Not Just Names in a Book
Today is one of those days I feel sad for non-Orthodox Christians and Orthodox Christians who do not take the time to connect with the saints and readings of the day. I have often written about the benefits of the Church Calendar when it comes to feasts and fasts, or the joy of reading the New Testament in a year. Today I want to focus on the tradition of commemorating different Saints every day.
Today is the Feast of Saints Karpos and Alphaeus. They were among the 70 Apostles we hear about in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 10. In today’s case we also hear Saint Paul mention Saint Karpos in 2nd Timothy 4.13. For Protestant Christians, these names remain locked in the pages of the Bible without benefit of getting to know them. They are worth getting to know.
I admit I didn’t know much about any of the Saints growing up. I knew my patron saint’s name and a few minor details, but it wasn’t until I decided to learn more about the saints that I came to appreciate they are not just names in a book. For example, how many know that Saint Karpos was martyred for the faith, or that he was a bishop of the ancient Church? Here is the ‘standard’ Epistle reading for feasts of the Apostles.
Brethren, God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things. I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. – 1st Corinthians 4.9-16.
We only get a glimpse into the faith of these Apostles in the Holy Scriptures. The Church has much more to learn about them, but we need to make the effort. Even the daily calendar only has snippets of their lives to share. By the way. Does the name Alphaeus sound familiar? He is also one of the 70 Apostles commemorated today. He was the father of Saint James and Matthew, two of the Twelve Apostles.
Do you see? These aren’t just names in a book. They are among the first leaders of our Church. They walked and talked and ate with Jesus Christ. They have more to offer than just skimming over their names when we read the Bible. Their lives affected the early Church, and us today. They are worth getting to know. Spend a few minutes today researching a few saints, but make sure you are reading ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS resources.