St. Lydia of Philippisia was born in Asia Minor in the city of Thiatira in the first century. Looking for work, she traveled to the city of Philippi in Greek Macedonia. St. Luke writes that St. Lydia was a “porfiropolis,” that is a merchant of purple cloth, an expensive type of Roman clothing. She was also a religious woman, showing great respect to the pagan gods. However, the One True God decided to make her the first Christian in Greece, and the first Christian in Europe .
During this same time, St. Paul was preaching in the area of Troy when he had a dream. In it, a man told him, “Come to Macedonia and help us.” St. Paul, along with Silas, traveled to Philippi through Samothrace. At the Gaggitis River, they discovered a crowd praying to the pagan gods. Leading the group in prayer was St. Lydia.
After learning from St. Paul of Our Savior Jesus Christ, St. Lydia was baptized in the Gaggitis River and many idolaters became Christians. St. Lydia made her home a place for Christian meetings. She converted her family as well as many in the area to Christianity through her teachings.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org )