Apostle Herodion of the Seventy, and those with Him

Saints Herodion (Rodion), Agabus, Asyncritus, Rufus, Phlegon and Hermes are among the Seventy Apostles, chosen by Christ and sent out by Him to preach (Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles: January 4).

The holy Apostle Herodion was a relative of Saint Paul, and his companion on many journeys. When Christianity had spread to the Balkan Peninsula, the Apostles Peter and Paul established Saint Herodion as Bishop of Patara. Saint Herodion zealously preached the Word of God and converted many of the Greek pagans and Jews to Christianity.

Enraged by the preaching of the disciple, the idol-worshippers and Jews with one accord fell upon Saint Herodion, and they began to beat him with sticks and pelt him with stones. One of the mob struck him with a knife, and the saint fell down. But when the murderers were gone, the Lord restored him to health unharmed.

After this, Saint Herodion continued to accompany the Apostle Paul for years afterward. When the holy Apostle Peter was crucified (+ c. 67), Saint Herodion and Saint Olympos were beheaded by the sword at the same time.

The holy Apostle Agabus was endowed with the gift of prophecy. He predicted (Acts 11:27-28) the famine during the reign of the emperor Claudius (41-52), and foretold the suffering of the Apostle Paul at Jerusalem (Acts 21:11). Saint Agabus preached in many lands, and converted many pagans to Christ.

Saint Rufus, whom the holy Apostle Paul mentions in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16:11-15), was bishop of the Greek city of Thebes. Saint Asyncritus (Rom. 16:14) was bishop in Hyrcania (Asia Minor). Saint Phlegon was bishop in the city of Marathon (Thrace). Saint Hermes was bishop in Dalmatia (there is another Apostle of the Seventy by the name of Hermas, who was bishop in the Thracian city of Philippopolis).

All these disciples for their intrepid service to Christ underwent fierce sufferings and were found worthy of a martyr’s crown.

Saint Celestine, Pope of Rome (422-432), a zealous champion of Orthodoxy, lived during the reign of the holy Emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450). He received an excellent education, and he knew philosophy well, but most of all he studied the Holy Scripture and pondered over theological questions.

The virtuous life of the saint and his authority as a theologian won him the general esteem and love of the clergy and people. After the death of Saint Boniface (418-422), Saint Celestine was chosen to be the Bishop of Rome.

During this time, the heresy of Nestorius emerged. At a local Council in Rome in 430, Saint Celestine denounced this heresy and condemned Nestorius as a heretic. After the Council, Saint Celestine wrote a letter to Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria (January 18), stating that if Nestorius did not renounce his false teachings after ten days, then he should be deposed and excommunicated.

Saint Celestine also sent a series of letters to other churches, Constantinople and Antioch, in which he unmasked and denounced the Nestorian heresy.

For two years after the Council, Saint Celestine proclaimed the true teaching about Christ the God-Man, and he died in peace on April 6, 432.

Translated into English by oca.org

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