The Holy Apostle Timothy was from the Lycaonian city of Lystra in Asia Minor. St Timothy was converted to Christ in the year 52 by the holy Apostle Paul (June 29). When the Apostles Paul and Barnabas first visited the cities of Lycaonia, St Paul healed one crippled from birth. Many of the inhabitants of Lystra then believed in Christ, and among them was the future St Timothy, his mother Eunice and grandmother Loida (Lois) (Acts 14:6-12; 2 Tim. 1:5).
The seed of faith, planted in St Timothy’s soul by the Apostle Paul, brought forth abundant fruit. He became St Paul’s disciple, and later his constant companion and co-worker in the preaching of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul loved St Timothy and in his Epistles called him his beloved son, remembering his devotion and fidelity with gratitude.
He wrote to Timothy: “You have followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, and patience” (2 Tim. 3:10-11). The Apostle Paul appointed St Timothy as Bishop of Ephesus, where the saint remained for fifteen years. Finally, when St Paul was in prison and awaiting martyrdom, he summoned his faithful friend, St Timothy, for a last farewell (2 Tim. 4:9).
St Timothy ended his life as a martyr. The pagans of Ephesus celebrated a festival in honor of their idols, and used to carry them through the city, accompanied by impious ceremonies and songs. St Timothy, zealous for the glory of God, attempted to halt the procession and reason with the spiritually blind idol-worshipping people, by preaching the true faith in Christ.
The pagans angrily fell upon the holy apostle, they beat him, dragged him along the ground, and finally, they stoned him. St Timothy’s martyrdom occurred in the year 93.
In the fourth century the holy relics of St Timothy were transferred to Constantinople and placed in the church of the Holy Apostles near the tombs of St Andrew (November 30) and St Luke (October 18). The Church honors St Timothy as one of the Apostles of the Seventy.
In Russian practice, the back of a priest’s cross is often inscribed with St Paul’s words to St Timothy: “Be an example to the believers in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12).