- Faith, Hope and Charity
1 Corinthians 13for the Biblical use of the phrase"Infobox Saint
name=Faith, Hope, and Charity
birth_date=2nd Century AD
death_date=2nd Century AD
August 1, September 17
Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Anglican Church
caption=Saints Faith, Hope, and Charity with their mother Sophia the Martyr.
titles=Saints Faith, Hope, and Charity
Faith, Hope and Charity (
Latin: Fides, Spes et Caritas, New Testament Greek: polytonic|Πίστις, Ἐλπίς καὶ Ἀγάπη (Pistis, Elpis, and Agape), Church Slavonic: Unicode|Вѣра, Надежда, Любы (Věra, Nadežda, Ljuby) are a group of Christian martyred saints. Their mother is said to have been Sophia (Greek for Wisdom); Sapientia (Latin for Wisdom) is also mentioned in some accounts, though not as their mother. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, these were, in fact, two groups bearing the same names. The names are also the words designing the three key Christian virtues mentioned in Apostle Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians(1 Corinthians 13:13).
The Roman martyrology names on
1 August, "the holy virgins, Faith, Hope and Charity, who won the crown of martyrdom under the Emperor Hadrian" and, on 30 Sept., "St. Sophia, widow, mother of the holy virgins, Faith, Hope and Charity". According to tradition, Faith or Pistis was twelve years old; Hope or Elpis was ten and Charity or Agape was nine. [ [http://www.faithhope.org/Parish/AboutParish.html Saints Faith, Hope, and Charity Catholic Parish] ] In some places, on 1 August, St. Sapientia (perhaps distinct from Sophia, see below) is also venerated. In the Eastern Church, the feast is kept on 17 September.
Accurate historical data about the saints is minimal. The cult is very ancient, and the names are found not only in the various early martyrologies of the
Western Church, but also in the Menaia and Menologies of the Ancient Greeks. In the preserved documents, there are two groups of references. On the one hand, they mention a band of martyrs, mother and daughters, whose names are always given in Greek, and who are buried on the Aurelian Way. On the other hand, the documents speak of four martyrs, interred on the Via Appia, whose relationship is not indicated and whose names, though the same as those of the martyrs of the Aurelian Way, are yet always given in Latin. This can be interpreted as pointing to distinct groups.
Setting aside the clearly legendary accounts that have come down to us (see Migne, P.G. CXV, 497;
Mombritius, "Vitae Sanctorum", II, 204), the stories go as follows. In the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian(2nd century AD), a matron Sophia (Wisdom), with her three youthful daughters, Pistis, Elpis, and Agape (Greek for Faith, Hope and Charity), became Catholic martyrs, and all three were interred on the Aurelian Way. Their tomb in a crypt beneath the church afterwards erected to Saint Pancratiuswas long a place of resort for pilgrims, as detailed in various documents of the seventh century, such as an Itinerarium (or guide to the holy places of Rome compiled for the use of pilgrims) still preserved at Salzburg, the list, preserved in the cathedral archives of Monza, of the oils gathered from the tombs of the martyrs and sent to Queen Theodelindain the time of Gregory the Great, etc.
Later surely than the reign of Hadrian, but at what time is uncertain, a presumably separate band of martyrs, Sapientia (Wisdom) and her three companions, Spes, Fides and Caritas (Latin for Hope, Faith and Charity), suffered death and were buried near the tomb of
St Ceciliain the cemetery of St. Callistuson the Appian Way.
The coincidence in names can be explained by the fact that the early Christians often (according to Italian archaeologist
Giovanni Battista De Rossi) took in baptism mystical names indicative of Christian virtues, etc. Thus Sophia, Sapientia, Fides and the like are common names in early Christian inscriptionsand martyrologies.
Gloster Gladiatorfighters "Faith", "Hope" and "Charity" defended Maltaagainst the Italian Air Forceduring the early part of the siege of Maltain World War II.
Panavia TornadoF3 fighters of No. 1435 Flight RAF, based in the Falkland Islands, are named "Faith", "Hope" and "Charity."
*Faith, Hope and Charity are also the name of some Christmas decorations used in Finland (especially near the town of
Jakobstad). They are symbolized by a cross, an anchor and a heart.
Sophia the Martyr, their purported mother
St Faithof Aquitaine
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