FEAST DAY – 8th OCTOBER
Pelagia, distinguished as Pelagia of Antioch, Pelagia the Penitent, and Pelagia the Harlot, was a Christian saint and hermit in the 4th or 5th century. Her feast day is celebrated on 8 October. Pelagia died as a result of extreme asceticism, which had emaciated her to the point she could no longer be recognized.
Like St. Mary Magdalen and St. Mary of Egypt, St. Pelagia inspired Christians of the Middle Ages as an enchanting icon of repentance. In John Chrysostom’s homilies on St. Matthew’s Gospel, he told of a nameless actress of Antioch, famous for her glamour and notorious for her wickedness, who suddenly repented, was baptized, and afterwards embraced the austere life of a hermit.
According to Orthodox tradition, she was buried in her cell. Upon the discovery that the renowned monk had been a woman, the holy fathers tried to keep it a secret, but her relics drew pilgrims from as far off as Jericho and the Jordan valley. She is the patron saint of actresses and other performers.
St. Pelagia, we pray that, just as you received the faith and dedicated your reformed life to our Lord, truly penitent for leading an impious life, help all those who combine their talents with immorality, to place loving people into their paths who will lead them to repent and change their way of living.
Inspire them to entertain with sincere gratitude to God for the immense talents they have been blessed with and to lead lives of holiness and dignity. Help them to become good role models for the youth. O Lord God, in your mercy and compassion, bring them to Your salvation. Saint Pelagia, pray for us. Amen.