Seventy disciples
Icon of the Seventy Apostles
Venerated in
Feast4 January (Eastern Orthodoxy)

The seventy disciples (Greek: ἑβδομήκοντα μαθητές, hebdomikonta mathetes), known in the Eastern Christian traditions as the seventy apostles (Greek: ἑβδομήκοντα απόστολοι, hebdomikonta apostoloi), were early emissaries of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel of Luke.

According to the Gospel of 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. The number of those disciples varies between either 70 or 72 depending on the account.

In Western Christianity, they are usually referred to as disciples,[1] whereas in Eastern Christianity they are usually referred to as apostles.[2] 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.

The passage from Luke 10 reads (in Douay–Rheims Bible):[3]

And after these things the Lord appointed also other seventy-two: and he sent them two and two before his face into every city and place whither he himself was to come.


This is the only mention of the group in the Bible. The number is seventy in some manuscripts of the Alexandrian (such as Codex Sinaiticus) and Caesarean text traditions but seventy-two in most other Alexandrian and Western texts. Samuel Dickey Gordon notes that they were sent out as thirty-five deputations of two each.[4]

The number may derive from the seventy nations of Genesis 10 or the many other occurrences of the number seventy in the Bible, or the seventy-two translators of the Septuagint from the Letter of Aristeas.[5] In translating the Vulgate, Jerome selected the reading of seventy-two.

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 Mark 6:6–13, which, however, recounts the sending out of the twelve apostles, rather than seventy, though with similar details. The parallels (also Matthew 9:35, Matthew 10:1, and Matthew 10:5–42) suggest a common origin in the hypothesized Q document. Luke also mentions the Great Commission to "all nations" (Luke 24:44–49) but in less detail than Matthew's account, and Mark 16:19–20 mentions the Dispersion of the Apostles.

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.

Feast days

Erastus, Olympus, Rhodion, Sosipater, Quartus and Tertius
Stachys, Amplias, Urban
Patrobulus, Hermas, Linus, Caius, Philologus
Sosthenes, Apollo, Cephas, Tychicus, Epaphroditus, Cæsar and Onesiphorus

The feast day commemorating the seventy is known as the "Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles" in Eastern Orthodoxy, and is celebrated on January 4. Each of the seventy apostles also has individual commemorations scattered throughout the liturgical year (see Eastern Orthodox Church calendar).

Lists of the disciples' names

Attributed to Hippolytus

A Greek text titled On the Seventy Apostles of Christ is known from several manuscripts, the oldest in Codex Baroccianus 206, a ninth-century palimpsest lectionary.[6] The text is ancient, but its traditional ascription to Hippolytus of Rome is now considered dubious.[6] An 1886 translation is:[6]

  1. James the Lord's brother, bishop of Jerusalem
  2. Cleopas, bishop of Jerusalem
  3. Matthias, who supplied the vacant place in the number of the twelve apostles
  4. Thaddeus, who conveyed the epistle to Augarus (Abgar V)
  5. Ananias, who baptized Paul, and was bishop of Damascus
  6. Stephen, the first martyr
  7. Philip, who baptized the Ethiopian eunuch
  8. Prochorus, bishop of Nicomedia, who also was the first that departed, 11 believing together with his daughters
  9. Nicanor died when Stephen was martyred
  10. Timon, bishop of Bostra
  11. Parmenas, bishop of Soli (either in Cyprus or in Asia Minor) .
  12. Nicolaus, bishop of Samaria
  13. Barnabas, bishop of Milan
  14. Mark the Evangelist, bishop of Alexandria
  15. Luke the Evangelist
    These two [Mark and Luke] 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.
  16. Silas, bishop of Corinth
  17. Silvanus, bishop of Thessalonica
  18. Crisces (Crescens), bishop of Carchedon in Galatia
  19. Epænetus, bishop of Carthage
  20. Andronicus, bishop of Pannonia
  21. Amplias, bishop of Odessus
  22. Urban, bishop of Macedonia
  23. Stachys, bishop of Byzantium
  24. Barnabas, bishop of Heraclea
  25. Phygellus, bishop of Ephesus. He was of the party also of Simon
  26. Hermogenes. He, too, was of the same mind with the former
  27. Demas, who also became a priest of idols
  28. Apelles, bishop of Smyrna
  29. Aristobulus, bishop of Britain
  30. Narcissus, bishop of Athens
  31. Herodion, bishop of Tarsus
  32. Agabus the prophet
  33. Rufus, bishop of Thebes
  34. Asyncritus, bishop of Hyrcania
  35. Phlegon, bishop of Marathon
  36. Hermes, bishop of Dalmatia
  37. Patrobulus, bishop of Puteoli
  38. Hermas, bishop of Philippopolis (Thrace)
  39. Linus, bishop of Rome
  40. Caius, bishop of Ephesus
  41. Philologus, bishop of Sinope
  42. Olympus and ...
  43. ...Rhodion were martyred in Rome
  44. Lucius, bishop of Laodicea in Syria
  45. Jason, bishop of Tarsus
  46. Sosipater, bishop of Iconium
  47. Tertius, bishop of Iconium
  48. Erastus, bishop of Paneas
  49. Quartus, bishop of Berytus
  50. Apollos, bishop of Cæsarea
  51. Cephas, bishop of Iconium of Colophon
  52. Sosthenes, bishop of Colophonia
  53. Tychicus, bishop of Colophonia
  54. Epaphroditus, bishop of Andriaca (there are at least two ancient towns called Andriaca, one in Thrace and one in Asia Minor),
  55. Cæsar, bishop of Dyrrachium
  56. Mark, cousin to Barnabas, bishop of Apollonia
  57. Justus, bishop of Eleutheropolis
  58. Artemas, bishop of Lystra
  59. Clement, bishop of Sardinia
  60. Onesiphorus, bishop of Corone
  61. Tychicus, bishop of Chalcedon
  62. Carpus, bishop of Berytus in Thrace
  63. Evodus, bishop of Antioch
  64. Aristarchus, bishop of Apamea
  65. Mark, who is also John, bishop of Bibloupolis
  66. Zenas, bishop of Diospolis
  67. Philemon, bishop of Gaza
  68. Aristarchus, bishop of Apamea
  69. Pudes
  70. Trophimus, who was martyred along with Paul

Book of the Bee

Similar to an earlier list attributed to Irenaeus,[7] Bishop Solomon of Basra of the Church of the East in the 13th century Book of the Bee offers the following list:[8]

