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Jan 30, 2013


















Simon the Zealot

Judas Iscariot

How did the 12 apostles die?








File:InfantJesus JohnBaptist.JPG

File:Guido Reni 063.jpg

Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist and proclaimed Jesus as the Lamb that take away the sins of the world.  John was six months older than Jesus and a cousin of his. John was of the Priestly tribe being of son of Zachariah the High Priest.   It was John who started the mesianic declaration  idenifying Jesus as the mesia the true King of Israel.  Jesus took it up and continued "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord, The Kingdom of God is at hand"

Y'shua reading from the Torah in synagogue.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised, To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

(Luk 4:18-19)


That was the declaration Manifesto of Jesus and the beginning of his ministry.   Jesus indeed was the King of the Jews in the Davidic line both through Legal Royal line as well as by direct blood line.  No one else would have that double right. 


The Jewish temple authorities as well as the Roman Authorities knew that for certain.  Jesus asserted the fact under oath also.  Notice these verses that asserts this fact.  The crown of thorns was the result of that assertion from the Roman authorities.

 Matt.2  [2] Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Matt.27  [11] And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.

[29] And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

[37] And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Mark.15 [2] And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto him, Thou sayest it.

[9] But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?

[12] And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?

[18] And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!

[26] And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS.


[3] And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it.

[37] And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

[38] And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.





[33] Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?

[39] But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?


[3] And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.

[19] And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

[21] Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.


Gospels: It Is Finished



[13] Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

The triumphal entry was the entry of the King of the Jews.  But the mesia was not just the King of the Jews.  He was the King of Kings and Lord of Lord in a system where the one who serves is greater than one who is being served.  It was a difficult concept which even his chosen disciples missed.

In the revolution of establishment of the Kingdom, Jesus chose his disciples (his ministers and ambassadors)  who were mainly close to him and to his family within the royal line.  Thus an analysis of the disciples clearly shows that most of them were from his own close family.  Here is one such result in the next page..

The exact meaning of the word Apostle is Ambassador. The term "apostle" is derived from Classical Greek ἀπόστολος (apóstolos), meaning "one who is sent away", from στέλλω ("stello", "send") + από (apo, "away from"). The literal meaning in English is therefore an "emissary", from the Latin mitto ("send") and ex ("from"). The general meaning of the word is translated into Latin as 'missio', and from this word we get 'missionary.

' Six  out of the twelve Apostles were cousins of Jesus, who themselves would fall second in line to the Kingship position to Jesus himself.  The fore runner John the Baptist who was to pave the way to the Kingdom himself was probably a not so distant uncle or cousin.  There is no doubt it all started as a regular conspiracy to rebuild the Jewish Davidic line.  Jesus went around and began to recruit his Apostles.  Jesus knew that his role was not just to be king of Israel, but the redemption of cosmos as such.  It was this misunderstanding of the purpose of incarnation exhibited in Mrs. Zebedee's request for Prime Ministership for her children.  We should suppose most of the disciples understood the mesia as an earthly king of Israel who will overthrow the Roman foreigners from their land and establish the Davidic Kingdom vaster than Rome itself.  Was this  misunderstanding that prompted Judas Iscariot to bring about a crisis for Jesus to assert his mesiaship which he thought he knew well?.  






Jesus went round rounding up his cousins and friends.

"He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called unto Him His disciples. And of them He chose twelve, whom also He named apostles:
Simon (whom he also named Peter) and Andrew, his brother;
James and John,
Phillip and Bartholomew,
Matthew and Thomas,
James the son of Alphaeus, Simon called Zelotes,
Judas the brother of James and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor"
(Lk. 6:12-16).



"He ordained twelve
that they should be with Him,
that He might send them forth to preach
 to have power to heal sickness
to cast out devils."

Mark (3:14,15)


Synoptic Gospels

Here are the names as given in the Synoptic Gospels.

Matthew [Mt 10:1-4]

Mark [Mk 3:13-19]

Luke [Lk 6:12-16]

Simon, who is called Peter

Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter)

Simon, whom he named Peter

Andrew, his brother


Andrew his brother

James the son of Zebedee

James the son of Zebedee


John, his brother

John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges)











Matthew, the tax collector



James the son of Alphaeus

James the son of Alphaeus

James the son of Alphaeus



Judas (interpolated as "son")of James

Simon the Zealot

Simon the Zealot

Simon who was called the Zealot

Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot

 Within the twelve we have an inner trinity of close disciples of Jesus.  Peter, James and John

Gospel of John

 Gospel of John does not offer a formal list of apostles, although it refers to "the twelve"   (John 6:67-71   Only the following disciples are mentioned:

  • Peter
  • Andrew (identified as Peter's brother)
  • "the sons of Zebedee" (presumably meaning John and James, although they are not named)
  • Philip
  • Nathanael
  • Thomas (also called Didymus)[11:16] [20:24] [21:2]
  • Judas Iscariot
  • "Judas (not Iscariot)" [14:22]

Nathanael is traditionally been identified with Bartholomew.   The three not mentioned at all in John are James son of Alphaeus, Matthew and Simon the Canaanite/Zealot.

Matthew only describe the recruitment of Simon and Andrew first and on the next day of James, and John. All three Synoptic Gospels imply that these four were the first recruits.   

 Now after these things the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself was about to come.

(Luk 10:1)



Here is the complete text of Hippolytus' On the Seventy Apostles of Christ:

1. James the Lord’s brother, bishop of Jerusalem
2. Cleopas, bishop of Jerusalem.
3. Matthias, who supplied the vacant place in the number of the twelve apostles.
4. Thaddeus, who conveyed the epistle to Augarus.
5. Ananias, who baptized Paul, and was bishop of Damascus.
6. Stephen, the first martyr.
7. Philip, who baptized the eunuch.
8. Prochorus, bishop of Nicomedia, who also was the first that departed, 11 believing together with his daughters.
9. Nicanor died when Stephen was martyred.
10. Timon, bishop of Bostra.
11. Parmenas, bishop of Soli.
12. Nicolaus, bishop of Samaria.
13. Barnabas, bishop of Milan.
14. Mark the evangelist, bishop of Alexandria.
15. Luke the evangelist. These two belonged to the seventy disciples who were scattered by the offence of the word which Christ spoke, “Except a man eat my flesh, and drink my blood, he is not worthy of me.” But the one being induced to return to the Lord by Peter’s instrumentality, and the other by Paul’s, they were honored to preach that Gospel on account of which they also suffered martyrdom, the one being burned, and the other being crucified on an olive tree.
16. Silas, bishop of Corinth.
17. Silvanus, bishop of Thessalonica.
18. Crisces (Crescens), bishop of Carchedon in Gaul.
19. Epænetus, bishop of Carthage.
20. Andronicus, bishop of Pannonia.
 21. Amplias, bishop of Odyssus.
22. Urban, bishop of Macedonia.
23. Stachys, bishop of Byzantium.
24. Barnabas, bishop of Heraclea
25. Phygellus, bishop of Ephesus. He was of the party also of Simon.
26. Hermogenes. He, too, was of the same mind with the former.
27. Demas, who also became a priest of idols.
28. Apelles, bishop of Smyrna.
29. Aristobulus, bishop of Britain.
30. Narcissus, bishop of Athens.
31. Herodion, bishop of Tarsus.
32. Agabus the prophet.
33. Rufus, bishop of Thebes.
34. Asyncritus, bishop of Hyrcania.
35. Phlegon, bishop of Marathon.
36. Hermes, bishop of Dalmatia.
37. Patrobulus,1 bishop of Puteoli.
38. Hermas, bishop of Philippi.
39. Linus, bishop of Rome.
40. Caius, bishop of Ephesus.
41. Philologus, bishop of Sinope
42, 43. Olympus and Rhodion were martyred in Rome.
44. Lucius, bishop of Laodicea in Syria.
45. Jason, bishop of Tarsus.
46. Sosipater, bishop of Iconium
47. Tertius, bishop of Iconium.
48. Erastus, bishop of Panellas.
49. Quartus, bishop of Berytus.
50. Apollo, bishop of Cæsarea.
51. Cephas.
52. Sosthenes, bishop of Colophonia.
53. Tychicus, bishop of Colophonia.
54. Epaphroditus, bishop of Andriace.
55. Cæsar, bishop of Dyrrachium.
56. Mark, cousin to Barnabas, bishop of Apollonia.
57. Justus, bishop of Eleutheropolis.
58. Artemas, bishop of Lystra.
59. Clement, bishop of Sardinia.
60. Onesiphorus, bishop of Corone.
61. Tychicus, bishop of Chalcedon.
62. Carpus, bishop of Berytus in Thrace.
63. Evodus, bishop of Antioch.
64. Aristarchus, bishop of Apamea.
65. Mark, who is also John, bishop of Bibloupolis.
66. Zenas, bishop of Diospolis.
67. Philemon, bishop of Gaza.
68, 69. Aristarchus and Pudes.
70. Trophimus, who was martyred along with Paul.

There are many other lists found some of them are given below:

The following list gives a widely accepted canon. Their names are listed below, along with the areas of the Bible in which they can be viewed:

1.         James "the Lord's brother" (James the Just), author of the Epistle of James, and first Bishop of Jerusalem (sometimes is replaced by Jacob Joses Justus, who was also a brother of Jesus, since James the Just is identified as one of the twelve apostles Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3, Acts 12:17, 15:13; Epistle of James.

2.         Agabus. Reference to in Acts 11:28; 21:10.

3.         Amplias. Reference to in Romans 16:8

4.         Mark the Evangelist, author of the Gospel of Mark and Bishop of Alexandria

5.         Luke the Evangelist, author of the Gospel of Luke

6.         Cleopas

7.         Simeon, son of Cleopas, 2nd Bishop of Jerusalem

8.         Barnabas, companion of Paul

9.         Justus, Bishop of Eleutheropolis

10.        Thaddeus of Edessa (not the Apostle called Thaddeus) also known as Saint Addai

11.        Ananias, Bishop of Damascus

12.        Stephen, one of the Seven Deacons, the first martyrPhilip the Evangelist, one of the Seven Deacons, Bishop of Tralles in Asia Minor

13.        Prochorus, one of the Seven Deacons, Bishop of Nicomedia in Bithynia

14.        Nicanor the Deacon, one of the Seven Deacons

15.        Timon, one of the Seven Deacons

16.        Parmenas the Deacon, one of the Seven Deacons

17.        Timothy, Bishop of Ephesus

18.        Titus, Bishop of Crete

19.        Philemon, Bishop of Gaza

20.        Onesimus (Not the Onesimus mentioned in the Epistle to Philemon)

21.        Epaphras, Bishop of Andriaca

22.        Archippus

23.        Silas, Bishop of Corinth

24.        Silvanus

25.        Crescens

26.        Crispus, Bishop of Chalcedon in Galilee

27.        Epenetus, Bishop of Carthage

28.        Andronicus, Bishop of Pannonia

29.        Stachys, Bishop of Byzantium

30.        Amplias, Bishop of Odissa (Odessus)

31.        Urban, Bishop of Macedonia

32.        Narcissus, Bishop of Athens

33.        Apelles, Bishop of Heraklion

34.        Aristobulus, Bishop of Britain

35.        Herodion, Bishop of Patras

36.        Agabus the Prophet

37.        Rufus, Bishop of Thebes

38.        Asyncritus, Bishop of Hyrcania

39.        Phlegon, Bishop of Marathon

40.        Hermes, Bishop of Philippopolis

41.        Parrobus, Bishop of Pottole

42.        Hermas, Bishop of Dalmatia

43.        Pope Linus, Bishop of Rome

44.        Gaius, Bishop of Ephesus

45.        Philologus, Bishop of Sinope

46.        Lucius of Cyrene, Bishop of Laodicea in Syria

47.        Jason, Bishop of Tarsus

48.        Sosipater, Bishop of Iconium

49.        Olympas

50.        Tertius, transcriber of the Epistle to the Romans and Bishop of Iconium

51.        Erastus, Bishop of Paneas

52.        Quartus, Bishop of Berytus

53.        Euodias, Bishop of Antioch

54.        Onesiphorus, Bishop of Cyrene

55.        Clement, Bishop of Sardis

56.        Sosthenes, Bishop of Colophon

57.        Apollos, Bishop of Caesarea

58.        Tychicus, Bishop of Colophon

59.        Epaphroditus

60.        Carpus, Bishop of Beroea in Thrace

61.        Quadratus

62.        John Mark (commonly considered identical to Mark the Evangelist: see 4 above), bishop of Byblos

63.        Zenas the Lawyer, Bishop of Diospolis

64.        Aristarchus, Bishop of Apamea in Syria

65.        Pudens

66.        Trophimus

67.        Mark, Bishop of Apollonia[disambiguation needed]

68.        Artemas, Bishop of Lystra

69.        Aquila

70.        Fortunatus

71.        Achaicus 1 Corinthians 16:17

72.        Tabitha, a woman disciple, whom Peter raised from the dead

Matthias, who would later replace Judas Iscariot as one of the twelve apostles, is also often numbered among the seventy, since John Mark is typically viewed as Mark the Evangelist.[8]

Also, some lists name a few different disciples than the ones listed above. Other names commonly included are:

•           Another Stephen

•           Rodion

•           Cephas, Bishop of Iconium

•           Caesar, Bishop of Dyrrhachium

•           Another Mark, Bishop of Apollonias

•           Another Tychicus, Bishop of Chalcedon in Bithynia

These are usually included at the expense of the aforementioned Timothy, Titus, Archippus, Crescens, Olympas, Epaphroditus, Quadratus, Aquila, Fortunatus, and/or Achaicus.

Solomon, Nestorian bishop of Basra in the 13th century offers the following list:

"The names of the seventy.

1.         James, the son of Joseph;

2.         Simon the son of Cleopas;

3.         Cleopas his father;

4.         Joses;

5.         Simon;

6.         Judah;

7.         Barnabas;

8.         Manaeus (?);

9.         Ananias, who baptised Paul;

10.        Cephas, who preached at Antioch;

11.        Joseph the senator;

12.        Nicodemus the archon;

13.        Nathaniel the chief scribe;

14.        Justus, that is Joseph, who is called Barshabbâ;

15.        Silas;

16.        Judah;

17.        John, surnamed Mark (John Mark);

18.        Mnason, who received Paul;

19.        Manaël, the foster-brother of Herod;

20.        Simon called Niger;

21.        Jason, who is (mentioned) in the Acts (of the apostles);

22.        Rufus;

23.        Alexander;

24.        Simon the Cyrenian, their father;

25.        Lucius the Cyrenian;

26.        another Judah, who is mentioned in the Acts (of the apostles);

27.        Judah, who is called Simon;

28.        Eurion (Orion) the splay-footed;

29.        Thôrus (?);

30.        Thorîsus (?);

31.        Zabdon;

32.        Zakron.

A more concise and acknowledged list is below:

1.         Archaicus. Reference to in 1 Corinthians 16:17

2.         Agabus. Reference to in Acts 11:28; 21:10

3.         Amplias, appointed by St. Andrew as bishop of Lydda of Odyssopolis (Diospolis) in Judea. He died a martyr. Reference to in Romans 16:8.

4.         Ananias, who baptized St. Paul. He was the bishop of Damascus. He became a martyr by being stoned in Eleutheropolis. Reference to in Acts 9:10-17; 22:12

5.         Andronicus, bishop of Pannonia. Reference to in Romans 16:17

6.         Apelles, bishop of Heraclea (in Trachis). Reference to in Romans 16:10

7.         Apollos. He was a bishop of several places over time: Crete (though this is questioned), Corinth, Smyrna, and Caesarea. Reference to in Acts 18:24; 19:1; 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:4-22; 4:6; 16:12, Titus 3:13

8.         Aquila. He was martyred. Reference to in Acts 18:2, 18, 26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19

9.         Archippus. Reference to in Colossians 4:17; Philemon 2

10.        Aristarchus, bishop of Apamea in Syria. He was martyred under Nero. “Aristarchus, whom Paul mentions several times, calling him a ‘fellow laborer,’ became bishop of Apamea in Syria.” Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2; Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24

11.        Aristobulus, bishop of Britain. “…the brother of the apostle Barnabas, preached the gospel in Great Britain and died peacefully there.” Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in Romans 16:14

12.        Artemas, bishop of Lystra in Lycia. Reference to in Titus 3:12

13.        Aristarchus, bishop of Hyracania in Asia. Reference to in Romans 16:14

14.        Barnabas. “A Jew of the Tribe of Levi, was born in Cyprus of wealthy parents. He is said to have studied under Gamaliel with Saul of Tarsus, who was to become Paul the apostle. Originally named Joseph, he was called Barnabas (Son of Consolation) by the apostles because he had a rare gift of comforting people’s hearts. He sought out Paul when everyone else was afraid of him, bringing him to the apostles. It was Barnabas whom the apostles first sent to Antioch with Paul. Their long association was broken only when Barnabas was determined to take his cousin Mark, whom Paul did not trust just then, on a missionary journey. The three were later reconciled. Many ancient accounts say Barnabas was the first to preach in Rome and in Milan, but he was martyred in Cyprus, then buried by Mark at the western gate of the city of Salamis.” Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in Acts 4:36; 9:27; 11-15; 1 Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 2:1,9,13; Colossians 4:10

15.        Caesar, bishop of Dyrrhachium (in the Peloponnese of Greece)

16.        Carpus, bishop of Berroia (Verria, in Macedonia. Reference to in 2 Timothy 4:13

17.        Clement, bishop in Sardis. Reference to in Philippians 4:3

18.        Cephas, bishop of Iconium, Pamphyllia.

19.        Cleopas, was with the Lord on the road to Emmaus. Reference to in Luke 24:18; John 19:25

20.        Crescens, later bishop of Galatia. He was martyred under the Emperor Trajan. Reference to in 2 Timothy 4:10

21.        Crispus, bishop of Aegina, Greece. Reference to in Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:14

22.        Epaphras. Reference to in Colossians 1:7; 4:12; Philemon 23

23.        Epaphroditus, bishop of the Thracian city of Adriaca. Reference to in Philippians 2:25; 4:18

24.        Epaenetus, bishop of Carthage. Reference to in Romans 16:5

25.        Erastus. He served as a deacon and steward to the Church of Jerusalem. Later he served in Palestine. Reference to in Acts 19:22; Romans 16:23; 2 Timothy 4:20

26.        Euodias(Evodius), first bishop of Antioch after St.Peter. He wrote several compositions. At the age of sixty-six, under the Emperor Nero, he was martyred. Reference to in Philippians 4:2

27.        Fortunatus. Reference to in 1 Corinthians 16:17

28.        Gaius, bishop of Ephesus. Reference to in Acts 19:29; 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14; 3 John 1

29.        Hermas, bishop in Philipopoulis. He wrote The Shepherd of Hermas. he died a martyr. Reference to in Romans 16:14

30.        Hermes, bishop of Dalmatia. Reference to in Romans 16:14

31.        Herodion, a relative of the Apostle Paul, bishop of Neoparthia. He was beheaded in Rome. Reference to in Romans 16:11

32.        James, brother of the Lord(also called "the Less" or "the Just"). He was a (step-)brother to Jesus, by Jesus' Father Joseph, through a previous marriage. James was the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Reference to in Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Acts 12:17; 15:13; Epistle of James

33.        Jason, bishop of Tarsus. Traveling with Sosipater to Corfu, the two were able, after an attempt made at their lives by the king of Corfu, to convert his majesty. Reference to in Acts 17:5-9

34.        Justus, brother to the Lord and bishop of Eleutheropolis. He was the half-brother of Christ(as was Sts. James, Jude, and Simon) through Joseph's previous marriage to Salome. He died a martyr. Reference to in Acts 1:23; 18:7; Colossians 4:11

35.        Linus, bishop of Rome. Reference to in 2 Timothy 4:21

36.        Lucius, bishop of Laodicea. Reference to in Acts 13:1; Romans 16:21

37.        Luke the Evangelist. He is the author of the Gospel of Luke, and the founder of Iconography(Orthodox Icon-writing). Reference to in Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24

38.        Mark the Evangelist (called John). He wrote the Gospel of Mark. He also founded the Church of Alexandria, serving as its first bishop. Reference to in Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37-39; Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24; 1 Peter 5:13

39.        Mark

40.        Narcissus, ordained by the Apostle Philip as bishop of Athens, Greece. Reference to in Romans 16:11

41.        Nicanor, one of the original seven deacons. He was martyred on the same day as the Promartyr Stephen. Reference to in Acts 6:5

42.        Olympas, beheaded with St. Peter under Nero. Reference to in Romans 16:15

43.        Onesimus. Onesimus preached the Gospel in many cities. He was made bishop of Ephesus, and later bishop of Byzantium (Constantinople). He was martyred under the Emperor Trajan. Reference to in Colossians 4:9; Philemon 10

44.        Onesiphorus, bishop of Colophon (Asia Minor), and later of Corinth. He died a martyr in Parium. Reference to in 2 Timothy 1:16; 4:19

45.        Parmenas, one of the original seven deacons. He preached throughout Asia Minor, and later settled in Macedonia. He was a bishop of Soli. He died a martyr in Macedonia. Reference to in Acts 6:5

46.        Patrobus, bishop of Neapolis (Naples). Reference to in Romans 16:14

47.        Philemon. He, with his wife Apphia, and the apostle Archippus, were martyred by pagans during a pagan feast. Reference to in Philemon 1

48.        Philip the Deacon (one of the original seven). He was born in Palestine, and later preached throughout its adjoining lands. In Acts, he converts a eunuch (an official) of Candace, queen of Ethiopia, to Christ. He was later made bishop by the apostles at Jerusalem, who also sent him to Asia Minor. Reference to in Acts 6; 8; 21:8

49.        Philologus, ordained bishop of Sinope (near the Black sea) by the Apostle Andrew. Reference to in Romans 16:15

50.        Phlegon, bishop of Marathon, in Thrace. Reference to in Romans 16:14

51.        Prochorus, one of the original seven deacons. He was made bishop of Nicomedia by St. Peter. He was later banished with the Apostle John (John the Theologian) to the Island of Patmos. In Antioch, he died a martyr. Reference to in Acts 6:5

52.        Pudens (Pastorum). He was an esteemed member of the Roman Senate, then received Sts. Peter and Paul into his home, and was converted to Christ by them. He was martyred under Nero. Reference to in Acts 6:5

53.        Quadratus, bishop of Athens. He was author of the Apologia. He was stoned, but survived. Soon-after, he died of starvation in prison.

54.        Quartus, bishop of Beirut. Reference to in Romans 16:23

55.        Rufus, bishop of Thebes, Greece. Reference to in Mark 15:21; Romans 16:13

56.        Silas (Silvanus), bishop of Corinth. Reference to in Acts 15:22-40; 16:19-40; 17:4-15; 18:5; 2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Peter 5:12

57.        Simeon, son of Cleopas. “Simeon, son of Cleopas (who was the brother of Joseph, the betrothed of the Virgin Mary), succeeded James as bishop of Jerusalem.” Orthodox Study Bible He was martyred through torture and crucifixion, at the age of one-hundred. Reference to in Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3

58.        Sosipater, ordained bishop of Iconium by the Apostle Paul, his relative. With St. Jason, he converted the king of Corfu. Reference to in Romans 16:21

59.        Sosthenes. “…became bishop of Caesarea.” Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in 1 Corinthians 1:1

60.        Stachys, ordained by St.Andrew to be bishop of Byzantium. Reference to in Romans 16:9

61.        Stephen the Promartyr and Archdeacon(one of the original seven deacons). Reference to in Acts 6:5-7:60; 8:2 (Acts 6:5-8:2); 11:19; 22:20

62.        Tertius, bishop of Iconium (after Sosipater). He wrote down St. Paul's letter to the Romans. He died a martyr. Reference to in Romans 16:22

63.        Thaddaeus. He was baptized by John the Baptist (John the Forerunner). He later preached, and founded a Church in Beirut. Reference to in Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18

64.        Timon,one of the original seven deacons, and later bishop of Bostra (in Arabia). He was thrown into a furnace, but emerged unharmed. Reference to in Acts 6:5

65.        Timothy. He accompanied St. Paul often, and both 1 and 2 Timothy are addressed to him. He was ordained bishop of Ephesus by St. Paul. He died a martyr. Reference to in Acts 16:1; 17:14, 15; 18:5; 19:22; 20:4; Romans 16:21; 1 and 2 Timothy

66.        Titus. “ Among the more prominent of the seventy was the apostle Titus, whom Paul called his brother and his son. Born in Crete, Titus was educated in Greek philosophy, but after reading the prophet Isaiah he began to doubt the value of all he had been taught. Hearing the news of the coming of Jesus Christ, he joined some others from Crete who were going to Jerusalem to see for themselves. After hearing Jesus speak and seeing His works, the young Titus joined those who followed Him. Baptized by the apostle Paul, he worked with and served the great apostle of the gentiles, traveling with him until Paul sent him to Crete, making him bishop of that city. It is said that Titus was in Rome at the time of the beheading of St. Paul and that he buried the body of his spiritual father before returning home. Back in Crete, he converted and baptized many people, governing the Church on that island until he entered into rest at the age of ninety-four.” Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in 2 Corinthians 2:13; 7:6-14; 8:6-23; 12:18; Galatians 2:1-3; Epistle to Titus

67.        Trophimus, disciple of St.Paul, and martyred under Nero. Reference to in Acts 20:4; 21:29; 2 Timothy 4:20

68.        Tychicus. “…succeeded him (Sosthenes, as bishop) in that city (of Caesarea).” Orthodox Study Bible He delivered St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians and Colossians. Reference to in Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12

69.        Urbanus, ordained by the Apostle Andrew as bishop of Macedonia. He died a martyr. Reference to in Romans 16:9

70.        Zenas, (called 'the lawyer') bishop of Diospolis (Lydda), in Palestine Reference to in Titus 3:13

Additional Names:

1.         Alphaeus, father of the apostle James and Matthew.

2.         Apphia, wife to the Apostle Philemon. The Church had gathered in her home for liturgy, while pagans who had been celebrating a pagan feast broke in and raided her home. They took Apphia, Philemon, and Archippus to be killed. She suffered martyrdom, and is commemorated by the Church on February 19.

3.         Junia, accompanied Andronicus in preaching all over Pannonia. She was a relative to the Apostle Paul, and a martyr.

4.         Silvan, bishop of Thessaloniki, Greece. Reference to in 1 Peter 5:12; 2 Corinthians 1:19

5.         Zacchaeus, appointed by St.Peter to be bishop of Caesarea. Reference to in Luke 19:1-10




 And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

(Mar 6:12-13)


And the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject unto us in thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan fallen as 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 in any wise hurt you. Nevertheless in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

(Luk 10:17-20)



The Great Commission


Soon after the resurrection Jesus appeared to all the disciples together at the Mount Olivet


And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned. And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.


 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken unto them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen. "

(Mar 16:15-20)



Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Matthew 28:19

Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen:
Acts 1:2

But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.

The Kingdom is in place.  His ambassadors are left in the world as his representative.

Acts 1:8



Painting of Saint Peter by Peter Paul Rubens   (1611-1612)




Peter's  actual name was Symeon rendered in English as Simon.  Ac 15:14

Simon. or, Symeon (Greek  Σιμων; Hebrew מְעוֹן)
The name is derived from Simeon, son of Jacob and Leah, patriarch of the Tribe of Simeon. The text of Genesis (29:33) argues that the name of Simeon refers to Leah's belief that God had heard that she was hated by Jacob, in the sense of not being as favored as Rachel.

כִּי־שָׁמַע יְהוָה כִּי־שְׂנוּאָה אָנֹכִי וַיִּתֶּן־לִי גַּם־אֶת־זֶה וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמֹו שִׁמְעֹון׃

"Because the LORD had heard that I was hated, he had therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon."

implying a derivation from the Hebrew term shama on, meaning "he has heard". In classical rabbinical sources, the name Symeon is  interpreted as "he who listens to the words of God." (Genesis Rabbah 61:4)

Simon bar-Jona

His father was Jona.
Hence he was called
Simon bar-Jona   Σιμων Βαριωνας
from Šim`ôn bar-Yônâ, 'Simon son of Jonah,' or Son of John.  Mt. 16:17 
either name  John or  Jona exists in Hebrew or Aramaic, as in the name Jesus. All of these "J" names are our English rendering for the Hebrew sound Y.

Scott & Raven Smith in their interpretation in gives a slightly different twist to the bar- jona appellation as an allegory and prophecy. 

" First, it must be understood that names held great meaning in the Bible. Names often conveyed the nature or intended nature of a person given by relatives or even God Himself. For example, the Hebrew name "Abraham" was given to him by God to reveal his future nature-a father to a multitude-yet he didn't have any children when God changed his name.  Indeed, biblical names hold great significance, from Adam ("From the ground") to Zurishaddai ("the Almighty is a rock") and every name in between.

... there are idioms, figures of speech and modes of expression that are unique to the Hebrew and Greek languages respectively.  The Hebrew colloquialisms are called Hebraisms. Hebraisms are words that were common expressions or idioms that do not translate literally into English. ...... Peter was addressed as Simon, Bar-Jonah; and although there is a name involved, in this case it is actually a title.  The Hebrew prefix bar means "son." .....

But the common figure of speech expression has nothing to do with coldness by degree; it in fact, means that something is very admirable or excellent. One such Hebraism, or Hebrew idiom, is the partial phrase, "son of [something]" or "child of [something]."

The Hebrews would call someone who had a certain characteristic, feature or destiny, a son of that thing.  This is evident in several scriptures:

1.      Son of Perdition; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; John 17:12

2.      Children of transgression; Isaiah 57:4

3.      Sons of the kingdom; Matthew 8:12

4.      Sons of the wicked one; Matthew 13:38

5.      Sons of the bridechamber; Matthew 9:15

6.      Son of hell; Matthew 23:15

7.      Children of wrath; Ephesians 2:3

8.      Sons of disobedience; Ephesians 2:2

9.      Sons of Belial; 1 Samuel 2:12


...... Hebraisms in the Scriptures it is apparent that Jesus was identifying Peter as "a" person with an assignment similar to Jonah's, not "the" literal son of Jonah-his supposed father......"

In this interpretation Jesus took Simon, the rolling stone for the specific purpose of an assignment similar to that of Jonah.  As Jona was reluctant to go and give the message to the gentile nation of Nineveh, Peter was reluctant  to reach out to the gentiles with the gospel. 

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not." John 21:18 KJV 
Just as Jona was taken to Nineveh by the fish Peter was taken into the home of the centurion against all his jewish upbringing.

After the resurrection when Jesus came to Peter and told him to feed His flock, He used two separate terms to indicate two different types of people.  He used the term lambs (John 21:15) and the word sheep (John 21:16; 17). Jesus was referring to the flock of the Jews. But then Jesus tells Peter to "tend" His sheep. because  Jesus had to use a fish - in this case a vision to go against his jewish egoing to reach out to the centurion and open the door to the gentile world evangelism.  Thus the name Simon bar jona would simply mean, the reluctant messenger.  Simon certainly was deep rooted in Judaism that Paul had to confront him to come clean.


Taken in this sense Jesus was calling him as "The reluctant Missionary" knowing his character as one willing to take risk.



Cephas. Peter  Πετρος

Cephas is a Syriac surname which was given to Simon by Jesus Christ. (  Mt 4:18; 10:2  ;  Lu 22:31-34 ;  Joh 1:42 21:15-17; 1Pe 1:1)

The Greek translate Cephas as Petrus.

( gives the best explanation  of the problem)

"(Matthew 4:18-20).   In Jesus time Greek was the popular language .  In  Greek Πετρος (Petros) means "stone". This is a translation used in most versions of the New Testament of the name Cephas, meaning "stone" in Aramaic, which was given to the apostle Simon by Jesus (compare Matthew 16:18 and John 1:42).  Jesus gave Simon (Peter) the name of Cephas. What meaning did he attach to the word Cephas? "Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone" (John i, 42). 

In the Attic Greek of classical poetry, petros is sometimes used in the sense of a stone or movable rock, perhaps more or less synonymously with lithos, in contradistinction to petra. In the common Koine Greek of biblical literature, this distinction is virtually unknown. As a rule, when the Greek biblical texts want to reference a movable stone, they use lithos, not petros. This rule is not, however, quite without exception: A single Greek Old Testament book, 2 Maccabees, offers two instances of petros referring to thrown stones (2 Macc 1:16 and 4:41).  So it is possible to argue that petros means a small stone which is movable and unstable.  Whether this was what Jesus meant by the term is not clear as the distinction is not rigid in Koine Greek. In Isaiah 8:14 in the Septuagint, and again in Romans 9:33 and 1 Peter 2:8,  we have “a stone (lithos) that will make men stumble and a rock (petra) that will make them fall.” In general the NT translations prefer the translation 'stone' for Petros

“So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Kephas (which means Petros)” (John 1:42).

In due course of Christianity this name became popular inthe Christian world in various spellings. In England the Normans introduced it in the Old French form Piers, which was gradually replaced by the spelling Peter starting in the 15th century.

Simon Peter was probably first called Kepha (in Aramaic ), then Kephas (in Greek ), and finally Petros (again in Greek). Adding the final “s” or sigma for the Grecized form Kephas was to convert the female form Kepha to a Masculin form Kephas   In the same way, Greek petra is feminine (first declension), and so was convertedd into Petros to make it masculine."

STRONGS NT 2786: Κεφας   Chaldean כֵּיפָא, a rock, Cephas equivalent to Πέτρος  Petros

However in the Old Testament the worlds  tsûr and sela‘ are, metaphorically applied exclusively to God alone and particularly in Psalms and Isaiah.  Thus the  “Rock” came to denote a   divine title refrerred as  “the Rock,” “our Rock,” “my Rock,” “the Rock of Israel,” “the Rock of your refuge,” etc. (e.g., Deut 32:4,15-18,31; 2 Sam 22:2,32,47; Psa 18:2,31,46; Isa 17:10).  As a result most protestants would translate Peter as "the stone" rather than "the rock".  This takes its importance when related to the Primacy of Peter and the Papacy controversy.


canyon walk down to petra site

Rock and Stone
Jesus the Rock on which the Church is built and Peter one of the main stones used

Ephesians 2:20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.

The combined name, Simon Peter, is found Luke 5:8; John 13:6; John 20:2; John 21:15, and elsewhere, though in these instances it is given as Simon; Symeon occurring only in Acts 15:14.




He was born in Bethsaida (John 1:42, 44), a town on Lake Genesareth, 
Today it is also known as  et-Tell, Beth-Saida, Bethsaida Julia, Julia, Julias, Julias-Bethsaida

There is lot of confusion regarding the meaning of the township.

"Beth," obviously, means  "house."  But what about the "Saida"?  

Austin Farrer gives the meaning as "House of Provisioning" and  John Donahue & Daniel Harrington says "House of Fishermen" 
There is a Hebrew noun tsedah, which is parallel with lexem (bread) in  Psalm 78:25.  In other places it means provision Gen. 42:25; 45:21; Exod. 12:39; Jos. 1:11; 9:11; Jdg. 7:8; 20:10; 1 Sam. 22:10. It is related to tsayid "game" and tsud "hunt."  It is often assumed that Beth-saida means "House of the hunters", with the form being Aramaic rather than Hebrew. Assuming the site to be on or near the Sea of Galilee, the "hunters" would actually be hunting for fishes giving the meaning "House of Fishermen."

Thus beth-sa'-i-da literally means "house of fishing" which implies that it was a fishing village.

