Saint Pelagia - 'A Fragrant Rose Growing From Thorns'


Another repost from Costing Not Less Than Everything



Saint Nonnos preaching


From ‘The Life of St Pelagia the Harlot’ by Jacob the Deacon:

“Pelagia was the name given to me by my parents, but the Antiochenes call me Margarita (Pearl), because of the masses of jewellery I had earned through my sins. I used to be the devil’s jewel, and reckoned to be part of his work force.”…

On the second day, the devil appeared by night to Pelagia, the handmaid of the Lord, as she was asleep in the cell of her holy mother Romana, and woke her up. “Just answer me this, my lady Margarita,” he said. “Weren’t you plentifully supplied with god and silver? Wasn’t it I who decorated you with gold and precious stones? Tell me, what have I done to upset you? Tell me, so that I can put things right. Don’t make me a laughing stock for these Christians.”

Pelagia, the handmaid of the Lord, crossed herself and breathed at the demon.“My God has snatched me out of your very jaws,” she said, “and led me into his bridal chamber. He it is who fights for me.”

A tale for nos jours.  In this account, Saint Pelagia of Antioch was an actress and courtesan, for whom men would commit suicide when spurned.  She was raised in a pagan society that valued pleasure over all other things. Converted suddenly by the preaching of Bishop Nonnos, she gave up luxury for asceticism and hid herself away in prayer and fasting – in legend, on the Mount of Olives, where her house is reputed to stand.   It is also said that she disguised herself as a beardless monk and that, upon her death, the monks who came to bury were astonished to find that Brother Pelagius was, in fact, a sister.

From the Orthodox Church:

Troparion, Tone 4
Like a fragrant rose growing from thorns/ thou wast shown to the Church through thy virtuous deeds/ and wast a source of joy for the faithful./ Thou didst offer thy life in sweet-smelling fragrance to Him Who made thee wonderful./ Entreat Him to save us from every passion, O righteous Pelagia.

Kontakion, Tone 2
Thou didst wear out thy body with fasts, vigils and prayers/ and pray thy Creator for total forgiveness./ This thou didst obtain/ and dost show us the way to repentance,/ O holy Mother Pelagia. 

In other accounts, Saint Pelagia of Antioch was a fifteen-year-old virgin who leaped to her death rather than surrender her chastity. Authorities are divided as to the veracity of both versions but they both give timeless lessons and witness to faith.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Memorare

10 Minute Daily Retreat: 7 Months, 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Authors