Saint Constantia of Paphos

Saint Constantia was from the city of Paphos on the island of Cyprus, and as Saint Jerome (Hieronymus) writes in his book On the Ecclesiastical Writers, she was the disciple of Saint Hilarion the Great (October 21) who lived as an ascetic in a village in the Diocese of Paphos. In Saint Jerome’s Life of Saint Hilarion (44), he tells us that Saint Hilarion saved her daughter and son-in-law from death by anointing them with oil.

After Saint Hilarion’s death, Constantia remained near his grave and struggled in asceticism, in imitation of the Saint, praying ceaselessly and striving for her spiritual fulfillment. Through her faith and her prayers to Saint Hilarion she was also found worthy of performing miracles.

Saint Constantia is also mentioned by the chronographer Cyprian while the Cypriot scholar Stephanos Luzinian (in the XVI century) reports that she was regarded as the patroness of Paphos. Stephanos Luzinian writes about Saint Constantia:

“Constantia, a very noble lady of the city of Paphos, was a disciple of the most holy Father Hilarion. She died of unbearable sadness when she heard of the death of her master and how his body had been stolen by his disciple Hesychius. Her faithful love is worthy of praise: not only did she love her master while he was still alive, but her great love for him continued even after his death.”

Saint Jerome also relates (Life of Saint Hilarion, 47) that when Saint Constantia received a message saying that Saint Hilarion’s body was in Palestine, “She immediately fell dead, thus attesting to her deep love for the servant of God. It had become her custom to keep nightly vigils in the Saint’s sepulcher and converse with him as if he was there to aid her in her prayers.”

The Cypriot Menaion contains a complete Service in honor of Saint Constantia, and in her Troparion she is called “the Protectress of Paphos.”