House of the Fisherman

The most impressive remains at this site are the Iron Age gate and two large Hellenistic houses.  The House of the Fisherman measures 4,300 sq. feet, and is believed to be a fisherman's home based on the discovery of two types of lead net weights, a round lead weight of the so-called musket type, and a long, crooked needle.  Among the coins discovered in the house were two silver didrachmae of Demetrius II.
House of Fisherman at Bethsaida

Syria and Palestine, in 1851 and 1852, Van de Velde (1818-1898), 1854, Vol II

"...Bethsaida Gaulonites is evidently spoken of, the ruins of which have been recognized by Dr. Eli Smith and other travelers on a hill called et-Tell, on the east bank of the Jordan, close to the northern shores of the lake.  Josephus calls this Bethsaida-Julias, and informs us that Philip the Tetrarch of Iturea and Trachonites gave it this epithet in honour of Julias, having enlarged the town, and adorned it with public buildings." Julias may have been named after Augustus' daughter.

 (1) A city East of the Jordan, in a "desert place" (that is, uncultivated ground used for grazing) at which Jesus miraculously fed the multitude with five loaves and two fishes (Mark 6:32 Luke 9:10).

This is doubtless to be identified with the village of Bethsaida in Lower Gaulonitis which the Tetrarch Philip raised to the rank of a city, and called Julias, in honor of Julia, the daughter of Augustus. It lay near the place where the Jordan enters the Sea of Gennesaret (Ant., XVIII, ii, 1; BJ, II, ix, 1; III, x, 7; Vita, 72). This city may be located at et-Tell, a ruined site on the East side of the Jordan on rising ground, fully a mile from the sea. As this is too far from the sea for a fishing village, Schumacher (The Jaulan, 246) suggests that el-`Araj, "a large, completely destroyed site close to the lake," connected in ancient times with et-Tell "by the beautiful roads still visible," may have been the fishing village, and et-Tell the princely residence. He is however inclined to favor el-Mes`adiyeh, a ruin and winter village of Arab et-Tellawiyeh, which stands on an artificial mound, about a mile and a half from the mouth of the Jordan. It should be noted, however, that the name is in origin radically different from Bethsaida. The substitution of sin for cad is easy: but the insertion of the guttural `ain is impossible. No trace of the name Bethsaida has been found in the district; but any one of the sites named would meet the requirements.

To this neighborhood Jesus retired by boat with His disciples to rest awhile. The multitude following on foot along the northern shore of the lake would cross the Jordan by the ford at its mouth which is used by foot travelers to this day. The "desert" of the narrative is just the barriyeh of the Arabs where the animals are driven out for pasture. The "green grass" of Mark 6:39, and the "much grass" of John 6:10, point to some place in the plain of el-BaTeichah, on the rich soil of which the grass is green and plentiful compared with the scanty herbage on the higher slopes.

(2) Bethsaida of Galilee, where dwelt Philip, Andrew, Peter (John 1:44; John 12:21), and perhaps also James and John. The house of Andrew and Peter seems to have been not far from the synagogue in Capernaum (Matthew 8:14 Mark 1:29, etc.). Unless they had moved their residence from Bethsaida to Capernaum, of which there is no record, and which for fishermen was unlikely, Bethsaida must have lain close to Capernaum. It may have been the fishing town adjoining the larger city. As in the case of the other Bethsaida, no name has been recovered to guide us to the site.

On the rocky promontory, however, East of Khan Minyeh we find Sheikh `Aly ec-Caiyadin, "Sheikh Aly of the Fishermen," as the name of a ruined weley, in which the second element in the name Bethsaida is represented. Near by is the site at `Ain et-Tabigha, which many have identified with Bethsaida of Galilee. The warm water from copious springs runs into a little bay of the sea in which fishes congregate in great numbers. This has therefore always been a favorite haunt of fishermen. If Capernaum were at Khan Minyeh, then the two lay close together. The names of many ancient places have been lost, and others have strayed from their original localities. The absence of any name resembling Bethsaida need not concern us.
W. Ewing



Peter and Andrew

Icon of the Holy Brothers :Apostles Peter and Andrew

Andrew and Peter were both disciples of Jesus.   Andrew was indeed the first of Jesus's disciples. 

When John Baptist began to preach the good news of the coming messiah and called for repentance in the desert, Andrew became a disciple of John.  He was with John the Baptist, when seeing Jesus pass by the day after he had been baptized by him, said, "Behold the Lamb of God."

Joh 1:38  Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

Joh 1:39-42  He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.  And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone.

From this time they became Jesus’ disciples, not as full time followers but as ardent students.  They plied their trade and followed him as was able.  They were the fans of Jesus the Rabbi. 

St. Epiphanius (Hær. 51, c. 17, p. 440.) says, that though Peter was the younger brother, but he was made by Christ the chief  of all the apostles.  St. Chrysostom, on the contrary, takes him to have been the elder brother, and the oldest man in the apostolic college which makes more reasonable to understand the respect the rest of the disciples gave to Peter in the traditions of the Jews. This concept is empahsized into Christianity in that the leaders were always called "Elders" of the Church.

Leviticus 19:32  You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

Simon Peter was certainly married and Jesus healed his mother in law who was sick of a fever. (Mark 1:30). Simon settled in Capharnaum, where he was living with his mother-in-law in his own house (Matthew 8:14; Luke 4:38) at the beginning of Christ's public ministry (about A.D. 26-28). According to Clement of Alexandria (Stromata, III, vi, ed. Dindorf, II, 276), Simon was married and had children. Clement also mentions  the tradition that Peter's wife  suffered martyrdom (ibid., VII, xi ed. cit., III, 306). Paul asserts the fact in 1 Cor. 9:5 where it says Peters wife followed Peter in his missions:  "Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?" Church tradition holds that Peter's wife was named Concordia, or Perpetua (Dr Scrivener’s Cambridge Paragrah Bible, reference Grabe, Spicil.Pair. 1. 330). and the name of the Legendary daughter is Petronilla.


The story of the martyrdom of Peter and his wife is found in the pages of The History of the Church, written by Eusebius, a bishop in the Holy Land during the first decades of the 300s. In it he quotes from a much earlier source, Miscellanies (Book VII), written by Clement of Alexandria (circa A.D. 150–215). This work describes how Peter’s wife suffered martyrdom just before him. The Acts And Monuments of the Church by John Fox mentions this as follows:

"Eusebius, moreover, writing of the death, not only of Peter, but also of his wife, affirmeth that Peter, seeing his wife going to her martyrdom, (belike as he was yet hanging upon the cross,) was greatly joyous and glad thereof, who, crying unto her with a loud voice, and calling her by her name, bade her remember the Lord Jesus. Such was then, (saith Eusebius,) the blessed bond of marriage among the saints of God." 

 Concerning these facts, adopted by Eusebius (Church History III.31) from Clement, the ancient Christian literature which has come down to us is silent. Simon and his brother Andrew had a thriving fishing industry which was probably in the city of  Capharnaum.  It must have been a pretty large company with a large fishing boat  (Luke 5:3) if not more.    The scripture clearly says that the Zebedees were in partnership with Simon.  Probably the fishing industry having more than one fishing ship was known as Sons of Zebedee and Jona Inc.

(Luk 5:10)And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon

Simon Peter, Andrew and Philip were from the city of Bethsaida, which is on the western coast of the Sea of Galilee. (John 1:39-44).  Whether they worked together as fishermen or not is not sure.
(Matthew 10:2; Mark 3:16)  However it appears that others within the fishing company continued the business even after the major partners went into fultime Ministry that Peter would consider taking it up again later in his life when the hope of a future with Jesus  as king looked bleak.


The Call

(Luk 5:1-11) And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him (Jesus) to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.


Luke 5  Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.


After his discourse, Jesus decided to pay for his rental of the ship in fish.  He bade Peter to cast his nets into the sea. Simon and Andrew had toiled all the  last night but did not have any fish for their labor.  They were fishermen and knew about the fish catching techniques and the behaviour of fishes.  

(Luk 5:4-5) Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

  He had scarcely done this, when such a shoal of fishes was caught by the first draught, as filled not only their own boat, but also that of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were fishing near them, and were forced to come and help them to drag in the net, which was ready to break with the load; yet the boats were not sunk.

Go away from me, I am a sinful man
Notice Peter is depicted as the oldest disciples in all portrayals
 Painting by Jacopo Bassano, 1545

(Luk 5:8) When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.


It was only after the imprisonment of John the Baptist and the beginning of the declaration of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God by  Jesus that Jesus called Andrew and Peter to his full time ministry.  They were the first to be called to the ministry.  Matthew does not give the details of the call as given by Luke above. 


Mat 4:17 -20 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. They left their nets, and followed Jesus.

Now on it was a full time ministry for both Peter and Andrew.





Though not clearly stated it appears that Peter grew in prominence among the chosen twelve.

·         There are four lists of the Apostles in the New Testament — one in each of the Synoptic Gospels containing the names of the Twelve, and one in the Book of Acts giving those of the Eleven only. ( Mark 3: 16—19; Matt: 10. —4; Luke 6: 14-16; Acts 1: 13.)  Each list differs from the others in some respects. Peter always stands first in each of the New Testament lists, and Judas Iscariot comes last when he is mentioned at all.  As I have mentioned it is probably because he was the oldest among them. It is certain that NT places emphasis on Peter as first among the Apostles if we go by the listings

·         On various occasions Peter speaks in the name of the other Apostles (Matthew 15:15; 19:27; Luke 12:41, Matthew 16:16 etc.).

  • Peters fidelity to Jesus, is unquestionable.  When Jesus spoke of the mystery of the reception of His Body and Blood (John 6:22 ...) and many of His disciples had left Him.  That was too much to ask to a jew.  Then Jesus asked the Twelve if they too would like leave Him also.  Peter's answer came as: (Joh 6:68-69  Then Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God."
  • Peter was one of three closest to Jesus who were Peter, James and John.  This was the special group. Peter was one of the three Apostles (with James and John) who were with Christ on certain special occasions.  Apostle Paul says: " James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, ....." (Gal. 2:9).
  • These three were with Jesus on very special occasions:

o        the raising of the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51); The gospel of Mark says about that: "And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James" (Mark 5:37).

o        the Transfiguration of Christ (Matthew 17:1; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:28),


o        the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37; Mark 14:33).). "And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee...." (Matt. 26:37).


Peter the Moving Stone,

built into the Body of Christ

Simon Bar Jona

Peter is portrayed in the bible was a rash, outspoken and impulsive man bent on doing things as he saw fit without resoning out its consequences.  Neverthless he did what is needed  immediately without hesistation.  He had a definite rebellious streak that posed hard to tame and willing to take risk.  He was what we will always remember as an ardent activist who despite oppositions and problems dared to do it all inspite of them.   


Peter had the peculiar characteristics of being impetuous on occasions and that tended to get him in trouble almost all the time. He seemed uncomfortable when an a courageous statement was needed and he would speak up when others hesitated. In the midst of all this vacilating situations, Jesus encouraged him and reinstated him as part of His Eternal Purpose. 


1.  Peters Leap of Faith

Matthew 14:22-33

Peter was the only disciple who dared to walk on water on the commandment of Jesus.  But as soon as he saw the waves his faith faded and he began to sink.  Jesus pulled him out and said:"why did you doubt."


2.  Peter's declaration of faith

St. Peter had fervent faith and strong zeal. When the Lord asked His disciples: "Who do men say that I am?" So they answered, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." ... Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."  (Mat. 16:13-20)

The apostle saint Peter loved the Lord Christ very much.  He loved His words and His instruction. Accordingly when some disciples returned back; and the Lord said to the twelve: "Do you also want to go away?" But Simon Peter answered Him: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6: 66-68).

His love for Him was manifested in his words on the Great Thursday night.  When the Lord said to His disciples: "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night", Peter with his well-known impulsiveness answered and said to Him: "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble ....... Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You" (Matt. 26: 31-35).
 "I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death" (Luke 22:33).


3.  Peter: the Rock or satan?

On one occasion Jesus even had to call him or this spirit Satan.  This was soon after the great confession of Peter that Jesus was indeed Christ.  When Jesus began to explain  His forthcoming death on the cross, Peter could not understand  Him.  It went against all his understanding about the coming mesia which he just proclaimed who Jesus was.  (Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33).

Mat 16:22 -23 And Peter taking him, began to rebuke him, saying: Lord, be it far from you, this shall not be unto you. Who turning, said to Peter: Go behind me, Satan, you are a scandal unto me: because you savour not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men.


Peter was the only person whom Jesus called "Satan".  
Later Jesus  told Peter  that Satan had desired him that he might sift him as wheat. But he had interceded  for him that his faith fail not, and, being once converted, he confirms his brethren (Luke 22:31-32).



4.  Peter and the washing of feet

During the last supper when Jesus proceeded to wash the feet of His disciples when he came  to Peter, he vehemently opposed this menial act as he was to be the mesia.  But when Jesus explained that without that he cannot be his servant (in direct opposition to the worldly order of master servant relationship)   Peter immediately said: "Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head" (John 13:1-10).


5.  Peter did not give the moral support at the critical time of the agony of Christ at Gathsemene.

In the Garden of Gethsemane Peter slept through the period when Jesus anguished over the coming events, like the others.(Mark 14:37).


6.  Peter uses violence at the time of arrest of Jesus

When they seized Jesus, Peter was the first to act in an attempt to use force.  
Jn 18;10 Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus.


7.  Peter  denied Jesus three times.

He at first took to flight with the other Apostles (John 18:10-11; Matthew 26:56); but regained courage and dared to enter into the courtyard of the High Priest.  Peter's assurance that he was ready to accompany his Master to prison and to death, elicited Christ's prediction knowing the fickle rolling nature of  Peter that he will deny Him three times before the cock crows two times. (Matthew 26:30-35; Mark 14:26-31; Luke 22:31-34; John 13:33-38). Peter indeed denied  Christ   not once but three times as Jesus well knew ahead.       On realizing his weakness when the rooster crew the second time, "he went out and wept bitterly" (Matt. 26:75). 

 However Jesus after his resurrection on hearing Peters repentence "You know that I love you" (John 21: 17)  reestablished him in his apostleship and said to him: "Feed My lambs", "Tend My sheep" (John 21: 15,16); but not without reminding him his betrayal number three.


8.  Resurrection events:

The women, who were the first to find Christ's tomb empty, received from the angel a special message for all disciples with special mention of Peter (Mark 16:7).

Mark 16:7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he goes before you into Galilee. There you shall see him, as he told you.

On hearing the news Peter and John ran to the tomb.  John being younger and faster than Peter out runs him and arrives at the tomb first, but does not go in and waits for Peter to come.  John peeped into the tomb and found the linen clothes lying in place.  It was Peter who first entered inside tomb to become the first witness to the empty tomb. However as for John, “he saw and believed.” (pisteuo)  It was John who understood the meaning of the positioning and tallit folded at the head  as the sure sign of resurrection.  Peter could not get this in at this point.

Two men came to the empty tomb and examined the very same evidence. One “saw and believed” while the other at this point did not.
Peter and John running to the tomb (painting by Dan Burr)

 Apart from the ladies Jesus' first appearance among the disciples was indeed to Peter alone on the first of after the resurrection.  (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5).


9.  Post Resurrection Events

Peter goes back to Fishing
Even after the resurrection and Jesus confirming it by his appearances alone Peter, Peter failed to see the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. He found himself without purpose and  decides to go back to his old job.  It was on one these fishing trips with other disciples that Jesus re-enter the life of Peter.  He appeared at the Lake of Genesareth, where Christ renewed to Peter His special commission to feed and defend His flock, Peter was made to affirm his love for Jesus thrice in the place of three denials before he was reinstated. (John 21:15-17).

(Joh 21:2-4)  There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.


Jn 21;15-17 When therefore they had dined, Jesus says to Simon Peter: Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?
He said to him: Yea, Lord, you know that I love you. He said to him: Feed my lambs. 
He says to him again: Simon, son of John, do you love me? He said to him: yea, Lord, you know that I love you. He said to him: Feed my lambs.
17 He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, do you love me? Peter was grieved because he had said to him the third time: Do you love me? And he said to him: Lord, you know all things: you know that I love you. He said to him: Feed my sheep.

Do you love me more than these?

Come and have breakfast with me.
Eating the fish by James Tissot, 1886-94.

Peter became the feeder of the sheep only after the Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit made him strong as he was being built into the house with Jesus as the rock


10. The vision of Peter

The vision Peter received in Acts 11: 5 - 18 changed the entire outreach of early Christians, as God revealed to Peter that none of his creation nor any of the people on earth were ritually unclean.  They were all part of his creation and part of the Kingdom.  This vision changed Peter's understanding of God as a tribal of Israel to the Universal God of all Mankind.  Even though Peter still remained as the Apostle to the Circumcised (Jews), his understanding gave way to accepting the Gentile within the Kingdom and to accept Paul as the instrument of that, who became the Apostle to the Gentile.   Apparently during the first council of the Churches at Jerusalem this vision made a difference where Peter and Paul became very close.

 The continued story gives us the story of Peter traveling outside of the Jewish area from Joppa to Casesarea  to the house of a gentile  - of Ceturion Cornelius -  and starting the first gentile Church.



Cornelius the centurion

Peter's first sermon to the gentiles.

Act 10 (28-29) Entering Cornelius’ house, Peter explains why he came.
And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?


Act 10 (34-43) Peter’s short sermon to the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house. 

Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ; He is Lord of all; that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”



The Great Confession
the Keys of the Kingdom


Mat 16:13-20  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. (Compare Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21).

Catholic Interpreation

The Roman Claim of Supremacy

"By the word "rock" the Saviour cannot have meant Himself, but only Peter, as is so much more apparent in Aramaic in which the same word (Kipha) is used for "Peter" and "rock". His statement then admits of but one explanation, namely, that He wishes to make Peter the head of the whole community of those who believed in Him as the true Messias; that through this foundation (Peter) the Kingdom of Christ would be unconquerable; that the spiritual guidance of the faithful was placed in the hands of Peter, as the special representative of Christ. This meaning becomes so much the clearer when we remember that the words "bind" and "loose" are not metaphorical, but Jewish juridical terms. It is also clear that the position of Peter among the other Apostles and in the Christian community was the basis for the Kingdom of God on earth, that is, the Church of Christ. Peter was personally installed as Head of the Apostles by Christ Himself. This foundation created for the Church by its Founder could not disappear with the person of Peter, but was intended to continue and did continue (as actual history shows) in the primacy of the Roman Church and its bishops.


The Protestant Interpretation

Roman Catholic Faith Examined!
 David J. Riggs


James Cardinal Gibbons, a Catholic Archbishop said, "Jesus our Lord, founded but one Church, which He was pleased to build on Peter. Therefore, any church that does not recognize Peter as its foundation stone is not the Church of Christ, and therefore cannot stand, for it is not the work of God." (The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 82). The apostle Paul said, "For other foundation no one can lay, but that which has been laid, which is Christ Jesus" (1 Cor. 3:11). There is no other foundation but Christ! Therefore, any church which does not recognize Christ alone as the foundation stone cannot be the church of Christ......

Col. 1:18, speaking of Christ, says, "And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy..." Thus, with reference to the authority in the church, the Lord Jesus Christ holds the primacy in all things. This leaves nothing for the Pope!

One of the greatest arguments against the primacy of Peter is the fact that the apostles had an argument among themselves as to which of them should be the greatest. Notice the following:

"Now there arose a dispute among them, which of them was reputed to be the greatest. But he said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and they who exercise authority over them are called Benefactors. But not so with you. On the contrary, let him who is greatest among you become as the youngest, and him who is chief as the servant.'" (Luke 22:24-26).

The very fact that the apostles had an argument among themselves shows they did not understand that Peter was to be prince. Also, the occasion of the argument was the night of the betrayal--the last night of the Lord's earthly ministry--and yet the apostles still did not understand that Christ had given Peter a position of primacy. The Lord settled the argument, not by stating that He had already made Peter head, but by declaring that the Gentiles have their heads, "But not so with you." Thus, Jesus very plainly taught that no one would occupy any such place as a Benefactor (or Pope) to exercise authority over the others.


The best explanation is found in

Is Peter the rock on which the Church is built?  excerpts
by Matt Slick

"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it," (Matt. 16:18).......

There are problems with the Roman Catholic position.  First of all, when we look at the Greek of Matthew 16:18 we see something that is not obvious in the English. 
" are Peter (πέτρος, petros) and upon this rock (πέτρα, petra) I will build My church..."
In Greek nouns have gender.  It is similar to the English words actor and actress.  The first is masculine and the second is feminine.  Likewise, the Greek word "petros" is masculine; "petra" is feminine.  Peter, the man, is appropriately referred to as Petros.  But Jesus said that the rock he would build his church on was not the masculine "petros" but the feminine "petra."  ......What, then, does petra, the feminine noun, refer to?

The feminine "petra" occurs four times in the Greek New Testament:

•           Matt. 16:18, "And I also say to you that you are Peter (petros), and upon this rock (petra) I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it."

•           Matt. 27:60, "and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock (petra); and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away."

•           1 Cor. 10:4, "and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock (petras) which followed them; and the rock (petra) was Christ."

•           1 Pet. 2:8, speaking of Jesus says that he is "A stone of stumbling and a rock (petra) of offense"; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed."

We can clearly see that in the three other uses of the Greek word petra (nominative singular; "petras" in 1 Cor. 10:4 is genitive singular) we find it referred to as a large immovable mass of rock in which a tomb is carved out (Matt. 27:60) and in reference to Christ (1 Cor. 10:4; 1 Pet. 2:8).  Note that Peter himself in the last verse referred to petra as being Jesus!  If Peter uses the word as a reference to Jesus, then shouldn't we?


In addition, Greek dictionaries and lexicons give us further insight into the two Greek words under discussion:


  1. Petros

1.               Petros, "πέτρος, a stone, distinguished from πέτρα (Source:  Liddell, H., 1996. A lexicon : Abridged from Liddell and Scott's Greek-English lexicon (636). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

2.               Petros, Πέτρος, Peter, meaning stone. The masc. of the fem. pétra (4073), a massive rock or cliff.” (Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, electronic ed., G4074, Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000, c1992, c1993).

3.               Petros, Πέτρος, “a noun akin to 4073, used as a proper name; “a stone” or “a boulder,” Peter, one of the twelve apostles:— Peter(150), Peter’s(5).” (Robert L. Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition, H8674, Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998, 1981).


  1. Petra

1.               Petra, πέτρα , Ion. and Ep. πέτρη, , a rock, a ledge or shelf of rock, Od. 2. a rock, i.e. a rocky peak or ridge...Properly, πέτρα is a fixed rock, πέτρος a stone." (Source:  Liddell, H. (1996). A lexicon : Abridged from Liddell and Scott's Greek-English lexicon (636). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

2.               Petra, πέτρα , (4073) denotes a mass of rock, as distinct from petros, a detached stone or boulder, or a stone that might be thrown or easily moved." Source:  Vine, W., & Bruce, F. (1981; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996). Vine's Expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (2:302). Old Tappan NJ: Revell)

3.               Petra, πέτρα, ας, ἡ (1) literally, living rock, bedrock (MT 7.24), in contrast to πέτρος (isolated stone); (Timothy Friberg, Barbara Friberg and Neva F. Miller, vol. 4, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Baker's Greek New Testament library, 311, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000).

4.               Petra, πέτρα, noun feminine; ≡ bedrock, (James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament), electronic ed., GGK4376 (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).


  1. Petros & Petros

1.               πέτρα petra; a prim. word; a (large mass of) rock:— rock(10), rocks(3), rocky(2). Πέτρος Petros, “a noun akin to 4073, used as a proper name; “a stone” or “a boulder,” Peter, one of the twelve apostles:— Peter(150), Peter’s(5).” (Robert L. Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition, H8674, Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998, 1981).

2.               "On this rock (ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ). The word is feminine, and means a rock, as distinguished from a stone or a fragment of rock (πέτρος, above)." (Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, 1:91, Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2002).

3.               Petros, "πέτρος, a stone, distinguished from πέτρα.  Petra, πέτρα , Ion. and Ep. πέτρη, , a rock, a ledge or shelf of rock, Od. 2. a rock, i.e. a rocky peak or ridge...Properly, πέτρα is a fixed rock, πέτρος a stone." (Source:  Liddell, H. (1996). A lexicon : Abridged from Liddell and Scott's Greek-English lexicon (636). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

A stone is movable, unstable and this is exactly what we see with Peter, who doubted when he walked on water, who denied Jesus, and who was rebuked by Paul at Antioch.

    Matt. 14:29-30, "And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"

    Luke 22:57-58, "But he denied it, saying, "Woman, I do not know Him." 58 And a little later, another saw him and said, "You are one of them too!" But Peter said, "Man, I am not!"

    Gal. 2:11,14 "But when Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned...14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?"

Jesus, who knew the heart of Peter, was not saying that Peter, the movable and unstable stone, would be the immovable rock upon which the Church would be built.  Rather, it would be built upon Jesus and it was this truth that Peter had affirmed what he said to Jesus, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," (Matt. 16:16).  This is consistent with scripture elsewhere where the term rock is sometimes used in reference of God, but never of a man.


Deut. 32:4,  "The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice."
2 Sam. 22:2-3, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; 3 My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge."
Psalm 18:31, "And who is a rock, except our God."
Isaiah 44:8, "Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock?  I know of none."
Rom. 9:33, "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed."

Yahweh Tsuri – The Lord is My Rock

It should be obvious from the Word of God that the rock Jesus was referring to was not Peter, but himself.  After all will God build his Church on a Man?  

Another explanation is that Jesus was referring to the confession of faith Peter just made.  It is on these confessions that the Kingdom is built upon.
Rom 10:9-10  If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from death, you will be saved. For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved


Christ is the chief cornerstone of the church. Peter is NOT.


The Christological School of Interpretation

Study By: Brittany C. Burnette

From the Series: "Upon This Rock": an Exegetical and Patristic Examination of Matthew 16:18

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The examination will now focus upon the patristic writers who have a Christological interpretation of Matt 16:18. Unlike the writers in the previous chapter, these church fathers believe that the “rock” in question refers to Jesus. These fathers would not use Matt 16:18 to affirm a permanent Roman see with Petrine authority because in their understanding, Jesus, not Peter, lies at the heart of the verse. The writings of Paul (particularly 1 Corinthians) were a great influence on the Christological school. Thanks to Paul, the theology of some of the writers was so Christocentric that it was difficult for them to envisage a foundation other than Jesus ; therefore, when these authors approach Matt 16:18, they may find a degree of primacy being bestowed to Peter, but the real “rock” in question is Jesus. This interpretation would dominate the Western exegesis of the Middle Ages, and it would greatly influence the writings of the Reformers as well.  Between the third and fifth centuries, this view can be seen in the writings of three major fathers: Eusebius of Caesarea, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Augustine.


Eusebius of Caesarea, also known as Eusebius Pamphili, c. A.D. 260-340219

.......A definitive judgment on Eusebius’ interpretation of Matt 16:18 is somewhat difficult to ascertain because he expresses different views.  First, in his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius states: “Peter, on whom the Church of Christ is built, against which (Church) the gates of hell shall not prevail, has left one acknowledged epistle; perhaps also a second, but this is doubtful.  Here, the historian clearly states that the Church of Christ is built upon the apostle Peter, but he does not mention any successors of the apostle or the transfer of apostolic authority.  However, in his Commentary on Psalms, Eusebius identifies the “rock” with Jesus. There he writes: As Scripture says: 'Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it'; and elsewhere: 'The rock, moreover, was Christ.' For, as the Apostle indicates with these words: 'No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.' Then, too, after the Savior himself, you may rightly judge the foundations of the Church to be the words of the prophets and apostles.  In this text, the reference to the foundations of the earth in Ps 17 leads Eusebius to consider the foundations of the church.  The church, he states, is founded upon a rock, and that rock is Jesus. Here, Eusebius is clearly allowing 1 Cor 10:4 and 1 Cor 3:11 to influence his reading of Matt 16. While the words of the apostles and prophets are also viewed as “the foundations of the Church,” they hold that position “after the Savior Himself”. For Eusebius, then, Jesus lies at the center of the verse, not Peter. Again, in his work Preparation of the Gospel, Eusebius writes:


For instance, when He prophesied that His doctrine should be preached throughout the whole world inhabited by man for a testimony to all nations, and by divine foreknowledge declared that the Church, which was afterwards gathered by His own power out of all nations, though not yet seen nor established in the times when He was living as man among men, should be invincible and undismayed, and should never be conquered by death, but stands and abides unshaken, settled, and rooted upon His own power as upon a rock that cannot be shaken or broken …”


Here, Eusebius states that the Church is rooted upon the power of Jesus. This power is likened to a “rock that cannot be shaken or broken.” Again, he does not even mention successors of Peter or the authority that comes from such an office. In fact, he speaks of Christ as the foundation of the Church in such a way that almost seems to exclude the primacy of Peter.  Therefore, it seems highly unlikely that Eusebius used Matt 16:18 to support an argument for the apostolic authority of the papacy.


Cyril of Jerusalem, c. A.D. 315 – March 18, 386232

.....Like Eusebius, Cyril also understood Jesus to be the “rock” of Matt 16:18. In his Catechetical Lectures, he writes: “Of old the Psalmist sang, Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, (ye that are) from the fountains of Israel. But after the Jews for the plots which they made against the Saviour were cast away from His grace, the Saviour built out of the Gentiles a second Holy Church, the Church of us Christians, concerning which he said to Peter, ‘And upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’”  For Cyril, the Church is a spiritual society that God called into existence to replace the Jews, who conspired against their Messiah.  For him, the Jews were cast away from God’s grace due to their rejection of Jesus and the gospel. Because of their unbelief, the Gentiles became the new people of God, the Church. The quotation does not specifically identify the “rock” in question, but the context again focuses upon Jesus and his work, not Peter; not surprisingly, many theologians understand this passage to affirm a Christological interpretation of the verse. While he attributes primacy to Peter in other passages , he failure to identify Peter as the “rock” might come from a desire to safeguard those being catechized in the faith from any misunderstandings about Christ’s unique role and position in the Church.  Even if the passage were understood to reference Peter (which seems unlikely given the context), it says nothing about the apostle’s successors or any authority that they might inherit.


Augustine of Hippo, A.D. 354-430241

Few scholars would argue the monumental impact of Augustine on Western theology. He was one of the most prolific writers in the history of the Church, and his abiding importance rests upon his keen, penetrating understanding into Christian truth.  Aurelius Augustinus was born in Thagaste of a pagan father and a Christian mother, Monica.  When Augustine was seventeen years old, his parents sent him to Carthage, a city that had been the political, economic, and cultural center of Latin-speaking Africa.  He soon became involved with the Manicheans, and he practiced the religion for roughly nine years.  Augustine later migrated to Rome, where he opened a school of rhetoric.  He soon became disgusted by the behavior of his students there, and he left for a professorship at Milan shortly thereafter.  At the urging of his mother, Augustine attended the sermons of Ambrose, bishop of Milan – these sermons would change the course of Augustine’s life.  Ambrose was able to answer many of the questions that Augustine held about the Bible and Christianity,  and he received baptism on the eve of Easter in 368.  Augustine became a priest in 391, and from 396 until his death, he served as the bishop of Hippo.  He is best known for his Confessions, City of God, and his numerous theological treatises (many of which were against heresies, such as Manicheanism and Pelagianism).


Like many others before him, Augustine strongly believed in apostolic succession. He did believe that the bishop of Rome was the rightful successor of Peter. In his writings, Augustine clearly affirmed his high view of Rome. In a letter against the Donatists, Augustine writes:


For if the lineal succession of bishops is taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: ‘Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!’ The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: - Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Telesphorus, Iginus, Anicetus, Pius, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephirinus, Calixtus, Urbanus, Pontianus, Antherus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Xystus, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, Gaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiads, Sylvester, Marcus, Julius, Liberius, Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present bishop Anastasius. In this order of succession no Donatist bishop is found.


Here, Augustine is arguing much like Tertullian in his treatise Prescription Against Heretics. Augustine is challenging the Donatists to prove their credentials. He is basically stating that the church of Rome has apostolic roots; he can trace the current bishop of Rome all the way back to Peter himself. Therefore, the doctrine of the church can be trusted, for it is an apostolic gospel that is being preached. By arguing in this manner, it is clear that Augustine views the popes as Peter’s legitimate heirs. Moreover, Augustine quoted Matt 16:18 as a proof-text for this succession list. However, it is important to note that in the text, Augustine is not referring to Peter as the “rock”; instead, he refers to Peter as “a figure [representative] of the whole Church”. This is an important distinction that is prevalent in Augustine’s writings on the subject. Although he has a very high view of both Rome and Peter, the apostle basically serves as the character who is representative of the universal Church of Christ; he is not the “rock” that sustains the Church. That position belongs to Jesus alone. This is confirmed in many of Augustine’s sermons. In The Retractations, he states the following:


In a passage in this book, I said about the Apostle Peter: ‘On him as on a rock the Church was built.’… But I know that very frequently at a later time, I so explained what the Lord said: ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,’ that it be understood as built upon Him whom Peter confessed saying: ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,’ and so Peter, called after this rock, represented the person of the Church which is built upon this rock, and has received the ‘keys of the kingdom of heaven.’ For ‘Thou art Peter’ and ‘Thou art the rock’ was said to him. But ‘the rock was Christ,’ in confessing whom, as also the Church confesses, Simon was called Peter. But let the reader decide which of these two opinions is more probable. 


Although Augustine leaves the final decision to the reader, his preference regarding the rock seems clear. According to Augustine, Peter represents the Church and Jesus is the “rock” of the Church. Peter is chief among the apostles because he serves as the figure of the church, but he is not the “rock” in question. That “rock” is Jesus. This is seen yet again in Augustine’s Tractate on the Gospel of John. There, he writes:


And this Church, symbolized in its generality, was personified in the Apostle Peter, on account of the primacy of his apostleship. … For petra (rock) is not derived from Peter, but Peter from petra; just as Christ is not called so from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. For on this very account the Lord said, 'On this rock will I build my Church,' because Peter had said, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' On this rock, therefore, He said, which thou hast confessed, I will build my Church. For the Rock (Petra) was Christ; and on this foundation was Peter himself built. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus.


Again, Peter is representative of the universal Church and Jesus himself, as rock, supports that Church. The rock did not take its name from Peter, but Peter had his name taken from the “rock”; this interpretation expressed Augustine’s doctrine of grace, because Peter, and in him the whole church, is built upon Christ alone.255 The “foundation” reference clearly echoes the writings of Paul. It appears that Augustine is using 1 Cor 3:11 to substantiate his reading of Matt 16. Church historian Karlfried Frhlich adds:


In harmony with his ecclesiology, but against the meaning of the text, Augustine rigorously separated the name-giving from its explanation: Christ did not say to Peter: ‘you are the rock,’ but ‘you are Peter.’ The church is not built upon Peter but upon the only true rock, Christ. Augustine and the medieval exegetes after him found the warrant for this interpretation in 1 Cor. 10:4. The allegorical key of this verse had already been applied to numerous biblical rock passages in the earlier African testimonia tradition. Matt. 16:18 was no exception. If the metaphor of the rock did not refer to a negative category of ‘hard’ rocks, it had to be read christologically.


Therefore, Peter served as a great prototype for the Church because in many ways, he was representative of the everyday Christian: sometimes he is strong (confessing that Jesus is the Christ); at other times he is weak (rebuking Jesus about his imminent death). Like everyone else, he is fallible, and needs to be grounded upon something stronger than himself, namely Jesus.



