Today is the feast day of my name sake, St. Timothy, who shares it with his companions St. Titus and St. Silas, Compatriots of Paul and Behind the Scenes Apostles.
These three Saints are remembered the day after the Conversion of Paul is honored as a reminder for the church that community counts, not just one lone-wolf Rockstar. In a world of celebrity, Timothy, Titus, and Silas are less entourage and more worker bees of the church in its infancy. St. Paul notes he could not have done his work without them, and they, for their part, are kind of like the dedication page of his ministry.
What do we know about these saints? Very little. Timothy accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey (recounted in the letters to the church at Thessaloniki), and was apparently one of Paul’s first converts on his visit to Lystra. Timothy, by virtue of his name, was born to a Greek father, but his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois are remembered as early Christians and get a worthy shoutout by St. Paul in 2 Timothy.
Timothy had the distinction of being acceptable to both Jewish and Greek Christians, something that Paul used for missional advantage. These apostles were kind of like preludes for church visits: they prepared the church for Paul to arrive.
St. Timothy delivered the letter of 1 Corinthians to the church at Corinth.
St. Titus delivered Paul’s second letter to that church (though, honestly, the ordering is messed up in the scriptures, and there appears to have been another letter somewhere in there that is lost to history). Titus, too, was born to Gentile parents, perhaps in Antioch, and was apparently eventually charged with starting a church on Crete. Tradition says he went on to become the first Bishop there, of Gortyna, and died at the age of 93.
St. Silas (or Silvanus) was a leader of the church in Jerusalem. He replaces John Mark on Paul’s second missionary journey when John Mark and Barnabas set out on their own. Silas was one of the first Christian missionaries to venture into Europe. Some contend that Silas was the one who delivered the letter of 1 Peter, and maybe was even the actual author of that letter (or at least a redactor of it). Legend has it that he became the Bishop of Corinth and died in Macedonia.
These three saints are like the crew that sets up the Fellowship Hall. They are the kitchen team, prepping and serving the meal. They are the tech team, splicing the video and overlaying the audio. They are the ones who hear the small confessions of the faithful as they labor together mowing the church lawn or planting the church flowers.
They are a reminder for me, and should be for the whole church, that the community may be brought together by some Rockstar, but they are built and kept together by the prelude saints who make it all happen, weekly.
-historical bits gleaned from Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals & Commemorations
-icons by various writers in the Orthodox tradition