Saint Lydia was a first-century “seller of purple,” an expensive, wine-colored fabric.
As described in Acts 16, Saint Paul received a vision in which a man pleaded with him to come to Macedonia. When he awoke, he immediately set out with Timothy, Silas, and Luke. After a few days they arrived in Philippi, the largest city in the region.
On the Sabbath day, Saint Paul went to worship with the Greek Jews of Philippi. There he preached the Gospel to the women gathered. One of the women, Lydia, was moved by the Holy Spirit to accept Christ as the Messiah and was baptized, together with her whole household. She thus became the first convert to Christianity in Europe. Enthusiastically, she begged the Apostles to accept her hospitality and stay at her house, which they did.
Saint Lydia’s feast day varies greatly throughout the Christian world. In the Byzantine tradition she is commemorated on May 20, while the Slavs commemorate her on March 23 and June 25. Roman Catholics commemorate her on August 3, Episcopalians on January 27, and Lutherans on October 25.