For Eusebius, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Augustine the rock of Matt 16:18 was neither Peter nor his confession, but Jesus himself. It appears that the Pauline epistles, particularly 1 Corinthians, greatly influenced the writings of these fathers. The rock metaphor of Matt 16:18 stressed the strength of the Church’s foundation, but the foundation image itself was seen in 1 Corinthians 3, and that foundation is Jesus.  Thus Jesus builds the church upon the firm rock, himself.  Augustine, Cyril, and Eusebius all held a very high view of Peter, but they interpret the rock of Matt 16 to be Jesus, not the apostle. For Augustine, in particular, Peter and the popes are representatives of the entire Church; Jesus, though, is the firm rock upon which that Church rests, and it is he who supports and sustains the Christian body.


Peter's Testimony


Finally here is what Peter himself will have to say about the rock in his first Epistle.

“Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the goodness (chrestos) of the Lord. Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God's sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (‘Iesou Christou). For it stands in scripture: ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and he who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ To you therefore who believe, he is precious, but for those who do not believe, The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner,’ and ‘A stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall’; for they stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.” 1 Peter 2:2-8

It is clear that Peter was refering to Jesus as the living stone / corner stone into which the church is built by each believer as living stones.






St. Peter in Jerusalem and Palestine after the Ascension

Soon after the ascension of Jesus, Peter all of a sudden leaves behind all his fickleness and is ready to take over the small community of Christians in Jerusalem.

The first act was the filling of vacancy due to the death of Judas. (Acts 1:15-26).



After the descent of the Holy Spirit on those who waited in the Upper Chamber  on the feast of Pentecost, in accordance with the promise of Jesus everything changed not only for Peter , but for every disciple.   Peter as the head of the Apostles delivers the first public sermon proclaiming Salvation through Jesus  (Acts 2:14-41).

Acts 2: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 2:32 -33 This Jesus has God raised again, whereof all we are witnesses.  Being exalted therefore by the right hand of God and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he has poured forth this which you see and hear.

The power of the witness of Peter was an immediate formation of the early Church when three thousand men who "were cut to the heart" (Acts 2:37),  were baptized.

 The rest of the story is filled with miracles. First of the Apostles, he worked a public miracle, when with John he went up into the temple and cured the lame man at the Beautiful Gate. To the people crowding in amazement about the two Apostles, he preaches a long sermon in the Porch of Solomon, and brings new increase to the new church. (Acts 3:1-4:4).

In the subsequent examinations of the two Apostles before the Jewish High Council, Peter defends in undismayed and impressive fashion the cause of Jesus and the obligation and liberty of the Apostles to preach the Gospel (Acts 4:5-21).

When the early Christian Commune which shared everything together was betrayed by the selfish Ananias and Sapphira Peter deals with the situation with seriousness.  Peter appears as judge of their action, and God executes the sentence of punishment passed by the Apostle by causing the sudden death of the two guilty parties (Acts 5:1-11).

The words of Peter were confirmed by signs and miracles every where he went.  The effect was so dramatic that the inhabitants of Jerusalem and neighbouring towns carried their sick in their beds into the streets so that the shadow of Peter might fall on them and they might be thereby healed (Acts 5:12-16).

This great outbreak and growth of the Jesus cult put the Jewish Temple authorities mad and they took the law in their hands and put the Apostles in jail.  Here again Peter defends the case saying  they "ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29 sqq.).

Soon the faith began to spread into the neighboring countries of Palestine and Samaria under Phillip the Deacon.   Peter and John  goes down to inaugurate the community there and invoke the Holy Spirit upon them.

Peter now undertook an extensive missionary tour, into the coastal cities of  Lydda, Joppa, and Caesarea.

·         In Lydda he cured the palsied Eneas,

·          in Joppe he raised Tabitha (Dorcas) from the dead; and

·         at Caesarea, instructed by a vision which he had in Joppe, he baptized and received into the Church the first non-Jewish Christians, the centurion Cornelius and his kinsmen (Acts 9:31-10:48). On Peter's return to Jerusalem a little later, the strict Jewish Christians, who regarded the complete observance of the Jewish law as binding on all, asked him why he had entered and eaten in the house of the uncircumcised. Peter tells of his vision and defends his action, which was ratified by the Apostles and the faithful in Jerusalem (Acts 11:1-18).


Paul's conversion took place on the road to Damascus.  This was such a shock that Paul spent three years in the mountains of Arabia, where he was taken into the Third Heaveans ans shown things which cannot uttered.  When he returned he came to see Peter  in Jerusalem

(Galatians 1:17 -19) Neither went I to Jerusalem, to the apostles who were before me: but I went into Arabia, and again I returned to Damascus.  Then, after three years, I went to Jerusalem to see Peter: and I tarried with him fifteen days.  But other of the apostles I saw none, saving James the brother of the Lord.


Soon Herod Agrippa I a grandson of Herod the Great and Mariamne, son of Aristobulus, and brother of Herodias, a prisoner in Rome under Tiberius; released by Caius when he came to power  in A.D. 37, began (A.D. 42-44) a new persecution of the Church in Jerusalem.  He executed James, the son of Zebedee, and put Peter in prison, intending to have him executed soon after the Jewish Passover. Peter was miraculousle released and went to the home of   John Mark, where the whole asssembly was waiting and praying for liberation from the hands of Herod.

 It appears that soon after Peter's mission was to the gentiles or perhaps mainly to the jews in dispersion as Bible stops at this point and we have very little documentation to go by. 


Ss. Peter and Paul: Having the Rock of Faith Holding Up the Church


The founding of the church in Antioch can be found in Acts of the Apostles (11:25-27) where it is related that Barnabas travelled to Tarsus to bring Paul the Apostle there.  Christian community at Antioch began when Christians who were scattered from Jerusalem because of persecution fled to Antioch. They were joined by Christians from Cyprus and Cyrene who migrated to Antioch. Christian tradition considers Peter, as the founder of the church of Antioch.   


The later tradition, which existed as early as the end of the second century (Origen, "Hom. vi in Lucam"; Eusebius, Church History III.36), that Peter founded the Church of Antioch, indicates the fact that he laboured a long period there, and also perhaps that he dwelt there towards the end of his life and then appointed Evodrius, the first of the line of Antiochian bishops, head of the community.  Church tradition maintains that the See of Antioch was founded by Saint Peter the Apostle in A.D. 34 . Peter was either followed or joined by the Apostles Paul and Barnabas who preached there to both Gentiles and to Jews,



The Cave Church of St. Peter (also the Grotto of St. Peter; Turkish Sen Piyer Kilisesi) is an ancient cave church with a stone facade, located just outside Antioch (modern Antakya), Turkey. This cave is widely believed to have been dug by the Apostle Peter himself as a place for the early Christian community of Antioch to meet, and thus to be the very first Christian church.

 Both St. Peter  and St. Paul  did preach in Antioch around 50 AD and a church had been established in Antioch by as early as 40 AD.  Antioch became a major center for planning and organizing the apostles' missionary efforts, and it was the base for Paul's earliest missionary journeys. Famously, it was the inhabitants of Antioch that first called Jesus' followers "Christians" (Acts 11:26).

The attractive stone façade of the church was built by Crusaders, who identified the grotto during their rule of Antioch from 1098 to 1268.

 Church of St. Peter is regarded by tradition as on the spot where he first preached the Gospel in Antioch.  The oldest surviving parts of the church building date from at least the 4th or 5th century. These include some pieces of floor mosaics, and traces of frescoes on the right side of the altar. It is thought that the tunnel inside which opens to the mountain side served the Christians to evacuate the church in case of sudden raids and attacks.

The aerial view of the cave church

File:Antioch Saint Pierre Churchyard.JPG 
Facade of the Church of St Peter, originally built ca. 1100 by Crusaders and rebuilt in the 19th century. Entrance to Cave Church. on the right

File:Antioch Saint Pierre Church Inside.JPGAltar

Inside the Church and the altar (dated 4th c AD)

Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch logo.gif 
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East
Apostles Peter and Paul both share the Apostolate in Antioch

The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch is the most ancient Christian church in the world. According to Saint Luke:

''The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch''. (Acts 11:26, New Testament)

St. Peter and St. Paul the Apostle are considered the cofounders of the Patriarchate of Antioch, the former being its first bishop. When Peter left Antioch, Evodios and Ignatius took over the charge of the Patriarchate. Both Evodios and Ignatius died as martyrs under Roman persecution.

Some typically Grecian "Ancient Synagogal" priestly rites and hymns have survived partially to the present in the distinct church services of the Melkite Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic communities of the Hatay Province of Southern Turkey, Syria and Lebanon.


Paul's Confrontation with Peter

Gal 2:11-21 

While Paul was dwelling in Antioch, St. Peter came thither and mingled freely with the non-Jewish Christians of the community, frequenting their houses and sharing their meals. But when the Christianized Jews arrived in Jerusalem.  These Jewish Christians believed that to become a Christian they should first become a Jew and the obey all the Jewish customs and the law.  These Judaisers split the Christian Church into two.   Peter, seems to have joined this group.  Even Barnabas, St. Paul's companion, now avoided eating with the Christianized pagans. This produced a caste difference between the Christians who came from Jewish and Gentile background.

Paul seeing the error in placing salvation through works stood against the great senior Apostle and condemned him.  We do not know how Peter dealt with the situation.  The rest of the Christian history carries the outcome that declared Peter wrong and Paul right that Salvation is through faith in Jesus and not in obeying laws which are cultural.  Works are the expressions of faith in the context of the culture in which the Christian live.   

 (Gal 2:11-16)  But when Peter was come to Antioch, I (Paul) withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

It is also probable that Peter pursued his Apostolic labours in various districts of Asia Minor  which might have included Rome. The Epistles provide some indications.    The first Epistle is adddressed to the faithful in the Provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Asia. His efforts seems to be directed to the Jewish diaspora.  

There is a  tradition related by Bishop Dionysius of Corinth  mentioned in Eusebius, Church History II.25  that Peter had (like Paul) dwelt in Corinth and help plant the Church there.   Paul mentions among the other divisions of the Church of Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:22), a party of Cephas. This may again refer to the  problem of Circumcision. 

The last mention of St. Peter in the bible is in  Acts (15:1-29; cf. Galatians 2:1-10)  regarding the Council of the Apostles  to decide the issue of jewish and gentile Christians regarding Judaizers. The council was chaired  by James the brother of Jesus who headed the Jerusalem Church. From what appears in the documents issued in the Council, Peter now reaffirmed himself to the Salvation by faith as preached by Paul.  





Activity and death 

Post Biblical Activities of Peter.

Roman Catholic tradition holds that Peter was the first Pope of the Roman Churches.  Since all reference to Peter abruptly stops soon after the confrontation of Paul and Peter over the circumcision we have to rely on traditions and later documents of church fathers.


 St. Peter's First Epistle starts with the following statement:   

"The church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you: and so doth my son Mark" (5:13).  

If we take the statement on face value literally, Peter was in Babylon when he wrote the epistle. 


There are three Babylons.
Babylon of Egypt
First one is  the small Egyptian town on the outskirts of Cairo. This is unlikely because we have no evidence any where old or late which indicate a possibility.


the ancient Pr-Hapi-n-Iwnw (Nile house of Heliopolis) that was the deity Hapy's dwelling in Heliopoliscity. Hapy was the divinity of the Nile.




 Babylon  of Mesopotamia.

It was on the Euphrates River and was north of the cities that flourished in S Mesopotamia in the 3d millennium B.C. It became important when Hammurabi made it the capital of his kingdom of Babylonia. The patron god of Babylon, Marduk (identical with Bel), became a leading deity in the Neo-Babylonian pantheon. The city was destroyed (c.689 B.C.) by the Assyrians under Sennacherib, and its real spendor belongs to the later period of Babylonia after the city was rebuilt. The brilliant color and luxury of Babylon became legendary from the days of Nebuchadnezzar (d. 562 B.C.). The Hanging Gardens were one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The walls of Babylon, its palace, and the processional way with the famous Ishtar Gate were decorated with colorfully glazed brick. Among the Hebrews (who suffered the Babylonian captivity under Nebuchadnezzar) and the later Greeks the city was famed for its sensual living. Under the rule of Nabonidus the city was captured (538 B.C.) by Cyrus the Great and was used as one of the administrative capitals of the Persian Empire. In 275 B.C. its inhabitants were removed to Seleucia, which replaced Babylon as a commercial center by Antiochus.  Pausanias, a Greek writer and geographer of the Roman period, said that there was absolutely nothing within the walls of Babylon. The city was later re-founded by Antiochus Epiphanes around 160 B.C., and it was later captured by the Parthians in 127 B.C.    In the 30's B.C. Hercanus II was in residence there for a while. During the Second Temple period, up until its destruction in 70 CE, the Jewish community in Babylon ― far from the eye of the storm that raged in the Land of Israel ― continued to flourish.  Hence it is possible that there was a large group of remnant jews still in Babylon.  It is reasonable to assume that Peter may have visited them and established a church there.   

 In the "A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People" edited by Eli Barnavi and published by Schocken Books we see this statement:

Long after the ancient city of Babylon and the kingdom of Babylonia had ceased to exist, the Jews continued to use the name "Babel" to designate Mesopotamia, the "land of the two rivers." Indeed, the Babylonian diaspora did not resemble any other. Its antiquity and the fact that it remained the only large Jewish community outside the Roman Empire made it a world apart. Since Mesopotamian Jewry was never embraced by the seductive and highly assimilative influence of the Greco-Roman civilization, it could develop its own original forms of social life and autonomous institutions....The Parthian kingdom, a loose federation of feudal principalities, was a convenient structure for them.... The little that is known of the Jews there at the time come from the quill of Josephus Flavius: they were very numerous and their brethren in Judea sought their help while preparing their revolt against Rome.


Allegorical Babylon

The third choice is that Babylon is an allegorical name and probably refer to some city where an on going persecution was existing.  This will explain why a fictitious name was given, if that was understood by the readers. This could very well be Rome. Three reasons support this choice. The first is found in 1 Peter 5:13 itself; Peter speaks of his associate, Marcus  - John Mark who was the secretary of Peter and whom we know came to help Paul during this period.   

Thus we have these choices. 

  • Old Babylon was later the nominal seat of Latin archbishop, of an Assyrian patriarch and of a Syrian archbishop. There are passing references to the historical Babylon of the Jewish past in Matthew 1:11,12,17 and in Acts 7:43
  • According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: "Babylon", there was probably no Christian community in the actual city of Babylon during the time when the New Testament books were completed (roughly, the second half of the first century). There certainly were Jewish diaspora still living there.
  • In 1 Peter 5:13 Babylon is designated as the place from which that Epistle was written, but this has traditionally been interpreted as an example of the figurative sense of "Babylon", as a metaphor for Rome. Peter is believed to have spent the last years of his life in Rome.  Only a metaphorical interpretation can place Peter in Rome.

There are large number of traditions which support this last point of view.  Among them are:

·         Clement of Rome (d A.D. 97) wrote that Peter and Paul were martyred together at Rome.  

·         Tertullian, writing about A.D. 200 also state the same.

·         Eusebius, the fourth century church historian,  cites as his authority Caius, a Roman writer of the early third century, who said that Peter was buried in a shaft grave in Rome.


In this issue here are some Bible commentaries:

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you - It will be seen at once that much of this is supplied by our translators; the words "church that is" not being in the original. The Greek is, ἡ ἐν Βαβυλῶνι συνεκλεκτὴ hē en Babulōni suneklektē; and might refer to a church, or to a female. Wall, Mill, and some others, suppose that the reference is to a Christian woman, perhaps the wife of Peter himself. Compare 2 John 1:1. But the Arabic, Syriac, and Vulgate, as well as the English versions, supply the word "church." This interpretation seems to be confirmed by the word rendered "elected together with" - συνεκλεκτὴ suneklektē. This word would be properly used in reference to one individual if writing to another individual, but would hardly be appropriate as applied to an individual addressing a church. It could not readily be supposed, moreover, that any one female in Babylon could have such a prominence, or be so well known, that nothing more would be necessary to designate her than merely to say, "the elect female ..

And so doth Marcus my son - Probably John Mark. See the notes at Acts 12:12; Acts 15:37. Why he was now with Peter is unknown..... It is possible, however, that some other Mark may be referred to, in whose conversion Peter had been instrumental.


Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

The Church that is at Babylon - After considering all that has been said by learned men and critics on this place, I am quite of opinion that the apostle does not mean Babylon in Egypt, nor Jerusalem, nor Rome as figurative Babylon, but the ancient celebrated Babylon in Assyria, which was, as Dr. Benson observes, the metropolis of the eastern dispersion of the Jews;  ......

Instead of Babylon, some MSS. mentioned by Syncellus in his Chronicon have Ιοππῃ, Joppa; and one has Ῥωμῃ, Rome, in the margin, probably as the meaning, according to the writer, of the word Babylon......


Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

The church that is at Babylon,.... The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, supply the word "church", as we do. Some, by "Babylon", understand Rome, which is so called, in a figurative sense, in the book of the Revelations: this is an ancient opinion; so Papias understood it, as (Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 15.) Eusebius relates; but that Peter was at Rome, when he wrote this epistle, cannot be proved, nor any reason be given why the proper name of the place should be concealed, and a figurative one expressed. It is best therefore to understand it literally, of Babylon in Assyria, the metropolis of the dispersion of the Jews, and the centre of it, to whom the apostle wrote; and where, as the minister of the circumcision, he may be thought to reside, here being a number of persons converted and formed into a Gospel church state, whereby was fulfilled the prophecy in Psalm 87:4 perhaps this church might consist chiefly of Jews, which might be the reason of the apostle's being here, since there were great numbers which continued here, from the time of the captivity, who returned not with Ezra; and these are said by the Jews (T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 69. 2. & 71. 2. & Gloss. in ib.) to be of the purest blood: many of the Jewish doctors lived here; they had three famous universities in this country, and here their Talmud was written, called from hence (T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 24. 1.) Babylonian........

and so doth Marcus, my son; either, in a natural sense, his son according to the flesh; since it is certain Peter had a wife, and might have a son, and one of this name: or rather in a spiritual sense, being one that he was either an instrument of converting him, or of instructing him, or was one that was as dear to him as a son; in like manner as the Apostle Paul calls Timothy, and also Titus, his own son. This seems to be Mark the evangelist, who was called John Mark, was Barnabas's sister's son, and his mother's name was Mary; see Colossians 4:10. He is said (Papias apud Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 39. Tertullian. adv. Marcion, l. 4. c. 5. Hieron. Catalog. Script. Eccl. sect. 2. 18. ) to be the interpreter of Peter, and to have wrote his Gospel from what he heard from him; and who approved of it, and confirmed it, and indeed it is said to be his.


Vincent's Word Studies

The church

The word is not in the Greek, but is supplied with the feminine definite article ἡ. There is, however, a difference of opinion as to the meaning of this feminine article. Some suppose a reference to Peter's own wife; others, to some prominent Christian woman in the church. Compare 2 John 1:1. The majority of interpreters, however, refer it to the church.


Some understand in a figurative sense, as meaning Rome; others, literally, of Babylon on the Euphrates.

In favor of the former view are the drift of ancient opinion and the Roman Catholic interpreters, with Luther and several noted modern expositors, as Ewald and Hoffmann. This, too, is the view of Canon Cook in the "Speaker's Commentary."

In favor of the literal interpretation are the weighty names of Alford, Huther, Calvin, Neander, Weiss, and Reuss. Professor Salmond, in his admirable commentary on this epistle, has so forcibly summed up the testimony that we cannot do better than to give his comment entire: "In favor of this allegorical interpretation it is urged that there are other occurrences of Babylon in the New Testament as a mystical name for Rome (Revelation 14:8; Revelation 18:2, Revelation 18:10); that it is in the highest degree unlikely that Peter should have made the Assyrian Babylon his residence or missionary centre, especially in view of a statement by Josephus indicating that the Emperor Claudius had expelled the Jews from that city and neighborhood; and that tradition connects Peter with Rome, but not with Babylon. The fact, however, that the word is mystically used in a mystical book like the Apocalypse - a book, too, which is steeped in the spirit and terminology of the Old Testament - is no argument for the mystical use of the word in writings of a different type. The allegorical interpretation becomes still less likely when it is observed that other geographical designations in this epistle (1 Peter 1:1) have undoubtedly the literal meaning. The tradition itself, too, is uncertain. The statement in Josephus does not bear all that it is made to bear. There is no reason to suppose that, at the time when this epistle was written, the city of Rome was currently known among Christians as Babylon. On the contrary, wherever it is mentioned in the New Testament, with the single exception of the Apocalypse (and even there it is distinguished as 'Babylon, the great'), it gets its usual name, Rome. So far, too, from the Assyrian Babylon being practically in a deserted state at this date, there is very good ground for believing that the Jewish population (not to speak of the heathen) of the city and vicinity was very considerable. For these and other reasons a succession of distinguished interpreters and historians, from Erasmus and Calvin, on to Neander, Weiss, Reuss, Huther, etc., have rightly held by the literal sense."




Traditions of Peter and  Rome
from Early Church Fathers

Thus we have no scriptural confirmation as to Peter's presence in Rome nor of his martyrdom there. They remain tradition.   It is quite possible that he had visited Rome but his mission according to Paul was to the circumcision (Jews) while Paul was the Apsotle to the Gentiles.  I give here the testimony of early church fathers from their oral traditions.

  • Clement of Rome (c.A.D. 96)

"Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous pillars have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. " (The First Epistle of Clement,5,in Ante-Nicene Fathers,I:6)



  • Dionysius of Corinth (c.A.D. 178)

'You have thus by such an admonition bound together the plantings of Peter and Paul at Rome and Corinth." (Epistle to Pope Soter, fragment in Eusebius' Church History,II:25,in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 2,I:130)

  • Irenaeus (c.A.D. 180)

"Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church." (Against Heresies,3:1:1,in ANF,I:414)

"As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out." Clement of Alexandria, fragment in Eusebius Church History,VI:14,6(A.D. 190), in NPNF2,I:261

'We read the lives of the Caesars: At Rome Nero was the first who stained with blood the rising blood. Then is Peter girt by another, when he is made fast to the cross." Tertullian, Scorpiace,15:3(A.D. 212),in ANF,III:648

"[W]hat utterance also the Romans give, so very near (to the apostles), to whom Peter and Paul conjointly bequeathed the gospel even sealed with their own blood." Tertullian, Against Marcion,4:5(inter A.D. 207-212),in ANF,III:350

"It is, therefore, recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself, and that Peter likewise was crucified under Nero. This account of Peter and Paul is substantiated by the fact that their names are preserved in the cemeteries of that place even to the present day. It is confirmed likewise by Caius, a member of the Church, who arose under Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome. He, in a published disputation with Proclus, the leader of the Phrygian heresy, speaks as follows concerning the places where the sacred corpses of the aforesaid apostles are laid: 'But I can show the trophies of the apostles. For if you will go to the Vatican or to the Ostian way, you will find the trophies of those who laid the foundations of this church.' " Gaius, fragment in Eusebius' Church History,2:25(A.D. 198),in NPNF2,I:129-130

" last, having come to Rome, he was crucified head-downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer this way." Origen, Third Commentary on Genesis, (A.D. 232) fragment in Eusebius 3:1:1,in NPNF2,X:132

"Thus Peter, the first of the Apostles, having been often apprehended, and thrown into prison, and treated with igominy, was last of all crucified at Rome." Peter of Alexandria, The Canonical Epistle, Canon 9(A.D. 306),in ANF,VI:273

"[W]hich Peter and Paul preached at Rome..." Lactantius, The Divine Institutes,4:21(A.D. 310),in ANF,VII:123

"Peter...coming to the city of Rome, by the mighty cooperation of that power which was lying in wait there..." Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History,II:14,5 (A.D. 325),in NPNF2,X:115

"This man [Simon Magus], after he had been cast out by the Apostles, came to Rome...Peter and Paul,a noble pair, chief rulers of the Church, arrived and set the error right...For Peter was there, who carrieth the keys of heaven..." Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures,6:14-15(c.A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:37-38


In the study "The Bones Of Peter" by Dr. W. A. Criswell gives a summary arguments ( why Peter could not have been in Rome nor be the first Pope of the Roman Church.  Here is the excerpt.

Peter in the Early Churches

Was Peter ever the ruler of the church? Of any church any time, any place? Not that anybody knows of. The pastor and leader of the church at Jerusalem was James, the Lord's brother (Acts 12:17; 15: 13-21; 21:18; Gal 2:9.) This Scriptural account of James is confirmed by Josephus in his Antiquities XX, 9,1, where James' martyrdom is described. Josephus never heard of Simon Peter, but the Jewish historian knows all about the faithful pastor and leader of the Christian church in Jerusalem.

Notice in Acts 8:14 that Peter is "sent" by the apostles along with John to Samaria. Peter is not doing the sending; somebody else is.

Notice in Acts 15:14-21 that at the Jerusalem conference, after Peter made his speech and Paul and Barnabas made their speeches, it is James who delivers the final verdict.

Was Peter Ever in Rome?

The second avowal of the Roman hierarchy concerning Peter is that he was bishop at Rome from 42 A.D. to 67 A.D, when he was crucified under Nero. If Peter was in Rome during those years, then the New Testament cannot be relied upon. There is not the faintest, slightest historical foundation for the fiction that Peter ever saw the city of Rome.

1. Paul was converted about 37 A.D. He says in the first chapter of Galatians (Gal. 1:13-18) that after his conversion he went into Arabia, "then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days." This takes us to 40 A.D., and Peter is still in Jerusalem.

2. Sometime during those days Peter made his missionary journey through the western part of Judea, to Lydda, to Joppa, to Caesarea, and back to Jerusalem (Acts 9, 10, 11). Then came the imprisonment under Herod Agrippa I and the miraculous deliverance by the angel of the Lord (Acts 12). Peter then "went down from Judea to Caesarea and there abode" (Acts 12:19). Herod Agrippa died not long after these events (Acts 12:20-23). Josephus says that the death of Agrippa occurred in the fourth year of the reign of Claudius. This would be about 45 A.D., and Peter is still in Palestine.

3. Paul writes in the second chapter of Galatians that fourteen years after his first visit to Jerusalem to visit Simon Peter he went again to see him. The first journey was 40 A.D.; fourteen years later brings us to 54 A.D., and Peter is still in Palestine.

4. Peter returns the visit and goes to Antioch where Paul is working. This occasioned the famous interview between the two recorded in Galatians 2:11-14. Peter is still in the Orient, not in Rome.

5. After 54 A.D., and after the Antioch visit, the Apostle Peter makes an extensive missionary journey or journeys throughout the Roman provinces of the East. On these missionary tours Peter takes his wife (I Cor. 9:5). They labor in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. So vast a work and so great a territory must have consumed several years. This would take us, therefore, to at least 60 A.D., and Peter and his wife are still not in Rome but in the East.

6. In about 58 A.D. Paul wrote a letter to the church at Rome. In the last chapter of that epistle, Paul salutes twenty-seven persons, but he never mentions Simon Peter. If Peter where "governing" the church at Rome, it is most strange that Paul should never refer to him.

Romans 1:13 shows that the church at Rome was a Gentile church. At the Jerusalem conference (Gal. 2:9), it was agreed that Peter should go to the Jews and Paul to the Gentiles.

The gospel ministry of Paul was motivated by a great principle which he clearly repeats in Romans 15:20: "Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation." A like avowal is made in I Corinthians 10:15,16. Where no other apostle has been, there Paul wanted to go. Having written this plainly to the people at Rome, his desire to go to the Roman city would be inexplicable if Peter were already there, or had been there for years.

7. Paul's first Roman imprisonment took place about 60 A.D. to 64 A.D. from his prison the Apostle to the Gentiles wrote four letters - Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon. In these letters he mentions many of his fellow Christians who are in the city, but he never once refers to Simon Peter.

8. Paul's second Roman imprisonment brought him martyrdom. This occurred about 67 A.D. Just before he died Paul wrote a letter to Timothy, our "II Timothy." In that final letter the apostle mentions many people but plainly says that "only Luke is with me." There is never a reference to Peter.

We have gone throughout those years of 42 A.D. to 67 A.D., the years Peter is supposed to have been the prince and bishop and ruler of the church at Rome. There is not a suggestion anywhere that such a thing was true. Rather the New Testament clearly and plainly denies the fiction.

++++++++++++++ gives eleven reasons that proves Peter was never been in Rome.  Here are the reasons:

"Simon Peter and Apostolic Succession

.........  So let’s look to The Bible and see why the apostle Peter was never in Rome and couldn’t be the founder of the Roman Catholic Church.

Below are eleven major New Testament proofs, which completely disprove the claim that Peter was in Rome from the time of Claudius until Nero. These biblical points speak for themselves and ANY ONE of them is sufficient to prove the ridiculousness of the Catholic claim. Notice what God tells us! The truth IS conclusive!
Proof One
........ Christ commissioned Peter to become chief minister to the CIRCUMCISED, not to uncircumcised Gentiles.

"The gospel of the CIRCUMCISION was unto Peter; (For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)" (Gal. 2:7-8).

Here we have it in the clearest of language. It was Paul, NOT Peter, who was commissioned to be the chief Apostle to the Gentiles. And who was it that wrote the Epistle to the ROMANS? It certainly WASN’T Peter! "And when James, Cephas [Peter], and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace [i.e., the gift or office] that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision" (Gal. 2:9).   .......
PETER is NOWHERE called the Apostle to the Gentiles! This precludes him from going to Rome to become the head of a Gentile community.

Proof Two
Paul specifically told the Gentile Romans that HE had been chosen to be their Apostle, not Peter. "I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable"  (Rom. 15:16). How clear!  Paul had the direct charge from Christ in this matter. He even further relates in Romans 15:18 that it was Christ who had chosen him "to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed."

PAUL Established the Only TRUE Church at Rome during the apostolic era.

Proof Three
We are told by Paul himself that it was he -- not Peter –who was going to officially found the Roman Church. "I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established" (Rom. 1:11).  Amazing! The Church at Rome had not been ESTABLISHED officially even by 55 or 56 A.D.  ......

Proof Four.
We find Paul not only wanting to establish the Church at Rome, but he emphatically tells us that his policy was NEVER to build upon another man’s foundation. "Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, LEST I SHOULD BUILD UPON ANOTHER MAN’S FOUNDATION"(Rom. 15:20).  If Peter had "founded" the Roman Church some ten years before this statement, this represents a real affront to Peter. This statement alone is proof that Peter had never been in Rome before this time to "found" any church. Peter Not in Rome

Proof Five
At the end of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans he greets no fewer than 28 different individuals, but never mentions Peter once! See Romans 16 --read the whole chapter!  Remember, Paul greeted these people in 55 or 56 A.D. Why didn’t he mention Peter? -- Peter simply wasn’t there!

Proof Six
Some four years after Paul wrote Romans, he was conveyed as a prisoner to Rome in order to stand trial before Caesar.  ... "When THE brethren [of Rome] heard of us, they came to meet us" (Acts 28:15).  Again, there is not a single mention of Peter among them.  ......Why? Because Peter was not in Rome!

Proof Seven
When Paul finally arrived at Rome, the first thing he did was to summon "the chief of the Jews together" (Acts 28:17) to whom he "expounded and testified the kingdom of God" (Verse 23).  But what is amazing is that these chief Jewish elders claimed they knew very little even about the basic teachings of Christ. All they knew was that ‘‘as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against" (Verse 22). Then Paul began to explain to them the basic teachings of Christ on the Kingdom of God. Some believed -- the majority didn’t.

Now, what does all this mean? It means that if Peter, who was himself a strongly partisan Jew, had been preaching constantly in Rome for 14 long years before this time, AND WAS STILL THERE -- how could these Jewish leaders have known so little about even the basic truths of Christianity? This again is clear proof Peter had not been in Rome prior to 59 A.D.  No Mention of Peter in Paul’s Letters.

Proof Eight
After the rejection of the Jewish elders, Paul remained in his own hired house for two years. During that time he wrote Epistles to the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, Philemon, and to the Hebrews. And while Paul mentions others as being in Rome during that period, he nowhere mentions Peter. The obvious reason is -- the Apostle to the circumcision wasn’t there!

Proof Nine
With the expiration of Paul’s two year’s imprisonment, he was released. But about four years later (near 65 A.D.), he was again sent back a prisoner to Rome. This time he had to appear before the throne of Caesar and was sentenced to die. Paul describes these circumstances at length in II Timothy.  In regard to his trial, notice what Paul said in II Timothy 4:16. "At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men [in Rome] forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge."  This means, if we believe the Catholics, that Peter forsook Paul, for they tell us Peter was very much present at Rome during this time! Peter once denied Christ, but that was before he was converted. To believe that Peter was in Rome during Paul’s trial, is untenable!

Proof Ten
The Apostle Paul
distinctly informs us that Peter was not in Rome in 65 A.D. -- even though Catholics say he was. Paul said: "Only Luke is with me" (II Tim. 4:11).  The truth becomes very plain. Paul wrote TO Rome; he had been IN Rome; and at the end wrote at least six epistles FROM Rome; and not only does he NEVER mention Peter, but at the last moment says: "Only Luke is with me."  Peter, therefore, was never Bishop of Rome!

Proof Eleven
Peter’s death is foretold by Christ himself (John 21:18-19.) “. When you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Hmm, it sounds like Christ himself said that Peter would die of old age. Why would Peter’s death in old age glorify God? Peter was the one that ran from Christ the night of his trial and crucifixion.  This exchange is after Christ rose from the tomb and Peter was forgiven three times, just as he denied his master three times before the cock crowed that fateful night of Christ’s trial.

Where was Peter the apostle of Christ  at the times the Catholics believe Peter was in Rome, The Bible clearly shows that he was elsewhere. The evidence is abundant and conclusive. By paying attention to God’s own words, no one need be deceived. Peter was NEVER the Bishop of Rome! 

Near 45 A.D., we find Peter being cast into prison at Jerusalem (Acts 12:3, 4).

 In 49 A.D., he was still in Jerusalem, this time attending the Jerusalem Council.

About 51 A.D., he was in Antioch of Syria where he got into differences with Paul because he wouldn’t sit or eat with Gentiles.  Strange that the "Roman bishop" would have nothing to do with Gentiles in 51 A.D.! 

Later in about 66 A.D., we find him in the city of Babylon among the Jews (I Pet. 5:13). Remember that Peter was the Apostle to the CIRCUMCISED. Why was he in Babylon? Because history shows that there were as many Jews in the Mesopotamian areas in Christ’s time as there were in Palestine. It is no wonder we find him in the East. Perhaps this is the reason why scholars say Peter’s writings are strongly Aramaic in flavor, the type of Aramaic spoken in Babylon. Why of course! Peter was used to their eastern dialect.

At the times the Catholics believe Peter was in Rome, The Bible clearly shows he was elsewhere. As previously mentioned there are many supposed historical accounts of Peter in Rome but none of them are first hand accounts and should not be put above the many accounts of The Bible.

We know from The Bible that the apostle Peter was not in Rome.  There was a Simon Peter in Rome after the death of Christ but it is not the apostle Peter that was a fisherman from Jerusalem.  Who is this Simon Peter that was in Rome during the middle of the first century? This is how the great false Church of Rome got its start; along with the first leader Simon Peter not the apostle Peter."



