Commemorated Aug 25/ Sep 7
Today we remember the Holy Apostle Titus. He was one the Seventy , and an eyewitness of the preaching of Jesus Christ, a close friend and disciple of the Apostle Paul (accompanying him of his missionary journeys) and eventual Bishop of Crete.
His life is extraordinary, because it shows clearly a two virtues we must have in order to be saved. The Holy Titus possessed a longing for purity and humility in abundance.
You can read his life below (taken from the excellent Menologion program), but at in all lives of the Saints, there should be some things that are extraordinary that stand out.
The Holy Apostle Titus was born a pagan. Unlike the rest of his society, which valued sensual pleasure above all things, Titus preserved his virginity. This was as extraordinary then as it is now. When an entire society does not value purity, it is hard to remain pure. Our young people have a difficult task ahead of them. Almost everything in society gives no credence to the virtue of abstinence, and virginity. They now, as Titus was then, are immersed in a culture which values pleasure and not morality.
The value of maintaining sexual purity is not immediately apparent, but there will be enormous fruit which blossoms from a chaste tree. In the case of Titus, his good heart sought after truth, even as a pagan. He was prepared to accept the truth when he encountered it. This was a DIRECT RESULT of his inner morality and sexual purity in the midst of an immoral and licentious society.
Titus illustrates a very important principle which is almost forgotten in our day: wisdom and understanding is only possible if we strive to live a pure life. Any less pristine but absolutely true and maybe a little bit “catchy” way to express the same truth is: “SIN MAKES YOU STUPID”.
At the tender age of twenty, the virgin pagan Titus had a dream that suggested to him that he abandon Hellenic wisdom. He started reading the Holy Prophets, starting with Isaiah. By God’s providence, he opened to the 47th chapter and saw himself in the prophet’s words. His vita does not give an indication of which verses most resonated with him, but perhaps they were these:
Come down, sit on the ground, O virgin daughter of Babylon: sit on the ground, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and luxurious. (2) Take a millstone, grind meal: remove thy veil, uncover thy white hairs, make bare the leg, pass through the rivers. (3) Thy shame shall be uncovered, thy reproaches shall be brought to light: I will exact of thee due vengeance, I will no longer deliver thee to men. (4) Thy deliverer is the Lord of hosts, the Holy One of Israel is his name. (5) Sit thou down pierced with woe, go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: thou shalt no more be called the strength of a kingdom.” (Isa 47:1-5 Brenton )
Babylon was also a pagan culture, and Titus has the incredible humility to apply these words to himself, a pagan. This is a rare virtue. This would not have been possible for him if he were not living a pure life. So many of our young people (and older ones too) do not understand this simple truth!
The Disciple from the Seventy Titus was a native of the island of Crete, the son of an illustrious pagan. In his youthful years he studied attentively at Hellenistic philosophy and the ancient poets. Preoccupied by the sciences, Titus led a virtuous life, not devoting himself to the vices and passions characteristic of the majority of pagans. He preserved his virginity, as the Priest-martyr Ignatios the God-bearer (comm. 20 December) testified about him.
For such a manner of life the Lord did not leave him without His help.At age twenty in a dream Saint Titus heard a voice, suggesting to him to abandon the Hellenistic wisdom, not providing salvation for his soul, but rather to seek out that which would save him. After this dream Saint Titus waited still another year, since it was not actually like a command, but it guided him to familiarize himself with the teachings of the prophets of God. The first that he happened to read was the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Having opened it to the 47th Chapter, he was struck by the words, speaking as it were about his own spiritual condition.
When news reached Crete about the appearance in Palestine of a Great Prophet, and about the great miracles worked by Him, the governor of the island of Crete, an uncle of Titus by birth, sent him there. This Prophet was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, incarnated of the Most Holy Virgin Mary and having come into the world for the redemption of the race of mankind from its oppression of the original sin.
At Jerusalem Saint Titus beheld the Lord; he heard His preaching and believed in Him. He was a witness of the suffering on the Cross and death of the Savior, His glorious Resurrection and Ascent to Heaven. On the day of Pentecost the future disciple heard, standing in the crowd, how the 12 Apostles, -- after the descent upon them of the Holy Spirit, spoke in various languages among which was the Cretan language (Acts 2: 11).
Saint Titus accepted Baptism from the Apostle Paul and became his closest disciple. He accompanied the Apostle Paul on his missionary journeys, time and again he fulfilled entrusted tasks, was involved in the establishing of new churches, and was with him in Jerusalem. Saint Titus was numbered among the 70 Disciples and was ordained by the Apostle Paul as bishop of Crete.
Around the year 65, not long before the second imprisonment, the Apostle Paul dispatched a pastoral epistle to his selected one (Tit. 1-3). When the Apostle Paul was taken like a criminal to Rome to stand trial before Caesar, Saint Titus for a time left his flock in Crete and went to Rome to be of service to his spiritual father. After the death by martyrdom of the Apostle Paul, the Disciple Titus returned to the chief city of Crete -- Gortyn.
The Disciple Titus peacefully guided his flock and toiled at enlightening the pagans with the light of faith in Christ. He was granted by the Lord the gift of wonderworking.
During a time of one of the pagan feasts in honor of the goddess Diana, Titus preached to a gathered crowd of pagans. When he saw, that they would not listen to him, he prayed to the Lord, so that the Lord Himself would show to the mistaken people the non-entity of idols. By the prayer of the Disciple Titus, the idol of Diana fell down and shattered before the eyes of all. Another time the Disciple Titus prayed, that the Lord would not permit the completion of a temple under construction raised up to Zeus, and it collapsed.
By such miracles the Disciple Titus brought many to faith in Christ. Having enlightened with the light of faith the surrounding regions, the Disciple Titus died peacefully in the extreme old age of 97. At death his face shone like the sun.
A great article on the Holy Apostle Titus with some very unique and beautiful icons is here: http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2009/08/holy-apostle-titus.html
Priest Seraphim Holland 2010. St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
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 The ‘Seventy Apostles” were those who had been with the Lord Jesus Christ for His entire earthly ministry, but were not of the twelve Apostles. Some of the better know apostles of the Seventy are, Titus, James The Brother Of The Lord; Mark And Luke, Evangelists; Cleopas; Simeon; Barnabas; Josiah (Justus); Thaddeus; Ananias; Stephen The Archdeacon And First-Martyr. They are commemorated individually throughout the year, and their “sobor”, or “gathering” (when all are commemorated at once), is January 4/17.
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