THE HOLY FEMALE MARTYR PELAGIA OF TARSUS

May 4

From the Prologue

Pelagia was born in the town of Tarsus of pagan but distinguished and wealthy parents. Hearing about Christ and the salvation of souls from Christians, she burned with love for the Savior and, in her soul, was totally Christian. At that time there was a terrible persecution of Christians. It so happened that the Emperor Diocletian stopped off at Tarsus and during the time of his stay in Tarsus, his son, the crown prince fell deeply in love with Pelagia and wanted to take her as his wife. Pelagia replied through her nefarious mother that she had already been betrothed to her heavenly Bridegroom, Christ the Lord. Fleeing from the profane crown prince and her wicked mother, Pelagia sought and found Bishop Linus, a man distinguished for his holiness. He instructed Pelagia in the Christian Faith and baptized her. Then Pelagia gave away her luxurious garments, much wealth, returned home and confessed to her mother that she is already baptized. Learning of this and having lost all hope that he will gain this holy virgin for his wife, the crown prince stabbed himself with a sword and died. The wicked mother denounced her daughter before the emperor and turned her over to him for trial. The emperor was amazed at the beauty of this young virgin and, forgetting his son, became inflamed with impure passions toward her. But since Pelagia remained unwavering in her faith, the emperor sentenced her to be burned alive in a metal ox, glowing with a red-hot fire. When the executioner stripped her, St. Pelagia made the sign of the cross and with a prayer of thanksgiving to God on her lips, entered the glowing ox where, in the twinkling of an eye, she completely melted like wax. Pelagia suffered honorably in the year 287 A.D. The remains of her bones were acquired by Bishop Linus and he buried them on a hill under a stone. At the time of Emperor Constantine Copronymos (741-775 A.D) and, on that exact spot, a beautiful church was built in honor of the holy virgin and martyr Pelagia, who sacrificed herself for Christ in order to reign eternally with Christ.





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