Peter's death

The task of determining the year of St. Peter's death is attended with similar difficulties. In the fourth century, and even in the chronicles of the third, we find two different entries. In the "Chronicle" of Eusebius the thirteenth or fourteenth year of Nero is given as that of the death of Peter and Paul (67-68); this date, accepted by Jerome, is that generally held.

The year 67 is also supported by the statement, also accepted by Eusebius and Jerome, that Peter came to Rome under the Emperor Claudius (according to Jerome, in 42), and by the above-mentioned tradition of the twenty-five years' episcopate of Peter (cf. Bartolini, "Sopra l'anno 67 se fosse quello del martirio dei gloriosi Apostoli", Rome, 1868) . A different statement is furnished by the "Chronograph of 354" (ed. Duchesne, "Liber Pontificalis", I, 1 sqq.). This refers St. Peter's arrival in Rome to the year 30, and his death and that of St. Paul to 55.

Duchesne has shown that the dates in the "Chronograph" were inserted in a list of the popes which contains only their names and the duration of their pontificates, and then, on the chronological supposition that the year of Christ's death was 29, the year 30 was inserted as the beginning of Peter's pontificate, and his death referred to 55, on the basis of the twenty-five years' pontificate (op. cit., introd., vi sqq.).

The earliest reference to Peter's death (outside the New Testament: see John 21:15-19) is 1 Clement (a.k.a. Letter to the Corinthians), written c. 96. In that letter, Clement, the bishop of Rome, says (chapter 5), "Let us take the noble examples of our own generation. Through jealousy and envy the greatest and most just pillars of the Church were persecuted, and came even unto death … Peter, through unjust envy, endured not one or two but many labours, and at last, having delivered his testimony, departed unto the place of glory due to him."


The manner of death of Peter is again based on tradition and held firmly by the Roman Catholics. 

Alternate explanation is found in XI where it is shown that Peter died in Jerusalem most probably.  If that is true, the question is who is this Simon who was martyred in Rome?)


The historian Eusebius, a contemporary of Constantine, wrote that
St. Peter "came to Rome, and was crucified with his head downwards,"
though he attributes this information to the much earlier theologian Origen, who died c. 254.  Eusebius state that Peter’s was stretched out by his hands, he was dressed in prison garb, he was taken where no one wanted to go (a crucifixion), and was crucified.  He was said to be crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to be crucified in the way that the Lord Jesus Christ had been.

The Crucifixion of Saint Peter (Italian: Crocifissione di san Pietro; 1600) is a work by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, painted for the Cerasi Chapel of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome.

Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica - Interior

 Origen says: "Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downwards, as he himself had desired to suffer".

With that assumption the place of execution is placed in the Neronian Gardens on the Vatican, since there, according to Tacitus, were enacted in general the gruesome scenes of the Neronian persecution;

He was buried , in the vicinity of the Via Cornelia and at the foot of the Vatican Hills.  

Built over Peter's tomb

This is how the catacombs, the early christian cemetery in Rome looked like where the bodies of Apostles Peter and Paul were laid, according to the tradition of Rome.

Caius of third century says: 
For a time the remains of Peter lay with those of Paul in a vault on the Appian Way at the place ad Catacumbas, where the Church of St. Sebastian (which on its erection in the fourth century was dedicated to the two Apostles) now stands.
The remains had probably been brought thither at the beginning of the Valerian persecution in 258, to protect them from the threatened desecration when the Christian burial-places were confiscated.
They were later restored to their former resting-place, and Constantine the Great had a magnificent basilica erected over the grave of St. Peter at the foot of the Vatican Hill.

This basilica was replaced by the present St. Peter's in the sixteenth century. The vault with the altar built above it (confessio) has been since the fourth century the most highly venerated martyr's shrine in the West. In the substructure of the altar, over the vault which contained the sarcophagus with the remains of St. Peter, a cavity was made. This was closed by a small door in front of the altar. By opening this door the pilgrim could enjoy the great privilege of kneeling directly over the sarcophagus of the Apostle. Keys of this door were given as previous souvenirs (cf. Gregory of Tours, "De gloria martyrum", I, xxviii).





Peter in the words of some Fathers
of the Church

·         Clement of Alexandria

"The blessed Peter, the chosen, the pre-eminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly grasped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? `Behold, we have left all and have followed you'" [Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28] (Who Is the Rich Man That is Saved? 21:3-5 [A.D. 200]).

·         Tertullian

"For though you think that heaven is still shut up, remember that the Lord left the keys of it to Peter here, and through him to the Church, which keys everyone will carry with him if he has been questioned and made a confession [of faith]" (Antidote Against the Scorpion 10 [A.D. 211]).

·         Tertullian

"The Lord said to Peter, 'On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven' [Matt. 16:18-19] . . . Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys, not to the Church; and whatever you shall have bound or you shall have loosed, not what they shall have bound or they shall have loosed" (Modesty 21:9-10 [A.D. 220]).

·         The Letter of Clement to James

"Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus Himself, with His truthful mouth, named Peter, the first-fruits of our Lord, the first of the apostles; to whom first the Father revealed the Son; whom the Christ, with good reason, blessed; the called, and elect" (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221])

·         Origin

"If we were to attend carefully to the gospels, we should also find, in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter . . . a great difference and a preeminence in the things [Jesus] said to Peter, compared with the second class [of apostles]. For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not in [all] the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens" (Commentary on Matthew 13:31 [A.D. 248]).

·         Cyprian of Carthage

"The Lord says to Peter: 'I say to you,' he says, 'that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church' . . . On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).


·         Cyril of Jerusalem

"The Lord is loving toward men, swift to pardon but slow to punish. Let no man despair of his own salvation. Peter, the first and foremost of the apostles, denied the Lord three times before a little servant girl, but he repented and wept bitterly" (Catechetical Lectures 2:19 [A.D. 350]).

·         Cyril of Jerusalem

"[Simon Magus] so deceived the city of Rome that Claudius erected a statue of him . . .While the error was extending itself, Peter and Paul arrived, a noble pair and the rulers of the Church, and they set the error aright. . . . [T]hey launched the weapon of their like-mindedness in prayer against the Magus, and struck him down to earth. It was marvelous enough, and yet no marvel at all, for Peter was there--he that carries about the keys of heaven [Matt. 16:19]" (ibid., 6:14).

·         Cyril of Jerusalem

"In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, both the chief of the apostles and the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, in the name of Christ healed Aeneas the paralytic at Lydda, which is now called Diospolis" [Acts 9:32-34] (ibid., 17:27).

·         Ephraim the Syrian

"[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on Earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the first-born in my institution so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures" (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).


·         Ambrose of Milan

"[Christ] made answer: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church . . .' Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?" (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).

·         Pope Damasus I

"Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ' [Matt. 16:18-19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).

·         Jerome

"'But,' you [Jovinian] will say, 'it was on Peter that the Church was founded' [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division" (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).

·         Jerome

"Simon Peter, the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion . . . pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to over-throw Simon Magus, and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord" (Lives of Illustrious Men 1 [A.D. 396]).

·         Pope Innocent I

"In seeking the things of God . . . you have acknowledged that judgment is to be referred to us [the pope], and have shown that you know that is owed to the Apostolic See [Rome], if all of us placed in this position are to desire to follow the Apostle himself [Peter] from whom the episcopate itself and the total authority of this name have emerged"

·         (Letters 29:1 [A.D. 408]).

"Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear 'I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Sermons 295:2 [A.D. 411]).

·         Augustine

"Some things are said which seem to relate especially to the apostle Peter, and yet are not clear in their meaning unless referred to the Church, which he is acknowledged to have represented in a figure on account of the primacy which he bore among the disciples. Such is 'I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,' and other similar passages. In the same way, Judas represents those Jews who were Christ's enemies" (Commentary on Psalm 108 1 [A.D. 415])

·         Augustine

"Who is ignorant that the first of the apostles is the most blessed Peter?" (Commentary on John 56:1 [A.D. 416]).

·         Council of Ephesus

"Philip, presbyter and legate of [Pope Celestine I] said: 'We offer our thanks to the holy and venerable synod, that when the writings of our holy and blessed pope had been read to you . . . you joined yourselves to the holy head also by your holy acclamations. For your blessedness is not ignorant that the head of the whole faith, the head of the Apostles, is blessed Peter the Apostle'" (Acts of the Council, session 2 [A.D. 431]).


·         Council of Effuses

"Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [Rome] said:  'There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors'" (ibid., session 3).

·         Pope Leo I

"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the apostles, and from him as from the head wishes his gifts to flow to all the body, so that anyone who dares to secede from Peter's solid rock may understand that he has no part or lot in the divine mystery. He wished him who had been received into partnership in his undivided unity to be named what he himself was, when he said: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church' [Matt. 16:18], that the building of the eternal temple might rest on Peter's solid rock, strengthening his Church so surely that neither could human rashness assail it nor the gates of hell prevail against it" (Letters 10:1 [A.D. 445).

·         Pope Leo I

"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . established the worship belonging to the divine [Christian] religion . . . But the Lord desired that the sacrament of this gift should pertain to all the apostles in such a way that it might be found principally in the most blessed Peter, the highest of all the apostles. And he wanted his gifts to flow into the entire body from Peter himself, as if from the head, in such a way that anyone who had dared to separate himself from the solidarity of Peter would realize that he was himself no longer a sharer in the divine mystery" (ibid., 10:2-3).

"Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed apostles, though they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen, but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others. . . the care of the universal Church would converge in the one See of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head" (ibid., 14:11).

"The blessed Peter persevering in the strength of the Rock, which he has received, has not abandoned the helm of the Church, which he understood. ( He is still with us) For he was ordained before the rest in such a way that from his being called the rock, from his being pronounced the foundation, from his being constituted the doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven, from his being set as the umpire to bind and loose, whose judgments shall retain their validity in heaven, from all these mystical titles we might know the nature of his association with Christ" (Sermons 3:2-3 [A.D. 450]).




Tracing the original tombs

Dionysius of Corinth mentions the burial place of Peter as Rome when he wrote to the Church of Rome in the time of the Pope Soter (died 174), thanking the Romans for their financial help. "You have thus by such an admonition bound together the planting of Peter and of Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both of them planted and likewise taught us in our Corinth. And they taught together in like manner in Italy, and suffered martyrdom at the same time."[14]


Fourth century mosaic of St. Peter, Catacombs of St. Thecla

Catholic tradition holds that the bereaved Christians followed their usual custom in burying him as near as possible to the scene of his suffering. According to Catholic lore, he was laid in ground that belonged to Christian proprietors, by the side of a well-known road leading out of the city, the Via Cornelia (site of a known pagan and Christian cemetery) on the hill called Vaticanus. The actual tomb was an underground vault, approached from the road by a descending staircase, and the body reposed in a sarcophagus of stone in the center of this vault.

The Book of Popes mentions that Pope Anacletus built a "sepulchral monument" over the underground tomb of St. Peter shortly after his death.  This was a small chamber or oratory over the tomb, where three or four persons could kneel and pray over the grave. The pagan Roman Emperor, Julian the Apostate, mentions in 363 A.D. in his work Three Books Against the Galileans that the tomb of St. Peter was a place of worship, albeit secretly.

There is evidence of the existence of the tomb (trophoea, i.e., trophies, as signs or memorials of victory) at the beginning of the 2nd century, in the words of the presbyter Caius refuting the Montanist traditions of a certain Proclus: "But I can show the trophies of the Apostles. For if you will go to the Vatican, or to the Ostian way, you will find the trophies of those who laid the foundations of this church."

 These tombs were the objects of pilgrimage during the ages of persecution, and it will be found recorded in certain Acts of the Martyrs that they were seized while praying at the tombs of the Apostles.

During the reign of the Roman Emperor Valerian, Christian persecution was particularly severe. The remains of the dead, and particularly the Christian dead, had lost their usual protections under Roman law. The remains of Peter and Paul may have been removed temporarily from their original tombs in order to preserve them from desecration by the Romans. They may have been removed secretly by night and hidden in the Catacombs of S. Sebastiano in 258 AD, being returned to their original tombs in 260 when Valerian's reign ended.

When the Church was once more at peace under Constantine the Great, Christians were able at last to build edifices suitable for the celebration of Divine Service. The resting places of the relics of the Apostles were naturally among the first to be selected as the sites of great basilicas. The emperor supplied the funds for these buildings, in his desire to honor the memories of the two Apostles.

Much of the Vatican Hill was leveled to provide a firm foundation for the first St. Peter's Basilica. The altar of the Basilica was planned to be located directly over the tomb. The matter was complicated by the upper chamber or memoria above the vault. This upper chamber had become endeared to the Romans during the ages of persecution, and they were unwilling that it should be destroyed.The memoria was turned into the Chapel of the Confession. Above that was the main floor of the Basilica, with the raised altar directly over the Chapel of the Confession. The reverence in which the place has always been held has resulted in these arrangements remaining almost unchanged to the present time.


The Book of Popes details certain adornments that Constantine apparently added to St. Peter's tomb at this time. The sarcophagus itself is said to have been enclosed on all sides with bronze, measuring 5 feet in each dimension. On top of that was laid a gold cross weighing 150 pounds and featuring an inscription, which translates from Latin as "Constantine Augustus and Helena Augusta This House Shining with Like Royal Splendor a Court Surrounds." However, any treasures that may have been present at the tomb are presumed to have been taken by the Saracens during their Sack of Rome in 846.

The skull of St. Peter is claimed to reside in the Basilica of St. John Lateran since at least the ninth century, alongside the skull of St. Paul.


Modern excavation

Between 1939 and 1949, the Vatican-led archaeological team overseen by Monsignor Ludwig Kaas, who had overall authority over the project, had uncovered a complex of pagan mausoleums under the foundations of St. Peter's Basilica (the so-called Vatican Necropolis), dating to the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Construction of Constantine's Old St. Peter's Basilica and of foundations for Bernini's Baldacchino destroyed most of the vaulting of these semi-subterranean burial chambers. Among them was the so-called "Tomb of the Julii" with mosaics that appeared to be Christian. No mausoleum had ever been built directly beneath the present high altar of St Peter's, which did however contain shallow burials, one dated by an impressed tile to the reign of Vespasian; subsequently they had been attended with care, as later burials clustered round but did not encroach upon the space. There was a small niched monument built into a wall ca. 160. The discoveries made the pages of Life magazine.


Bones transferred in 1942

In 1942, the Administrator of St. Peter's, Monsignor Ludwig Kaas, found remains in a second tomb in the monument. Being concerned that these presumed relics of a saint would not be accorded the respect they deserved, and having little understanding of correct archeological procedures, he secretly ordered these remains stored elsewhere for safe-keeping.

After Kaas's death, Professor Margherita Guarducci discovered these relics by chance. She informed Pope Paul VI of her belief that these remains were those of St. Peter. Bone testing revealed that the remains belonged to a man in his sixties. On June 26, 1968, Pope Paul VI announced that the relics of St. Peter had been discovered.


Possible ossuary of Peter in Jerusalem

The Roman traditions are all contravened by the discovery of Peter's tomb in Jerusalem in 1953.  In 1953, two Franciscan monks discovered hundreds of 1st century ossuaries stored in a cave on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. The archaeologists claimed to have discovered the earliest physical evidence of a Christian community in Jerusalem, including some very familiar Biblical names. The name inscribed on one ossuary read: "Shimon Bar Yonah" - Simon, the Son of Jonah, the original Biblical name of the Disciple Peter.

The 43 inscriptions discovered in the Dominus Flevit cemetery between May 1953 and June 1955 were published with photographs by P. B. Bagatti and J. T. Milik in 1958.[26] The inscriptions on the ossuaries also included the names Jesus, Joseph, Judas, Mathew, Martha, Mary and Mariame - with the inscriptions of the latter two names being written in Greek.


Here is the relevant quote from the source

Peter's Tomb Discovered in Jerusalem in 1953

by F. Paul Peterson



While visiting a friend in Switzerland, I heard of what seemed to me, one of the greatest discoveries since the time of Christ that Peter was buried in Jerusalem and not in Rome. The source of this rumor, written in Italian, was not clear; it left considerable room for doubt, or rather, wonder. Rome was the place where I could investigate the matter, and if such proved encouraging, a trip to Jerusalem might be necessary in order to gather valuable firsthand information on the subject. I therefore went to Rome. After talking to many priests and investigating various sources of information, I finally was greatly rewarded by learning where I could buy the only known book on the subject, which was also written in Italian. It is called, Gli Scavi del Dominus Flevit, printed in 1958 at the Tipografia del PP, Francescani, in Jerusalem. It was written by P. B. Bagatti and J. T. Milik, both Roman Catholic priests. The story of the discovery was there, but it seemed to be purposely hidden, for much was lacking. I consequently determined to go to Jerusalem to see for myself, if possible, that which appeared to be almost unbelievable, especially since it came from priests, who naturally, because of the existing tradition that Peter was buried in Rome, would be the last ones to welcome such a discovery or to bring it to the attention of the world.In Jerusalem I spoke to many Franciscan priests who all read, finally, though reluctantly, that the bones of Simon Bar Jona (St. Peter) were found in Jerusalem, on the Franciscan monastery site called, Dominus Flevit (where Jesus was supposed to have wept over Jerusalem), on the Mount of Olives. The pictures show the story. The first shows an excavation where the names of Christian Biblical characters were found on the ossuaries (bone boxes). The names of Mary and Martha were found on one box and, right next to it was one with the name of Lazarus, their brother. Other names of early Christians were found on other boxes. Of greatest interest, however, was that which was found within twelve feet from the place where the remains of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were found the remains of St.

Peter. They were found in an ossuary, on the outside of which was clearly and

beautifully written in Aramaic, Simon Bar Jona.



The charcoal inscription reads: Shimon Bar Yonah which means Simon [Peter] son of Jonah.

Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

I talked to a Yale professor, who is an archaeologist, and was director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem. He told me that it would be very improbable that a name with three words, and one so complete, could refer to any other than St. Peter.

But what makes the possibility of error more remote is that the remains were found in a Christian burial ground, and more yet, of the first century, the very time in which Peter lived. In fact, I have a letter from a noted scientist stating that he can tell by the writing that it was written just before the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 A.D.

I talked to priest Milik, the co-writer of this Italian book, in the presence of my friend, a Christian Arab, Mr. S. J. Mattar, who now is the warden of the Garden Tomb, where Jesus was buried and rose again. This priest, Milik, admitted that he knew that the bones of St. Peter are not in Rome. I was very much surprised that he would admit that, so to confirm his admittance, I said, to which he also agreed, There is a hundred times more evidence that Peter was buried in Jerusalem than in Rome. This was something of an understatement, for he knew, as I know, that there is absolutely no evidence at all that Peter was buried in Rome.


I have spoken on the subject to many Franciscan priests who either were, or had been in Jerusalem, and they all agree that the tomb and remains of St. Peter are in Jerusalem. There was just one exception which is interesting and which only proves the point. The Franciscan priest, Augusto Spykerman, who was in charge of the semiprivate museum inside the walls of Old Jerusalem, by the site of the Franciscan Church of the Flagellation, was that exception. When I asked to see the museum, he showed it to the three of us, Mr. Mattar, who, in addition to being warden of the Tomb of Christ, had been the manager of an English bank in Jerusalem, a professional photographer, and myself. But he told us nothing of the discovery. I knew that the evidence of Peter's burial was there, for priests had told me that relics from the Christian burial ground were preserved within this museum. People who lived in Jerusalem all their lives, and official guides who are supposed to know every inch of the city, however, knew nothing of this discovery, so well was it withheld from the public. I had asked an elderly official guide where the tomb of St. Peter was. He responded in a very profound and majestic tone of voice, The Tomb of St. Peter has never been found in Jerusalem. Oh, I said, but I have seen the burial place of Peter with my own eyes. He turned on me with a fierceness that is so common among Arabs. What, he replied, you a foreigner mean to tell me that you know where the tomb of St. Peter is, when I have been an official guide for thirty-five years and know every inch of ground in Jerusalem? I was afraid that he would jump at my throat. I managed to calm him as I said, But sir, here are the pictures and you can see the ossuary, among others, with Peter's name in Aramaic. You can also see this for yourself on the Mount of Olives on the Franciscan Convent site called, Dominus Flevit. When I finished he slowly turned away in stunned amazement. A person who has seen this Christian burial ground and knows the circumstances surrounding the case could never doubt that this truly is the burial place of St. Peter and of other Christians. I, too, walked around in a dreamy amazement for about a week for I could hardly believe what I had seen and heard. Since the circulation of this article, they do not allow anyone to see this burial place.

Before things had gone very far, I had been quite discouraged for I could get no information from the many priests with whom I had talked. However, I continued questioning priests wherever I would find them. Finally one priest dropped some information. With that knowledge I approached another priest who warily asked me where I had acquired that information. I told him that a priest had told me. Then he admitted the point and dropped a little more information. It went on like that for some time until I got the whole picture, and I was finally directed to where I could see the evidence for myself. To get the story, it made me feel as though I had a bull by the tail and was trying to pull him through a keyhole. But when I had gathered all the facts in the case, the priests could not deny the discovery of the tomb, but even confirmed it, though reluctantly. In fact, I have the statement from a Spanish priest on the Mount of Olives on a tape recorder, to that effect.

But here we were talking to this Franciscan priest in charge of the museum, asking him questions which he tried to evade, but could not, because of the information I had already gathered from the many priests with whom I had spoken. Finally, after the pictures of the evidence were taken, which was nothing short of a miracle that he allowed us to do so, I complimented him on the marvelous discovery of the tomb of St. Peter in Jerusalem that the Franciscans had made. He was clearly nervous as he said, Oh no, the tomb of St. Peter is in Rome. But as he said that, his voice faltered, a fact which even my friend, Mr. Mattar, had noticed. Then I looked him squarely in the eyes and firmly said, No, the tomb of St. Peter is in Jerusalem. He looked at me like a guilty schoolboy and held his peace. He was, no doubt, placed there to hide the facts, but his actions and words, spoke more convincingly about the discovery than those priests who finally admitted the truth.

I also spoke to a Franciscan priest in authority at the priest's printing plant within the walls of old Jerusalem, where their book on the subject was printed. He also admitted that the tomb of St. Peter is in Jerusalem. Then when I visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, I encountered a Franciscan monk. After telling him what I thought of the wonderful discovery the Franciscans had made, I asked him plainly, Do you folks really believe that those are the remains of St. Peter? He responded, Yes we do, we have no choice in the matter. The clear evidence is there. I did not doubt the evidence, but what surprised me was that these priests and monks believed that which was against their own religion and on top of that, to admit it to others was something out of this world. Usually a Catholic, either because he is brainwashed or stubbornly doesn't want to see anything other than that which he has been taught, will not allow himself to believe anything against his religion, much less to admit it to others. But there is a growing, healthy attitude among many Catholics, to prove all things, hold fast to that which is good as the Master admonished us all.

Then I asked, Does Father Bagatti (co-writer of the book in Italian on the subject, and archaeologist) really believe that those are the bones of St. Peter? Yes, he does, was the reply. Then I asked, But what does the Pope think of all this? That was a thousand-dollar question and he gave me a million-dollar answer. Well, he confidentially answered in a hushed voice, Father Bagatti told me personally that three years ago he went to the Pope (Pius XII) in Rome and showed him the evidence and the Pope said to him, Well, we will have to make some changes, but for the time being, keep this thing quiet. In awe I asked also in a subdued voice, So the Pope really believes that those are the bones of St. Peter? Yes, was his answer. The documentary evidence is there, he could not help but believe.

I visited various renowned archaeologists on the subject. Dr. Albright, of the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, told me that he personally knew priest Bagatti and that he was a very competent archaeologist. I also spoke with Dr. Nelson Gluek, archaeologist and president of the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I showed him the pictures found in this article, but being with him for only a few minutes, I therefore could not show him the wealth of material that you have before you in this article. However, he quickly recognized the Aramaic words to be Simon Bar Jona. (Aramaic is very similar to Hebrew.) I asked him if he would write a statement to that effect. He said to do so would cast a reflection on the competency of the priest J. T. Milik, who he knew to be a very able scientist. But he said that he would write a note. I quote,

"I regard Father J. T. Milik as a first class scholar in the Semitic field. He added, I do not consider that names on ossuaries are conclusive evidence that they are those of the Apostles. Nelson Glueck "

I quote this letter of Dr. Glueck because it shows that priest Milik is a competent archaeologist. As I have mentioned, I was only able to be with him for a few minutes and was not able to show him but a very small part of the evidence. Anyone, including myself, would readily agree with Dr. Glueck that if only the name Simon Bar Jona on the ossuary was all the evidence that was available, it would not be conclusive evidence that it was of the Apostle Peter, though it would certainly be a strong indication. The story of the cave and the ossuaries and the regular cemetery just outside of the Convent site is this: It was a Roman custom that when a person had died and after about ten years when the body had decomposed, the grave would be opened. The bones would be placed in a small ossuary with the name of the person carefully written on the outside front. These ossuaries would then be placed in a cave as in the case of this Christian burial ground and thus making room for others. But this cave or burial place where the ossuaries were found, and which was created and brought about through the natural and disinterested sequence of events, without any reason to change facts or circumstances, was a greater testimony than if there was a witness recorded, stating that Peter was buried there. And yet, even that is unmistakenly recorded in the three words in Aramaic of the ossuary, Simon Bar Jona. Herein, lies the greatest proof that Peter never was a Pope, and never was in Rome, for if he had been, it would have certainly been proclaimed in the New Testament. History, likewise, would not have been silent on the subject, as it was not silent in the case of the Apostle Paul. Even the Catholic history would have claimed the above as a fact and not as fickle tradition. To omit Peter as being Pope and in Rome (and the Papacy) would be like omitting the Law of Moses or the Prophets or the Acts of the Apostles from the Bible.

Dr. Glueck, being Jewish, and having been to Jerusalem, no doubt, is fully aware of the fact that for centuries the Catholic Church bought up what were thought to be holy sites, some of which did not stand up to Biblical description. For instance, the priests say that the tomb of Jesus is within the walls of Old Jerusalem, in a hole in the ground; whereas, the Bible says that the tomb where Jesus was laid was hewn out of rock and a stone was rolled in front, and not on top of it. The Garden Tomb at the foot of Golgotha, outside the walls of Old Jerusalem, meets the Biblical description perfectly. In fact, all those who were hated by the Jewish leaders, as Jesus was, could never have been allowed to be buried within the gates of the Holy City. The tomb where Jesus lay was made for Joseph of Arimathaea. His family were all stout and short of stature. In this burial place you can see to this day where someone had carved deeper into the wall to make room for Jesus who was said to be about six feet tall [sic.].

When Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption of Mary to be an article of faith in 1950, the Catholic Church in Jerusalem then quickly sold the tomb of Mary to the Armenian Church. Ex-priest Lavallo told me personally that there is another tomb of St. Mary in Ephesus. But the tomb of St. Peter is altogether different for they would rather that it never existed, and to buy or sell such a site would be out of the question. It fell upon them in this manner, as I was told by a Franciscan monk of the monastery of Dominus Flevit. One of their members was spading the ground on this site in 1953, when his shovel fell through. Excavation was started and there, a large underground Christian burial ground was uncovered. The initial of Christ in Greek was written there which would never have been found in a Jewish, Arab, or pagan cemetery. By the structure of the writings, it was established by scientists that they were of the days just before the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 A.D. On the ossuaries were found many names of the Christians of the early Church. It was prophesied in the Bible that Jesus would stand on the Mount of Olives at His return to earth. You can see then, how the Christians would be inclined to have their burial ground on the Mount, for here also, had been a favorite meeting place of Jesus and His disciples. In all the cemetery, nothing was found (as also in the Catacombs in Rome) which resembles Arab, Jewish, Catholic, or pagan practices. Dr. Glueck, being Jewish, is not fully aware, no doubt, that such a discovery is very embarrassing since it undermines the very foundation of the Roman Catholic Church. Since Peter did not live in Rome and therefore was not martyred or buried there, it naturally follows that he was not their first Pope.


The Catholic Church says that Peter was Pope in Rome from 41 to 66 A.D., a period of twenty-five years, but the Bible shows a different story. The book of the Acts of the Apostles (in either the Catholic or Protestant Bible) records the following: Peter was preaching the Gospel to the circumcision (the Jews) in Caesarea and Joppa in Palestine, ministering unto the household of Cornelius, which is a distance of 1,800 miles from Rome (Acts 10:23, 24). Soon after, about the year 44 A.D. (Acts 12), Peter was cast into prison in Jerusalem by Herod, but he was released by an angel. From 46 to 52 A.D., we read in the thirteenth chapter that he was in Jerusalem preaching the difference between Law and Grace. Saul was converted in 34 A.D., and became Paul the Apostle (Acts 9). Paul tells us that three years after his conversion in 37 A.D., he went up to Jerusalem to see Peter (Galatians 1:18), and in 51 A.D., fourteen years later, he again went up to Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1, 8), Peter being mentioned. Soon after that he met Peter in Antioch, and as Paul says, withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed, Galatians 2:11. The evidence is abundant, the truth is clear from the Scriptures which have never failed. It would be breathtaking to read of the boldness of Paul in dealing with Peter. Very few, if any, have withstood a Pope and lived (except in these days when everybody seems to withstand him). If Peter was Pope, it would have been no different. Paul does not only withstand Peter but rebukes him and blames him for being at fault.


This reminds me of my visit to the St. Angelo Castle in Rome. This castle, which is a very strong fortress, is connected with the Vatican by a high arched viaduct of about a mile in length over which popes have fled in time of danger. The Roman Catholic guide showed me a prison room which had a small airtight chamber in it. He told me that a Cardinal who had contended with a pope on doctrine was thrown into this airtight chamber for nearly two hours until he almost smothered to death. He then was led to the guillotine a few feet away and his head was cut off. Another thing remained with me forcibly. The guide showed me through the apartments of the various popes who had taken refuge there. In each case he also showed me the apartment of the mistresses of each of the popes. I was amazed that he made no attempt to hide anything. I asked him Are you not a Catholic? He humbly answered, Oh yes, I am a Catholic, but I am ashamed of the history of many of the popes, but I trust that our modern popes are better. I then asked him, Surely you are aware of the affair between Pope Pius XII and his housekeeper? Many in Rome say that she ran the affairs of the Pope and the Vatican as well. He hung his head in shame and sadly said, Yes, I know.

All this explains why the Catholic Church has been so careful to keep this discovery unknown. They were successful in doing just that from 1953, when it was discovered by the Franciscans on their own convent site, until 1959. Having succeeded for so long in keeping this thing quiet, as the Pope had admonished, they were off guard when a fellow at that time came along who appeared harmless but persistent. Little did they know that this fellow would publish the news everywhere. Their position in the world is shaky enough without this discovery becoming generally known.

As I have mentioned, I had a very agreeable talk with priest Milik, but I did not have the opportunity to see priest Bagatti while in Jerusalem. I wrote to him, however, on March 15, 1960, as follows: I have spoken with a number of Franciscan priests and monks and they have told me about you and the book of which you are a co-writer. I had hoped to see you and to compliment you on such a great discovery, but time would not permit. Having heard so much about you and that you are an archaeologist (with the evidence in hand), I was convinced, with you, concerning the ancient burial ground that the remains found in the ossuary with the name on it, Simon Bar Jona written in Aramaic, were those of St. Peter. It is remarkable that in his reply he did not contradict my statement, which he certainly would have done if he honestly could have done so. I was very much convinced with you . . . that the remains found in the ossuary . . . were those of St. Peter.  This confirms the talk I had with the Franciscan monk in Bethlehem and the story he told me of Priest Bagatti's going to the Pope with the evidence concerning the bones of St. Peter in Jerusalem. In his letter one can see that he is careful because of the Pope's admonition to keep this discovery quiet. He therefore wrote me that he leaves the whole explanation of the Aramaic words, Simon Bar Jona, to priest Milik. This is a familiar way of getting out of a similar situation. In priest Bagatti's letter one can see that he is in a difficult position. He cannot go against what he had written in 1953, at the time of the discovery of this Christian-Jewish burial ground, nor what he had said to the Franciscan monk about his visit to the Pope. However, he does raise a question which helps him to get out of the situation without altogether contradicting himself and at the same time putting a smoke screen around the truth. He wrote,

Supposing that it is Jona (on the ossuary) as I believe, it may be some other relative of St. Peter, because names were passed on from family to family. To be able to propose the identification of it with St. Peter would go against a long tradition, which has its own value. Anyway, another volume will come soon that will demonstrate that the cemetery was Christian and of the first century to the second century A.D. The salute in God most devoted P. B. Bagatti C. F. M.

As I have shown, after the admonition of the Pope to keep this thing quiet, priest Bagatti leaves the interpretation of the whole matter to priest Milik who offers several suggestions but in the end declares that the original statement of priest Bagatti may be true  that the inscription and the remains were of St. Peter. It is also very interesting and highly significant that priest Bagatti, in his attempt to neutralize his original statement and the consternation the discovery had and would have if it was generally known, says in reference to the name Simon Bar Jona (St. Peter), It may be some other relative of St. Peter, because names were passed on from generation to generation. In other words he says that Peter's name, Simon Bar Jona, could have been given him from a relative of the same name of generations before him, or, could belong to a relative generations after St. Peter. Both speculations are beyond the realm of the possible. First of all, it could not refer to a relative before St. Peter for the Christian burial ground could only have come into being after Jesus began. His public ministry and had converts; and therefore, could not belong to a relative before Peter's time, since only those who were converted through Christ's ministry were buried there. Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and left it desolate. Therefore, it is impossible that the inscription could refer to a relative after Peter's time. One encyclopaedia explains the destruction in these words, With this event the history of ancient Jerusalem came to a close, for it was left desolate and it's inhabitants were scattered abroad. From all evidence, Peter was about fifty years old when Jesus called him to be an Apostle, and he died around the age of 82, or about the year 62 A.D. Since by these figures there was only eight years left from the time of Peter's death until the destruction of Jerusalem, it was then impossible that the inscription and remains belonged to generations after Peter. In those days names were passed on to another only after a lapse of many years. But let us say that immediately after the death of St. Peter, a baby was christened, Simon Bar Jona, the inscription still could not have been of this baby for the remains were of an adult and not of a child of eight years who had died just before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., at which time the history of ancient Jerusalem came to a close, for it was left desolate and its inhabitants were scattered abroad.

This ancient Christian burial ground shows that Peter died and was buried in Jerusalem, which is easily understandable since neither history nor the Bible tells of Peter's having been in Rome. To make matters more clear, the Bible tells us that Peter was the Apostle to the Jews. It was Paul who was the Apostle to the Gentiles, and both history and the Bible tell of his being in Rome. No wonder that the Roman Catholic Bishop, Strossmayer, in his great speech against papal infallibility before the Pope and the Council of 1870 said, Scaliger, one of the most learned men, has not hesitated to say that St. Peter's episcopate and residence in Rome ought to be classed with ridiculous legends.

Eusebius, one of the most learned men of his time, wrote the Church history up to the year 325 A.D. He said that Peter never was in Rome. This Church history was translated by Jerome from the original Greek, but in his translation he added a fantastic story of Peter's residence in Rome. This was a common practice in trying to create credence in their doctrines, using false statements, false letters and falsified history. This is another reason why we cannot rely on tradition, but only on the infallible Word of God.

