In the 1st century St.Lydia Purpuraria was born in Thyatira, a city southeast of Pergamum. She is also known as Lydia of “Thyatira,” “Purpuraria,” and of “Philippi”. Philippi is where she met St.Paul. She was Saint Paul's first convert in Philippi. She was so excited about Paul's message that she and her entire household were baptized. She then invited Paul and his companions to stay at her house. Because women did not possess the same equality rights as modern women, it appears unusual that Lydia would be capable of inviting a group of foreign men to her house without a man’s consent. She was a religious seeker. Though she was a Gentile by birth, Lydia worshiped the God of the Jews. Lydia insisted on giving hospitality to Apostle Paul and his companions in Philippi. She was also a merchant of purple cloth, making her a patron saint of purple cloth. It took thousands of mollusks to make only an ounce of dye. Because of this, purple cloth was rare and expensive, it was worn only by royalty, rich and important people. Her wealth allowed her to live independently in a spacious house. People think that Lydia was a servant but no one knows. Many Christian denominations recognize Lydia of Thyatira as a saint, though her feast day varies greatly. In the Catholic church her feast day is August 3rd. Devotion to St. Lydia is greater in the Orthodox Church than in the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, and this is evident by the myriad of icons depicting this woman. The Orthodox Churches have given her the title of “Equal to the Apostles,” which signifies her importance and level of holiness.
Pour out upon us, Lord, the spirit of knowledge and love of you, with which you filled your handmaid blessed Lydia, so that, serving you sincerely in imitation of her, we may be pleased by our faith and our works. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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