Thomais, Martyr, Devoted Wife, Killed by her Father-in-Law

Thomais, Martyr, Devoted Wife, Killed by her Father-in-Law

Thomais was the daughter of Christian parents in Alexandria, Egypt in the 5th century. She had received some education though it might have been at the feet of her parents instead of a tutor. She had a natural beauty that was captivating but it paled in comparison to the beauty of her character and integrity. She filled her mind with spiritual reading and the study of scripture. At the age of fifteen, she married a Christian fisherman who came from a moderately Christian family. As a young couple with little in the way of possessions, they lived those first few years in the home of her father-in-law. Thomais was very welcome in the home not just because of her humble goodness but also because of her willingness to be family with her husband’s family.She had learned her faith well from her parents and knew the value of humility and gentleness as they relate to spiritual growth and maturity. She fit in well with her new family and was a welcome addition to the home.

One day, however, her husband was out plying his trade as a fisherman when his father–Thomais’ father-in-law–entered their room in the house. She greeted him warmly since she expected no ill intentions in his entry but he meant her ill. He had become inflamed with lust for Thomais and desired to have her and lead her by the hand into adultery and sin. He tried to convince her to join him but she resisted. She tried to remind him of their common faith in the Last Judgment and the need for spiritual maturity and sanctification. “Please don’t do this,” she begged, “it’s a sin against me, against you, and against your own son.” Seeing his advances spurned he became enraged. The very thought that this beautiful, young woman would resist his passion and dare to remind him of the power and danger of sin brought a sense of shame to him that was consuming. He had a choice as to how he would respond to that shame: he could be corrected by it or he could refuse it.

As he picked up his nearby sword it became clear that he was refusing the needed burden of his own shame. He threatened his daughter-in-law that if she would not concede to his lustful desires then he would cut off her head. He assumed that this would be enough to convince Thomais to indulge in a sin kept secret but he assumed incorrectly. She responded, “Even if you cut me into pieces, father, I will not stray from God’s teachings and commandments.” The steadfast words of faith infuriated the man and his shame was only intensified. He had given sin a place to dwell within his heart and his passions and it now consumed him and demanded more. He swung his sword at her in a rage and cut her in half. She died a martyr–having suffered and died because of a faith she wouldn’t let go. The man collapsed in grief and regret for what he had done. He was blinded–whether by his own hand or by God’s just hand–and was found on the floor of the room by his son that evening. Sin had consumed and commanded him but now had abandoned him–now that it had got what it wanted. So, the man asked to be taken for judgment. He confessed to the crime eagerly and so the city officials beheaded him in punishment.

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Read more from Joshua Hearne at his personal website and the website of Grace and Main Fellowship, the non-traditional community he ministers with.

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