EARLY LIFE
Our holy mother, Olympia[1], was born in 361[2] to a wealthy family of high rank.
Her father's name was Count Anysios Secondos, who died when Olympia was a
young girl. Her mother, Alexandra, was the daughter of the distin-guished aristocrat,
viavios. Orphaned at an early age, Olympia was brought under the guardianship of
her uncle, the Prefect Procopios, a pious Christian and the friend of Patriarch Gregory
of  Constantinople (c. 329-389)[3]. " Saint Gregory the Theologian took a paternal
interest in the young and beautiful Olympia. Indeed, he was delighted to be
addressed by her as "father." Olympia's governess, Theo-dosia, the sister of St.
Amphilochios of Iconium (339-400)[4], was a role model whom St. Gregory judged to
be the image of Christian goodness.
A VIRGINAL MARRIAGE AND WIDOWHOOD
Now Olympia was the heiress to a large fortune, amassed by her paternal
grandfather, the former Prefect Aviavios. She was attractive and personable. When
she reached marriageable age, she became engaged to the young sub-prefect,
Nevridios, an exacting man of irreproachable character. In 384, on the occasion of
her marriage, St.Gregory the Theologian, though one of the invited guests, was
unable to attend due to his age and poor health. Instead of his physical presence,
he composed and sent a poem in her honor, offering her good advice and referring to
her as a mirror of the Christian woman. The marriage was never consummated,
however, because Nevridios died early. In fact, she would repose as a virgin.
Olympia, inspired by God, perceived that it was not the divine will for ha" to take on
the concerns incident to the married state.
As a young widow, she possessed estates in Thrace, Galacia, Cappadocia, and
Bithynia, including palaces and villas in and around the Byzantine capital. Emperor
Theo-dosios I, the Spaniard (379-395), desired that Olympia wed his young Spaniard
kinsman, Etpidius. Olympia, desiring only to take up a life of service to the Church
and the reading of divine books, refused the proposal, saying, "Had God willed me to
remain a wife, He would not have taken Nevridios."  In retaliation, the Emperor
confiscated her property, handing over its management to a city official. He also
prohibited her from receiving clergy into her home. Unless she agreed to the
marriage, he threatened to retain her property until she reached the age of thirty.
Undaunted, she wrote the Emperor a letter of thanks. She was heard to say, "The
Emperor could not confer a greater blessing upon me unless he commanded my
property and wealth to be be-stowed upon the churches and the poor." With the
passage of time, the Emperor mellowed, realizing the uselessness of such extortion
and the injustice of seizing her goods; thus, he relented and released her property in
391.
Henceforth, Olympia lavished donations upon the churches in Asia Minor and Syria.
She spent her strength i and wealth ministering to the needs of the poor and infirm.
Donations were sent to shelters for the homeless, to prisons, and to those in exile.
There was almost no city, desert place, or island that did not enjoy the boon of her
generosity. Though she was the common joy of the pious, she remained in blessed
humility. She did nothing out of vainglory, but out of her love for all. In her own
household, she freed all its members, rendering all equal respect and honor.

THE ORDINATION OF A DEACONESS
As a result of her tireless labors for the Church, Olympia was ordained by Patriarch
Nectaries (+397) to the diaconate, when she was not quite thirty-five years old[5].
The most ancient texts describe the service of ordination of deaconess, as follows:
After the holy oblation was made, the candidate was brought into the Bema, before
the Holy fable, to the bishop. Standing, yet bowing her head, he places his hand on
her head, and makes the sign of the Cross over her three times. He then recites a
prayer entreating God that His handmaid might fulfill all her ministry, according to
what is well-pleasing to Him.
After the litany, he places his hand on her head again, and recites an inaudible
prayer requesting the grace of the Holy Spirit to come upon her as it did upon
Phoebe [Rom.16:1-2]. In this secret prayer, the bishop entreats God to jigrant that
she may blamelessly remain in God's holy temples, diligent in her proper and
prudent manner of life. Also, he prays that she may be proved perfect when standing
before the judgment seat of Christ.
After   the "Amen," the bishop places the diaconal orarion (stole) upon her neck,
under her veil, bringing the two ends forwards and securing them in the way that the
orarion is worn by the deacon for the reception of Communion.
The   newlyordained deaconess then communes of the Holy Body and Blood.  The
bishop then gives her the holy Cup which she accepts and places on the Holy Table
[6].

