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May 20, 2010

Ten Albanians Baptized Where Saint Lydia Was Baptized

Saint Lydia of Thyatira is considered by many to have been the first person in Europe to have been baptized into the Christian faith. Krenidas stream, which flows near the Krenidas (or western) Gate, is the stream approximately one-half mile outside of Philippi where Lydia and her family were baptized by the Apostle Paul. Presumably this is also where the jailer and his family were baptized also. A modern baptismal area with bench seats has been constructed near the stream.

This afternoon, with today being the feast of Saint Lydia of Thyatira the Equal to the Apostles, Metropolitan Prokopios of Philippi, Neopolis and Thasos maintained the tradition of baptizing ten heterodox in the Krenidas stream where Lydia was first baptized. All ten catechumens were from Albania.

It was a moving ceremony for the ten newly-illumined Orthodox Christians. Following the Metropolitans homily in which he related the life of Saint Lydia and prayed that the newly-illumined follow in her footsteps, he offered the following words to them: "You are received with joy into the bosom of the Church. This is Christianity. Without discrimination and barriers. I ask that you always remember this day of your baptism. This is a great honor and may you always be faithful children of the Church. All of us will always be near you."

Baptistery of Saint Lydia

See here about St. Lydia and these shrines. See more here and here. For video, see here.