Onesimus of Byzantium

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Onesimus was a slave whose name appears twice in the New Testament (Phil 10; Col 4:9). Onesimus ran away from his master Philemon of Colossae and made his way to where the apostle Paul was imprisoned (probably in Ephesus). Paul converted Onesimus to the Christian faith and sent him back to his master along with the Epistle to Philemon. In it Paul asks Philemon to receive his slave as a "faithful and beloved brother". Paul offers to pay to Philemon anything his slave had taken, and to bear the wrong he had done him. He was accompanied on his return by Tychicus, the bearer of the Epistle to the Colossians.

According to tradition, Onesimus was freed by Philemon. He became the 3rd Bishop of Byzantium from 54 until 68 AD when he martyred for the Christian faith.

The name Onesimus means "useful".

Preceded by:
Stachys the Apostle
Bishop of Byzantium
Succeeded by:
Polycarpus I

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