THE ROLE OF THE DEACONESS

Deaconesses were responsible for the female pan of the congregation, to keep good
order and to receive female visitors into the worshipping community. No woman
might speak to the bishop or even the deacon, without first speaking to the
deaconess[7].
The deaconesses also watched the doors of the church in the event that any
uncatechized or unfaithful woman might enter.[8] The deaconess would also examine
those women visitors, holding letters of commendation, whether they were Orthodox
Christians or tainted with heresy. After passing examination, the deaconess,
according to her discretion, would provide a place for each guest.[9] The deaconess
also took Communion to women who were ill and who otherwise could not attend.
The deaconess assisted in Holy Baptism by anointing the whole body of the female
candidate, since it is improper for a woman's nakedness to be exposed to male
clehcs and faithful.[10] The deaconesses also had important catechistic
responsibilities, which included the instruction of newly-baptized adult Christian
women on how to live a holy 'and pure life; then, the deaconess became, in effect,
their spiritual mother.[11]  Her religious instruction would also include women in the
congregation, both mothers and virgins, children, and especially orphans.[12] The
deaconess was also needed to render services to those widows who were listed in
the church roll, by offering them the alms donated by Christians.[13]
The deaconess was also valuable in connection with other services. She would visit
and minister to the sick. I The deaconess, immediately answerable to the bishop,
was often sent by him into the homes of Christian women living in heathen
households to minister unto them. To send male deacons might incur evil suspicions,
especially if unbelieving, men dwelt therein.[14] If a Christian woman died, the
deaconess would assist in the preparation of the body for burial.From the foregoing,
we may see that deaconesses effectively preserved the decency and dignity of the
female sex.

OLYMPIA'S ASCETIC AND CIVIC VIRTUES
Olympia established herself in a large house with a number of maidens, who also
desired to consecrate their lives to the service of God. The first novices of her holy
community were her fifty handmaids, who desired to live in purity. Four of Olympia's
kinswomen also joined her, and were tonsured nuns: They were her niece Olympia,
and
Elisanthia, Martyria and Palladia, three sisters who were also ordained to the
diaconate. Soon the community swelled to 250 nuns.[15]  Olympia's strict rule
emaciated her body and
it was impossible to find anyone with worse apparel. The food that she partook was
meager and poor, so that it was even rejected by her former maidservants. Her eyes,
fixed
upon her Bridegroom Christ, were always brimming with tears. For the Lord's sake,
she subjected herself to all sorts of conditions for many people, keeping in mind the
words of
the divine Paul, "We then who are strong ought to bear with the infirmities of the
weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good,
leading to
edification" [Rom. 15:1-2].
She rendered due reverence to the holy bishops and elders, and entreated, in an
honorable manner, the clergy, as well as the ranks of monks. She welcomed virgins,
visited widows, reared orphans, strengthened the elderly, and cared for the sick.[16]
She would bring to remembrance the Apostle's words, "I am made all things to all
men, that I might by all means save some" [1 Cor. 9:22]. Therefore, she would
mourn with sinners, and lead the erring to the correct path. She converted many
unbelieving women and prepared them for eternal life.

SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
When St. John Chrysostom (354-407) was made Patriarch of Constantinople in 398,
[17] he took the consecrated Olympia and her spiritual daughters under his
protection. He was the only visitor allowed in Olympia's holy assembly of nuns.  He
would share his profound teachings with the sisterhood and they provided him with
his only refuge during
his tumultuous episcopate. When he was not at the convent, Abbess Olympia
arranged to have daily provisions sent to him, since only a wall separated her
convent from the
Patriarch's quarters.
Collaborating with Olympia in her extraordinary works of charity, he soon got a first-
hand look at the dispensing of her benefactions.  He exhorted her not to distribute
her liberal donations of both land and money indis-criminately. He reminded her that
her wealth was a trust committed to her by God and that she should exercise
discreet management over her funds. He said to her, "Thou must not encourage the
laziness of those who live upon thee without necessity. It is like casting thy money
into the open
sea."
This well-meaning advice gained the ill-will of many avaricious bishops and clergy
who hoped to gain by Olympia's generous gifts. The humble Olympia was grateful for
St. John's prudent financial advice, and rewarded him by supplying him with
wholesome food, since he maintained rigid abstinence, though his constitution was
made frail by asceticism. Interestingly, Olympia herself practiced the most , austere
asceticism and abstinence. She restricted the amount of sleep, renounced the taking
of baths, and wore old and coarse clothing. She also supported Patriarch John's own
charity projects by donating 10,000 pounds of gold, 20,000 ; pounds of silver, real
estate in four provinces, and properties in the capital and its suburbs.[18]
An orphanage and hospital were attached to her convent, located south of the
Cathedral of Aghia Sophia.When fifty expelled monks came from Nitria[19] to appeal
against Pope Theophilos of Alexandria (385-412), they sought out St. John
Chrysostom, The holy man, seeing them in such straits, took pity upon them.  
Ascertaining that
Theophilos might have wrongly accused these men of being Origenists, he did not
forbid them from going to church, although he did not permit them to receive Holy
Communion.  He desired to learn the exact reasons for their excommunication from
the Church of Alexandria and reconcile  them to their Pope. Saint John wrote a letter
to Theophilos, requesting that he should permit those monastics to live in their cells
in Egypt and to accept them into the Church. Meanwhile, the sustenance of these
monks was provided by
Deaconess Olympia. She furnished them with every necessiry from her own means.
[20]
In addition to Patriarch John, Deaconess Olympia also enjoyed the admiration and
keen friendship of St. Amphilochios, St. Epiphanies (c. 315-403),[21] St. Peter of
Sebaste,[22] and St. Gregory of Nyssa.[23] The latter dedicated to, Bishop of
Helenopolis in Bithynia (c. 365-425) referred Deaconess Olympia his commentary on
the Song of Songs.[24] Palladius to her as "a vessel of honor of the Divine Spirit,
who was above all passions."[25]

THE EXILE OF PATRIARCH JOHN
During the reign of Emperor Arcadios (395-408) and his Prankish bride, Empress
Evdoxia, St. John Chrysostom set about the work of reforming the City, where the
corruption of court, clergy and people alike was rampant. His combination of
honesty, asceticism and forthrightness, when joined with the hatred of Theophilos
(the unworthy Patriarch of Alexandria), and the contempt of Empress Evdoxia who,
with some reason, took all of John's attempts at moral reform as a censure of
herself, were sufficient to work his ruin.
At the Synod of the Oak, in 403, St. John was condemned on twenty-nine charges,
the most serious being those of Origenism (quite unjustified) and his impertinent
remarks about the Empress. Though St. John was removed from his see, he was
recalled. His outspokenness, however, again brought the Empress' displeasure upon
him.
In 404, with the knowledge of an imperial decree calling for his second banishment
from the capital, St. John Chrysostom summoned several bishops and clergymen,
including the blessed Deaconess Olympia, and bade them farewell, causing all to
weep bitterly. Sensing that she might never see him again in this world, the
deaconess clung to her bishop's feet. It was necessary to apply force to remove her
hold on him. Saint John then counseled Olympia to remain and serve at the
Cathedral of Aghia Sophia.

