Nick Page

Purple: Kingdom of Fools Video 3

When Paul went to Philippi he converted a woman called Lydia, who was involved in the luxury clothing business. But what did the early church think of such things? Why was purple so expensive? And what does this have to do with people who call their daughters ‘Chelsea’?

The third in a series of four videos to accompany the book Kingdom of Fools. See more at the Kingdom of Fools Vimeo Channel.



This video looks at Paul’s arrival in Philippi and the conversion of Lydia. She was a ‘porphuropolis’ – a buyer, or dealer, or dyer of purple cloth. Purple was a luxury product. Its wearing was restricted by law to certain high-status groups of people. ‘Wearing the purple’ was a sign of prestige and power.

So it’s interesting to explore the attitude of the first followers of Jesus to wealth and power and the status-symbols that went with it. Through looking at the example of Lydia, and a third-century Christian called Cyprian of Carthage, we can see that when it came to purple, they may have been slightly colour blind…