St. Apphia, the wife of Philemon, and Equal of the Apostles


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Commemorated on November 22 (also on February 19)

The Holy Apostles of the Seventy Philemon and his wife Apphia lived in the city of Colossa in Phrygia. After they were baptized by St. Paul, they converted their home 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 preached the Word of God throughout Phrygia. St. 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 received the crown of martyrdom during the persecutions by Emperor Nero (54-68). During a pagan festival, an enraged crowd rushed into a Christian church while services were taking place. All fled in terror, with only Philemon, Archippus and Apphia remaining. 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 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.

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