Friday, July 30, 2010

The Holy Apostles of the Seventy Silas, Silvanus, Crescens, Epenetus and Andronicus

Commemorated on July 30
The Holy Apostles of the Seventy Silas, Silvanus, Crescens, Epenetus and Andronicus were disciples of the Savior.

St Silas was a respected figure in the original Church at Jerusalem, one of the "chief men among the brethren" (Acts 15:22). The Council of the Apostles was convened at Jerusalem in the year 51 to deal with the question of whether Gentile Christian converts should be required to observe the Mosaic Law. The Apostles sent a message with Paul and Barnabas to the Christians of Antioch, giving the decision of the Council that Christians of Gentile origin did not have to observe the prescriptions of the Mosaic Law. Nonetheless, they were told that they must refrain from partaking of foods offered to idols, from things strangled and from blood, to refrain from fornication (Acts 15:20-29). Together with Sts Paul and Barnabas, the Council of the Apostles sent Sts Silas and Jude to explain the message in greater detail, since they both were filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. St Jude was later sent back to Jerusalem, but St Silas remained at Antioch and zealously assisted St Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, on his missionary journeys preaching the Gospel. They visited Syria, Cilicia, Macedonia.

In the city of Philippi they were accused of inciting unrest among the people, and for this they were arrested, beaten with rods, and then thrown into prison. At midnight, when the saints were at prayer, suddenly there was a strong earthquake, their chains fell off from them and the doors of the prison opened. The prison guard, supposing that the prisoners had fled, wanted to kill himself, but was stopped by the Apostle Paul. Then, he fell down trembling at the feet of the saints, and with faith accepted their preaching about Christ. He then led them out of the prison and took them to his own home, where he washed their wounds, and was baptized together with all his household.

From Philippi Sts Paul and Silas proceeded on to the cities of Amphipolis, Apollonia and Thessalonica. In each city they made new converts to Christ and built up the Church.

At Corinth the holy Apostle Silas was consecrated as bishop, and worked many miracles and signs, and there he finished his life.

The Holy Apostle Silvanus preached the Word of God together with the chief Apostles Peter and Paul. In his First Epistle, the holy Apostle Peter makes mention of him: "By Silvanus, a faithful brother to you, as I suppose, I have written briefly..." (1 Peter 5:12). St Silvanus was made bishop at Thessalonica and died there a martyr, having undergone many sorrows and misfortunes for the Lord's sake.

The Holy Apostle Crescens is mentioned by the holy Apostle Paul (2 Tim. 4:10), saying that Crescens had gone preaching to Galatia. He was made bishop there, and afterwards he preached the Word of God in Gaul (modern-day France). In the city of Vienna (modern Austria) the holy Apostle Crescens established his student Zacharias as bishop. Having returned to Galatia, he died as a martyr under the emperor Trajan (98-117).

The Holy Apostle Epenetus was made bishop at Carthage. In his Epistle to the Romans, the holy Apostle Paul writes: "Greet my dear Epenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ" (Rom. 16:5).

The Apostle Andronicus is mentioned by St Paul: "Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, ... who are of note among the Apostles, who also were in Christ, before me" (Rom. 16:7). The holy Apostle Andronicus was bishop in Pannonia (modern-day Hungary).

Sts Andronicus and Junia are also commemorated on May 17.
Troparion - Tone 3

O holy apostle,
Entreat the merciful God,
To grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.

Kontakion - Tone 4

You were disciples of the Lord, O Silas and Silvanus:
Two vines in His vineyard, yielding a fruitful harvest.
You poured out for us the wine of salvation that makes glad the hearts of the faithful,
And brings them to celebrate your worthy memory.
Obtain for us the remission of our sins and transgressions!


SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also):

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