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Priscilla of Rome & Aquila of Pontus

Priscilla (Greek: Priskila tis Rōmiswas born c. 10 BC (3751–3752 in the Hebrew calendar) in the Roman province of Italy. Her husband Aquila (Greek: Akouila tou Pontouwas born around the same time, but in the Roman province of Bithynia and Pontus. They were both Jewish Christians and dear friends to Paul of Tarsus during his missionary journeys. Priscilla is a Latin name and a diminutive of Prisca, meaning "ancient." Luke of Antioch specifically identified Aquila—his name deriving from the Latin word for "eagle"—as being from the Pontus region on the Euxine Sea (now called the Black Sea). He met his wife Priscilla after moving to Rome, where they worked together as tentmakers. However, the emperor Claudius (10 BC–AD 54) expelled the Jews from the city of Rome around AD 50, which both scripture and the Roman historian Suetonius noted (Acts 18:2; Claud. 25). In fact, Claudius blamed the Christians for disturbing the peace, but the empire still considered Jesus followers to be a sect of Judaism. 

 

Ministry

Priscilla and Aquila were both teachers in the first-century church. As Jews, they both knew the Law of Moses very well, and this was the knowledge they shared with Apollos of Alexandria when they visited Corinth and "took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately" (Acts 18:26). Simply put, they knew how the Hebrew Bible foretold of the Jesus as the promised Messiah. Apollos was originally a pagan man from Alexandria, a city well-known for its library and schools of philosophy. Aquila and Priscilla were better acquainted with Old Testament prophecy, especially as friends of Paul, a former Pharisee. They often accompanied him throughout the Mediterranean, as attested by the greetings found at Rom. 16:3, 1 Cor. 16:19, and 2 Tim. 4:19.

Prayer

Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the universe, by the example of your servants, spur us on to a better life so that we, who celebrate the memory of Priscilla and Aquila, may also imitate their deeds without ceasing; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Bibliography

Henderson, Silas. "Saturday, July 8: Sts. Prisca and Aquila." Aleteia. Rome: Fdn. for Evangelization Through the Media, 2021. https://aleteia.org/daily-prayer/saturday-july-8.

Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, s.v. "Aquila," accessed 2021, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aquila

 

⸻, s.v. "Priscilla," accessed 2021, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/priscilla

 

Momigliano, Arnaldo Dante. "Claudius." Encyclopædia BritannicaLondon: Britannica, 2020.  https://www.britannica.com/biography/Claudius-Roman-emperor.

Strong, James. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Updated and Expanded Edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2007.