Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 16 January |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Giuseppe Antonio Tovini
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Whatever happened to Onesimus, the slave mentioned by St. Paul?

SAINT ONESIMUS

Wikipedia PD

Philip Kosloski - published on 02/16/19

According to ancient traditions, Onesimus went from slave to bishop.

In his letter to Philemon, St. Paul writes about a certain enslaved man whom he educated in the Christian faith.

I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment … I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel; but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will.Perhaps this is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. (Philemon 1:10,12-17)

Various traditions pick up where the New Testament left off and find Onesimus as the bishop of Ephesus, having been ordained by the apostles. However, his newfound Christian faith brought him under fire and he was arrested in Rome and sentenced to death after preaching about the beauty of celibacy. He was cruelly tortured and then beaten to death.

While little else is known about Onesimus, it reminds us that these various characters in the Bible were real people and were deeply affected by the proclamation of the Gospel. They were changed forever and helped others find freedom in Jesus Christ.


JESUS WITH MARY

Read more:
5 Saints who witnessed Jesus’ Passion




Read more:
Did the leper Jesus cured become a bishop in France?

Tags:
BibleSaints
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on Y...
FORGIVING COUPLE
Bret Thoman, OFS
An exorcist teaches 4 steps to forgive
Philip Kosloski
What is the Holy Cloak of St. Joseph?
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Why God loves ordinary stuff: Pope Francis' r...
POPE FRANCIS; Ash Wednesday
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Vatican: Imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday...
D'CRUZ FAMILY
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the family of 12 siblings with a very sp...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.