Ananais of Damascus (favoured of the Lord), was a disciple of Jesus at Damascus. He is mentioned in Acts 9:10, when the Lord speaks to him and asks him to go to Saul, place his hands on him and restore Saul’s sight. When Ananias placed his hands on Saul, he was filled with the Holy Spirit, healed of his blindness, received a water baptism and began to eat and regain his strength.
Saul (who becomes Paul the Apostle), immediately begins to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying “He is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20).
Ananias is listed as one of the seventy two disciples whose mission is recorded in Luke 10:1-20. He was martyred in Eleutheropolis. A tomb is located below the Zoravor Church in Yerevan, Armenia.
Matthias the Apostle (gift of God), was one of the twelve main disciples of Jesus Christ. He’s the only disciple who wasn’t personally called by Jesus. Instead, the other disciples chose him to replace Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus and died shortly after Jesus was crucified.
Matthias is only mentioned by name in Acts 1:23 and Acts 1:26, but from that point on, whenever the Twelve apostles are referred to collectively, he’s with them. Beyond these two mentions in Acts, the New Testament tells us nothing about him. However, we do know that he met the requirements Peter established for replacing Judas: he’d followed Jesus since his baptism by John the Baptist and he witnessed Jesus’ ascension to heaven (Acts 1:21-22).
Tradition tells us that he became a missionary in foreign lands and that, like so many of the other Apostles, he died as martyr for his love of the Lord.
Barnabas the Apostle (son of encouragement), is first mentioned in Acts 4:36, “Joseph, a Levite, born in Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas, sold a field he owned, brought the money, and turned it over to the apostles.” Barnabas was also one of the seventy two disciples.
When Saul (or Paul) came to Jerusalem after his conversion, most of the Christians there wanted nothing to do with him. They had known him as a persecutor and an enemy of the Church. However, Barnabas was willing to give him a second chance. He looked him up, spoke with him, and brought him to see the other Christians, vouching for him. Later, Paul and Barnabas went on a missionary journey together, taking Mark with them. Part way, Mark turned back and went home. When Paul and Barnabas were about to set out on another such journey, Barnabas proposed to take Mark along, and Paul was against it, saying that Mark had shown himself undependable. Barnabas wanted to give Mark a second chance and so he and Mark went off on one journey, while Paul took Silas and went on another. Apparently Mark responded well to the trust given him by the “son of encouragement,” since we find that Paul later speaks of him as a valuable assistant (2Tim 4:11). Barnabas was stoned by the Jews and martyred in the town of Salamis.
The Apostle Philip (lover of horses), was born in Bethsaida and was one of the Twelve Apostles of the Lord. The interesting thing about Philip, is that he was personally reached by Jesus himself. While Philip brought Bartholomew to Jesus and Andrew brought Peter to Jesus, no one brought Philip to Jesus. Instead, John’s Gospel tells us, “The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me” (John 1:43).
Philip bore a Greek name and thus may have spoken Greek and been known to the Greek pilgrims in Jerusalem. He advises Andrew that certain Greeks wish to meet Jesus, and together they inform Jesus of this (John 12:21). During the Last Supper, when Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father, he provides Jesus the opportunity to teach his disciples about the unity of the Father and the Son.
Following the resurrection of Jesus, Philip was sent with his sister Mariamne and Bartholomew to preach in Greece, Phrygia, and Syria where he healed the sick and worked wonders.
Philip was martyred in Hierapolis. Philip’s preaching and healing converted the wife of the proconsul of the city. This enraged the proconsul and he had Philip, Bartholomew and Mariamne all tortured. Philip and Bartholomew were then crucified upside down. However, Philip continued to preach from the cross and as a result, the crowd released Bartholomew from his cross, but Philip insisted that they not release him and Philip died on the cross.
The Apostle John or St John the Beloved was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is the author of the three Letters of John, the Fourth Gospel and the Revelation to John in the New Testament. He played a leading role in the early church at Jerusalem. John was the son of Zebedee, a Galilean fisherman and Salome. John and his brother St James were among the first disciples called by Jesus. They, together with Peter, formed the inner core among the twelve who were present at the raising of the daughter of Jarius, the Transfiguration and the agony of Gethsemane. John was given the privilege of witnessing Jesus’ conversation with Moses and Elijah on the mount of the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9).
Jesus loved and trusted St John so much that at the moment of crucifixion, He asked him to take care of the Holy Mother of God.
His importance in the twelve grew as he matured, and after the crucifixion, he became a “pillar” in the Jerusalem church (Galatians 2:9), ministered with Peter (Acts 3:1, 4:13, 8:14), and finally was exiled to the island of Patmos by the Romans, where he received from God the majestic visions that comprise the book of Revelation. He is the only apostle that was not martyred and died a natural death.
Silas (of the forest), was a leader and teacher in the early church (Acts 15:22, 32), a fellow missionary with Paul and a “faithful brother” (1 Peter 5:12). He was a Hellenistic Jew and also a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37). He is also referred to as “Silvanus” in Paul’s Epistles (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 1:1).
After the Jerusalem Council, Silas was chosen to help communicate the council’s decision to Antioch, along with the apostle Paul. Soon afterwards, Paul set out on his second missionary journey and he chose Silas to accompany him (Acts 15:40-41).
On this journey, Paul and Silas traveled to Greece. In Philippi, the missionaries were arrested, beaten and imprisoned. However, “about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25). God then miraculously released them, and the jailer, having witnessed their faith, asked them, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). The jailer was saved that night and he and his family were all baptised. The next day, the city officials learned that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens and they were immediately fearful; their mistreatment of Paul and Silas the day before had violated Roman law. The city leaders immediately released Paul and Silas from custody. The missionaries left town, but they left behind a body of believers, the first church in Europe.