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November 24, 2014

Saints Aquila and Priscilla

Aquilla and Prisca

When Paul came to Corinth (probably in the year 50), he met Priscilla (or Prisca) and her husband Aquila, tentmakers by trade like Paul, Jewish, and just arrived from Rome, from which city the Emperor Claudius had recently expelled the Jewish community. (The Roman historian Suetonius tells us that Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome because they were rioting on account of someone named “Chrestus” — presumably referring to disputes between Christian and non-Christian Jews.)

It is not clear whether Sts. Aquila and Priscilla were already Christians before meeting Paul, or were converted by his preaching. After eighteen months, the three of them went together to Ephesus, where Priscilla and Aquila remained while Paul continued to Antioch. Soon after, a man named Apollos came to Ephesus, who had heard and believed a portion of the Christian message, and was promoting that belief with eloquent preaching, based on a thorough knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures. Aquila and Priscilla befriended him and explained the Gospel to him more fully, after which he continued to preach with even greater effectiveness.

Sts. Priscilla and Aquila were apparently in Rome when Paul wrote to that congregation, and in Ephesus with Timothy when Paul wrote his last letter to Timothy. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians from Ephesus, he joined their greetings with his own. Clearly they were dear to Paul, and were earnest and effective in spreading the Good News of Christ and His saving work. Altogether, Aquila and Priscilla are mentioned six times in the New Testament (Acts 18:2,18,26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19), and the reader will note that in the odd-numbered mentions, St. Aquila’s name comes first, while in the even-numbered mentions, St. Priscilla’s comes first, as if to emphasize that they are being mentioned on equal terms.

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