Abdas of Susa

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Abdias (Abidas or Obadiah) of Persia (Menologion of Basil II).jpg
Born 4th century
Died 420
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]


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. Engaged in a dispute with the local magi in AD 420, Abdas destroyed one of the fire temples of the Zoroastrians. Complaint was made to King Yazdegerd, who ordered the bishop to restore the building and make good all damage that he had committed. Abdas refused to rebuild a heathen temple at his own expense.[3] These events soured the relationship between the Christian church and the Persian government, which had previously been good, and caused a wave of persecution against the Christians in Persia.[4] The result was that orders were issued for the destruction of all churches, and these were carried out by the Zoroastrians, who had regarded with great envy the royal favour extended to Maruthas and his co-religionists. Before long the destruction of churches developed into a general persecution, in which Abdas was one of the first martyrs.[5]

His 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[6] in the Roman Catholic Church, and March 31 in the Syrian church.


  1. ^ a b 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. ^ Stokes, G.T., "Isdigerdes (I)", A dictionary of Christian biography, literature, sects and doctrine, (William Smith & Henry Wace, eds.); London, John Murray (1882), p. 303.
  4. ^ Theodoret, v. 39 Archived 2005-02-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Oussani, Gabriel. "Persia." The Catholic Encyclopedia Archived 2009-10-29 at the Wayback Machine. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 17 July 2016
  6. ^ "St. Abdas - Catholic Online". Catholic Online. Archived from the original on 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 


  • Maronite Heritage, http://www.maronite-heritage.com/LNE.php?page=16May
  • De Lacy O'Leary; The Syriac Church and Fathers (2002)
  • Theodoret, Ecclesiastical history, Blomfield Jackson (translator) (1892)
  • Holweck, F. G., "A Biographical Dictionary of the Saints". St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1924.
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