In the days after Christ ascended to heaven, the church was persecuted. One of its great persecutors was Saul of Tarsus. He is a pharisee of pharisees, born of the tribe of Benjamin. He learned at the feet of the great teacher Gamaliel. He was present and held the coats of the stone throwers at the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr. Saul’s hatred of the followers of the Way was so great, that he sought out letters from the High Priest permitting him to go to the synagogues of Damascus and bring them gagged and bound to Jerusalem. But as always, our Lord intervenes, and comes to Saul in a most unexpected way, blinding him as he makes his way to Damascus.
After Paul is confronted on the road to Damascus by the risen and ascended Lord Christ, he is sent on to Damascus where he is blind for three days, and neither eats nor drinks. It is then that a Disciple named Ananias comes to him, being called by Christ to do so. Ananias is reluctant to do so at first, having heard of Saul’s infamy. Yet our Lord tells him that this murderer is His chosen instrument to bring the Gospel to the gentiles.
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These women were exemplary Christians who demonstrated their faith by their material support of the Church. Dorcas (also known as Tabitha) was well-known and much loved for her acts of charity in the city of Joppa, especially for her making clothes for the poor. When Dorcas died suddenly, the members of her congregation sent to the neighboring city of Lydda for the Apostle Peter, who came and raised her from the dead (Acts 9:36–41).
Lydia was a woman of Thyatira, who worked at Philippi selling a famous purple dye that was so much in demand in the ancient world. She was also a “worshiper of God” at the local synagogue. When the Apostle Paul encountered her in prayer among other proselyte women, his preaching of the Word brought Lydia to faith in Christ. She and her friends thus became the nucleus of the Christian community in Philippi (16:13–15, 40).
Phoebe was another faithful woman associated with the Apostle Paul. She was adeaconess from Cenchrae (the port of Corinth) whom Paul sent to the church in Rome with his Epistle to the Romans. In it he writes of her support for the work of the early Church (Rom 16:1).
From Commemoration Biographies.