Abdas of Susa

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Abdias (Abidas or Obadiah) of Persia (Menologion of Basil II).jpg
Born4th century
Venerated in Roman Catholicism
Eastern Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Feast May 16

Abdas, (also Abda, Abdias, and Audas) was bishop of Susa in Iran. Socrates of Constantinople calls him "bishop of Persia". [1] He was executed under the orders of shah Yazdegerd I after to refusing to rebuild a Zoroastrian fire temple that he had destroyed.

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

Susa Ancient city in Iran

Susa was an ancient city of the Proto-Elamite, Elamite, First Persian Empire, Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian empires of Iran, and one of the most important cities of the Ancient Near East. It is located in the lower Zagros Mountains about 250 km (160 mi) east of the Tigris River, between the Karkheh and Dez Rivers. The site now "consists of three gigantic mounds, occupying an area of about one square kilometer, known as the Apadana mound, the Acropolis mound, and the Ville Royale mound."

Iran A Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With 82 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Its territory spans 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), making it the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the political and economic center of Iran, and the largest and most populous city in Western Asia with more than 8.8 million residents in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area.



Abdas was born in fourth-century Chaldor to a Zoroastrian mother, who educated him in matters of virtue. After Abdas reached adulthood, he was ordained a Christian priest, and built up in his hometown a monastery and a school, which grew to have around 60 teachers. Abdas baptized many converts in Chaldor, which caused the magi to arrest him. In prison, Abdas was subjected to humiliations, hunger and pain, but remained a Christian until his release. Abdas became a bishop in Kaskhar (Susa). [2]

Abdas was an associate of Maruthas of Martyropolis. Abdas is supposed to have helped Maruthas in driving out a demon from King Yezdegerd's son. [1] However, his impetuosity, put an end to the good relations between the Persian king and the Christian community. In c.419-420, Abdas, in cooperation with a band of Christian priests and laymen, levelled a Zoroastrian fire temple, which made the court have them summoned to answer for their actions. [3] Yazdegerd I reputedly asked Abdas; "Since you are the chief and leader of these men, why do you allow them to despise our kingdom, to transgress against our command, and to act in accordance with their own will? Do you demolish and destroy our houses of worship and the foundations of our fire temples, which we have received from the fathers of our fathers to honor?" [3] While Abdas hesitated to answer, a priest in his entourage replied back, saying "I demolished the foundation and extinguished the fire because it is not a house of God, nor is the fire the daughter of God." [3] Demolishing a fire temple was reportedly a way of broadcasting the "victory of Christianity." [3] Abdas ultimately refused to have the fire temple rebuilt, and was as a result, along with his entourage, executed. [3]

Maruthas of Martyropolis 5th century Christian Saint

Saint Maruthas or Marutha of Martyropolis was a Syrian monk who became bishop of Maypherkat in Mesopotamia (Meiafarakin) for a period beginning before 399 through 410. He's believed to have died before 420. He is venerated as a Saint by Catholics, Greek Orthodox believers and Copts, his feast being kept on 4 December.

Fire temple Zoroastrian temple

A fire temple in Zoroastrianism is the place of worship for Zoroastrians, often called dar-e mehr (Persian) or agiyari (Gujarati). In the Zoroastrian religion, fire, together with clean water, are agents of ritual purity. Clean, white "ash for the purification ceremonies [is] regarded as the basis of ritual life", which "are essentially the rites proper to the tending of a domestic fire, for the temple [fire] is that of the hearth fire raised to a new solemnity". For, one "who sacrifices unto fire with fuel in his hand ..., is given happiness".

Abdas' companions included the priests Hashu and Isaac, the secretary Ephrem, the hypodeacon Papa, the laymen Daduk and Durdan, and Papa, a brother of Abdas himself were also killed. His feast day is 5 September or 16 May [4] in the Roman Catholic Church, and March 31 in the Syrian church.


  1. 1 2 Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical history, vii. 8 Archived 2005-01-18 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Saint Abdas”. New Catholic Dictionary, 29 January 2011 Archived 30 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Payne 2015, p. 47.
  4. "St. Abdas - Catholic Online". Catholic Online. Archived from the original on 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2007-09-08.

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