St. Lydia is recognized as the first European convert to Christianity. She is described in the Acts of the Apostles as a “seller of purple,” a person who traded in purple dyes and fabrics. Purple goods were considered precious and were used by emperors, high government officials, and priests of the pagan religions.
Her conversion came upon hearing St. Paul as he preached in Philippi, Macedonia. Paul would ordinarily search for a synagogue to preach but there wasn’t a big enough Jewish community in Philippi to have one. So Paul and his entourage walked out of the city along the river and came upon some women praying on its banks. After hearign Paul, Lydia and her family were baptized,
Lydia’s home became a gathering place for the new converts of Philippi. At some point Paul was arrested, and when he was released from prison he was housed by Lydia in that same home. It can be said therefor that Lydia’s home was the first Christian Church in Europe. Paul spoke fondly of the converts of Philippi: “My beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown. …” (Philippians 4:1)
Adapted by A.J. Valentini