|Order Icons of the Holy Martyrs|
Understanding why they were being lead to the emperor, the holy virgins prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking him to give them strength to withstand the inevitable suffering and death. When the holy maidens along with their mother, appeared before the emperor, all those present were astonished to see them so calm and at peace: it almost seemed as if they were invited to a marvelous feast, rather than torture. The Emperor began to call the sister one by one and urged them to offer sacrifice to the goddess Artemida.
|On their way to Martydom|
The young maidens (Faith was 12, Hope - 10 and Love - 9 years) remained unwavering in their faith. Then, the emperor ordered to brutally torture them. The holy maidens were burned on an iron grate, thrown into a fiery furnace and into a cauldron of boiling tar, yet the Lord invisibly keep them safe. The youngest daughter, Love, was tied to a wheel and beaten with sticks until her body was covered entirely with wounds. While enduring such unprecedented torments, the holy virgins glorified their Heavenly Bridegroom and remained firm in their faith.
Meanwhile, Saint Sophia was subjected to an even worse type of torture as she was forced to watch the suffering of her three daughters. However, she showed extraordinary courage and continuously urged the girls to withstand the torture in the name of their heavenly Bridegroom. All three girls happily greeted their martyrdom as they were beheaded.
To prolong the suffering of St. Sophia, the Emperor allowed her to take the bodies of her daughters. Sofia put the remains into an ark, and held a chariot procession to the outskirts of the city where she buried them. Saint Sofia stayed at the grave of her daughters for three days and after those days had passed she peacefully passed away, giving her soul to the Lord. Other faithful Christians buried here there as well. Since the year 777, the relics of the Holy Martyrs remain in Alsace, France in the Church in Eschen.