jeudi 16 février 2012

Saint ONÉSIME, disciple, évêque et martyr


Évêque d'Éphèse(+ en 95)

Esclave d'un citoyen de Colosse nommé Philémon que saint Paul avait converti, Onésime, après avoir mal servi son maître, le vola et s'enfuit. Lorsqu'il eut dissipé tout ce qu'il avait pris, il vint se cacher à Rome; la bonté de Dieu l'y amenait pour le délivrer d'une servitude plus triste que celle dont il avait voulu s'affranchir par la fuite.

Il y rencontra saint Paul, captif. L'Apôtre, qui considérait également les maîtres et les esclaves comme des frères rachetés en Jésus-Christ, lui montra la gravité de sa faute, l'instruisit, le convertit et le baptisa. Depuis ce temps-là, il le regarda toujours comme son fils, d'autant plus cher qu'il l'avait engendré à Dieu dans les chaînes. Voulant le réconcilier avec Philémon, il le lui renvoie avec une lettre où il demande le pardon et même la liberté du fugitif:

"Paul, prisonnier de Jésus-Christ, et Timothée, son frère, à Philémon, notre bien-aimé et coopérateur,... grâce à vous et paix de la part de Dieu notre Père et de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ... La prière que je vous adresse est pour mon fils Onésime, que j'ai enfanté dans mes chaînes... Je vous le renvoie; recevez-le comme si c'était moi-même... Et non plus comme un esclave, mais comme un esclave, devenu un frère... J'avais pensé d'abord à le garder auprès de moi; mais je n'ai rien voulu faire sans votre consentement... S'il vous a fait tort ou qu'il vous soit redevable de quelque chose, mettez-le à mon compte. C'est moi, Paul, qui vous le rendrai... Oui, mon frère, procurez-moi cette joie dans le Seigneur... Que la grâce de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ soit avec votre esprit. Ainsi soit-il."

Philémon reçut Onésime avec charité et le renvoya à Rome pour assister saint Paul dont il devint le compagnon fidèle. L'apôtre lui confia, ainsi qu'à saint Tychique, sa lettre aux Colossiens; il le nomma évêque d'Éphèse après la mort de saint Timothée.

Onésime eut le bonheur de saluer à Smyrne, saint Ignace d'Antioche qui se rendait à Rome pour y être exposé aux bêtes. Dans sa lettre aux Éphésiens, le martyr loue la charité de l'évêque d'Éphèse.

Le procureur d'Asie, voyant qu'Onésime, malgré la persécution, prêchait avec courage, le fit arrêter et l'envoya à Tertulle, gouverneur de Rome, ennemi personnel d'Onésime. Celui-ci le soumit à la torture et le fit lapider l'an 95.

Frères des Écoles Chrétiennes, Vie des Saints, p. 72-73
SOURCE : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/saint_onesime.html
Saint Onésime,

disciple de saint Paul, évêque d'Ephèse et martyr. 95.

16 février.

- Saint Onésime, disciple de saint Paul, évêque d'Ephèse et martyr. 95.

Pape : Saint Clément. Empereur romain : Domitien.

" Nous avons vécu en ce monde avec la simplicité du coeur et la sincérité de Dieu ; non selon la sagesse de la chair, mais selon la grâce de Dieu."

IIe aux Cor., I, 12.

Esclave d'un citoyen de Colosse nommé Philémon que saint Paul avait converti, Onésime, après avoir mal servi son maître, le vola et s'enfuit. Lorsqu'il eut dissipé tout ce qu'il avait pris, il vint se cacher à Rome ; la bonté de Dieu l'y amenait pour le délivrer d'une servitude plus triste que celle dont il avait voulu s'affranchir par la fuite.

