Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles

Today the Orthodox Church commemorates the Seventy Apostles who are mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles: 

After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. . . . The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:1 …17-20; emphasis added) 


The great Roman Catholic scholar Jean Danielou tells us about the significance of the number “70” in the Bible: 

If we count the number of enumerated people, seventy are mentioned. This number is certainly not an accident. From other sources we learn that it is a symbol for the universality of people. The ritual for the Feast of Tabernacles prescribes that seventy rams be sacrificed for the pagan nations. The first book of Henock, 89, 59 and following, states that the nations are divided among seventy elders who are the angels of these nations. The Testament of Nephtali shows Jahweh descending with seventy angels who teach their language to the seventy nations. The legend of how the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek by seventy elders, deriving the name Septuagint, comes from what was the Bible of the nations.


And the sending forth by Christ of the seventy disciples together with the twelve apostles appears to signify the mission to the Gentiles alongside that to the Jews. It seems that this was done to conform to the tradition, that the writer of our chapter arranged things so that he would arrive at the exact number seventy, which was already before him as the symbol of all mankind.  (IN THE BEGINNING . . . GENESIS I-III, pp 75-76)