The Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles was established by the Orthodox Church to indicate the equal honor of each of the Seventy. They were sent two by two by the Lord Jesus Christ to go before Him into the cities He would visit (Luke 10:1).
Besides the celebration of the Synaxis of the Holy Disciples, the Church celebrates the memory of each of them during the course of the year:
St. James the Brother of the Lord (October 23); Mark the Evangelist (April 25); Luke the Evangelist (October 18); Cleopas (October 30), brother of St. Joseph the Betrothed, and Simeon his son (April 27); Barnabas (June 11); Joses, or Joseph, named Barsabas or Justus (October 30); Thaddeus (August 21); Ananias (October 1); Protomartyr Stephen the Archdeacon (December 27); Philip the Deacon (October 11); Prochorus the Deacon (28 July); Nicanor the Deacon (July 28 and December 28); Timon the Deacon (July 28 and December 30); Parmenas the Deacon (July 28); Timothy (January 22); Titus (August 25); Philemon (November 22 and February 19); Onesimus (February 15); Epaphras and Archippus (November 22 and February 19); Silas, Silvanus, Crescens or Criscus (July 30); Crispus and Epaenetos (July 30); Andronicus (May 17 and July 30); Stachys, Amplias, Urban, Narcissus, Apelles (October 31); Aristobulus (October 31 and March 16); Herodion or Rodion (April 8 and November 10); Agabus, Rufus, Asyncritus, Phlegon (April 8); Hermas (November 5, November 30 and May 31); Patrobas (November 5); Hermes (April 8); Linus, Gaius, Philologus (November 5); Lucius (September 10); Jason (April 28); Sosipater (April 28 and November 10); Olympas or Olympanus (November 10 ); Tertius (October 30 and November 10); Erastos (November 30), Quartus (November 10); Euodius (September 7); Onesiphorus (September 7 and December 8); Clement (November 25); Sosthenes (December 8); Apollos (March 30 and December 8); Tychicus, Epaphroditus (December 8); Carpus (May 26); Quadratus (September 21); Mark (September 27), called John, Zeno (September 27); Aristarchus (April 15 and September 27); Pudens and Trophimus (April 15); Mark nephew of Barnabas, Artemas (October 30); Aquila (July 14); Fortunatus (June 15) and Achaicus (January 4).
With the Descent of the Holy Spirit the Seventy Apostles preached in various lands. Some accompanied the Twelve Apostles, like the holy Evangelists Mark and Luke, or St. Paul’s companion Timothy, or Prochorus, the disciple of the holy Evangelist John the Theologian, and others. Many of them were thrown into prison for Christ, and many received the crown of martyrdom.
There are two more Apostles of the Seventy: St. Cephas, to whom the Lord appeared after the Resurrection (1 Cor. 15:5-6), and Simeon, called Niger (Acts 13:1). They also were glorified by apostolic preaching.
There are discrepancies and errors in some lists of the Seventy Apostles. In a list attributed to St. Dorotheus of Tyre (June 5) some names are repeated (Rodion, or Herodion, Apollos, Tychicus, Aristarchus), while others are omitted (Timothy, Titus, Epaphras, Archippus, Aquila, Olympas). St. Demetrius of Rostov consulted the Holy Scripture, the traditions passed down by the Fathers, and the accounts of trustworthy historians when he attempted to correct the mistakes and uncertainties in the list in compiling his collection of Lives of the Saints.
The Church in particular venerates and praises the Seventy Apostles because they taught us to honor the Trinity One in Essence and Undivided.
In the ninth century St. Joseph the Hymnographer composed the Canon for the Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles of Christ.
In the longer Life of the Seventy Apostles by St. Dimitry of Rostov, we have more information on these early preachers of our Christian faith:
The holy Apostle Paul refers to James in the Epistle to the Galatians, saying, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, but other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Saint James was appointed Bishop of Jerusalem by the Lord Himself. The Jews hurled him from the pinnacle of the Temple for preaching Christ. He was injured, but not killed, when he struck the pavement below, so one of the Pharisees shattered his skull with a club, finishing him.
