10 September – Saints Menodora, Metrodora and Nymphodora – 4th Century


Saints Menodora, Nymphodora and Metrodora were three sisters who were martyred during the reign of Emperor Galerius (305-11).  They lived in Bythinia.  They are celebrated on 10 or 23 September in the liturgical calendar[1].

The three sisters decided that they wanted to renounce life in the world, live as virgins in a solitary place and live a life of prayer and fasting.   They decided to live near Pythia Thermae (modern day Termal, Yalova – a hot springs resort)   People would visit to receive healing from the waters.  After some time reports began to spread of people being healed through their prayers.  These reports eventually reached the ears of the governor of Bithynia, named Frontonus, who ordered that the women be arrested and brought to him. 
Governor Frontonus tried to persuade the women to renounce their faith but they steadfastly confessed their faith before him, rejecting all his offers and suggestions.  They made it clear that they were prepared to die for Christ, their heavenly Bridegroom knowing that death would be their entrance to eternal life, to life in the presence of their Lord and Saviour.   
Frontonus became enraged and took out his anger on St Menodora, the eldest sister.  She was stripped of her clothing and beaten while at the same time being urged to offer sacrifice to the gods that her suffering might stop.  She bravely endured the beating and cried out, “Sacrifice?  Can’t you see that I am offering myself as a sacrifice to my God?”  At this they apparently renewed their attacks and Mendora cried out again, “Lord Jesus Christ, joy of my heart, my hope, receive my soul in peace.”  With these words she committed herself to the Lord and went to be with her Heavenly Bridegroom. 
Later they showed Metrodora and Nymphodora, the two younger sisters the body of their elder sister.  The younger sisters wept over their sister but still remained steadfast in their faith. 
Then Metrodora was tortured.  She died, calling out to her beloved Lord Jesus Christ with her last breath.  The torturers then turned to the third sister, Nymphodora.  They hoped that she might have been intimidated by the death of her sisters and would renounce her faith.  Govenor Frontonus urged her to sacrifice to the pagan gods.  He tried to encourage her by offering rewards and honours but Nymphodora scoffed at his suggestions and she too was beaten to death. 
Tradition suggests that the three martyrs were to be burnt but a heavy rain extinguished the blaze and lightning struck down Frontonus and his servant.  Christians were allowed to take the bodies of the three sisters and bury them at the Hot Springs at Pythias[2]  Their suffering and faith are commemorated by a panel that tells their story.  The photo above shows this panel and the written statement is transcribed in the footnote.
Some of the relics of these three martyrs are preserved on Mt. Athos in St Panteleimon Monastery, and the hand of St Metrodora is in the Monastery of the Pantocrator.”[3]
The following hymns are in honour of St Menodora, St Nyphodora and St Metrodora who bravely continued to hold to their faith even when threatened, beaten and killed. 
Troparion – Tone 4
O Holy Martyrs,
you wisely exchanged horrible torture and bitter death for Eternal Life!
Three virgins, you confessed the unoriginate[4]Trinity at an evil council,
And for this reason were slain by the sword,
Following the way of the Lamb who was slain!
Now ever pray for us who commemorate your holy memory!
Troparion – Tone 1
Let all who rejoice at their triumph, honour these three virgin martyrs,
who are united to God as sisters and who pour forth fair streams of grace:
Menodora, Metrodora, and Nymphodora,
who were in all things courageous;
they ever pray to the Trinity for us.
Kontakion – Tone 4
Invincible in your struggles for the Holy Trinity,
And through your love for each other as sisters,
you defeated the foe of your spiritual life,
And with the five virgins, entered victoriously into the Heavenly Mansions
Where you ever rejoice with the angels in the presence of the King of All!
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen![5]
These women are part of that “great… cloud of witnesses”[6]  I believe women like Menodora, Metrodora and Nymphodora and all those who have gone before us into the presence of God are watching and waiting as we live out our faith in Christ in this world.  They are part of the ‘Church Triumphant’ that lives in heaven. 
In Revelation, the last book in the bible, the author is shown those who have been slaughtered because of their faith in Christ:
“I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given;  they cried out with a loud voice, “Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?”  They were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow servants and of their brothers and sisters, who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed. [7]
Surely the souls of martyrs like Menodora, Metrodora and Nymphodora are there in heaven awaiting the end of the world and that time when they would be avenged. 
These women remained steadfast in their faith even when tortured, threatened and killed.   They are an example to all Christians today.    


[1] The icon is copied from: http://christopherklitou.com/icon_10_sept_metrodora_menodora_nymphodora.htm.  Nymphodora is also spelt Nymphadora.  
[2]This is the Hot Spring resort of Termal near Yalova.There is a notice stating this fact there to this day.  The notice says:

An event occurred occurred in Yalova is told in the book known as ACTA SANOTORUM in which there are so many sacred religious story involving Christians.

According to common belief, 3 sisters whose names are Menodor, Metrodor and Nymphadora lived in Bitinia (the territory including YALOVA), they accepted Christianity when they became young girls.  They begun to engage in worship at one of the hills around the Pythia thermal baths (today this place is Yalova bath).

Afterward, it believed they had healed patients those came to t Termal baths by making making miracles.

This situation increased their prestige and made them more known at that time. A dark pagan Roman emperor was Galerius Maximus (AD305-311).

The emperor who had learned the situation, appointed the district Governor Fronto.  The district governor offered the sisters leaving Christianity and coming back to idolatry moreover he had offered them providing to get married with noble society by sending an assessor (Judge).

The sisters refused that offer.  they stated that they were on the way of Holy Jesus and all the gifts and awards were unworthy for themselves.

Assessor (Judge) threatened them to torture

Nymphodor stated that even though all the torture instruments all over the world came together it wouldn’t scare them and added that the death were the gate for immortal life.

Whereupon the eldest sister Menodor (was) murdered by beating with an iron bar and the all bones had become broken and the other sister murdered by burning with the candles until all her body became jet-black.

Nymphadora murdered by beating with sticks and split in to pieces the body with iron claws.

At the time the Assessor ordered to burn their bodies, a flame come from the sky, destroy all people those murdered the sisters by taking them in it.  And then rain begun and extinguish the fire.

The believers buried the sisters respectful.  And respect of the local people for the sisters increased.  Shortly after the burial of the sister(s) takes the form of pilgrimage.

[3] http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=102557
[4]Eternal, ever existent
[6] Hebrews 12:1
[7] Revelation 6:9-11.
See also: “I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4


Copyright © 2019 Rev Ros Wilkinson