Today the Church remembers Saint Epaphroditus, the friend who risked everything for Saint Paul

Jasjot Singh

Every March 22 we remember Saint Epaphroditus of Philippi, disciple of the Apostles of Christ and close collaborator of Saint Paul, who mentions him in the Letter to the Philippians (Phil 2, 25-30).

By order of the apostle Peter, head of the Church, Epaphroditus became the first bishop of Philippi and Tarracina, as well as later of Andriaca. The Roman Martyrology points out about this saint: “… Later he was Bishop of Terracina, sent by Saint Peter when he was in Rome, and where he baptized a good number of converts, leaving Lino there as bishop and left for Terracina”.

friends in the lord

According to tradition, Epaphroditus was born in Philippi, in ancient Macedonia (Greece). History points to him as the one who traveled from his homeland to Rome to assist Saint Paul during his captivity between 60 and 62 AD On that occasion, Epaphroditus took with him the collection made by the Church of Philippi to assist the Apostle. There is, however, a controversy about the date of said trip. Some date it a little earlier, to the year 57, when Saint Paul was held captive in Ephesus – and not in Rome – during his third missionary journey.

“… Brother, collaborator and comrade in arms” (Phil 2, 25)

What there is no doubt about is the realization of the meeting between the two characters and, of course, the friendship they professed. As Epaphroditus fell ill on that occasion, Saint Paul decided to send him back to Philippi with a letter to the Christians of the city, in which he refers to him as “his brother, collaborator and companion in arms”. In the letter he begged his dear neophytes to receive his compatriot with “joy in the Lord”, since Epaphroditus had risked everything for the mission entrusted to him, even being on the verge of death:

“[…] I have deemed it necessary to return to you Epaphroditus, my brother, collaborator and comrade-in-arms, sent by you with the task of serving me in my need, because he is longing for all of you and is in anguish because he knows that the news of his illness has reached you. . It is true that he was ill and about to die. But God took pity on him; and not only from him, but also from me, so that I would not have sadness upon sadness… So, I hasten to send him so that seeing him again you may be filled with joy and I may be relieved in my sadness. Receive him, then, in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in esteem, since for the work of Christ he was about to die, risking his life to supply you with the service that you yourselves could not render to me.” . (Phil 2.25-30)

If you want to delve into the importance of Epaphroditus for the formation of the Church, we suggest this article from the Catholic Encyclopedia on the Letter to the Philippians: https://ec.aciprensa.com/wiki/Epístola_a_los_Filipenses

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