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Commemoration of St Dionysius of Areopagus, the Apostles Timothy and Titus

19 Oct 2023

 

Dionysius the Areopagite was an Athenian judge at the Areopagus Court in Athens. He is thus also known as protector of judges and the judiciary.

At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, Dionysius was in Egypt in a town called Heliopolis (the City of the Sun) near today’s capital of Cairo. On Good Friday, the very day Jesus Christ died, ”darkness came over all the land.”Dionysius noticed that day that the sun had disappeared and he wrote down the exact hour that this peculiar phenomenon had taken place.

Years later, he heard a man named Paul preaching on Athens’ Areopagus Hill, next to the Acropolis and close to where his court was located. Dionysius heard St Paul explaining that when Jesus died, the daylight completely disappeared and darkness embraced the world. This immediately reminded him of the peculiar phenomenon he had noticed and recorded in Egypt, several years prior. Convinced that Paul was telling the truth and that his teaching was that of the true faith, Dionysius decided to become baptised in 54 AD. Dionysius was so passionate about Christ and His revolutionary message that he eventually abandoned his family and judicial career and dedicated himself completely to God.

Dionysius witnessed the Assumption of St Mary, the Holy Mother of God. He preached the Word of God in Rome, Germany, Spain and Galia (France). He is considered to be the author of many theological works.

When Dionysius learned the news that Saint Paul had been executed by beheading outside Rome, he wholeheartedly desired to sacrifice his own life to honour Jesus. Along with his friends Eleutherius and Rusticus, Dionysius made the courageous decision to go and preach Jesus’ Gospel openly in public.

After managing to convert many pagans to Christianity, Dionysius, the former judge, along with Eleutherius and Rusticus, were in the end beheaded during the reign of Emperor Domitian, in 96 AD.

Timothy (honouring God), is one of the seventy two disciples of Jesus Christ. He was born of a Jewish mother and a Greek father in the Lycaonian city of Lystra.

He joined Paul during one of Paul’s later missionary journeys. Paul addresses Timothy as “my true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2), indicating that Timothy is much younger than Paul. He probably heard and responded to the gospel when Paul came through the area of Derbe and Lystra on his first missionary journey. Timothy served as Paul’s representative to several churches (1 Corinthians 4:17; Philippians 2:19), and he was later a pastor in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3). Timothy is also mentioned as being with Paul when Paul wrote several New Testament letters; 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and Philemon.

Paul says Timothy had a “genuine faith,” the same as that which lived in his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:1–5). Eunice and Lois prepared Timothy’s heart to accept Christ by teaching Timothy the Old Testament Scriptures and preparing him “from infancy” to recognise the Messiah when He appeared (2 Timothy 3:15). When Paul came preaching Christ, all three accepted his teaching and committed their lives to the Saviour.

Timothy is said to have died a martyr in Ephesus when he was 80 years old. As the bishop of Ephesus, he was murdered when he preached to a crowd of pagans against their idolatrous celebrations.

Titus (honourable) was also one of the seventy-two disciples of Jesus Christ. He was a native of the island of Crete, the son of an illustrious pagan. In his youth he studied Hellenistic philosophy and the ancient poets. Preoccupied by the sciences, Titus led a virtuous life, not devoting himself to the vices and passions characteristic of the majority of pagans.

At age twenty, St Titus heard a voice in a dream, suggesting that he abandon Hellenistic wisdom, which could not provide salvation for his soul, but rather to seek that which would save him. The dream guided him to familiarise himself with the teachings of the prophets of God. The first thing he read was the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Having opened it to the 47th Chapter, he was struck by the words which spoke to Titus about his own spiritual condition.

When news reached Crete about the appearance of a Great Prophet in Palestine, and about the great miracles He worked, the governor of the island of Crete (an uncle of Titus) sent him there. This Prophet was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who came into the world for the redemption of the race of mankind from the oppression of ancestral sin.

At Jerusalem, Saint Titus saw the Lord. He heard His preaching and believed in Him. He witnessed the suffering and death of the Saviour on the Cross, His glorious Resurrection and Ascension to Heaven. On the day of Pentecost the future apostle heard how the Twelve Apostles, after the descent of the Holy Spirit, spoke in various languages, among which was the Cretan language (Acts 2: 11).

Saint Titus accepted Baptism from the Apostle Paul and became his closest disciple. He accompanied Saint Paul on his missionary journeys, fulfilling the tasks entrusted to him. He was involved in establishing new churches and was made Bishop of Crete by the Apostle Paul. Not long before his second imprisonment, the Paul sent a pastoral epistle to his son in the Faith (Tit. 1: 4).

Titus peacefully guided his flock and toiled at enlightening the pagans with the light of faith in Christ. He was granted the gift of wonderworking by the Lord. During one of the pagan feasts in honour of the goddess Diana, Titus preached to a crowd of pagans. When he saw that they would not listen to him, he prayed to the Lord, so that the Lord Himself would show to the mistaken people the falseness of idols. By the prayer of St Titus, the idol of Diana fell down and shattered before the eyes of all. Another time Titus prayed that the Lord would not permit the completion of a temple of Zeus, and it collapsed.

By such miracles St Titus brought many to faith in Christ. After bringing the light of faith to the surrounding regions, St Titus died peacefully at the age of 97.

Details

Date:
19 Oct 2023
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Details

Date:
19 Oct 2023
Event Category: