Acts-  Thomas etc.

ACTS OF ANDREW

 

From "The Apocryphal New Testament"
M.R. James-Translation and Notes
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924

The Noncanonical Homepage


 

 

 

Introduction

We have no ancient record of the length of this book, as we had in the cases of John, Paul, and Peter (but I suspect it was the most prolix of all the five), and we have fewer relics of the original text than for those. We have, however, a kind of abstract of the whole, written in Latin by Gregory of Tours: and there are Greek Encomia of the apostle which also help to the reconstruction of the story. The Martyrdom (as in other cases) exists separately, in many texts. Max Bonnet has established the relations of these to each other: and J. Flamion has made a most careful study of all the fragments.

The best specimen of the original text which we have is a fragment preserved in a Vatican MS., tenth-eleventh centuries, containing discourses of Andrew shortly before his passion. There are also a few ancient quotations.

These Acts may be the latest of the five leading apostolic romances. They belong to the third century: C. A. D. 260?

It was formerly thought that the Acts of Andrew and Matthias (Matthew) were an episode of the original romance: but this view has ceased to be held. That legend is akin to the later Egyptian romances about the apostles of which an immense number were produced in the fifth and later centuries. An abstract of them will be given in due course.

The epitome by Gregory of Tours is considered by Flamion to give on the whole the best idea of the contents of the original Acts. The latest edition of it is that by M. Bonnet in the Monumenta Germaniac Historica (Greg. Turon. II. 821-47). The greater part appears as Lib. III of the Historia Apostolica of (Pseudo-)Abdias, in a text much altered, it seems, in the sixteenth century by Wolfgang Lazius: reprinted in Fabricius' Cod. Apocr. N. T.

 

Gregory's prologue is as follows:

The famous triumphs of the apostles are, I believe, not unknown to any of the faithful, for some of them are taught us in the pages of the gospel, others are related in the Acts of the Apostles, and about some of them books exist in which the actions of each apostle are recorded; yet of the more part we have nothing but their Passions in writing.

Now I have come upon a book on the miracles (virtues, great deeds) of St. Andrew the apostle, which, because of its excessive verbosity, was called by some apocryphal. And of this I thought good to extract and set out the 'virtues' only, omitting all that bred weariness, and so include the wonderful miracles within the compass of one small volume, which might both please the reader and ward off the spite of the adverse critic: for it is not the multitude of words, but the soundness of reason and the purity of mind that produce unblemished faith.

 


[What follows is a full abstract, not a version, of Gregory's text.]

 

Text

1 After the Ascension the apostles dispersed to preach in various countries. Andrew began in the province of Achaia, but Matthew went to the city of Mermidona. (The rest of 1 and the whole of 2 give a short abstract of the Acts of Andrew and Matthew which Gregory either found prefixed to his copy of the Acts of Andrew, or thought himself obliged to notice, because of the popularity of the story.)

2 Andrew left Mermidona and came back to his own allotted district. Walking with his disciples he met a blind man who said: 'Andrew, apostle of Christ, I know you can restore my sight, but I do not wish for that: only bid those with you to give me enough money to clothe and feed myself decently.' Andrew said: 'This is the devil's voice, who will not allow the man to recover his sight.' He touched his eyes and healed him. Then, as be had but a vile rough garment, Andrew said: 'Take the filthy garment off him and clothe him afresh.' All were ready to strip themselves, and Andrew said: 'Let him have what will suffice him.' He returned home thankful.

3 Demetrius of Amasea had an Egyptian boy of whom he was very fond, who died of a fever. Demetrius hearing of Andrew's miracles, came, fell at his feet, and besought help. Andrew pitied him, came to the house, held a very long discourse, turned to the bier, raised the boy, and restored him to his master. All believed and were baptized.

4 A Christian lad named Sostratus came to Andrew privately and told him: 'My mother cherishes a guilty passion for me: I have repulsed her, and she has gone to the proconsul to throw the guilt on me. I would rather die than expose her.' The officers came to fetch the boy, and Andrew prayed and went with him. The mother accused him. The proconsul bade him defend himself. He was silent, and so continued, until the proconsul retired to take counsel. The mother began to weep. Andrew said: 'Unhappy woman, that dost not fear to cast thine own guilt on thy son.' She said to the proconsul: 'Ever since my son entertained his wicked wish he has been in constant company with this man.' The proconsul was enraged, ordered the lad to be sewn into the leather bag of parricides and drowned in the river, and Andrew to be imprisoned till his punishment should be devised. Andrew prayed, there was an earthquake, the proconsul fell from his seat, every one was prostrated, and the mother withered up and died. The proconsul fell at Andrew's feet praying for mercy. The earthquake and thunder ceased, and he healed those who had been hurt. The proconsul and his house were baptized.

5 The son of Cratinus (Gratinus) of Sinope bathed in the women's bath and was seized by a demon. Cratinus wrote to Andrew for help: he himself had a fever and his wife dropsy. Andrew went there in a vehicle. The boy tormented by the evil spirit fell at his feet. He bade it depart and so it did, with outcries. He then went to Cratinus' bed and told him he well deserved to suffer because of his loose life, and bade him rise and sin no more. He was healed. The wife was rebuked for her infidelity. 'If she is to return to her former sin, let her not now be healed: if she can keep from it, let her be healed.' The water broke out of her body and she was cured. The apostle brake bread and gave it her. She thanked God, believed with all her house, and relapsed no more into sin. Cratinus afterwards sent Andrew great gifts by his servants, and then, with his wife, asked him in person to accept them, but he refused saying: 'It is rather for you to give them to the needy.'

6 After this he went to Nicaea where were seven devils living among the tombs by the wayside, who at noon stoned passersby and had killed many. And all the city came out to meet Andrew with olive branches, crying: 'Our salvation is in thee, O man of God.' When they had told him all, he said: 'If you believe in Christ you shall be freed.' They cried: 'We will.' He thanked God and commanded the demons to appear; they came in the form of dogs. Said he: 'These are your enemies: if you profess your belief that I can drive them out in Jesus' name, I will do so.' They cried out: 'We believe that Jesus Christ whom thou preachest is the Son of God.' Then he bade the demons go into dry and barren places and hurt no man till the last day. They roared and vanished. The apostle baptized the people and made Callistus bishop.

7 At the gate of Nicomedia he met a dead man borne on a bier, and his old father supported by slaves, hardly able to walk, and his old mother with hair torn, bewailing. 'How has it happened ?' he asked. 'He was alone in his chamber and seven dogs rushed on him and killed him.' Andrew sighed and said: 'This is an ambush of the demons I banished from Nicaea. What will you do, father, if I restore your son ?' 'I have nothing more precious than him, I will give him.' He prayed: 'Let the spirit of this lad return.' The faithful responded, 'Amen'. Andrew bade the lad rise, and he rose, and all cried: 'Great is the God of Andrew.' The parents offered great gifts which he refused, but took the lad to Macedonia, instructing him.

8 Embarking in a ship he sailed into the Hellespont, on the way to Byzantium. There was a great storm. Andrew prayed and there was calm. They reached Byzantium.

9 Thence proceeding through Thrace they met a troop of armed men who made as if to fall on them. Andrew made the sign of the cross against them, and prayed that they might be made powerless. A bright angel touched their swords and they all fell down, and Andrew and his company passed by while they worshipped him. And the angel departed in a great light.

10 At Perinthus he found a ship going to Macedonia, and an angel told him to go on board. As he preached the captain and the rest heard and were converted, and Andrew glorified God for making himself known on the sea.

11 At Philippi were two brothers, one of whom had two sons, the other two daughters. They were rich and noble, and said: 'There is no family as good as ours in the place: let us marry our sons to our daughters.' It was agreed and the earnest paid by the father of the sons. On the wedding-day a word from God came to them: 'Wait till my servant Andrew comes: he will tell you what you should do.' All preparations had been made, and guests bidden, but they waited. On the third day Andrew came: they went out to meet him with wreaths and told him how they had been charged to wait for him, and how things stood. His face was shining so that they marvelled at him. He said: 'Do not, my children, be deceived: rather repent, for you have sinned in thinking to join together those who are near of kin. We do not forbid or shun marriage [this cannot be the author's original sentiment: it is contradicted by all that we know of the Acts]. It is a divine institution: but we condemn incestuous unions.' The parents were troubled and prayed for pardon. The young people saw Andrew's face like that of an angel, and said: 'We are sure that your teaching is true.' The apostle blessed them and departed.

12 At Thessalonica was a rich noble youth, Exoos, who came without his parents' knowledge and asked to be shown the way of truth. He was taught, and believed, and followed Andrew taking no care of his worldly estate. The parents heard that he was at Philippi and tried to bribe him with gifts to leave Andrew. He said: 'Would that you had not these riches, then would you know the true God, and escape his wrath.' Andrew, too, came down from the third storey and preached to them, but in vain: he retired and shut the doors of the house. They gathered a band and came to burn the house, saying: 'Death to the son who has forsaken his parents': and brought torches, reeds, and faggots, and set the house on fire. It blazed up. Exoos took a bottle of water and prayed: 'Lord Jesu Christ, in whose hand is the nature of all the elements, who moistenest the dry and driest the moist, coolest the hot and kindlest the quenched, put out this fire that thy servants may not grow evil, but be more enkindled unto faith.' He sprinkled the flames and they died. 'He is become a sorcerer,' said the parents, and got ladders, to climb up and kill them, but God blinded them. They remained obstinate, but one Lysimachus, a citizen, said: 'Why persevere? God is fighting for these. Desist, lest heavenly fire consume you.' They were touched, and said: 'This is the true God.' It was now night, but a light shone out, and they received sight. They went up and fell before Andrew and asked pardon, and their repentance made Lysimachus say: 'Truly Christ whom Andrew preaches is the Son of God.' All were converted except the youth's parents, who cursed him and went home again, leaving all their money to public uses. Fifty days after they suddenly died, and the citizens, who loved the youth, returned the property to him. He did not leave Andrew, but spent his income on the poor.

13 The youth asked Andrew to go with him to Thessalonica. All assembled in the theatre, glad to see their favourite. The youth preached to them, Andrew remaining silent, and all wondered at his wisdom. The people cried out: 'Save the son of Carpianus who is ill, and we will believe.' Carpianus went to his house and said to the boy: 'You shall be cured to-day, Adimantus.' He said: 'Then my dream is come true: I saw this man in a vision healing me.' He rose up, dressed, and ran to the theatre, outstripping his father, and fell at Andrew's feet. The people seeing him walk after twenty-three years, cried: 'There is none like the God of Andrew.'

14 A citizen had a son possessed by an unclean spirit and asked for his cure. The demon, foreseeing that he would be cast out, took the son aside into a chamber and made him hang himself. The father said: 'Bring him to the theatre: I believe this stranger is able to raise him.' He said the same to Andrew. Andrew said to the people: 'What will it profit you if you see this accomplished and do not believe?' They said: 'Fear not, we will believe.' The lad was raised and they said: 'It is enough, we do believe.' And they escorted Andrew to the house with torches and lamps, for it was night, and he taught them for three days.

15 Medias of Philippi came and prayed for his sick son. Andrew wiped his cheeks and stroked his head, saying: 'Be comforted, only believe,' and went with him to Philippi. As they entered the city an old man met them and entreated for his sons, whom for an unspeakable crime Medias had imprisoned, and they were putrefied with sores. Andrew said: 'How can you ask help for your son when you keep these men bound? Loose their chains first, for your unkindness obstructs my prayers.' Medias, penitent, said: 'I will loose these two and seven others of whom you have not been told.' They were brought, tended for three days, cured, and freed. Then the apostle healed the son, Philomedes, who had been ill twenty-two years. The people cried: 'Heal our sick as well.' Andrew told Philomedes to visit them in their houses and bid them rise in the name of Jesus Christ, by which he had himself been healed. This was done, and all believed and offered gifts, which Andrew did not accept.

16 A citizen, Nicolaus, offered a gilt chariot and four white mules and four white horses as his most precious possession for the cure of his daughter. Andrew smiled. 'I accept your gifts, but not these visible ones: if you offer this for your daughter, what will you for your soul? That is what I desire of you, that the inner man may recognize the true God, reject earthly things and desire eternal . . .' He persuaded all to forsake their idols, and healed the girl. His fame went through all Macedonia.

17 Next day as he taught, a youth cried out: 'What hast thou to do with us. Art thou come to turn us out of our own place?' Andrew summoned him: 'What is your work?' 'I have dwelt in this boy from his youth and thought never to leave him: but three days since I heard his father say, "I shall go to Andrew": and now I fear the torments thou bringest us and I shall depart.' The spirit left the boy. And many came and asked: 'In whose name dost thou cure our sick?'

Philosophers also came and disputed with him, and no one could resist his teaching.

18 At this time, one who opposed him went to the proconsul Virinus and said: 'A man is arisen in Thessalonica who says the temples should be destroyed and ceremonies done away, and all the ancient law abolished, and one God worshipped, whose servant he says he is.' The proconsul sent soldiers and knights to fetch Andrew. They found his dwelling: when they entered, his face so shone that they fell down in fear. Andrew told those present the proconsul's purpose. The people armed themselves against the soldiers, but Andrew stopped them. The proconsul arrived; not finding Andrew in the appointed place, he raged like a lion and sent twenty more men. They, on arrival, were confounded and said nothing. The proconsul sent a large troop to bring him by force. Andrew said: 'Have you come for me?' 'Yes, if you are the sorcerer who says the gods ought not to be worshipped.' 'I am no sorcerer, but the apostle of Jesus Christ whom I preach.' At this, one of the soldiers drew his sword and cried: 'What have I to do with thee, Virinus, that thou sendest me to one who can not only cast me out of this vessel, but burn me by his power? Would that you would come yourself! you would do him no harm.' And the devil went out of the soldier and he fell dead. On this came the proconsul and stood before Andrew but could not see him. 'I am he whom thou seekest.' His eyes were opened, and he said in anger: 'What is this madness, that thou despisest us and our officers? Thou art certainly a sorcerer. Now will I throw thee to the beasts for contempt of our gods and us, and we shall see if the crucified whom thou preachest will help thee.' Andrew: 'Thou must believe, proconsul, in the true God and his Son whom he hath sent, specially now that one of thy men is dead.' And after long prayer he touched the soldier: 'Rise up: my God Jesus Christ raiseth thee.' He arose and stood whole. The people cried: 'Glory be to our God.' The proconsul: 'Believe not, O people, believe not the sorcerer.' They said: 'This is no sorcery but sound and true teaching.' The proconsul: 'I shall throw this man to the beasts and write about you to Caesar, that ye may perish for contemning his laws.' They would have stoned him, and said: 'Write to Caesar that the Macedonians have received the word of God, and forsaking their idols, worship the true God.'

Then the proconsul in wrath retired to the praetorium, and in the morning brought beasts to the stadium and had the Apostle dragged thither by the hair and beaten with clubs. First they sent in a fierce boar who went about him thrice and touched him not. The people praised God. A bull led by thirty soldiers and incited by two hunters, did not touch Andrew but tore the hunters to pieces, roared, and fell dead. 'Christ is the true God,' said the people. An angel was seen to descend and strengthen the apostle. The proconsul in rage sent in a fierce leopard, which left every one alone but seized and strangled the proconsul's son; but Virinus was so angry that he said nothing of it nor cared. Andrew said to the people: 'Recognize now that this is the true God, whose power subdues the beasts, though Virinus knows him not. But that ye may believe the more, I will raise the dead son, and confound the foolish father.' After long prayer, he raised him. The people would have slain Virinus, but Andrew restrained them, and Virinus went to the praetorium, confounded.

19 After this a youth who followed the apostle sent for his mother to meet Andrew. She came, and after being instructed, begged him to come to their house, which was devastated by a great serpent. As Andrew approached, it hissed loudly and with raised head came to meet him; it was fifty cubits long: every one fell down in fear. Andrew said: 'Hide thy head, foul one, which thou didst raise in the beginning for the hurt of mankind, and obey the servants of God, and die.' The serpent roared, and coiled about a great oak near by and vomited poison and blood and died.

Andrew went to the woman's farm, where a child killed by the serpent lay dead. He said to the parents: 'Our God who would have you saved hath sent me here that you may believe on him. Go and see the slayer slain.' They said: 'We care not so much for the child's death, if we be avenged.' They went, and Andrew said to the proconsul's wife (her conversion has been omitted by Gregory): 'Go and raise the boy.' She went, nothing doubting, and said: 'In the name of my God Jesus Christ, rise up whole.' The parents returned and found their child alive, and fell at Andrew's feet.

20 On the next night he saw a vision which he related. 'Hearken, beloved, to my vision. I beheld, and lo, a great mountain raised up on high, which had on it nothing earthly, but only shone with such light, that it seemed to enlighten all the world. And lo, there stood by me my beloved brethren the apostles Peter and John; and John reached his hand to Peter and raised him to the top of the mount, and turned to me and asked me to go up after Peter, saying: "Andrew, thou art to drink Peter's cup." And he stretched out his hands and said: "Draw near to me and stretch out thy hands so as to join them unto mine, and put thy head by my head." When I did so I found myself shorter than John. After that he said to me: "Wouldst thou know the image of that which thou seest, and who it is that speaketh to thee?" and I said: "I desire to know it." And he said to me: "I am the word of the cross whereon thou shalt hang shortly, for his name's sake whom thou preachest." And many other things said he unto me, of which I must now say nothing, but they shall be declared when I come unto the sacrifice. But now let all assemble that have received the word of God, and let me commend them unto the Lord Jesus Christ, that he may vouchsafe to keep them unblemished in his teaching. For I am now being loosed from the body, and go unto that promise which he hath vouchsafed to promise me, who is the Lord of heaven and earth, the Son of God Almighty, very God with the Holy Ghost, continuing for everlasting ages.'

 

(I feel sure that John in the latter part of this vision has been substituted by Gregory for Jesus. The echoes of the Acts of John and of Peter are very evident here.)

 

All the brethren wept and smote their faces. When all were gathered, Andrew said: 'Know, beloved, that I am about to leave you, but I trust in Jesus whose word I preach, that he will keep you from evil, that this harvest which I have sown among you may not be plucked up by the enemy, that is, the knowledge and teaching of my Lord Jesus Christ. But do ye pray always and stand firm in the faith, that the Lord may root out all tares of offence and vouchsafe to gather you into his heavenly garner as pure wheat.' So for five days he taught and confirmed them: then he spread his hands and prayed: 'Keep, I beseech thee, O Lord, this flock which hath now known thy salvation, that the wicked one may not prevail against it, but that what by thy command and my means it hath received, it may be able to preserve inviolate for ever.' And all responded 'Amen'. He took bread, brake it with thanksgiving, gave it to all, saying: 'Receive the grace which Christ our Lord God giveth you by me his servant.' He kissed every one and commended them to the Lord, and departed to Thessalonica, and after teaching there two days, he left them.

