Jason of Thessalonica

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Jason of Thessalonica was a Jewish convert and early Christian believer mentioned in the New Testament in Acts 17:5-9 and Romans 16:21. According to tradition, Jason is numbered among the Seventy Disciples.[citation needed]

Jason is venerated as a saint in Catholic and Orthodox traditions. His feast day is July 12 (Catholic) and April 29 (Orthodox). His feast is celebrated on 3 Pashons in the Coptic Orthodox Church and on January 4 among the Seventy.

Biblical account[edit]

In Acts 17 his house in Thessalonica was used as a refuge by the apostles Paul, Silas, and Timothy. Non-believing Jews in Thessalonica stirred up a riot and Jason was arrested when the city authorities could not locate Paul nor Silas, and was made to post bail.

Paul referred to Jason, Lucius and Sosipater as his "countrymen" (Greek: οι συγγενεις μου) in Romans 16:21, which has led some to call him "Jason of Tarsus" (since Paul was from Tarsus). However, most scholars understand Paul's use of "countryman" here and elsewhere to mean "fellow Jew". Both references to Jason point 'very probably' [1] to the same person.

Hagiography[edit]

The literary source (hagiographic legend) of the life of Jason and Sosipater was newly edited and translated by B. Kindt as appendix to "La version longue du récit légendaire de l'évangelisation de Corfou par les saints Jason and Sosipatre," Analecta Bollandiana 116 (1998) 259–295.

Born in Tarsus, he was appointed Bishop of Tarsus by the Apostle Paul. With the apostle Sosipater he traveled to the island of Corfu, where they built a church in honor of the Apostle Stephen the Protomartyr and converted many pagans to the Christian faith. Seeing this, the king of Corfu threw them into prison where they converted seven other prisoners to the Christian faith: Saturninus, Jakischolus, Faustianus, Januarius, Marsalius, Euphrasius and Mammius. The king had those seven put to death for their faith in boiling pitch.

The king's daughter, the virgin Cercyra, having watched these holy apostles being tortured and turned to the Christian faith, distributed all her jewels to the poor. The king became angry and put her in prison, yet she would not deny Christ. So he had the prison burned, but she remained unharmed. Many people were baptized upon seeing this miracle. He then had her killed with arrows while tied to a tree.

Many believers fled to a nearby island to get away from the enraged king, but as he chased them, his boat sank. The new king embraced the Christian faith and in baptism received the name Sebastian. From then on Sosipater and Jason freely preached the Gospel and built up the Church in Corfu until a very old age, when they gave up their souls to God.[2]

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