Saint Pelagia of Tarsus
May 17th (May 4th old calendar).
Born in the town of Tarsus of pagan but noble and wealthy parents, she heard about Christ and the salvation of the soul from Christians, became inflamed with love for the Savior and was a Christian in her soul. There was at that time a terrible persecution of Christians. It happened that the Emperor Diocletian himself stopped in Tarsus and that, during the time of his stay in the town, his son, the heir, fell deeply in love with Pelagia and wanted to make her his wife. Pelagia replied through her mother - a wicked woman - that she was already promised to her betrothed husband, Christ the Lord.
Fleeing from the foul heir and her wicked mother, Pelagia sought and found Bishop Linus, a man renowned for his holiness. He instructed her in the Faith and baptized her. Then Pelagia gave away her luxurious clothing and great wealth, returned home and confessed to her mother that she was already baptized. Hearing of this, the Emperor's son, losing all hope of getting this holy maiden as his wife, ran himself through with a sword and died. Then the wicked mother denounced her daughter to the Emperor and she was taken for trial. The Emperor marveled at the girl's beauty and, forgetting his son, burned with an impure passion for her. But when Pelagia remained unfaltering in her faith, the Emperor condemned her to be burned in a metal ox heated by fire. When they stripped the martyr, she signed herself with the sign of the Cross and, with prayers of thanksgiving to God on her lips, went into the ox, where, in the twinkling of an eye, she melted like wax. She suffered with honor in 287.
Bishop Linus hunted for the remains of her bones and buried them on a hill under a stone. In the time of the Emperor Constantine Copronymos (741-775), a beautiful church was built on that site in honor of this holy virgin and martyr Pelagia, who was sacrificed for Christ to reign eternally with Him.
Troparion Tone 3
Thou didst abandon dark ignorance through knowledge of the Faith,/ O Pelagia, fair virgin of Christ./ Thou wast refreshed by His dew and didst finish thy contest by fire./ O glorious Martyr,/ entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.
Kontakion Tone 2
Abandoning thy mortal betrothed/ to be wedded to the Immortal,/ thou didst offer thy dowry of chastity and contest./ Wherefore, O Pelagia, we acclaim thee.
Holy Protection Russian Orthodox Church
2049 Argyle Ave. Los Angeles, California 90068