Il y rencontra saint Paul, captif. L'Apôtre, qui considérait également les maîtres et les esclaves comme des frères rachetés en Jésus-Christ, lui montra la gravité de sa faute, l'instruisit, le convertit et le baptisa. Depuis ce temps-là, il le regarda toujours comme son fils, d'autant plus cher qu'il l'avait engendré à Dieu dans les chaînes. Voulant le réconcilier avec Philémon, il le lui renvoie avec une lettre où il demande le pardon et même la liberté du fugitif :

" Paul, prisonnier de Jésus-Christ, et Timothée, son frère, à Philémon, notre bien-aimé et coopérateur,... grâce à vous et paix de la part de Dieu notre Père et de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ... La prière que je vous adresse est pour mon fils Onésime, que j'ai enfanté dans mes chaînes... Je vous le renvoie ; recevez-le comme si c'était moi-même... Et non plus comme un esclave, mais comme un esclave, devenu un frère... J'avais pensé d'abord à le garder auprès de moi ; mais je n'ai rien voulu faire sans votre consentement... S'il vous a fait tort ou qu'il vous soit redevable de quelque chose, mettez-le à mon compte. C'est moi, Paul, qui vous le rendrai... Oui, mon frère, procurez-moi cette joie dans le Seigneur... Que la grâce de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ soit avec votre esprit. Ainsi soit-il."

Philémon reçut Onésime avec charité et le renvoya à Rome pour assister saint Paul dont il devint le compagnon fidèle. L'apôtre lui confia, ainsi qu'à saint Tychique, sa lettre aux Colossiens; il le nomma évêque d'Éphèse après la mort de saint Timothée.

Onésime eut le bonheur de saluer à Smyrne, saint Ignace d'Antioche qui se rendait à Rome pour y être exposé aux bêtes. Dans sa lettre aux Éphésiens, le martyr loue la charité de l'évêque d'Éphèse.

Le procureur d'Asie, voyant qu'Onésime, malgré la persécution, prêchait avec courage, le fit arrêter et l'envoya à Tertulle, gouverneur de Rome, ennemi personnel d'Onésime. Comme saint Onésime refusait de sacrifier aux idoles, le gouverneur le fit étendre sur le dos, lui fit rompre les jambes et les cuisses avec des leviers et le fit lapider.

Saint Onésime est le patron des serviteurs et des domestiques. Son attribut est le bâton avec lequel on lui rompit les jambes, ou bien la lapidation.

SOURCE : http://www.religion-orthodoxe.com/article-saint-onesime-disciple-de-saint-paul-eveque-d-ephese-et-martyr-95-67383303.html


Saint Onésime

porteur d'une lettre de saint Paul ( 95)

L'esclave fugitif que saint Paul renvoya à son maître Philémon, porteur d'une lettre qui fait autant d'honneur à son auteur qu'à son destinataire. La tradition veut qu'il soit mort martyr à Rome.

Commémoraison de saint Onésime, que l’Apôtre saint Paul a recueilli esclave en fuite, qu’il a engendré dans la foi du Christ alors que lui-même était en prison, comme il le dit dans sa lettre à Philémon.

Martyrologe romain

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/654/Saint-Onesime.html

ST. ONESIMUS, DISCIPLE OF ST. PAUL.

HE was a Phrygian by birth, slave to Philemon, a person of note of the city of Colossi, converted to the faith by St. Paul. Having robbed his master, and being obliged to fly, he providentially met with St. Paul, then a prisoner for the faith at Rome, who there converted and baptized him, and sent him with his canonical letter of recommendation to Philemon, by whom he was pardoned, set at liberty, and sent back to his spiritual father, whom he afterward faithfully served. That apostle made him, with Tychicus, the bearer of his epistle to the Colossians, and afterward, as St. Jerome and other fathers witness, a preacher of the Gospel and a bishop. He was crowned with martyrdom under Domitian in the year 95.

REFLECTION.—With what excess of goodness does God communicate Himself to souls which open themselves to Him ! With what caresses does He often visit them ! With what a profusion of graces does He enrich and strengthen them. In our trials and temptations let us then offer our hearts to God, remembering as St. Paul says, " To them that love God all things work together unto good."

