The seventy disciples or seventy-two disciples (known in the Eastern Christian tradition as the Seventy Apostles) were early students of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel of Luke10:1–24. According to Luke, the only gospel in which they appear, Jesus appointed them and sent them out in pairs on a specific mission which is detailed in the text. In Western Christianity, they are usually referred to as disciples, whereas in Eastern Christianity they are usually referred to as Apostles.
Using the original Greek words, both titles are descriptive, as an apostle is one sent on a mission (the Greek uses the verb form: apesteilen) whereas a disciple is a student, but the two traditions differ on the scope of the words apostle and disciple.
And after these things, the Lord did appoint also other seventy, and sent them by twos before his face, to every city and place whither he himself was about to come, then said he unto them, `The harvest indeed [is] abundant, but the workmen few; beseech ye then the Lord of the harvest, that He may put forth workmen to His harvest.
`Go away; lo, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves; carry no bag, no scrip, nor sandals; and salute no one on the way; and into whatever house ye do enter, first say, Peace to this house; and if indeed there may be there the son of peace, rest on it shall your peace; and if not so, upon you it shall turn back. `And in that house remain, eating and drinking the things they have, for worthy [is] the workman of his hire; go not from house to house, and into whatever city ye enter, and they may receive you, eat the things set before you, and heal the ailing in it, and say to them, The reign of God hath come nigh to you.
`And into whatever city ye do enter, and they may not receive you, having gone forth to its broad places, say, And the dust that hath cleaved to us, from your city, we do wipe off against you, but this know ye, that the reign of God hath come nigh to you; and I say to you, that for Sodom in that day it shall be more tolerable than for that city. `Wo to thee, Chorazin; wo to thee, Bethsaida; for if in Tyre and Sidon had been done the mighty works that were done in you, long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes, they had reformed; but for Tyre and Sidon it shall be more tolerable in the judgment than for you. `And thou, Capernaum, which unto the heaven wast exalted, unto hades thou shalt be brought down. `He who is hearing you, doth hear me; and he who is putting you away, doth put me away; and he who is putting me away, doth put away Him who sent me.'
And the seventy turned back with joy, saying, `Sir, and the demons are being subjected to us in thy name;' and he said to them, `I was beholding the Adversary, as lightning from the heaven having fallen; lo, I give to you the authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and on all the power of the enemy, and nothing by any means shall hurt you; but, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subjected to you, but rejoice rather that your names were written in the heavens.'
The Gospel of Luke is not alone among the synoptic gospels in containing multiple episodes in which Jesus sends out his followers on missions. The first occasion (Luke 9:1–6) is closely based on the "limited commission" mission in Mark6:6–13, which however recounts the sending out of the twelve apostles, rather than seventy, though with similar details. The parallels (also Matthew9:35, 10:1, 10:5–42) suggest a common origin in the posited Q document. Luke also mentions the Great Commission to "all nations" (24:44–49) but in less detail than Matthew's account.
What has been said to the seventy (two) in Luke 10:4 is referred in passing to the Twelve in Luke 22:35:
He said to them, "When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything?" "No, nothing," they replied.
Hippolytus of Rome was a disciple of Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, a disciple of Apostle John. Hippolytus's works were lost for a time until their discovery at a monastery on Mt. Athos in 1854. While his major work The Refutation of All Heresies was readily accepted (once the false attribution to Origen was resolved), his two small works, On the Twelve Apostles of Christ, and On the Seventy Apostles of Christ, are still regarded as dubious, put in the appendix of his works in the voluminous collection of early church fathers. Here is the complete text of Hippolytus' On the Seventy Apostles of Christ:
These two belonged to the seventy disciples who were scattered by the offence of the word which Christ spoke, “Except a man eat my flesh, and drink my blood, he is not worthy of me.” But the one being induced to return to the Lord by Peter’s instrumentality, and the other by Paul’s, they were honored to preach that Gospel on account of which they also suffered martyrdom, the one being burned, and the other being crucified on an olive tree.
Many of the names included among the seventy are recognizable for their other achievements. The names included in various lists differ slightly. In the lists, Luke is also one of these seventy himself. The following list gives a widely accepted canon. Their names are listed below:
Amplias, appointed by St. Andrew as bishop of Lydda of Odyssopolis (Diospolis) in Judea. He died a martyr. Reference to in Romans 16:8.