DIVINE DISPLEASURE BEFALLS THE CITY
After he departed, there was a fire in the cathedral church, an expression of the
wrath of God. Fanned by a mighty wind, the flames issued forth from the church.
Rising high into the air in the form of a bridge, they inclined towards the palace in
which the councils against the holy John convened, and consumed it.  The fire then,
as if endowed with intelligence, twisted about in the likeness of a snake and set fire
to distant buildings. Those located near the church remained unharmed.  All who
observed this phenomenon did not perceive it as mere coincidence, but divine
displeasure. AM believed that such a conflagration took place because of the
expulsion of St. John.
During those three hours from noon until 3:00 p.m., many splendid and ancient
buildings were reduced to ashes, as well as all manner of decoration and riches in
the city.However, no fatalities resulted. Though the God-fearing faithful understood
that the city was being punished for the unjust exile of their Patriarch, the enemies
of John main-
tained the opposite, saying, "John's supporters have set the church on fire!"[26]

LETTERS TO OLYMPIA
When St. John Chrysostom was banished into Lesser Armenia, to the city of Cucusus,
he had the opportunity to correspond with Deaconess Olympia. His letters,
permeated with Christian love, were addressed, "To my lady, the most reverend and
divinely-favored Deaconess Olympia." Olympia had written St. John that she was
grieved because of the fierce black storm which has overtaken the Church. She was
troubled and distracted because Patriarch John was cast out and another, Arsacios,
was put in his place. Saint John attempted to comfort her in his letters, entrusting
all of his and Olympia's present sufferings to the great providence and succor of
God."[27]

Olympiads Despondency
Evidently, the deaconess wrote that she continued to be anxious on his behalf,
because of his having to endure the severity of Armenian winters, his digestive
problems, and the incuraons of the Isaurians.[28] Olympia's dejection over the crisis
ushered in her own exhaustion and bodily enfeeble ment. Saint John, in a second
letter, besought her to seek skilled physicians and to take medicine to correct her
condition. She complained to him that she was vomiting, a condition similarly
afflicting St. John. He, therefore, recommended to her a medicine sent to him by a
woman named Syncletion. Olympia, however, confessed that her ailments were
produced by despondency. So deeply had she sunk under the tyranny of despondency
that she even had the desire to depart this world. Saint John encouraged her to have
patient endurance, the queen of virtues and the perfec-
tion of crowns. He brought to her mind the trials of Job, that spiritual hero who
remained untroubled and undismayed.
"Do not think," he said, "that to pray for death exempts one from blame. Hearken to
the voice of St. Paul, 'For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to
depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless, to remain in the flesh is
more needful for you' [Phil. 1:23- 24]. For in proportion as the strain of the affliction
is increased are the garlands of victory multiplied; in proportion as gold is heated
does it becomes purified....for it is a bright wreath of victory for the just, shining far
above the bright-ness of the sun, and it is the greatest means of purification for
those who have sinned."[29] Saint John then sent her his recently written treatise,
entitled No One Can Harm The Man Who Does Not Injure Himself.[30]

OLYMPIA GOES BEFORE THE PREFECT
During St. John's exile, many of his followers and admirers were arrested and
subjected by the pagan governor to all manner of torture and torment, of which
several perished. Despite this harsh method, nothing was learned about the cause of
the fire. This justified many in their belief that what took place was a result of
divine wrath.[31]
During this time, the holy deaconess was accused and arrested as an arsonist. Her
intrepid demeanor before the pagan Prefect Optatos brought her general admiration.
He, meanwhile, tried in vain to frighten her into a confession of guilt or to
acknowledge the new Patriarch Arsacios (404- 405), who was placed upon the
patriarchal throne by an arbitrary exercise of imperial power. The deaconess proved
to be too formidable a match for Optatos, so he dismissed her for a time. The news
of her bravery proved to be a great consolation to the exiled Archbishop John, who
was in the midst of great bodily suffering and distress.