21 Many faithful from Macedonia accompanied him in two ships. And all were desirous of being on Andrew's ship, to hear him. He said: 'I know your wish, but this ship is too small. Let the servants and baggage go in the larger ship, and you with me in this.' He gave them Anthimus to comfort them, and bade them go into another ship which he ordered to keep always near . . . that they might see him and hear the word of God. (This is a little confused.) And as he slept a little, one fell overboard. Anthimus roused him, saying: 'Help us, good master; one of thy servants perisheth.' He rebuked the wind, there was a calm, and the man was borne by the waves to the ship. Anthimus helped him on board and all marvelled. On the twelfth day they reached Patrae in Achaia, disembarked, and went to an inn.

22 Many asked him to lodge with them, but he said he could only go where God bade him. That night he had no revelation, and the next night, being distressed at this, he heard a voice saying: 'Andrew, I am alway with thee and forsake thee not,' and was glad.

Lesbius the proconsul was told in a vision to take him in, and sent a messenger for him. He came, and entering the proconsul's chamber found him lying as dead with closed eyes; he struck him on the side and said: 'Rise and tell us what hath befallen thee.' Lesbius said: 'I abominated the way which you teach and sent soldiers in ships to the proconsul of Macedonia to send you bound to me, but they were wrecked and could not reach their destination. As I continued in my purpose of destroying your Way, two black men (Ethiopes) appeared and scourged me, saying: "We can no longer prevail here, for the man is coming whom you mean to persecute. So to-night, while we still have the power, we will avenge ourselves on you." And they beat me sorely and left me. But now do you pray that I may be pardoned and healed.' Andrew preached the word and all believed, and the proconsul was healed and confirmed in the faith.

23 Now Trophima, once the proconsul's mistress, and now married to another, left her husband and clave to Andrew. Her husband came to her lady (Lesbius' wife) and said she was renewing her liaison with the proconsul. The wife, enraged, said: 'This is why my husband has left me these six months.' She called her steward (procurator) and had Trophima sentenced as a prostitute and sent to the brothel. Lesbius knew nothing, and was deceived by his wife, when he asked about her. Trophima in the brothel prayed continually, and had the Gospel on her bosom, and no one could approach her. One day one offered her violence, and the Gospel fell to the ground. She cried to God for help and an angel came, and the youth fell dead. After that, she raised him, and all the city ran to the sight.

Lesbius' wife went to the bath with the steward, and as they bathed an ugly demon came and killed them both. Andrew heard and said: 'It is the judgement of God for their usage of Trophima.' The lady's nurse, decrepit from age, was carried to the spot, and supplicated for her. Andrew said to Lesbius: 'Will you have her raised?' 'No, after all the ill she has done.' 'We ought not to be unmerciful.' Lesbius went to the praetorium; Andrew raised his wife, who remained shamefaced: he bade her go home and pray. 'First', she said, 'reconcile me to Trophima whom I have injured.' 'She bears you no malice.' He called her and they were reconciled. Callisto was the wife.

Lesbius, growing in faith, came one day to Andrew and confessed all his sins. Andrew said: 'I thank God, my son, that thou fearest the judgement to come. Be strong in the Lord in whom thou believest.' And he took his hand and walked with him on the shore.

24 They sat down, with others, on the sand, and he taught. A corpse was thrown up by the sea near them. 'We must learn', said Andrew, 'what the enemy has done to him.' So he raised him, gave him a garment, and bade him tell his story. He said: 'I am the son of Sostratus, of Macedonia, lately come from Italy. On returning home I heard of a new teaching, and set forth to find out about it. On the way here we were wrecked and all drowned.' And after some thought, he realized that Andrew was the man he sought, and fell at his feet and said: 'I know that thou art the servant of the true God. I beseech thee for my companions, that they also may be raised and know him.' Then Andrew instructed him, and thereafter prayed God to show the bodies of the other drowned men: thirty-nine were washed ashore, and all there prayed for them to be raised. Philopator, the youth, said: 'My father sent me here with a great sum. Now he is blaspheming God and his teaching. Let it not be so.' Andrew ordered the bodies to be collected, and said: 'Whom will you have raised first?' He said: 'Warus my foster-brother.' So he was first raised and then the other thirty-eight. Andrew prayed over each, and then told the brethren each to take the hand of one and say: 'Jesus Christ the son of the living God raiseth thee.'

Lesbius gave much money to Philopator to replace what he had lost, and he abode with Andrew.

25 A woman, Calliopa, married to a murderer, had an illegitimate child and suffered in travail. She told her sister to call on Diana for help; when she did so the devil appeared to her at night and said: 'Why do you trouble me with vain prayers? Go to Andrew in Achaia.' She came, and he accompanied her to Corinth, Lesbius with him. Andrew said to Calliopa: 'You deserve to suffer for your evil life: but believe in Christ, and you will be relieved, but the child will be born dead.' And so it was.

26 Andrew did many signs in Corinth. Sostratus the father of Philopator, warned in a vision to visit Andrew, came first to Achaia and then to Corinth. He met Andrew walking with Lesbius, recognized him by his vision, and fell at his feet. Philopator said: 'This is my father, who seeks to know what he must do.' Andrew: 'I know that he is come to learn the truth; we thank God who reveals himself to believers.' Leontius the servant of Sostratus, said to him: 'Seest thou, sir, how this man's face shineth?' 'I see, my beloved,' said Sostratus; 'let us never leave him, but live with him and hear the words of eternal life.' Next day they offered Andrew many gifts, but he said: 'It is not for me to take aught of you but your own selves. Had I desired money, Lesbius is richer.'

27 After some days he bade them prepare him a bath; and going there saw an old man with a devil, trembling exceedingly. As he wondered at him, another, a youth, came out of the bath and fell at his feet, saying: 'What have we to do with thee, Andrew? Hast thou come here to turn us out of our abodes?' Andrew said to the people: 'Fear not,' and drove out both the devils. Then, as he bathed, he told them: 'The enemy of mankind lies in wait everywhere, in baths and in rivers; therefore we ought always to invoke the Lord's name, that he may have w power over us.'

They brought their sick to him to be healed, and so they did from other cities.

28 An old man, Nicolaus, came with clothes rent and said: 'I am seventy-four years old and have always been a libertine. Three days ago I heard of your miracles and teaching. I thought I would turn over a new leaf, and then again that I would not. in this doubt, I took a Gospel and prayed God to make me forget my old devices. A few days after, I forgot the Gospel I had about me, and went to the brothel. The woman said: "Depart, old man, depart: thou art an angel of God, touch me not nor approach me, for I see in thee a great mystery." Then I remembered the Gospel, and am come to you for help and pardon.' Andrew discoursed long against incontinence, and prayed from the sixth to the ninth hour. He rose and washed his face a

Acts And Martyrdom of the Holy Apostle Andrew

From The New Advent: Fathers of the Church
http://www.csn.net/advent/fathers/fathers.htm

 


WHAT we have all, both presbyters and deacons of the churches of Achaia, beheld with our eyes, we have written to all the churches established in the name of Christ Jesus, both in the east and west, north and south. Peace to you, and to all who believe in one God, perfect Trinity, true Father unbegotten, true Son only-begotten, true Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father, and abiding in the Son, in order that there may be shown one Holy Spirit subsisting in the Father and Son in precious Godhead. This faith we have learned from the blessed Andrew, the apostle of oar Lord Jesus Christ, whose passion also we, having seen it set forth before our eyes, have not hesitated to give an account of, according to the degree of ability we have. Accordingly the proconsul AEgeates, (1) having come into the city of Patras, began to compel those believing in Christ to worship the idols; to whom the blessed Andrew, running up, said: It behoved thee, being a judge of men, to acknowledge thy Judge who is in the heaven, and having acknowledged Him, to worship Him; and worshipping Him who is the true God, to turn away thy thoughts from those which are not true gods.

To whom AEgeates said: Art thou Andrew, who destroyest the temples of the gods, and persuadest men about the religion which, having lately made its appearance, the emperors of the Romans have given orders to suppress?

The blessed Andrew said: The emperors of the Romans have never recognised the truth. And this the Son of God, who came on account of the salvation of men, manifestly teaches--that these idols are not only not gods, but also most shameful demons, (2) and hostile to the human race, teaching men to offend God, so that, by being offended, He turns away and will not hearken; that therefore, by His turning away and not hearkening, they may be held captive by the devil; and that they might work them to such a degree, that when they go out of the body they may be found deserted and naked, carrying nothing with them bat sins.

AEgeates said: These are superfluous and vain words: as for your Jesus, for proclaiming these things to the Jews they nailed him to the tree of the cross.

The blessed Andrew answering, said: Oh, if thou wouldst recognise the

mystery of the cross, with what reasonable love the Author (3) of the life of

the human race for our restoration endured this tree of the cross, not

unwillingly, but willingly!

AEgeates said: Seeing that, betrayed by his own disciple, and seized by the Jews, he was brought before the procurator, and according to their request was nailed up by the procurator's soldiers, in what way dost thou say that he willingly endured the tree of the cross?

The holy Andrew said: For this reason I say willingly, since I was with Him when he was betrayed by His disciple. For before He was betrayed, He spoke to us to the effect that He should be betrayed and crucified for the salvation of men, and foretold that He should rise again on the third day. To whom my

brother Peter said, (4) Far be it from thee, Lord; let this by no means be. And

so, being angry, He said to Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou art not

disposed to the things of God. And in order that He might most fully explain

that He willingly underwent the passion, He said to us, (5) I have power to lay

down my life, and I have power to take it again. And, last of all, while He

was supping with us, He said, (6) One of you will betray me. At these words,

therefore, all becoming exceedingly grieved, in order that the surmise might

be free from doubt, He made it clear, saying, To whomsoever I shall give the

piece of bread out of my hand, he it is who betrays me. When, therefore, He

gave it to one of our fellow-disciples, and gave an account of things to come

as if they were already present,

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He showed that He was to be willingly betrayed. For neither did He run away, and leave His betrayer at fault; but remaining in the place in which He knew that he was, He awaited him

AEgeates said: I wonder that thou, being a sensible man, shouldst wish to uphold him on any terms whatever; for, whether willingly or unwillingly, all the same, thou admittest that he was fastened to the cross.

The blessed Andrew said: This is what I said, if now thou apprehendest, that great is the mystery of the cross, which, if thou wishest, as is likely, to hear, attend to me. (1)

AEgeates said: A mystery it cannot be called, but a punishment.

The blessed Andrew said: This punishment is the mystery of man's restoration. If thou wilt listen with any attention, thou wilt prove it.

AEgeates said: I indeed will hear patiently; but thou, unless thou

submissively obey me, shalt receive (2) the mystery of the cross in thyself.

The blessed Andrew answered: If I had been afraid of the tree of the cross, I should not have proclaimed the glory of the cross.

AEgeates said: Thy speech is foolish, because thou proclaimest that the cross is not a punishment, and through thy foolhardiness thou art not afraid of the punishment of death.

The holy Andrew said: It is not through foolhardiness, but through faith, that I am not afraid of the punishment of death; for the death of sins (3) is hard. And on this account I wish thee to hear the mystery of the cross, in order that thou perhaps, acknowledging it, mayst believe, and believing, mayst come somehow or other to the renewing of thy soul.

AEgeates said: That which is shown to have perished is for renewing. Do you mean that my soul has perished, that thou makest me come to the renewing of it through the faith, I know not what, of which thou hast spoken?

The blessed Andrew answered: This it is which I desired time to learn, which also I shall teach and make manifest, that though the souls of men are destroyed, they shall be renewed through the mystery of the cross. For the first man through the tree of transgression brought in death; and it was

necessary for the human race, that through the suffering of the tree, death,

which had come into the world, should be driven out. And since the first man,

who brought death into the world through the transgression of the tree, had

been produced from the spotless earth, it was necessary that the Son of God

should be begotten a perfect man from the spotless virgin, that He should

restore eternal life, which men had lost through Adam, and should cut off (4)

the tree of carnal appetite through the tree of the

cross. Hanging upon the cross, He stretched out His blameless hands for the hands which had been incontinently stretched out; for the most sweet food of the forbidden tree He received gall for food; and taking our mortality upon Himself, He made a gift of His immortality to us.

AEgeates said: With these words thou shalt be able to lead away those who shall believe in thee; but unless thou hast come to grant me this, that thou offer sacrifices to the almighty gods, I shall order thee, after having been scourged, to be fastened to that very cross which thou commendest.

The blessed Andrew said: To God Almighty, who alone is true, I bring sacrifice day by day not the smoke of incense, nor the flesh of bellowing bulls, nor the blood of goats, but sacrificing a spotless lamb day by day on the altar of the cross; and though all the people of the I faithful partake of His body and drink His blood, the Lamb that has been sacrificed remains after this entire and alive. Truly, therefore, is He sacrificed, andtruly is His body eaten by the people, and His blood is likewise drunk; nevertheless, as I have said, He remains entire, and spotless, and alive.

AEgeates said: How can this be?

The blessed Andrew said: If thou wouldest know, take the form of a disciple, that thou mayst learn what thou art inquiring after.

AEgeates said: I will exact of thee through tortures the gift of this knowledge.

The blessed Andrew declared: I wonder that thou, being an intelligent man, shouldest fall into (5) the folly of thinking that thou mayst be able to persuade me, through thy tortures, to disclose to thee the sacred things of God. Thou hast heard the mystery of the cross, thou hast heard the mystery of the sacrifice. If thou be lievest in Christ the Son of God, who was crucified, I shall altogether disclose to thee in what manner the Lamb that has been slain may live, after having been sacrificed and eaten, remaining in His kingdom entire and spotless.

AEgeates said: And by what means does the lamb remain in his kingdom after he has been slain and eaten by all the people, as thou hast said?

The blessed Andrew said: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou shalt be able to learn: but if thou believest not, thou shalt not by any means attain to the idea of such truth.

Then AEgeates, enraged, ordered him to be shut up in prison, where, when he was shut up, a multitude of the people came together to him

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from almost all the province, so that they wished to kill AEgeates, and by breaking down the doors of the prison to set free the blessed Andrew the apostle.

Them the blessed Andrew admonished in these words, saying: Do not stir up the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ into seditious and devilish uproar. For my Lord, when He was betrayed, endured it with all patience; He did not strive, He did not cry out, nor in the streets did any one hear Him crying out. (1) Therefore do ye also keep silence, quietness, and peace; and hinder not my martyrdom, but rather get yourselves also ready beforehand as athletes to the Lord, in order that you may overcome threatenings by a soul that has no fear of man, and that you may get the better of injuries through the endurance of the body. For this temporary fall is not to be feared; but that should be feared which has no end. The fear of men, then, is like smoke which, while it is raised and gathered together, disappears. And those torments ought to be feared which never have an end. For these torments, which happen to be somewhat light, any one can bear; but if they are heavy, they soon destroy life. But those torments are everlasting, where there are daily weepings, and mournings, and lamentations, and never-ending torture, to which the proconsul AEgeates is not afraid to go. Be ye therefore rather prepared for this, that through temporary afflictions ye may attain to everlasting rest, and may flourish for ever, and reign with Christ. (2)

The holy Apostle Andrew having admonished the people with these and such like words through the whole night, when the light of day dawned, AEgeates having sent for him, ordered the blessed Andrew to be brought to him; and having sat down upon the tribunal, he said: I have thought that thou, by thy reflection during the night, hast turned away thy thoughts from folly, and

given up thy commendation of Christ that thou mightst be able to be with us,

and not throw away the pleasures of life; for it is folly to come for any

purpose to the suffering of the cross, and to give oneself up to most shameful

punishments and burnings.

The holy Andrew answered: I shall be able to have joy with thee, if thou wilt believe in Christ, and throw away the worship of idols; for Christ has sent me to this province, in which I have acquired for Christ a people not the smallest.

AEgeates said: For this reason I compel thee to make a libation, that these people who have been deceived by thee may forsake the vanity of thy teaching, and may themselves offer grateful libations to the gods; for not even one city has remained in Achaia in which their temples (3) have not been forsaken and deserted. And now, through thee, let them be again restored to the worship of the images, in order that the gods also, who have been enraged against thee, being pleased by this, may bring it about that thou mayst return to their friendship anti ours. But if not, thou awaitest varied tortures, on account of the vengeance of the gods; and after these, fastened to the tree of the cross which thou commendest, thou shall die.

The holy Andrew said: Listen, O son of death and chaff made ready for eternal burnings, (4) to me, the servant of God and apostle of Jesus Christ. Until now I have conversed with thee kindly about the perfection of the faith, in order that thou, receiving the exposition of the truth, being made perfect as its vindicator, mightst despise vain idols, and worship God, who is in the heavens; but since thou remainest in the same shamelessness at last, and thinkest me to be afraid because of thy threats, bring against me whatever may seem to thee greater in the way of tortures. For the more shall I be well pleasing to my King, the more I shall endure in tortures for the confession of His name.

Then the proconsul AEgeates, being enraged, ordered the apostle of Christ to be afflicted by tortures. Being stretched out, therefore, by seven times three (5) soldiers, and beaten with violence, he was lifted up and brought before the impious AEgeates. And he spoke to him thus: Listen to me, Andrew, and withdraw thy thoughts from the outpouring of thy blood; but if thou wilt not hearken to me, I shall cause thee to perish on the tree of the cross.

The holy Andrew said: I am a slave of the cross of Christ, and I ought rather to pray to attain to the trophy of the cross than to be afraid; but for thee is laid up eternal torment, which, however, thou mayst escape after thou hast tested my endurance, if thou wilt believe in my Christ. For I am afflicted about thy destruction, and I am not disturbed about my own suffering. For my suffering takes up a space of one day, or two at most; but thy torment for endless ages shall never come to a close. Wherefore

henceforward cease from adding to thy miseries, and lighting up everlasting

fire for thyself.

AEgeates then being enraged, ordered the blessed Andrew to be fastened to the cross. (6) And he having left them all, goes up to the cross, and says to it with a clear voice: Rejoice, O cross, which has been consecrated by the body

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of Christ, and adorned by His limbs as if with pearls. Assuredly before my Lord went up on thee, thou hadst much earthly fear; but now invested with heavenly longing, thou art fitted up (1) according to my prayer. For I know, from those who believe, how many graces thou hast in Him, how many gifts prepared beforehand. Free from care, then, and with joy, I come to thee, that thou also exulting mayst receive me, the disciple of Him that was hanged upon thee; because thou hast been always faithful to me, and I have desired to embrace thee. O good cross, which hast received comeliness and beauty from the limbs of the Lord; O much longed for, and earnestly desired, and fervently sought after, and already prepared beforehand for my soul longing for thee, take me away from men, and restore me to my Master, in order that through thee He may accept me who through thee has redeemed me.

And having thus spoken, the blessed Andrew, standing on the ground, and looking earnestly upon the cross, stripped himself and gave his clothes to the executioners, having urged the brethren that the executioners should come and do what had been commanded them; for they were standing at some distance. And they having come up, lifted him on the cross; and having stretched his body across with ropes, they only bound his feet, but did not sever his joints, (2) having received this order from the proconsul: for he wished him to be in distress while hanging, and in the night-time, as he was suspended, to be eaten up alive by dogs. (3)

And a great multitude of the brethren stood by, nearly twenty thousand; and having beheld the executioners standing off, and that they had done to the blessed one nothing of what those who were hanged up suffer, they thought that they would again hear something from him; for assuredly, as he was hanging, he moved his head smiling. And Stratocles inquired of him: Why art thou smiling, Andrew, servant of God? Thy laughter makes us mourn and weep, because we are deprived of thee. And the blessed Andrew answered him: Shall I not laugh at all, my son Stratocles, at the empty stratagem of AEgeates, through which he thinks to take vengeance upon us? We have nothing to do with him and his plans. He cannot hear; for if he could, he would be aware, having learned it by experience, that a man of Jesus is unpunished. (4)

And having thus spoken, he discoursed to them all in common, for the people ran together enraged at the unjust judgment of AEgeates: Ye men standing by me, and women, and children, and elders, bond and free, and as many as will hear; I beseech you, forsake all this life, ye who have for my sake assembled here; and hasten to take upon you my life, which leads to heavenly things, and once for all despise all temporary things, confirming the purposes of those who believe in Christ. And he exhorted them all, teaching that the sufferings of this transitory life are not worthy to be compared with the future recompense of the eternal life.

And the multitude hearing what was said by him, did not stand off from the place, and the blessed Andrew continued the rather to say to them more than he had spoken. And so much was said by him, that a space of three days and nights was taken up, and no one was tired and went away from him. And when also on the fourth day they beheld his nobleness, and the unweariedness of his intellect, and the multitude of his words, and the serviceableness of his exhortations, and the stedfastness of his soul, and the sobriety of his spirit, and the fixedness of his mind, and the perfection of his reason, they were enraged against AEgeates; and all with one accord hastened to the tribunal, and cried out against AEgeates, who was sitting, saying: What is thy judgment, O proconsul? Thou hast judged wickedly; thy awards are impious. In what has the man done wrong; what evil has he done? The city has been put in an uproar; thou grievest us all; do not betray Caesar's city. Grant willingly to the Achaians a just man; grant willingly to us a God-fearing man; do not put to death a godly man. Four days he has been hanging, and is alive; having eaten nothing, he has filled us all. Take down the man from the cross, and we shall all seek after wisdom; release the man, and to all Achaia will mercy be shown. It is not necessary that he should suffer this, because, though hanging, he does not cease proclaiming the truth.

And when the proconsul refused to listen to them, at first indeed signing with his hand to the crowd to take themselves off, they began to be emboldened against him, being in number about twenty thousand. And the proconsul having beheld that they had somehow become maddened, afraid that something frightful would befall him, rose up from the tribunal and went away with them, having promised to set free the blessed Andrew. And some went on before to tell the apostle the cause for which they came to the place.

While all the crowd, therefore, was exulting that the blessed Andrew was going to be set free, the proconsul having come up, and all the

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brethren rejoicing along with Maximilla, (1) the blessed Andrew, having heard this, said to the brethren standing by: What is it necessary for me to say to him, when I am departing to the Lord, that will I also say. For what reason hast thou again come to us, AEgeates? On what account dost thou, being a stranger to us, (2) come to us? What wilt thou again dare to do, what to contrive? Tell us. Hast thou come to release us, as having changed thy mind? I would not agree with thee that thou hadst really changed thy mind. Nor would I believe thee, saying that thou art my friend. Dost thou, O proconsul, release him that has been bound? By no means. For I have One with whom I shall be for ever; I have One with whom I shall live to countless ages. To Him I go; to Him I hasten, who also having made thee known to me, has said to me, Let not that fearful man terrify thee; do not think that he will lay hold of thee, who art mine: for he is thine enemy. Therefore, having known thee through him who has turned towards me, I am delivered from thee. But if thou wishest to believe in Christ, there will be opened up for time, as I promised thee, a way of access; but if thou hast come only to release me, I shall not be able after this to be brought down from this cross alive in the body. For I and my kinsmen depart to our own, allowing thee to be what thou art, and what thou dost not know about thyself. For already I see my King, already I worship Him, already I stand before Him, where the fellowship (3) of the angels is, where He reigns the only emperor, where there is light without night, where the flowers never fade, where trouble is never known, nor the name of grief heard, where there are cheerfulness and exultation that have no end. O blessed cross! without the longing for thee, no one enters into that place. But I am distressed, AEgeates, about thine own miseries, because eternal perdition is ready to receive thee. Run then, for thine own sake, O pitiable one, while yet thou canst, lest perchance thou shouldst wish then when thou canst not.

When, therefore, he attempted to come near the tree of the cross, so as to release the blessed Andrew, with all the city applauding him, the holy Andrew said with a loud voice: Do not suffer Andrew, bound upon Thy tree, to be released, O Lord; do not give me who am in Thy mystery to the shameless devil. O Jesus Christ, let not Thine adversary release me, who have been hanged by Thy favour; O Father, let this insignificant man no longer humble him who has known Thy greatness. The executioners, therefore, putting out their hands, were not able at all to touch him. Others, then, and others endeavoured to release him, and no one at all was able to come near him; for their arms were benumbed.

Then the blessed Andrew, having adjured the people, said: I entreat you earnestly, brethren, that I may first make one prayer to my Lord. So then set about releasing me. All the people therefore kept quiet because of the adjuration. Then the blessed Andrew, with a loud cry, said: Do not permit, O Lord, Thy servant at this time to be removed from Thee; for it is time that my body be committed to the earth, and Thou shalt order me to come to Thee. Thou who givest eternal life, my Teacher whom I have loved, whom on this cross I

confess, whom I know, whom I possess, receive me, O Lord; and as I have

confessed Thee and obeyed Thee, so now in this word hearken to me; and, before

my body come down from the cross, receive me to Thyself, that through my

departure there may be access to Thee of many of my kindred, finding rest for

themselves in Thy majesty.

When, therefore, he had said this, he became in the sight of all glad and exulting; for an exceeding splendour like lightning coming forth out of heaven shone down upon him, and so encircled him, that in consequence of such brightness mortal eyes could not look upon him at all. And the dazzling light remained about the space of half an hour. And when he had thus spoken and glorified the Lord still more, the light withdrew itself, and he gave up the ghost, and along with the brightness itself he departed to the Lord in giving Him thanks.

And after the decease of the most blessed Andrew the apostle, Maximilla being the most powerful of the notable women, (4) and continuing among those who had come, as soon as she learned that the apostle had departed to the Lord, came up and turned her attention to the cross, along with Stratocles, taking no heed at all of those standing by, and with reverence took down the body of the most blessed apostle from the cross. And when it was evening, bestowing upon him the necessary care, she prepared the body for burial with costly spices, and aid it in her own tomb. For she had been parted from AEgeates on account of his brutal disposition and lawless conduct, having chosen for herself a holy and quiet life; and having been united to the love of Christ, she spent her life blessedly along with the brethren.

AEgeates had been very importunate with her, and promised that he would make her mistress of his wealth; but not having been able to persuade her, he was greatly enraged, and was determined to make a public charge against all

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the people, and to send to Caesar an accusation against both Maximilla and all the people. And while he was arranging these things in the presence of his officers, at the dead of night he rose up, and unseen by all his people, having been tormented by the devil, he fell down from a great height, and rolling into the midst of the market-place of the city, breathed his last.

And this was reported to his brother Stratocles; and he sent his servants, having told them that they should bury him among those who had died a violent death. But he sought nothing of his substance, saying: Let not my Lord Jesus Christ, in whom I have believed, suffer me to touch anything whatever of the goods of my brother, that the condemnation of him who dared to cut off the apostle of the Lord may not disgrace me.

These things were done in the province of Achaia, in the city of Patras on the day before the kalends of December, (1) where his good deeds are kept in mind even to this day, to the glory and praise of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (2)

 

 

The Acts of Barnabas

From The New Advent: Fathers of the Church
http://www.csn.net/advent/fathers/fathers.htm

 


 

The Journeyings and Martyrdom of St. Barnabas the Apostle.

SINCE from the descent of the presence of our Saviour Jesus Christ, the unwearied and benevolent and mighty Shepherd and Teacher and Physician, I beheld and saw the ineffable and holy and unspotted mystery of the Christians, who hold the hope in holiness, and who have been sealed; and since I have zealously served Him, I have deemed it necessary to give account of the mysteries which I have heard and seen.

I John, accompanying the holy apostles Barnabas and Paul, being formerly a servant of Cyrillus the high priest of Jupiter, but now having received the gift of the Holy Spirit through Paul and Barnabas and Silos, who were worthy of the calling, and who baptized me in Iconium. After I was baptized, then, I saw a certain man standing clothed in white raiment; and he said to me: Be of good courage, John, for assuredly thy name shall be changed to Mark, and thy glory shall be proclaimed in all the world. the darkness in thee has passed away from thee, and there has been given to thee understanding to know the mysteries of God.

And when I saw the vision, becoming greatly terrified, I went to the feet of Barnabas, and related to him the mysteries which I had seen and heard from that man. And the Apostle Paul was not by when I disclosed the mysteries. And Barnabas said to me: Tell no one the miracle which thou hast seen. For by me also this night the Lord stood, saying, Be of good courage: for as thou hast given thy life for my name to death and banishment from thy nation, thus also shall thou be made perfect. Moreover, as for the servant who is with you, take him also with thyself; for he has certain mysteries. Now then, my child, keep to thyself the things which thou hast seen and heard; for a time will come for thee to reveal them. (1)

And I, having been instructed in these things by him, remained in Iconium (2) many days; for there was there a holy man and a pious, who also entertained us, whose house also Paul had sanctified. Thence, therefore, we came to Seleucia, and after staying three days sailed away to Cyprus; and I was ministering to them until we had gone round all Cyprus. And setting sail from Cyprus, we landed in Perga of Pamphylia. And there I then stayed about two months, wishing to sail to the regions of the West; and the Holy Spirit did not allow me. Turning, therefore, I again sought the apostles; and having

learned that they were in Antioch, I went to them.

And I found Paul in bed in Antioch from the toil of the journey, who also seeing me, was exceedingly grieved on account of my delaying in Pamphylia. And Barnabas coming, encouraged him, and tasted bread, and he took a little of it. And they preached the word of the Lord, and enlightened many of the Jews and Greeks. And I only attended to them, and was afraid of Paul to come near him, both because he held me as having spent much time in Pamphylia, and because be was quite enraged against me. And I gave repentance on my knees upon the earth to Paul, and he would not endure it. And when I remained for three Sabbaths in

entreaty and prayer on my knees, I was unable to prevail upon him about

myself; for his great grievance against me was on account of my keeping

several parchments in Pamphylia.

And when it came to pass that they finished teaching in Antioch, on the first of the week they took counsel together to set out for the places of the East, and after that to go into Cyprus, and oversee all the churches in which they had spoken the word of God. And Barnabas entreated Paul to go first to Cyprus, and oversee his own in his village; and Lucius (3) entreated him to take the oversight of his city Cyrene. And a vision was seen by Paul in sleep, that he should hasten to Jerusalem, because the brethren expected him there. But Barnabas urged that they should go to Cyprus, and pass the winter, and then that they should go to Jerusalem at the feast. Great contention, therefore, arose between them. (4) And Barnabas urged me also to accompany them, on account of my being their servant from the beginning, and on account

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of my having served them in all Cyprus until they came to Perga of Pamphylia; and I there had remained many days. But Paul cried out against Barnabas, saying: It is impossible for him to go with us. And those who were with us there urged me also to accompany them, because there was a vow upon me to follow them to the end. So that Paul said to Barnabas: If thou wilt take John who also is surnamed Mark with thee, go another road; for he shall not come with us. And Barnabas coming to himself, said: The grace of God does not desert (1) him who has once served the Gospel and journeyed with us. If, therefore, this be agreeable to thee, Father Paul, I take him and go. And he said: Go thou in the grace of Christ, and we in the power of the Spirit.

Therefore, bending their knees, they prayed to God. And Paul, groaning aloud, wept, and in like manner also Barnabas, saying to one another: It would have been good for us, as at first, so also at last, to work in common among men; but since it has thus seemed good to thee, Father Paul, pray for me that my labour may be made perfect to commendation: for thou knowest how I have served thee also to the grace of Christ that has been given to thee. For I go to Cyprus, and hasten to be made perfect; (2) for I know that I shall no more see thy face, O Father Paul. And failing on the ground at his feet, he wept long. And Paul said to him: The Lord stood by me also this night, saying, Do not force Barnabas not to go to Cyprus, for there it has been prepared for him to enlighten many; and do thou also, in the grace that has been given to thee, go to Jerusalem to worship in the holy place, and there it shall be shown thee where thy martyrdom has been prepared. And we saluted one another, and Barnabas took me to himself.

And having come down to Laodiceia, (3) we sought to cross to Cyprus; and having found a ship going to Cyprus, we embarked. And when we had set sail, the wind was found to be contrary. Anti we came to Corasium; (4) and having gone down to the shore where there was a fountain, we rested there, showing ourselves to no one, that no one might know that Barnabas had separated from Paul. And having set sail from Corasium, we came to the regions of Isauria, and thence came to a certain island called Pityusa; (5) and a storm having come on, we remained there three days; and a certain pious man entertained us, by name Euphemus, whom also Barnabas instructed in many things in the faith, with all his house.

And thence we sailed past the Aconesiae, (6) and

came to the city of Anemurium; and having gone into it, we found two Greeks. And coming to us, they asked whence and who we were. And Barnabas said to them: If you wish to know whence and who we are, throw away the clothing which you have, and I shall put on you clothing which never becomes soiled; for neither is there in it anything filthy, but it is altogether splendid. And being astonished at the saying, they asked us: What is that garment which you are going to give us? And Barnabas said to them: If you shall confess your sins, and submit yourselves to our Lord Jesus Christ, you shall receive that garment which is incorruptible for ever. And being pricked at heart by the Holy Spirit, they fell at his feet, entreating and saying: We beseech thee, father, give us that garment; for we believe in the living and true God whom thou proclaimest. And leading them down to (7) the fountain, he baptized them into the name of Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost. And they knew that they were clothed with power, and a holy robe. And having taken from me one robe, he put it on the one; and his own robe he put on the other. And they brought money to him, and straightway Barnabas distributed it to the poor. And from them also the sailors were able to gain many things. (8)

And they having come down to the shore, he spoke to them the word of God; and he having blessed them, we saluted them, and went on board the ship. And the one of them who was named Stephanus wished to accompany us, and Barnabas did not permit him. And we, having gone across, sailed down to Cyprus by night; anti having come to the place called Crommyacita, (9) we found Timon and Ariston the temple Servants, at whose house also we were entertained.

And Timon was afflicted by much fever. And having laid our hands upon him, we straightway removed his fever, having called upon the name of the Lord Jesus. And Barnabas had received documents from Matthew, a book of the word (10) of God, and a narrative of miracles and doctrines. This Barnabas laid upon the sick in each place that we came to, and it immediately made a cure of their sufferings.

And when we had come to Lapithus, (11) and an idol festival (12) being celebrated in the theatre, they did not allow us to go into the city, but we rested a little at the gate. And Timon, after he rose up from his disease, came with us. And having gone forth from Lapithus, we travelled

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through the mountains, and came to the city of Lampadistus, of which also

Timon was a native; in addition to whom, having found also that Heracleius was

there, we were entertained by him. He was of the city of Tamasus, (1) and had come to visit his relations; and Barnabas, looking stedfastly at him,

recognised him, having met with him formerly at Citium with Paul; to whom also

the Holy Spirit was given at baptism, and he changed his name to Heracleides.

And having ordained him bishop over Cyprus, and having confirmed the church in

Tamasus, we left him in the house of his brethren that dwelt there.

And having crossed the mountain called Chionodes, (2) we came to Old Paphos, and there found Rhodon, a temple servant, who also, having himself believed, accompanied us. And we met a certain Jew, by name Barjesus, coming from Paphos, who also recognised Barnabas, as having been formerly with Paul. He did not wish us to go into Paphos; but having turned away, we came to

Curium. (3)

And we found that a certain abominable race was being performed (4) in the road near the city, where a multitude of women and men naked were performing the race. And there was great deception and error in that place. And Barnabas turning, rebuked it; and the western part fell, so that many were wounded, and many of them also died and the rest fled to the temple of Apollo, which was close at hanoi in the city, which was called sacred. (5) And when we came near the temple, a great multitude of Jews who were there, having been put up to it by Barjesus. stood outside of the city, and did not allow us to go into the city; but we spent the evening under a tree near the city, and rested there.

And on the following day, we came to a certain village where Aristoclianus dwelt. He being a leper, had been cleansed in Antioch, whom also Paul and Barnabas sealed to be a bishop, and sent to his village in Cyprus, because there were many Greeks there. And we were entertained in the cave by him in the mountain, and there we remained one day. And thence we came to Amathus and there was a great multitude of Greeks in the temple in the mountain, low women and men pouring libations. There also Barjesus, getting the start of as, gained over the nation of the Jews, and did not allow us to enter into the city; but a certain widow woman. eighty years old. being outside of the city, and she also not worshipping the idols, coming forward to us, took us into her house one hour.

And when we came out we shook the dust off our feet over against that temple where the libation of the abominable took place.

And having gone out thence, we came through desert places, and Timon also accompanied us. And having come to Citium, and there being a great uproar there also in their hippodrome, having learned this, we came forth out of the city, having all shaken the dust off our feet; for no one received us, except that we rested one hour in the gate near the aqueduct.

And having set sail in a ship from Citium, we came to Salamis, and landed

in the so-called islands, where there was a place full of idols; and there

there took place high festivals (6) and libations. And having found Heracleides

there again, we instructed him to proclaim the Gospel of God, and to set up

churches, and ministers in them. And having gone into Salamis. we came to the

synagogue near the place called Biblia; and when we had gone into it,

Barnabas, having unrolled the Gospel which he had received from Matthew his

fellow-labourer, began to teach the Jews.

And Barjesus, having arrived after two days, after not a few Jews had been instructed, was enraged, and brought together all the multitude of the Jews; and they having laid hold of Barnabas, wished to hand him over to Hypatius, the governor of Salamis. And having bound him to take him away to the governor, and a pious Jebusite, (7) a kinsman of Nero, having count to Cyprus, the Jews, learning this, took Barnabas by night, and bound him with a rope by the neck; and having dragged him to the hippodrome from the synagogue, and having gone out of the city, standing round him, they burned him with fire, so that even his bones became dust. And straightway that night, having taken his dust, they cast it into a cloth; and having se cured it with lead. they intended to throw it into the sea. But I, finding an opportunity in the night, anti being able along with Timon and Rhodon to carry it. we came to a certain place, and having found a cave, put it down there, where the nation of the Jebusites formerly dwelt. And having found a secret place in it, we put it away, with the documents which he had received from Matthew. And it was the fourth hour of the night of the second of the week. (8)

And when we were hid in the place. the Jews made no little search after us; and having almost found us, they pursued us as far as the

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village of the Ledrians; and we, having found there also a cave near the village, took refuge in it, and thus escaped them. And we were hid in the cave three days; and the Jews having gone away, we came forth and left the place by night. And taking with us Ariston and Rhodon, we came to the village of Limnes. (1)

And having come to the shore, we found an Egyptian ship; and having embarked in it, we landed at Alexandria. And there I remained,

teaching the brethren that came the word of the Lord, enlightening them, and preaching what I had been taught by the apostles of Christ, who also baptized me into the name of Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; who also changed my name to Mark in the water of baptism, by which also I hope to bring many to the glory of God through His grace; because to Him is due honour and everlasting glory. Amen.

The journeyings and martyrdom of the holy apostle Barnabas have been fulfilled through God.

Acts of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist
John the Theologian

From The New Advent: Fathers of the Church
http://www.csn.net/advent/fathers/fathers.htm

 


ABOUT HIS EXILE AND DEPARTURE.

WHEN Agrippa, whom, on account of his plotting against Peace, they stoned and put to death, was king of the Jews, Vespasian Caesar, coming with a great

army, invested Jerusalem; and some prisoners of war he took and slew, others

he destroyed by famine in the siege, and most he banished, and at length

scattered up and down. And having destroyed the temple, and put the holy

vessels on board a ship, he sent them to Rome, to make for himself a temple of

peace, and adorned it with the spoils of war.

And when Vespasian was dead, his son Domitian, having got possession of the kingdom. along with his other wrongful acts, set himself also to make a persecution against the righteous men. For, having learned that the city was filled with Jews, remembering the orders given by his father about them, he purposed casting them all out of the city of the Romans. And some of the Jews took courage, and gave Domitian a book, in which was written as follows:--

O Domitian, Caesar and king of all the world, as many of us as are Jews entreat thee, as suppliants we beseech of thy power not to banish us from thy divine and benignant countenance; for we are obedient to thee, and the customs, and laws, and practices, and policy, doing wrong in nothing, but being of the same mind with the Romans. But there is a new and strange nation, neither agreeing with other nations nor consenting to the religious observances of the Jews, uncircumcised, inhuman, lawless, subverting whole houses, proclaiming a man as God, all assembling together (1) under a strange name, that of Christian. These men reject God, paying no heed to the law given by Him, and proclaim to be the Son of God a man born of ourselves, Jesus by name, whose parents and brothers and all his family have been connected with the Hebrews; whom on account of his great blasphemy and his wicked fooleries we gave up to the cross. And they add another blasphemous lie to their first one: him that was nailed up and buried, they glorify as having risen from the dead; and, more than this, they falsely assert that he has been taken up by (2) clouds into the heavens.

At all this the king, being affected with rage. ordered the senate to publish a decree that they should put to death all who confessed themselves to be Christians. Those, then, who were found in the time of his rage, and who reaped the fruit of patience, and were crowned in the triumphant contest against the works of the devil, received the repose of incorruption.

And the fame of the teaching of John was spread abroad in Rome; and it came to the ears of Domitian that there was a certain Hebrew in Ephesus, John by name, who spread a report about the seat of empire of the Romans, saying that it would quickly be rooted out, and that the kingdom of the Romans would be given over to another. And Domitian, troubled by what was said, sent a

centurion with soldiers to seize John, and bring him. And having gone to

Ephesus, they asked where John lived. And having come up to his gate, they

found him standing before the door; and, thinking that he was the porter, they

inquired of him where John lived. And he answered and said: I am he. And they,

despising his common, and low, and poor appearance, were filled with threats,

and said: Tell us the truth. And when he declared again that he was the man

they sought, the neighbours moreover bearing witness to it, they said that he

was to go with them at once to the king in Rome. And, urging them to take

provisions for the journey, he turned and took a few dates, and straightway

went forth.

And the soldiers, having taken the public conveyances, travelled fast, having seated him in the midst of them. And when they came to the first change, it being the hour of breakfast, they

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entreated him to be of good courage, and to take bread, and eat with them. And John said: I rejoice in soul indeed, but in the meantime I do not wish to take any food. And they started, and were carried along quickly. And when it was

evening they stopped at a certain inn; and as, besides, it was the hour of

supper, the centurion and the soldiers being most kindly disposed, entreated

John to make use of what was set before them. But he said that he was very

tired, and in want of sleep more than any food. And as he did this each day,

all the soldiers were struck with amazement, and were afraid lest John should

die, and involve them in danger. But the Holy Spirit showed him to them as

more cheerful. And on the seventh day, it being the Lord's day, he said to

them: Now it is time for me also to partake of food. And having washed his

hands and face, he prayed, and brought out the linen cloth, and took one of

the dates, and ate it in the sight of all.

And when they had ridden a long time they came to the end of their journey, John thus fasting. And they brought him before the king, and said: Worshipful king, we bring to thee John, a god, not a man; for, from the hour in which we apprehended him, to the present, he has not tasted bread. At this Domitian being amazed, stretched out his mouth on account of the wonder, wishing to salute him with a kiss; but John bent down his head, and kissed his breast. And Domitian said: Why hast thou done this? Didst thou not think me worthy to kiss thee? And John said to him: It is right to adore the hand of God first of all, and in this way to kiss the mouth of the king; for it is written in the holy books, The heart of a king is in the hand of God. (1)

And the king said to him: Art thou John, who said that my kingdom would speedily be uprooted, and that another king, Jesus, was going to reign instead of me? And John answered and said to him: Thou also shalt reign for many years given thee by God, and after thee very many others; and when the times of the things upon earth have been fulfilled, out of heaven shall come a King, eternal, true, Judge of living and dead, to whom every nation and tribe shall confess, through whom every earthly power and dominion shall be brought to nothing, and every mouth speaking great things shall be shut. This is the mighty Lord and King of everything that hath breath and flesh, (2) the Word and Son of the living One, who is Jesus Christ.

At this Domitian said to him: What is the proof of these things? I am not

persuaded by words only; words are a sight of the unseen. (3) What canst thou

show in earth or heaven by the power of him who is destined to reign, as thou

sayest? For he will do it, if he is the Son of God. And immediately John asked

for a deadly poison. And the king having ordered poison to be given to him,

they brought it on the instant. John therefore, having taken it. put it into a

large cup, and filled it with water, and mixed it, and cried out with a loud

voice, and said: In Thy name, Jesus Christ, Son of God, I drink the cup which

Thou wilt sweeten; and the poison in it do Thou mingle with Thy Holy Spirit,

and make it become a draught of life and salvation, for the healing of soul

and body, for digestion and harmless assimilation, for faith not to be

repented of, for an undeniable testimony of death as the cup of

thanksgiving. (4) And when he had drunk the cup, those standing beside Domitian

expected that he was going to fall to the ground in convulsions. And when John

stood, cheerful, and talked with them safe, Domitian was enraged against those

who had given the poison, as having spared John. But they swore by the fortune

and health of the king, and said that there could not be a stronger poison

than this. And John, understanding what they were whispering to one another,

said to the king: Do not take it ill, O king, but let a trial be made, (5) and

thou shalt learn the power of the poison. Make some condemned criminal be

brought from the prison. And when he had come, John put water into the cup,

and swirled it round, and gave it with all the dregs to the condemned

criminal. And he, having taken it and drunk, immediately fell down and died.

And when all wondered at the signs that had been done, and when Domitian had

retired and gone to his palace, John said to him: O Domitian, king of the

Romans, didst thou contrive this, that, thou being present and bearing

witness, I might to-day become a murderer? What is to be done about the dead

body which is lying? And he ordered it to be taken and thrown away. But John,

going up to the dead body, said: O God, Maker of the heavens, Lord and Master

of angels, of glories, of powers, in the name of Jesus Christ, Thine only

begotten Son, give to this man who has died for this occasion a renewal of

life, and restore him his soul, that Domitian may learn that the Word is much

more powerful than poison, and is the ruler of life. And having taken him by

the hand, he raised him up alive.

And when all were glorifying God, and wondering at the faith of John, Domitian said to him: I have put forth a decree of the senate, that all such persons should be summarily dealt with, without trial; but since I find from thee

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that they are innocent, and that their religion is rather beneficial, I banish thee to an island, that I may not seem myself to do away with my own decrees. He asked then that the condemned criminal should be let go; and when he was let go, John said: Depart, give thanks to God, who has this day delivered thee from prison and from death.

And while they were standing, a certain home-born slave of Domitian's, of those in the bed-chamber, was suddenly seized by the unclean demon, and lay dead; and word was brought to the king. And the king was moved, and entreated John to help her. And John said: It is not in man to do this; but since thou knowest how to reign, but dost not know from whom thou hast received it, learn who has the power over both thee and thy kingdom. And he prayed thus: O Lord, the God of every kingdom, and master of every creature, give to this maiden the breath of life. And having prayed, he raised her up. And Domitian, astonished at all the wonders, sent him away to an island, appointing for him a set time.

And straightway John sailed to Patmos, where also he was deemed worthy to see the revelation of the end. And when Domitian was dead, Nerva succeeded to the kingdom, and recalled all who had been banished; and having kept the kingdom for a year, he made Trajan his successor in the kingdom. And when he was king over the Romans, John went to Ephesus, and regulated all the teaching of the church, holding many conferences, anti reminding them of what the Lord had said to them, and what duty he had assigned to each. And when he was old and changed, he ordered Polycarp to be bishop over the church.

And what like his end was, or his departure from men, who cannot give an account of? For on the following day, which was the Lord's day, and in the presence of the brethren, he began to say to them: Brethren, and fellow-servants, and co-heirs, and copartners of the kingdom of the Lord, know the Lord what miracles He hath shown you through me, what wonders, what cures, what signs, what gracious gifts, teachings, rulings, rests, services, glories, graces, gifts, faiths, communions; how many things you have seen with your eyes, that ear hath not heard. Be strong, therefore, in Him, remembering Him in all your doings, knowing the mystery of the dispensation that has come to men, for the sake of which the Lord has worked. He then, through me, exhorts you: Brethren, I wish to remain without grief, without insult, without treachery, without punishment. For He also knows insult from you, He knows also dishonour, He knows also treachery, He knows also punishment from those that disobey His commandments. Let not therefore our God be grieved, the good, the compassionate, the merciful, the holy, the pure, the undefiled, the only, the one, the immutable, the sincere, the guileless, the slow to anger, He that is higher and more exalted than every name that we speak or think of--our God, Jesus Christ. Let Him rejoice along with us because we conduct ourselves well; let Him be glad because we live in purity; let Him rest because we behave reverently; let Him be pleased because we live in fellowship; let Him smile because we are sober-minded; let Him be delighted because we love. These things, brethren, I communicate to you, pressing on to the work set before me, already perfected for me by the Lord. For what else have I to say to you? Keep the sureties of your God; keep His presence, that shall not be taken away from you. And if then ye sin no more, He will forgive you what ye have done in ignorance; but if, after ye have known Him, and He has had compassion upon you, you return to the like courses, even your former offences will be laid to your charge, and ye shall have no portion or compassion before His face. (1)

And when he had said this to them, he thus prayed: Jesus, who didst wreathe this crown by Thy twining, who hast inserted these many flowers into the everlasting flower of Thy countenance, who hast sown these words among them, be Thou Thyself the protector and healer of Thy people. Thou alone art benignant and not haughty, alone merciful and kind, alone a Saviour, and just; Thou who always seest what belongs to all, and art in all, and everywhere present, God Lord Jesus Christ; who with Thy gifts and Thy compassion coverest those that hope in Thee; who knowest intimately those that everywhere speak against us, and blaspheme Thy holy name, do Thou alone, O Lord, help Thy servants with Thy watchful care. So be it, Lord.

And having asked bread, he gave thanks thus, saying: What praise, or what sort of offering, or what thanksgiving, shall we, breaking the bread, invoke, but Thee only? We glorify the name by which Thou hast been called by the Father; we glorify the name by which Thou hast been called through the Son; we glorify the resurrection which has been manifested to us through Thee; of Thee we glorify the seed, (2) the word, the grace, the true pearl, the treasure, the plough, the net, (3) the majesty, the diadem, Him called Son of man for our sakes, the truth, the rest, the knowledge, the freedom, the place of refuge in Thee. For Thou alone art Lord, the root of immortality, and the fountain of incorruption,

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and the seat of the ages; Thou who hast been called all these for our sakes, that now we, calling upon Thee through these, may recognise Thine illimitable majesty, presented to us by Thy presence, that can be seen only by the pure, seen in Thine only Son.

And having broken the bread, he gave it to us, praying for each of the

brethren, that he might be worthy of the Eucharist of the Lord. He also

therefore, having likewise tasted it, said: To me also let there be a portion

with you, and peace, O beloved. And having thus spoken, and confirmed the

brethren, he said to Eutyches, also named Verus: Behold, I appoint thee a

minister (1) of the Church of Christ, and I entrust to thee the flock of

Christ. Be mindful, therefore, of the commandments of the Lord; and if thou

shouldst fall into trails or dangers, he not afraid: for thou shall fall under

many troubles, and thou shalt be shown to be an eminent witness (2) of the

Lord. Thus, then, Verus, attend to the flock as a servant of God, until the

time appointed for thy testimony.

And when John had spoken this, and more than this, having entrusted to him the flock of Christ, he says to him: Take some brethren, with baskets and vessels, and follow me. And Eutyches, without considering, (3) did what he was bid. And the blessed John having gone forth from the house, went outside of the gates, having told the multitude to stand off from him. And having come to the tomb of one of our brethren, he told them to dig. And they dug. And he says: Let the trench he deeper. And as they dug, he conversed with those who bad come out of the house with him, building them up, and furnishing them thoroughly into the majesty of the Lord. And when the young men had finished the trench, as he had wished, while we knew (4) nothing, he takes off the clothes he had on, and throws them, as if they were some bedding, into the depth of the trench; and, standing in only his drawers, (5) stretched forth his hands, and prayed.

O God, who hast chosen us for the mission (6) of the Gentiles, whet hast sent us out into the world, who hast declared Thyself through the apostles; who hast never rested, but always savest from the foundation of the world; who hast made Thyself known through all nature; who hast made our wild and savage nature quiet and peaceable; who hast given Thyself to it when thirsting after knowledge; (7) who hast put to death its adversary, when it took refuge in Thee; who hast given it Thy hand, and raised it from the things done in Hades; who hast shown it its own enemy; who hast in purity turned its thoughts upon Thee, O Christ Jesus, Lord of things in heaven, and law of things on earth, the course of things aerial, and guardian of things etherial, the fear of those under the earth, and grace of Thine own people, receive also the soul of Thy John, which has been certainly deemed worthy by Thee, Thou who hast preserved me also till the present hour pure to Thyself, and free from intercourse with woman; who, when I wished in my youth to marry, didst appear to me, and say, I am in need of thee, John; who didst strengthen for me beforehand my bodily weakness; who, when a third time I wished to marry, didst say to me at the third hour, in the sea, John, if thou wert not mine, I would let thee marry; who hast opened up the sight of my mind, and hast favoured my bodily (8) eyes; who, when I was looking about me, didst call even the gazing upon a woman hateful; who didst deliver me from temporary show, and preserve me for that which endureth for ever; who didst separate me from the filthy madness of the flesh; who didst stop up (9) the secret disease of the soul, and cut out its open actions; who didst afflict and banish him who rebelled in me; who didst establish my love to Thee spotless and unimpaired; who didst give me undoubting faith in Thee; who hast drawn out for me pure thoughts towards Thee; who hast given me the due reward of my works; who bast set it in my soul to have no other possession than Thee alone: for what is more precious than Thou? Now, O Lord, when I have accomplished Thy stewardship with which I was entrusted, make me worthy of Thy repose, having wrought that which is perfect in Thee, which is ineffable salvation. And as I go to Thee, let the fire withdraw, let darkness be overcome, let the furnace be slackened, let Gehenna be extinguished, let the angels follow, let the demons be afraid let the princes be broken in pieces, let the powers of darkness fall, let the places on the right hand stand firm, let those on the left abide not, let the devil be muzzled, let Satan be laughed to scorn, let his madness be tamed, let his wrath be broken, let his children be trodden under foot, and let all his root he uprooted; and grant to me to accomplish the journey to Thee, not insulted, not despitefully treated, and to receive what Thou hast promised to those that live in purity, and that have loved a holy life.

And gazing towards heaven, he glorified God; and having sealed himself altogether, he stood and said to us, Peace and grace be with you,

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brethren! and sent the brethren away. And when they went on the morrow they did not find him, but his sandals, and a fountain welling up. And after that they remembered what had been said to Peter by the Lord about him: For what does it concern thee if I should wish him to remain until I come? (1) And they glorified God for the miracle that had happened. And having thus believed, they retired praising and blessing the benignant God; because to Him is due glory now and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

 

 

ACTS OF JOHN

 

From "The Apocryphal New Testament"
M.R. James-Translation and Notes
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924

The Noncanonical Homepage


 

 

Introduction

The length of this book is given in the Stichometry of Nicephorus as 2,500 lines: the same number as for St. Matthew's Gospel. We have large portions of it in the original, and a Latin version (purged, it is important to note, of all traces of unorthodoxy) of some lost episodes, besides a few scattered fragments. These will be fitted together in what seems the most probable order.

The best edition of the Greek remains is in Bonnet, Acta Apost. Apocr. 11.1, 1898: the Latin is in Book V of the Historia Apostolica of Abdias (Fabricius, Cod. Apoer. N. T.: there is no modern edition).

The beginning of the book is lost. It probably related in some form a trial, and banishment of John to Patmos. A distinctly late Greek text printed by Bonnet (in two forms) as cc. 1-17 of his work tells how Domitian, on his accession, persecuted the Jews. They accused the Christians in a letter to him: he accordingly persecuted the Christians. He heard of John's teaching in Ephesus and sent for him: his ascetic habits on the voyage impressed his captors. He was brought before Domitian, and made to drink poison, which did not hurt him: the dregs of it killed a criminal on whom it was tried: and John revived him; he also raised a girl who was slain by an unclean spirit. Domitian, who was much impressed, banished him to Patmos. Nerva recalled him. The second text tells how he escaped shipwreck on leaving Patmos, swimming on a cork; landed at Miletus, where a chapel was built in his honour, and went to Ephesus. All this is late: but an old story, known to Tertullian and to other Latin writers, but to no Greek, said that either Domitian at Rome or the Proconsul at Ephesus cast John into a caldron of boiling oil which did him no hurt. The scene of this was eventually fixed at the Latin Gate in Rome (hence the St. John Port Latin of our calendar, May 6th). We have no detailed account of this, but it is conjectured to have been told in the early part of the Leucian Acts. If so, it is odd that no Greek writer mentions it.

Leaving for the time certain small fragments which may perhaps have preceded the extant episodes, I proceed to the first long episode (Bonnet, c. 18).

 

[John is going from Miletus to Ephesus.)

