Out of a maze of legendary tales connected with this name we can ascertain that the historical St. Pelagia was a devout Christian who lived in Antioch at the end of he 3rd century and the beginning of the 4th. About the year 302, when she was fifteen, the local persecutor of the Church learned of her Christian faith and sent a group of soldiers to bring her to him for examination.
Despite her tender years, St. Pelagia was well aware of the outrages to which Christ’s virgins were subjected in such cases. Therefore, when the soldiers reached her home, she declared that she had to put on her bravest apparel and excused herself from the room. Instead, she swiftly made her way to the roof of her house and flung herself headlong to the ground below in order to preserve her richest prize—the virginity she had vowed to Jesus.
The learned and saintly Doctors, St. Ambrose and St. John Chrysostom, both knew of her action and both concurred that it was a noble example of love of chastity. She is thus classified as a Virgin and Martyr by the Church.
PRAYER: All-powerful and ever-living God, You choose the weak in this world to confound the powerful. As we celebrate the martyrdom of St. Pelagia, may we like her remain constant in faith. Amen.