Saint Priscilla is also sometimes known as Prisca. "Priscilla" is the diminutive form of "Prisca," as "Johnny" is of "John," and is used to denote affection or to distinguish from an older person with the same name. In this case, it seems fairly certain that Prisca and Priscilla are the same person, so perhaps the diminutive is a sign of affection.

Saint Paul certainly seems to have been fond of her. She is mentioned at least four times in the New Testament (Acts 18, Romans 16, 1 Corinthians 16 and 2 Timothy 4), always in conjunction with her husband, Aquila. It is interesting to note that as often as not, Priscilla's name is mentioned first, perhaps indicating that they were held in equal esteem by Paul.

Priscilla's husband was a Jewish tentmaker, much like Paul. He and Priscilla probably left Rome during the Jewish persecution under Claudius. They settled in Corinth around the year 49 or 50. It was in Corinth that they met Paul, who lived with them for over a year and probably baptised them.

From Corinth, Priscilla and Aquila followed Paul to Ephesus and established a church in their house. In the synagogue at Ephesus, they met Apollos. He was an influential preacher from Alexandria who had been instructed only in the fundamentals of their new faith. Priscilla and Aquila taught him more about the Gospel, and then sent him off to continue preaching with even greater effectiveness.

After the death of Claudius, Priscilla and Aquila headed to Rome. In Rome, they also kept a church in their house. It is said that Priscilla allowed Saint Peter to use their home as headquarters for his missionary work in Rome. Under the place where the house stood are catacombs named for Priscilla. They are supposedly one of the more interesting of the smaller catacombs in Rome. A number of popes were buried there between 300 and 500 A.D.

Priscilla didn't stay long in Rome. Some accounts say that it was because of Nero's persecutions. Others say it was because Paul made Aquila a bishop and sent him to Asia Minor. It's possible that both stories are true.

Priscilla and Aquila are said to have been martyred, possibly in Rome or maybe in Asia Minor. The agent of their violent end seems to be as uncertain as the location. Some accounts say that they were thrown to the lions, while others assert that they were decapitated.

There has been some speculation that Priscilla may have written the Epistle to the Hebrews. It was not signed, which probably means that it was not written by Paul, although it was almost certainly written under his influence and authority. Perhaps Priscilla refrained from signing it for fear it would be frowned upon if it came from the pen of a woman. Or perhaps she didn't write it. There appears to be no proof either way - it's just an interesting theory.


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