Apostle Junia

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The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle Junia of the Seventy is commemorated by the Church on May 17 with Apostle Andronicus, and on January 4 with the Seventy. The Seventy Apostles were chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

Ss. Junia and Andronicus were relatives of the holy Apostle Paul. St Paul mentions them an Epistle: Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and fellow prisoners, who are of note among the Apostles, who also were in Christ, before me (Romans 16:7). The service in honor of these saints states that they suffered martyrdom for Christ.

Junia is the subject of debate within the academic world concerning the implications of a female apostle leading within the early Church, that it might suggest the ordination of women. In Orthodox tradition, however, the title of apostle does not necessarily confer the kind of position that the Twelve had from Christ. Rather, especially when used in reference to the Seventy, it designates someone who served as a missionary for the Church, especially in its first generation. Apostle (from Greek apostolos) literally refers to one who is "sent out," and its origin is in military usage. Subsequent centuries' saints who significantly spread the Orthodox faith are often referred to as equal to the Apostles, and this title is given without reference to gender.