Archippus the Apostle, Philemon the Apostle & his wife, Apphia, Onesimos the Disciple of Paul
St Philemon and his wife St Apphia were Holy Apostles of the Seventy who lived in the city of Colossa in Phrygia. After they were baptized by the Apostle Paul, they converted their house into a house of prayer, where all those who believed in Christ gathered and attended services. They devoted themselves to serving the sick and downcast.
St Philemon became Bishop of the city of Gaza, and he preached the Word of God throughout Phrygia. 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 labourer, and to our beloved Apphia, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house” (Phil 1:1-3). St Onesimus (commemorated February 15), also mentioned in the Epistle, was St Philemon’s former slave.
Sts Philemon, Apphia, and St Archippos (who also lived at Colossa) received the crown of martyrdom during the persecution of Nero (54-68 AD). During a pagan festival, an enraged crowd rushed into the Christian church when services were going on. All fled in terror, and only Sts Philemon, Archippos, and Apphia remained. The pagans seized them and led them off to the city governor. They beat, and stabbed St Archippuos with knives, and he died on the way to the court. Sts Philemon and Apphia were stoned to death by order of the governor. The memory of the holy Apostles Archippos, Philemon, and Apphia is also celebrated on February 19.
Dismissal Hymn (Third Tone)
O Holy Apostles, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Kontakion (Second Tone )
We praise Christ’s Apostles as bright stars illumining the ends of the world, glorious Philemon, Onesimus, Archippos, and with them, wise Apphia, crying, “Pray unceasingly in behalf of us all”.
Holy Martyr Cecilia and those with her
Saint Cecilia was of an illustrious Roman family. On being betrothed to Valerian, she drew him to the Faith of Christ, and he in turn drew his own brother Tiburtius to the same. They contested in martyrdom during the reign of Diocletian, in the year 288.
Apolytikion of Martyrs Cecilia and Companions in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Kontakion of Martyrs Cecilia and Companions in the Fourth Tone
In godly wise let us, the hosts of the faithful, sing hymns to her wedded to Christ of her own will, Cecilia, whose pure heart with virtues was adorned; for she wholly put to shame the conceit of Almacius, and she shone bright as the sun amidst them that pursued her and then appeared to those upon the earth as a divine staff that strengthened the holy Faith.
Afterfeast of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple
Today is the prelude of God’s pleasure and the proclamation of man’s salvation. The Virgin is clearly made manifest in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all. Let us also cry out to her with mighty voice, “Hail, fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation.”
We also celebrate today:
- Kallistos Xanthopoulos, Patriarch of Constantinople
Anthimos, President of Crete