July 30, 2023

Homily Two on the Holy Apostles of the Seventy Silas, Silouan, Epainetos, Crescens and Andronikos

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Today the Church celebrates the memory of the Apostles of the Seventy Silas, Silouan, Epainetos, Crescens and Andronikos.

From the New Testament we know that Christ received Twelve Disciples, who followed Him throughout His three-year activity, and apart from Judas who betrayed Him and lost the Grace of being a Disciple of Christ, they saw Him Risen, they saw Him taken up into heaven, and on the day of Pentecost they received the Holy Spirit and were sent to the whole world to preach the new life that Christ brought to the world.

However, apart from the Twelve Disciples and Apostles, Christ also had a wider circle of Disciples called the Seventy, i.e. Seventy Disciples and Apostles. In the Gospel of the Evangelist Luke, reference is made to the circle of the Seventy Disciples. It is written: "After these, the Lord also appointed seventy others, and sent them two by two before Him to every city and place where He was about to come" (Lk. 10:1).

It seems that this choice was made in accordance with God's command to Moses. That is, Moses, according to God's command, chose seventy men who were his assistants in the work of governing the people (Numbers 11:16, 25). Thus, according to the same reason, these Seventy chosen by Christ were helpers of the Twelve Apostles, and probably constituted the first Presbytery of the Church in Jerusalem, after Pentecost.

In fact, in the same context of the Gospel of Luke, it appears that the Seventy men who were sent to every city and place that Christ was going to visit, returned after their mission and joyfully said to Christ: "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name" (Luke 10:17), that is, in the name of Christ they cast out evil spirits from the possessed.

Among these Seventy Apostles were also the holy Apostles who are celebrated today.

From the Synaxarion, which are the lives of the Saints and the par excellence history of the Church, we learn about their activities. The holy Apostle Silas followed the Apostle Paul, then he became the Bishop of Corinth, whom (Corinthians) he helped with all his actions. The holy Apostle Silouan became the Bishop of Thessaloniki and endured many dangers, and in peace he went to his longed-for Lord. The holy Apostle Epainetos became a Bishop in Carthage, acted as a missionary there, converted many idolaters to the knowledge of God and departed to the Lord. The holy Apostle Crescens traveled to Galatia in Asia Minor, became the Bishop of Chalcedon, showed many lost people the way to the knowledge of God and, after he benefited many, he paid departed to the Lord. For the holy Apostle Andronikos, no particular information is preserved in the Synaxaria of the Church.

Christ made this choice not with external criteria, but according to the inner desires of people, and their inner searches, but also their needs, that is why He chose others for the close circle of the Apostles who were the Twelve Apostles and He chose others for His wider circle, such as the Seventy Apostles. The choice was not made with worldly criteria, since Christ as God is impartial, but with spiritual criteria.

The Church of Christ is His blessed Body, it is a mystery in which the Grace of God acts and the rebirth of people takes place, but it is in an external way also a charismatic institution that has Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons, monastics, lay people of various gifts. This does not negate the spiritual quality, which is determined by the development of noetic energy.

This means that each person has various physical and noetic gifts and based on them society is formed. Regarding this distinction, there cannot be absolute equality, because everyone has special intellectual gifts. However, from the spiritual side we have equality in terms of noetic energy, since the nous of each person has equal value and equal potential for the knowledge of God and the salvation of man. It is enough to know the way to activate this noetic energy (the nous) with the Grace of God and to develop it, so that man can become a saint.

Thus, all the saints have the same noetic energy, they reach deification and sanctification and in proportion to their intellectual gifts they articulate this experience and contribute to the pastoral care of the Church and the formulation of its faith.

On this occasion, it should be emphasized that from the side of spiritual life, as seen in the sacred Canons of the Church, there are three concentric circles, as far as participation in the mystery of the Church is concerned. In the wider circle are those who hear the word of God, such as those who are catechized and those who repent who listen to the Apostolic and Gospel reading and strive to keep the will of God. In the inner circle belong those who pray most intensively. And in the narrowest circle are those who partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, after the appropriate spiritual preparation.

This separation of the different circles of people around the center which is Christ, is not done arbitrarily and in a selfish way, but in proportion to their inner spiritual searches and the development of their noetic energy. Of course, this depends on us and we are called to enter more deeply into the Church, to progress from those who hear and obey the will of God, to those who pray and partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, in order to become Disciples and Apostles of Christ.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Become a Patreon or Paypal Supporter:

Recurring Gifts

Contact Form


Email *

Message *