Ananias, who baptized St. Paul. He was the bishop of Damascus. He became a martyr by being stoned in Eleutheropolis. Reference to in Acts 9:10-17; 22:12
Andronicus, bishop of Pannonia. Reference to in Romans 16:17
Apelles, bishop of Heraclea (in Trachis). Reference to in Romans 16:10
Apollos. He was a bishop of several places over time: Crete (though this is questioned), Corinth, Smyrna, and Caesarea. Reference to in Acts 18:24; 19:1; 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:4-22; 4:6; 16:12, Titus 3:13
Aquila. He was martyred. Reference to in Acts 18:2, 18, 26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19
Archippus. Reference to in Colossians 4:17; Philemon 2
Aristarchus, bishop of Apamea in Syria. He was martyred under Nero. “Aristarchus, whom Paul mentions several times, calling him a ‘fellow laborer,’ became bishop of Apamea in Syria.” Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2; Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24
Aristobulus, bishop of Britain. “… the brother of the apostle Barnabas, preached the gospel in Great Britain and died peacefully there.” Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in Romans 16:14
Artemas, bishop of Lystra in Lycia. Reference to in Titus 3:12
Barnabas. “A Jew of the Tribe of Levi, was born in Cyprus of wealthy parents. He is said to have studied under Gamaliel with Saul of Tarsus, who was to become Paul the apostle. Originally named Joseph, he was called Barnabas (Son of Consolation) by the apostles because he had a rare gift of comforting people’s hearts. He sought out Paul when everyone else was afraid of him, bringing him to the apostles. It was Barnabas whom the apostles first sent to Antioch with Paul. Their long association was broken only when Barnabas was determined to take his cousin Mark, whom Paul did not trust just then, on a missionary journey. The three were later reconciled. Many ancient accounts say Barnabas was the first to preach in Rome and in Milan, but he was martyred in Cyprus, then buried by Mark at the western gate of the city of Salamis.” Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in Acts 4:36; 9:27; 11-15; 1 Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 2:1,9,13; Colossians 4:10
Carpus, bishop of Berroia (Verria, in Macedonia. Reference to in 2 Timothy 4:13
Clement, bishop in Sardis. Reference to in Philippians 4:3
Cephas, bishop of Iconium, Pamphyllia.
Cleopas, was with the Lord on the road to Emmaus. Reference to in Luke 24:18; John 19:25
Crescens, later bishop of Galatia. He was martyred under the Emperor Trajan. Reference to in 2 Timothy 4:10
Crispus, bishop of Aegina, Greece. Reference to in Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:14
Epaphras. Reference to in Colossians 1:7; 4:12; Philemon 23
Epaphroditus, bishop of the Thracian city of Adriaca. Reference to in Philippians 2:25; 4:18
Epaenetus, bishop of Carthage. Reference to in Romans 16:5
Erastus. He served as a deacon and steward to the Church of Jerusalem. Later he served in Palestine. Reference to in Acts 19:22; Romans 16:23; 2 Timothy 4:20
Euodias(Evodius), first bishop of Antioch after St.Peter. He wrote several compositions. At the age of sixty-six, under the Emperor Nero, he was martyred. Reference to in Philippians 4:2
Fortunatus. Reference to in 1 Corinthians 16:17
Gaius, bishop of Ephesus. Reference to in Acts 19:29; 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14; 3 John 1
Hermas, bishop in Philipopoulis. He wrote The Shepherd of Hermas. He died a martyr. Reference to in Romans 16:14
Hermes, bishop of Dalmatia. Reference to in Romans 16:14
Herodion, a relative of the Apostle Paul, bishop of Neoparthia. He was beheaded in Rome. Reference to in Romans 16:11
James, brother of the Lord (also called "the Less" or "the Just"). He was a (step-)brother to Jesus, by Jesus' father Joseph, through a previous marriage. James was the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Reference to in Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Acts 12:17; 15:13; Epistle of James
Jason, bishop of Tarsus. Traveling with Sosipater to Corfu, the two were able, after an attempt made at their lives by the king of Corfu, to convert his majesty. Reference to in Acts 17:5-9