II. Saint Mark the Evangelist (April 25)
Mark wrote his Gospel under the direction of Saint Peter and is mentioned by that Apostle in his First General Epistle. Peter writes, The church that is at Babylon saluteth you; and so doth Mark my son. Peter ordained Mark Bishop of Alexandria. The idolaters of that city bound him, dragged him over jagged rocks, and beat him; whereupon, the Lord appeared, summoned him to heavenly glory, and received his spirit.
III. Saint Luke the Evangelist (October 18)
Luke wrote his Gospel under the guidance of the holy Apostle Paul, who mentions him in the Epistle to the Colossians, saying, Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. Saint Luke also wrote the Acts of the Apostles. After toiling greatly in Christ’s service, Luke completed his labors in Thebes, a city of Boetia, where he was martyred.
In his Gospel, Saint Luke writes that Cleopas was one of the two disciples to whom the Lord appeared on the road to Emmaus after His Resurrection. Luke was the other, although he does not mention his own name. Cleopas was subsequently slain by the Jews for preaching Christ, the murder taking place in the very house where the risen Lord was known by him in the breaking of bread.
V. Saint Symeon, Kinsman of the Lord (September 17 and April 27)
Saint Symeon was the second Bishop of Jerusalem, James’ successor. He was crucified for the crucified Christ.
VI. Saint Barnabas, Also Known as Joses (June 11)
According to the fourth chapter of the Book of Acts, this saint was surnamed Barnabas by the apostles. He is also mentioned in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians, wherein Saint Paul writes, I went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas. Laboring in the ministry of the word, he was first (with Saint Paul) to preach Christ in Rome. He became Bishop of Milan and met his end on Cyprus, his homeland, being stoned by Greeks and Jews. Saint Barnabas was buried with a copy of Saint Matthew’s Gospel which he had written with his own hand.
VII. Saint Joses or Joseph, Also Called Barsabas and Justus (October 30)
Joses was one of the two candidates chosen as possible replacements for the fallen Judas (the other was Matthias). Saint Paul refers to him in the Epistle to the Colossians as Jesus, which is called Justus. The teachers of the Church say that Joses was a son of Joseph the Betrothed, like James, Simon, and Judas (not Iscariot). He became Bishop of Eleutheropolis and died a martyr.
VIII. Saint Thaddaeus (August 21)
Thaddaeus was first a disciple of Saint John the Forerunner, then of Christ. He is not to be confused with the holy Apostle Jude or Judas Thaddaeus, also known as Lebbaeus. Thaddaeus baptized Abgar, Prince of Edessa, and cleansed him of leprosy. After laboring much in proclaiming the gospel of Christ, he reposed in the Lord in the Phoenician city of Beirut.
IX. Saint Ananias (October 1)
The holy Ananias baptized Saint Paul and was Bishop of Damascus. Lucian, Governor of Eleutheropolis, had him put to death by stoning outside that city.
Saint Stephen was stoned by the Jews for preaching the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom he beheld standing in the heavens.
XI. Saint Philip, One of the Seven Deacons (October 11)
Philip baptized Simon Magus (in Samaria) and Candace’s eunuch. He became Bishop of Tralles in Asia Minor, enlightened many in the faith, and departed unto eternal life in great old age.
XII. Saint Prochorus, One of the Seven Deacons (July 28)
Prochorus was Saint John the Theologian’s companion and fellow-laborer. He became the first Bishop of Nicomedia in Bithynia and suffered martyrdom while preaching Christ in Antioch.
XIII. Saint Nicanor, One of the Seven Deacons (December 27 and July 28)
Saint Nicanor, with two thousand other Christians, was slain for Christ on the same day as the holy protomartyr Stephen, as related in the Acts of the Apostles, which states, At that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem.
XIV. Saint Timon, One of the Seven Deacons (July 28 and December 30)
Timon was Bishop of Bostra in Arabia. He suffered greatly at the hands of the Jews for preaching Christ. Cast into a fiery furnace, he emerged unharmed, then departed unto the Lord.
XV. Saint Parmenas, One of the Seven Deacons (July 28)
Parmenas was slain before the eyes of the other apostles while preaching the gospel.
XVI. Saint Timothy (January 22)
Timothy, the Bishop of Ephesus, helped Saint Paul spread the gospel and received letters from him.
Titus, the Bishop of Gortyna in Crete, also labored with Saint Paul in proclaiming the gospel and received a letter from him.