The secrecy surrounding this case is amazing, and yet understandable, since Catholics largely base their faith on the assumption that Peter was their first Pope and that he was martyred and buried there. But I am somewhat of the opinion that the Franciscan priests, those who are honest, would be glad to see the truth proclaimed, even if it displeased those who are over them. While visiting with priest Milik, I told him of the highly educated priest with whom I had spoken just before going from Rome to Jerusalem. He admitted to me that the remains of Peter are not in the tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican. I asked him what had happened to them? He responded, We don't know, but we think that the Saracens stole them away. First of all, the Saracens never got to Rome, but even if they had, what would they want with the bones of Peter? But they never got to Rome, so there it ends. We had a good laugh together, but more so when I told him of my discussion with a brilliant American priest in Rome. I asked this American priest if he knew that the bones of Peter were not in the Tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican. He admitted that they were not there. However, he said that a good friend of his, an archaeologist, had been excavating under St. Peter's Basilica for the bones of St. Peter for a number of years and five years ago he found them. Now a man can be identified by his fingerprints, but never by his bones. So I asked him how he knew they were the bones of St. Peter? He hesitated and tried to change the subject, but on my insistence he finally explained that they had taken the bones to a chemist, and they were analyzed and it was judged that the bones were of a man who had died at about the age of sixty-five; therefore, they must be Peter's. How ridiculous can people be?

Mark you, all the priests agree that the Vatican and St. Peter's were built over a pagan cemetery. This was a very appropriate place for them to build since, as even Cardinal Newman admitted, there are many pagan practices in the Roman Catholic Church. You realize surely, that Christians would never bury their dead in a pagan cemetery, and you may be very sure that pagans would never allow a Christian to be buried in their cemetery. So, even if Peter died in Rome, which is out of the question, surely the pagan cemetery under St. Peter's Basilica would be the last place in which he would have been buried. Also, Peter, from every indication, lived to be over 80 and not 65 years old. The Pope was right, going back to the early Christian burial ground, they must make changes and many of them, and fundamental ones at that. But I am afraid that the Pope's (Pius XII) admittance of the discovery on Bagatti's presentation of the documentary evidence was to satisfy Bagatti but at the same time admonishing him to keep the information quiet, hoping that the truth of the discovery would die out. But they have said that after all these years of excavation under the Vatican, they have discovered Greek words which read, Peter is buried here, and it gives the date 160 A.D. First of all, the very structure of the sentence immediately gives one the impression that either quite recently or long ago, someone put the sign there hoping that it would be taken as authentic in order to establish that which then, and even now, has never been proven. Then there is a discrepancy in the date, for Peter was martyred around the year 62 A.D. and not 160 A.D. Thirdly, why is it that they mention nothing about finding bones under or around the sign? While visiting the Catacombs, one sees a few things which are not becoming to Christians, but which tend to indicate that the Christians had some pagan practices, similar to those of Rome today. Nothing is said about them and only after persistent questioning will the Roman Catholic priest, who acts as guide, tell you that those things, images, etc., were placed there centuries after the early Christian era.

In 1950, just a few years prior to the discovery of the Christian burial ground in Jerusalem, the Pope made the strange declaration that the bones of St. Peter were found under St. Peters in Rome. Strange it was, for since beginning to build the church in 1450 (finished in 1626) they erected, St. Peter's Tomb (?) under the large dome and Bernini's serpentine columns. Since then multiplied millions were thereby deceived into believing that the remains of St. Peter were there, which the hierarchy had all along known was not true, as is proven by the late Pope's declaration. The following was published in the Newsweek of July 1, 1957:

It was in 1950 that Pope Pius XII in his Christmas message announced that the tomb of St. Peter had indeed been found, as tradition held, beneath the immense dome of the Cathedral (there was, however, no evidence that the bones uncovered there belonged to the body of the martyr). The parentheses are Newsweek's.

To make an announcement of such importance when there is absolutely no evidence is rather ridiculous as is also brought out in the Time Magazine of October 28, 1957 (as in above, we quote the article word-for-word).

A thorough account in English of the discoveries beneath St. Peter's is now available . . . by British archaeologists Jocelyn Toynbee and John Ward Perkins. The authors were not members of the excavating team, but scholars Toynbee (a Roman Catholic) and Perkins (an Anglican) poured over the official Vatican reports painstakingly examined the diggings. Their careful independent conclusions fall short of the Pope's flat statement. (The Pope's statement that the remains of St. Peter were found under St. Peter's in Rome). The excavation under St. Peter's for the remains of St. Peter is still going on secretly, in spite of the Pope's declaration of 1950.

Then in 1965, an archaeologist at Rome University, Prof. Margherita Guarducci, tells of a new set of bones belonging to Peter. The story was fantastic but lacked common sense and even bordered on the infantile but a drowning man will grab for a straw and a straw it was to many. But the Palo Alto Times (California), May 9, 1967, came out with an article on the subject, and I quote, Other experts, among them Msgr. Joseph Ruysschaert, vice prefect of the Vatican Library are not convinced by Miss Guarduccis evidence. There are too many unknowns, he told reporters on a recent tour of the Vatican grottoes, There is no continuous tracing of the bones. We lack historical proof. They could be anyone's bones. The Vatican would seem to be on the monsignor's side because so far it has taken no steps to officially recognize the bones as St. Peter's, continues the article.

The intelligent priest whom I have mentioned, said that Peter's bones were found and he was a man who died of about 62 years of age, the tests indicated. Pope Pius XII declared these bones were the bones of St. Peter, in his Christmas message of 1950. These were the same as claimed by Newsweek, there was, however, no evidence that the bones uncovered there belonged to the body of the martyr (Peter), as well as the above doubtful statements of the archaeologists working on the case. The Pope, notwithstanding, was overjoyed to think they had found the bones of St. Peter until further examination proved that these bones were those of a woman. This fact came out in an article on the subject in the S. F. Chronicle of June 27, 1968.

To continue the history of another case in which they have erred: In spite of the statements by the high Papal authority above, and the resultant lesson that should have been learned, the Pope, a year later claimed the Prof. Margherita bones as his very own, that is, those of St. Peter. When the bones were found there was little importance placed upon them and they were filed away as such. But when the first set of Peter's bones turned out so tragically, there was a vacuum left and something had to be done. Again they turned their thoughts to the filed-away bones, the only hope they had of success. In them there was a ray of hope for the bones were minus a skull, which could go along with the story of the supposed skull of St. Peter which had for centuries been guarded in the Church of St. John Lateran in Rome. With a generous mixture of ideas, suppositions, theories, and wishful thinking, a fairly logical story emerged. It was then declared by Pope Paul VI as the Gospel truth, that these now, were the genuine bones of St. Peter, and most of the faithful accepted them as such. For a while all was well until another hitch developed. This time, as fate would have it, the bones in connection with the skull which was guarded for centuries as that of St. Peter, were found incompatible to the more recent bones of St. Peter. The dilemma was terrible. They were between the Devil and the deep blue sea. They have juggled around the skulls of St. Peter causing confusion. It was a choice of claiming these bones championed by Prof. Margherita as fake, or claiming as fake the skull accepted by hundreds of Popes as that of St. Peter. They rejected the past rather than expose themselves to the ridicule of the present. Prof. Margherita claims in this article which appeared in the Manchester Guardian in London, as well as the S. F. Chronicle of June 27, 1968, concerning the long accepted skull of St. Peter, as it is a fake. Then the article continues, The hundreds of Popes and millions of Roman Catholics who have accepted and venerated the other skull were innocent victims of another early tradition.

But the most astounding statement in the long article found in the above-mentioned newspapers is, The professor did not submit them (Peter's bones?) to modern scientific tests, which would have determined the approximate age, because, she feared, the process would have reduced them to dust. How could any scientific study of bones be carried out without first scientifically determining the age of the person, or bones? This would be of the greatest interest and the most important for further research. Also any scientist or chemist knows that you do not have to submit the whole skeleton for testing to determine the age. A part of the shin bone or of a rib would be sufficient. It appears that she was protecting her Peter's bones from another possible disaster, which a wrong age would have caused. The Vatican and others have calculated through all existing evidence that Peter lived to be around 80 and 82 years, and that he died around the years of 62 or 64 A.D. These figures go along perfectly, as does everything else in the case, with the remains found in the Christian burial ground on the Mount of Olives and in the ossuary on which was clearly and beautifully written, Simon Bar Jona in Aramaic. The following was taken from the book, Races of Mankind, page 161:

Strained attempts to have Peter, the Apostle to the Hebrews of the East, in Paul's territory at Rome and martyred there, are unworthy of serious consideration in the light of all contemporary evidence. At his age (eighty-two), that would not have been practicable. In none of Paul's writings is there the slightest intimation that Peter ever had been or was at that city. All statements to the contrary were made centuries later and are fanciful and hearsay. The Papacy was not organized until the second half of the 8th century. It broke away from the Eastern Church (in the Ency. Brit., 13th Ed., vol. 21, page 636) under Pippin III; also The Papacy, by Abbe Guette.

The great historian, Schaff, states that the idea of Peter being in Rome is irreconcilable with the silence of the Scriptures, and even with the mere fact of Paul's epistle to the Romans. In the year 58, Paul wrote his epistle to the Roman Church, but does not mention Peter, although he does name 28 leaders in the Church at Rome (Romans 16:7). It must, therefore, be concluded that if the whole subject is faced with detached objectivity, the conclusion must inevitably be reached that Peter was never in Rome.


Paul lived and wrote in Rome, but he declared that Only Luke is with me, I Timothy 4:11.

Copyright 1960 by F. Paul Peterson.  Copies may be obtained from your local bookstore or from the author and publisher, F. Paul Peterson, P.0. Box 7351, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Price $2.00.  Permission is granted to reproduce any part of this book if title, price and address where it may be purchased are given. 




the First-called


St. Andrew the First-called Apostle


Saint Andrew (Ἀνδρέας, Andreas; from the early 1st century – mid to late 1st century AD), called in the Orthodox tradition Prōtoklētos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter.  Byzantium Churches hold that he was the elder brother of Saint Peter. Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter and son of Jonah. The name of Andrew's mother was traditionally Joanna, and according to the "Genealogies of the Twelve Apostles" (Budge, Contendings of the Apostles, II, 49) he belonged to the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of his father. He was born in Bethsaida in the province of Galilee and was a fisherman like his brother Peter. We are not sure who was the elder of the two. Peter and Andre lived in the same house at Capernaum

The name "Andrew"  in Greek means "manly, brave" and is derived  from ἀνδρεία, Andreia, "manhood, valour"  No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him.  This probably indicate he was a Hellenized Jew who had returned to Palestian from Greece.  This Greek relation is seen when Andrew try to make connections with Jesus and Greeks. Before he met Jesus, Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist showing their mesianic expectation.  When John pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God found his brother Peter and became a disciple of Jesus (John 1:25-42).    It is possible that, after the early death of his father Jona (John) of Bethsaida, Andrew left his native village and went to Capharnaum. where he lived with his brother, Simon and Simon's wife. children, and mother-in-law.

The Gospel of John states that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him, and another unnamed disciple of John the Baptist to follow Jesus. Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and hastened to introduce him to his brother Peter saying "We have found the mesia".  Thenceforth, the two brothers were disciples of Christ.  Later they were called together into the full time ministry when Jesus said that He will make them "fishers of men" (Greek: ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων, halieĩs anthrōpōn) instead of being fishermen, on which they left their boats and net to the family and followed Jesus.


In two of the four lists of the Apostles in the New Testament (Matthew 10:2-4 and Luke 6:14-16) Andrew comes second only to Saint Peter, and in the other two (Mark 3:16-19 and Acts 1:13) he is numbered among the first four.

Most of what we know about Andrew comes from the Gospel of John. It is very surprising that Andrew remains silent throughout the Gospels. In addition to the occasion on which he was called to the apostolate, he is mentioned only three other times in the Gospels. He occupies a more prominent place in the Gospel of Jn than in the synoptical writings, and this is explicable at least in part from the fact that Andrew was Greek both in language and sympathies (compare infra), and that his subsequent labors were intimately connected with the people for whom Jn was immediately writing

·         The first occured on the shores of the Sea of Tiberias where Jesus miraculously fed a crowd of five thousand. The apostles stood helplessly before the hungry masses who followed Christ, Philip was partly dejected and partly frightened when Christ asked him where they could buy enough bread to feed so many. He hesitated to answer, "'Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not enough for them, that each one may receive a little.'" Then, unobstrusively, almost shyly, Andrew inquired about the provisions on hand. He could report only a pitifully meager result: " 'There is a young boy here who has five barley loaves and two fishes.'" and then, feeling almost personally responsible that there was so little to offer, he apologetically added, " 'But what are those among so many?'" And quickly he stepped back again to stand quietly on the side.

·         A second appearance of Andrew is mentioned by John. There were certain converts from among the pagans who had come to Jerusalem to worship God on the day of the Passover. It was Christ's last celebration of this great feast of the Jews, only days before His passion and death. These proselytes approached Philip and inquired, "'Sir, we wish to see Jesus'"   Philip  referred them to Andrew who mentioned it to the Lord.  

·         The third incident occurred connected with the prophesy of the destruction of Jerusalem, by Jesus.   And as he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, "Tell us, when are these things to happen, and what will be the sign when all these will begin to come to pass?"

He is not even mentioned in the  Acts of the Apostles. None of his works are known. No Epistles he wrote has been preserved.  This is not because Andrew was not an active Apostle but because the Bible is essentially codified from the point of view of Greco-Roman culture and its interaction with the Gospel.  So we have to go by the traditions. These were handed down  by word of mouth and rituals and songs. 

A fragment of a Coptic gospel of the 4th or 5th century tells how not only Thomas (Jn 20:27), but also Andrew was compelled, by touching the feet of the risen Saviour, to believe in the bodily resurrection (Hennecke, Neutestamentlichen Apokryphen, etc., 38, 39).

These are referred to by early fathers.


·         Eusebius (Church History III.1), relying, apparently, upon Origen, assigns Scythia as his mission field: Andras de [eilechen] ten Skythian; 

·         St. Gregory of Nazianzus (Oration 33) mentions Epirus

·         St. Jerome (Ep. ad Marcell.) Achaia;  and

·         Theodoret (on Ps. cxvi) Hellas. 

Eusebius quotes Origen as saying Andrew preached along the Black Sea and the Dnieper and Volga rivers as far as Kiev and Novgorod.   Hence he became a patron saint of Ukraine, Romania and Russia.

·         According to Hippolytus of Rome, he preached in Thrace, and his presence in Byzantium is also mentioned in the apocryphal Acts of Andrew, written in the 2nd century;

·         Basil of Seleucia also knew of Apostle Andrew's mission in Thrace, as well as Scythia and Achaia. This diocese would later develop into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Andrew is recognized as its patron saint.

 Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

Byzantium   was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 657 BC and named after their king Byzas (Greek: Βύζας, Býzas, genitive Βύζαντος, Býzantos). The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion. The city was later renamed Nova Roma by Constantine the Great, but popularly called Constantinople and briefly became the imperial residence of the classical Roman Empire. Then subsequently the city was, for more than a thousand years, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, the Greek-speaking Roman Empire of late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Constantinople was captured by the Ottoman Turks, becoming the capital of their empire, in 1453. The name of the city was officially changed to Istanbul in 1930 following the establishment of modern Turkey. Consequently the patron saint of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is Apostle Andrew Prōtoklētos,  the First-called  


File:Constantinople coat of arms.PNG
File:Locator map Byzantion.PNG

Founder            Apostle Andrew

Independence   330 AD from the Metropolis of Heraclea

Recognition      Orthodox

Headquarters    Istanbul

Territory            Istanbul, most of Turkey, Mount Athos, Crete, part of northern Greece, the Dodecanese, Greek Orthodox Churches in the Diaspora

Nicephorus (H.E. II:39), relying upon early writers, states that "Andrew preached in Cappadocia, Galatia, and Bithynia, then in the land of the anthropophagi and the Scythian deserts, afterwards in Byzantium itself, where he appointed St. Stachys as its first bishop, and finally in Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Achaia."  Thus according to tradition, he founded the See of Byzantium (Constantinople) in AD 38, installing Stachys as its first bishop from AD 38 to AD 54. Stachys was one of the seventy Apostles of Jesus (Greek: Στάχυς means "ear-spike").  Stachys was probably the same person referred to in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16:9) where  Paul calls him "dear".

The Apostle Stachys was one of the Seventy Apostles of the Lord. In 38 AD Apostle Andrew appointed him first bishop of the city of Byzantium, which three centuries later would be renamed into Constantinople. According to the synaxarion, he built a church in which many Christians were gathering. There he taught and shepherded his flock. He lived 16 years in the apostolic preaching, and rested peacefully in the Lord.

In AD 330 that the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great moved his residence to Byzantium, renaming it Nova Roma.  From that time, the importance of the church there grew, along with the influence of its bishop. Prior to the moving of the imperial capital, the bishop of Byzantium had been under the authority of the metropolitan of Heraclea, but beginning in the 4th century, he grew to become independent in his own right and even to exercise authority throughout what is now modern-day Greece, Asia Minor, Pontus, and Thrace. With the development of the hierarchical structure of the Church, the bishop of Constantinople came to be styled as exarch (a position superior to metropolitan). Constantinople was recognized as the fourth patriarchate at the First Council of Constantinople in 381, after Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome. The patriarch was usually appointed by Antioch.

George Alexandrou, international reporter, writer, and political commentator, on his thousand-page book in Greek, "He Raised the Cross on the Ice", explores the sources, traditions, routes and cultures of St. Andrew’s apostolate and makes mention of Andrew's four missionary journeys using the then existing trade routes of the world.  It would give the vast area covered by Andrew.  The following description follow Alexandrou's description closely.

George Alexandrou



Judea to Constantinople, Pontus, and the Caucasus

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St. Andrew first preached in Judea to the Samaritans and in Gaza, which at the time of Christ was inhabited by Greek Philistines. In the Masoretic text to the Septuagint, the word “Philistine” is translated as “Greek.”

After Gaza, he went to Lydda in Palestine, where St. George would later be martyred, to Antioch, and then to Ankara and Edessa, today’s Urfa in Turkey,. Abgar, King of Edessa, became a Christian and this is where the icon of the Lord, “Made-Without-Hands” is from.

A tenth century icon of the Image of Edessa held by king Abgar.
Note how the face of Jesus is in the centre of a cloth with a
clear border (with tassels) at the bottom.

A Russian icon, here showing the cloth as a square on which the
face is imprinted.
We cannot know for certain whether these
pictures represented the Image of Edessa as it actually was, but ALL
show it as a single unfolded cloth with space around the face and
 the outer limits of the cloth.

 According to the sources, this may have been the first Christian kingdom on earth, perhaps as early as 35 or 36 A.D. just a few years after the Crucifixion. After Edessa, some traditions say that St. Andrew went to the Greek town of Byzantium (later Constantinople) in 36 A.D. and appointed the first bishop, St. Stachys,  who was one of the seventy disciples of the Lord. Then he preached in Bythinia, Cappadocia and Galatia, up through Greek Pontus, which today is northern Turkey. Then traditions say he turned to Georgia, Armenia and the Caucuses. This was the first trip, after which he returned to Jerusalem.

File:Anatolia Ancient Regions base.svg

Georgian St.Andrew



Jerusalem to Central Asia|
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The second trip was quite different. He followed the same route from Jerusalem, but after Antioch he took a ship to Ephesus to meet St. John. On the way he touched on Cyprus for a few days, at the Cape of St. Andrew. I’m not sure if he met any Cypriotes, it was only a stopping point for the ship. According to Cypriot tradition, because the crew and passengers needed fresh water and this was a desert place, he went ashore and prayed until water poured forth from a rock.

After Ephesus, he went to Antioch, then to Nicea where he stayed for some time. From there he went to Pontus again, and to Georgia. From Georgia, several traditions say that he passed down to Parthia (Persia) through Kurdistan, and then further to the Cynocefaloi in the desert of Gedrozia (now Balochistan) near the coast and the present Pakistan-Iranian border.

Cynocefaloi translates literally as “the dog-head people.”


Cynocephali the Indian tribe
 illustrated in the Kievan psalter, 1397                                                      

Mandeville's representation

·         They are also spoken of in the Life of Saint Makarios, which locates the tribe in a desert far beyond Syria.

·         Tzetzis, a Byzantine historical commentator, refers to them as inhabitants of India, of which modern Pakistan would have been a part.

·         In the Greek Life of St. Christopher (who some speculate came from this area), it is said that that he came to the Roman world passing through the Persian desert, and

·         Marco Polo mentions them as inhabitants of the Indian Ocean.

So they could be the same primitive tribes that Alexander the Greek found on his way to the sea coast of the Gedrosian Desert (modern Makran in Pakistan).  Our main source for the Cynocefaloi is Ktesias (5th century B.C.), a well- known ancient geographer, pharmacist and historian from   In Ktesias’ book “Indica,”,   there is a whole text dedicated to the Cynocefaloi, “an Indian tribe.” These ancient folk tales (Ethiopian, Slavic, Persian, Arabic, Armenian, Greek, etc.) all refer to the dramatic contact of Alexander the Great and the Cynocefaloi.  This also explains many old Greek icons of St. Christopher with a dog’s head.   St. Christopher’s life from the Menaion says that he was so tremendously ferocious-looking that when Emperor Decius saw him, he fell off his throne from fright.   The sources say that St. Christopher came across the Persian Desert. These people lived on the other side of the desert.

According to the Syriac text, when St. Andrew went to these people they were transformed into normal human beings.   

The Syriac sources say that when St. Andrew first saw them he was horrified. He panicked and fled back to the shore to jump into the boat, but as he reached the shore he smelled incense and realized that the Lord Himself had guided the boat there. He even questioned God at first, “Why did you bring me to this place?”  But when the people came to him, they were kind, they gave him hospitality. 

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Cynocephalus St. Christopher

So, from this place some sources say that St. Andrew went back through Pakistan and Afghanistan on the Silk Road to Sogdiana, now Samarkand and Bokhara in Uzbekistan, and not far from the border of western China – “Soh-Yok” in Chinese, which means “the ancient provinces.”    The Proto-Bulgarians who followed the Huns even had a church dedicated to St. Andrew, although after later invasions they had to be re-Christianized. Also we have the Hephtalit Huns, a barbaric Turcik tribe who were the first Christian nation in central Asia (third-fourth century). The last Hephthalite King, Yudhishthira, ruled until about 670.  Hephthalites are believed to be among the ancestors of modern-day Pashtuns and in particular of the Abdali Pashtun tribe. According to the academic Yu. V. Gankovsky,

"The Pashtuns began as a union of largely East-Iranian tribes which became the initial ethnic stratum of the Pashtun ethnogenesis, dates from the middle of the first millennium CE and is connected with the dissolution of the Epthalite (White Huns) confederacy. [...] Of the contribution of the Epthalites (White Huns) to the ethnogenesis of the Pashtuns we find evidence in the ethnonym of the largest of the Pashtun tribe unions, the Abdali (Durrani after 1747) associated with the ethnic name of the Epthalites — Abdal. The Siah-posh, the Kafirs (Nuristanis) of the Hindu Kush, called all Pashtuns by a general name of Abdal still at the beginning of the 19th century."

The Hephthalites could also have been ancestors of the Abdal tribe which has assimilated into the Turkmens and Kazakhs.  In North India, the Rajputs formed as a result of merging of the Hephthalites with the Gurjars, though such claim is disputed.

It is very important to understand that there are three separate traditions of St. Andrew’s missionary journeys to western China, eastern-central Asia, and Kalbin (Khalbinski Hrebet, a mountainous area on the borders of present-day Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia.)

·         One of these traditions is from Kazakhstan,

·         another is Syriac,

·         and the third is from the Bulgars of the Russian steppes, who migrated through Greece and eventually settled in Italy, filling their villages with churches dedicated to St. Andrew.

According to Epiphanius, a ninth-century monk historian of Constantinople, St. Andrew also went north of China, to the land of the Scythian Massagetae and Masakas (the cradle of the Bulgarians and Turks at the junction of present day Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Altai), the Proto- Bulgarian tribes, the Ungric and Trocharians, and also to the mountains of Kalbin in Altai, Siberia.

     Siberian tradition that St. Andrew preached as far north as the present-day village of Kazanskoe in the Russian Urals, and prophesied that there would be widespread Christianity there someday. The village has a church dedicated to him.

St. Andrew returned from Altai, and, still following the footsteps of local traditions, he would have taken a different route to the Caspian Sea through the steppes where, according to many early traditions and texts, he preached to the Alans. From there he went to Kurdistan, where he was nearly martyred. He escaped, however, and returned to Jerusalem.



Coptic Ethiopian Traditions

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His third missionary journey, if we accept the traditions, began after the first apostolic synod in 49 A.D. This is the only point time-wise when he possibly could have gone to Africa. The sources for the African stories are Ethiopian Coptic traditions, and an apocryphal Greek source, of which we have a revised, edited Latin version by St. Gregory of Tours. If he did go to Africa, it was for a special reason, because this was not the place he originally had been sent to preach. He was to preach in Bythinia, to the Greeks and to the eastern Scythians.

Now these Coptic traditions say that he made a trip to the Berber (meaning “Barbarian”) lands, but we don’t know exactly where this was because the Berbers were living from the Siwa Oasis in Egypt to Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and Niger, and were the ancestors of the present-day Kabyls (the Turaregs) in Algeria. Perhaps he simply went to a place in modern-day Egypt. From there, these sources say that he went to the land of the Anthropofagi, a very definite place in the area of the Great Lakes on the borders of Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Because, according to the ancient text, there was a volcano there, I believe that this was Lake Kioga, but this is my own opinion. Then, the legends say, he made his way to the abyss near Zimbabwe. According to research of the last century, the Himyarite Arabs were travelling at that time from Yemen to Mozambique to Zimbabwe, the ancient Ofir, where Hiram supposedly took the gold for King Solomon, so possibly the Jews, Phonecians, and Arabs knew this road, but not the Greeks or the Romans.

 According to the Coptic “Acts of St. Andrew and St. Matthias (Matthew),” an extremely colorful and fantastic apocryphal story, on his third missionary journey St. Andrew was commanded, either from heaven or by the apostles, to go and help St. Matthew because he had been captured by the Anthropofagi, who were man-eaters, cannibals.  These traditions say that St. Matthew was captured by cannibals and St. Andrew was sent to rescue him?!  Some traditions say that it was St. Matthias, the majority of the sources think it was St. Matthew because Matthias went to Georgia, while St. Matthew went to Alexandria and Ethiopia

"In Sinope [Pontos, St. Andrew] prayed for the imprisoned Matthias, his chains fell from him, and the cell door opened. The people beat Andrew, breaking his teeth and cutting his fingers, and left him for dead in a dung heap. Jesus appeared to him and healed him, telling him to be of good cheer. When the people saw him the next day, they were amazed and believed. In Patras, Andrew healed the wife of the proconsul Aegeates of an incurable disease of the eyes. He healed a paralytic, lepers, and all manner of disease. Aegeates heard all of this and arrested Andrew. He tried to compel him through beatings to sacrifice to idols and so restore idolatry in his country. When Andrew refused, he was tied to a cross upside down so that he would live longer and suffer more. Twenty thousand of the faithful stood by and mourned. Even then, Andrew taught them and exhorted them to endure temporary sufferings for the kingdom of heaven. Out of fear of the people, Aegeates came to remove Andrew from the cross. Andrew, however, said that Aegeates could still become a Christian, but that he had already seen Jesus and he would not allow himself to be removed from the cross. Suddenly, a heavenly light illumined Andrew for about half an hour, and then he gave up his spirit."

(Excerpt from the 2005 Daily Lives, Miracles, and Wisdom of the Saints by Tom and Georgia Mitrakos)

 St. Andrew could have returned through Ethiopia, then taken the road to Meroe, up the Nile and back to Jerusalem, which was a well-known route for the Greeks and Arabs.



To the North

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After the dormition of the Mother of God, St. Andrew began his final journey from Jerusalem.

The trail of tradition says that he went back to Pontus, then to Georgia, to the Caucuses, and to the Sea of Azov in southern Russia. From there he went to Donets, to the Crimea, up the Dnepr River to Kiev and to the Scythians of the Ukraine. In the Crimea, where he stayed with the Greeks of Sebastopol and Cherson, we know that there were first-century Christian communities organized by St. Andrew himself. From the Crimea and Kiev in the Ukraine, he would have gone north by river to what is now Moscow, to Novgorod and then to Lake Ladoga (Valaam).

Early written narratives no longer exist, but this is a very likely route because the river trade from Crimea to northern Russia and Karelia (Lake Ladoga) was common and relatively easy. Extensive trade from the south is attested to by the great number of Roman and Byzantine coins found in Valaam and Karelia. There is also a local tradition that he went to Solovki, and they’ve found some very old coins in the Solovki Islands in the White Sea depicting St. Andrew, but we can’t claim he was there solely on the basis of finding coins with his image. We can’t completely exclude this legend, because it might be true, but we have no historical evidence to support it. Conceivably, he could have traveled from Valaam to Solovki with the Lapp reindeer herders who moved between Solovki in the summer and the protected shores of Ladoga in the winter.

Although we don’t have extremely early texts, the accounts from Lake Ladoga and Valaam are not legends, they are tradition. We have an 11th century Russian text and we also have the tradition of Valaam itself. From Valaam it appears that he went to the Baltic Sea (then possibly to Scotland and back to the Baltic, although, as I said earlier, this is not certain). Then, through Poland and Slovakia to Romania, where he settled for twenty years.

Finally, he went back to Sebastopol (Crimea) to Sinope, and then to Greece and to his end in Patras.

We can trace his return route on this fourth journey because we have traditions for him during this time in Poland, Byelorussia, and even in Germany, although this is doubtful. We also have solid traditions for him in the lands of the Goths, although before the Goths moved into the Ukraine they lived in Poland alongside Germanic tribes. Possibly he returned through modern-day Poland and the tribes that later moved up into Germany carried the tradition of St. Andrew’s passing with them, but we can’t say that he was in Germany itself.

It was on his return south that he settled in Romania for twenty years. During that time he traveled in Moldavia and Bulgaria, on the Danube and along the coast of the Black Sea, but mostly he was in and around his cave in Dervent, Dobrogea, in southern Romania.

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 St. Andrew's Cave, Romania.

St. Andrew's Cave, Romania.

St. Andrew’s Romanian cave is still kept as a holy place and Romanian Orthodox have gone there on pilgrimage for almost two thousand years. We also know the locations of other caves he lived in: in Pontus near the Black Sea (now Turkey), in Georgia, in Russia, in Romania, and in Loutraki near Corinth. It is all him, the same man.

 The Ethiopic tradition also describes St. Andrew as a very strict vegetarian. This is possible because, although most of the other apostles were married, both he and John the Evangelist were virgins. They had been disciples of St. John the Baptist and followed his hesychast tradition. They were the first monks and ascetics of the Christian world. Even in our Orthodox hymnography we remember St Andrew as being closely associated with St. John the Baptist. In Orthodoxy we have choices: we have vegetarian hermits, sometimes very strict, living only on bread and water all their lives, and we also have saintly kings who ate pork and beef.

 You can imagine, he was tired of living with this, and when he came to the Dacians, who had no slaves, where men and women were equal, where Jews and Greeks were accepted in the same manner, and where there were ascetic hermit-priests, you can understand how easily he fit in. He was able to teach, he was happy there. In fact, they thought that the religion he brought was not only better than theirs, but was a continuation of their old religion. They saw their native religion as a foreshadowing of Christianity. Twenty years is a long time, and you can understand why the Romanians remember more of him than any other tradition.

From Romania there are traditions that he went to Cherson in the Crimea and from there to Sinope, to Macedonia, and preached a bit in Epirus (northern Greece and southern Albania). Although we have references from early texts that he preached in Epirus, we don’t have any local traditions there. 

Apocryphal Writings

The Syriac Teaching of the Apostles (ed Cureton, 34) mentions Bithynia, Eusebius gives Scythia (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, i, 1), and others Greece (Lipsius, Apokryphen Apostelgeschichten, I, 63).


The Muratorian Fragment relates that John wrote his gospel in consequence of a revelation given to Andrew, and this would point to Ephesus (compare Hennecke id, 459).


The Contendings of the Twelve Apostles (for historicity, authorship, etc., of this work, compare Budge, Contendings of the Apostles, Intro; Hennecke, Handbuch zu den neutestamentlichen Apokryphen, 351-58; RE, 664-66) contains several parts dealing with Andrew:

 (1) "The Preaching of Andrew and Philemon among the Kurds" (Budge, II 163 ff) narrates the appearance of the risen Christ to His disciples, the sending of Andrew to Lydia and his conversion of the people there.

(2) The "Preaching of Matthias in the City of the Cannibals" (Budge, II, 267 ff; REH, 666) tells of how Matthias, on being imprisoned and blinded by the Cannibals, was released by Andrew, who had been brought to his assistance in a ship by Christ, but the two were afterward again imprisoned. Matthias then caused the city to be inundated, the disciples were set free, and the people converted.

(3) "The Acts of Andrew and Bartholomew" (Budge, II, 183 ff) gives an account of their mission among the Parthians.

(4) According to the "Martyrdom of Andrew" (Budge, II, 215) he was stoned and crucified in Scythia.

According to the surviving fragments of "The Acts of Andrew," a heretical work dating probably from the 2nd century, and referred to by Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, ii, 5), the scene of Andrew's death was laid in Achaia. There he was imprisoned and crucified by order of the proconsul Eges (or Aegeates), whose wife had been estranged from him by the preaching of Andrew (compare Hennecke, 459-73; Pick, Apocryphal Acts, 201-21; Lipsius, I, 543-622). A so-called "Gospel of Andrew" mentioned by Innocent I (Ep, I, iii, 7) and Augustine (Contra Advers. Leg. et Prophet., I, 20), but this is probably due to a confusion with the above-mentioned "Acts of Andrew."

St. Andrew in Patras   - Martyrdom


 " In the city of Patras, he performed many miracles. Among the new faithful were the brother and wife of the Proconsul Aegeates. Angered at this, Aegeates subjected St. Andrew to torture and then crucified him. While the apostle of Christ was still alive on the cross, he gave beneficial instructions to the Christians who had gathered around. The people wanted to take him down from the cross but he refused to let them. Then the apostle prayed to God and an extraordinary light encompassed him. This brilliant illumination lasted for half an hour, and when it disappeared, the apostle  was found dead.  He was by tradition died in 62 AD.  His relics were taken to Constantinople; his head was later taken to Rome, and one hand was taken to Moscow."

St. Andrew preaching




Among the first who believed was the Proconsul Lesvios himself after witnessing the healing of the Roman ruler Maxmilla who managed one of the provinces.  A large number joined the baptism. But when this became known in Rome, and the Emperor Nero,   instructed Lesvios to be replaced immediately by one Aegeatis.


Apostle Andrew met everyday with Lesvios and taught him the Way. Large numbers of people from all over the Achaia  believed and joined the Church.  Among  them were  the wife of Aegeatis herself by the name Maximilla whom Andrews healed,   Stratoklis the brother of Aegeatis, a  mathematician.


St. Andrew healing Maximilla

Aegeatis ordered the arrest of Apostle Andrew and  was put in prison.  Angered by the refusal of his wife to leave the new found faith Aegeatis finally ordered the execution by crucifixion. The cross was in the shape of the letter X, which had been set up in the "mouth of the sea of Ammoudias" [χείλος της θαλάσσιας αμμουδιάς]   which begins with the greek letter X.  This cross is called Crux decussata (X-shaped cross, or "saltire"), Other traditions  hold that the St. Andrew asked to be nailed on an X-shaped cross, out of his feelings of unworthiness to suffer in the same way as Christ.  The cross of the form X  is now commonly known as a "Saint Andrew's Cross".  On the Cross, which was made from olive wood, the hands and feet of the Apostle were tied, not nailed. And this was done by the Proconsul to keep the Saint alive for a long time to torture him.


The circular letter of Clerus of Achaia which portrayed the death scene of this brave Apostle in stirring and impressive phrases:

When Andrew was led to martyrdom, he looked up at his cross and cried out loudly and clearly, "O good cross! From the limbs of the Lord you have received your eternal form, the long awaited, ardently loved, constantly sought cross! Now my yearning soul is ready. Take me away from mankind and give me to my Master. Through you may He receive me Who has redeemed me through you."

The crucifixion was carried out on an X-shaped cross,known today as the St Andrew's cross,( some tradition describe the crucifixion as upside down   so that he saw only the sky). He preached for two days before he died.It was Andrew's request that he should be crucified on such a cross because he believed he was unworthy to die on the same type of cross as the Lord.He was not nailed to the cross. He was bound on it.


Twenty thousand stood by and mourned.Out of fear of the people Aegeates came to remove Andrew from the cross. Andrew told him that he could still become a Christian but that he would not permit his removal from the cross as he had seen Jesus. Many tried to untie the knots but their hands became numb. There then appeared a heavenly light which covered Andrew for about half an hour.When it left, Andrew was dead.The crucifixion occured in about the year 70.  Andrew was 80 years old when he died.   


He was removed from the cross by Bishop Stratoklis and Maximilla and buried with honour. Many came to Patras to pay their respects. When Aegeates realised that he had killed a man of God, he committed suicide.

Andrew's body was removed from Patras in 357 under the orders of the Emperor Constantine (son of King Constantine the Great) and buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.The skull of St Andrew was kept in Patras until 1460.It was then taken to Rome by Thomas Paleologos, the last ruler of Morea.In 1967 it was returned to Patras. The Christians with their bishop Stratoklis, the first bishop of Patras, then received the the Sacred Relic and  buried it with great honor. Later, when the throne of Byzantium was ascended by Constantius, who was the son of Constantine the Great, part of the sacred relics were transferred from he city of Patras to Constantiniple and enshrined in the Church of the Holy Apostles "inside the Holy Altar".

The holy of Skull of Apostle Andrews seems to have remained in Patras. But when the Turks were to occupy the city in 1460,  Thomas Paleologos, brother of the last emperor Constantine  the last Master of Moria, took it to Italy and was placed in the church of St. Peter in Rome, where it remained until 1964. On September 26th of that year, a delegation from the pope Paul transferred from Rome the precious treasure and delivered it to its rightful owner, the Church of Patras  .

Basilica of St. Andrew at Patras, where Andrew's relics are kept,
said to be erected over the place of his martyrdom

Reliquary of St. Andrew at Patras.

The statue of Saint Andrew in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City; the relic of his cross was kept directly above this.


Relics of the Apostle Andrew are kept at the Basilica of St Andrew in Patras, Greece; the Duomo di Sant'Andrea, Amalfi, Italy; St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland; and the Church of St Andrew and St Albert, Warsaw, Poland. There are also numerous smaller reliquaries throughout the world.St Jerome wrote that the relics of St Andrew were taken from Patras to Constantinople by order of the Roman emperor Constantius II around 357 and deposited in the Church of the Holy Apostles. The head of Andrew was given by the Byzantine despot Thomas Palaeologus to Pope Pius II in 1461. It was enshrined in one of the four central piers of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. In September 1964, Pope Paul VI, as a gesture of goodwill toward the Greek Orthodox Church, ordered that all of the relics of St Andrew that were in Vatican City be sent back to Patras. Cardinal Augustin Bea along with many other cardinals presented the skull to Bishop Constantine of Patras on 24 September 1964. The cross of St. Andrew was taken from Greece during the Crusades by the Duke of Burgundy. It was kept in the church of St. Victor in Marseilles until it returned to Patras on 19 January 1980. The cross of the apostle was presented to the Bishop of Patras Nicodemus by a Catholic delegation led by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray. All the relics, which consist of the small finger, the skull (part of the top of the cranium of Saint Andrew), and the cross on which he was martyred, have been kept in the Church of St Andrew at Patras in a special shrine and are revered in a special ceremony every November 30, his feast day.


In 1208, following the sack of Constantinople, those relics of St Andrew and St Peter which remained in the imperial city were taken to Amalfi, Italy,  by Cardinal Peter of Capua, a native of Amalfi. The Amalfi cathedral (Duomo), dedicated to St Andrew (as is the town itself), contains a tomb in its crypt that it maintains still contains the rest of the relics of the apostle. On 8 May 2008 the relic believed to be Andrew's head was returned to Amalfi Cathedral.

Traditions and legends


The church tradition of Georgia regards St. Andrew as the first preacher of Christianity in the territory of Georgia and as the founder of the Georgian church. This tradition was apparently derived from the Byzantine sources, particularly Nicetas of Paphlagonia (died c. 890) who asserts that "Andrew preached to the Iberians, Sauromatians, Taurians, and Scythians and to every region and city, on the Black Sea, both north and south."


Cypriot tradition holds that a ship which was transporting Saint Andrew went off course and ran aground. Upon coming ashore, Andrew struck the rocks with his staff at which point a spring of healing waters gushed forth. Using it, the sight of the ship's captain, who had been blind in one eye, was restored. Thereafter, the site became a place of pilgrimage and a fortified monastery stood there in the 12th century, from which Isaac Comnenus negotiated his surrender to Richard the Lionheart. In the 15th century, a small chapel was built close to the shore. The main monastery of the current church dates to the 18th century.


mosaic of St. Andrew


Fifth-century mosaic of St. Andrew at St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome


The official stance of the Romanian Orthodox Church is that Andrew preached the Gospel to the Daco-Romans in the province of Dobruja (Scythia Minor), whom he is said to have converted to Christianity. There have been some ancient Christian symbols found carved in a cave near Murfatlar. This have been used for propaganda purposes in the communist era as part of the protochronism ideology, which purports that the Orthodox Church has been a companion and defender of the Romanian people for all of its history.  This theory is largely dismissed by scholars and researchers including George Alexandrou 

According to Alexandrou research, St. Andrew spent 20 years on the Dacian territories preaching and teaching. Alexandrou also supposed that St. Andrews felt very close to the Dacians because they were monotheists. During that period St. Andrew traveled around the Danube territories and along the coast of the Black Sea, but mostly he was in and around his cave in Dobruja (located in the vicinity of the Ion Corvin village). St. Andrew’s cave is still kept as a holy place. Later, John Cassian (360-435), Dionysius Exiguus (470-574) and Joannes Maxentius (leader of the so-called Scythian Monks) lived in the same area known as Scythia Minor or Dobruja, in South East Romania.

Ukraine, Romania, and Russia


 Early Christian History in Ukraine holds that the apostle Andrew is said to have preached on the southern borders of modern-day Ukraine, along the Black Sea. Legend has it that he travelled up the Dnieper River and reached the future location of Kiev, where he erected a cross on the site where the St. Andrew's Church of Kiev currently stands, and prophesied the foundation of a great Christian city, Jerusalem of the Russian/Ukrainian land.



The monument in Kiev




The Saltire (or "St. Andrew's Cross") is the national flag of Scotland

St Andrew on the seal of the Guardians of Scotland, 1292.
The seal included the inscription: "Andrea Scotis dux esto compatriotis" (Andrew be leader of the compatriot Scots)



St. Andrew carving c.1500 in the National Museum of Scotland


About the middle of the 10th century, Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland. Several legends state that the relics of Andrew were brought by divine guidance from Constantinople to the place where the modern town of St Andrews stands today (Gaelic, Cill Rìmhinn).

The oldest surviving manuscripts   ( is among the manuscripts collected by Jean-Baptiste Colbert and willed to Louis XIV of France, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, the other in the Harleian Mss in the British Library, London) state that the relics of Andrew were brought by one Regulus to the Pictish king Óengus mac Fergusa (729–761). The only historical Regulus (Riagail or Rule) whose name is preserved in the tower of St Rule was an Irish monk expelled from Ireland with Saint Columba; his dates, however, are c 573 – 600. There are good reasons for supposing that the relics were originally in the collection of Acca, bishop of Hexham, who took them into Pictish country when he was driven from Hexham (c. 732), and founded a see, not, according to tradition, in Galloway, but on the site of St Andrews. The connection made with Regulus is, therefore, due in all probability to the desire to date the foundation of the church at St Andrews as early as possible.

According to legend, in 832 AD, Óengus II led an army of Picts and Scots into battle against the Angles, led by Æthelstan, near modern-day Athelstaneford, East Lothian. The legend states that he was heavily outnumbered and hence whilst engaged in prayer on the eve of battle, Óengus vowed that if granted victory he would appoint Saint Andrew as the Patron Saint of Scotland. On the morning of battle white clouds forming an X shape in the sky were said to have appeared. Óengus and his combined force, emboldened by this apparent divine intervention, took to the field and despite being inferior in numbers were victorious. Having interpreted the cloud phenomenon as representing the crux decussata upon which Saint Andrew was crucified, Óengus honoured his pre-battle pledge and duly appointed Saint Andrew as the Patron Saint of Scotland. The white saltire set against a celestial blue background is said to have been adopted as the design of the flag of Scotland on the basis of this legend. However, there is evidence Andrew was venerated in Scotland before this.

Andrew's connection with Scotland may have been reinforced following the Synod of Whitby, when the Celtic Church felt that Columba had been "outranked" by Peter and that Peter's brother would make a higher ranking patron. The 1320 Declaration of Arbroath cites Scotland's conversion to Christianity by Andrew, "the first to be an Apostle". Numerous parish churches in the Church of Scotland and congregations of other Christian churches in Scotland are named after Andrew. The national church of the Scottish people in Rome, Sant'Andrea degli Scozzesi is dedicated to St Silver St Andrew Medal RoundAndrew.





Andrew is the patron saint of Barbados, Scotland, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Patras in Greece, Amalfi in Italy, Luqa in Malta, and Esgueira in Portugal. He was also the patron saint of Prussia and of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The flag of Scotland (and consequently the Union Flag which also features on the flags of Australia, New Zealand and the arms and flag of Nova Scotia) feature St Andrew's saltire cross. The saltire is also the flag of Tenerife, the flag of Galicia and the naval jack of Russia. The Confederate flag also features a saltire commonly referred to as a St Andrew's cross, although its designer, William Porcher Miles, said he changed it from an upright cross to a saltire so that it would not be a religious symbol but merely a heraldic device. The Florida and Alabama flags also show that device. Andrew is also the patron saint of the U.S. Army Rangers.


  Apostle James

James the Greater

  Jacobus Major; James the Great

This James is the brother of John the Evangelist and the son of Zebedee and Salome.

James is called  James the Greater (meaning “The Older” or “The Taller”or "Big") to distinguish him from all the other Jameses in the Bible, especially  from fellow-apostle James who is called "the Less" (meaning “The Younger” or “The Shorter” or "Small"). There are at least five Jameses in the New Testament and this appellation was necessary to distinguish between others.  Here are the five:

1. James Son of Zebedee: Early Disciples of Jesus (This is James the Great, James the Major)

2. James Brother of Jesus: Leader of the church in Jerusalem

3. James Son of Mary: The Marys at the tomb.

4. James Son of Alphaeus: A Tax Collector?

5. James Son or Brother of Judas/Jude

Hans von Kulmbach, Mary Salome and Zebedee with their Sons James the Greater and John the Evangelist, c. 1511.

The name James

The English name "James" comes from Italian "Giacomo", a variant of "Giacobo" derived from Iacobus (Jacob) in Latin,
Greek Ἰάκωβος (Yaacob).

In French, Jacob is translated "Jacques".
 In eastern Spain, Jacobus became "Jacome" or "Jaime";
in Catalunya, it became Jaume,
in western Iberia it became "Iago",  from Hebrew יַעֲקֹב, which when prefixed with "Sant" became "Santiago" in Portugal and Galicia;
"Tiago" is also spelled "Diego", which is also the Spanish name of Saint Didacus of Alcalá. 
The Spanish form of "James" is "Diego" or "Iago".
In most languages, "James" and "Jacob" are identical. Where  English Bible has "James," a Greek Bible has Iakwbos.


James the Apostle and John the Evangelist were brothers.

Their father, Zebedee,( Matt. 4:21; 20:20; 27:56; Mark 1:20.  )was clearly a man of wealth and influence. From the acquaintance between the apostle John and Annas the high priest, (John 18:15) we could expect Zebedees  to be of aristocratic circumstances. Zebedee and Sons owned probably several fishing yachts and were in partnership with Yona and sons (Peter and Andrew) in business.  As such they inherited the profession of fishing.  Zebedee (Greek: Ζεβεδαῖος, Zebedaios, Greek word #2199 in Strong's; Hebrew: זְבַדְיָה, Zebadyah, Hebrew word #2069 in Strong's), although named several times in the gospels, the only times he actually appears are in Matthew 4:21-22 and Mark 1:20, where he left  the boat after Jesus called James and John. Mark notes that Zebedee was left with the "hired men". Zebedees lived at or near Bethsaida.

According to tradition James, the older of the two apostle sons of Zebedee,  was thirty years old when he became an apostle. He was married, had four children, and lived near his parents in the outskirts of Capernaum.

Strongs #2199: Zebedaiov Zebedaios

Zebedee = "my gift"

We are told that Zebedee's wife was  Salome (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40) who was a follower of Jesus and appears in the critical times of the life of Jesus indicating that she has a special relation with Jesus.  

Mark 15:40 names the women present at the crucifixion as "Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome", the parallel passage in Matthew 27:56 has "Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.".

Now add this:  "Standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25)

Thus we have these comparisons:

Mark 15:40  (1) Mary Magdalene, and (2) Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses (Mrs. Mary Cleopas), and (3) Salome

Matthew 27:56  (1)  Mary Magdalene, and (2)  Mary the mother of James and Joses (Mrs. Mary Cleopas), and the (3)  mother of Zebedee's children (Mrs. Zebedee)."

This will identify Salome as the mother of Zebedee's children, i.e., Mrs Salome Zebedee

Now John 19:25 gives  His mother (which is Mrs. Mary Joseph), and His mother's sister (?), Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

Syriac "Peshito" gives the reading: "His mother and his mother's sister, and Mary of Cleophas and Mary Magdalen." If this last supposition is right, Salome was a sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

"among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee." (Matthew 27:56 RSV)

This establishes the relationship Jesus and the brothers James and John were first cousins, children of two sisters.

Putting the accounts together we have to conclude that Mary had a sister Salome who was married to Zebedee and was the mother of the apostles James and John.

Salome was Mary's sister, Jesus' aunt and John's mother. Jesus and John were cousins.  Thus we see four cousins in the David's Kingdom story.  Jesus Joseph was the rightful heir to the throne of David by legal heritage through Joseph, by flesh through Mary (See my study on the Genealogy of Jesus) ; cousin John Zachariah the Baptist again in the line of David (making the jewish High Priest think that he was the mesia), James Zebedee and John Zebedee.  While all the four were rightful Kings in the line of David only Jesus had the legal right(through Joseph) as well as lineal right through his mother.  This will make many of the later events some sense.

Catholic Encyclopaedia puts this as follows:
"Some authors, comparing John 19:25 with Matthew 28:56 and Mark 15:40, identify, and probably rightly so, Mary the Mother of James the Less and of Joseph in Mark and Matthew with "Mary of Cleophas" in John. As the name of Mary Magdalen occurs in the three lists, they identify further Salome in Mark with "the mother of the sons of Zebedee" in Matthew; finally they identify Salome with "his mother's sister" in John. They suppose, for this last identification, that four women are designated by John 19:25; the Syriac "Peshito" gives the reading: "His mother and his mother's sister, and Mary of Cleophas and Mary Magdalen." If this last supposition is right, Salome was a sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and James the Greater and John were first cousins of the Lord; this may explain the discipleship of the two brothers, Salome's request and their own claim to the first position in His kingdom, and His commendation of the Blessed Virgin to her own nephew. But it is doubtful whether the Greek admits of this construction without the addition or the omission of kai (and). Thus the relationship of St. James to Jesus remains doubtful."

Richard Bauckham in his book, “Gospel Women,” presents a possible alternative of points to historical traditions and works that claimed Salome was Jesus’ sister by Joseph from a previous marriage. .  Cleopas is the brother of Joseph and both married girls by the name Mary.  Later Christian literature like Protevangelium of James 19:3-20:4; Gospel of Philip 59:6-11; Epiphanius, Pan. 78.8.1; 78.9.6. gives the names Mary and Salome to sisters of Jesus. This would make James and John as nephews to Jesus



 Zahn asserts that Salome was the daughter of a priest.  But I could not find any argument for this anywhere.

At any rate all these people were close family and were certainly knit together.  This will explain the following later events.

  • After Andrew and Simon this two (James and John) were called by Jesus as they worked with their father in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. Without argument or discussion, James and John left their boat and even their father behind, and followed Jesus to become “fishers of men”. After all they were all in this for a long time as families.   It was not an abrupt call.  This family was following the Jewish mesianic expectation and were closely monitoring the  Jesus movement and were very much aware of their position in the Mesanic Kingdom.  They understood this as a revolutionary take over of the Davidic Kingdom from the Roman Foreigners.  This will explain why James and John left without a murmer at the call from Jesus and why Zebedee accepted the call of his children without a question.  Was there a royal conspiracy?
  • At the cross, Jesus entrusted his mother’s care to John - John being already her nephew and John’s own mother being present. Mary at the cross had the support of her sister and it was mother and son Salome and John who took Mary home afterwards. The three are missing from those named as present at the burial. Nor were Mary and John at the tomb on Easter morning, although Salome went there with the other women.
  • Looking back to the earlier occasion when the mother of James and John appears, it was she who came to Jesus with the request that her sons be given places of honour in His kingdom - seats on His right and His left (Matthew 20:20-28 Mark 10:35-45).   If they were His cousins, this request suddenly appears in its true light. Jesus’ own brother’s had not, at that time, joined His following.  They were thinking about the reestablishment of the Kingdom of Judah liberated from Rome.  .  

Jesus gave a special name: "Boanerges" (Sons of Thunder) for James and John  



Jesus nicknamed the two brothers "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17) perhaps meaning that they were headstrong, hot-tempered, and impulsive and strong for the re-establishment of the Kingdom

This assessment is borne out in the following occasions

  •  And John, answering, said: Master, we saw a certain man casting out devils in your name: and we forbade him, because he follows not with us. And Jesus said to him: Forbid him not: for he that is not against you is for you. (Luke 9:49-50)  They simply thought it hampers the take over of power if some one else is in the field.


  •  And he sent messengers before his face: and going, they entered into a city of the Samaritans, to prepare for him. And they received him not, because his face was of one going to Jerusalem. And when his disciples, James and John, had seen this, they said: Lord, will you that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them? And turning, he rebuked them, saying: you know not of what spirit you are. The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save. And they went into another town. (Luke 9:52-56)

James the son of Zebedee and his brother John were among the twelve disciples of Jesus and were within the inner three - the third outsider was Peter.

·         They, together with Peter, were privileged to behold the Transfiguration (Mat 17:1-2),

·         to witness the healing of Peter's mother-in-law ( Mat 8:14-15))

·         the raising of the daughter of Jairus ((Mark 5:21–43, Matthew 9:18–26, Luke 8:40–56).),

·          Jesus took them with him in the garden of Gethsemane on the night before His death (Mat 26:37-38).

In due course Jesus was able to direct them to the higher purpose for which they were called on the principles of servanthood.  Jesus explained to them  how the Kingdom of God is the upside down Kingdom of the World.   It's not about domination and control. It's about love and sacrifice.  Once they have seen the power of love on the cross and subsequent resurrection power the James was the thundering lightning with a different hope and struggle.

James, John and Peter followed Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane. (Mark 14:33).
James was with the other disciples who saw the risen Lord. (John 21:1-2). gives the following description:

"Saint James, also called James, son of Zebedee, or James the Greater   (born , Galilee, Palestine—died 44 ce, Jerusalem; feast day July 25), one of the Twelve Apostles, distinguished as being in Jesus’ innermost circle and the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament (Acts 12:2).

James and his younger brother, the apostle St. John, are designated Boanerges (from the Greek boanerges), or “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17), perhaps because of their characteristic fiery zeal (Mark 9:38, Luke 9:54). With Saints Peter and Andrew, James and John were the first four disciples whom Jesus called (Mark 1:16–19) and whose question (“Tell us, when will this [the end of time] be, and what will be the sign when these things are all to be accomplished?”) sparks Jesus’ eschatological discourse in Mark 13."

According unreliable tradition,
following Pentecost, St. James preached in Spain, and upon his return to Jerusalem the Jews would argue with him vehemently concerning the Holy Scriptures. None could withstand his wisdom.   

Following the Pentecost the disciples shared the world between them.   Big James  left for the Iberian Peninsula where he is reported to have stayed for approximately 2 years. In 44AD he returned to Jerusalem at the peak of the persecution, where he was promptly beheaded by King Herod.

Legend tells us that his followers took his body to the port of Jaffa (modern day Tel-Aviv) where they found a boat made of stone, guarded by an angel, waiting for them. This boat transported the martyred disciple’s body back to the Iberian Peninsula landing at a port then named Iria flavia, now a district of Padrón in Galicia, North West Spain.

If you visit Padrón go into the main church, Santiago de Padrón, near the Alameda. In this church you will find the "Pedron", a large stone which is reported to have been used to moor the stone boat carrying the body of St James, and from which the town gets its name.

The body was transported to a hillside approximately 23kms north of Iria Flavia and was buried, remaining undiscovered for nearly 800 years. In the 9th century AD a hermit named Pelayo is reported to have had vision of a large bright star surrounded by a circle of smaller stars pointing to a spot somewhere in the Libradón mountains. The hermit reported his vision to the Bishop of Iria Flavia, Theodomir, who decided to investigate Pelayo’s vision and a tomb, containing the body of the Saint and 2 of his followers Athanasius and Theodore, was subsequently discovered.

St James was proclaimed patron saint of Spain by the King Alfonso II, who built a church and monastery over the tomb in honour of the saint. Because of Pelayo's vision the place was named Campus Steliae or field of stars, which later became Compostela. News of the discovery of the tomb quickly spread and the pilgrimage or “Camino” to Santiago begins.

However regarding the tradition of James the Great's ministry in Spain, the Catholic Encyclopaedia states:

St. James in Spain

The tradition asserting that James the Greater preached the Gospel in Spain, and that his body was translated to Compostela, claims more serious consideration.

According to this tradition St. James the Greater, having preached Christianity in Spain, returned to Judea and was put to death by order of Herod; his body was miraculously translated to Iria Flavia in the northwest of Spain, and later to Compostela, which town, especially during the Middle Ages, became one of the most famous places of pilgrimage in the world. The vow of making a pilgrimage to Compostela to honour the sepulchre of St. James is still reserved to the pope, who alone of his own or ordinary right can dispense from it. In the twelfth century was founded the Order of Knights of St. James of Compostela.


With regard to the preaching of the Gospel in Spain by St. James the greater, several difficulties have been raised:

·         St. James suffered martyrdom A.D. 44 (Acts 12:2), and, according to the tradition of the early Church, he had not yet left Jerusalem at this time (cf. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata VI; Apollonius, quoted by Eusebius, Church History VI.18).

·         St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (A.D. 58) expressed the intention to visit Spain (Romans 15:24) just after he had mentioned (15:20) that he did not "build upon another man's foundation."

·         The argument ex silentio: although the tradition that James founded an Apostolic see in Spain was current in the year 700, no certain mention of such tradition is to be found in the genuine writings of early writers nor in the early councils; the first certain mention we find in the ninth century, in Notker, a monk of St. Gall (Martyrol., 25 July), Walafried Strabo (Poema de XII Apost.), and others.

    The tradition was not unanimously admitted afterwards, while numerous scholars reject it. The Bollandists however defended it (see Acta Sanctorum, July, VI and VII, where other sources are given).

The authenticity of the sacred relic of Compostela has been questioned and is still doubted. Even if St. James the Greater did not preach the Christian religion in Spain, his body may have been brought to Compostela, and this was already the opinion of Notker. According to another tradition, the relics of the Apostle are kept in the church of St-Saturnin at Toulouse (France), but it is not improbable that such sacred relics should have been divided between two churches. A strong argument in favour of the authenticity of the sacred relics of Compostela is the Bull of Leo XIII, "Omnipotens Deus," of 1 November, 1884.

James was imprisoned and later killed by king Herod by the sword when Herod tried to bring evil to bear on the church that was established on the foundation of Jesus Christ. This was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. (Acts 12:1-3).

The martyrdom of St. James the Greater

 James was the first of the Twelve to suffer martyrdom, and the only one of the Twelve whose death is recorded in the New Testament.


Apparently James stayed in Jerusalem and led the Church as it took shape. There are traditions that speak of missionary journey of James to Spain.  Finally, about AD 42, shortly before Passover (Acts 12), James was beheaded by order of King Herod Agrippa I.  Apparently this was a heritage of Herod. 

This Herod Agippa I was

  • the  grandson of Herod the Great (who tried to kill the infant Jesus--Matthew 2),
  •  nephew of Herod Antipas (who killed John the Baptist--Mark 6--and examined Jesus on Good Friday--Luke 23), and
  • father of Herod Agrippa II (who heard the defence of Paul before Festus--Acts 25).


And at the same time, Herod the king stretched forth his hands, to afflict some of the church. And he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword. (Acts 12:1-2)

"James lived his life to the full, and when the end came, he bore himself with such grace and fortitude that even his accuser and informer, who attended his trial and execution, was so touched that he rushed away from the scene of James's death to join himself to the disciples of Jesus. "~ The Urantia Book, (139:3.1)

Because it  was not allowed to bury the enemiess in the land, after James was martyred, all the remains of Saint James the Great were taken to Compostela in Spain, by his followers docking at the port town of Iria Flavia (now Padron). From there they took his body, by cart, to a burial spot close to some old Celtic ruins in an area known as Libredon.  There they found a suitable burial ground. Two of his aides remained to guard his mortal remains and were, after their deaths, interned either side of him.

222_SantiagoPanel.jpg - 90542 Bytes

Panel with scenes from the life of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago.
From left, Our Lord calls St. James;
preaching in Spain;
visiting Our Lady in Ephesus;
his martyrdom;
his body translated by boat to Compostela

Centuries later the Moors forced their way into Ibiza and took over the entire peninsula, in 711. Nobody thought about Saint James’ remains, or his grave. It was not until the ninth century rumour was spread that the grave of Saint James the apostle was in Northern Spain. It was Charles The Great who conquered the grave of the “unbeliever” and demanded large pilgrimages to Compostela. A chapel was built above James remains. Soon after this chapel becomes to small and a new and much larger Church was built. This Church was consecrated in 889. This church remained standing for approximately a century until 997 when Moos burnt de church down. Saint James’ tomb had become the centre of small town, Santiago de Compostela. Flavia, the Bishop of Iria took up his holiday residence there, much to the good of Compostela. It was time to build a new Cathedral, this Cathedral still stands. The Cathedral of Santiago. This was finally blessed in 1211.

As the years, decades and centuries passed, all record and memory of Saint James’ burial spot was lost or muddied. Today this seems hard to believe, but Hispania was constantly at war and under foriegn occupation. In the years immediately following his death, Rome oppressed and persecuted followers of Christianity and, in later centuries, the Barbarians and Moors invaded and sacked parts of what is now Spain, even extending up to Galicia.

By the eighth century, all that remained of St. James’ grave were stories and folk lore that suggested his remains lay near a place known as Libredon. His physical resting point was however lost, probably buried or overgrown after centuries of neglect.

A small church was first built over the tomb of St. James shortly after it was discovered in 819 AD. This was destroyed by al-Mansur's Moorish army in 997, though Almansor left the relics of the Apostle undisturbed. He did, however, force Santiago's citizens to carry the bells of the tower to the mosque in Cordoba (they have since been returned).

Despite its Baroque facade, the present cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is predominantly Romanesque; in fact, one of the finest Romanesque churches in Spain. Construction began in 1060 in the reign of Alfonso VI and was completed in 1211.

Manuel goes to Camino de Santiago - The Way of St James - Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral 


Various elements were added in later centuries, culminating in the dramatic Baroque transformation of the exterior in the 16th-18th centuries. The interior of the cathedral, however, retains its pure Early Romanesque style.

The remains of St. James, the raison d'être of the cathedral, were lost in 1700 after being hidden before an English invasion. Fortunately, they were rediscovered during building work in 1879.

Actually, three skeletons were found, presumed to be James and two of his disciples. The one belonging to the Apostle was identified thanks to a church in Tuscany, which possessed a piece of his skull that exactly fitted a gap in one of the discovered skulls. The identity was confirmed in 1884 by Pope Leo XIII and reinforced by John Paul II's visit in 1982.

The tomb of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela cathedral

The legends

According to a tradition that can be traced back at least to the 12th century, when it was recorded in the Codex Calixtinus, Saint James decided to return to Holy Land after preaching in Galicia. There he was beheaded, but his disciples managed to get his body to Jaffa, where they found a marvelous stone ship which miraculously conduced them and the apostle's body to Iria Flavia, back in Galicia. There, the disciples asked for permission to earthen the body to the local pagan queen, Lupa ('She-wolf'); she, annoyed, decided to deceive them, sending them to pick a pair of oxen she allegedly had by the Pico Sacro, a local sacred mountain where a dragon dwelt, hoping that the dragon would kill the Christians, but as soon as the beast attacked the disciples, at the sight of the cross, the dragon exploded. Then the disciples marched to pick the oxen, which were actually wild bulls which the queen used to punish her enemies; but again, at the sight of the Christian's cross, the bulls calmed down, and after being subjected to a yoke they carried the apostle's body to the place where now Compostela is. The legend was again referred with minor changes by the Czech traveller Jaroslav Lev of Rožmitál, in the 15th century.



Depiction of Saint James in the 12th century Codex Calixtinus

The relics were said to have been later rediscovered in the 9th century by a hermit named Pelagius, who after observing strange lights in a local forest went for help after the local bishop, Theodemar of Iria, in the west of Galicia. The legend affirms that Theodemar was then guided to the spot by a star, drawing upon a familiar myth-element, hence "Compostela" was given an etymology as a corruption of Campus Stellae, "Field of Stars."

In the 15th century still it was preserved in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela the banner which guided the Galician armies to battle, red, in the centre Saint James riding a white horse and wearing a white cloak, sword in hand: The legend of the miraculous armed intervention of Saint James, disguised as a white knight to help the Christians when battling the Muslims, was a recurrent myth during the High Middle Ages.

On the Translation of the body of the Apostle James, son of Zebedee to Compostela in Spain
Jacobus de Voragine.
The Golden Legend. Transl. Granger Ryan and Helmut Ripperger. New York: Arno Press, 1969. Pp. 368-73.

...after the apostle's death, his disciples, in fear of the Jews, placed his body in a boat at night, embarked with him, although the boat had neither rudder not steersman, and set sail, trusting to the providence of God to determine the place of his burial. And the angels guided the boat to the shores of Galicia in Spain, where there was a queen whose name was Lupa, a name which means she-wolf, and which she well deserved by her life.

The disciples laid the body of the apostle on a great stone, which immediately softened as if it were wax, and shaped itself into a sarcophagus fitted to his body. The disciples went to Queen Lupa and said to her: "Our Lord Jesus Christ sends thee the body of His disciple, that thou mayest welcome in death him whom thou wouldst not welcome alive!" And they narrated to her the miracle whereby they had come thither without a rudder nor a steersman, and besought her to appoint a place for the burial of the saint.

Then, as John Beleth relates, she guilefully sent them to the king of Spain, a most cruel man, with the pretext of seeking his permission for the saint's burial; and the king arrested them and threw them into prison. But in the night, when he had gone to rest, an angel opened the prison doors and set them free. As soon as he learned this, the king sent soldiers in pursuit of them; but just as these soldiers were crossing a bridge, the bridge collapsed and the soldiers were drowned. At this report, the king feared for himself and his people, and repented. He sent other men to search for James's disciples, and to say to them that if they would return, he would refuse them nothing that they asked. They therefore went back, and converted the whole city to the faith of Christ.

Then they returned to Lupa, to make known to her the kings's assent. The queen was sore distraught at these tidings, and answered: "I have oxen in a mountain place. Take them and yoke them, and carry your master's body whither you will, and build him a tomb!" All this she said in wolfish cunning, for she knew that the oxen were really untamed and savage bulls, and thus she thought that they could not be yoked or harnessed, or if they were harnessed, they would run away, and destroy the car and throw the body to the ground, and kill the disciples.

But no guile avails against God. The disciples, unaware of the queen's ruse, went up into the mountain, where first they encountered a dragon which belched fire; but they held a cross before him, and he was cloven asunder. Then they made the sign of the cross over the bulls, and they became as meek as lambs, allowed themselves to be yoked, and although no man guide them, they drew the saint's body, with the stone in which it was laid, straight into the middle of the queen's palace. Seeing this, the queen was dismayed, believed in Christ, transformed her palace into a church of Saint James, and endowed it munificently. And she passed the rest of her life in doing good works.

The symbols of St. James:

Originally St. James was depicted as an old man and Apostle. Up until the 12th century he was only recognized having general apostle attributes: "The Bible". The sword was the next addition to firstly remind us that he was beheaded and later as a symbol of patron Saint of warriors, knights and fighting men. This sword is often to be seen as a St. James cross, which is a red cross shaped sword where the short arms end with a dagger form in lilies with St. James in the middle. Since the middle ages, he is also depicted as a pilgrim father with a large walking stick, bottle of water and St. James ship. One legend tells us how a knight with his runaway horse fell into the sea and asked St. James for help. The knight remained afloat and when got ashore, he discovered that he was covered with shells. St. James’ shells are to be found on the Spanish North western coast at Galicie.



The cockleshell is an emblem of the apostle Saint James the Great. The story is told that when Saint James’ remains were taken by boat to Spain, a man was riding his horse on the beach. The horse saw the boat and plunged into the sea, with its rider, making for the boat. They sank but then rose again, covered with scallop shells. The scallop edged shell is used to line the way on the Camino de Santiago roads in Spain. In times past it was used to take water for drinking from streams on the way. Thousands of pilgrims walk the Camino de Santiago each year.

The Way of St. James or St. James' Way (Spanish: El Camino de Santiago, Galician: O Camiño de Santiago, French: Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, German: Jakobsweg, Basque: Done Jakue bidea) is the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried.




Apostelen Johannes by Peter Nicolai Arbo
 Apostle John


John the Apostle (Aramaic Yoħanna, Koine Greek Ἰωάννης) (c. AD 6 – c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus.  When he became an apostle, John was twenty-four years old and was the youngest of the twelve. He was unmarried and lived with his parents at Bethsaida;  He was the son of Zebedee and Salome and brother of James the Great.   Salome was probably the sister of Mary, Mother of Jesus making James and John as first cousins of Jesus.  Another tradition has it that Salome was the sister of Jesus as explained earlier.  In that case John was a nephew of Jesus.  John was the youngest of the disciples and was the disciple whom Jesus loved.  Christian tradition holds that he outlived all the  apostles—all of whom suffered martyrdom (except Judas Iscariot)—and ultimately died of natural causes "in great old age in Ephesus" at the beginning of the second century.  The Church Fathers consider him the same person as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, and the Beloved Disciple.

The Church Fathers generally identify him as the author of five books in the New Testament: the Gospel of John, Three Epistles of John, and the Book of Revelation. The Gospel according to John differs considerably from the synoptic gospels, likely written decades earlier than John's Gospel. The bishops of Asia Minor supposedly requested him to write his gospel to deal with the heresy of the Ebionites, who asserted that Christ did not exist before Mary. John's gospel stand apart from other gospel in presenting Jesus as the Word of God which took flesh and dwelt among man to save mankind.  His Christology is summarised in his first verses:

(Joh 1:1-14)

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made.


In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not.  ..... He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.


And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth."


John probably knew and undoubtedly approved of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but these gospels spoke of Jesus primarily in the year following the imprisonment and death of John the Baptist. Around 600, however, Sophronius of Jerusalem noted that "two epistles bearing his name ... are considered by some to be the work of a certain John the Elder" and, while stating that Revelation was written by John on Patmos, it was “later translated by Justin Martyr and Irenaeus”, presumably in an attempt to reconcile tradition with the obvious differences in Greek style. On the other hand, many authors in those days employed secretaries often called scribes whose personal styles influenced the final documents. John perhaps employed different scribes for his  different works who wrote what was dictated by John in their literary style.  Hence literary analysis cannot be used to negate the authenticity of the epistles.

Some modern scholars have raised the possibility that John the Apostle, John the Evangelist, and John of Patmos were three separate individuals.  Certain lines of evidence suggest that John of Patmos wrote Revelation but neither the Gospel of John nor the Epistles of John. For one, the author of Revelation identifies himself as "John" several times, but the author of the Gospel of John never identifies himself directly. Some Catholic scholars state that "vocabulary, grammar, and style make it doubtful that the book could have been put into its present form by the same person(s) responsible for the fourth gospel".

John shared the title "Sons of Thunder" along with his brother James.  Like his elder brother James he was one of the inner three disciples who were with Jesus in the crucial events.

·         Peter, James and John were the only witnesses of the raising of Daughter of Jairus (Mk 5:37)

·         All three also witnessed the Transfiguration in the mountain (Mt. 17:1) ,

·         and these same three witnessed the Agony in Gethsemane of Jesus . (Mt. 26:37)

·         Apart from the above Jesus sent the special two - John and Peter -  into the city to make the preparation for the final Passover meal (the Last Supper). (Lk 22:8) 

·         At the meal itself, the "disciple whom Jesus loved" sat next to Jesus and leaned onto his chest. Tradition identifies this disciple as Saint John (Jn 13: 23-25).

·         After the arrest of Jesus, Peter and the "other disciple" (according to Sacred Tradition, John) followed him into the palace of the high-priest. (Jn 18:15).  It was John who got Peter into the Palace court yard because of his influence with Palace.

John indeed was very close to Jesus and was with Jesus at the foot of cross even when all the other disciples fled the scene.  Since John was either the youngest first cousin or nephew of Jesus, Jesus entrusted the care of his mother to John, who took her with him and took care of her until her death.  They lived in Ephesus where John served for a long time.

 Soon after Jesus’ Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, John, clothed with power from above, together with Peter, took a prominent part in the founding of the church.

·         He is with Peter at the healing of the lame man in the Temple. (Act 3:1)

·          With Peter he is also thrown into prison. (Act 4:3) 

·         He is also with Peter visiting the newly converted in Samaria. (Acts 8:14)

Russian Orthodox icon of the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, 18th century (Iconostasis of Transfiguration Church, Kizhi Monastery, Karelia, Russia).

According to tradition, John and the other Apostles remained some 12 years in this first field of labor, until the persecution of Herod Agrippa I which led to the scattering of the Apostles through the various provinces of the Roman Empire. (ACt 12:1-17)   

As the first Apostolic Council was held in AD 51 to determine the procedure for the validation of the Gentile churches, Paul refers of Peter and James the brother of Jesus and John still in Jerusalem. (Gal 2:9)   

(Gal 2:9)

"and when they perceived the grace that was given unto me, James and Cephas and John, they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that we should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision"

Before Jesus ascended, he charged John with watching over the newly established Church. He was then established as a pillar at the Church of Jerusalem.

While dying on the cross, he asked John to take care of Mary, his mother, a duty which John fulfilled even after Christ's resurrection up until her death. John left Jerusalem and came to Ephesus, one of the biggest and safest cities of its time (capital of the Asia Minor province of the Roman Empire), and built a small hut for Virgin Mary just outside Ephesus in order to protect her from the non-Christian community of Ephesus.

At the time of his death on the cross, John was the only apostle present.  Jesus told his disciples how they would meet their end with the exception of John and this irked Peter.

Joh 21:20-23  Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; who also leaned back on his breast at the supper, and said, Lord, who is he that betrayeth thee? Peter therefore seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.  This saying therefore went forth among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, that he should not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?


 In due course Herod  killed James the brother of John the Beloved with the sword.  when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.   Traditionally John took Mother Mary with him to Ephesus where he stayed till his death.  (Some tradition have it that he stayed with Mary in Jerusalem till her death.  According to this tradition John moved to Ephesus only after the death of Mary.)  




House of Apostle John where he cared for Virgin Mary in Ephesus

Insidee the house today.  During excavations coal and household utensils were found dating to the 1st century AD.



A statue near the entrance to the House



Key-hole shaped Baptismal Font in the compound of John's house in Ephesus


In 54 AD, Mary the mother of Jesus died and was buried.  and so John fulfilled his duty of caring for her until the very end. It was said that when they opened the tomb her body was gone. Catholic tradition says she rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven with both body and soul intact in what is called the Assumption of Mary, however others say her body was taken away lest it become an idol. John and Mary Magdalene went north and visited the churches that were established along the way. They travel as far as Asia Minor and settle in Ephesus.

"John traveled much, labored incessantly, and after becoming bishop of the Asia churches, settled down at Ephesus. He directed his associate, Nathan, in the writing of the so-called "Gospel according to John," at Ephesus, when he was ninety-nine years old. Of all the twelve apostles, John Zebedee eventually became the outstanding theologian. He died a natural death at Ephesus in A.D. 103 when he was one hundred and one years of age." ~ The Urantia Book, (139:4.1)

In art, John as the presumed author of the Gospel is often depicted with an eagle, which symbolizes the height he rose to in the first chapter of his gospel. In Orthodox icons, he is often depicted looking up into heaven and dictating his Gospel (or the Book of Revelation) to his disciple, traditionally named Prochorus.

John dictating to his disciple, Prochorus.

The Book of Revelation Chapter 3 gives the names of the churches  which John pastured while he lived in Ephesus.

One night, while they slept a thief broke into their home and John confronted him, converted him to the faith, and told him turn from doing evil. The thief’s name was Cleophus.

He wrote three epistles while living in Ephesus, and he also completed the Gospel of John during this period. John was taken away in the persecution of the Roman emperors in Ephesus, leaving Mary Magdalene in the care of Cleophus. 

 "During the reign of Roman emperor Domitian after having spent time imprisoned in Rome, John was sentenced to be boiled in the Colosseum. So he was boiled in the oil but endured no harm or suffering. It is said that all in the entire  Colosseum audience was converted to Christianity upon witnessing this miracle. John was allegedly banished by the Roman authorities to the Greek island of Patmos, where some believe that he wrote the Book of Revelation." He was later freed. When John was aged, he trained Polycarp who later became Bishop of Smyrna. Polycarp in turn taught Irenaeus and passed on to him stories about John.  

Surrounded by his closest friends in Ephesus, he closed his eyes and died at age 94 in 100 AD.

Five books are attributed to John, the beloved disciple of Jesus.  They include three epistles, the Gospel according to John and the Revelation.

 Gospel of John must have been written somewhere between AD 65 and 85 according to most scholars.  However, John A.T. Robinson proposes an initial edition by 50–55 and then a final edition by 65 due to narrative similarities with Paul. Other critical scholars are of the opinion that John was composed in stages (probably two or three).  There is also a strongly held view amongst contemporary scholars that the Gospel was not written until the latter third of the first century CE. The Dean of New Testament at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Gail R O'Day, writes in her introduction to the Gospel in the New Revised Standard Translation of the Bible   "...a date of 75-80 CE as the earliest possible date of composition for this Gospel". Other reliable scholars are convinced that an even later date, perhaps even the last decade of the first century CE right up to the start of the 2nd century (i.e., 90 - 100) is applicable. At any rate it was written during the second half of the first century.


An alternative account of John's death, ascribed by later Christian writers to the early second century bishop Papias of Hierapolis, claims that he was slain by the Jews.  Most Johannine scholars doubt the reliability of its ascription to Papias, but a minority, including B.W. Bacon, Martin Hengel and Henry Barclay Swete, maintain that these references to Papias are credible.  John's traditional tomb is thought to be located at Selçuk, a small town in the vicinity of Ephesus.




The traditional tomb of St. John

The Basilica of St. John in Ephesus was constructed by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. The traditional tomb of St. John is located under the main central dome.  It stands over the believed burial site of St. John, who is identified as the apostle, evangelist (author of the Fourth Gospel) and prophet (author of Revelation). The basilica is on the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill near the center of Selçuk, just below the fortress and about 3.5 km (2 miles) from Ephesus.




Philip the Apostle (Greek: Φίλιππος, Philippos) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Mat 10:3; Mk.3:18; Lk 6:14; Jn 1:43  

Philip is always listed fifth among the apostles. [Mt 10:3] [Mk 3:18] [Lk 6:14] [Acts 1:13]

Philip is a given name, derived from the Greek Φίλιππος (Philippos, lit. "horse-loving" or "fond of horses", from a compound of φίλος (phílos, "dear", "loved", "loving") and ἵππος (hippos, "horse"). 
In Ancient Greece, the ownership of horses was available only to those rich enough to afford them. Thus, "lover of horses" can also be understood as "noble".  His name Philip is a Greek name and apparently the bible gives no Hebrew name. It gives us the insight of the great impact Greek culture had on Jewish people.    This constitutes a gesture of cultural openness  of the people who had been in exile in the foreign countries and has now returned.  


He was from the same place as Peter and Andrew, James and John, namely, Bethsaida (cf. John 1:44),   (John 1:42, 44), a town on Lake Genesareth, a small city that belonged to the tetrarchy of one of Herod the Great's sons, who was also called Philip (cf. Luke 3:1). 
Today it is also known as  et-Tell, Beth-Saida, Bethsaida Julia, Julia, Julias, Julias-Bethsaida.  Bible says Philip was from BethsaidaBethsaida was a province of "Philip the  Tetrarch," who raised the status of Bethsaida to be the capital of the province.  Philip the Apostle was probably named in honor of the Tetrarch. It also indicates the Greek influence on the Bethsaidan Israelites.   Many of the aristocracies and big fishing company owners were most probably those who returned from exile.  These people were at ease with both Greek culture and Jewish culture


There is lot of confusion regarding the meaning of the township.

"Beth," obviously, means  "house."  But what about the "Saida"?  

Austin Farrer gives the meaning as "House of Provisioning" and  John Donahue & Daniel Harrington says "House of Fishermen" 
There is a Hebrew noun tsedah, which is parallel with lexem (bread) in  Psalm 78:25.  In other places it means provision Gen. 42:25; 45:21; Exod. 12:39; Jos. 1:11; 9:11; Jdg. 7:8; 20:10; 1 Sam. 22:10. It is related to tsayid "game" and tsud "hunt."  It is often assumed that Beth-saida means "House of the hunters", with the form being Aramaic rather than Hebrew. Assuming the site to be on or near the Sea of Galilee, the "hunters" would actually be hunting for fishes giving the meaning "House of Fishermen."

Thus beth-sa'-i-da literally means "house of fishing" which implies that it was a fishing village.

House of the Fisherman

The most impressive remains at this site are the Iron Age gate and two large Hellenistic houses.  The House of the Fisherman measures 4,300 sq. feet, and is believed to be a fisherman's home based on the discovery of two types of lead net weights, a round lead weight of the so-called musket type, and a long, crooked needle.  Among the coins discovered in the house were two silver didrachmae of Demetrius II.


"...Bethsaida Gaulonites is evidently spoken of, the ruins of which have been recognized by Dr. Eli Smith and other travelers on a hill called et-Tell, on the east bank of the Jordan, close to the northern shores of the lake.  Josephus calls this Bethsaida-Julias, and informs us that Philip the Tetrarch of Iturea and Trachonites gave it this epithet in honour of Julias, having enlarged the town, and adorned it with public buildings." Julias may have been named after Augustus' daughter.

House of Fisherman at Bethsaida

Syria and Palestine, in 1851 and 1852, Van de Velde (1818-1898), 1854, Vol II

" (1) A city East of the Jordan, in a "desert place" (that is, uncultivated ground used for grazing) at which Jesus miraculously fed the multitude with five loaves and two fishes (Mark 6:32 Luke 9:10).

This is doubtless to be identified with the village of Bethsaida in Lower Gaulonitis which the Tetrarch Philip raised to the rank of a city, and called Julias, in honor of Julia, the daughter of Augustus. It lay near the place where the Jordan enters the Sea of Gennesaret (Ant., XVIII, ii, 1; BJ, II, ix, 1; III, x, 7; Vita, 72). This city may be located at et-Tell, a ruined site on the East side of the Jordan on rising ground, fully a mile from the sea. As this is too far from the sea for a fishing village, Schumacher (The Jaulan, 246) suggests that el-`Araj, "a large, completely destroyed site close to the lake," connected in ancient times with et-Tell "by the beautiful roads still visible," may have been the fishing village, and et-Tell the princely residence. He is however inclined to favor el-Mes`adiyeh, a ruin and winter village of Arab et-Tellawiyeh, which stands on an artificial mound, about a mile and a half from the mouth of the Jordan. It should be noted, however, that the name is in origin radically different from Bethsaida. The substitution of sin for cad is easy: but the insertion of the guttural `ain is impossible. No trace of the name Bethsaida has been found in the district; but any one of the sites named would meet the requirements.

To this neighborhood Jesus retired by boat with His disciples to rest awhile. The multitude following on foot along the northern shore of the lake would cross the Jordan by the ford at its mouth which is used by foot travelers to this day. The "desert" of the narrative is just the barriyeh of the Arabs where the animals are driven out for pasture. The "green grass" of Mark 6:39, and the "much grass" of John 6:10, point to some place in the plain of el-BaTeichah, on the rich soil of which the grass is green and plentiful compared with the scanty herbage on the higher slopes.

(2) Bethsaida of Galilee, where dwelt Philip, Andrew, Peter (John 1:44; John 12:21), and perhaps also James and John. The house of Andrew and Peter seems to have been not far from the synagogue in Capernaum (Matthew 8:14 Mark 1:29, etc.). Unless they had moved their residence from Bethsaida to Capernaum, of which there is no record, and which for fishermen was unlikely, Bethsaida must have lain close to Capernaum. It may have been the fishing town adjoining the larger city. As in the case of the other Bethsaida, no name has been recovered to guide us to the site.


On the rocky promontory, however, East of Khan Minyeh we find Sheikh `Aly ec-Caiyadin, "Sheikh Aly of the Fishermen," as the name of a ruined weley, in which the second element in the name Bethsaida is represented. Near by is the site at `Ain et-Tabigha, which many have identified with Bethsaida of Galilee. The warm water from copious springs runs into a little bay of the sea in which fishes congregate in great numbers. This has therefore always been a favorite haunt of fishermen. If Capernaum were at Khan Minyeh, then the two lay close together. The names of many ancient places have been lost, and others have strayed from their original localities. The absence of any name resembling Bethsaida need not concern us."
W. Ewin


Philip was of the tribe of Zebulon. This will explain why he was good in sea.  Moses prophesied about them. 

Genesis 49:13   "Zebulon shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for a haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon." (KJV)

Deuteronomy 33:18- Moses prophesied: "...of  Zebulon he said...they shall suck of the abundance of the seas and of treasures hidden in the sand."  (KJV)

Later Christian traditions describe Philip as the apostle who preached in Greece, Syria, and Phrygia.  We see the implication of this cross cultural upbringing.

The Calling

The Calling Of Philip And Nathaniel by William Hole 

Philip was one of the first evangelists; as soon as Jesus called him, he went to find his friend Nathanael. 

The Gospel of John describes Philip's calling as a disciple of Jesus.

 Joh 1:43  On the morrow he was minded to go forth into Galilee, and he findeth Philip: and Jesus saith unto him, Follow me.

Joh 1:44  Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter.

Joh 1:45  Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Joh 1:46  And Nathanael said unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

He was from Bethsaida the same town Peter and Andrew and also James and John.  Of the four Gospels, Philip figures most prominently in the Gospel of John.

The very next day of the call of James and John, Jesus calls Philip. They  were all probably friends and people who were serious about the Biblical studies and of the mesianic hope.  They all  most likely  attended the same synagogue   and  were members of the same bible study group.   Were they all disciples of John?  Most probably.  The fourth Gospel says that, after being called by Jesus, Philip meets with Nathanael and tells him: "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" (John 1:45).


It shows that he had been a student of the Prophecy and were together looking for the arrival of the mesia. 


We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from NazarethJesus calls Philip and Nathanael.

From the analysis of the Bible they knew that it was time for the arrival of the mesia.  The time was ripe and they were trying to find out who is this mesia?.  This is reflected in Phillip's conversation with Nathaneil.  In face of Nathanael's rather skeptical response -- "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" -- Philip answers like a scientist: "Come and see" (John 1:46).  After all 'Proof of the pudding is in eating it."


"Now the names of The Twelve Apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot" (Matthew 10:2-4)

·         He participated in the miracle of the loaves and fishes (John 6:5–9), accounting for his symbol in medieval art of loaves.

·         With St. Andrew the Apostle, he brought word to Jesus that certain Greeks had asked to see him (John 12:21–22).  Philip bore a Greek name and we may infer from the context that Philip spoke Greek. 

John 12:20-22
Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast.

These were Jewish people who were living in other parts of the world. If only culture and language were the test of identity, they might be considered Gentiles. But they were still Jews by heritage and descent. And they had made a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem, to the homeland, to worship at the Temple for the great feast of the Passover. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."  Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.

·         In John 14:8–9, Philip asked Jesus to reveal the Father, receiving the answer, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father.”

Nothing more is known about him from the New Testament.

Now, Philip is mentioned in the Book of Acts as a witness to the ascension of Jesus and in the subsequent Apostolic meetings and was clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit for the work ahead. Act 1-2

 Philip and the Book of Acts

The journeys of Philip the Evangelist as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.

  • Acts 8:1b-40 - Philip went down to the city of Samaria  and preached Christ to the people there. His words met with a ready and sympathetic response from the large crowds who listened to him and saw the miracles which he performed.
  • An angel of the Lord said to "Get up and go south down the road which runs from Jerusalem to Gaza, out in the desert." Philip began his journey and came across an Ethiopian eunuch, a minister and in fact the treasurer to Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, was on his way home after coming to Jerusalem to worship. He was sitting in his carriage reading the prophet Isaiah. Philip (Acts 8:30-38 following) explains a prophecy of Isaiah, preaches the Gospel of Jesus, and at the eunuch's request, baptises him. (the baptised Ethiopian carries the Gospel on to Africa).

Philip continued to Azotus [6] and as he passed through the countryside he went on telling the good news in all the cities on to Caesarea.

There are other references to a Philip in the Book of Acts, but they are not  the same Philip. The "Philip" in Acts 21:8 is referred to as an evangelist, not an apostle and is a different person, probably one of the seventy.   Thus there were  two Philips, and the Phillip the evangelist  had been  a confusion to many  hagiographers through history.

The Urantia Book 139:5 gives the following description of Philip


139:5.1 Philip was the fifth apostle to be chosen, being called when Jesus and his first four apostles were on their way from John’s rendezvous on the Jordan to Cana of Galilee. Since he lived at Bethsaida, Philip had for some time known of Jesus, but it had not occurred to him that Jesus was a really great man until that day in the Jordan valley when he said, “Follow me.” Philip was also somewhat influenced by the fact that Andrew, Peter, James, and John had accepted Jesus as the Deliverer.

139:5.2 Philip was twenty-seven years of age when he joined the apostles; he had recently been married, but he had no children at this time. The nickname which the apostles gave him signified “curiosity.” Philip was always wanting to be shown. He never seemed to see very far into any proposition. He was not necessarily dull, but he lacked imagination. This lack of imagination was the great weakness of his character. He was a commonplace and matter-of-fact individual.

139:5.3 When the apostles were organized for service, Philip was made steward; it was his duty to see that they were at all times supplied with provisions. And he was a good steward. His strongest characteristic was his methodical thoroughness; he was both mathematical and systematic.

139:5.4 Philip came from a family of seven, three boys and four girls. He was next to the oldest, and after the resurrection he baptized his entire family into the kingdom. Philip’s people were fisherfolk. His father was a very able man, a deep thinker, but his mother was of a very mediocre family. Philip was not a man who could be expected to do big things, but he was a man who could do little things in a big way, do them well and acceptably. Only a few times in four years did he fail to have food on hand to satisfy the needs of all. Even the many emergency demands attendant upon the life they lived seldom found him unprepared. The commissary department of the apostolic family was intelligently and efficiently managed.

139:5.5 The strong point about Philip was his methodical reliability; the weak point in his make-up was his utter lack of imagination, the absence of the ability to put two and two together to obtain four. He was mathematical in the abstract but not constructive in his imagination. He was almost entirely lacking in certain types of imagination. He was the typical everyday and commonplace average man. There were a great many such men and women among the multitudes who came to hear Jesus teach and preach, and they derived great comfort from observing one like themselves elevated to an honored position in the councils of the Master; they derived courage from the fact that one like themselves had already found a high place in the affairs of the kingdom. And Jesus learned much about the way some human minds function as he so patiently listened to Philip’s foolish questions and so many times complied with his steward’s request to “be shown.”

139:5.6 The one quality about Jesus which Philip so continuously admired was the Master’s unfailing generosity. Never could Philip find anything in Jesus which was small, niggardly, or stingy, and he worshiped this ever-present and unfailing liberality.

139:5.7 There was little about Philip’s personality that was impressive. He was often spoken of as “Philip of Bethsaida, the town where Andrew and Peter live.” He was almost without discerning vision; he was unable to grasp the dramatic possibilities of a given situation. He was not pessimistic; he was simply prosaic. He was also greatly lacking in spiritual insight. He would not hesitate to interrupt Jesus in the midst of one of the Master’s most profound discourses to ask an apparently foolish question. But Jesus never reprimanded him for such thoughtlessness; he was patient with him and considerate of his inability to grasp the deeper meanings of the teaching. Jesus well knew that, if he once rebuked Philip for asking these annoying questions, he would not only wound this honest soul, but such a reprimand would so hurt Philip that he would never again feel free to ask questions. Jesus knew that on his worlds of space there were untold billions of similar slow-thinking mortals, and he wanted to encourage them all to look to him and always to feel free to come to him with their questions and problems. After all, Jesus was really more interested in Philip’s foolish questions than in the sermon he might be preaching. Jesus was supremely interested in men, all kinds of men.

139:5.8 The apostolic steward was not a good public speaker, but he was a very persuasive and successful personal worker. He was not easily discouraged; he was a plodder and very tenacious in anything he undertook. He had that great and rare gift of saying, “Come.” When his first convert, Nathaniel, wanted to argue about the merits and demerits of Jesus and Nazareth, Philip’s effective reply was, “Come and see.” He was not a dogmatic preacher who exhorted his hearers to “Go"— do this and do that. He met all situations as they arose in his work with “Come"— “come with me; I will show you the way.” And that is always the effective technique in all forms and phases of teaching. Even parents may learn from Philip the better way of saying to their children not “Go do this and go do that,” but rather, “Come with us while we show and share with you the better way.”

139:5.9 The inability of Philip to adapt himself to a new situation was well shown when the Greeks came to him at Jerusalem, saying: “Sir, we desire to see Jesus.” Now Philip would have said to any Jews asking such a question, “Come.” But these men were foreigners, and Philip could remember no instructions from his superiors regarding such matters; so the only thing he could think to do was to consult the chief, Andrew, and then they both escorted the inquiring Greeks to Jesus. Likewise, when he went into Samaria preaching and baptizing believers, as he had been instructed by his Master, he refrained from laying hands on his converts in token of their having received the Spirit of Truth. This was done by Peter and John, who presently came down from Jerusalem to observe his work in behalf of the mother church.

139:5.10 Philip went on through the trying times of the Master’s death, participated in the reorganization of the twelve, and was the first to go forth to win souls for the kingdom outside of the immediate Jewish ranks, being most successful in his work for the Samaritans and in all his subsequent labors in behalf of the gospel.

139:5.11 Philip’s wife, who was an efficient member of the women’s corps, became actively associated with her husband in his evangelistic work after their flight from the Jerusalem persecutions. His wife was a fearless woman. She stood at the foot of Philip’s cross encouraging him to proclaim the glad tidings even to his murderers, and when his strength failed, she began the recital of the story of salvation by faith in Jesus and was silenced only when the irate Jews rushed upon her and stoned her to death. Their eldest daughter, Leah, continued their work, later on becoming the renowned prophetess of Hierapolis.

139:5.12 Philip, the onetime steward of the twelve, was a mighty man in the kingdom, winning souls wherever he went; and he was finally crucified for his faith and buried at Hierapolis."

Philip the Apostle sents Joseph Arimathea to the British Isles

It was said that Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57-60, Mark 15:42-46, Luke 23:50-51, John 19:38-42) was the uncle of Mary, mother of Jesus.  This will explain why he went and requested the body of Jesus.   He had a thriving mining business and in the process was well acquainted with Britain.


Joseph is said to have accompanied the Apostle Philip, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene & others on a preaching mission to Gaul. Lazarus & Mary stayed in Marseilles, while the others travelled north. At the English Channel, St.Philip ordained  Joseph Arimathea , and sent him with twelve disciples  in to the most far-flung corner of the Roman Empire: the Island of Britain. The year AD 63 is commonly given for this "event", with AD 37 sometimes being put forth as an alternative.  



The ancient records state that Joseph, early on, sent numerous disciples from Britain back to Gaul to assist Philip in his evangelizing mission there.

Philip and Joseph’s exchange of disciples was a two-way street. There’s also the incident where Philip baptized Josephes, the son of Joseph in Gaul. When Joseph revisited Gaul, Philip sent Josephes with two other disciples back to Britain with Joseph. This is all evidence of the great love and friendship that existed between these two early saints.


 Cressy one of the church historians records that Joseph of Arimathea died at Glastonbury, July 27, 82 A.D.  

However in none of the earliest references to Christianity’s arrival in Britain is Joseph of Arimathea mentioned. The first literary connection of Joseph of Arimathea with Britain is seen in the  ninth-century Life of Mary Magdalene attributed to Rabanus Maurus (AD 766–856), Archbishop of Mainz.   Rabanus states that Joseph of Arimathea was sent to Britain, and he goes on to detail who travelled with him as far as France, claiming that he was accompanied by "the two Bethany sisters, Mary and Martha, Lazarus (who was raised from the dead), St. Eutropius, St. Salome, St. Cleon, St. Saturnius, St. Mary Magdalen, Marcella (the maid of the Bethany sisters), St. Maxium or Maximin, St. Martial, and St. Trophimus or Restitutus."

Rabanus Maurus describes their voyage to Britain:

"Leaving the shores of Asia and favoured by an east wind, they went round about, down the Tyrrhenian Sea, between Europe and Africa, leaving the city of Rome and all the land to the right. Then happily turning their course to the right, they came near to the city of Marseilles, in the Viennoise province of the Gauls, where the river Rhône is received by the sea. There, having called upon God, the great King of all the world, they parted; each company going to the province where the Holy Spirit directed them; presently preaching everywhere…"

The route he describes follows that of a supposed Phoenician trade route to Britain, as described by Diodorus Siculus.

William of Malmesbury mentions Joseph's going to Britain in one passage of his Chronicle of the English Kings, written in the 1120s. He says Philip the Apostle sent twelve Christians to Britain, one of whom was his dearest friend, Joseph of Arimathea.   The Vatican Librarian and historian (d. 1609), recorded this voyage by Joseph of Arimathea, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, Martha, Marcella and others in his Annales Ecclesiastici, volume 1, section 35.


Phoenician Trade Routes familiar to Israel in dispersion to Ireland and England. (Migrations of the Lost Tribes of Israel by F.M. Nithsdale)


"Legends...record that Joseph was sent by Philip from Gaul to Britain along with 11 other disciples in 63 A.D." (Kerr CM. Joseph of Arimathaea. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 Julian, the archbishop of Toledo between 680 A.D. and 690 A.D., the last eminent churchman in gothic Spain before the Moorish conquest in 711 A.D. wrote, "Saint Philip was assigned to Gaul."

The Venerable Bede the Great, an early British historian, writing about 673 A.D., says the same.

Archbishop Ussher was a great student of church history. When there are dates given in the margin of the Bible, these are the dates computed by Archbishop Ussher. He says, "St. Philip preached Christ to the Gauls."

 Thus we see Philip was sent with his sister Mariamne and Bartholomew to preach in Greece, Phrygia, and Syria.   

Martyrdom of Philip

A letter written by Polycrates of Ephesus to Victor Bishop of Rome confirms the death of Philip in Hierapolis:

" ..... Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover,......   (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book V, Chapter XXIV, Verses 2-7 . Translated by A. Cushman McGiffert. Publishing, Stilwell (KS), 2005, p. 114).

We can see that Philip was married, had children and the whole family was in Asia as missionaries.  

Hippolytus also says:  "Philip preached in Phrygia, and was crucified in Hierapolis with his head downward in the time of Domitian, and was buried there." (Hippolytus. On the Twelve Apostles.  In Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume V by Robert & Donaldson.  1885 Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), printing 1999, pp. 254-255)

"In Greece, the Apostle Philip went to Parthia, and then to the town of Azota, where he healed the eyes of the daughter of Nikodemos, a local resident who took Philip into his home and later was baptized together with his entire family.

From Azota, the Apostle Philip went to Hierapolis in Syria, where, incited by the Pharisees, the Jews set fire to the home of Iros, the man who had taken the Apostle Philip in; they also sought to kill the Apostle. However, witnessing miracles wrought by the Apostle: the healing of the withered hand of Aristarchos, the city magistrate who had sought to strike the Apostle, as well as the Apostle’s resurrection of a dead youth, they repented; many accepted Holy Baptism. Appointing Iros bishop of Hierapolis, the Apostle went through Syria, Asia Minor, Lydda, and Mysia; everywhere he preached the Gospel and endured suffering. He and his sister Mariamna who accompanied him, endured stoning, being locked away in dungeons, and being driven away from settlements.

Then the Apostle came to Phrygia, to the city of Hierapolis of Phrygia, where there were many pagan temples, including a temple to serpents, where lived an enormous viper. Through the power of prayer, the Apostle Philip killed the viper and healed many people who had been bitten by snakes. Among those he healed was a convert to Christianity, the wife of the Anthipatas, governor of the city. Learning of this, Governor Anthipatas ordered that Philip, his sister, and the Apostle Bartholomew who accompanied them, be seized. Egged on by the priests of the temple of the viper, Anthipatas ordered that the Holy Apostles Philip and Bartholomew be crucified. It was then that an earthquake buried all of those at the court. Hanging on the cross near the temple of the viper, the Apostle Philip prayed that those who had crucified him be saved from the consequences of the earthquake. Witnessing what had happened, the people believed on Christ, and began to demand that the Apostles be taken down from the crosses. The Apostle Bartholomew was still alive when he was taken from the cross; on being given his freedom, he baptized all of those who had come to the Faith, and appointed a bishop for them.

The Apostle Philip, through whose prayers everyone except Anthipatas and the pagan priests remained alive, died on the cross.

His sister Mariamna buried his body, and together with the Apostle Bartholomew, went to preach the Gospel in Armenia, where the Apostle Bartholomew was crucified (commemorated 11 June); Mariamna continued to preach until her death in Likaonia (commemorated 17 February)."

Philip's martyrdom in the city of Hierapolis. The death of Philip occurred in AD80 during the reign of the Roman Emperor Titus (r.79-81 AD).  

  "According to the old Greek traditions, he was crucified with his head downwards, and he is so represented on the gates of San Paolo; also in the picture over the tomb of Cardinal Philippe d’Alençon, where his patron, St. Philip, is attached to the cross with cords, and head downwards, like St. Peter.  But in the old fresco by Giusto da Pablova, in the Capella di San Filippo, he is crucified in the usual manner, arrayed in a long red garment which descends to his feet."  SACRED AND LEGENDARY CHRISTIAN ART: MRS. JAMESON'

 Another legend holds that he was martyred by beheading in the city of Hierapolis.

The remains of the Philip who was interred in Hieropolis were later taken to Constantinople and fromthere to the church of the Dodici Apostoli in Rome. (Kirsch, J.P. (1911). St. Philip the Apostle. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved July 28, 2011 from New Advent:



Philip is commonly associated with the symbol of the Latin cross.  

Other symbols assigned to Philip include: the cross with the two loaves (because of his answer to the Lord in John 6:7),

 a basket filled with bread, a spear with the patriarchal cross, and a cross with a carpenter's square.


On Wednesday, 27 July 2011, the Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that archeologists had unearthed the Tomb of Saint Philip during excavations in Hierapolis close to the Turkish city Denizli. The Italian professor Francesco D'Andria stated that scientists had discovered the tomb, within a newly revealed church. He stated that the design of the Tomb, and writings on its walls, definitively prove it belonged to the martyred Apostle of Jesus.

 The main thoroughfare of Hierapolis    


 "After Philip had preached in Scythia for twenty years, the pagans laid hold of him and thrust him before a statute of Mars, intending to force him to make a sacrifice. Suddenly a huge dragon emerged from the base of the statute and killed the pagan priest along with the two tribunes who were holding Philip in chains. Everyone was overcome by the stench of its' breath. Philip proclaimed, 'Believe what I tell you, smash this statue and in its place worship the cross of the Lord, and your sick will be cured and your dead restored to life.' Philip commanded the dragon to depart to the wilderness where it could do no harm and was never seen again. Then he cured the sick and obtained the gift of life for those who had died. All accepted the faith, and he preached to them for a whole year, appointing priests and deacons for them." -from The Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragin

According to the Roman Breviary the apostle Philip did labor in Scythia and Phrygia; this is supported by a very old tradition. Scythia, on the northern shore of the Black Sea, or what today is the Southern Ukraine, is said to have been the scene of the apostolic works of this apostle for twenty years. And in the district opposite this the apostle Andrew preached, he with whom Philip reputedly collaborated. In Scythia, Philip denounced the worship of Mars. According to history there were many such cults that originated among these peoples.

Phrygia, the second land visited by this apostle, the present-day center of Turkey, had Hierapolis as its rich and influential capital. The aforementioned letter from Bishop Polycratres of Ephesus to Pope Victor testified that Philip worked and died in Hierapolis. In addition, an incription found in the necropolis of Hierapolis alludes to a church dedicated to the apostle Philip.  

Coin of Hierapolis, Phrygia, AD 218-AD

 In apocryphal writings concerning the work of Philip, this apostle was repeatedly depicted with a serpent or a dragon. The worship of a serpent in these regions were actually a practice at that time. In Hierapolis the serpent was cherished as a sacred animal in the temple of a goddess. Therefore, artists in past centuries grew accustomed to portraying the apostle Philip in a struggle with a serpent. The statue of Philip in the Lateran reminds one of the apostle's triumph over the power of the coiling snake through the might of the cross. The weight of the cross will always crush the dragon.


Discovery made at Hierapolis, one of the major Christian sites in Turkey

Amid the remains of a fourth or fifth century church at Hierapolis, one of the most significant Christian sites in Turkey, Francesco D’Andria found this first-century Roman tomb that he believes once held the remains of the apostle Philip.

At about the same time as the July/August 2011 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review was hitting the newsstands, containing an article about St. Philip’s Martyrium, author and excavation director Francesco D’Andria was making an exciting new discovery in the field at Hierapolis, one of the most significant sites in Christian Turkey. A month later he announced it: They had finally found the tomb of the martyred apostle Philip.

The tomb wasn’t discovered at the center of the octagonal hilltop martyrium as long expected, however, but in a newly excavated church about 40 yards away. D’Andria’s team found a first-century Roman tomb located at the center of the new church, which he says originally contained Philip’s remains. This early church of Christian Turkey was built around the tomb in the fourth or fifth century, and the nearby martyrium was built around the same time, in the early fifth century.

The remains of the apostle Philip are no longer in the tomb, however. According to D’Andria, the saint’s relics were very likely moved from Hierapolis to Constantinople at the end of the sixth century and then possibly taken to Rome and placed in the newly dedicated Church of St. Philip and St. John (now the Church of the Holy Apostles), although 12th-century reports describe seeing Philip’s remains still in Constantinople, the seat of Christian Turkey.

Tomb of Apostle Philip Found

This sixth-century bread stamp shows two churches from the site of Hierapolis in Christian Turkey: the domed martyrium on the right, and the newly-discovered church containing Philip’s tomb on the left.

This new discovery also sheds light on the wonderful imagery of the rare sixth-century bronze bread stamp from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts that we published in our article about Philip’s Martyrium. The structures on either side of the saint can now be identified as the domed martyrium (on the right) and the new Byzantine basilical church containing the tomb of the apostle Philip (on the left), both of which were important Christian sites in Turkey.



St. Philip Martyrium in Hierapolis, Turkey

According to some accounts, Philip the Apostle was executed in the Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis, located in southwestern Turkey, around 80 A.D. Archaeologists have been searching for his grave for years. On July 27, 2011, the Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that a tomb believed to be Philip’s was unearthed among Hierapolis’ ruins. While the grave has yet to be opened, it is traditionally thought that his remains were transported to Constantinople and later to the Santi Apostoli church in Rome. (Credit: Radomil/Wikimedia Commons)








Holy Apostle Nathaniel of the Seventy


Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and is usually identified with Nathaniel Bar Tolami who is mentioned in the John 1.  Bar Tolmai simply means Son of Tolmai which is used as a surname.  Greek: Βαρθολομαίος is transliterated "Bartholomaios" comes from the Aramaic bar-Tôlmay (תולמי-בר), meaning son of Tolmay or son of the furrows (perhaps a ploughman).

We assume that his name was Nathaniel who was introduced to Christ by Philip,  as given in  John 1:43-51, where the name Nathaniel first appears. He is also mentioned as “Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee” in John 21:2. The account of the calling of Nathaniel of Cana occurs at the end of John 1, immediately followed by the account of Jesus' miracle at the Marriage at Cana in John 2

"When Nathaniel joined the apostles, he was twenty-five years old and was the next to the youngest of the group. He was the youngest of a family of seven, was unmarried, and the only support of aged and infirm parents, with whom he lived at Cana; his brothers and sister were either married or deceased, and none lived there. Nathaniel and Judas Iscariot were the two best educated men among the twelve. 

Bartholomew is listed among the Twelve Apostles of Christ in the three Synoptic gospels:

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

(Mat 10:2-4)


And he appointed twelve, that they might be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have authority to cast out demons: and Simon he surnamed Peter; and James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and them he surnamed Boanerges, which is, Sons of thunder: and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. And he cometh into a house.

(Mar 3:14-19)


And when it was day, he called his disciples; and he chose from them twelve, whom also he named apostles: Simon, whom he also named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip and Bartholomew, and Matthew and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor;

(Luk 6:13-16)


And when they were come in, they went up into the upper chamber, where they were abiding; both Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.

(Act 1:13)



 Notice that each time he is named in the company of Philip. 

 In the Gospel of John,[1:45-51] he is presented as Nathanael a friend of Philip.

Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee underneath the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

(Joh 1:44-51)

The conversation between Philip and Nathaniel indicates that they were students of the Tanak.  When Philip claimed that he has found the mesia, the retort of Nathaniel was  "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?", but he followed the call "come and see."

We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Jesus immediately characterizes him as "Here is a man in whom there is no deception."    hold   Jesus'  reply "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you",  immediately bring the most positive response from Nathanael of recognition of Jesus as  "the Son of God" and "the King of Israel". He reappears at the end of John's gospel[21:2] as one of the disciples to whom Jesus appeared at the Sea of Galilee after the Resurrection.

Nathaniel, was obviously close to Phillip and was probably associated with John the Bapist and the mesianic expectation.  

We have very little on Nathaniel other than the fact that he was one of the twelve.  He is said to have preached in India, Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, and Armenia. Eusebius reports that when St. Pantænus of Alexandria came to India he a copy of the Hebrew text of the gospel of Matthew which the people in the Bombay Kalyan area claim to have been left by Bartholomew. 

Mission of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle in India

Two ancient testimonies exist about the mission of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle in India. These are of Eusebius of Caesarea ( early fourth century) and of Saint Jerome ( late forth century). Both these refer to this tradition while speaking of the reported visit of Pantaenus to India in the second century.

According to Eusebius, Pantaenus, “is said to have gone among the Indians, where a report is that he discovered the Gospel according to Mathew among some there who knew Christ, which had anticipated his arrival: Bartholomew, one of the Apostles, had preached to them and had left them the writings of Mathew in Hebrew letters, which writing they preserved until the afore-said time”

Saint Jerome would have that Demetric, Bishop of Alexandria, sent to him India, at the request of legates of that nation. In India Pantaenus “ found that Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles, had preached the advent of Lord Jesus according to the Gospel of Matthew, and on his return to Alexandria he brought this with him written in Hebrew characters..”

  Kalyan – the field of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle missionary

The recent studies of Perumalil and Moraes hold that the Bombay region on the Konkan coast, a region which have been known after the ancient town Kalyan, was the field of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle’s missionary activities and his martyrdom.

The town of Kalyan, was an ancient port and it is supposed to be the Kalliana, the traveler Cosmas Indicopleuustes visited in the 6th century as he reports in his “Christian Typography”.

According to Pseudo- Sophronius ( 7th century) Saint Bartholomew preached to the “ Indians who are called Happy” and according to the greek tradition the Apostle went to” India Felix”. The word Kalyan means “felix” or “happy” and it is argued that the Kalyna region came to be known to the foreign writers “ India Felix” and its inhabitants, Indians “called the happy”

Perumalil interprets the “ India Citerior” of Hieronymian Martyrology as Western India, and the “India” of the Passio bartholmei as the Maratha Country.

It thus appears that Barthalomew travelled in the opposite direction to Philip towards India.

Other traditions record him as serving as a missionary in Ethiopia, Mesopotamia , Parthia, and Lycaonia. . The Apostle Bartholomew is reported to have labored in the area around the south end of the Caspian Sea, in the section that was then called Armenia.

Along with his fellow apostle Jude, Bartholomew is reputed to have brought Christianity to Armenia in the 1st century. Thus both saints are considered the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The monastery was built on the traditional site of the martyrdom of the Apostle Bartholomew who is reputed to have brought Christianity to Armenia in the 1st century. Along with Saint Thaddeus, Saint Bartholomew is considered the patron saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

He is said to have been martyred in Albanopolis in Armenia. The modern name of the district where he died is Azerbaijan and the place of his death, called in New Testament times Albanopolis, is now Derbend which is on the west coast of the Caspian Sea.
The apostle Bartholomew is said to have been martyred in the year 68 AD.

The 13th century Saint Bartholomew Monastery was a prominent Armenian monastery constructed at the site of the martyrdom of Apostle Bartholomew in the Vaspurakan Province of Greater Armenia (now in southeastern Turkey).

He is said to have converted Polymius, the king of Armenia, to Christianity. He was martyred by King Astyages of Babylon, brother of Polymius who ordered  his execution:

Christian tradition has three stories about Bartholomew's death: 


•           "One speaks of his being kidnapped, beaten unconscious, and cast into the sea to drown.

•           Another account states that he was crucified upside down,


•           and another says that he was skinned alive and beheaded in Albac or Albanopolis


 The account of Bartholomew being skinned alive is the most represented in works of art, and consequently Bartholomew is often shown with a large knife, holding his own skin 


Statue of St. Bartholomew in the Basilica of St. John Lateran


Bartholomew is also the patron saint of tanners.


Bartholomew's relics

The 6th-century writer in Constantinople, Theodorus Lector, averred that in about 507 Emperor Anastasius gave the body of Bartholomew to the city of Dura-Europos, which he had recently re-founded.The existence of relics at Lipari, a small island off the coast of Sicily, in the part of Italy controlled from Constantinople, was explained by Gregory of Tours  by his body having miraculously washed up there: a large piece of his skin and many bones that were kept in the Cathedral of St Bartholomew the Apostle, Lipari, were translated to Beneventum in 803, and to Rome in 983 by Holy Roman Emperor Otto II, conserved at the basilica of San Bartolomeo all'Isola. In time, the church there inherited an old pagan medical centre. This association with medicine in course of time caused Bartholomew's name to become associated with medicine and hospitals. Some of Bartholomew's skull was transferred to the Frankfurt Cathedral, while an arm is venerated in Canterbury Cathedral today.



Image 1

The Urantia Book Paper 139 describes  the Honest Nathaniel

(1558.2) 139:6.1 Nathaniel, the sixth and last of the apostles to be chosen by the Master himself, was brought to Jesus by his friend Philip. He had been associated in several business enterprises with Philip and, with him, was on the way down to see John the Baptist when they encountered Jesus.

(1558.3) 139:6.2 When Nathaniel joined the apostles, he was twenty-five years old and was the next to the youngest of the group. He was the youngest of a family of seven, was unmarried, and the only support of aged and infirm parents, with whom he lived at Cana; his brothers and sister were either married or deceased, and none lived there. Nathaniel and Judas Iscariot were the two best educated men among the twelve. Nathaniel had thought to become a merchant.

(1558.4) 139:6.3 Jesus did not himself give Nathaniel a nickname, but the twelve soon began to speak of him in terms that signified honesty, sincerity. He was “without guile.” And this was his great virtue; he was both honest and sincere. The weakness of his character was his pride; he was very proud of his family, his city, his reputation, and his nation, all of which is commendable if it is not carried too far. But Nathaniel was inclined to go to extremes with his personal prejudices. He was disposed to prejudge individuals in accordance with his personal opinions. He was not slow to ask the question, even before he had met Jesus, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” But Nathaniel was not obstinate, even if he was proud. He was quick to reverse himself when he once looked into Jesus’ face.

(1558.5) 139:6.4 In many respects Nathaniel was the odd genius of the twelve. He was the apostolic philosopher and dreamer, but he was a very practical sort of dreamer. He alternated between seasons of profound philosophy and periods of rare and droll humor; when in the proper mood, he was probably the best storyteller among the twelve. Jesus greatly enjoyed hearing Nathaniel discourse on things both serious and frivolous. Nathaniel progressively took Jesus and the kingdom more seriously, but never did he take himself seriously.

(1558.6) 139:6.5 The apostles all loved and respected Nathaniel, and he got along with them splendidly, excepting Judas Iscariot. Judas did not think Nathaniel took his apostleship sufficiently seriously and once had the temerity to go secretly to Jesus and lodge complaint against him. Said Jesus: “Judas, watch carefully your steps; do not overmagnify your office. Who of us is competent to judge his brother? It is not the Father’s will that his children should partake only of the serious things of life. Let me repeat: I have come that my brethren in the flesh may have joy, gladness, and life more abundantly. Go then, Judas, and do well that which has been intrusted to you but leave Nathaniel, your brother, to give account of himself to God.” And the memory of this, with that of many similar experiences, long lived in the self-deceiving heart of Judas Iscariot.

(1559.1) 139:6.6 Many times, when Jesus was away on the mountain with Peter, James, and John, and things were becoming tense and tangled among the apostles, when even Andrew was in doubt about what to say to his disconsolate brethren, Nathaniel would relieve the tension by a bit of philosophy or a flash of humor; good humor, too.

(1559.2) 139:6.7 Nathaniel’s duty was to look after the families of the twelve. He was often absent from the apostolic councils, for when he heard that sickness or anything out of the ordinary had happened to one of his charges, he lost no time in getting to that home. The twelve rested securely in the knowledge that their families’ welfare was safe in the hands of Nathaniel.

(1559.3) 139:6.8 Nathaniel most revered Jesus for his tolerance. He never grew weary of contemplating the broadmindedness and generous sympathy of the Son of Man.

(1559.4) 139:6.9 Nathaniel’s father (Bartholomew) died shortly after Pentecost, after which this apostle went into Mesopotamia and India proclaiming the glad tidings of the kingdom and baptizing believers. His brethren never knew what became of their onetime philosopher, poet, and humorist. But he also was a great man in the kingdom and did much to spread his Master’s teachings, even though he did not participate in the organization of the subsequent Christian church. Nathaniel died in India.







  • The Aramaic Tau'ma: the name "Thomas" comes from the Aramaic word for twin, t'oma (תאומא).
  • In the Greek "the Twin"  is given as  Didymus : in the Gospel of John,  (John 11:16; 20:24), Thomas is more specifically identified as "Thomas, also called the Twin (Didymus)".

His actual name is Judas.

Few texts identify Thomas' other twin, though in the Book of Thomas the Contender, part of the Nag Hammadi library, a Gnostic Apocrypha, it is said to be Jesus himself: "Now, since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself…"  In the Gospel of Thomas Jesus is the Spiritual part and Thomas is the Material Part.  Material Part reflects the Spiritual.  But then this concept is not peculiar to Gnosticism.  All believers who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior are the twins of Jesus himself having received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which transforms them into the likeness of Jesus himself. 

 2 Corinthians 3:18  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

But then the Gnostics goes at a tangent away from the center of the circle.

As far as the Bethelehem story goes, Jesus was not one of the twins.  If according to Gnostics, Jesus was born in the Spirit world and Thomas in the Material world we would never know.

Easton's Bible Dictionary make the following reasoning :

"Twin, one of the twelve (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18, etc.). He was also called Didymus which is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name. All we know regarding him is recorded in the fourth Gospel (John 11:15, 16; 14:4, 5; 20:24, 25, 26-29). From the circumstance that in the lists of the apostles he is always mentioned along with Matthew, who was the son of Alphaeus (Mark 3:18), and that these two are always followed by James, who was also the son of Alphaeus, it has been supposed that these three, Matthew, Thomas, and James, were brothers." 

But that would not define who is the other twin of Thomas.

Some have seen in the Acts of Thomas (written in east Syria in the early 3rd century, or perhaps as early as the first half of the 2nd century) an identification of Saint Thomas with the apostle Judas brother of James, better known in English as Jude. However, the first sentence of the Acts follows the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles in distinguishing the apostle Thomas and the apostle Judas son of James.   


"The Gnostics considers Thomas as the twin brother of Jesus. We have no evidence for this in the Bible.

Early Church historian Eusebius in his "Ecclesiastical History" gives the story of how Edessa came to be Christian. Edessa was a small Kingdom in Syria and at time of Jesus, Abgar Ukomo was its king. Abgar wrote a letter to Jesus as folows:


Abgar Ukomo, the toparch, to Jesus the good Savior who has appeared in the district of Jerusalem, greetings. I have heard concerning you and your cures, how they are accomplished by you without drugs and herbs ... And when I heard of all these things concerning you I decided that it is one of two things, either that you are God and came down from Heaven to do these things, or are the Son of God for doing these things. For this reason I write to beg you to hasten to me and to heal the suffering which I have ...


Our savior replied to Abgar and the reply was sent through Ananias. The letter says as follows:

Blessed are you who believed in me, not having seen me ... Now concerning what you wrote to me, to come to you, I must first complete here all for which I was sent, and after thus completing it be taken up to Him who sent me; and when I have been taken up, I will send to you one of my disciples to heal your suffering and give life to you and those with you.

After the resurrection of Jesus, Jesus did sent Thadues, one of the Seventy disciples to Abgar and healed him. This Thadeus was the twin brother of Thomas.. "

This Thadues is one of Seventy not one of the twelve disciples.  This is the only identification of the other twin for Thomas in history as far as I can get.

 We have no description of the call of Thomas into Apostleship. His name just appears in the lists.  The first active appearance of Thomas in the Gospels occurred immediately before the account of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Jesus had just fled from Jerusalem to escape stoning and seizure by the Jews. He had gone to Perea. The grieving sisters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha of Bethany, had sent a special messenger to Him to inform Him that their brother lay very ill.  Lazarus was a very close friend of Jesus; but instead of going to him immediately, our Lord "remained two more days in the same place. Then afterwards he said to his disciples. "Let us go again into Judea.'". Thomas speaks in the Gospel of John. In John 11:16: "Let us also go, that we may die with him" 

 Thomas is also known as "The Doubting Thomas", because he demanded an objective proof of evidence for resurrection.


Thomas was the first disciple who confessed and acknowledged, Jesus as

"My God and My Lord"
The nearest of others was by Simon Peter who declared that Jesus was the Son of God.

John 20:24 -29 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"  Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."

Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

In terms of Rom. 10:10 Thomas may be considered as the first Christian and was saved .

Rom 10:10  For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.


Thomas and the Assumption of Mary

St. Thomas receiving the Virgin Mary's girdle from heaven.

According to The Passing of Mary, a text attributed to Joseph of Arimathaea,  Thomas was the only witness of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. The other apostles were miraculously transported to Jerusalem to witness her death. Thomas was left in India, but after her first burial he was transported to her tomb, where he witnessed her bodily assumption into heaven, from which she dropped her girdle. In an inversion of the story of Thomas' doubts, the other apostles are skeptical of Thomas' story until they see the empty tomb and the girdle.   

Thomas and Syria

Thomas seems to have ministered in the Middle East. Early Yemeni Churches were the product of the efforts of Thomas.  These churches were destroyed by the onslaught of Islam in those areas.  It is only by 1970s that Christianity was able to re-enter these regions. 


India Tours


Acts of Thomas an Apocryphat book describes how Thomas was forced to go to India.  This was as an architect to one King Gundaphores of Taxila. 


Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the historicity of the events and hence the traditions were questioned by scholars.  

“Did a king of the name of Gondophares reign over any portion of India, and was he a contemporary of the Apostolic age? Where was his kingdom situated? Was it practicable for the Apostle Thomas to have had access to it?
It was only about the middle of the nineteenth century that it became possible to say whether a king of that name ever existed and had reigned in India.

Pahlavas / Indo-Parthians

The Ruins of Taxila, the Capitol of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom of Gondaphorus - now in Pakisthan

St. Thomas is said to have begun his missionary work here in India


The coins from Taxila with the seal and inscription of King Gudophorus as
"Maharaja - rajarajasamahata -dramia -devavrata Gundapharase"


The discovery of Gondophoras coins was made by one Charles Masson who worked in the Bengal European Artillery.  During his stay in Kabul he got interested in the antiquities.  In 1833 he undertook digging in Begram, the ancient Kapis and discovered 1565 copper coins and 14 gold and silver coins.  This brought alive the history of  the long forgotten Indo-Parthian Kingdom


This Takhth-i-Bahi Stone 17" long and 14.5" broad has the inscription
"In the twenty-sixth year of the great King Gudaphara in the year three and one hundred, in the month of Vaishakh, on the fifth day"


“The Indo-Parthian kingdom was founded by the first of several kings named Gondophares in the late first century BC. Gondophares, as well as being a Saka king, was probably a member of the Suren family, one of the seven major noble houses of the Parthians, whose feifdom was in Seistan, by now known as Sakastan, on the eastern borders of the Parthian empire. Indo-Parthia expanded to the east, sometimes as vassals of the Parthians and sometimes independently, eventually stretching to Pakistan and northern India. Indo-Parthia suffered major defeats at the hands of the Kushans in the late first century AD, and eventually was reduced to the area of Sakastan and Arachosia until their conquest by the Sassanians during the 3rd century AD.”  


Coin of Gondophares (20-50 AD CE), first king of the Indo-Parthians   Bust of Gondophares

Rev: Winged Nike holding a diadem, and Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΥΝΔΟΦΕΡΡΟΥ ("of King Gondophares, the Saviour").

St. Thomas is traditionally believed to have sailed to the land of Taxila where he had a vast ministy for nearly a decade.  When the Taxila Kingdom was over ran by the Kushans, Thomas took his journey to the South India.  However a storm caused a shipwreck Thomas land in the Isle of Socotra off the Yemeni coast.  Socotrans are still Christians.  After a few months in Socotra, Thomas reached the Malabar Coast in AD 52 in the ancient port of Muziris near Kodungallore.

 In the land of  Kerala,  he established the Ezharappallikal, or "Seven and Half Churches". These churches are at Kodungallur, Kollam, Niranam,   Kokkamangalam, Kottakkayal  Palayoor  and Thiruvithancode Arappally – the half church.

He has ministered in the Southern India for two decades. It appears that the whole of South India from the River Cavery to the Cape Comorin were under one Christian Rule known in the Hindu Mytholoty as King MahaBali (The Great Sacrifice) from the end of first century  until the sixth century AD when this kingdom was defeated by treachery of the Brahminic Terrorism.  


The Possible extent of Kalabhra Empire  - Mahabali Empire

During this period he also travelled to China on a short tour and established a church there. 



According to tradition, St. Thomas attained martyrdom at St. Thomas Mount in Chennai and is buried on the site of San Thome Cathedral.


The Church which stands over the cave at Little Mount where St Thomas traditionally known to have hid himself from his murderers 

The inscription in a marble tablet at the entrance to the cave reads as follows:

“The cave where lay hid persecuted just before being martyred by RAJA MAHADEVAN, king of Mylapore, A.D. 68, THOMAS one of the twelve, the great Apostle of India, the very one who put his finger into the wounds of his Lord and God”

The Church on St. Thomas Mount, which was built by the Portuguese in 1523 and extended in 1547. Coja Safar, an Armenian, extended it further in 1707.



The Marthoma Cross which is on the main altar, in the Church on St. Thomas Mount.

The Church in St. Thomas Mount, Mylapore, Chennai The Gothic Cathedral  built in 1893.
The tomb is found inside this church


"it was found to contain the among other Relics, the piece of spear, a small piece of the Apostle's bone. This is all that the Cathedral possess"


Shrine of Saint Thomas in Meliapore, 18th century print.

Original tomb of Apostle Thomas in Mylapore.

Tomb in 1900

Piece of a hand Bone of St. Thomas which touched the wound of Jesus, it was brought from Edessa and preserved in the Milapore St. Thomas Museum

Tip of the lance that took the life of St. Thomas which was recovered from the grave during the Portuguese excavation and preserved in the Milapore St. Thomas Museum

Thomas was from Jerusalem of the tribe of Judah. He taught the Parthians, Medes and Indians; and because he baptized the daughter of the King of the Indians, he stabbed him with a spear and he died. Habban the merchant brought his body and laid it in Edessa, the blessed city of Christ our Lord. Others say he was buried in Mahluph [Mylapore], a city in the land of the Indians.”

His relics were moved from Edessa.  The Edessene Chronicle says that in 394 "the casket of the Apostle Thomas was removed to the great church erected in his honor."

Muslims captured Edessa in 1142, at which the Christians took the relics to the isle of Chios in the Aegean Sea, where they remained for more than a century.

 In 1258 the prince of Taranto raided Chios and sent the relics to Ortona, Italy, where they were installed in the cathedral. In 1952  Cardinal Tisserant arranged to have sent to Cranganore a thigh bone in 1952, on 19th centenary celebration the arrival of Thomas there.

After a short stay in the Greek island of Chios, on September 6, 1258, the relics were transported to the West, and now rest in Ortona, Italy.

St.Thomas Apostle Basilica in Ortona, Italy


The golden copper urn in the Basilica St. Thomas




Ortona's great cathedral has the privilege of housing the bones of St Thomas Apostle, which arrived in Ortona on September 6, 1258, a booty taken by captain Leone degli Acciaioli when the island of Chio was sacked.

Return of the relics

In A.D. 232 the greater part of relics of the Apostle Thomas are said to have been returned by an Indian king and brought back from India to the city of Edessa, Mesopotamia, on which occasion his Syriac Acts were written. Few relics are still kept in church at Mylapore, Tamil Nadu, India. The Indian king is named as "Mazdai" in Syriac sources, "Misdeos" and "Misdeus" in Greek and Latin sources respectively, which has been connected to the "Bazdeo" on the Kushan coinage of Vasudeva I, the transition between "M" and "B" being a current one in Classical sources for Indian names.  The martyrologist Rabban Sliba dedicated a special day to both the Indian king, his family, and St Thomas:

"Coronatio Thomae apostoli et Misdeus rex Indiae, Johannes eus filius huisque mater Tertia" ("Coronation of Thomas the Apostle, and Misdeus king of India, together with his son Johannes (thought to be a latinization of Vizan) and his mother Tertia") Rabban Sliba

After a short stay in the Greek island of Chios, on September 6, 1258, the relics were transported to the West, and now rest in Ortona, Italy.

 Его Высокое Преосвященство проводит Божественную литургию / His Beatitude Dr. Mar Aprim Metropolitan of the COE in India Celebrates the Holy Qurbana

For details on the Acts of Apostle Thomas see my book Acts of the Apostle Thomas: The Story of Thomas Churches



the tax collector



Matthew  comes from מַתִּתְיָהוּ Mattityahu or מתי Mattay which would mean "Gift of YHVH"; Greek: Ματθαῖος, Matthaios.  Matthew was, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus and one of the four Evangelists. In the list of the Apostles in the New Testament, Matthew is mentioned as either being in seventh or eighth place.

Matthew is called to follow Jesus Matthew 9:9-13. Matthew is never referred directly to as being the Son of Alphaeus in the Gospel of Matthew or any other book in the Bible.  Levi, Son of Alphaeus in Mark is  a tax collector and he was called to ministry.   In the Gospel of Matthew , Matthew is the tax collector Matthew 9:9. (Matthew) who called to follow Jesus and is listed as one of the twelve Apostles. This help us to identify Levi as the same person as Matthew.  James the less and Thaddeus, are also listed as the sons of Alphaeus  in Matthew 10:3.  It is thus unlikely that the father of   James the Less and Thaddeus is the same person as the father of Matthew.   Otherwise we will have three brothers in the Apostolic list which is unlikely.  It would have been made clear in other portions of the four gospels.   The name Matthew must have been a name given by Jesus after he has joined Him as a disciple.  His Jewish name was Levi (Lk 5:27-29).

Matthew was a 1st century Galilean (presumably born in Galilee, in the township of Capernaum, which was not part of Judea or the Roman Iudaea province) and the son of Alpheus.  During the Roman occupation (which began in 63 BC with the conquest of Pompey), Matthew collected taxes from the Hebrew people for Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. His tax office was located in Capernaum. Jews who took up government jobs under the Romans were despised and considered outcasts and betrayers. However, as a tax collector he would have been literate in Aramaic and Greek. Thus we have  Levi  the son of Alphaeus  from the town of Caperanaum was Matthew and possibly his brother also became a disciple later through the influence of Levi.  His brother's  name obviously would be James the son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14).


Holman Bible Dictionary  says on the name Alphaeus as follows:



1. Father of apostle called James the Less to distinguish him from James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). Mark 15:40 says James' mother, Mary, was with Jesus' mother at the cross. John 19:25 says Mary the wife of Cleophas was at the cross. This would seem to indicate that Cleophas and Alphaeus are two names for the same person. Many Bible students accept this. Others think the language problems between Greek and Hebrew make the equation impossible so that two different Marys are meant. Some want to equate Alphaeus, Cleophas, and the Cleopas of Luke 24:18.


2. The father of the apostle Levi (Mark 2:14). Comparison of Matthew 9:9 and Luke 5:27 would indicate Levi was also called Matthew.

Alphaeus in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE al-fe'-us (Alphaios; Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, Halphaios):

(1) The father of the second James in the list of the apostles (Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:15; Acts 1:13).

(2) The father of Levi, the publican (Mk 2:14). Levi is designated as Matthew in the Gospel of Mt (9:9).

There is no other reference to this Alpheus.

Some writers, notably Weiss, identify the father of Levi with the father of the second James. He says that James and Levi were undoubtedly brothers; but that seems improbable. If they were brothers they would quite likely be associated as are James and John, Andrew and Peter.

Chrysostom says James and Levi had both been tax-gatherers before they became followers of Jesus. This tradition would not lend much weight as proof that they were brothers, for it might arise through identifying the two names, and the western manuscripts do identify them and read James instead of Levi in Mk 2:14. This, however, is undoubtedly a corruption of the text. If it had been the original it would be difficult to explain the substitution of an unknown Levi for James who is well known.

Many writers identify Alpheus, the father of the second James, with Clopas of Jn 19:25. This had early become a tradition, and Chrysostom believed they were the same person. This identity rests on four suppositions, all of which are doubtful:

(a) That the Mary of Clopas was the same as the Mary who was the mother of the second James. There is a difference of opinion as to whether "Mary of Clopas" should be understood to be the wife of Clopas or the daughter of Clopas, but the former is more probable. We know from Mt 27:56 and Mk 15:40 that there was a James who was the son of Mary, and that this Mary belonged to that little group of women that was near Jesus it the time of the crucifixion. It is quite likely that this Mary is the one referred to in Jn 19:25. That would make James, the son of Mary of Mt 27:56, the son of Mary of Clopas. But Mary was such a common name In the New Testament that this supposition cannot be proven.

(b) That the James, who was the son of Mary, was the same person as the James, the son of Alpheus. Granting the supposition under (a), this would not prove the identity of Clopas and Alpheus unless this supposition can also be proven, but it seems impossible to either prove it or disprove it.

(c) That Alpheus and Clopas are different variations of a common original, and that the variation has arisen from different pronunciations of the first letter ("ch") of the Aramaic original. There are good scholars who both support and deny this theory.

(d) That Clopas had two names as was common at that time; but there is nothing to either substantiate or disprove this theory. See CLOPAS. It seems impossible to determine absolutely whether or not Alpheus, the father of the second James, and Clopas of Jn 19:25 are the same person, but it is quite probable that they are.

The city of Capernaum was built on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, about two miles west of the Jordan River. Though this ancient town is not mentioned by name in the Old Testament, it is referred to as our Lord's "own city" (Matt. 9:1), for it became the center of His Galilean work and ministry.

Jesus made Capernaum his home during the years of his ministry: "Leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum" (Matt 4:13). Thus most of his disciples lived within the same town.

Capernaum synagogue
Ancient synagogue of Capernaum
Probably stands in the same place as the synagogue of the time of Jesus.

Early in his account of the gospel, Matthew points out that Jesus began His Galilean ministry here in order to fulfill Old Testament prophecy. "And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 'The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: the people who sat in darkness saw a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.'" (Matt. 4:13-16).

Six men from Capernaum (Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew and James the less) were called by the Lord to be His apostles. Jesus had often stayed in Peter's house in Capernaum and preached in the synagogue there which had been built by a Roman centurion (Luke 7:5).

The city was important enough to have a tax office, over which Matthew had presided (Matt. 9:9). A detachment of Roman soldiers was stationed in the town also.

Matthew 9:9, 10:3; Mark 2:14, 3:18; Luke 5:27-29; 6:15; Acts 1:13. 



Matthew 9:9 and Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27

    Matthew (Matthew 9:9) - "And as Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man, called Matthew, sitting in the tax office; and He *said to him, "Follow Me!" And he rose, and followed Him."

    Levi (Mark 2:14) - "And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax office, and He *said to him, "Follow Me!" And he rose and followed Him."

    Levi (Luke 5:27) - "And after that He went out, and noticed a tax-gatherer named Levi, sitting in the tax office, and He said to him, "Follow Me."

Other than writing his Gospel not much is known about Matthew’s later life. 

Inspiration of St Matthew by Caravaggio

Origen says that the first Gospel  written was by Matthew.  This Gospel was written  in Hebrew in Jerusalem for  the Jewish Christians from a Jewish point of view.  It was later translated into Greek, but the Greek copy was lost. The Hebrew original was kept at the Library of Caesarea. The Nazarene Community transcribed a copy for Jerome which he used in his work.   

St. Irenæus tells us that Matthew preached the Gospel among the Hebrews, and St. Clement of Alexandria claiming that he evangelized among the jewish people in Jerusalem and Judea  for fifteen years.   Eusebius asserts that, before going into other countries, he gave his Gospel in his mother tongue Aramaic.


The statue of St. Matthew at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in the Vatican by Camillo Rusconi

It it is certain that he left Judea much before the fall of Jerusalem. There are no unanimous opinion about which countries were evangelized by Matthew besides Judea.  But almost all mention "Ethiopia" which is not the African Ethiopia but a Parthian territory to the south of the Caspian where a large number of Jewish diaspora remained and held some political power., Others mention  Persia, Parthia, Macedonia, and Syria.

If you look at the world as known to Herodotus we can see the Eastern Ethiopia falls in the Indo-Parthian Kingdom of Gondaphorus in Indus Valley (today's Pakisthan area)  which was essentially a Jewish dispersion area  This will also explain why the Hebrew version of the Gospel of Matthew was found in the area of Kalyan following the ministry of Barthelomew..

Early Church fathers Clement and Irenaeus say that Matthew stayed in Palestine preaching the Gospel to the Jews for at least 15 years after Christ’s ascension after which he was martyred. The details of his death are not known.

Matthew, for about 15 years, preached the Gospel in Hebrew to the Jewish community in Judea. Later in his ministry he traveled to Gentile nations and spread the Gospel to Macedonians, Persians, and Parthians. Eventually his evangelizing lead him to Ethiopia, where he became associated with Candace the queen of Ethiopia. Outside the Bible there is little known about Matthew, nor even evidence that he really existed. Accounts of his life vary, some reporting that he was martyred, others that he died a natural death either in Ethiopia or in Macedonia.

 The scene of his labors was Parthia, and Ethiopia, in which latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah, A.D. 60. (Fox’s Book of Martyrs)

Death of Matthew

According to Heracleon, who is quoted by Clement of Alexandria, Matthew did not die a martyr,

But this opinion is contradicted by other ancient testimonies.

 "Martyrium S. Matthæi in Ponto" in  "Acta apostolorum apocrypha" published by Bonnet, (Leipzig, 1898), is a Gnostic writing, published in the third century.

There is a disagreement as to the place of St. Matthew's martyrdom and the kind of torture inflicted on him, therefore it is not known whether he was burned, stoned, or beheaded. The Roman Martyrology simply says: "S. Matthæi, qui in Æthiopia prædicans martyrium passus est".


Cappella_migliorati_06_storie_di_san_matteo.JPG (2655×1815)

, Drawing, Gothic (1150-1500), Martyrdom, Pen and Ink, Renaissance, Saint Matthew the Evangelist and Apostle, School, Netherlandish

Saint Matthew the Evangelist the Martyrdom of St Matthew Giclee Print at

Here is the traditional story about the martyrdom of Matthew in