Martyr Callisthene and her father Audactus of Ephesus

The holy martyr Callisthene was born in Ephesus, and her father was the eparch Audactus. She was to marry the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311), but her father would not consent to the match because the emperor was a pagan. Therefore, Audactus was deprived of his wealth and position, and was exiled to Melitene, Armenia where he was beheaded.

Callisthene hid for a time in Nicomedia with a certain woman, and healed the woman’s daughter of an eye ailment. After the death of Maximian, Licinius (311-324) became the last pagan emperor. Callisthene became friendly with his Christian wife Constantia, the daughter of St Constantine (May 21). She told Constantia of all that had happened to her, and she helped Callisthene to regain her father’s wealth and possessions. She did not want these things for herself, but gave everything away to the poor.

She also brought her father’s body back to Ephesus and built a church which was dedicated to him.

St Callisthene devoted the rest of her life to Christ, and died in Ephesus in the first half of the fourth century.