Κυριακή, 20 Μαΐου 2018

St. Lydia of Philippi (Macedonia, North Greece), the first Europian Christian Woman

Orthodox Church in America
 
While Saint Paul was at Troas, he beheld a certain Macedonian in a dream (Acts 16:9), who entreated him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” He heeded this voice as if it were the voice of God, and he decided to journey to Macedonia without delay, accompanied by Saints Timothy, Silas, and Luke.
They disembarked at Neapolis and made their way to Philippi. On the outskirts of Philippi, on the banks of a river, there was a Jewish place of prayer. It was the Sabbath and, to the women who had gathered there, the Apostle of the Gentiles preached the Word of God in Europe for the first time.
The God-fearing women listened to the words of this unknown Jew carefully and with reverence. The one who was most enthusiastic was St. Lydia, a proselyte and a seller of purple from Thyatira. As she listened, the Lord opened her heart to heed the words that were being spoken by Saint Paul. When she heard him talk about the Messiah, she accepted the truth of what he said and she believed in Christ.
Saint Lydia and her entire household were baptized in the waters of the river. Thus, she became the first woman of Macedonia to be enrolled as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven. Her heart was filled with gratitude toward those who had opened the eyes of her soul, and so she asked them to accept the hospitality of her house. “If you have judged me to be a believer in the Lord, come to my house and remain there.” And she insisted that they should come (Acts 16:15).
The Orthodox Church honors Saint Lydia as an Equal of the Apostles, and at the holy place of her baptism on the banks of the Zygaktos River, a baptistery has been built, which is similar to the early Christian basilicas of Philippi.
Saint Lydia is commemorated on March 23 (Slavic usage) and on May 20 (Greek usage). She was glorified by the Church of Constantinople on May 23, 1972. 

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