Above: Timothy and His Grandmother, by Rembrandt (1648)
Image in the Public Domain
Co-Workers of the Apostle Paul
The Listed Lections for This Feast:
2 Timothy 1:1-8 or Titus 1:1-5
Psalm 112:1-9 or Psalm 23
Almighty God, you called Timothy, Titus, and Silas to be evangelists and teachers, and made them strong to endure hardship: Strengthen us to stand fast in adversity, and to live godly and righteous lives in this present time, that with sure confidence we may look for our blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Episcopal Church’s calendar observes Sts. Timothy and Titus together, but Lutheran calendars add St. Silas to this commemoration. I prefer the Lutheran trio to the Episcopalian duo.
Sts. Timothy, Titus, and Silas were companions of St. Paul in his missionary journeys. All three became bishops and two met martyrdom.
St. Timothy came from Lystra, in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). He was the son of a Greek father and Jewish Christian mother. St. Timothy was like a son to St. Paul, who entrusted the Thessalonian mission to him. St. Timothy became the first Bishop of Ephesus, where he died when a mob stoned and clubbed him to death for denouncing a pagan festival in 97 C.E.
St. Titus was a Gentile from Gortyn, on the island of Crete. Although St. Paul had St. Timothy circumcised to satisfy certain Jewish sensibilities (Timothy’s father was of mixed Jewish-Goy ancestry.), he protected St. Titus from this rite. (Titus was fully Gentile, and St. Paul objected to requiring Gentile males to become circumcised.) St. Titus acted as St. Paul’s secretary at the Council of Jerusalem, collected alms for Christians in Jerusalem, and functioned as St. Paul’s envoy to settle dissensions in the church at Corinth. St. Titus organized the church in Crete, where he served as a bishop. He died in 96 0r 107, and elderly man.
St. Silas, a.k.a. Silvanus, traveled with Paul through Greece and Asia Minor, being imprisoned with him at Philippi (Acts 15:22-18:5), until an earthquake. References to him appear also in 2 Corinthians 1:19, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, and 2 Thessalonians 1:1. He was a bishop in Macedonia, where he became a martyr circa 50 C.E.
I write from a position of relative comfort and safety with regard to freedom of religion, for I live in North America–the United States of America, to be precise. My nation’s history contains some incidents of religious persecution–of Quakers, Amish, Mennonites, and Roman Catholics, for example–but this record is minor compared to what has occurred in other nations and what transpires in foreign lands as I write these words. So I am blessed, and give thanks for this fact. And I pray for my fellow Christians who face persecution. While I do this I thank God also for the legacy of Sts. Timothy, Titus, and Silas, who faced great difficulties in the earliest decades of Christianity. I stand on their shoulders.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JUNE 11, 2010
THE FEAST OF ST. BARNABAS THE APOSTLE
THE FEAST OF THE REVEREND VERNON JOHNS, U.S. CIVIL RIGHTS PIONEER