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An active member of the first group of Christian leaders in Jerusalem. He was known also as Silbanus (I Thessalonians 1:1-11; II Thessalonians 1:1). He is mentioned several times as traveling with Peter or Paul and Timothy, perhaps acting as a kind of secretary or messenger (I Peter 5:12). On one occasion when Paul and Barnabas split up in disagreement, Paul chose Silas as a replacaement (Acts 15:40). when the council at Jerusalem was concluded and a message was prepared for the Christians in Antioch, assuring them that the Law of Moses was not an inflexible requirement for entrance to the Church, Silas and Barsabbas were sent with the letter to confirm its contents and assure an amicable reception (Acts 15:22-23). On Paul's trip through Galatia, he and Sials were beaten and imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16:19-39). When the magistrates learned that they were Roman citizens, they were released--but not before the jailer and his family were converted. (Etym. Greek silas; from Aramaic se'lia, Saul.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.