 


Text

18 Now John was hastening to Ephesus, moved thereto by a vision. Damonicus therefore, and Aristodemus his kinsman, and a certain very rich man Cleobius, and the wife of Marcellus, hardly prevailed to keep him for one day in Miletus, reposing themselves with him. And when very early in the morning they had set forth, and already about four miles of the journey were accomplished, a voice came from heaven in the hearing of all of us, saying: John, thou art about to give glory to thy Lord in Ephesus, whereof thou shalt know, thou and all the brethren that are with thee, and certain of them that are there, which shall believe by thy means. John therefore pondered, rejoicing in himself, what it should be that should befall (meet) him at Ephesus, and said: Lord, behold I go according to thy will: let that be done which thou desirest.

19 And as we drew near to the city, Lycomedes the praetor of the Ephesians, a man of large substance, met us, and falling at John's feet besought him, saying: Is thy name John? the God whom thou preachest hath sent thee to do good unto my wife, who hath been smitten with palsy now these seven days and lieth incurable. But glorify thou thy God by healing her, and have compassion on us. For as I was considering with myself what resolve to take in this matter, one stood by me and said: Lycomedes, cease from this thought which warreth against thee, for it is evil (hard): submit not thyself unto it. For I have compassion upon mine handmaid Cleopatra, and have sent from Miletus a man named John who shall raise her up and restore her to thee whole. Tarry not, therefore, thou servant of the God who hath manifested himself unto me, but hasten unto my wife who hath no more than breath. And straightway John went from the gate, with the brethren that were with him and Lycomedes, unto his house. But Cleobius said to his young men: Go ye to my kinsman Callippus and receive of him comfortable entertainment -for I am come hither with his son- that we may find all things decent.

20 Now when Lycomedes came with John into the house wherein his wife lay, he caught hold again of his feet and said: See, lord, the withering of the beauty, see the youth, see the renowned flower of my poor wife, whereat all Ephesus was wont to marvel: wretched me, I have suffered envy, I have been humbled, the eye of mine enemies hath smitten me: I have never wronged any, though I might have injured many, for I looked before to this very thing, and took care, lest I should see any evil or any such ill fortune as this. What profit, then, hath Cleopatra from my anxiety? what have I gained by being known for a pious man until this day? nay, I suffer more than the impious, in that I see thee, Cleopatra, lying in such plight. The sun in his course shall no more see me conversing with thee: I will go before thee, Cleopatra, and rid myself of life: I will not spare mine own safety though it be yet young. I will defend myself before Justice, that I have rightly deserted, for I may indict her as judging unrighteously. I will be avenged on her when I come before her as a ghost of life. I will say to her: Thou didst force me to leave the light when thou didst rob me of Cleopatra: thou didst cause me to become a corpse when thou sentest me this ill fortune: thou didst compel me to insult Providence, by cutting off my joy in life (my con- fidence).

21 And with yet more words Lycomedes addressing Cleopatra came near to the bed and cried aloud and lamented: but John pulled him away, and said: Cease from these lamentations and from thine unfitting words: thou must not disobey him that (?) appeared unto thee: for know that thou shalt receive thy consort again. Stand, therefore, with us that have come hither on her account and pray to the God whom thou sawest manifesting himself unto thee in dreams. What, then, is it, Lycomedes? Awake, thou also, and open thy soul. Cast off the heavy sleep from thee: beseech the Lord, entreat him for thy wife, and he will raise her up. But he fell upon the floor and lamented, fainting. [It is evident from what follows that Lycomedes died: but the text does not say so; some words may have fallen out.]

John therefore said with tears: Alas for the fresh (new) betraying of my vision! for the new temptation that is prepared for me! for the new device of him that contriveth against me! the voice from heaven that was borne unto me in the way, hath it devised this for me? was it this that it foreshowed me should come to pass here, betraying me to this great multitude of the citizens because of Lycomedes? the man lieth without breath, and I know well that they will not suffer me to go out of the house alive. Why tarriest thou, Lord (or, what wilt thou do)? why hast thou shut off from us thy good promise? Do not, I beseech thee, Lord, do not give him cause to exult who rejoiceth in the suffering of others; give him not cause to dance who alway derideth us; but let thy holy name and thy mercy make haste. Raise up these two dead whose death is against me.

22 And even as John thus cried out, the city of the Ephesians ran together to the house of Lycomedes, hearing that he was dead. And John, beholding the great multitude that was come, said unto the Lord: Now is the time of refreshment and of confidence toward thee, O Christ; now is the time for us who are sick to have the help that is of thee, O physician who healest freely; keep thou mine entering in hither safe from derision. I beseech thee, Jesu, succour this great multitude that it may come to thee who art Lord of all things: behold the affliction, behold them that lie here. Do thou prepare, even from them that are assembled for that end, holy vessels for thy service, when they behold thy gift. For thyself hast said, O Christ, 'Ask, and it shall be given you'. We ask therefore of thee, O king, not gold, not silver, not substance, not possessions, nor aught of what is on earth and perisheth, but two souls, by whom thou shalt convert them that are here unto thy way, unto thy teaching, unto thy liberty (confidence), unto thy most excellent (or unfailing) promise: for when they perceive thy power in that those that have died are raised, they will be saved, some of them. Do thou thyself, therefore, give them hope in thee: and so go I unto Cleopatra and say: Arise in the name of Jesus Christ.

23 And he came to her and touched her face and said: Cleopatra, He saith, whom every ruler feareth, and every creature and every power, the abyss and all darkness, and unsmiling death, and the height of heaven, and the circles of hell [and the resurrection of the dead, and the sight of the blind], and the whole power of the prince of this world, and the pride of the ruler: Arise, and be not an occasion unto many that desire not to believe, or an affliction unto souls that are able to hope and to be saved. And Cleopatra straightway cried with a loud voice: I arise, master: save thou thine handmaid.

Now when she had arisen seven days, the city of the Ephesians was moved at the unlooked -for sight. And Cleopatra asked concerning her husband Lycomedes, but John said to her: Cleopatra, if thou keep thy soul unmoved and steadfast, thou shalt forthwith have Lycomedes thine husband standing here beside thee, if at least thou be not disturbed nor moved at that which hath befallen, having believed on my God, who by my means shall grant him unto thee alive. Come therefore with me into thine other bedchamber, and thou shalt behold him, a dead corpse indeed, but raised again by the power of my God.

24 And Cleopatra going with John into her bedchamber, and seeing Lycomedes dead for her sake, had no power to speak (suffered in her voice), and ground her teeth and bit her tongue, and closed her eyes, raining down tears: and with calmness gave heed to the apostle. But John had compassion on Cleopatra when he saw that she neither raged nor was beside herself, and called upon the perfect and condescending mercy, saying: Lord Jesus Christ, thou seest the pressure of sorrow, thou seest the need; thou seest Cleopatra shrieking her soul out in silence, for she constraineth within her the frenzy that cannot be borne; and I know that for Lycomedes' sake she also will die upon his body. And she said quietly to John: That have I in mind, master, and nought else.

And the apostle went to the couch whereon Lycomedes lay, and taking Cleopatra's hand he said: Cleopatra, because of the multitude that is present, and thy kinsfolk that have come in, with strong crying, say thou to thine husband: Arise and glorify the name of God, for he giveth back the dead to the dead. And she went to her husband and said to him according as she was taught, and forthwith raised him up. And he, when he arose, fell on the floor and kissed John's feet, but he raised him, saying: O man, kiss not my feet but the feet of God by whose power ye are both arisen.

25 But Lycomedes said to John: I entreat and adjure thee by the God in whose name thou hast raised us, to abide with us, together with all them that are with thee. Likewise Cleopatra also caught his feet and said the same. And John said to them: For tomorrow I will be with you. And they said to him again: We shall have no hope in thy God, but shall have been raised to no purpose, if thou abide not with us. And Cleobius with Aristodemus and Damonicus were touched in the soul and said to John: Let us abide with them, that they continue without offence towards the Lord. So he continued there with the brethren.

26 There came together therefore a gathering of a great multitude on John's account; and as he discoursed to them that were there, Lycomedes, who had a friend who was a skilful painter, went hastily to him and said to him: You see me in a great hurry to come to you: come quickly to my house and paint the man whom I show you without his knowing it. And the painter, giving some one the necessary implements and colours, said to Lycomedes: Show him to me, and for the rest have no anxiety. And Lycomedes pointed out John to the painter, and brought him near him, and shut him up in a room from which the apostle of Christ could be seen. And Lycomedes was with the blessed man, feasting on the faith and the knowledge of our God, and rejoiced yet more in the thought that he should possess him in a portrait.

27 The painter, then, on the first day made an outline of him and went away. And on the next he painted him in with his colours, and so delivered the portrait to Lycomedes to his great joy. And lie took it and set it up in his own bedehamber and hung it with garlands: so that later John, when he perceived it, said to him: My beloved child, what is it that thou always doest when thou comest in from the bath into thy bedchamber alone? do not I pray with thee and the rest of the brethren? or is there something thou art hiding from us? And as he said this and talked jestingly with him, he went into the bedchamber, and saw the portrait of an old man crowned with garlands, and lamps and altars set before it. And he called him and said: Lycomedes, what meanest thou by this matter of the portrait? can it be one of thy gods that is painted here? for I see that thou art still living in heathen fashion. And Lycomedes answered him: My only God is he who raised me up from death with my wife: but if, next to that God, it be right that the men who have benefited us should be called gods -it is thou, father, whom I have had painted in that portrait, whom I crown and love and reverence as having become my good guide.

28 And John who had never at any time seen his own face said to him: Thou mockest me, child: am I like that in form, thy Lord? how canst thou persuade me that the portrait is like me? And Lycomedes brought him a mirror. And when he had seen himself in the mirror and looked earnestly at the portrait, he said: As the Lord Jesus Christ liveth, the portrait is like me: yet not like me, child, but like my fleshly image; for if this painter, who hath imitated this my face, desireth to draw me in a portrait, he will be at a loss, the colours that are now given to thee, and boards and plaster (?) and glue (?), and the position of my shape, and old age and youth and all things that are seen with the eye.

29 But do thou become for me a good painter, Lycomedes. Thou hast colours which he giveth thee through me, who painteth all of us for himself, even Jesus, who knoweth the shapes and appearances and postures and dispositions and types of our souls. And the colours wherewith I bid thee paint are these: faith in God, knowledge, godly fear, friendship, communion, meekness, kindness, brotherly love, purity, simplicity, tranquillity, fearlessness, griefiessness, sobriety, and the whole band of colours that painteth the likeness of thy soul, and even now raiseth up thy members that were cast down, and levelleth them that were lifted up, and tendeth thy bruises, and healeth thy wounds, and ordereth thine hair that was disarranged, and washeth thy face, and chasteneth thine eyes, and purgeth thy bowels, and emptieth thy belly, and cutteth off that which is beneath it; and in a word, when the whole company and mingling of such colours is come together, into thy soul, it shall present it to our Lord Jesus Christ undaunted, whole (unsmoothed), and firm of shape. But this that thou hast now done is childish and imperfect: thou hast drawn a dead likeness of the dead.

 

There need be no portion of text lost at this point: but possibly some few sentences have been omitted. The transition is abrupt and the new episode has not, as elsewhere, a title of its own.

 

30 And he commanded Verus (Berus), the brother that ministered to him, to gather the aged women that were in all Ephesus, and made ready, he and Cleopatra and Lycomedes, all things for the care of them. Verus, then, came to John, saying: Of the aged women that are here over threescore years old I have found four only sound in body, and of the rest some . . . . (a word gone) and some palsied and others sick. And when he heard that, John kept silence for a long time, and rubbed his face and said: O the slackness (weakness) of them that dwell in Ephesus! O the state of dissolution, and the weakness toward God! O devil, that hast so long mocked the faithful in Ephesus! Jesus, who giveth me grace and the gift to have my confidence in him, saith to me in silence: Send after the old women that are sick and come (be) with them into the theatre, and through me heal them: for there are some of them that will come unto this spectacle whom by these healings I will convert and make them useful for some end.

31 Now when all the multitude was come together to Lycomedes, he dismissed them on John's behalf, saying: Tomorrow come ye to the theatre, as many as desire to see the power of God. And the multitude, on the morrow, while it was yet night, came to the theatre: so that the proconsul also heard of it and hasted and took his sent with all the people. And a certain praetor, Andromeus, who was the first of the Ephesians at that time, put it about that John had promised things impossible and incredible: But if, said he, he is able to do any such thing as I hear, let him come into the public theatre, when it is open, naked, and holding nothing in his hands, neither let him name that magical name which I have heard him utter.

32 John therefore, having heard this and being moved by. these words, commanded the aged women to be brought into the theatre: and when they were all brought into the midst, some of them upon beds and others lying in a deep sleep, and all the city had run together, and a great silence was made, John opened his mouth and began to say:

33 Ye men of Ephesus, learn first of all wherefore I am visiting in your city, or what is this great confidence which I have towards you, so that it may become manifest to this general assembly and to all of you (or, so that I manifest myself to). I have been sent, then, upon a mission which is not of man's ordering, and not upon any vain journey; neither am I a merchant that make bargains or exchanges; but Jesus Christ whom I preach, being compassionate and kind, desireth by my means to convert all of you who are held in unbelief and sold unto evil lusts, and to deliver you from error; and by his power will I confound even the unbelief of your praetor, by raising up them that lie before you, whom ye all behold, in what plight and in what sicknesses they are. And to do this (to confound Andronicus) is not possible for me if they perish: therefore shall they be healed.

34 But this first I have desired to sow in your ears, even that ye should take care for your souls -on which account I am come unto you- and not expect that this time will be for ever, for it is but a moment, and not lay up treasures upon the earth where all things do fade. Neither think that when ye have gotten children ye can rest upon them (?), and try not for their sakes to defraud and overreach. Neither, ye poor, be vexed if ye have not wherewith to minister unto pleasures; for men of substance when they are diseased call you happy. Neither, ye rich, rejoice that ye have much money, for by possessing these things ye provide for yourselves grief that ye cannot be rid of when ye lose them; and besides, while it is with you, ye are afraid lest some one attack you on account of it.

35 Thou also that art puffed up because of the shapeliness of thy body, and art of an high look, shalt see the end of the promise thereof in the grave; and thou that rejoicest in adultery, know that both law and nature avenge it upon thee, and before these, conscience; and thou, adulteress, that art an adversary of the law, knowest not whither thou shalt come in the end. And thou that sharest not with the needy, but hast monies laid up, when thou departest out of this body and hast need of some mercy when thou burnest in fire, shalt have none to pity thee; and thou the wrathful and passionate, know that thy conversation is like the brute beasts; and thou, drunkard and quarreller, learn that thou losest thy senses by being enslaved to a shameful and dirty desire.

36 Thou that rejoicest in gold and delightest thyself with ivory and jewels, when night falleth, canst thou behold what thou lovest? thou that art vanquished by soft raiment, and then leavest life, will those things profit thee in the place whither thou goest? And let the murderer know that the condign punishment is laid up for him twofold after his departure hence. Likewise also thou poisoner, sorcerer, robber, defrauder, sodomite, thief, and as many as are of that band, ye shall come at last, as your works do lead you, unto unquenchable fire, and utter darkness, and the pit of punishment, and eternal threatenings. Wherefore, ye men of Ephesus, turn yourselves, knowing this also, that kings, rulers, tyrants, boasters, and they that have conquered in wars, stripped of all things when they depart hence, do suffer pain, lodged in eternal misery.

37 And having thus said, John by the power of God healed all the diseases.

 

This sentence must be an abridgement of a much longer narration. The manuscript indicates no break at this point: but we must suppose a not inconsiderable loss of text. For one thing, Andronicus, who is here an unbeliever, appears as a convert in the next few lines. Now he is, as we shall see later, the husband of an eminent believer, Drusiana; and his and her conversion will have been told at some length; and I do not doubt that among other things there was a discourse of John persuading them to live in continence.

 

37 (continued.) Now the brethren from Miletus said unto John: We have continued a long time at Ephesus; if it seem good to thee, let us go also to Smyrna; for we hear already that the mighty works of God have reached it also. And Andronicus said to them: Whensoever the teacher willeth, then let us go. But John said: Let us first go unto the temple of Artemis, for perchance there also, if we show ourselves, the servants of the Lord will be found.

38 After two days, then, was the birthday of the idol temple. John therefore, when all were clad in white, alone put on black raiment and went up into the temple. And they took him and essayed to kill him. But John said: Ye are mad to set upon me, a man that is the servant of the only God. And he gat him up upon an high pedestal and said unto them:

39 Ye run hazard, men of Ephesus, of being like in character to the sea: every river that floweth in and every spring that runneth down, and the rains, and waves that press upon each other, and torrents full of rocks are made salt together by the bitter telementt (MS. promise!) that is therein. So ye also remaining unchanged unto this day toward true godliness are become corrupted by your ancient rites of worship. How many wonders and healings of diseases have ye seen wrought through me? And yet are ye blinded in your hearts and cannot recover sight. What is it, then, O men of Ephesus? I have adventured now and come up even into this your idol temple. I will convict you of being most godless, and dead from the understanding of mankind. Behold, I stand here: ye all say that ye have a goddess, even Artemis: pray then unto her that I alone may die; or else I only, if ye are not able to do this, will call upon mine own god, and for your unbelief I will cause every one of you to die.

40 But they who had beforetime made trial of him and had seen dead men raised up, cried out: Slay us not so, we beseech thee, John. We know that thou canst do it. And John said to them: If then ye desire not to die, let that which ye worship be confounded, and wherefore it is confounded, that ye also may depart from your ancient error. For now is it time that either ye be converted by my God, or I myself die by your goddess; for I will pray in your presence and entreat my God that mercy be shown unto you.

41 And having so said he prayed thus: O God that art God above all that are called gods, that until this day hast been set at nought in the city of the Ephesians; that didst put into my mind to come into this place, whereof I never thought; that dost convict every manner of worship by turning men unto thee; at whose name every idol fleeth and every evil spirit and every unclean power; now also by the flight of the evil spirit here at thy name, even of him that deceiveth this great multitude, show thou thy mercy in this place, for they have been made to err.

42 And as John spake these things, immediately the altar of Artemis was parted into many pieces, and all the things that were dedicated in the temple fell, and [MS. that which seemed good to him] was rent asunder, and likewise of the images of the gods more than seven. And the half of the temple fell down, so that the priest was slain at one blow by the falling of the (?roof, ? beam). The multitude of the Ephesians therefore cried out: One is the God of John, one is the God that hath pity on us, for thou only art God: now are we turned to thee, beholding thy marvellous works! have mercy on us, O God, according to thy will, and save us from our great error! And some of them, lying on their faces, made supplication, and some kneeled and besought, and some rent their clothes and wept, and others tried to escape.

43 But John spread forth his hands, and being uplifted in soul, said unto the Lord: Glory be to thee, my Jesus, the only God of truth, for that thou dost gain (receive) thy servants by divers devices. And having so said, he said to the people: Rise up from the floor, ye men of Ephesus, and pray to my God, and recognize the invisible power that cometh to manifestation, and the wonderful works which are wrought before your eyes. Artemis ought to have succoured herself: her servant ought to have been helped of her and not to have died. Where is the power of the evil spirit? where are her sacrifices? where her birthdays? where her festivals? where are the garlands? where is all that sorcery and the poisoning (witchcraft) that is sister thereto?