INTERCESSORY PRAYER: Ask Saint Onesimus to help us follow the teachings of Holy Scripture and to help us with our personal needs.

SOURCE : http://jesus-passion.com/saint_onesimus.htm

St. Onesimus

St. Onesimus lived in the first century. He was a slave who robbed his master and ran away to Rome. In Rome he went to see the great apostle, St. Paul, who was a prisoner for his faith. Paul received St. Onesimus with the kindness and love of a good father. Paul helped the young man realize he had done wrong to steal. But more than that, he led St. Onesimus to believe in and accept the Christian faith.

After St. Onesimus became a Christian, Paul sent him back to his master, Philemon, who was Paul’s friend. But Paul did not send the slave back alone and defenseless. He “armed” St. Onesimus with a brief, powerful letter. Paul hoped his letter would set everything right for his new friend, St. Onesimus. Paul wrote to Philemon: “I plead with you for my own son, for St. Onesimus. I am sending him back to you. Welcome him as though he were my very heart.”

That touching letter is in the New Testament of the Bible. Philemon accepted Paul’s letter and Paul’s advice. When St. Onesimus returned to his master, he was set free. Later, he went back to St. Paul and became his faithful helper.

St. Paul made St. Onesimus a priest and then a bishop. The former slave dedicated the rest of his life to preaching the Good News that had changed his life forever. It is believed that during the persecutions, St. Onesimus was brought in chains to Rome and stoned to death.

SOURCE : http://www.ucatholic.com/saints/saint-onesimus/


Onesimus M (RM)

Died c. 90. Onesimus, meaning 'helpful' or 'profitable,' was a run-away slave who is the subject of Saint Paul's shortest letter. Onesimus had been in the service of Philemon, to whom Paul addresses the missive. Philemon, a leading citizen of Colossae, Phrygia, was an intimate friend of Paul; indeed, the letter could only have been written to one with whom he was on the closest terms of friendship. Probably he was one of Saint Paul's converts. He was obviously a rich man, of high and generous character and given to hospitality, for Saint Paul asks him to prepare a lodging for him, and he had a church in his home.


Behind the letter lies a painful story. Onesimus had run away from Philemon and over a matter of money. We can only conjecture that he had been dishonest or had been under suspicion, for Saint Paul says: "If he has wronged you at all or owes you anything, put that to my account. I, Paul, write it with my own hand. I will repay it" (Philemon 1:18-19).

Whatever it was, Onesimus had been in disgrace and had run away. He had then come under the influence of Saint Paul, now an old man, and had served him in his imprisonment. He had confessed his fault and been converted, for Saint Paul says he begat him in Christ, and he had become a true son of the Gospel. Indeed, he had found him so profitable and helpful that he would like to keep him permanently with him, but was constrained by a sense of duty, and by his regard for Philemon, to return him. Saint Paul was thus faced with the difficult task of writing this delicate letter.

He makes no attempt to condone the fault; on the contrary, he lays open the whole matter. "Perhaps this is why he was away from * you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially to me, but even more so to you, as a man and in the Lord. So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me" (vv. 15- 17).

Evidently, Onesimus went back to Philemon and, no longer in disgrace, was accepted as a brother, because in Colossians (4:7-9) Paul mentions Onesimus with Tychichus as the bearer of the epistle to the Colossians.

The further story of Onesimus is unknown, though Saint Jerome said that Onesimus became a preacher of the Word and later a bishop, though probably not the Bishop Onesimus of Ephesus who was the third successor to Timothy, showed hospitality to Saint Ignatius of Antioch, and was stoned to death in Rome, as stated in the Roman Martyrology. The Apostolic Constitutions account Onesimus as bishop of Berea in Macedonia, and his former master Philemon, bishop of Colossae. Some sources say Onesimus preached in Spain and suffered martyrdom (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Gill, Husenbeth, White).

