STEPHANAS, FORTUNATUS, AND ACHAICUS (Fr. Varghese Paul, S.J.)

We read about the three men Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus in the first letter of Paul to Corinthians. Paul has clubbed them together.

Paul writes, I am happy about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus; they have made up for your absence and have cheered me up, just as they cheered you up. Such men as these deserve notice (1 Cor. 16, 17-18).

The name Stephanas means crown or wreath. As Paul says Stephanas is a Corinthian. He and his household are among those few whom Paul has baptized at Corinth.

Achaicus name means a native of Achaia. Achaia was a Roman province of which Corinth was the capital. In those time slaves were often named after their province. So Achaicus could perhaps be a slave from Achaia or a servant in the house of Stephanas.

The name Fortunatus means blessed or fortunate. Paul not only welcomed the trio from Corinth but he also rejoiced in them. He felt cheered by their presence as they did cheered their fellow Corinthians. Pauls verdict about them is that, Such men as these deserve notice.

Corinth was a great cosmopolitan city in Greece. Paul has founded the Church there. Paul wrote the first letter to Corinthians while he was at Ephesus, an important city in western Aisa Minor, (the present Turkey) in the vast Roman empire.

Do these three men belong to Stephanas household? Or do they belong to the household of Chloe? In the beginning of first letter to Corinthians Paul has acknowledged that some members of Chloes family have told him quite plainly about the quarrels and divisions among the Christians at Corinth. (see 1 Cor. 1, 10-11).

We know that a household included the members of the family as well as their servants and slaves. Since Paul has clubbed these three men together and since their arrival has brought cheers to Paul, they could be three brothers or they could be a father and his two grown up sons. Or perhaps Fortunatus and Achaicus could be the employees of Stephanas household.

Certainly the threesome the first converts of Paul are the first members of the Church at Corinth which Paul established during his second missionary journey in 51 AD.

The three Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus have traveled led to Ephesus for business purpose as both Corinth and Ephesus are two important centers of commerce in the Romen province. Or perhaps they have traveled specifically to meet Paul and to acquaint him about the situation of the Church at Corinth. Perhaps, as Ronald Brownrigg says, they possibly carried a letter to Paul from Corinth and were probably present when Paul wrote or dictated the first letter to Corinthians. (see Whos Who the New Testament P.260 ).

Paul has commended the trio for their affection for him and for their service both to the people at Corinth and to him. (contact the author: यह ईमेल पता spambots से संरक्षित किया जा रहा है. आप जावास्क्रिप्ट यह देखने के सक्षम होना चाहिए. )

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