Justus, brother to the Lord and bishop of Eleutheropolis. He was the half-brother of Christ (as was Sts. James, Jude, and Simon) through Joseph's previous marriage to Salome. He died a martyr. Reference to in Acts 1:23; 18:7; Colossians 4:11
Linus, bishop of Rome. Reference to in 2 Timothy 4:21
Lucius, bishop of Laodicea. Reference to in Acts 13:1; Romans 16:21
Luke the Evangelist. He is the author of the Gospel of Luke, and the founder of Iconography (Orthodox Icon-writing). Reference to in Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24
Mark the Evangelist (called John). He wrote the Gospel of Mark. He also founded the Church of Alexandria, serving as its first bishop. Reference to in Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37-39; Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24; 1 Peter 5:13
Narcissus, ordained by the Apostle Philip as bishop of Athens, Greece. Reference to in Romans 16:11
Nicanor, one of the original seven deacons. He was martyred on the same day as the Promartyr Stephen. Reference to in Acts 6:5
Olympas, beheaded with St. Peter under Nero. Reference to in Romans 16:15
Onesimus. Onesimus preached the Gospel in many cities. He was made bishop of Ephesus, and later bishop of Byzantium (Constantinople). He was martyred under the Emperor Trajan. Reference to in Colossians 4:9; Philemon 10
Onesiphorus, bishop of Colophon (Asia Minor), and later of Corinth. He died a martyr in Parium. Reference to in 2 Timothy 1:16; 4:19
Parmenas, one of the original seven deacons. He preached throughout Asia Minor, and later settled in Macedonia. He was a bishop of Soli. He died a martyr in Macedonia. Reference to in Acts 6:5
Patrobus, bishop of Neapolis (Naples). Reference to in Romans 16:14
Philemon. He, with his wife Apphia, and the apostle Archippus, were martyred by pagans during a pagan feast. Reference to in Philemon 1
Philip the Deacon (one of the original seven). He was born in Palestine, and later preached throughout its adjoining lands. In Acts, he converts a eunuch (an official) of Candace, queen of Ethiopia, to Christ. He was later made bishop by the apostles at Jerusalem, who also sent him to Asia Minor. Reference to in Acts 6; 8; 21:8
Philologus, ordained bishop of Sinope (near the Black sea) by the Apostle Andrew. Reference to in Romans 16:15
Phlegon, bishop of Marathon, in Thrace. Reference to in Romans 16:14
Prochorus, one of the original seven deacons. He was made bishop of Nicomedia by St. Peter. He was later banished with the Apostle John (John the Theologian) to the Island of Patmos. In Antioch, he died a martyr. Reference to in Acts 6:5
Pudens (Pastorum). He was an esteemed member of the Roman Senate, then received Sts. Peter and Paul into his home, and was converted to Christ by them. He was martyred under Nero. Reference to in Acts 6:5
Quadratus, bishop of Athens. He was author of the Apologia. He was stoned, but survived. Soon-after, he died of starvation in prison.
Quartus, bishop of Beirut. Reference to in Romans 16:23
Rufus, bishop of Thebes, Greece. Reference to in Mark 15:21; Romans 16:13
Silas (Silvanus), bishop of Corinth. Reference to in Acts 15:22-40; 16:19-40; 17:4-15; 18:5; 2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Peter 5:12
Simeon, son of Cleopas. “Simeon, son of Cleopas (who was the brother of Joseph, the betrothed of the Virgin Mary), succeeded James as bishop of Jerusalem.” Orthodox Study Bible. He was martyred through torture and crucifixion, at the age of one-hundred. Reference to in Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3
Sosipater, ordained bishop of Iconium by the Apostle Paul, his relative. With St. Jason, he converted the king of Corfu. Reference to in Romans 16:21
Sosthenes. “… became bishop of Caesarea.” Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in 1 Corinthians 1:1
Stachys, ordained by St. Andrew to be bishop of Byzantium. Reference to in Romans 16:9
Stephen the Promartyr and Archdeacon (one of the original seven deacons). Reference to in Acts 6:5-7:60; 8:2 (Acts 6:5-8:2); 11:19; 22:20
Tertius, bishop of Iconium (after Sosipater). He wrote down St. Paul's letter to the Romans. He died a martyr. Reference to in Romans 16:22
Thaddaeus. He was baptized by John the Baptist (John the Forerunner). He later preached, and founded a Church in Beirut. Reference to in Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18
