Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas and Hermas
Give my greetings to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters who meet with them.Romans 16:14
The two first of these names are Greek, and the persons called by them, with Herodion before mentioned, are listed with the Roman martyrs, as disciples of the apostle; Asyncritus [a derivative of “incomparable”] is said to be Bishop of Hyrcania, and Phlegon [meaning “blazing”] was said to be Bishop of Marathon; both were numbered among the seventy disciples. Hermas [named after the messenger of the Greek gods] is said to be Bishop of Philippi, or Aquileia, and brother of Pope Pius the First, and said to be the author of the book called Pastor, or the Shepherd, cited by many of the ancients. The book by this title is still existent, and may be found among the writings of the apostolic fathers.
Patrobas is a Roman name, Martial makes mention of it; it seems to be composed of the Greek word πατηρ, or the Latin “pater”, and the Syriac אבא, “Abba”, and signifies the same as the other two. This man might be a Jew, whose name was Abba; we often read of R. Abba in the Jewish writings and as the Jews were wont to have two names, the one Gentile, the other Jewish, Pater might be this man’s Gentile name, and Abba his Jewish one, and both being put together, by contraction be called “Patrobas”. Or if both names are Greek then the second of them “bios” means life or living. He is said to be of the seventy disciples, and to be Bishop of Puteoli.
The last of them, Hermes, is a Greek name, the same with Mercurius, which the Lystrians called Paul by. He is also mentioned among the seventy disciples, and said to be Bishop of Dalmatia.
and the brethren which are with them; these seem to have lived together, with others who were their brethren, not in a natural but spiritual relation, and whom the apostle owned and loved as such.
These have been thought to be the names of ten less notable Christians than those already named. But this is hardly true given what church tradition says about them. Pastors, leaders and bishops of the Christian church in various places. But at least it would seem to indicate that they were each a centre of some Christian gathering that met at their houses.
Paul’s “and the other list”, his “etc list” seems to include some notable people. Note he has listed slaves, mums and some lowly people in his main list whom he singles out for comment and then lists some prestigious people among his and-the-others list.
Note that they are divided into two pairs of five each, and that after the first of these pairs it is added, “and the brethren which are with them,” while after the second pair we have the words, “and all the saints which are with them.” This perhaps means that each of the five in both pairs had “a church at his house,” but if true would have been more expressly said. Why this particular structure (?) I have only just noticed and the significance of it escapes me for the moment. Maybe you have some ideas on it and can share them with me. Put your thinking caps on. Start to dig.
Pick your friends, but not to pieces.Anon
Joy is doubled & sadness halved when shared. God created us for relationships!Alvi Radjagukguk