XVIII. Saint Philemon (November 22)
Philemon, the recipient of one of Saint Paul’s letters, was Bishop of Gaza.
XIX. Saint Onesimus (February 15)
The holy Onesimus, mentioned by Paul in his epistle to Philemon, was tortured by Tertillus, Prefect of Rome, and died in Puteoli.
XX. Saint Epaphras
Epaphras is also mentioned by Saint Paul in the Epistle to Philemon. Paul states, "Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus, saluteth thee." Epaphras was Bishop of Colossae and also of the churches of Laodicea and Hierapolis. He shared Paul’s captivity in Rome, whence the great Apostle wrote the Colossians, Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal of you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.
XXI. Saint Archippus (November 22 and February 19)
Archippus, like Onesimus and Epaphras, is mentioned in the Epistle to Philemon. While Saint Epaphras was being held at Rome in fetters, Archippus succeeded him as Bishop of Colossae. Archippus was tending the flock of Christ in that city when Saint Paul wrote him this reminder: Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
XXII. Saint Silas (July 30)
With Saint Paul, the holy Silas preached the word of God, was flogged, and imprisoned. The Acts of the Apostles relates that Paul chose Silas and departed, confirming the churches. Silas became Bishop of Corinth and greatly labored proclaiming the gospel. After working numerous miracles, he departed to the Lord.
Silvanus transcribed Saint Peter’s First General Epistle, as the chief Apostle states: By Silvanus, a faithful brother, I have written. In his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, Saint Paul testifies that Silvanus assisted him in teaching the word of God. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, he says, was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus. As Bishop of Thessalonica, Silvanus suffered much for the faith, then departed to Christ, the Ruler of the contest.
XXIV. Saint Crescens (July 30)
Saint Crescens is mentioned by Paul in his Second Epistle to Timothy. "Crescens," he says, "I sent to preach in Galatia." After serving as bishop in Galatia, he proclaimed Christ in Gaul and appointed his disciple Zacharias Bishop of Vienne. Returning to Galatia, he was martyred during Trajan’s reign.
XXV. Saint Crispus
According to the Acts of the Apostles, Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house. This Crispus is the same as the one referred to by Saint Paul in the First Epistle to the Corinthians. I baptized Crispus, writes the great Apostle. Crispus became Bishop of Aegina, an island near the Peloponnesus.
XXVI. Saint Epaenetus (July 30)
Saint Epaenetus, Bishop of Carthage, is mentioned by Saint Paul in the Epistle to the Romans, in which he writes, Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
XXVII. Saint Andronicus (February 22, May 17, and July 30)
Saint Paul says in the same epistle, Salute Andronicus, calling him his kinsman and fellowprisoner. Andronicus, eminent among the apostles, believed in Christ before Paul and was Bishop of Pannonia.
XXVIII. Saint Stachys (October 31)
Saint Stachys is also mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans, in which Paul writes, Salute Stachys my beloved. Stachys was appointed first Bishop of Byzantium by the Apostle Andrew the First-called. His church was located in Argyropolis.
XXIX. Saint Amplias (October 31)
In the same letter, Paul requests that salutations be conveyed to Amplias, saying, Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord. Amplias preached Christ in Diospolis and became bishop of that city. He was put to death in Odessos by the pagans.
XXX. Saint Urbane (October 31)
Again, this saint is mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans, in which Paul writes, Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ. Urbane was bishop in Macedonia and died a martyr.
XXXI. Saint Narcissus (October 31)
Saint Paul remembers Narcissus as well in the Epistle to the Romans. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord, he says. Narcissus was Bishop of Athens.
XXXII. Saint Apelles (October 31)
Paul sends greetings to Apelles in the same letter, saying, Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Apelles was Bishop of Heracleia.
XXXIII. Saint Aristobulus (March 16 and October 31)
Saint Aristobulus is also mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans, where Paul writes, Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household. Aristobulus served as bishop in Britain where he labored greatly and suffered martyrdom.
XXXIV. Saint Herodian (April 8 and November 10)
In the Epistle to the Romans, Saint Paul writes, Salute Herodian my kinsman. Herodian was Bishop of Patras.
XXXV. Saint Agabus (April 8)
Saint Agabus possessed the gift of prophecy. In the Acts of the Apostles it is written that there came down from Judea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Spirit, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
XXXVI. Saint Rufus (April 8)
Saint Rufus was Bishop of Thebes in Greece. He is mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans by Saint Paul, who writes, Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord.
