Saint Lydia of Thyatira

Lydia was from Thyatira, a town in Asia Minor. The second part of her name “Purpuraria” was not really her name, but we call her this because it means “merchant of purple”, a person who traded in luxury purple dyes and fabrics for which the city of Thyatira was noted. Purple goods were part of a high value industry and were used only by royalty and rich and important people; emperors, high government officials, and priests of the pagan religions. Dealing in luxury goods, Lydia would have owned a nice big house and had the means to support the Christian cause.

Tradition relates that she and her husband may have been involved in this business. At some point Lydia and her household moved from Asia Minor to the city of Philippi in Macedonia. The reasons she moved may have been business related as Philippi was a Roman colony on the major east-west trade route, the Egnation Highway, between Rome and Asia. Also, she may have been a Jewish convert who no longer could worship in the custom of the Thyatirans.

The words of The Acts quoted below describe Lydia’s meeting with the Apostle Paul on his second missionary journey about the year 50. Paul and his companions started their journey visiting the established churches in western Asia Minor when he answered a vision in which he saw a man dressed in a Macedonian manner calling upon him to “Come over to Macedonia and help us.“Read More »