LETTERS OF PRAISE AND
ENCOURAGEMENT
In a third letter to Olympia, we leam from St. John that she sent her servants to
minister unto him. The hierarch learned from her servants that Olympia was released
from her infirmity of despondency. So remarkable a comeback had she made in the
City that St. John writes: "Thou art like a tower, a haven, and a wall of defense,
speaking in the eloquent voice of example and through thy sufferings. Thou hast
instructed either sex to strip readily for these contests, and descend into the lists
with all courage, and cheerfully bear the toils which such contests involve.[32]
When   Olympia received this letter of praise from the hierarch, she was not
thrusting herself into the forum or occupying the public centers of the capital, but
sat all the while in a small house and confined chamber, serving and anointing the
combatants for the contests.[33] Saint John lauds her for contending with demons,
against whom she scored countless victories; yet she did not take asingle blow. He
commends her for undergoing sufferings which actually had the effect of working
vengeance upon those who afflicted her.
He writes: "Thou art not depressed by insults, nor elated by honors and glory. Thou
hast exceeded many who, after an illustrious career in the priesthood have fallen
into disgrace on Si. Otympia this account. Thou, on the contrary, woman as thou art,
clothed with a fragile body, and subject to these severe attacks, have not only
avoided falling into such a condition, but have prevented many others. Many.. .have
been overthrown at the very outset and starting point; whereas, thou, after having
gone countless times around the last turning post in the race, hast won a prize in
every course.... [F]or the wrestlings of virtue do not depend upon age, or bodily
strength, but only on the spirit and the disposition.  Thus, women have been
crowned victors, while men have been upset....Therefore, my sweet lady, thou dost
deserve superlative admiration. After so many men, women and aged persons,...
having been overthrown before the encounter and worsted before the struggle, thou,
on the contrary, after so many battles and such a large muster of the enemy, art far
from being unstrung or dismayed by the number of thine adversities. Indeed, the
more vigorous and heightened the contest, the more thou art strengthened....
Although my separation from thee distresses thee, yet thou hast this very great
consolation arising from thy successful exploits; for I also, who am banished to so
great a distance, gain no small cheerfiilness from this cause,—I mean thy courage."
[34]
From Constantinople, Olympia made every exertion and endeavor to remove her
beloved mentor John from Cucusus, by appealing to every imperial and clerical
person, but the attempt proved unsuccessful.   Again, St. John consoled her sorrow,
declaring, "It seemed good to God that I be set to run the longer double course, so
that the garland and victory be rendered more glorious."[35]

OLYMFIA SUFFERS MORE TRIALS
In another letter meant to embolden Olympia, he wrote that if her "golden soul" was
again permitted to suffer temptation, "By what means will they be able to terrify
thee? Will it be by loss of goods? Yet I know well that these are counted by thee as
dust and cheaper than dirt. Or shall it be by expulsion from country and home? But
thou knowest well how to dwell in great and populous cities, as if they were
uninhabited, spending the whole of thy time in quietness and rest, and treading
worldly ambitions underfoot. Or do they threaten death? This thou hast constantly
practiced by anticipation. And if they drag thee to slaughter, they will be dragging a
body which is already dead. What need to speak more at length? No one will be able
to do anything to thee of this kind which he will not find thou hast already
abundantly made thyself undergo. For by always walking in the narrow and strait
path, thou hast trained thyself in all these things. Wherefore, having practised this
most beautiful art in the course of thy training, thou dost now shine forth more
gloriously in the contest itself. Moreover, not only art thou in no wise disturbed by
the things which are happening, but rather elated; thou dost leap and dance for
joy....Although thy contests be in a woman's body, with great ease thou wilt tread
underfoot with derisive scorn the fury of lusty men gnashing their teeth upon thee.
Indeed, thou art ready to suffer even worse things than they prepare for thee."[36]
That spring, Olympia was exiled, and wandered from place to place. By midsummer
of 405, the deaconess was brought back to the capital. Made to stand before Prefect
Optatos again, he sentenced her to pay a heavy fine for her refusal to hold
communion with Patriarch Arsacios, whom she deemed a usurper to the bishopric.
Patriarch Atticos (406-425), Arsacios' successor, dispersed her community of widows
and virgins, putting an end to all their charitable works. However, this upset would
prove temporary.
Saint John Chrysostom continued to encourage and console her from his places of
exile. Seventeen of his letters have come down to us. We also know from St. John's
letters to his deaconess that he entrusted her with the execution of important
commissions.
Before his repose, he wrote to her: "As thou art wen acquainted with suffering, thou
hast reason to rejoice, inasmuch as by living constantly in tribulation, thou hast
walked on the road of crowns and laurels. All manner of corporeal diseases have
been thine, often more cruel and harder to be endured than many deaths; thou hast
never been free from sickness.  Thou hast been overwhelmed with slanders, insults
and injuries, and hast never been freed from some new tribulation; tears have
always been familiar to thee. Among all these, one single affliction is enough to fin
thy soul with spiritual riches."
In another letter, he writes: "1 cannot cease to call thee blessed. The patience and
dignity with which thou hast borne thy sorrows, the prudence and wisdom with which
thou hast managed delicate affairs, and the charity which has made thee throw a
veil over the malice of thy persecutors have won a glory and reward which hereafter
will make all thy sufferings seem light and passing in the presence of eternal joy."
[37]

