She was a virgin of an eminent family in Antioch. In the time of the Emperor Numerian, the governor of Antioch sent soldiers to bring Pelagia to trial as a known Christian. The soldiers surrounded the house and called the holy maiden to the door. She appeared, and when she heard that they had come to take her for trial, she pretended delight and asked the soldiers to wait a moment or two while she got herself ready. She then climbed up onto the roof of the house, raised her hands to heaven and prayed for a long time, begging God to receive her soul and not let her virginity be fouled. God did so, and her dead body fell in front of the soldiers. 'Her death', writes Chrysostorn, 'came about not as a natural occurrence but by the command of God', and he continues: 'And thus this virginal body, purer than any gold, lay on the earth; angels surrounded it, archangels paid it. honour and Christ Himself was with her.'
In the Slavonic Prologue there is recorded the following occurrence with an unrepentant sinner: A deacon, Raphael, was sick unto death. This was told to St Epiphanius, who loved Raphael, and the elder came to him at once. Recognising his spiritual father, Raphael began to weep and wail bitterly. Epiphanius also wept, then asked the deacon why he was in such grief. The deacon replied: 'Woe is me; devils have snatched away my works, and the angels of God have withdrawn themselves from me!' After that, he began to bleat like a goat, and then bark like a dog. And at that he gave up his soul. St Epiphanius said that this was because of some great sin, unconfessed and unrepented.