Today the church remembers an obscure First Century Christian mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, but never really known otherwise: Saint Agabus, Prophet and Patron Saint of Seers.
According to Biblical tradition, Saint Agabus was one of the seventy disciples sent out in Luke 10. This unnamed group of seventy is kind of a “catch-all” for the early church, and many First Century Christians who were of note are said to have been in this number.
Where he first appears by name, though, is in the Acts of the Apostles, Luke’s sequel which, like many sequels in the world, added new characters and new adventures. According to Acts 11 he was one of the prophets with the Apostles at the Pentecost, and traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch where he predicted a severe famine in the area.
Then again in Acts 21 he met Paul on his missionary journey in the year 58 AD. There he stopped Paul in his tracks and, having said to have received a vision, took Paul’s belt from his waist, bound his own hands and feet, and in dramatic fashion said, “This is how you will end up if you continue on to Jerusalem.”
Those who know the Bible well will recognize that this sort of dramatic reenactment mirrors the dramatic prophecies of the Hebrew Testament seers (think Jeremiah, Amos, and Ezekiel). The symmetry is not on accident.
Anyway, Paul would not be deterred and, sure enough, would end up bound in Jerusalem.
Lore has it that Agabus was eventually martyred in Antioch for his prophetic voice and on February 13th is commemorated by many in the church, especially those who follow a prophetic/seer tradition.
Saint Agabus is a reminder for me, and should be for the whole church, that prophets don’t really tell the future, they tell the truth. It just so happens that when you tell the truth about a situation, the outcome is highly predictable.
-historical information from Daily Magic by Judika Illes and public sources
-icon is of the 70 Apostles by Antonio Caldeo because, while Saint Agabus gets his own commemoration day, it appears that he prefers to only be in group shots