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Feast Day : August 1



Name meaning: Wisdom



Also known as: Sapientia



Sophia is a legendary saint in the cult of Divine Wisdom. She is said to be the mother of Faith, Hope and Charity. The origins of her legend can be traced to the Pistis Sophia, a fourth-century Coptic manuscript. The Pistis Sophia is a Gnostic gospel professing to contain the esoteric teachings of the risen Christ to his disciples in response to their questions and in the form of dialogue. It was purchased from a London bookshop in 1733 and was given to the British Museum in 1785. The codex is divided into four books, the first three of which are considered the true Pistis Sophia, and probably were written between 250 and 350. The title, Pistis Sophia, has been translated as “Faithful Wisdom.” According to the Epistle of Eugnostos, a Nag Hammadi codex, Sophia is both the consort of the Savior and the female designation of the sixth of the emanations manifested by him. According to the text, after Jesus rose from the dead he taught among his disciples for 11 years. In the 12th and final year of his sojourn, prior to his final Ascension, Jesus revealed the “supreme mystery” to his followers on the 15th of January. The disciples gathered around Jesus at the Mount of Olives. As the sun came up, a light beyond measure, coming from “the Light of lights,” descended and enveloped Jesus. It extended from below the earth to the heavens. Before his trembling disciples, Jesus ascended into heaven. Angels and archangels and the “powers of the heights” praised the “Inmost of the Inmost” for all the world to hear. The following day, Jesus descended from heaven in a cloud of brilliant light. He told his disciples that he had journeyed through the aeons (Gnostic levels of heaven) and had met Pistis Sophia alone and in mourning. At the request of Mary, he told of her lamentations at having fallen from the 13th aeon into the realm of matter. He restored her to her heavenly place. He went on to discuss the mysteries of light, the Ineffable, the origin of sin and evil, and the after-death punishments of the wicked. In Christian lore, Sophia’s daughters suffered martyrdom during Emperor Hadrian’s (r. 117–138) persecution of Christians. Faith, 12, was scourged and went unharmed when boiling pitch was poured on her; she was beheaded. Hope, 10, and Charity, nine, were tossed into a furnace and emerged unscathed; they also were beheaded. Sophia died three days later while praying at their graves. In the Roman Martyrology, Sophia is a Roman widow, and her feast is September 30.

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