Abda and Abdjesus

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Abda and Abdjesus
Bishops, Martyrs
Died16 May, 366 or 375
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Syrian Church
Feast 16 May

Abda and Abdjesus were two Christian bishops who were martyred at Kashkar under Shapur II [note 1] on 16 May, in either 366 AD or 375 AD. [1] They were first placed between heavy boards to crush their bones, and later beheaded.

Christianity is a religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, Eucharist [Holy Communion], prayer, confession, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations have ordained clergy and hold regular group worship services.

Martyr person who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a belief or cause, usually a religious one

A martyr is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a belief or cause as demanded by an external party. This refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of the martyr by the oppressor. Originally applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause.

Shapur II Shah of Persia

Shapur II, also known as Shapur II the Great, was the tenth Shahanshah of the Sasanian Empire. The longest-reigning monarch in Iranian history, he reigned for his entire 70-year life from 309 to 379. He was the son of Hormizd II.


There may have been a political aspect to the persecution, since the king was attempting to establish Mazdeism as the state religion and judged Christians as the natural allies of the Romans. [2] In 339-340 the king began the prosecution with the help of Jews and Magi of bishop of Seleucia and Ctesifonte, Simeone Bar Sabbã, having accused him in the friendly support of Roman Empire. The historian Sozomen wrote about 22 martyrs who were tortured together. In his book he mentioned Abdas and Abdjesus in 15-th and 16-th places in his list of martyrs. This information is worth of trusting because it was written in less than 100 years after their death. ll of the martyrs were first interrogated by the king but later he charged his brother Ardashir to continue. He urged the martyrs to deny Christ and worship the Sun, but they were firm in their faith. [3]

Zoroastrianism Ancient Iranian religion founded by Zoroaster

Zoroastrianism, or Mazdayasna, is one of the world's oldest religions that remains active. It is a monotheistic faith, centered in a dualistic cosmology of good and evil and an eschatology predicting the ultimate destruction of evil. Ascribed to the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster, it exalts a deity of wisdom, Ahura Mazda, as its Supreme Being. Major features of Zoroastrianism, such as messianism, judgment after death, heaven and hell, and free will have influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.

Magi group of people who follow Mazdaism or Zoroaster

Magi denotes followers of Zoroastrianism or Zoroaster. The earliest known use of the word Magi is in the trilingual inscription written by Darius the Great, known as the Behistun Inscription. Old Persian texts, pre-dating the Hellenistic period, refer to a Magus as a Zurvanic, and presumably Zoroastrian, priest.

Seleucia capital of the Seleucid Empire

Seleucia, also known as Seleucia-on-Tigris or Seleucia on the Tigris, was a major Mesopotamian city of the Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian empires. It stood on the west bank of the Tigris River opposite Ctesiphon, within the present-day Baghdad Governorate in Iraq.

Their feast day is commemorated on 16 May according to the Martyrologium Romanum, the Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church , and in the Syrian Church as well. The biographical text Ausgewählte Akten Persischer Märtyrer by Oskar Braun also mentions the names of several of the other martyrs, including:


Synaxarion or Synexarion is the name given in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches to a compilation of hagiographies corresponding roughly to the martyrology of the Roman Church.

Syriac Orthodox Church

The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, or Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, is an Oriental Orthodox Church with autocephalous patriarchate established by Severus of Antioch in Antioch in 518, tracing its founding to Antioch by Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the 1st century as described in the Acts of the Apostles, and according to its tradition. It was then restructured by Severus of Antioch in Antioch in 518. The Church uses the Divine Liturgy of Saint James, associated with St. James, the "brother" of Jesus and patriarch among the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem. Syriac is the official and liturgical language of the Church based on Syriac Christianity. The primate of the church is the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch currently H.H. Ignatius Aphrem II since 2014, seated in Cathedral of Saint George, Bab Tuma, Damascus, Syria.

Ausgewählte Akten Persischer Märtyrer is a book by Oskar Braun which was published in 1915 in Kempten. It contains biographical material regarding several saints, including:

  • 16 priests - Abdallah, Simeon, Abraham, Abda of Kashkar, Ajabel, Joseph, Han, Ebedjesu, Abdallah, John, Ebedjesu, Maris, Berhadbesciaba, Rozichaeus, Abdallah, and Ebedjesu
  • 9 deacons - Eliab, Ebedjesu, Marjab, Maris, Abdias, Berhadbesciaba, Han, Simeon, and Maris
  • 6 monks - Papa, Evolesus, Ebedjesu and others, and
  • 7 unnamed virgins. [4]

Ajabel was the name of a priest martyred with Abda and Abdjesus in Kaskhar on May 16, 366, and several others. They are memorialized in the Christian Church with a feast on May 16.


  1. The Greek text states that they suffered under the brother of King Ardashir II (i.e.: "ἀπεστάλη στὸ Μβεὴτ Λαβάτ, πρὸς τὸν ἀδελφὸ τοῦ βασιλέως Ἀρσήθ"). [1] It is well known that under the reign of Shapur, Ardashir II had served as governor-King of Adiabene, where he had reportedly persecuted Christians.

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Abdjesus is the name of several saints in the Christian church. It may refer to:

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