Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sts. Jason and Sosipater the Apostles of the Seventy

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Sts. Jason and Sosipater the Apostles - Commemorated on April 29th (or in some places, April 28th); the two icons are from their church in Kerkyra, and are from the 1600's. (Icons taken from:

"The Apostle Jason was from Tarsus (Asia Minor). He was the first Christian in the city. The Apostle Sosipater was a native of Patra, Achaia. He is thought to be the same Sosipater mentioned in Acts 20:4. They both became disciples of St Paul, who even called them his kinsmen (Rom 16:21). St John Chrysostom (Homily 32 on Romans) says that this is the same Jason who is mentioned in Acts 17:5-9. St Jason was made bishop in his native city of Tarsus, and St Sosipater in Iconium. They traveled west preaching the Gospel, and in 63[AD] they reached the island of Kerkyra [Corfu] in the Ionian Sea near Greece.

There they built a church in the name of the Protomartyr Stephen and they baptized many. The governor of the island learned on this and locked them up in prison, where they met seven thieves: Saturninus, Iakischolus, Faustianus, Januarius, Marsalius, Euphrasius and Mammius. The Apostles converted them to Christ. For their confession of Christ, the seven prisoners died as martyrs in a cauldron of molten tar, wax and sulfur.

The prison guard [named Anthony], after witnessing their martyrdom, declared himself a Christian. For this they cut off his left hand, then both feet and finally his head. The governor ordered the Apostles Jason and Sosipater to be whipped and again locked up in prison.

The church of Sts. Jason and Sosipater on Kerkyra (supposedly the sole church of Byzantine architecture on the island). Here are preserved relics of Sts. Jason and Sosipater, and I believe also the tomb of the martyred prison guard, St. Anthony, honored as one of the first martyrs of the island (picture taken from:
When the daughter of the governor of Kerkyra (Korfu), the maiden Kerkyra, learned how Christians were suffering for Christ, she declared herself a Christian and gave away all her finery to the poor. The infuriated governor attempted to persuade his daughter to deny Christ, but St Kerkyra stood firm against both persuasion and threats. Then the enraged father devised a terrible punishment for his daughter: he gave orders that she be placed in a prison cell with the robber and murderer Murinus, so that he might defile the betrothed of Christ.

But when the robber approached the door of the prison cell, a bear attacked him. St Kerkyra heard the noise and she drove off the beast in the name of Christ. Then, by her prayers, she healed the wounds of Murinus. Then St Kerkyra enlightened him with the faith of Christ, and St. Murinus declared himself a Christian and was executed.

The governor gave orders to burn down the prison, but the holy virgin remained alive. Then on her enraged father's order, she was suspended upon a tree, choked with bitter smoke and shot with arrows. After her death, the governor decided to execute all the Christians on the island of Kerkyra. The Martyrs Zeno, Eusebius, Neon and Vitalis, after being enlightened by Sts Jason and Sosipater, were burned alive.
Icon of St. Kerkyra (taken from:
The inhabitants of Kerkyra, escaping from the persecution, crossed to an adjoining island. The governor set sail with a detachment of soldiers, but was swallowed up by the waves. The governor succeeding him gave orders to throw the Apostles Jason and Sosipater into a cauldron of boiling tar. When he beheld them unharmed, he cried out with tears, "O God of Jason and Sosipater, have mercy on me!"
Having been set free, the Apostles baptized the governor and gave him the name Sebastian. With his help, the Apostles Jason and Sosipater built several churches on the island, and increased the flock of Christ by their fervent preaching. They lived there until they reached old age."

The famous Monastery of Osiou Louka in Boiotia, Greece, which treasures the holy skulls of Sts. Jason and Sosipater (picture taken from:
"In the ancient city of Corfu, a church from the first centuries, built in their honour and bearing inscriptions that mention the Saints by name, verifies the historical account concerning them."

Icon of Sts. Jason and Sosipater (taken from:
Apolytikion for the Holy Apostles in the Third Tone
O Holy Apostles, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
Being illuminated with the teachings of Paul, ye became luminaries unto the whole world, O thrice-blessed ones; for ye ever shine upon the world with miracles, O Jason, thou fountain of healings, and Sosipater, thou glory of the Martyrs of Christ. O God-bearing Apostles, ye protectors of them that be in need, entreat God that our souls be saved.
Christ is Risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

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