|Feast||4 January (Eastern Orthodoxy)|
The seventy disciples or seventy-two disciples, known in the Eastern Christian traditions as the seventy apostles or seventy-two apostles, were early emissaries of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel of Luke. The correct Greek terminology is evdomikonta (εβδομήκοντα) apostoli or evdomikonta mathetes.
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, 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.
The passage from Luke 10 reads (in Douay–Rheims Bible):
'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.
And he said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send labourers into his harvest.
Go: Behold I send you as lambs among wolves.
Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes; and salute no man by the way.
Into whatsoever house you enter, first say: Peace be to this house.
And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you.
And in the same house, remain, eating and drinking such things as they have: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Remove not from house to house.
And into what city soever you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.
And heal the sick that are therein, and say to them: The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
But into whatsoever city you enter, and they receive you not, going forth into the streets thereof, say:
Even the very dust of your city that cleaveth to us, we wipe off against you. Yet know this, that the kingdom of God is at hand.
I say to you, it shall be more tolerable at that day for Sodom, than for that city.
Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Bethsaida. For if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the mighty works that have been wrought in you, they would have done penance long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgement, than for you.
And thou, Capharnaum, which art exalted unto heaven, thou shalt be thrust down to hell.
He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.
And the seventy-two returned with joy, saying: Lord, the devils also are subject to us in thy name.
And he said to them: I saw Satan like lightning falling from heaven.
Behold, I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall hurt you.
But yet rejoice not in this, that spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice in this, that your names are written in heaven.
In that same hour, he rejoiced in the Holy Ghost, and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy sight.'
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. It 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. 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 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 Matthew 9:35, Matthew 10:1, 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:
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).
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. The text is ancient, but its traditional ascription to Hippolytus of Rome is now considered dubious. An 1886 translation is:
Similar to an earlier list attributed to Irenaeus, Bishop Solomon of Basra of the Church of the East in the 13th century Book of the Bee offers the following list:
It is said that each one of the twelve and of the seventy wrote a Gospel; but in order that there might be no contention and that the number of 'Acts' might not be multiplied, the apostles adopted a plan and chose two of the seventy, Luke and Mark, and two of the twelve, Matthew and John.
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.
Some accounts of the legendary Saint Mantius of Évora regard him as one of the disciples, having witnessed the Last Supper and Pentecost.