St. Apphia, and her husband, St. Philemon, of the Seventy


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Commemorated on January 4 (also on February 19)

St. Philemon and his wife, Apphia, lived in the city of Colossa in Phrygia. Upon receiving Baptism from the holy Apostle Paul, they converted their house into a place of prayer, where all those who believed in Christ gathered and attended services. They devoted themselves to the service of the sick and downcast. Philemon was made Bishop of Gaza and preached the Word of God throughout all Phrygia. The holy Apostle Paul continued to be his guide, and addressed to him his Epistle filled with love, and in which he sends blessings “to Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer, and to our beloved Apphia, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house” (Phil 1:1-3).

Sts. Philemon and Apphia, as well as St. Archippus (who also lived at Colossa), all received the crown of martyrdom during the persecution of Nero (54-68). During a pagan festival, an enraged crowd rushed into the Church during services. All fled in terror, but only Sts. Philemon, Archippus and Apphia remained. They were seized and led off to the city prefect. The crowd beat and stabbed St. Archippus with knives, and he died on the way to the court. Sts. Philemon and Apphia were stoned to death by order of the prefect.

The memory of the holy Apostles Archippus, Philemon, and Apphia is also celebrated on February 19.

Troparion (Tone 3) –

Holy apostle Philemon of the Seventy;

entreat the merciful;

to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.

Kontakion (Tone 4) –

The Church ever sees you as a shining star, O apostle Philemon,

Your miracles have manifested great enlightenment.

Therefore we cry out to Christ:

“Save those who with faith honor Your apostle, O Most Merciful One.”

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)