St Tabitha 

Today the Orthodox Church remembers St Tabitha the Widow, raised from the dead by the Apostle Peter. Her story is recorded in Acts 9:36-42 :

 Now there was at Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him entreating him, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose and went with them. And when he had come, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping, and showing tunics and other garments which Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, rise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and lifted her up. Then calling the saints and widows he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.


As the scripture lesson indicates Tabitha was known for her kindness and charity. Little else is known about her.  I admit I find these lives of saints in which little is reported other than an act of kindness appeal to me far more than hagiographies which are filled with magic, miracles and other legends which often lead me to doubt the life altogether.  Miracles remain popular with many people and in history the lives of the saints became increasingly formulaic filled with miracles and magic phenomena of all kinds. Sadly, some think a person fulfilling a Gospel command or willingly dying for the faith is not enough for sainthood. For my part, I find it miraculous when a common person actually fulfills a Gospel command. That is a life which can be imitated and that it why I find it more inspiring than a legendary life which is inimitable. St Tabitha is one such woman saint.  We can imitate her in her aid to the needy.

If you see a person pure and humble, that is a great vision. For what is greater than such a vision, to see the invisible God in a visible person. (St Pachomius the Great)


From the OCA website, we read her life:

Saint Tabitha, the widow raised from the dead by the Apostle Peter, was a virtuous and kindly woman who belonged to the Christian community in Joppa. Being grievously ill, she suddenly died. At the time, the Apostle Peter was preaching at Lydda, not far from Joppa. Messengers were sent to him with an urgent request for help. When the Apostle arrived at Joppa, Tabitha was already dead. On bended knee, Saint Peter made a fervent prayer to the Lord. Then he went to the bed and called out, “Tabitha, get up!” She arose, completely healed (Acts 9:36).


Saint Tabitha is considered the patron saint of tailors and seamstresses, since she was known for sewing coats and other garments (Acts 9:39).

For those who like to sew, you have a patron saint in Tabitha.