Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Onesimus (first century)

Saint Onesimus (first century)

Feast day: February 16

Saint Onesimus was the slave of two Colossian Christians, Saints Philemon and Apphia. While enslaved, Onesimus committed a crime and escaped punishment from his masters by running away to Rome.

While in Rome, he met Saint Paul, who baptized him and regarded him as his own son. Saint Paul instructed Onesimus to return to his master, giving him a letter for Philemon asking him to regard Onesimus “no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially to me, but even more so to you, as a man and in the Lord. So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me. And if he has done you any injustice or owes you anything, charge it to me” (Philemon 16–18).

After reading this letter, Philemon freed Onesimus from slavery. 

(Image in public domain-70)