Friday, July 13, 2007

Feast of St. Silas, Companion of Paul and Martyr

Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Silas triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death: Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

There isn't very much information on Silas, and I guess he wasn't exciting enough for any second-century romance novelist to pen an Acts of St. Silas. Tradition teaches that he was one of the Seventy we heard about in last Sunday's reading from Luke's Gospel. He was a leader in the Church in Jerusalem. He traveled with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch to explain the decisions of the Council of Jerusalem (Yay! No circumcision!) Paul and Barnabas got into an argument regarding young Mark, future evangelist, whom Paul considered a bit of a flake, so Paul took Silas with him while Barnabas left with Mark. Silas and Paul traveled through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches. Traveling with Paul wasn't always wonderful, what with the beatings and imprisonments and shipwrecks and all. Silas was beaten and imprisoned with Paul at Philippi, and was driven from Thessalonica during the infamous riot, and stayed with Timothy in Beroea for a while. Tradition states that Silas was the first bishop of Corinth, and the Archbishopric of Botris in Lebanon claims Silas as their first bishop. The tradition is that Silas was a martyr, but I could find no account of his martyrdom. We also know that Silas, along with Paul, was an advocate of That Old Time Religion, which was good enough for them, and should be good enough for you and me.

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