March 1 – Eudokia of Heliopolis; David of Wales

Eudokia of Heliopolis (d. 107), a wealthy harlot, one night heard the sound of prayer coming from the house next door. In the morning she invited the pray-er, the monk Germanus, to teach her about faith and salvation. She was baptized, gave her wealth to the poor, set her servants free, and retired to a monastery, which in just over a year she was running due to her great faith and piety. One day, Philostrates, one of her former customers, came to her “aflame with impious lust” (as opposed to that other kind), and tried to get her to forsake her vows and return to her former life (starting with him). She rebuked him, and he fell down dead. That night she had a vision telling her to pray over him. When she did, he returned to life, returned to the city, and was baptized.

One time the governor sent his son to confiscate treasures he supposed Eudokia had stolen, but on the way the son died. Philostrates told the governor to ask for Eudokia’s aid, and sure enough she raised the young man to life, whereupon he, his dad, and all their associates were baptized. Eudokia lived in the monastery for a total of 56 years before persecution arose, and she was martyred.

David of Wales (ca. 500 or 542–ca. 589 or 601) (in Welsh, Dewi Sant) is the patron saint of Wales (Cymru). Born in the purple and baptized by (St.) Elvis (thank you very much), he was educated at Hen Fynyw and then under the monk Paulinus, whose blindness he healed with the sign of the cross. He became a great preacher, and founded many monasteries both in Britain and Brittany. One of them, in southwest Pembrokeshire, has become St. David’s Cathedral, and the city surrounding it is now known as St. David’s. The monastic rule he wrote for his monks proscribed alcohol and meat, and for this reason he is sometimes called “David the water-drinker.” The monks were also required to draw their own plows, rather than using draft animals. For these or other reasons, there was a conspiracy among his monks to kill him, but he learned of it (from a saint riding a sea serpent from Ireland, an unusual mode of travel for the time), and after blessing the poisoned bread, ate it unharmed.

Dewi presided over two separate synods, both on the subject of Pelagianism (they were against it). In one, people in the back of the crowd complained they couldn’t hear him, so the ground on which he was standing rose up into a small hill. His voice then thundered over the fields and all were able to hear him. He was made bishop by the Patriarch of Jerusalem in a visit to that holy city, and after the hill-raising incident the people proclaimed him archbishop, forcing the then-current archbishop to retire. His archbishopric was made into a metropolitancy according to several biographers, although modern naysayers aver that was a pious fiction intended to ensure the Welsh church was not brought under Canterbury after the Norman Conquest. Some say he was related to King Arthur, who gave him permission to move his see from Caerleon to Menevia.

It is said he went to Glastonbury to dedicate the abbey, but in a vision was told by Christ himself that it was already dedicated, thank-you-very-much. Frustrated but undaunted, Dewi had an extension built, and dedicated that. He also donated a traveling altar with an embedded sapphire, which was nabbed under Henry VIII in the dissolution of the monasteries; it may or may not be among the Crown Jewels.

He died at a ripe old age (accounts vary, as is their wont), and his last words were, “Be steadfast, brothers, and do the little things.”