The Martyress Bassa with her sons Theognios, Agapios and Pistos

Commemorated on August 21

      The Martyress Bassa with her sons Theognios, Agapios and Pistos, lived in the city of Macedonian Edessa and she was married to a pagan-priest. From childhood she had been raised in the Christian faith, which she passed on to her sons. During the time of the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311), the husband reported to the governor on his wife and children. All of them, in spite of threats, refused to offer sacrifice to idols. They took the eldest son, Theognios, and tore at him with iron claws. They flayed the skin of the lad Agapios from head to chest, but the martyr did not utter a sound. Finally, they began to torture also the youngest son Pistos. The mother did not hesitate to encourage them to endure the suffering for Christ. Then they beheaded the lads. (By one account, the three martyred brothers suffered at Edessa in Macedonia; by another account at Larissa in Thessaly their homeland). They locked up Saint Bassa in prison and exhausted her with hunger, but an Angel strengthened her with heavenly food. Under successive tortures she remained unharmed from fire, water and beasts. When they brought her to a pagan temple, she shattered the statue of Zeus. Then they threw the martyress into a whirlpool in the sea. But to everyone's surprise a ship sailed up, and three radiant men pulled her up (the Monk Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain suggested, that these were her children, martyred earlier). After 8 days Saint Bassa came by ship to the governor of the island of Alona, not far from Kyzika, in the Prepontid or Marmora Sea. After a beating with canes they beheaded her.
      It is known, that around the year 450 there already existed at Chalcedon a church in honour of the holy Martyress Bassa.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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