Irene Burned at Thessalonica
Martyrdom of Three Sisters
Three sisters, Chionia, Agape, and Irene, were imprisoned at Thessalonica. They had been educated in the Christian faith, but had taken great care to remain undiscovered, and had retired to a lonely place. When at last found out and seized, they seemed to loose their timidity blamed themselves for being so fearful, and prayed to God to strengthen them for the great trial they had to undergo.
When Agape was examined before Dulcatius, the governor, she was asked whether or not she was disposed to obey the laws? She answered that she was a Christian, and could not comply with any laws which required the worship of idols; that her resolution was fixed, and nothing should deter her from continuing in it. Her sister Chionia replied in the same manner. Then the governor, not being able to make them swerve from their faith, pronounced sentence of condemnation against them, and the tow were taken out and burned to death.
Irene, the youngest of the three sisters, was a beautiful girl, only about eighteen years of age. She had been forced to witness the fate of her two sisters in the hope of arousing her fears and breaking her spirit. But when she had been taken away from the dreadful scene and brought before the governor, she replied to his questions as fearlessly as her sisters had done. In vain Dulcatius urged the girl to return to the worship of the heathen gods, and to take part in the feasts held in their honor. She refused utterly to have anything to do with them, and boldly declared that she would rather follow her sisters to the fire than abandon the true faith.
the governor found that he could not influence the girl, he ordered her to be exposed in
the streets, to the insults of the soldiery. This shameful order having been carried out,
wood was brought, and a fire kindled near the city wall, amidst the flames of which the
young martyr's heroic spirit ascended beyond the reach of man's cruelty.
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