Theresa Doyle-Nelson enjoys researching and writing about holy people from the Bible. She has written for a variety of Catholic resources and is the author of Saints in Scripture. Theresa and her husband Chad have been married for over 30 years, and although their nest is now empty, their three adult sons have growing families — providing enjoyable opportunities for growing gatherings and grandchildren graces! Theresa and Chad are parishioners at the beautiful and historic St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Bandera, Texas. You can find Theresa’s blog, “The Hill Country Hermit” at TheresaDoyle-Nelson.blogspot.com.
“I know that you live where Satan’s throne is, and yet you hold fast to my name and have not denied your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was martyred among you, where Satan lives.” ―Revelation 2:13
The very last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, presents many dramatic symbols and passages that can be puzzling to many. A certain message seems to persist, however―to be committed and loyal to the truths of Christ, even during times of suffering.
When John the Apostle (or perhaps a disciple of his) wrote the Book of Revelation, he made an interesting reference to a person named Antipas, calling the man a “faithful witness” and one “who was martyred.” This reference can be found fairly early on in Revelation, within the section containing special messages for seven different Christian communities in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Antipas’s name is found in the third of the seven letters―the letter to the church in the city of Pergamum.
Pergamum was a city not far from the Aegean Sea. It was considered to be a beautiful and cultural city. Impressively, parchment was invented in Pergamum about 150 years before the birth of Christ. The modern city of Bergama, Turkey, overlaps some of the ruins of ancient Pergamum. Interestingly, the author of Revelation referred to Pergamum as the location of Satan’s throne! It has been suggested that this distressing label could be due to the multitude of pagan practices that abounded in the city, including the worshipping of the Roman emperor as a God.
The fact that Antipas could withstand living within a culture that embraced sacrilege so freely is impressive. While multitudes tend to get drawn into their surroundings, Antipas was obviously steadfast to the truths of Christ—despite his cultural backdrop.
Some claim that Antipas was the Bishop of Pergamum. Tradition asserts that during the brutal Christian persecutions ordered by Emperor Domitian (AD 81–96), Antipas was forced into a brazen ox that was set to fire, hence suffocating and roasting the saintly man. After his burial, many miracles were reported, and it has been claimed that at times, a secretion of oil from his relics has occurred.
The memorial of St. Antipas is April 11, and his is the patron saint of dental problems. St. Antipas is mentioned only once in the Bible. You can find his brief mentioning in Revelation 2:12–17.