In this morning’s Divine Office (Office of Readings) St. Paul mentions his brother in faith Epaphroditus who has been very ill, close to death, but through the mercy of God had become well again.
Not much is known about St. Epaphroditus, but there are some facts to be gleaned. His name is a derivative of “lovely” from the goddess Aphrodite, which implies he was a gentile pagan convert to the faith. Paul calls him “Apostolos” which is the Greek for “sent out” and the title of all the first bishops of the Church. Bishop was the word for overseer, one who cared for a Church area. St. Hippolytus has Epaphroditus as one of the 70(or 72) disciples sent out and lists him as bishop of Andriace.
It’s interesting to see his name in the list along with St. Luke, as this shows many gentiles were already part of the embyonic Church before her birth at Pentecost. I assume that they were circumcised and maybe were part of those gentiles who had wanted to pray in the Court of Gentiles at the Temple, only to find their prayer life seriously hampered by the fullscale market that was there. Jesus came along and cleared the Court of the Gentiles, taking care of His beloved ones 🙂
There’s quite a bit on obscure saints in the list of 70/2…