August 25, 2015

Holy Apostle Titus of the Seventy and Bishop of Crete

St. Titus the Apostle (Feast Day - August 25)

Saint Titus, an Apostle of the Seventy, was a native of the island of Crete, the son of an illustrious pagan. In his youth he studied Hellenistic philosophy and the ancient poets. Preoccupied by the sciences, Titus led a virtuous life, not devoting himself to the vices and passions characteristic of the majority of pagans. He preserved his virginity, as the Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer (Dec. 20) testifies of him.

For such a manner of life the Lord did not leave him without His help. At age twenty Titus heard a voice in a dream, suggesting that he abandon Hellenistic wisdom, which could not provide salvation for his soul, but rather to seek that which would save him. After this dream, Titus waited yet another year, since it was not actually a command, but it did guide him to familiarize himself with the teachings of the prophets of God. The first that he happened to read was the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Having opened it to the 47th Chapter, he was struck by the words, speaking as it were about his own spiritual condition.

Sts. Paul and Titus holding Crete

When news reached Crete about the appearance of a Great Prophet in Palestine, and about the great miracles He worked, the governor of the island of Crete (an uncle of Titus) sent him there. This Prophet was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, incarnate of the Most Holy Virgin Mary. Who came into the world for the redemption of the race of mankind from the oppression of ancestral sin.

At Jerusalem, Titus saw the Lord. He heard His preaching and believed in Him. He witnessed the suffering and death of the Savior on the Cross, His glorious Resurrection and Ascension to Heaven. On the day of Pentecost the future apostle heard how the Twelve Apostles, after the descent of the Holy Spirit, spoke in various languages, among which was the Cretan language (Acts 2:11).

Sts. Paul and Titus preaching in Crete

Titus accepted Baptism from the Apostle Paul and became his closest disciple. He accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys, fulfilling the tasks entrusted to him. He was involved in establishing new churches, and was with Paul in Jerusalem.

Titus was numbered among the Seventy Apostles and was made Bishop of Crete by the Apostle Paul. Around the year 65, not long before his second imprisonment, the Apostle Paul sent a pastoral epistle to his son in the Faith (Tit. 1:4) which can be found in the New Testament.

When the Apostle Paul was taken like a criminal to Rome to stand trial before Caesar, Titus left his flock in Crete for a time and went to Rome to be of service to his spiritual father. After Paul’s death by martyrdom, Titus returned to Gortynos, the chief city of Crete.

Bishop Titus peacefully guided his flock and toiled at enlightening the pagans with the light of faith in Christ. He was granted the gift of wonderworking by the Lord.

St. Paul consecrating Titus as Bishop of Crete

During one of the pagan feasts in honor of the goddess Diana, Titus preached to a crowd of pagans. When he saw that they would not listen to him, he prayed to the Lord, so that the Lord Himself would show to the mistaken people the falseness of idols. By the prayer of Bishop Titus, the idol of Diana fell down and shattered before the eyes of all. Another time the Apostle Titus prayed that the Lord would not permit the completion of a temple of Zeus, and it collapsed.

By such miracles St. Titus brought many to faith in Christ. After bringing the light of faith to the surrounding regions, the holy Apostle Titus died peacefully at the age of 97 in 105 A.D. At the time of his death, his face shone like the sun.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone
With a heavenly calling towards divinely inspired knowledge, of the flesh of the Master who resided on earth, you saw with your eyes all things illumined, wherefore as a companion of Paul, you became one who discourses of God, kindling throughout Crete, words of piety, blessed Apostle Titus

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Titus, worthy of all praise and preacher of Christ’s mysteries, you were Paul’s companion, and with him taught us the doctrine of God. Therefore we cry out to you: Never cease to intercede for the sake of us all.

Taught by Paul, the one who had seen God, you were seen in Crete as a teacher of piety, O Titus, you who spoke as from God; you are the Apostle of the condescension of the Logos to us.