October 27, 2015

Saint Procla, the Wife of Pontius Pilate


The Master stands beside you, Procla,
You who previously stood beside Pilate as his wife.

In the New Testament, the only reference to Pilate's wife exists in a single sentence by Matthew. According to Matthew 27:19, she sent a message to her husband asking him not to condemn Jesus Christ to death:

While Pilate was sitting in the judgment hall, his wife sent him a message: "Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because in a dream last night, I suffered much on account of him."

Pilate, in his anxiety to please the people and avoid trouble, did not heed the warning of his wife, who is not named.

According to later Christian tradition, as expressed by Origen, she was baptized a Christian. She is known as Procla or Claudia, or Claudia Procla. It is assumed that her name prior to becoming a Christian was Claudia, while after baptism it was changed to Procla. The name "Claudia" appears only once in the New Testament, in the Second Epistle to Timothy 4:21: "Eubulus, Pudens, Linus and Claudia send their greetings, and so all the other Christians."

Sources differ on her death, some saying she died in peace while others saying she died as a martyr. She is celebrated by the Church on October 27th.