One of the many saints recognized on March 1st is Eudocia of Heliopolis. She was a pagan, Samarian woman who was very beautiful. She gained much of her fortune by attracting wealthy suitors. She lived a very immoral lifestyle in young adult years, using her beauty to lead others into sin and amassing a large amount of riches.
While bedridden and suffering a major illness she heard beautiful music coming from the neighbor’s house. It captivated her and when she was well enough, she went to her neighbor’s house and was introduced to a Monk named Germanos, who was staying with the neighbor. This introduction, peaked her interest and according to legend, she asked the monk if someone like her could be saved from Judgement. Under his guidance she learned much about Christianity. At one point, he instructed her to remain alone in her chamber for one week, and do nothing but fast and pray. She followed his instructions and at the end of the week, she had a vision about the Archangel Michael. In this vision, she saw the Archangel leading her to heaven while many angels were rejoicing. This vision assured her that Christ loved all people…including sinners like herself. She repented of her ways and was baptized by Bishop Theodotos. After her baptism she had a vision of a dark shadowy figure howling because he had been cheated of gaining her soul for hell.Eudocia turned from her sinful life and entered the monastery and took upon herself strict acts of penitence. The Lord granted her forgiveness and endowed her with many spiritual gifts when she became a nun.
Soon after she commissioned the building of a monastery near Heliopolis, and used much of her wealth ministering to the poor. Even though she was a nun, her beauty and wealth still attracted many suitors. One such suitor,a young pagan, Philostratos, was very persistent and refused to leave her alone. One day aflame with passion, he came into the monastery disguised as a monk and began to urge her to return to Helioplois to resume her former life. “May God rebuke you and not allow you to leave these premises,” Eudokia cried. Philostrates fell down dead before her as if struck down by the hand of God. Eudocia, fearing that she had served as an accomplice to murder, prayed for him and he recovered. Shortly after this episode, he followed her example and converted to Christianity, never forgetting the mercy that God showed him.
For many years; because of her many spiritual gifts from the Lord; Eudocia was able to persuade many pagans to convert to Christianity. This eventually got the attention of the Roman officials, who were angered by her actions. When she refused to stop evangelizing the pagans, she was sentenced to death by beheading. She was martyred in 107 A.D.
PRAYER TO EUDOCIA
O Eudoxia, when godly fear entered your heart,
You abandoned the glory of the world,
And hastened to God the Word.
You took his yoke on your flesh
And shed your blood in a contest surpassing nature.
O glorious martyr,
Entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy. Amen.