ARISTARCHUS & PAUL’S FELLOW TRAVELLERS (Fr. Varghese Paul, S.J.)

The Greek name Aristarchus means “excellent ruler”. Aristarchus was often a fellow traveller of Paul. He was a prisoner too with Paul including Paul’s last journey to Rome after his arrest.

Aristarchus appears in the Acts first time together with Gaius. Both are Paul’s companions. The Acts says, “At Ephesus the mob seized Gaius and Aristarchus, two Macedonians, who were travelling with Paul, and rushed with them to the theatre” (Acts 19, 29). The local silversmiths felt threatened loosing their trade of making images of Artemis (Diana of the Ephesians) with the teaching of Paul. So they stirred the crowd against Paul and his companions. Paul wanted to go out to the theatre and face the mob, but those who were with Paul did not allow him to go out. Fortunately at the flash point the town clerk intervened and quelled the mob in the theatre. Meanwhile we might presume that Aristarchus and Gaius must have escaped from the mob.

On the third missionary journey of Paul, we see the names of Aristarchus and Gaius among the representatives of local communities who accompanied Paul on some part of the journey. When Paul decided to go back through Macedonia from Achaia a number of people accompanied him. “Sopater son of Pyrrhus, from Berea, went with him; so did Aristarchus and Secundus, from Thessalonica; Gaius, from Derbe; Tychicus and Trophimus, from the province of Asia; and Timothy” (Acts 20, 4).

Among all these representatives only Aristarchus’ name is mentioned in the Acts as sailing with Paul and Luke on the long final journey from Caesarea to Rome. In narrating Paul’s journey to Rome, Luke in “we passage” we read, “we sailed away. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica was with us” (Acts 27, 2). According to Paul’s letter to the Colossians Aristarchus shared Paul’s imprisonment – “Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you greetings” (Col. 4, 10).

Aristarchus’ name is also mentioned by Paul in the final greetings of his letter to Philemon (Phlm. 24). In the Acts and in the two letters of Paul there are altogether five references to Aristarchus. In these references we see Aristarchus as a staunch and faithful companion, fellow traveller and also a fellow prisoner of Paul, the apostle. Like in he case of many bible characters we do not know anything about the family of Arostarchus. (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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