St. Bassa, Martyr, And Her Sons


Commemorated on August 21

St. Bassa with her sons Theognis, Agapius and Pistus, lived in the city of Macedonian Edessa. St. Bassa 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 reign of Emperor Maximian Galerius in the fourth century, St. Bassa and her children were denounced by their husband and father. In spite of threats, the boys refused to offer sacrifice to idols, so they were tortured and put to death.

St. Bassa was thrown into prison and was weakened by hunger, but an angel strengthened her with heavenly food. Under torture she remained unharmed by fire, water and beasts. When she was brought to a pagan temple, she shattered the statue of Zeus. She was then thrown into a whirlpool in the sea. However, to everyone's surprise a ship sailed up, and three radiant young men pulled her up out of the water. (St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain suggests that these were her children, martyred earlier).

After eight days St. Bassa came by ship to the governor of the island of Alona, not far from Cyzicus, in the Propontis or Sea of Marmora. After being beaten with rods, she was beheaded.

By 450, there was already a church in St. Bassa’s honor at Chalcedon.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)