St. Archippus, Our Fellow Soldier

Tuesday, March 20, is the memorial of St. Archippus

12th-century copy of Colossians
12th-century copy of Colossians (photo: Codex Harleianus)

Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our beloved and our co-worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church at your house. ―Philemon 1–2

Archippus (ar-KIP-us) was a biblical Christian from the town of Colossae (mostly buried ruins in present-day Turkey). His name can be found within two books of the Bible: the Letter to Philemon and the Letter to the Colossians. The Letter to Philemon was actually a letter written to three people: Philemon, Apphia and Archippus. It is believed by most that Philemon and Apphia were married and that Archippus was perhaps their son.

Paul used the term “fellow soldier” to describe Archippus—a label describing a co-worker and a person who patiently bears and accepts hardships associated with being a dedicated follower of Christ. So, it is reasonable to consider that Archippus underwent difficult times and endured them calmly in the name of Jesus.

Paul’s greeting in this letter reveals that the home of Archippus, Philemon, and Apphia was used as a church for the early Christians in Colossae―tremendous evidence of generosity on the part of Archippus and his believed-to-be family. The bulk of this letter (normally referred to as simply “Philemon”) actually concerns a runaway slave named Onesimus. Onesimus had deserted the household of Archippus, Philemon and Apphia, met up with Paul, and became a devoted Christian. Paul wrote the letter asking the three to forgive and welcome Onesimus back to their home. Paul even suggested that the family consider treating him as a free Christian brother. We can only imagine Archippus’s reaction to this event and letter. His Christian-soldier status and tradition suggest that he pardoned the slave.

Paul’s reference to Archippus in the fourth chapter of Colossians gives readers another interesting point to ponder. Archippus apparently held some sort of special “ministry” in the Church, prompting many to suppose that he was possibly the pastor of the Church at Colossae. Whatever the unspecified ministry actually was, Paul encouraged Archippus to faithfully fulfill his duty toward it. All clues surrounding Archippus clearly point to a person who had a brave faith and a positive impact on Christianity.

The memorial of St. Archippus is March 20.


Discover St. Archippus in Scripture …

  • Philemon 1–25
  • Colossians 1:2
  • Colossians 4:17