44 But the people rising up from off the floor went hastily and cast down the rest of the idol temple, crying: The God of John only do we know, and him hereafter do we worship, since he hath had mercy upon us! And as John came down from thence, much people took hold of him, saying: Help us, O John! Assist us that do perish in vain! Thou seest our purpose: thou seest the multitude following thee and hanging upon thee in hope toward thy God. We have seen the way wherein we went astray when we lost him: we have seen our gods that were set up in vain: we have seen the great and shameful derision that is come to them: but suffer us, we pray thee, to come unto thine house and to be succoured without hindrance. Receive us that are in bewilderment.

45 And John said to them: Men (of Ephesus), believe that for your sakes I have continued in Ephesus, and have put off my journey unto Smyrna and to the rest of the cities, that there also the servants of Christ may turn to him. But since I am not yet perfectly assured concerning you, I have continued praying to my God and beseeching him that I should then depart from Ephesus when I have confirmed you in the faith: and whereas I see that this is come to pass and yet more is being fulfilled, I will not leave you until I have weaned you like children from the nurse's milk, and have set you upon a firm rock.

46 John therefore continued with them, receiving them in the house of Andromeus. And one of them that were gathered laid down the dead body of the priest of Artemis before the door [of the temple], for he was his kinsman, and came in quickly with the rest, saying nothing of it. John, therefore, after the discourse to the brethren, and the prayer and the thanksgiving (eucharist) and the laying of hands upon every one of the congregation, said by the spirit: There is one here who moved by faith in God hath laid down the priest of Artemis before the gate and is come in, and in the yearning of his soul, taking care first for himself, hath thought thus in himself: It is better for me to take thought for the living than for my kinsman that is dead: for I know that if I turn to the Lord and save mine own soul, John will not deny to raise up the dead also. And John arising from his place went to that into which that kinsman of the priest who had so thought was entered, and took him by the hand and said: Hadst thou this thought when thou camest unto me, my child? And he, taken with trembling and affright, said: Yes, lord, and cast himself at his feet. And John said: Our Lord is Jesus Christ, who will show his power in thy dead kinsman by raising him up.

47 And he made the young man rise, and took his hand and said: It is no great matter for a man that is master of great mysteries to continue wearying himself over small things: or what great thing is it to rid men of diseases of the body? And yet holding the young man by the hand he said: I say unto thee, child, go and raise the dead thyself, saying nothing but this only: John the servant of God saith to thee, Arise. And the young man went to his kinsman and said this only -and much people was with him- and entered in unto John, bringing him alive. And John, when he saw him that was raised, said: Now that thou art raised, thou dost not truly live, neither art partaker or heir of the true life: wilt thou belong unto him by whose name and power thou wast raised? And now believe, and thou shall live unto all ages. And he forthwith believed upon the Lord Jesus and thereafter clave unto John.

 

[Another manuscript (Q. Paris Gr. 1468, of the eleventh century) has another form of this story. John destroys the temple of Artemis, and then 'we' go to Smyrna and all the idols are broken: Bucolus, Polycarp, and Andronicus are left to preside over the district. There were there two priests of Artemis, brothers, and one died. The raising is told much as in the older text, but more shortly.

'We' remained four years in the region, which was wholly converted, and then returned to Ephesus.]

 

48 Now on the next day John, having seen in a dream that he must walk three miles outside the gates, neglected it not, but rose up early and set out upon the way, together with the brethren.

And a certain countryman who was admonished by his father not to take to himself the wife of a fellow labourer of his who threatened to kill him -this young man would not endure the admonition of his father, but kicked him and left him without speech (sc. dead). And John, seeing what had befallen, said unto the Lord: Lord, was it on this account that thou didst bid me come out hither to-day?

49 But the young man, beholding the violence (sharpness) of death, and looking to be taken, drew out the sickle that was in his girdle and started to run to his own abode; and John met him and said: Stand still, thou most shameless devil, and tell me whither thou runnest bearing a sickle that thirsteth for blood. And the young man was troubled and cast the iron on the ground, and said to him: I have done a wretched and barbarous deed and I know it, and so I determined to do an evil yet worse and more cruel, even to die myself at once. For because my father was alway curbing me to sobriety, that I should live without adultery, and chastely, I could not endure him to reprove me, and I kicked him and slew him, and when I saw what was done, I was hasting to the woman for whose sake I became my father's murderer, with intent to kill her and her husband, and myself last of all: for I could not bear to be seen of the husband of the woman, and undergo the judgement of death.

50 And John said to him: That I may not by going away and leaving you in danger give place to him that desireth to laugh and sport with thee, come thou with me and show me thy father, where he lieth. And if I raise him up for thee, wilt thou hereafter abstain from the woman that is become a snare to thee. And the young man said: If thou raisest up my father himself for me alive, and if I see him whole and continuing in life, I will hereafter abstain from her.

51 And while he was speaking, they came to the place where the old man lay dead, and many passers-by were standing near thereto. And John said to the youth: Thou wretched man, didst thou not spare even the old age of thy father? And he, weeping and tearing his hair, said that he repented thereof; and John the servant of the Lord said: Thou didst show me I was to set forth for this place, thou knewest that this would come to pass, from whom nothing can be hid of things done in life, that givest me power to work every cure and healing by thy will: now also give me this old man alive, for thou seest that his murderer is become his own judge: and spare him, thou only Lord, that spared not his father (because he) counselled him for the best.

52 And with these words he came near to the old man and said: My Lord will not be weak to spread out his kind pity and his condescending mercy even unto thee: rise up therefore and give glory to God for the work that is come to pass at this moment. And the old man said: I arise, Lord. And he rose and sat up and said: I was released from a terrible life and had to bear the insults of my son, dreadful and many, and his want of natural affection, and to what end hast thou called me back, O man of the living God? (And John answered him: If) thou art raised only for the same end, it were better for thee to die; but raise thyself unto better things. And he took him and led him into the city, preaching unto him the grace of God, so that before he entered the gate the old man believed.

53 But the young man, when he beheld the unlooked-for raising of his father, and the saving of himself, took a sickle and mutilated himself, and ran to the house wherein he had his adulteress, and reproached her, saying: For thy sake I became the murderer of my father and of you two and of myself: there thou hast that which is alike guilty of all. For on me God hath had mercy, that I should know his power.

54 And he came back and told John in presence of the brethren what he had done. But John said to him: He that put it into thine heart, young man, to kill thy father and become the adulterer of another man's wife, the same made thee think it a right deed to take away also the unruly members. But thou shouldest have done away, not with the place of sin, but the thought which through those members showed itself harmful: for it is not the instruments that are injurious, but the unseen springs by which every shameful emotion is stirred and cometh to light. Repent therefore, my child, of this fault, and having learnt the wiles of Satan thou shalt have God to help thee in all the necessities of thy soul. And the young man kept silence and attended, having repented of his former sins, that he should obtain pardon from the goodness of God: and he did not separate from John.

55 When, then, these things had been done by him in the city of the Ephesians, they of Smyrna sent unto him saying: We hear that the God whom thou preachest is not envious, and hath charged thee not to show partiality by abiding in one place. Since, then, thou art a preacher of such a God, come unto Smyrna and unto the other cities, that we may come to know thy God, and having known him may have our hope in him.

 

[Q has the above story also, and continues with an incident which is also quoted in a different form (and not as from these Acts) by John Cassian. Q has it thus:

Now one day as John was seated, a partridge flew by and came and played in the dust before him; and John looked on it and wondered. And a certain priest came, who was one of his hearers, and came to John and saw the partridge playing in the dust before him, and was offended in himself and said: Can such and so great a man take pleasure in a partridge playing in the dust? But John perceiving in the spirit the thought of him, said to him: It were better for thee also, my child, to look at a partridge playing in the dust and not to defile thyself with shameful and profane practices: for he who awaiteth the conversion and repentance of all men hath brought thee here on this account: for I have no need of a partridge playing in the dust. For the partridge is thine own soul.

Then the elder, hearing this and seeing that he was not bidden, but that the apostle of Christ had told him all that was in his heart, fell on his face on the earth and cried aloud, saying: Now know I that God dwelleth in thee, O blessed John! for he that tempteth thee tempteth him that cannot be tempted. And he entreated him to pray for him. And he instructed him and delivered him the rules (canons) and let him go to his house, glorifying God that is over all.

 

Cassian, Collation XXIV. 21, has it thus:

 

It is told that the most blessed Evangelist John, when he was gently stroking a partridge with his hands, suddenly saw one in the habit of a hunter coming to him. He wondered that a man of such repute and fame should demean himself to such small and humble amusements, and said: Art thou that John whose eminent and widespread fame hath enticed me also with great desire to know thee? Why then art thou taken up with such mean amusements? The blessed John said to him: What is that which thou carriest in thy hands? A bow, said he. And why, said he, dost thou not bear it about always stretched? He answered him: I must not, lest by constant bending the strength of its vigour be wrung and grow soft and perish, and when there is need that the arrows be shot with much strength at some beast, the strength being lost by excess of continual tension, a forcible blow cannot be dealt. Just so, said the blessed John, let not this little and brief relaxation of my mind offend thee, young man, for unless it doth sometimes ease and relax by some remission the force of its tension, it will grow slack through unbroken rigour and will not be able to obey the power of the Spirit.

 

The only common point of the two stories is that St. John amuses himself with a partridge, and a spectator thinks it unworthy of him. The two morals differ wholly. The amount of text lost here is of quite uncertain length. It must have told of the doings at Smyrna, and also, it appears, at Laodicca (see the title of the next section). One of the episodes must have been the conversion of a woman of evil life (see below, 'the harlot that was chaste ')-]

Our best manuscript prefixes a title to the next section:

 

From Laodicca to Ephesus the second time.

 

58 Now when some long time had passed, and none of the brethren had been at any time grieved by John, they were then grieved because he had said: Brethren, it is now time for me to go to Ephesus (for so have I agreed with them that dwell there) lest they become slack, now for a long time having no man to confirm them. But all of you must have your minds steadfast towards God, who never forsaketh us.

But when they heard this from him, the brethren lamented because they were to be parted from him. And John said: Even if I be parted from you, yet Christ is always with you: whom if ye love purely ye will have his fellowship without reproach, for if he be loved, he preventeth (anticipateth) them that love him.

59 And having so said, and bidden farewell to them, and left much money with the brethren for distribution, he went forth unto Ephesus, while all the brethren lamented and groaned. And there accompanied him, of Ephesus, both Andronicus and Drusiana and Lycomedes and Cleobius and their families. And there followed him Aristobula also, who had heard that her husband Tertullus had died on the way, and Aristippus with Xenophon, and the harlot that was chaste, and many others, whom he exhorted at all times to cleave to the Lord, and they would no more be parted from him.

60 Now on the first day we arrived at a deserted inn, and when we were at a loss for a bed for John, we saw a droll matter. There was one bedstead lying somewhere there without coverings, whereon we spread the cloaks which we were wearing, and we prayed him to lie down upon it and rest, while the rest of us all slept upon the floor. But he when he lay down was troubled by the bugs, and as they continued to become yet more troublesome to him, when it was now about the middle of the night, in the hearing of us all he said to them: I say unto you, O bugs, behave yourselves, one and all, and leave your abode for this night and remain quiet in one place, and keep your distance from the servants of God. And as we laughed, and went on talking for some time, John addressed himself to sleep; and we, talking low, gave him no disturbance (or, thanks to him we were not disturbed).

61 But when the day was now dawning I arose first, and with me Verus and Andronicus, and we saw at the door of the house which we had taken a great number of bugs standing, and while we wondered at the great sight of them, and all the brethren were roused up because of them, John continued sleeping. And when he was awaked we declared to him what we had seen. And he sat up on the bed and looked at them and said: Since ye have well behaved yourselves in hearkening to my rebuke, come unto your place. And when he had said this, and risen from the bed, the bugs running from the door hasted to the bed and climbed up by the legs thereof and disappeared into the joints. And John said again: This creature hearkened unto the voice of a man, and abode by itself and was quiet and trespassed not; but we which hear the voice and commandments of God disobey and are light-minded: and for how long?

62 After these things we came to Ephesus: and the brethren there, who had for a long time known that John was coming, ran together to the house of Andronicus (where also he came to lodge), handling his feet and laying his hands upon their own faces and kissing them (and many rejoiced even to touch his vesture, and were healed by touching the clothes of the holy apostle. [So the Latin, which has this section; the Greek has: so that they even touched his garments).]

63 And whereas there was great love and joy unsurpassed among the brethren, a certain one, a messenger of Satan, became enamoured of Drusiana, though he saw and knew that she was the wife of Andronicus. To whom many said: It is not possible for thee to obtain that woman, seeing that for a long time she has even separated herself from her husband for godliness' sake. Art thou only ignorant that Andronicus, not being aforetime that which now he is, a God-fearing man, shut her up in a tomb, saying: Either I must have thee as the wife whom I had before, or thou shalt die. And she chose rather to die than to do that foulness. If, then, she would not consent, for godliness' sake, to cohabit with her lord and husband, but even persuaded him to be of the same mind as herself, will she consent to thee desiring to be her seducer? depart from this madness which hath no rest in thee: give up this deed which thou canst not bring to accomplishment.

64 But his familiar friends saying these things to him did not convince him, but with shamelessness he courted her with messages; and when he learnt the insults and disgraces which she returned, he spent his life in melancholy (or better, she, when she learnt of this disgrace and insult at his hand, spent her life in heaviness). And after two days Drusiana took to her bed from heaviness, and was in a fever and said: Would that I had not now come home to my native place, I that have become an offence to a man ignorant of godliness! for if it were one who was filled with the word of God, he would not have gone to such a pitch of madness. But now (therefore) Lord, since I am become the occasion of a blow unto a soul devoid of knowledge, set me free from this chain and remove me unto thee quickly. And in the presence of John, who knew nothing at all of such a matter, Drusiana departed out of life not wholly happy, yea, even troubled because of the spiritual hurt of the man.

65 But Andronicus, grieved with a secret grief, mourned in his soul, and wept openly, so that John checked him often and said to him: Upon a better hope hath Drusiana removed out of this unrighteous life. And Andronicus answered him: Yea, I am persuaded of it, O John, and I doubt not at all in regard of trust in my God: but this very thing do I hold fast, that she departed out of life pure.

66 And when she was carried forth, John took hold on Andronicus, and now that he knew the cause, he mourned more than Andronicus. And he kept silence, considering the provocation of the adversary, and for a space sat still. Then, the brethren being gathered there to hear what word he would speak of her that was departed, he began to say:

67 When the pilot that voyageth, together with them that sail with him, and the ship herself, arriveth in a calm and stormless harbour, then let him say that he is safe. And the husbandman that hath committed the seed to the earth, and toiled much in the care and protection of it, let him then take rest from his labours, when he layeth up the seed with manifold increase in his barns. Let him that enterpriseth to run in the course, then exult when he beareth home the prize. Let him that inscribeth his name for the boxing, then boast himself when he receiveth the crowns: and so in succession is it with all contests and crafts, when they do not fail in the end, but show themselves to be like that which they promised (corrupt).

68 And thus also I think is it with the faith which each one of us practiseth, that it is then discerned whether it be indeed true, when it continueth like itself even until the end of life. For many obstacles fall into the way, and prepare disturbance for the minds of men: care, children, parents, glory, poverty, flattery, prime of life, beauty, conceit, lust, wealth, anger, uplifting, slackness, envy, jealousy, neglect, fear, insolence, love, deceit, money, pretence, and other such obstacles, as many as there are in this life: as also the pilot sailing a prosperous course is opposed by the onset of contrary winds and a great storm and mighty waves out of calm, and the husbandman by untimely winter and blight and creeping things rising out of the earth, and they that strive in the games 'just do not win', and they that exercise crafts are hindered by the divers difficulties of them.

69 But before all things it is needful that the believer should look before at his ending and understand it in what manner it will come upon him, whether it will be vigorous and sober and without any obstacle, or disturbed and clinging to the things that are here, and bound down by desires. So is it right that a body should be praised as comely when it is wholly stripped, and a general as great when he hath accomplished every promise of the war, and a physician as excellent when he hath succeeded in every cure, and a soul as full of faith and worthy (or receptive) of God when it hath paid its promise in full: not that soul which began well and was dissolved into all the things of this life and fell away, nor that which is numb, having made an effort to attain to better things, and then is borne down to temporal things, nor that which hath longed after the things of time more than those of eternity, nor that which exchangeth those that endure not, nor that which hath honoured the works of dishonour that deserve shame, nor that which taketh pledges of Satan, nor that which hath received the serpent into its own house, nor that which suffereth reproach for God's sake and then is [not] ashamed, nor that which with the mouth saith yea, but indeed approveth not itself: but that which hath prevailed not to be made weak by foul pleasure, not to be overcome by light-mindedness, not to be caught by the bait of love of money, not to be betrayed by vigour of body or wrath.

70 And as John was discoursing yet further unto the brethren that they should despise temporal things in respect of the eternal, he that was enamoured of Drusiana, being inflamed with an horrible lust and possession of the many-shaped Satan, bribed the steward of Andronicus who was a lover of money with a great sum: and he opened the tomb and gave him opportunity to wreak the forbidden thing upon the dead body. Not having succeeded with her when alive, he was still importunate after her death to her body, and said: If thou wouldst not have to do with me while thou livedst, I will outrage thy corpse now thou art dead. With this design, and having managed for himself the wicked act by means of the abominable steward, he rushed with him to the sepulchre; they opened the door and began to strip the grave-clothes from the corpse, saying: What art thou profited, poor Drusiana? couldest thou not have done this in life, which perchance would not have grieved thee, hadst thou done it willingly?

71 And as these men were speaking thus, and only the accustomed shift now remained on her body, a strange spectacle was seen, such as they deserve to suffer who do such deeds. A serpent appeared from some quarter and dealt the steward a single bite and slew him: but the young man it did not strike; but coiled about his feet, hissing terribly, and when he fell mounted on his body and sat upon him.

72 Now on the next day John came, accompanied by Andronicus and the brethren, to the sepulchre at dawn, it being now the third day from Drusiana's death, that we might break bread there. And first, when they set out, the keys were sought for and could not be found; but John said to Andronicus: It is quite right that they should be lost, for Drusiana is not in the sepulchre; nevertheless, let us go, that thou mayest not be neglectful, and the doors shall be opened of themselves, even as the Lord hath done for us many such things.

73 And when we were at the place, at the commandment of the master, the doors were opened, and we saw by the tomb of Drusiana a beautiful youth, smiling: and John, when he saw him, cried out and said: Art thou come before us hither too, beautiful one? and for what cause? And we heard a voice saying to him: For Drusiana's sake, whom thou art to raise up-for I was within a little of finding her -and for his sake that lieth dead beside her tomb. And when the beautiful one had said this unto John he went up into the heavens in the sight of us all. And John, turning to the other side of the sepulchre, saw a young man-even Callimachus, one of the chief of the Ephesians-and a huge serpent sleeping upon him, and the steward of Andronicus, Fortunatus by name, lying dead. And at the sight of the two he stood perplexed, saying to the brethren: What meaneth such a sight? or wherefore hath not the Lord declared unto me what was done here, he who hath never neglected me?

74 And Andronicus seeing those corpses, leapt up and went to Drusiana's tomb, and seeing her lying in her shift only, said to John: I understand what has happened, thou blessed servant of God, John. This Callimachus was enamoured of my sister; and because he never won her, though he often assayed it, h

 

 

The Acts and Martyrdom of St. Matthew the Apostle

From The New Advent: Fathers of the Church
http://www.csn.net/advent/fathers/fathers.htm

 


ABOUT that time Matthew, the holy apostle and evangelist of Christ, was abiding in the mountain resting, and praying in his tunic and apostolic robes without sandals; and, behold, Jesus came to Matthew in the likeness of the infants who sing in paradise, and said to him: Peace to thee, Matthew! And Matthew having gazed upon Him, and not known who He was, said: Grace to thee, and peace, O child highly favoured! And why hast thou come hither to me, having left those who sing in paradise, and the delights there? Because here the place is desert; and what sort of a table I shall lay for thee, O child, I know not, because I have no bread nor oil in a jar. Moreover, even the winds are at rest, so as not to cast down from the trees to the ground anything for food; because, for the accomplishing of my fast of forty days, I, partaking only of the fruits falling by the movement of the winds, am glorifying my Jesus. Now, therefore, what shall I bring thee, beautiful boy? There is not even water near, that I may wash thy feet. And the child said: Why sayest thou, O Matthew? Understand and know that good discourse is better than a calf, and words of meekness better than every herb of the field, and a sweet saying as the perfume of love, and cheerfulness of countenance better that feeding, and a pleasant look is as the appearance of sweetness. Understand, Matthew, and know that I am paradise, that I am the comforter, I am the power of the powers above, I the strength of those that restrain themselves, I the crown of the virgins, I the self-control of the once married, I the boast of the widowed, I the defence of the infants, I the foundation of the Church, I the kingdom of the bishops, I the glory of the presbyters, I the praise of the deacons. Be a man, and be strong, Matthew, in, these words. And Matthew said: The sight of thee hast altogether delighted me, O child; moreover also, thy words are full of life. For assuredly thy face shines more than the lightning, and thy words are altogether most sweet. And that indeed I saw thee in paradise when thou didst sing with the other infants who were killed in Bethlehem, I know right well; but how thou hast suddenly come hither, this altogether astonishes me. But I shall ask thee one thing, O child: that impious Herod, where is he? The child says to him: Since thou hast asked, hear his dwelling-place. He dwells, indeed, in Hades; and there has been prepared for him fire unquenchable, Gehenna without end, bubbling mire, worm that sleeps not, (1) because he cut off three (2) thousand infants, wishing to slay the child Jesus, the ancient of the ages; but of all these ages I am father. Now therefore, O Matthew, take this rod of mine, and go down from the mountain, and go into Myrna, the city of the man-eaters, and plant it by the gate of the church which thou (3) and Andrew founded; and as soon as thou hast planted it, it shall be a tree, great and lofty and with many branches, and its branches shall extend to thirty cubits, and of each single branch the fruit shall be different both to the sight and the eating, (4) and from the top of the tree shall flow down much honey; and from its root there shall come forth a great fountain, giving drink to this country round about, and in it creatures that swim and creep; and in it the man-eaters shall wash themselves, and eat of the fruit of the trees of the vine and of the honey; and their bodies shall be changed, and their forms shall be altered so as to be like those of other men; and they shall be ashamed of the nakedness of their body, and they shall put on clothing of the rams of the sheep, and they shall no longer eat unclean things; and there shall be to them fire in superabundance, preparing the sacrifices for offerings, and they shall bake their bread with fire; and they shall see each other in the likeness of the rest of men, and they shall acknowledge me, and glorify my Father who is in the heavens. Now therefore make haste, Matthew, and go down hence, because the departure from thy body through fire is at hand, and the crown of thy endurance.

And the child having said this, and given him the rod, was taken up into the heavens. And Matthew went down from the mountain, hastening to the city. And as he was about to enter into the city, there met him Fulvana the wife of the king, and his son Fulvanus and his wife Erva, who were possessed by an unclean spirit, and cried out shouting: Who has brought thee here again, Matthew? or who has given thee the rod for our destruction? for we see also the child Jesus, the Son of God, who is with thee. Do not go then, O Matthew, to plant the rod for the food, and for the transformation of the man-eaters: for I bare found what I shall do to thee. For since thou didst drive me out of this city, and prevent me from fulfilling my wishes among the man-eaters, behold, I will raise up against thee the king of this city, and he will burn thee alive. And Matthew, having laid his hands on each one of the demoniacs, put the demons to flight, and made the people whole; and they followed him.

And thus the affair being made manifest, Plato the bishop, having heard of the presence of the holy Apostle Matthew, met him with all the clergy; and having fallen to the ground, they kissed his feet. And Matthew raised them, and went with them into the church, and the child Jesus was also with him. And Matthew, having come to the gate of the church, stood upon a certain lofty and immoveable stone; and when the whole city ran together, especially the brethren who had believed, began to say: Men and women who appear in our sight, heretofore believing in the universe, (1) but now knowing Him who has upheld and made the universe; until now worshipping the Satyr, and mocked by ten thousand false gods, but now through Jesus Christ acknowledging the one and only God, Lord, Judge; who have laid aside the immeasurable greatness of evil, and put on love, which is of like nature with affectionateness, towards men; once strangers to Christ, but now confessing Him Lord and God; formerly without form, but now transformed through Christ;--behold, the staff which you see in my hand, which Jesus, in whom you have believed and will believe, gave me; perceive now what comes to pass through me, and acknowledge the riches of the greatness which He will this day make for you. For, behold, I shall plant this rod in this place, and it shall be a sign to your generations, and it shall become a tree, great and lofty and flourishing, and its fruit beautiful to the view and good to the sight; and the fragrance of perfumes shall come forth from it, and there shall be a vine twining round it, full of clusters; and from the top of it honey coming down, and every flying creature shall find covert in its branches; and a fountain of water shall come forth from the root of it, having swimming and creeping things, giving drink to all the country round about.

And having said this, and called upon the name of the Lord Jesus, he fixed his rod in the ground, and straightway it sprung up to one cubit; and the sight was strange and wonderful. For the rod having straightway shot up, increased in size, and grew into a great tree, as Matthew had said. And the apostle said: Go into the fountain and wash your bodies in it, and then thus partake both of the fruits of the tree, and of the vine and the honey, and drink of the fountain, and you shall be transformed in your likeness to that of men; and after that, having gone into the church, you will clearly recognise that you have believed in the living and true God. And having done all these things, they saw themselves changed into the likeness of Matthew; then, having thus gone into the church, they worshipped and glorified God. And when they had been changed, they knew that they were naked; and they ran in haste each to his own house to cover their nakedness, because they were ashamed.

And Matthew and Plato remained in the church spending the night, and glorifying God. And there remained also the king's wife, and his son and his wife, and they prayed the apostle to give them the seal in Christ. And Matthew gave orders to Plato; and he, having gone forth,

baptized them in the water of the fountain of the tree, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And so thereafter, having one into the church, they communicated in the holy mysteries of Christ; (2) and they exulted and passed the night, they also along with the apostle, many others having also come with them; and all in the church sang the whole night,

glorifying God.

And when the dawn had fully come, the blessed Matthew, having gone along with the bishop Plato, stood in the place in which the rod had been planted, and he sees the rod grown into a great tree, and near it a vine twined round it, and honey coming down from above even to its root; and that tree was at once beautiful and flourishing, like the plants in paradise, and a river proceeded from its root watering (3) all the land of the city of Myrna. (4) And all ran together, and ate of the fruit of the tree and the vine, just as any one wished.

And when what had come to pass was reported in the palace, the king Fulvanus, having learned what had been done by Matthew about his wife,

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and his son, and his daughter-in-law, rejoiced for a time at their purification; but seeing that they were inseparable from Matthew, he was

seized with rage and anger, and endeavoured to put him to death by fire. And

on that night (1) in which the king intended to lay hands on Matthew, Matthew saw Jesus saying to him: I am with thee always to save thee, Matthew; be strong, and be a man.

And the blessed Matthew, having awoke, and sealed himself over all the body, rose up at dawn, and proceeded into the church; and having bent his knees, prayed earnestly. Then the bishop having come, and the clergy, they stood in common in prayer, glorifying God. And after they had ended the prayer, the bishop Plato said: Peace to thee, Matthew, apostle of Christ! And the blessed Matthew said to him: Peace to you! And when they had sat down, the apostle said to the bishop Plato, and to all the clergy: I wish you, children, to know, Jesus having declared it to me, that the king of this city is going to send soldiers against me, the devil having entered into him, and manifestly armed him against us. But let us give ourselves up to Jesus, and He will deliver us from every trial, and all who have believed in Him.

And the king, plotting against the blessed Matthew how he should lay hands on him, and seeing also that the believers were very many, was very much at

fault, and was in great difficulty.

Therefore the wicked and unclean devil who had come forth from the king's wife, and his son, and his daughter-in-law, put to flight by Matthew, having transformed himself into the likeness of a soldier, stood before the king, and said to him: O king, why art thou thus put to the worse by this stranger and sorcerer? Knowest thou not that he was a publican, but now he has been called an apostle (2) by Jesus, who was crucified by the Jews? For, behold, thy wife, and thy son, and thy daughter-in-law, instructed by him, have believed in him, and along with him sing in the church. And now, behold, Matthew is going forth, and Plato with him, and they are going to the gate called Heavy; but make haste, and thou wilt find them, and thou shalt do to him all that may be pleasing in thine eyes.

The king having heard this, and being the more exasperated by the pretended soldier, sent against the blessed Matthew four soldiers, having threatened them, and said: Unless you bring Matthew to me, I shall burn you alive with fire; and the punishment which he is to undergo, you shall endure. And the soldiers, having been thus threatened by the king, go in arms to where the Apostle Matthew and the bishop Plato are. And when they came near them, they heard their speaking indeed, but saw no one. And having come, they said to the king: We pray thee, O king, we went and found no one, but only heard the voices of persons talking. And the king, being enraged, and having blazed up like fire, gave orders to send other ten soldiers--man-eaters--saying to them: Go stealthily to the place, and tear them in pieces alive, and eat up Matthew, and Plato, who is with him. And when they were about to come near the blessed Matthew, the Lord Jesus Christ, having come in the likeness of a most

beautiful boy, holding a torch of fire, ran to meet them, burning out their

eyes. And they, having cried out and thrown their arms from them, fled, and

came to the king, being speechless.

And the demon who had before appeared to the king in the from of a soldier, being again transformed into the form of a soldier, stood before the king, and said to him: Thou seest, O king, this stranger has bewitched them all. Learn, then, how thou shall take him. The king says to him: Tell me first wherein his strength is, that I may know, and then I will draw up against him with a great force. And the demon, compelled by an angel, says to the king: Since thou wishest to hear accurately about him, O king, I will tell thee all the truth. Really, unless he shall be willing to be taken by thee of his own accord, thou labourest in vain, and thou wilt not be able to hurt him; but if thou wishest to lay hands on him, thou wilt be struck by him with blindness, and thou wilt be paralyzed. And if thou send a multitude of soldiers against him, they also will be struck with blindness, and will be paralyzed. And we shall go, even seven unclean demons, and immediately make away with thee and thy whole camp, and destroy all the city with lightning, except those naming that awful and holy name of Christ; for wherever a footstep of theirs has come, thence, pursued, we flee. And even if thou shall apply fire to him, to him the fire will be dew; and if thou shalt shut him up in a furnace, to him the furnace will be a church; and if thou shalt put him in chains in prison, and seal up the floors, the doors will open to him of their own accord, and all who believe in that name will go in, even they, and say, This prison is a church of the living God, and a holy habitation of those that live alone. (3) Behold, O king, I have told thee all the truth. The king therefore says to the pretended soldier: Since I do not know Matthew, come with me, and point him out to me from a distance, and take from me gold, as much as thou mayst wish, or go thyself, and with thy sword kill him, and Plato his associate. (4) The demon says to him: I cannot kill him. I dare

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not even look into his face, seeing that he has destroyed all our generation through the name of Christ, proclaimed through him.

The king says to him: And who art thou? And he says: I am the demon who dwelt in thy wife, and in thy son, and in thy daughter-in-law; and my name is Asmodaeus; and this Matthew drove me out of them. And now, behold, thy wife, and thy son, and thy daughter-in-law sing along with him in the church. And I know, O king, that thou also after this wilt believe in him. The king says to him: Whoever thou art, spirit of many shapes, I adjure thee by the God whom he whom thou callest Matthew proclaims, depart hence without doing hurt to any one. And straightway the demon, no longer like a soldier, but like smoke, became invisible; and as he fled he cried out: O secret name, armed against us, I pray thee, Matthew, servant of the holy God, pardon me, and I will no longer remain in this city. Keep thou thine own; but I go away into the fire everlasting.

Then the king, affected with great fear at the answer of the demon, remained quiet that day. And the night having come, and he not being able to sleep because lie was hungry, (1) leaped up at dawn, and went into the church, with only two soldiers without arms, to take Matthew by craft, that he might kill him. And having summoned two friends of Matthew, he said to them: Show to Matthew, says he, that I wish to be his disciple. And Matthew hearing, and knowing the craft of the tyrant, and having been warned also by the vision of the Lord to him, went forth out of the church, led by the hand by Plato, and stood in the gate of the church.

And they say to the king: Behold Matthew in the gate! And he says: Who he is, or where he is, I see not. And they said to him: Behold, he is in sight of thee. And he says: All the while I see nobody. For he had been blinded by the power of God. And he began to cry out: Woe to me, miserable! what evil has come upon me, for my eyes have been blinded, and all my limbs paralyzed? O Asmodaeus Beelzebul Satan! all that thou hast said to me has come upon me. But I pray thee, Matthew, servant of God, forgive me as the herald of the good God; for assuredly the Jesus proclaimed by the three days ago through the night appeared to me altogether resplendent as with lightning, like a beautiful young man, and said to me, Since thou art entertaining evil counsels in the wickedness of thine heart in regard to my servant Matthew, know I have

disclosed to him that through thee will be the release of his body. And

straightway I saw him going up into heaven. If therefore he is thy God, and if

he wishes thy body to be buried in our city for a testimony of the salvation

of the generations after this, and for the banishing (2) of the demons, I shall

know the truth for myself by this, by thee laying on hands upon me, and I

shall receive my sight. And the apostle having laid his hands upon his eyes,

and saying EPHPHATHA, Jesus, (3) he made him receive his sight instantly.

And straightway the king, laying hold of the apostle, and leading him by the right hand, brought him by craft into the palace; and Plato was on Matthew's left hand, going along with him, and keeping hold of him. (4) Then Matthew says: O crafty tyrant, how long dost thou not fulfil the works of thy father the devil? And he was enraged at what had been said; for he perceived that he would inflict upon him a more bitter death. For he resolved to put him to death by fire. And he commanded several executioners to come, and to lead him away to the place by the seashore, where the execution of malefactors was wont to take place, saying to the executioners: I hear, says he, that the God whom he proclaims delivers from fire those who believe in him. Having laid him, therefore, on the ground on his back, and stretched him out, pierce his hands and feet with iron nails, and cover him over with paper, having smeared it with dolphins' oil, and cover him up with brimstone and asphalt and pitch, and put tow and brushwood above. Thus apply the fire to him; and if any of the

same tribe with him rise up against you, he shall get the same punishment.

And the apostle exhorted the brethren to remain undismayed, and that they

should rejoice, and accompany him with great meekness, singing and praising

God, because they were deemed worthy to have the relics of the apostle. Having

therefore come to the place, the executioners, like most evil wild beasts,

pinned down to the ground Matthew's hands and feet with long nails; and having

done everything as they had been bid, applied the fire. And they indeed

laboured (5) closely, kindling it all round; but all the fire was changed into

dew, so that the brethren, rejoicing, cried out: The only God is the

Christians', who assists Matthew, in whom also we have believed: the only God

is the Christians', who preserves His own apostle in the fire. And by the

voice the city was shaken. And some of the executioners, having gone forth,

said to the king: We indeed, O king, by every contrivance of vengeance, have

kindled the fire; but the sorcerer by a certain name puts it out, calling upon

Christ, and invoking his cross; and the

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Christians surrounding him play with the fire, and walking in it with naked feet, laugh at us, (1) and we have fled ashamed.

Then he ordered a multitude to carry coals of fire from the furnace of the bath in the palace, and the twelve gods of gold and silver; and place them, says he, in a circle round the sorcerer, lest he may even somehow bewitch the fire from the furnace of the palace. And there being many executioners and soldiers, some carried the coals; and others, bearing the gods, brought them. And the king accompanied them, watching lest any of the Christians should steal one of his gods, or bewitch the fire. And when they came near the place where the apostle was nailed down, his face was looking towards heaven, and all his body was covered over with the paper, and much brushwood over his body to the height of ten cubits. And baring ordered the soldiers to set the gods in a circle round Matthew, five cubits off, securely fastened that they might not fall, again he ordered the coal to be thrown on, and to kindle the fire at all points.

And Matthew, having looked up to heaven, cried out, ADONAI ELOI SABAOTH MARMARI MARMUNTH; that is, O God the Father, O Lord Jesus Christ, deliver me, and burn down their gods which they worship; and let the fire also pursue the king even to his palace, but not to his destruction: for perhaps he will repent and be converted. And when he saw the fire to be

 

 

ACTS OF PAUL

 

From "The Apocryphal New Testament"
M.R. James-Translation and Notes
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924

The Noncanonical Homepage


 

 

Introduction

This book, Tertullian tells us, was composed shortly before his time in honour of Paul by a presbyter of Asia, who was convicted of the imposture and degraded from his office. The date of it may therefore be about A.D. 160. The author was an orthodox Christian.

Our authorities for it are:

1. The sadly mutilated Coptic MS. at Heidelberg, of the sixth century at latest.

2. The Acts of Paul and Thecla, a single episode which has been preserved complete in Greek and many versions: parts of it exist in the Coptic.

3. The correspondence with the Corinthians, partly preserved in the Coptic, and current separately in Armenian and Latin.

4. The Martyrdom, the concluding episode of the Acts, preserved separately (as in the case of John and others) in Greek and other versions.

5.Detached fragments or quotations.

The length of the whole book is given as 8,600 lines (Stichometry of Nicephorus), or 8,560 (Stichometry of the Codex Claromontanus): the Canonical Acts are given by the same two authorities respectively as 2,800 and 2,600. We have, perhaps, 1,800 lines of the Acts of Paul. The text of the Coptic MS. is miserably defective, and the restoration of it, in the episodes which are preserved in it alone, is a most difficult process: Professor Carl Schmidt has done practically all that can be expected, with infinite labour and great acuteness. In treating the defective episodes I shall follow him closely, but shall not attempt to represent all the broken lines.