XXXVII. Saint Asyncritus (April 8)
Saint Asyncritus served as Bishop of Hyrcani in Asia Minor, and is also mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans.
Saint Phlegon is mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans as well. He was Bishop of Marathon, a town in Thrace.
XXXIX. Saint Hermas (March 8 and November 5)
Saint Hermas, mentioned in the same epistle, was Bishop of Philippopolis.
XL. Saint Patrobas (November 5)
Saint Patrobas, also referred to in the Epistle to the Romans, was Bishop of Naples and Puteoli.
XLI. Saint Hermes (April 8 and May 31)
Paul mentions Hermes, who was a bishop in Dalmatia, with the four preceding saints in this passage from his letter to the Romans: "Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, and Hermes."
XLII. Saint Linus (November 5)
Linus, Bishop of Rome after Saint Peter, is mentioned by the holy Paul in his Second Epistle to Timothy.
XLIII. Saint Gaius (November 5)
Saint Gaius was Timothy’s successor as Bishop of Ephesus. The following passage referring to him is found in the Epistle to the Romans: Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you.
XLIV. Saint Philologus (November 5)
Philologus is mentioned in the same letter by Paul, who says, Salute Philologus. This saint was appointed Bishop of Sinope by the Apostle Andrew.
XLV. Saint Lucius (September 10)
Lucius, mentioned in the same letter, was Bishop of Laodicea in Syria.
XLVI. Saint Jason (April 28)
Saint Jason, to whom there is also a reference in the Epistle to the Romans, was Bishop of Tarsus.
XLVII. Saint Sosipater (April 28)
Saint Sosipater, Bishop of Iconium, is mentioned with the two preceding apostles by Paul in this passage from the Epistle to the Romans: Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
XLIX. Saint Olympas (November 10)
Saint Paul refers to Olympas in the same letter. Olympas was present at the holy Apostle Peter’s crucifixion and was subsequently executed with the Apostle Herodion by Nero, as Symeon Metaphrastes writes in his account for June 29, the day on which Saints Peter and Paul are commemorated.
XLIX. Saint Tertius (October 10 and November 10)
Saint Tertius transcribed the Epistle to the Romans for Saint Paul, adding this note: I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord. Tertius was Sosipater’s successor as Bishop of Iconium, where he received the crown of martyrdom.
L. Saint Erastus (November 30)
Erastus is mentioned with the others in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. He was first steward of the Church of Jerusalem, then Bishop of Paneas.
LI. Saint Quartus (November 10)
Saint Quartus was Bishop of Beirut and is mentioned with Erastus by Saint Paul in the following passage from the Epistle to the Romans: Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.
LII. Saint Evodus (September 7)
Saint Evodus was Bishop of Antioch after the Apostle Peter. Saint Ignatius the God-bearer mentions him in his Epistle to the Antiochians, saying, "Remember the blessed Evodus, your father, who was confirmed as your first pastor by the apostles."
LIII. Saint Onesiphorus (September 7 and December 8)
Saint Paul refers to Onesiphorus in the following passage from his Second Epistle to Timothy: The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chains. Onesiphorus was Bishop of Colophon and Cyrene.
In his Epistle to the Philippians, Saint Paul writes about "the women which laboured with me and with Clement also." Clement was Bishop of Rome after the holy Apostle Peter, Linus, and Anacletus. He was banished to Cherson and drowned in the sea.
LV. Saint Sosthenes (December 8 and March 30)
Saint Sosthenes was leader of the synagogue of Corinth after Saint Crispus. In the Acts of the Apostles it says that the Greeks took Sosthenes, chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. Sosthenes was converted by Saint Paul, who opens his First Epistle to the Corinthians with these words: Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth. Later, Sosthenes became Bishop of Colophon.
LVI. Saint Apollos (March 30 and December 8)
It is written in the Acts of the Apostles that a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord. Paul mentions Apollos in the First Epistle to the Corinthians. I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase, he says. Apollos was Saint Polycarp’s predecessor as Bishop of Smyrna.