Saint Onesimus is pictured at the time of his martyrdom: He is a bishop being stoned to death (Roeder, White).

SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0216.shtml

Onesimus

Onesimus was a servant of Philemon, who was a man of love and treated his servants with kindness. He was shown to be a bad servant, by taking advantage of his master's kindness, stealing him, and escaping from Colloseis. He went to Rome, where he was catechised into the Christian faith by apostle Paul, was baptised, and became a man wonderful in virtue. From a worthless slave he became an apostle of Christ, really useful and truly free.

Apostle Paul, was imprisoned in Rome due to the Gospel, and certainly wanted to keep Onesimus close to him, but did not want to do so without the favourable opinion of Philemon. That is why he sent him back Onesimus with a reference. This is the letter to Philemon, an excelent text, now a part of the New Testament. In his letter, he certifies Philemon about the spiritual renewal of his servant and ask him to receive him, no longer as a slave, but as a beloved brother. Apostle Philemon accepted him with joy, but sent him back to Rome in order to serve apostle Paul.

After the martyrdom of Paul, Onesimus was also caught, and in the name of the Gospel suffered horrible tortures. Finally, they broke his bones, and thus he left this ephemeral life and went to the eternal one.

His holy memory is kept on the 15th of February.

SOURCE : http://www.ec-patr.org/list/index.php?lang=en&id=3

Philemon

A citizen of Colossæ, to whom St. Paul addressed a private letter, unique in the New Testament, which bears his name. As appears from this epistle, Philemon was his dear and intimate friend (verses 1, 13, 17, 22), and had been converted most probably by him (verse 19) during his long residence at Ephesus (Acts 19:26; cf. 18:19), as St. Paul himself had not visited Colossæ (Colossians 2:1). Rich and noble, he possessed slaves; his house was a place of meeting and worship for the Colossian converts (verse 2); he was kind, helpful, and charitable (verses 5,7), providing hospitality for his fellow Christians (verse 22). St. Paul calls him his fellow labourer (synergos, verse 1), so that he must have been earnest in his work for the Gospel, perhaps first at Ephesus and afterwards at Colossæ. It is not plain whether he was ordained or not. Tradition represents him as Bishop of Colossæ (Const. Apost., VI, 46), and the Menaia of 22 November speak of him as a holy apostle who, in company with Appia, Archippus, and Onesimus had been martyred at Colossæ during the first general persecution in the reign of Nero. In the address of the letter two other Christian converts, Appia and Archippus (Colossians 4:17) are mentioned; it is generally believed that Appia was Philemon's wife and Archippus their son. St. Paul, dealing exclusively in his letter with the domestic matter of a fugitive slave, Onesimus, regarded them both as deeply interested. Archippus, according to Colossians 4:17, was a minister in the Lord, and held a sacred office in the Church of Colossæ or in the neighbouring Church of Laodicaea.

The Epistle to Philemon

Authenticity

External testimony to the Pauline authorship is considerable and evident, although the brevity and private character of the Epistle did not favour its use and public recognition. The heretic Marcion accepted it in his "Apostolicon" (Tertullian, "Adv. Marcion", V, xxi); Origen quotes it expressly as Pauline ("Hom.", XIX; "In Jerem.", II, 1; "Comment in Matt.", Tract. 33, 34); and it is named in the Muratorian Fragment as well as contained in the Syriac and old Latin Versions. Eusebius includes Philemon among the homologoumena, or books universally undisputed and received as sacred. St. Chrysostom and St. Jerome, in the prefaces to their commentaries on the Epistle, defend it against some objections which have neither historical nor critical value. The vocabulary (epignosis, paraklesis tacha), the phraseology, and the style are unmistakably and thoroughly Pauline, and the whole Epistle claims to have been written by St. Paul. It has been objected, however, that it contains some words nowhere else used by Paul (anapempein, apotinein, achrmstos, epitassein, xenia, oninasthai, prosopheilein). But every epistle of St. Paul contains a number of apax legomena employed nowhere else, and the vocabulary of all authors changes more or less with time, place, and especially subject matter. Are we not allowed to expect the same from St. Paul, an author of exceptional spiritual vitality and mental vigour? Renan voiced the common opinion of the critics when he wrote: "St. Paul alone, it would seem, could have written this little masterpiece" (St. Paul, p. xi).

