Martyrdom is the greatest sacrifice any human can offer.
Mother Dolagy lived in the village of Esna in Upper Egypt during the reign of Bishop Amonios, Bishop of Esna. She is one of the greatest martyrs who excelled in faith and power, and is considered as the patron Saint of Esna and many regions of Upper Egypt.
After the birth of her fourth son, her husband passed away causing her to become a widow. Her sons’ names were Soris, Horman, Abanoufa and Shentas who ploughed the land as skilful farmers. Mother Dolagy the great excelled greatly in holding the words of the Gospel dear to her heart which showed great love to all.
In regards to herself and her four sons, they were pillars of faith to all the people in the village of Esna. Moreover history records that she was extremely rich however she was also very giving, giving much of her money to poor and orphaned in the village. However during that time there reigned an emperor by the name of Diocletian who sent Arianos the governor to Esna because of the big spread of Christianity throughout all the lands of Upper Egypt.
On entering the great city of Esna, he was greeted by four youth who were ploughing in the fields. They came to him holding watermelons. So Arianos enquired of these youth what faith they had and who they believed in as well as a general enquiry of the town’s belief. On knowing that they were Christians he ordered them to worship the idols. The youth rejected with all authority saying it was better for them to be tortured or killed than offering incense to the idols. They started worshiping the almighty lord in Heaven proclaiming the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit one God Amen. When the people of Esna realised what had happened at the gates of the village news spread rapidly to the city of Gamaleesh.
Mother Dolagy ran to the fields so that she could stand by her sons in front of the Governor Arianos. When she arrived she stood in front of the governor Arianos and her children she strengthened them in the true faith and declared her Christianity. This encouraged her children greatly who were strengthened in their faith. Arianos was so angered by this that he ordered the death of all Christians in the region.
Mother Dolagy and the four sons spent the whole day and night going throughout the city strengthening the people before their death and history tells us that St Mary appeared to them strengthening them before their martyrdom, promising them that Jesus Christ had prepared heavenly crowns for them in heaven In the morning Arianos came to them promising that if they worshipped the idols that they would not suffer any pain.
Mother Dolagy screamed in her loudest voice that Jesus Christ was her saviour, from the beginning of time to the end of time. The governor tried every possible means to make Mother Dolagy and her for son’s worship the idols, but he failed miserably in all attempts. In anger he ordered that they be killed immediately by cutting off their heads. Mother Dolagy pleaded that the soldiers cut the heads of her 4 sons first so that she could be sure that they did not offer incense to idols after she was martyred.
The Soldiers agreed and cut the heads of her youth on her knees. When she was reassured that her sons had reached heaven, the soldiers cut her head off and she gained the crown of martyrdom.
The people of Esna took the bodies of these pure saints and buried them and built a church in remembrance of them by the name of St Dolagy and her four Sons. During renovations in the church they found the bodies 5 meters below the altar.
Her feast day is on the 6th of Pashons which is equivalent to May the 14th.
The above was translated from Arabic by Bishoy Marcus