LVII. Saint Tychicus (December 8)
Saint Tychicus’ name appears in the Acts of the Apostles, and in Saint Paul’s letters to the Colossians and the Ephesians. In the Epistle to the Ephesians the great Apostle writes: That ye also may know mine affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. Saint Paul also says in the Second Epistle to Timothy, Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. Tychicus was Sosthenes’ successor as Bishop of Colophon.
LVIII. Saint Epaphroditus (March 30 and December 8)
Saint Epaphroditus, Bishop of Hadriacus, is mentioned in the Epistle to the Philippians by Saint Paul, who writes, I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, but your apostle, and he that ministered to my wants.
LIX. Saint Carpus (May 26)
In his Second Epistle to Timothy, Saint Paul requests, The phelonion that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books. Carpus was Bishop of Berroia in Macedonia.
Quadratus preached the word of the Lord in Athens and Magnesia, and was bishop of both cities. The Athenians put him to death during the reign of Hadrian.
LXI. Saint Mark, or John (September 27)
Saint Mark, the companion of Barnabas and Saul, appears frequently in the Acts of the Apostles, for example, in this passage: Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark. This Apostle, whose shadow healed the sick, was Bishop of Byblus in Phoenicia.
LXII. Saint Zenas (September 27)
Zenas, a teacher of the Law of Moses, was Bishop of Diospolis. In his Epistle to Titus, Saint Paul writes, Bring Zenas the lawyer diligently.
LXIII. Saint Aristarchus (April 15 and September 27)
Saint Aristarchus, Bishop of Apamea in Syria, is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles and in Saint Paul’s letters to the Colossians and to Philemon.
LXIV. Saint Pudens (April 15)
In his Second Epistle to Timothy, Saint Paul conveys greetings from Pudens. A pious Roman senator, Pudens lodged the holy apostles Peter and Paul (with many other Christians) in his home. Puden’s house became known as "The Shepherd’s Church." It is said that Saint Peter presided over divine services there.
LXV. Saint Trophimus (April 15)
Saint Trophimus is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Second Epistle to Timothy, in which Saint Paul states that he left Trophimus at Miletum sick. Pudens, Aristarchus, and Trophimus followed Paul and witnessed his sufferings. Then, following the great Apostle’s execution, they too were beheaded by Nero in Rome.
LXVI. Saint Marcus (October 30)
Saint Marcus, Bishop of Apolliana, was Barnabas’ nephew. He and Aristarchus are mentioned by Saint Paul in the following passage from the Epistle to the Colossians: Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas.
LXVII. Saint Artemas (October 30)
In the Epistle to Titus, Saint Paul writes, I shall send Artemas unto thee. Artemas was Bishop of Lystra.
LXVIII. Saint Aquila (July 14)
Saint Aquila is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles and by Paul. He was Bishop of Heraclea, preached the word of God in Asia Minor and Achaia, and was killed by unbelievers.
LXIX. Saint Fortunatus (June 15)
Fortunatus is mentioned by Saint Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians. After laboring greatly in preaching the word of God, he reposed in the Lord.
LXX. Saint Achaicus
Saint Paul refers to Achaicus and Fortunatus in the same passage, saying, I am glad of the coming of Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. For they have refreshed my spirit, and yours.
Two additional apostles are sometimes numbered with the Seventy, bringing the total to seventy-two, the number mentioned in the variant reading of the Gospel, according to which the Lord appeared unto the other seventy-two.
Saint Dionysius appears in the Acts of the Apostles, was Bishop of Athens, and later proclaimed Christ in Gaul where he was beheaded. Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea of Palestine, explains that "Dionysius the Areopagite, converted by Paul’s preaching in Athens (according to Luke’s testimony in the Acts of the Apostles), became a member of the apostolic choir."
LXXII. Saint Simeon Niger
This saint is also mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles by Luke, who writes, Now there were in the church that was at Antioch, certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon, that was called Niger. We are assured by Saint Epiphanias that this Simeon was an apostle. The great hierarch of Cyprus writes, "Mark, Luke, Justus, Barnabas, Apelles, Rufus, and Niger are all among the seventy-two apostles."
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Troparion, Tone 3
Holy apostles of the Seventy, / entreat the merciful God / to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.
Kontakion, Tone 2
O faithful, let us praise with hymns / the choir of the seventy disciples of Christ. / They have taught us all to worship the undivided Trinity, / for they are divine lamps of the Faith.