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Saint of the Day, October 8: St Pelagia, virgin and martyr of Antioch

Pelagia was a 4th-century martyr of Antioch. We have some traces of this martyr saint thanks to St John Chrysostom to whom tradition attributes two homilies in memory of Pelagia

Saint Pelagia, the life

From a noble family, when the guards arrived to capture her by order of the governor, she asked to be allowed to go up to her room so that she could change and put on suitable clothes to appear before the governor.

Knowing how virgins are treated, she prays to God to be preserved in her virginity and to remain steadfast in the faith she has embraced.

Having then reached her room, she decides to throw herself out of the chamber window, escaping an inglorious death and dishonour.

In this respect, Eusebius of Caesarea probably also alludes to Pelagia when he speaks of the martyrs who ‘fleeing the trial, before falling into the hands of their adversaries, voluntarily hurled themselves from the heights of the houses, thinking that to die was to escape the cruelty of the impious’.

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