This commemoration is a 2018 addition to A Great Cloud of Witnesses

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Last updated: 19 October 2018



Olympias the DeaconnessOlympias
, (born sometime between 361 and 368, died July 25, 408) was a Christian Roman noblewoman of Greek descent.

Olympias was born and raised either in Constantinople or Antioch. She was the daughter born to the Antiochian Greek noblewoman, Alexandra and the wealthy Greek Rhetor, Seleucus. Olympias was the namesake of her late paternal aunt Olympias who was once engaged to the Roman emperor Constans.

Olympias is described as the ‘beloved daughter’ born to Seleucus and Alexandra. In her adult years, Olympias would later go to marry a nobleman called Nebridius who served as Prefect of Constantinople. After her husband died and refusing many offers of marriage, she dedicated her life to the church, serving as a deaconess. She would later become a friend of Saint John Chrysostom.

Her good works included building a hospital, an orphanage and even looking after monks who had been led in exile from Nitria. All of this even led to John Chrysostom telling her that she had done almost too much. Her support for John Chrysostom led her to being exiled in 404, which resulted her in losing her house and living the rest of her life in exile at Nicomedia, where she would die on July 25, 408, after a long illness. Olympias is one of the 140 Colonnade saints which adorn Saint Peter's Square.

She should not be confused with a more famous Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great, who was a very different sort of person.

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