St Eudokia, Holy martyr

Memory celebrated March 1

Eudokia was a woman of Samaria who lived during the second century in Heliopolis. She was a pagan of immense beauty and became very wealthy by attracting wealthy lovers. As a harlot she never considered the Day of Judgement or the state of her soul.

One day, a pious monk by the name of Germanos stayed at a house next to Eudokia. One evening he sat on the window sill reading out loud from a book describing the Last Judgement of the world. From her window Eudokia listened curiously. What she heard both frightened her and fascinated her. The next day she invited Germanos to explain about the Christian faith.

The good monk spoke to her about the love of Christ for all sinners. Eudokia wanted to believe, but it all sounded too good to be true. "Could she also be saved?" she asked. Germanos told her to remain alone in her chamber and receive no-one for one week, whilst she prayed and fasted. He told her that she would then receive a vision which would assure her of the Creator's love for all human beings, including her.

Surely this came true, and after seeing a vision of Archangel Michael she confessed Christ as the only True God. Germanos Baptised her and became her Spiritual Father.

Eudokia was thirty years old when she gave herself over completely to the service of Jesus Christ. Her first act was to build a monastery near the city of Baalbeck, where she administered the disposition of her vast wealth to projects for charity. In a short time her monastery became a beacon which attracted thousands of spiritually as well as physically starved people, and St Eudokia became famous for the beauty of her soul as well as her face, acquiring in the process of her noble work a proximity to God no treasure could buy.

The stream of suitors to the palace became a river of pilgrims to her monastery, but there was one suitor named Philostratos who was persistent enough to seek her out in the hope of securing favor before her fortune had been dissipated. Eudokia refused to help him, and, when in his anger he seemed struck dead by the Lord, she prayed to God for his recovery. Brought back to his senses, he was easily converted to Christianity.

The continual conversion of so many pagans by St Eudokia brought down upon her the full wrath of the Syrian officials, who had her beheaded on 1st March 107 AD.

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