EXILE AND REPOSE
It is not certain whether Olympia learned of the repose of St. John Chrysostom on
September 14, 407 in Pontus. Shortly thereafter, on July 25, 408, at Nicomedia,[38]
the blessed woman reposed, entering the eternal mansions on high, with all the
saints who were like unto her.

THE SAINT'S RELICS
Upon her repose, her flourishing memory was celebrated by many for her outstanding
charities and goodness. In fact, parents hoped that their children might emulate her
example. Now St. Olympia, before her repose, gave instructions that her remains be
placed in a coffin and cast into the sea, leaving it to divine providence. The coffin
floated to the shores of Vrochthee, a suburb of Constantinople, where the Monastery
and Church of the Apostle Thomas were located.[39] Finding rest with the Apostle
who, during his lifetime, also dispensed vast amounts of money among the poor,[40]
her precious relics wrought great miracles.
When the Persians attacked (616-620), burning the Monastery of St. Thomas, the
venerable deaconess' relics were removed. In 630, Sergia, then the abbess of the
"house of Olympia," rescued the precious relics, bearing them into the saint's
convent.

[1] Our knowledge of the life of the holy Deaconess Olyrnpn is derived party from
Palladius in his Paradise of the Fathers, the letters of the exiled Sl. John Chrysostom
addressed to her. and the writings of other contemporaries. Her Greek life first
appeared in the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xv (1896), pp. 400-423, together with an
account of the translation of her precious relics (ibid., vol. xvi, pp. 44-51), written
much later by the superioress. Mother (Ammo) Sergia.
[2] Some sources show tbe year of her birth as late as c. 368.
[3] Saint Gregory the Theologian is conimemorated by the Holy Church on the 25th of
January.
[4] Saint Amphilochios is commemorated by the Holy Church on the 23rd of
November.
[5] Later, Canon XV of Chalcedon (451) will note that deaconesses should wear the
Great Habit (Angelic Schema) and not be ordained until the age of forty.
[6] Evchotogion sive Riluale Oracorum, Jacobus Goar, Akademische Druck-U.
(Verlagsanstalt, Graz, 1960), pp. 218-219. See, also. Dr.Evangelos Theodorou, "E
Cheirotoma," In Women and the Priesthood. by Thomas Hopko (Crestwood, NY: St.
Vladimir's Seminaiy. 1983), p.86.
[7] Apostolic Constitutions 2:4:26.
[8] Apostolic injunctions. Book II, ch. 17, In The Rudder (Pedalion), trans. by D.
Cumniings (Chicago. EL: The Orthodox Christian Educaal Society, 1957), p. 195.
[9] Apostolic Injunctions, Book III, chaps. 14, 19.
[10] Apostolic Injunctions, Book in, chaps. 15, 16, and Book VIII, chaps. 20, 28.
[11] Didascalia Apostolorvm, ed. Robot Coanolly (Oxford, 1929).  
[12] Hopko, p. 87.
[13] The Rudder (Pedaalion), loe. cit.
[14] Apostolic Injunctions, Book ffl, ch- 15; Didascalia 16:2:12-13.

