Though the various biographies of Saints Timothy and Titus indicate that they were probably martyred for the faith, the Church does not venerate them as martyrs. Rather, their memorial is celebrated on January 26, the day after the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Both of them were companions of St. Paul. St. Paul write to both of them, and the letters are considered part of the New Testament canon.
These two men were appointed by St. Paul as pastors of the local churches which he formed. St. Timothy was appointed bishop of Ephesus and St. Titus bishop of Crete. St. Timothy was the son of a Jewish mother and a Roman father; Titus was Greek by birth. Neither of them had been circumcised. Because St. Timothy had a Jewish mother, Paul circumcised him; but he refused to circumcise Titus. Both of them ran into opposition from the “Judaizers,” the group that maintained that one needed to be Jewish in order to be Christian.
St. Timothy is regarded as the fellow author of several of St. Paul’s letters (2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon). St. Titus was sent to Corinth by St. Paul to remedy the various difficulties that the Corinthian Church experienced after Paul moved on to other cities. Both of them are mentioned several times in the writings of St. Paul. Three of St. Paul’s letters are addressed to this pair of disciples. Both of these letters are excellent treatises on the work of the presbyters and bishops of the Church and are often used as the basis of retreats for priests and deacons. They are regularly called “Pastoral” epistles for this reason.
Various Protestant and Orthodox Churches venerate these two along with another disciple of St. Paul, namely, Silas. (Silas is remember on July 13 by the Catholic Church.)
Their close association with St. Paul prompts us to remember these two as missionaries and evangelists. They endured many of the same crosses as did St. Paul because they were his constant companions. We can best remember them today by renewing our efforts to preach the Word of God joyfully and consistently in our lives.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator