Thursday, November 16, 2017

Tryphaena and Tryphosa

Tryphaena and Tryphosa were deacons of a house church in Rome mentioned in Paul’s Letter to the Romans “Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa” (Romans 16:12).  

According to the ancient Roman Martyrology, Tryphaena and Tryphosa were converted by Paul and opened their home to help others to progress in the faith.  Tryphaena was the great grandchild of Mark Antony and a descendant of Ptolemy.  She married the Thracian prince and bore him two sons and two daughters.  Her husband was captured and murdered by his uncle who wanted to lay claim to his territory, and Tryphaena was forced to flee with her family.  After the uncle was brought to trial, he died and the Emperor turned the Thracian kingdom over to Tryphaena and made her Queen in her own right. 

No details of Tryphosa's life have survived, but she seems to have been a trusted maid servant, a sister or other near relative of the queen.   In the sixteenth chapter of the book of Romans, Paul lists the women who supported the church in Rome: Phoebe, Prisca, Mary, Junia, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Rufus’ mother, Julia, and Nereus’ sister.  Perhaps, then, Tryphosa is the mother of Rufus, and Julia is Nereus' sister.  Further information is needed to know for certain.