Faithful Friday: Saint Olympias the Younger

By Sarah Levesque (Rated G)

St. Olympias was born to a wealthy Roman family with many ties to nobility in the 360s AD. At a young age, she married Nebridius, Prefect of Constantinople. One of the invitees was St. Gregory of Nazianzus, though he was unable to attend. The groom, however, did not live very long after the wedding, and Olympias – known as the Younger to distinguish her from an aunt of the same name – refused to remarry, though childless. The great wealth of her parents was withheld from her for this reason for some time. She was appointed a deaconess by Bishop Nectarius of Constantinople, founded a religious community, and counted St. John Chrysostom as her spiritual father. Seventeen letters he wrote to her are still in existence. Once in control of her own wealth, Olympias gave so lavishly, she earned a rebuke from her spiritual father. She was exiled and imprisoned for her association with him, and eventually died in 409. Originally buried in the Church of the Holy Apostle Thomas, her remains were returned to the convent she had founded after St. Thomas’ church burned. Many miracles were ascribed to her after her death, and she is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox Church as well as the Catholic Church. 


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