About St. Veronica, my other guardian angel!

From the Pearl of Great Price:

Part III, My Conversion

Chapter 3

My Baptism

Newly baptized Orthodox Christians always receive a baptismal name. Since it’s a saint’s name, the hope is that the newly illumined will emulate his or her saint’s example. My parents named me Paula, my Italian grandmother’s middle name. St. Paula was an Italian martyr. Rather than returning to that name, I decided to choose yet another name for myself, perhaps because I longed for this to be a new beginning at every level.

I read about the lives of perhaps a hundred women saints before I read about St. Veronica. Not only was she “the woman with an issue of blood” who touched the hem of Christ’s garment and was healed of her blood disorder, she was also the woman who wiped Christ’s face as he was carrying the cross to be crucified. Married (unlike most of the saints) and an artist, St. Veronica traveled as a missionary after Christ’s death, bringing the word of the gospel of Christ, and the miraculous healing cloth with His image, to others. I identified with her life, especially with regard to her prolonged health struggles and her desire to acquire faith in God.

Several days before my baptism, I shared my intention to assume a new name with my eternally patient parents. Their mouths dropped open. “Not another name change!” they exclaimed, feeling chagrined. “Forgive me!” I assured them. “This is truly the last name change I’ll ever make. I’ve had too many spiritual names given to me in other religions. I need to start fresh. This name will not be my legal name, just my church and communion name.” Sighing in relief, they smiled and gave me their blessing to proceed. They were thankful that I was returning to the Church and finding a measure of peace.

Other information about St. Veronica:

I found out recently that she was the wife of Zacchaeus and a relative of King Herod:

Described as a short man, then Zacchaeus climbed up a sycamore fig tree so that he might be able to see Jesus. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up into the branches, addressed Zacchaeus by name, and told him to come down, for he intended to visit his house. The crowd was shocked that Jesus, a Jew, would sully himself by being a guest of a tax collector.

Moved by the audacity of Jesus’s undeserved love and acceptance, Zacchaeus publicly repented of acts of corruption and vowed to make restitution for them, and held a feast at his house.

According to Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich in The Prologue from Ohrid:

This is the woman with the issue of blood, whom the Lord healed (Matt. 9:20). In gratitude to the Lord her healer, Veronica caused a statue of the Lord Jesus to be made, before which she prayed to God. By tradition, this statue was preserved up to the time of Julian the Apostate, when it was altered to become a statue of Zeus. This is one of the very rare occasions that a holy statue has been used in the Eastern Church. As is known, this later became a common custom in the Western Churches. St Veronica remained faithful to Christ till death, and entered peacefully into rest.

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