The Martyr Bassa with her sons Theognis, Agapius and Pistus, lived in the city of Macedonian Edessa and she was married to a pagan priest. From childhood she had been raised in the Christian Faith, which she passed on to her sons.
During the reign of the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311), the husband denounced his wife and children to the governor. In spite of threats, the boys refused to offer sacrifice to idols, so they were tortured and put to death. The eldest son, Theognis, was raked with iron claws, then he was beheaded. The skin of the young Agapius was flayed from head to chest, but the martyr did not utter a sound. The youngest son Pistus was tortured and beheaded, just as his brothers had been. One account says that the three brothers suffered at Edessa in Macedonia. Another account says they died at Larissa in Thessaly, their homeland.
Saint Bassa was thrown into prison and was weakened by hunger, but an angel strengthened her with heavenly food. Under successive tortures she remained unharmed by fire, water and beasts. When they brought her to a pagan temple, she shattered the statue of Zeus. Then they threw the martyr into a whirlpool in the sea. But to everyone’s surprise a ship sailed up, and three radiant men pulled her up (Saint Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (July 14) suggests that these were her children, martyred earlier). After eight days Saint Bassa came by ship to the governor of the island of Alona, not far from Cyzicus, in the Propontis or Sea of Marmora. After beating her with rods, they beheaded her.
By the year 450 there was already a church in honor of the holy martyr Bassa at Chalcedon.