint Pherbutha resolutely refused all these offers, saying that she was a bride of Christ and could never consent to an earthly marriage.
      After this, the martyresses were found guilty of being Christians and of working magic in the poisoning of the empress, and they were sentenced to death by execution. They tied each of them to two pillars and sawed them in half. The bodies of the holy martyresses were thrown into a ditch, from which Christians secretly retrieved them and gave them burial.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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