March 8, 2017

Holy Apostle Hermas of the Seventy

St. Hermas the Apostle (Feast Days - November 5 & March 8)


Hermas the disciple of the Lord dies,
The message of your inspired words I engrave.

The Apostle Hermas is mentioned by the Apostle Paul in Romans 16:14: "Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren which are with them." Hermas was a Greek by birth but lived in Rome for a long time. He became Bishop of Philippopolis in Thrace (today's Plovdiv, Bulgaria) and reposed in peace.

This Hermas is to be distinguished from the Apostle Hermes, who is celebrated on April 8th and also mentioned in Romans 16:14. According to tradition, Hermas was the author of three spiritually beneficial books: first was The Church, second was The Shepherd, and third The Ten Parables. According to The Shepherd, Hermas was a wealthy man but because of his sins and the sins of his sons, he fell into extreme poverty. Once while in prayer, a man appeared to him in white raiment with a staff in his hand and told him that he is an angel of repentance who was sent to be with him until the end of his life. The angel gave him twelve mandates:

1. Believe in God;
2. To live in simplicity and innocence; do not speak evil and give alms to all who beg;
3. Love truth and avoid falsehood;
4. Preserve chastity in your thoughts;
5. Learn patience and generosity;
6. To know that with every man, there is a good and an evil spirit;
7. To fear God and not to fear the devil;
8. To do every good and to refrain from every evil deed;
9. To pray to God from the depth of the soul with faith that our prayer will be fulfilled;
10. To guard against melancholy as the sister of doubt and anger;
11. To question true and false prophecies;
12. To guard against every evil desire.

His primary feast is celebrated on March 8th, but he is also celebrated with other Apostles on November 5th.