Palladius of Galatia tells the story of an ascetic who met a man and woman who were actors—a notoriously immoral profession in those days. Wishing to save them for Christ, he took the extreme measure of selling himself to them as a slave.
The fathers used to tell how, taking a female ascetic as his accomplice, Serapion sold himself to some Greek actors in a certain city for twenty pieces of money. And having sealed up the money he kept it on his person. Then he stayed a long while and served as slave to the actors who had bought him, until he both made them Christians and induced them to leave the stage. All the time he took nothing but bread and water, nor did his lips rest from expounding the scriptures.
So both were baptized and gave up the stage, and applying themselves to an honorable and pious life they revered the man exceedingly and said to him, “Here, brother, let us free you, since you yourself have freed us from disgraceful slavery.”
He said to them, “Since God has done this, and your soul is saved, let me tell you the mystery of my conduct. I pitied your soul, being myself an ascetic, a free man, an Egyptian by race, and I sold myself for this reason, that I might save you. But since God has done this, and your soul has been saved through my humiliation, take back your money, that I may go away and help others.”