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December 1, 2018

Saint Onesimus, Archbishop of Ephesus

St. Onesimus of Ephesus (Feast Day - December 1)

Verses

The body of Onesimus entered the earth,
Longing to gush forth beneficial grace.

Saint Onesimus, Archbishop of Ephesus, met his end in peace.

The only Onesimus we have listed as a Bishop of Ephesus is the servant of Philemon who was converted by the Apostle Paul, and is commemorated by the Church on February 15th; this Onesimus was martyred by having his legs broken and being stoned to death. In his Epistle to the Ephesians dated to 110 A.D., Saint Ignatius mentions their Bishop over a dozen times who was named Onesimus, describing him as "a man of inexpressible love, and your bishop in the flesh, whom I pray you by Jesus Christ to love, and that you would all seek to be like him. And blessed be He who has granted unto you, being worthy, to obtain such an excellent bishop." This Onesimus probably was the same as the one who was the servant of Philemon, and succeeded the Apostle Timothy as the second Bishop of Ephesus. It is also said that seven of Onesimus' relatives succeeded him as Bishop of Ephesus, and one of them could have indeed been named Onesimus. However, due to our incomplete list of Bishops of Ephesus, he may have lived centuries later when the Bishop became known as a Metropolitan, and called by the title of Archbishop.