Timon, one of the original seven deacons, and later bishop of Bostra (in Arabia). He was thrown into a furnace, but emerged unharmed. Reference to in Acts 6:5
Timothy. He accompanied St. Paul often, and both 1 and 2 Timothy are addressed to him. He was ordained bishop of Ephesus by St. Paul. He died a martyr. Reference to in Acts 16:1; 17:14, 15; 18:5; 19:22; 20:4; Romans 16:21; 1 and 2 Timothy
Titus. “Among the more prominent of the seventy was the apostle Titus, whom Paul called his brother and his son. Born in Crete, Titus was educated in Greek philosophy, but after reading the prophet Isaiah he began to doubt the value of all he had been taught. Hearing the news of the coming of Jesus Christ, he joined some others from Crete who were going to Jerusalem to see for themselves. After hearing Jesus speak and seeing His works, the young Titus joined those who followed Him. Baptized by the apostle Paul, he worked with and served the great apostle of the gentiles, traveling with him until Paul sent him to Crete, making him bishop of that city. It is said that Titus was in Rome at the time of the beheading of St. Paul and that he buried the body of his spiritual father before returning home. Back in Crete, he converted and baptized many people, governing the Church on that island until he entered into rest at the age of ninety-four.” Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in 2 Corinthians 2:13; 7:6-14; 8:6-23; 12:18; Galatians 2:1-3; Epistle to Titus
Trophimus, disciple of St. Paul, and martyred under Nero. Reference to in Acts 20:4; 21:29; 2 Timothy 4:20
Tychicus. “… succeeded him (Sosthenes, as bishop) in that city (of Caesarea).” Orthodox Study Bible. He delivered St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians and Colossians. Reference to in Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12
Zenas (called 'the lawyer'), bishop of Diospolis (Lydda), in Palestine. Reference to in Titus 3:13
Alphaeus, father of the apostle James and Matthew.
Apphia, wife to the Apostle Philemon. The Church had gathered in her home for liturgy, while pagans who had been celebrating a pagan feast broke in and raided her home. They took Apphia, Philemon, and Archippus to be killed. She suffered martyrdom, and is commemorated by the Church on February 19.
Junia, accompanied Andronicus in preaching all over Pannonia. She was a relative to the Apostle Paul, and a martyr.
Silvan, bishop of Thessaloniki, Greece. Reference to in 1 Peter 5:12; 2 Corinthians 1:19
Zacchaeus, appointed by St.Peter to be bishop of Caesarea. Reference to in Luke 19:1-10
Early church building at Rihab, Jordan finding
In June 2008 Abdul Qader al-Husan, head of Jordan's Rihab Centre for Archaeological Studies, announced the discovery at Rihab in northern Jordan of what he claimed was "... the first church in the world, dating from 33 AD to 70 AD," beneath the foundations of the church building dedicated to Saint George at Rihab. "We have evidence to believe this church sheltered the early Christians – the 70 disciples of Jesus Christ," who are described in a floor mosaic in the church above as "the 70 beloved by God and Divine".
Though this claim spread in June 2008, it has been rejected by some since then. The mosaic floor Greek inscription had been inaccurately deciphered and says that the St. George oratory was built in A.D. 529, with no mention of "seventy beloved by God" at all. There is no evidence of the cave underneath being a first-century Christian worship-place. In addition, the early Church likely did not yet meet in special buildings dedicated to Christian worship as that came later, as Christianity was legalized— the very definition of the word "church" meaning simply "an assembly" according to the known Greek texts.
^Catholic Encyclopedia: Disciple: "The disciples, in this disciples, in this context, are not the crowds of believers who flocked around Christ, but a smaller body of His followers. They are commonly identified with the seventy-two (seventy, according to the received Greek text, although several Greek manuscripts mention seventy-two, as does the Vulgate) referred to (Luke 10:1) as having been chosen by Jesus. The names of these disciples are given in several lists (Chronicon Paschale, and Pseudo-Dorotheus in Migne, P.G., XCII, 521-524; 543-545; 1061-1065); but these lists are unfortunately worthless."