Date and place of writing

It is one of the four Captivity Epistles composed by St. Paul during his first imprisonment in Rome (see COLOSSIANS; EPHESIANS; EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS; Philem., 9, 23). Colossians, Ephesians, and Philippians are closely connected, so that the general opinion is that they were written and despatched at the same time, between A.D. 61-63. Some scholars assign the composition to Caesarea (Acts 23-26: A.D. 59-60), but both tradition and internal evidence are in favour of Rome.

Occasion and purpose

Onesimus, most likely only one of many slaves of Philemon, fled away and, apparently before his flight, defrauded his master, and ran away to Rome, finding his way to the hired lodging where Paul was suffered to dwell by himself and to receive all that came to him (Acts 28:16, 30). It is very possible he may have seen Paul, when he accompanied his master to Ephesus. Onesimus became the spiritual son of St. Paul (verses 9, 10), who would have retained him with himself, that in the new and higher sphere of Christian service he should render the service which his master could not personally perform. But Philemon had a prior claim; Onesimus, as a Christian, was obliged to make restitution. According to the law, the master of a runaway slave might treat him exactly as he pleased. When retaken, the slave was usually branded on the forehead, maimed, or forced to fight with wild beasts. Paul asks pardon for the offender, and with a rare tact and utmost delicacy requests his master to receive him kindly as himself. He does not ask expressly that Philemon should emancipate his slave-brother, but "the word emancipation seems to be trembling on his lips, and yet he does not once utter it" (Lightfoot, "Colossians and Philemon", London, 1892, 389). We do not know the result of St. Paul's request, but that it was granted seems to be implied in subsequent ecclesiastical tradition, which represents Onesimus as Bishop of Beraea (Constit. Apost., VII, 46).

Argument

This short letter, written to an individual friend, has the same divisions as the longer letters: (a) the introduction (verses 1-7); (b) the body of the Epistle or the request (verses 8-22); (c) the epilogue (verses 23-25).

1. Introduction (1-7)

The introduction contains (1) the salutation or address: Paul, "prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy" greets Philemon (verse 1), Appia, Archippus, and the Church in their house (verse 2), wishing them grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (verse 3); (2) the thanksgiving for Philemon's faith and love (verses 4-6), which gives great joy and consolation to the Apostle (verse 7).

2. Body of the Epistle

The request and appeal on behalf of the slave Onesimus. Though he could enjoin Philemon to do with Onesimus that which is convenient (verse 8), for Christian love's sake, Paul "an aged man and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ" (verse 9) beseeches him for his son Onesimus whom he had begotten in his bonds (verse 10). Once he was not what his name implies (helpful); now, however, he is profitable to both (verse 11). Paul sends him again and asks Philemon to receive him as his own heart (verse 12). He was desirous of retaining Onesimus with himself that he might minister to him in his imprisonment, as Philemon himself would gladly have done (verse 13), but he was unwilling to do anything without Philemon's decision, desiring that his kindness should not be as it were "of necessity but voluntary" (verse 14). Perhaps, in the purpose of Providence, he was separated from thee for a time that thou mightest have him for ever (verse 15), no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a better servant and a beloved Christian brother (verse 16). If, therefore, thou regardest me as a partner in faith, receive him as myself (verse 17). If he has wronged thee in any way, or is in they debt, place that to my account (verse 18). I have signed this promise of repayment with my own hand, not to say to thee that besides (thy remitting the debt) thou owest me thine own self (verse 19). Yea, brother, let me have profit from thee (sou onaimen) in the Lord, refresh my heart in the Lord (verse 20). Having confidence in thine obedience, I have written to thee, knowing that thou wilt do more than I say (verse 21). But at the same time, receive me also and prepare a lodging for me: for I hope that through your prayers I shall be given to you (verse 22).

