Saint Lydia Purpuraria

“If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and stay.”

1861_Ellenrieder_Die_Taufe_der_Lydia_anagoria

Marie Ellenrieder – The Baptism of Lydia 

 

Today is the feast of Saint Lydia, the wealthy lady of Thyateira, in, er, Lydia, in what is now southwestern Turkey. Lydia is said to be Saint Paul’s first convert in Philippi and, by extension, Europe.

I like the thought of Lydia – wealthy, effective, a businesswoman and head of her household, a ‘worshipper of God’. I imagine her to be buxom and somewhat bossy, prevailing upon Paul to stay in her home and refusing to take no for an answer, giving Paul and Silas refuge when they were released from prison.  This week the Pope has announced a commission on women deacons: whatever one thinks of that particular matter, Saint Lydia’s story tells us that women contributed to the faith from its earliest days. As it says in Acts 16:  “whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” Lovely.

 

Note: We know very little about Saint Lydia – but someone’s written a whole book about her. Lovely.

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