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Ananias of Damascus
Saint Paul Ananias Sight Restored.jpg
Ananias restoring the sight of Saint Paul
Pietro da Cortona, 1631
Born Unknown (perhaps Damascus)
Died Eleutheropolis (tradition)
Major shrine Surp Zoravor Astvatsatsin Church in Yerevan, Armenia
Feast January 25

Ananias (/ænəˈnəs/ AN-ə-NY-əs; Ancient Greek: Ἀνανίας, same as Hebrew חנניה, Hananiah, "favoured of the LORD"),[1] was a disciple of Jesus at Damascus mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible, which describes how he was sent by Jesus to restore the sight of "Saul, of Tarsus" (known later as Paul the Apostle) and provide him with additional instruction in the way of the Lord.[2]

New Testament narrative of Ananias[edit]

According to Acts 9:10, Ananias was living in Damascus. In Paul's speech in Acts 22, he describes Ananias as "a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews" that dwelt in Damascus (Acts 22:12). According to F. F. Bruce, this indicates that he was not one of the refugees from the persecution in Jerusalem described in Acts 8:1.[3]

Healing of Saul[edit]

During his conversion experience, Jesus had told Paul (who was then called Saul) to go into the city and wait. Jesus later spoke to Ananias in a vision, and told him to go to the "street which is called Straight", and ask "in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus". (Acts 9:11) Ananias objected that Saul had been persecuting "thy saints", but the Lord told him that Saul was "a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel". (Acts 9:15). When Ananias went in to Saul and laid his hands on him, the "scales" of dead tissue on the surface of his eyes fell off, and he looked up at Ananias. After additional instruction, Saul was baptized. (Acts 9:18; 22:16)

Biblical status by modern scholars[edit]

The chapel of Ananias at the Surp Zoravor Church, Yerevan, Armenia

According to Roderick L. Evans, Ananias was a prophet despite being mentioned as a disciple. In his opinion on New Testament prophets, biblical figures who receive a message from God or reveal future events are considered prophets despite alternative titles such as apostle or disciple.[4] Anglican priest and theologian Edward Carus Selwyn recognized Ananias as a prophet as well as the seventy disciples and the apostles allocated with different tasks.[5] F. F. Bruce suggests that Ananias "has an honoured place in sacred history, and a special claim upon the gratitude of all who in one way or another have entered into the blessing that stems from the life and work of the great apostle."[6] Ananias is also listed by Hippolytus of Rome and others as one of the Seventy Disciples whose mission is recorded in Luke 10:1-20.[7] According to Catholic tradition, Ananias was martyred in Eleutheropolis.[8]

Roman Martyrology[edit]

In the 2004 edition of the Roman Martyrology, Ananias is listed under 25 January as a saint commemorated on the same day as the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Greek lexicon G367, Hebrew lexicon H2608
  2. ^ Ananias in Acts chapter 9 and chapter 22
  3. ^ F. F. Bruce, Commentary on the Book of the Acts (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 199.
    also found on page 189 of the 1988 edition, ISBN 0-8028-2505-2.
  4. ^ Evans, Roderick L. (March 1, 2005). The Prophetic Ministry: Exploring the Prophetic Office and Gift. Abundant Truth Publishing. ISBN 9781601411563. 
  5. ^ Selwyn, Edward Carus (1901). St. Luke, the prophet. University of Wisconsin-Madison: Macmillan. p. 31. 
  6. ^ Bruce, Commentary on the Book of the Acts, 201.
    also found on page 186 of the 1988 edition, ISBN 0-8028-2505-2.
  7. ^ Hippolytus, On the Seventy Apostles
    see also Seventy Disciples for other lists.
  8. ^ St. Ananias II
  9. ^ Martyrologium Romanum, 2004, Vatican Press (Typis Vaticanis), page 116.

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