3. Epilogue (23-25)

The epilogue contains (1) salutations from all persons named in Colossians 4 (verses 23-24), and (2) a final benediction (verse 25). This short, tender, graceful, and kindly Epistle has often been compared to a beautiful letter of the Younger Pliny (Ep. IX, 21) asking his friend Sabinian to forgive an offending freedman. As Lightfoot (Colossians and Philemon, 383 sq.) says: "If purity of diction be excepted, there will hardly be any difference of opinion in awarding the palm to the Christian apostle".

Attitude of St. Paul towards slavery

Slavery was universal in all ancient nations and the very economic basis of the old civilization. Slaves were employed not only in all the forms of manual and industrial labour, but also in many functions which required artistic skill, intelligence, and culture; such as especially the case in both the Greek and the Roman society. Their number was much greater than that of the free citizens. In the Greek civilization the slave was in better conditions than in the Roman; but even according to Greek law and usage, the slave was in a complete subjection to the will of his master, possessing no rights, even that of marriage. (See Wallon, "Hist. de l'Esclavage dans l'Antiquité", Paris, 1845, 1879; SLAVERY.) St. Paul, as a Jew, had little of pagan conception of slavery; the Bible and the Jewish civilization led him already into a happier and more humane world. The bible mitigated slavery and enacted a humanitarian legislation respecting the manumission of slaves; but the Christian conscience of the Apostle alone explains his attitude towards Onesimus and slavery. One the one hand, St. Paul accepted slavery as an established fact, a deeply-rooted social institution which he did not attempt to abolish all at once and suddenly; moreover, if the Christian religion should have attempted violently to destroy pagan slavery, the assault would have exposed the Roman empire to a servile insurrection, the Church to the hostility of the imperial power, and the slaves to awful reprisals. On the other hand, if St. Paul does not denounce the abstract and inherent wrong of complete slavery (if that question presented itself to his mind, he did not express it), he knew and appreciated its actual abuses and evil possibilities and he addressed himself to the regulations and the betterment of existing conditions. He inculcated forbearance to slaves as well as obedience to masters (Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22; 4:1; Philemon 8-12, 15, 17; 1 Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:9). He taught that the Christian slave is the Lord's freedman (1 Corinthians 7:22), and vigorously proclaimed the complete spiritual equality of slave and freeman, the universal, fatherly love of God, and the Christian brotherhood of men:


For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(
Galatians 3:26-28; cf. Colossians 3:10-11)

These fundamental Christian principles were the leaven which slowly and steadily spread throughout the whole empire. They curtailed the abuses of slavery and finally destroyed it (Vincent, "Philippians and Philemon", Cambridge, 1902, 167). 

Sources

In addition to works referred to, consult Introductions to the New Testament. CATHOLIC: TOUSSAINT in VIGOUROUX, Dict. de la Bible, s. vv. Philemon; Philemon, Epître à; VAN STEENKISTE, Commentarius in Epistolas S. Pauli, XI (Bruges, 1896); ALLARD, Les esclaves chrétiens (Paris, 1900); PRAT, La Théologie de S. Paul (Paris, 1908), 384 sq.; NON-CATHOLIC: OLTRAMARE, Commentaire sur les Epitres de S. Paul aux Colossiens, aux Ephesiens et a Philémon (Paris, 1891); VON SODEN, Die Briefe an die Kolosser, Epheser, Philemon in Hand-Commentar zum N.T., ed. HOLTZMANN (Freiburg, 1893); SHAW, The Pauline Epistles (Edinburgh, 1904); WOULE, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon (Cambridge, 1902).


Camerlynck, Achille. "Philemon." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 17 Feb. 2016 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11797b.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Thomas M. Barrett. Dedicated to the memory of slaves who were slain.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.