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SAINT PROFILE: PELAGIA THE PENITENT

Circa 4th century; Feast – October 8

By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE     10/5/2017

In the fourth century, St. Pelagia was honored in Antioch as a virgin martyr. In the Middle Ages a legend grew up around a penitent, who was given her name. This St. Pelagia inspired Christians as an enchanting icon of repentance. The story comes from St. John Chrysostom, who once told of an actress, famous for her glamour and notorious for her wickedness. She had suddenly repented, was baptized and became a hermit. A bishop said to have encountered Pelagia used her example to call his brother bishops to repent: “What a reproach to us, seeing that we have not taken pains to make ourselves pleasing to God nearly as much as this prostitute … has taken pains to please men.”  

 

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