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|Holy Apostle Onesimus</br>Bishop of Byzantium|
|Died||ca. 90 AD, Rome (then Roman province)|
|Venerated in|| Roman Catholic Church|
Eastern Orthodox Church
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
|Feast||February 16 (Gregorian calendar), February 28, (Julian calendar)|
Saint Onesimus (d. ca. 90 AD) (Greek: Ὀνήσιμος, meaning "useful," also called Onesimus of Byzantium and The Holy Apostle Onesimus in some Eastern Orthodox churches) was a slave to Philemon of Colossae, a man of Christian faith. Eventually, Onesimus transgressed against Philemon and fled to the site of Paul the Apostle's imprisonment (most probably Rome or Ephesus) to escape punishment for a theft he had committed , there, he heard the Gospel from Paul and converted to Christianity. Paul, having earlier converted Philemon to Christianity, reconciled with the two and wrote a letter to Philemon (which today exists in the New Testament as the Epistle to Philemon ). The letter read (in part):
|“||I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. For this is perhaps why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.||”|
- List of Ecumenical Patriarchs of Constantinople
- The attitude of Paul is one of the arguments in the debate about Christianity and slavery.
Stachys the Apostle
|Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople|
| Succeeded by|
Polycarpus I of Byzantium