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Saint of the Day: Olympias of Constantinople

A widow known for her extravagant care of the poor


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Widow and Deaconess (d. 408)

Her life

+ Olympias was born to a wealthy family in Constantinople but was orphaned as a child. She later married Nebridius, the prefect of Constantinople.

+ After her husband’s death, Olympias refused other offers of marriage and dedicated herself to service as a deaconess. She also organized a group of prayerful women in her home and was honored for her care of the poor.

+ Olympias built a hospital and orphanage and sheltered monks fleeing persecution in Egypt, giving away so much of her wealth that her friend Saint John Chrysostom told her she was doing too much!

+ Her friendship with John Chrysostom became a source of suffering for her. After his exile from Constantinople, her house was seized and sold and she spent the rest of her life in exile.

+ Saint Olympias died in Nicomedia (modern Izmit, Turkey) on July 25, 408, after a long illness.

Note: In the privileged days from December 17 to 23, the texts provided for prayer and reflection will be the “O” Antiphons, which are recited during Evening Prayer on each of these days. The closing prayer for each day will be the collect for the Mass of the day.

For prayer and reflection

O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.


O God, Creator and Redeemer of human nature,
who willed that your Word should take flesh
in an ever-virgin womb,
look with favor on our prayers,
that your Only Begotten Son,
having taken to himself our humanity,
may be pleased to grant us a share in his divinity.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Collect for December 17)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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