[15] Eva Catafygiotu Topping, Saints and Sisterhood (Mi nneapolis, MN: Light & Life
Publishing Co., 1990), p. 259.
[16] The Paradise of the Holy Fathers, vol. I, trams, out of the Syriac by Emest A.
Wallis Budge, LL.D. (Seattle, WA: St. Nectaries Press, 1978, repr.), p. 164.
[17] Saint John Chrysostom is commemorated by the Holy Chureh on Ihe 13th of
November.
[18] Topping, op. cit., p. 261.
[19] Nitria, the region in Libya lying to the west of the Nile, was the gateway of the
Egyptian desert, where the Western Desert and the Delta country meet near the
village of Pemoudj, or Nitria, about nine miles southwest of the town of Damanhur
(Hennopolis Parva). Also in that area is thepresent-ilay El-Bamugi. Derwas J. Chitty,
The Desert A City j (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1966), pp. 11-13.
[20] To learn more about me conflict that ensued between Pope Theophilos and St.
John Chrysostom, see The Lives of the Three Great Hierarchs, trans. by I. E.
Lambertsen and. Endres (Buena Vista, CO;Dormition Skete, 1985), pp. 134-141.
[21] Saint Epiphanios, Bishop of Salamis, Cyprus is commeiaortted by the Holy
Church on the l2th of May.
[22] Saint Peter of Sebaste in Armenia is commemorated by the Holy Church on the
9th of January. He is the youngest brother of St. Macrina, St. Basil, and St. Gregory
of Nyssa.
[23] Saint Gregory of Nyssa is commemorated by the Holy Church OB the 10th of
January.
[24] Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Song of Songs, trans. by Casimir McCambley OCSO
(Brookline, MA: Hellenic College Press, 1987), p. 2
[25] Paradise afihe Fathers, op. cit, p. 165.
[26] The Lives of the Three Great Hierarchs, op. cit.. pp. 160-161.
[27] Saint John Chrysostom, Letters to Olympia, The Nicene and Port Nicene Fathers
of the Christian Church, First Series, vol. IX. trans. By Rev. W. R. W. Stephens
(Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdaums Pub. Co.. 1975, repr.), pp. 287-293.
[28] A predatory race, inhabiting the strongholds of Ml. Taurus.
[29] Letters to Olympia, op. cit., p. 295.
[30] This very beautiful treatise, composed while St. John was in exile, probably not
long before his death, was sent to his great friend, Deaconess Olympia. An English
translation of this work may be found in Saint Chrysostom, The Nicene and Post-
Nicene Fathers of the I Christian Church, First Series, vol. IX, trans. by Rev. W. R.
W. Stephens, M.A. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1975,
repr.), pp. 269-284.
[31] The Lives of the Three Hia-archs, p. 161.
[32] Letters to Olympia, p. 297.
[33] Ibid.
[34] Ibid.. p. 298
[35] Ibid., p. 299. The single course or race-course at Olympia in the Grecian games
was the stadium; thus characterized since it was a stade (606.75% English feet) in
length. The double course that St. John mentionais one where the runner must turn
the post at the extremity of the stadium and run back again.
[36] Ibid.,p.303
[37] The extracts of these two letters were taken from Butler's Lives of the Saints,
vol. IV, edited, revised and supplemented by Herbert J. Tliurston, S.J. and Donald
Attwaler (Westminster, MD:  Christian Classics, 1981, repr.), p. 578.
[38] Nicomedia of Bitfaynifl (modem Izmjt of Turkey) is 54 miles from
Constantinople.
[39] Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue from Ochrid, Part 3, trails, by Mother
Maria (Birmingham: Lazarica Press. 1984), p. 106.
[40] The Lives of the Holy Apostles, trans- by I. E. Lambertsen and Holy Apostles
Convent (Buena Vista, CO: Holy Apostles Convent Publications, 1988), p. 192.
The wrestlings of virtue do not depend upon age,
or bodily strength, but only on the spirit and the
disposition. It is indeed always fitting to admire
those who pursue virtue, but especially when some
are found to cling to it at a time when many are
deserting it.
[Excerpt from a letter of St. John Chrysostom to
the Deaconess Olympia].
The Life and Struggles of
Our Holy Mother Among the Saint,
OLYMPIA, DEACONESS
of CONSTANTINOPLE,
Whose Memory the Holy Church
Celebrates on the
25th of  July
Lives of the Saints