Flora and Maria of Cordova (d. 851)

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Flora and Maria of Cordova (d. 851)

Saints and martyrs of the Roman Catholic Church. Flora (d. 851) was born in Cordova, Spain, of a Mohammedan father and a Christian mother; both died on November 24, 851.

Little is known of the lives of saints Flora and Maria, aside from their deaths together on November 24, 851, in Cordova, Spain. Flora, born of a Mohammedan father and a Christian mother, practiced her Christian religion in secret, but, following the death of her parents, she was turned over to the authorities, the cadi, by her brother. When she would not denounce her religion, she was "whipped til the blood ran, struck on the head," and then returned to the custody of her brother. She eventually escaped from him, finding temporary refuge with her sister at Ossaria. But the Moors of the Cordova caliphate were then unleashed against the Christians, and those who hid them were in danger. Flora's sister, fearing that harboring a Christian would jeopardize her own family, asked Flora to return to Cordova.

In Cordova's Church of St. Acicle, Flora met Maria, a Christian woman who was also concerned for her life following the execution of her brother, the deacon Valabonse. The two women, seeing no way out of their dilemma, decided to face their inevitable death together. Presenting themselves to the authorities and declaring that they would never deny their faith, they were imprisoned and martyred together on November 24, 851. St. Eulogius, in his The Memorial of the Saints, credit the two women with his own deliverance from prison and certain death. His was a short-lived reprise, however, for he too later died defending his faith.