  1. James, the son of Joseph
  2. Simon the son of Cleopas
  3. Cleopas, his father
  4. Joses
  5. Simon
  6. Judah
  7. Barnabas
  8. Manaeus (?)
  9. Ananias, who baptised Paul
  10. Cephas, who preached at Antioch
  11. Joseph the senator
  12. Nicodemus the Archon
  13. Nathaniel the chief scribe
  14. Justus, that is Joseph, who is called Barshabbâ
  15. Silas
  16. Judah
  17. John, surnamed Mark
  18. Mnason, who received Paul
  19. Manaël, the foster-brother of Herod
  20. Simon called Niger
  21. Jason, who is (mentioned) in the Acts (of the apostles)
  22. Rufus
  23. Alexander
  24. Simon the Cyrenian, their father
  25. Lucius the Cyrenian
  26. Another Judah, who is mentioned in the Acts (of the apostles)
  27. Judah, who is called Simon
  28. Eurion (Orion) the splay-footed
  29. Thôrus (?)
  30. Thorîsus (?)
  31. Zabdon
  32. Zakron
    These are the seven who were chosen with Stephen:
  33. Philip the Evangelist, who had three daughters that used to prophesy
  34. Stephen
  35. Prochorus
  36. Nicanor
  37. Timon
  38. Parmenas
  39. Nicolaus, the Antiochian proselyte
    [the next three are listed with the preceding seven]
  40. Andronicus the Greek
  41. Titus
  42. Timothy
    These are the five who were with Peter in Rome:
  43. Hermas [of Philippopolis]
  44. Plîgtâ
  45. Patrobas
  46. Asyncritus
  47. Hermas [of Dalmatia]
    These are the six [sic; seven names follow] who came with Peter to Cornelius:
  48. Criscus (Crescens)
  49. Milichus
  50. Kîrîțôn (Crito)
  51. Simon
  52. Gaius, who received Paul
  53. Abrazon (?)
  54. Apollos
    These are the twelve who were rejected from among the seventy, as Judas Iscariot was from among the twelve, because they absolutely denied our Lord's divinity at the instigation of Cerinthus. Of these Luke [recte 1 John] said, They went out from us, but they were not of us;' and Paul called them 'false apostles and deceitful workers'.
    1. Simon
    2. Levi
    3. Bar-Ḳubbâ
    4. Cleon
    5. Hymenaeus
    6. Candarus
    7. Clithon (?)
    8. Demas
    9. Narcissus
    10. Slikîspus (?)
    11. Thaddaeus
    12. Mârûthâ
    In their stead there came in these:
  55. Luke the physician
  56. Apollos the elect
  57. Ampelius
  58. Urbanus
  59. Stachys
  60. Popillius (or Publius)
  61. Aristobulus
  62. Stephen (not the Corinthian)
  63. Herodion the son of Narcissus
  64. Olympas
  65. Mark the Evangelist
  66. Addai
  67. Aggai
  68. Mâr Mârî


Other lists are

Matthias, who would later replace Judas Iscariot as one of the twelve apostles, is also often numbered among the seventy, since John Mark ("John, surnamed Mark", "Mark, who is also John") is typically identified with Mark the Evangelist.[11]

Some accounts of the legendary Saint Mantius of Évora regard him as one of the disciples, having witnessed the Last Supper and Pentecost.[12]

See also



  1. ^ 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, 521–24, 543–45, 1061–65); but these lists are unfortunately worthless."
  2. ^ "Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles".
  3. ^ Luke 10:1–21
  4. ^ Gordon, S. D. (1906), Quiet Talks on Service, Project Gutenberg, accessed 15 January 2024
  5. ^ Bruce Metzger, Textual Commentary on the Greek NT
  6. ^ a b c Roberts, Alexander; Donaldson, James; Coxe, A. Cleveland, eds. (1886). "Appendix to the Works of Hippolytus; containing Dubious and Spurious Pieces". The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A. D. 325. Vol. V. translated by J. H. McMahon (American reprint of the Edinburgh ed.). Buffalo: Christian Literature Company. pp. –256.
  7. ^ Burke, Tony (25 February 2022). "List of Apostles and Disciples, by Pseudo-Irenaeus". e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha. North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  8. ^ Budge, Ernest A. Wallis, ed. (1886). "Chapter XLIX; The Names of the Apostles in Order". The Book of the Bee: The Syriac Text Edited from the Manuscripts in London, Oxford, and Munich with an English Translation. Anecdota Oxoniensia: Semitic series. Vol. 2. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 113–114.
  9. ^ Burke, Tony (February 2022). "List of the Apostles and Disciples, by Pseudo-Dorotheus of Tyre". e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha. North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  10. ^ Burke, Tony (January 2022). "List of the Apostles and Disciples by Pseudo-Epiphanius of Salamis". e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha. North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  11. ^ Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "St. Matthias" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  12. ^ Cardoso, Jorge (1666). Agiologio lusitano dos sanctos, e varoens illustres em virtude do Reino de Portugal, e suas conquistas [Lusitanian hagiology of the saints and men illustrious in their virtue from the Kingdom of Portugal] (in Portuguese). Vol. 3. Lisbon: Officina de António Craesbeeck de Mello. pp. 337–342.