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
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
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.