Lydia

St. Lydia stained glass window in House of Hope Church, St. Paul MN.

First century

Lydia’s name is taken from her place of origin, Thyatira in the province of Lydia (now Turkey). Paul’s first convert in Philippi, Lydia is mentioned once in the Bible: Acts 16:13-15. Luke calls her “a dealer in purple cloth” and “a worshipper of God.” After listening to Paul, she and her household were baptized. One of the few women in Luke to speak, she says to Paul and his companions, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home.” Luke adds that “she prevailed on us.” This patron saint of dyers may have been a merchant in luxury goods or a former slave working in a textile guild, but her household’s income could support guests.

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