The holy martyrs Theodotus and Rufina were the parents of Saint Mamas. They came from patrician families, and were honored by all for their Christian piety. Alexander, the magistrate of the city of Gangra, summoned them because they refused to obey the imperial decree requiring all citizens to worship the pagan gods. Those who disobeyed would be tortured and put to death.
Since Theodotus refused to comply with this order, Alexander sent him to the governor Faustus in Caesarea of Cappadocia. Alexander could not torture or kill Theodotus because of his noble rank. Faustus, however, had no such scruples. He threw Theodotus into prison as soon as he arrived.
Even though she was pregnant at the time, Rufina followed her husband. She stayed in the prison with Theodotus, where they both suffered for Christ. Fearing that he would not be able to withstand the cruel tortures, Theodotus asked God to take his soul. The Lord heard his prayer and sent him a blessed repose, establishing his soul in the heavenly mansions.
Saint Rufina endured privations and sufferings in prison, and experienced great sorrow at the death of her husband. Because of these things, she gave birth to her child before the proper time. She prayed that God would permit her to follow her husband in death, and that He would also protect her child. Her prayer was also granted, and she gave her virtuous soul God’s hands.
Saint Mamas was raised by a pious woman named Ammia, or Matrona, who became a second mother to him.