Today is Orthodox Church’s Feast to Commemorate Pilate’s Wife

Pilate’s Wife Honored as a Saint

Dream of Pilate's wife

PILATE IS INFAMOUS as the Roman governor who executed Christ although he knew he was innocent. But ancient stories of her conversion have led the Orthodox and Ethiopian Churches t regard his wife as a saint. This day, 27 October, is her feast.

The Bible does not give Pilate’s wife a name, but tradition says she was called Procula (or sometimes Claudia). The Gospel of Matthew records that during Christ’s trial, she sent a message to her husband saying, “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” (Matthew 27:19)

That is all the Bible says about her. The tradition of her conversion goes back at least to the second century, when Origen remarked in section 122 of his Commentary on Matthew that God providentially willed the vision to “turn around Pilate’s wife.”*

The Gospel of Nicodemus, written in the fourth century, claims that Pilate mentioned Procula’s dream to the Jews, at which they retorted, “Did we not tell you that he [Jesus] was a sorcerer? Behold, he has sent a dream to your wife.”

Pilate was a tough governor, who more than once butchered Jews, but we do not know how he behaved toward his wife. Did he usually trust her judgment? Was it brave of her to send him a note while he was sitting on the judgment seat?  Whatever the situation, Pilate was in a tight place. Pressures from Rome made it imperative he not allow a riot; therefore, although he knew Jesus was innocent, he was not willing to take the risks necessary to save his life. In the end, he ignored his wife’s warning and had Christ crucified.


qui voluit per visum convertere Pilati uxorum in the Latin version.

 [JW1]I don’t know if you have ever read Dorothy Sayers’The Man Born to be King (a series of twelve radio plays on the life of Christ) but her treatment of Pilate’s wife’s dream, and of their relationship, is very interesting. You might enjoy taking a look.

Other Notable Events

Death of Louise Rathke, at Valparaiso, Indiana. She had been the first trained deaconess to serve in India.

North Vietnamese soldiers enter the Laotian town of Kengkock, taking prisoners, including missionaries Evelyn Anderson, Beatrice Kosin, Lloyd Oppel, and Samuel Mattix.

Farewell service is held for Dr. “Harry” Ironside who has resigned as pastor of Moody Memorial church. He will continue to serve as a world evangelist.

The first Lithuanian Church in America is organized in Plymouth, Pennsylvania with Rev. Alexander Burba as its first pastor.

Birth of John McClintock in Philadelphia. He will become a Methodist clergyman, the first president of Drew Theological Seminary, and co-edit the 12-volume Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature with James Strong.

Francis Asbury lands in Philadelphia and will soon lead American Methodists to become the largest denomination in the United States.

William Robinson and Marmaduke Stephenson became the first Quakers to be executed in America for their religious beliefs, Stephenson saying, “Be it known unto all this day that we suffer not as evil-doers, but for conscience sake.” The date will later be observed as International Religious Freedom Day.

Christians in Japan face a deadline to hand over all mission material to authorities.

Servetus is condemned by  Geneva’s magistrates to burn alive for rejecting the Trinity. Calvin, who had vowed to execute him if he ever fell into his power, attempted to have the method of execution changed to beheading.

Birth of Desiderius Erasmus, whose writings will help bring about the Reformation of the sixteenth century.

Honorius I begins his reign as pope. His belief in Monothelitism (that Christ had only one will, not two), later condemned as heresy by the Roman Catholic Church, will figure in arguments over papal infallibility.

From The Christian History Institute

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