 

I

 

The first extant page of the Coptie MS. seems to be p.9.

p.9. Paul went into (the house) at the place where the (dead) was. But Phila the wife of Panchares (Anchares, MS., see below) was very wroth and said to her husband in (great anger): Husband, thou hast gone . . . . the wild beasts, thou hast not begotten . . . . thy son . . . . where is mine?

p.10 (he hath not) desired food . . . to bury him. But (Panchares) stood in the sight of all and made his prayer at the ninth hour, until the people of the city came to bear the boy out. When he had prayed, Paul (came) and saw . . . and of Jesus Christ . . . . the boy . . . the prayer.

p.11 (a small piece only) . . . multitude . . . eight days . . . they thought that he raised up the (boy). But when Paul had remained

p.12. They asked? him? . . . the men listened to him . . . they sent for Panchares . . . and cried out, saying: We believe, Panchares, . . . but save the city from . . many things, which they said. Panchares said unto them: Judge ye whether your good deeds (?)

p.13 is not possible . . . but to (testify) . . . God who hath . . . his Son according to . . . salvation, and I also believe that, my brethren, there is no other God, save Jesus Christ the son of the Blessed, unto whom is glory for ever, Amen. But when they saw that he would not turn to them, they pursued Paul, and caught him, and brought him back into the city, ill-using (?) him, and cast stones at him and thrust him out of their city and out of their country. But Panchares would not return evil for evil: he shut the door of his house and went in with his wife . . . fasting . . . But when it was evening Paul came to him and said:

p.14. God hath . . . Jesus Christ.

These are the last words of the episode. The situation is a little cleared by a sentence in the Greek Acts of Titus ascribed to Zenas (not earlier than the fifth century?): 'They arrived at Antioch and found Barnabas the son of Panchares, whom Paul raised up.' Barnabas may be a mistake, but Panchares is, I doubt not, right: for the Coptic definite article is p prefixed to the word, and the Coptic translator finding Panchares in his text has confused the initial of it with his own definite article, and cut it out.

We have, then, a husband Panchares and wife Phila at Antioch (in Pisidia perhaps: this is disputed), and their son (possibly named Barnabas) is dead. Phila reproaches Panchares with want of parental affection. I take it that he is a believer, and has not mourned over his son, perhaps knowing that Paul was at hand and hoping for his help. Panchares prays till his fellow-townsmen come to carry out the body for burial. Paul arrives: at some point he raises the dead: but the people are irritated and some catastrophe threatens them at Paul's hands.

Panchares makes a profession of faith, the result of which is Paul's ill-treatment and banishment. But Paul returns secretly and reassures Panchares.

 


II

 

The next episode is that of Paul and Thecla, in which the Greek text exists, and will be followed. In the Coptic it has a title:

 

After the flight from Antioch, when he would go to Iconium.

 

It is possible that in this episode the author of the Acts may have used a local legend, current in his time, of a real Christian martyr Thecla. It is otherwise difficult to account for the very great popularity of the cult of St. Thecla, which spread over East and West, and made her the most famous of virgin martyrs. Moreover, one historical personage is introduced into the story, namely, Queen Tryphaena, who was the widow, it seems, of Cotys, King of Thrace, and the mother of Polemo II, King of Pontus. She was a great-niece of the Emperor Claudius. Professor W. M. Ramsay has contended that there was a written story of Thecla which was adapted by the author of the Acts: but his view is not generally accepted.

1 When Paul went up unto Iconium after he fled from Antioch, there journeyed with him Demas and Hermogenes the coppersmith, which were full of hypocrisy, and flattered Paul as though they loved him. But Paul, looking only unto the goodness of Christ, did them no evil, but loved them well, so that he assayed to make sweet unto them all the oracles of the Lord, and of the teaching and the interpretation (of the Gospel) and of the birth and resurrection of the Beloved, and related unto them word by word all the great works of Christ, how they were revealed unto him (Copt. adds: how that Christ was born of Mary the virgin, and of the seed of David).

2 And a certain man named Onesiphorus, when he heard that Paul was come to Iconium, went out with his children Simmias and Zeno and his wife Lectra to meet him, that he might receive him into his house: for Titus had told him what manner of man Paul was in appearance; for he had not seen him in the flesh, but only in the spirit.

3 And he went by the king's highway that leadeth unto Lystra and stood expecting him, and looked upon them that came, according to tbe description of Titus. And he saw Paul coming, a man little of stature, thin-haired upon the head, crooked in the legs, of good state of body, with eyebrows joining, and nose somewhat hooked, full of grace: for sometimes he appeared like a man, and sometimes he had the face of an angel.

4 And when Paul saw Onesiphorus he smiled, and Onesiphorus said: Hail, thou servant of the blessed God. And he said: Grace be with thee and with thine house. But Demas and Hermogenes were envious, and stirred up their hypocrisy yet more, so that Demas said: Are we not servants of the Blessed, that thou didst not salute us so? And Onesiphorus said: I see not in you any fruit of righteousness, but if ye be such, come ye also into my house and refresh yourselves.

5 And when Paul entered into the house of Onesiphorus, there was great joy, and bowing of knees and breaking of bread, and the word of God concerning abstinence (or continence) and the resurrection; for Paul said:

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are they that keep the flesh chaste, for they shall become the temple of God.

Blessed are they that abstain (or the continent), for unto them shall God speak.

Blessed are they that have renounced this world, for they shall be well-pleasing unto God.

Blessed are they that possess their wives as though they had them not, for they shall inherit God.

Blessed are they that have the fear of God, for they shall become angels of God.

6 Blessed are they that tremble at the oracles of God, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are they that receive the wisdom of Jesus Christ, for they shall be called sons of the Most High.

Blessed are they that have kept their baptism pure, for they shall rest with the Father and with the Son.

Blessed are they that have compassed the understanding of Jesus Christ, for they shall be in light.

Blessed are they that for love of God have departed from the fashion of this world, for they shall judge angels, and shall be blessed at the right hand of the Father.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy and shall not see the bitter day of judgement. Blessed are the bodies of the virgins, for they shall be well- pleasing unto God and shall not lose the reward of their continence (chastity), for the word of the Father shall be unto them a work of salvation in the day of his Son, and they shall have rest world Without end.

7 And as Paul was saying these things in the midst of the assembly (church) in the house of Onesiphorus, a certain virgin, Thecla, whose mother was Theocleia, which was betrothed to an husband, Thamyris, sat at the window hard by, and hearkened night and day unto the word concerning chastity which was spoken by Paul: and she stirred not from the window, but was led onward (or pressed onward) by faith, rejoicing exceedingly: and further, when she saw many women and virgins entering in to Paul, she also desired earnestly to be accounted worthy to stand before Paul's face and to hear the word of Christ; for she had not yet seen the appearance of Paul, but only heard his speech.

8 Now as she removed not from the window, her mother sent unto Thamyris, and he came with great joy as if he were already to take her to wife. Thamyris therefore said to Theocleia: Where is my Thecla? And Theocicia said: I have a new tale to tell thee, Thamyris: for for three days and three nights Thecla ariseth not from the window, neither to eat nor to drink, but looking earnestly as it were upon a joyful spectacle, she so attendeth to a stranger who teacheth deceitful and various words, that I marvel how the great modesty of the maiden is so hardly beset.

9 O Thamyris, this man upsetteth the whole city of the Iconians, and thy Thecla also, for all the women and the young men go in to him and are taught by him. Ye must, saith he, fear one only God and live chastely. And my daughter, too, like a spider at the window, bound by his words, is held by a new desire and a fearful passion: for she hangeth upon the things that he speaketh, and the maiden is captured. But go thou to her and speak to her; for she is betrothed unto thee.

10 And Thamyris went to her, alike loving her and fearing because of her disturbance (ecstasy), and said: Thecla, my betrothed, why sittest thou thus? and what passion is it that holdeth thee in amaze; turn unto thy Thamyris and be ashamed. And her mother also said the same: Thecla, why sittest thou thus, looking downward, and answering nothing, but as one stricken? And they wept sore, Thamyris because he failed of a wife, and Theocleia of a child, and the maidservants of a mistress; there was, therefore, great confusion of mourning in the house. And while all this was so, Thecla turned not away, but paid heed to the speech of Paul.

11 But Thamyris leapt up and went forth into the street and watched them that went in to Paul and came out. And he saw two men striving bitterly with one another, and said to them: Ye men, tell me who ye are, and who is he that is within with you, that maketh the souls of young men and maidens to err, deceiving them that there may be no marriages but they should live as they are. I promise therefore to give you much money if ye will tell me of him: for I am a chief man of the city.

12 And Demas and Hermogenes said unto him: Who this man is, we know not; but he defraudeth the young men of wives and the maidens of husbands, saying: Ye have no resurrection otherwise, except ye continue chaste, and defile not the flesh but keep it pure.

13 And Thamyris said to them: Come, ye men, into mine house and refresh yourselves with me. And they went to a costly banquet and much wine and great wealth and a brilliant table. And Thamyris made them drink, for he loved Thecla and desired to take her to wife: and at the dinner Thamyris said: Tell me, ye men, what is his teaching, that I also may know it: for I am not a little afflicted concerning Thecla because she so loveth the stranger, and I am defrauded of my marriage.

14 And Demas and Hermogenes said: Bring him before Castelius the governor as one that persuadeth the multitudes with the new doctrine of the Christians; and so will he destroy him and thou shalt have thy wife Thecla. And we will teach thee of that resurrection which he asserteth, that it is already come to pass in the children which we have, and we rise again when we have come to the knowledge of the true God.

15 But when Thamyris heard this of them, he was filled with envy and wrath, and rose up early and went to the house of Onesiphorus with the rulers and officers and a great crowd with staves, saying unto Paul: Thou hast destroyed the city of the Iconians and her that was espoused unto me, so that she will not have me: let us go unto Castelius the governor. And all the multitude said: Away with the wizard, for he hath corrupted all our wives. And the multitude rose up together against him.

16 And Thamyris, standing before the judgement seat, cried aloud and said: 0 proconsul, this is the man-we know not whence he is-who alloweth not maidens to marry: let him declare before thee wherefore he teacheth such things. And Demas and Hermogenes said to Thamyris: Say thou that he is a Christian, and so wilt thou destroy him. But the governor kept his mind steadfast and called Paul, saying unto him: Who art thou, and what teachest thou? for it is no light accusation that these bring against thee.

17 And Paul lifted up his voice and said: If I am this day examined what I teach, hearken, 0 proconsul. The living God, the God of vengeance, the jealous God, the God that hath need of nothing, but desireth the salvation of men, hath sent me, that I may sever them from corruption and uncleanness and all pleasure and death, that they may sin no more. Wherefore God hath sent his own Child, whom I preach and teach that men should have hope in him who alone hath had compassion upon the world that was in error; that men may no more be under judgement but have faith and the fear of God and the knowledge of sobriety and the love of truth. If then I teach the things that have been revealed unto me of God, what wrong do I O proconsul? And the governor having heard that, commanded Paul to be bound and taken away to prison until he should have leisure to hear him more carefully.

18 But Thecla at night took off her bracelets and gave them to the doorkeeper, and when the door was opened for her she went into the prison, and gave the jailer a mirror of silver and so went in to Paul and sat by his feet and heard the wonderful works of God. And Paul feared not at all, but walked in the confidence of God: and her faith also was increased as she kissed his chains.

19 Now when Thecla was sought by her own people and by Thamyris, she was looked for through the streets as one lost; and one of the fellow-servants of the doorkeeper told that she went out by night. And they examined the doorkeeper and he told them that she was gone to the stranger unto the prison; and they went as he told them and found her as it were bound with him, in affection. And they went forth thence and gathered the multitude to them and showed it to the governor.

20 And he commanded Paul to be brought to the judgement seat; but Thecla rolled herself upon the place where Paul taught when he sat in the prison. And the governor commanded her also to be brought to the judgement seat, and she went exulting with joy. And when Paul was brought the second time the people cried out more vehemently: He is a sorcerer, away with him! But the governor heard Paul gladly concerning the holy works of Christ: and he took counsel, and called Thecla and said: Why wilt thou not marry Thamyris, according to the law of the Iconians? but she stood looking earnestly upon Paul, and when she answered not, her mother Theocleia cried out, saying: Burn the lawless one, burn her that is no bride in the midst of the theatre, that all the women which have been taught by this man may be affrighted.

21 And the governor was greatly moved: and he scourged Paul and sent him out of the city, but Thecla he condemned to be burned. And straightway the governor arose and went to the theatre: and all the multitude went forth unto the dreadful spectacle. But Thecla, as the lamb in the wilderness looketh about for the shepherd, so sought for Paul: and she looked upon the multitude and saw the Lord sitting, like unto Paul, and said: As if I were not able to endure, Paul is come to look upon me. And she earnestly paid heed to him: but he departed into the heavens.

22 Now the boys and the maidens brought wood and hay to burn Thecla: and when she was brought in naked, the governor wept and marvelled at the power that was in her. And they laid the wood, and the executioner bade her mount upon the pyre: and she, making the sign of the cross, went up upon the wood. And they lighted it, and though a great fire blazed forth, the fire took no hold on her; for God had compassion on her, and caused a sound under the earth, and a cloud overshadowed her above, full of rain and hail, and all the vessel of it was poured out so that many were in peril of death, and the fire was quenched, and Thecla was preserved.

23 Now Paul was fasting with Onesiphorus and his wife and their children in an open sepulchre on the way whereby they go from Iconium to Daphne. And when many days were past, as they fasted, the boys said unto Paul: We are anhungered. And they had not wherewith to buy bread, for Onesiphorus had left the goods of this world, and followed Paul with all his house. But Paul took off his upper garment and said: Go, child, buy several loaves and bring them. And as the boy was buying, he saw his neighbour Thecla, and was astonished, and said: Thecla, whither goest thou? And she said: I seek Paul, for I was preserved from the fire. And the boy said: Come, I will bring thee unto him, for he mourneth for thee and prayeth and fasteth now these six days.

24 And when she came to the sepulchre unto Paul, who had bowed his knees and was praying and saying: O Father of Christ, let not the fire take hold on Thecla, but spare her, for she is thine: she standing behind him cried out: O Father that madest heaven and earth, the Father of thy beloved child Jesus Christ, I bless thee for that thou hast preserved me from the fire, that I might see Paul. And Paul arose and saw her and said: O God the knower of hearts, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I bless thee that thou hast speedily accomplished that which I asked of thee, and hast hearkened unto me.

25 And there was much love within the sepulchre, for Paul rejoiced, and Onesiphorus, and all of them. And they had five loaves, and herbs, and water (and salt), and they rejoiced for the holy works of Christ. And Thecla said unto Paul: I will cut my hair round about and follow thee whithersoever thou goest. But he said: The time is ill-favoured and thou art comely: beware lest another temptation take thee, worse than the first, and thou endure it not but play the coward. And Thecla said: Only give me the seal in Christ, and temptation shall not touch me. And Paul said: Have patience, Thecla, and thou shalt receive the water.

26 And Paul sent away Onesiphorus with all his house unto Iconium, and so took Thecla and entered into Antioch: and as they entered in, a certain Syriarch, Alexander by name, saw Thecla and was enamoured of her, and would have bribed (flattered) Paul with money and gifts. But Paul said: I know not the woman of whom thou speakest, neither is she mine. But as he was of great power, he himself embraced her in the highway; and she endured it not, but sought after Paul and cried out bitterly, saying: Force not the stranger, force not the handmaid of God. I am of the first of the Iconians, and because I would not marry Thamyris, I am cast out of the city. And she caught at Alexander and rent his cloak and took the wreath from his head and made him a mocking-stock.

27 But he alike loving her and being ashamed of what had befallen him, brought her before the governor; and when she confessed that she had done this, he condemned her to the beasts; But the women were greatly amazed, and cried out at the judgement seat: An evil judgement, an impious judgement! And Thecla asked of the governor that she might remain a virgin until she should fight the beasts; and a certain rich queen, Tryphaena by name, whose daughter had died, took her into her keeping, and had her for a consolation.

28 Now when the beasts were led in procession, they bound her to a fierce lioness, and the queen Tryphaena followed after her: but the lioness, when Thecla was set upon her, licked her feet, and all the people marvelled. Now the writing (title) of her accusation was: Guilty of sacrilege. And the women with their children cried out from above: O God, an impious judgement cometh to pass in this city. And after the procession Tryphaena took her again. For her daughter Falconilla, which was dead, had said to her in a dream: Mother, thou shalt take in my stead Thecla the stranger that is desolate, that she may pray for me and I be translated into the place of the righteous.

29 When therefore Tryphaena received her after the procession, she alike bewailed her because she was to fight the beasts on the morrow, and also, loving her closely as her own daughter Falconilla; and said: Thecla, my second child, come, pray thou for my child that she may live for ever; for this have I seen in a dream. And she without delay lifted up her voice and said: O my God, Son of the Most High that art in heaven, grant unto her according to her desire, that her daughter Faleonilla may live for ever. And after she had said this, Tryphaena bewailed her, considering that so great beauty was to be cast unto the beasts.

30 And when it was dawn, Alexander came to take her-for it was he that was giving the games-saying: The governor is set and the people troubleth us: give me her that is to fight the beasts, that I may take her away. But Tryphaena cried aloud so that he fled away, saying: A second mourning for my Falconilla cometh about in mine house, and there is none to help, neither child, for she is dead, nor kinsman, for I am a widow. O God of Thecla my child, help thou Thecla.

31 And the governor sent soldiers to fetch Thecla: and Tryphaena left her not, but herself took her hand and led her up, saying: I did bring my daughter Falconilla unto the sepulchre; but thee, Thecla, do I bring to fight the beasts. And Thecla wept bitterly and groaned unto the Lord, saying: Lord God in whom I believe, with whom I have taken refuge, that savedst me from the fire, reward thou Tryphaena who hath had pity on thine handmaid, and hath kept me pure.

32 There was therefore a tumult, and a voice of the beasts, and shouting of the people, and of the women which sat together, some saying: Bring in the sacrilegious one! and the women saying: Away with the city for this unlawful deed! away with all us, thou proconsul! it is a bitter sight, an evil judgement!

38 But Thecla, being taken out of the hand of Tryphaena, was stripped and a girdle put upon her, and was cast into the stadium: and lions and bears were set against her. And a fierce lioness running to her lay down at her feet, and the press of women cried aloud. And a bear ran upon her; but the lioness ran and met him, and tore the bear in sunder. And again a lion, trained against men, which was Alexander's, ran upon her, and the lioness wrestled with him and was slain along with him. And the women bewailed yet more, seeing that the lioness also that succoured her was dead.

34 Then did they put in many beasts, while she stood and stretched out her hands and prayed. And when she had ended her prayer, she turned and saw a great tank full of water, and said: Now is it time that I should wash myself. And she cast herself in, saying: In the name of Jesus Christ do I baptize myself on the last day. And all the women seeing it and all the people wept, saying: Cast not thyself into the water: so that even the governor wept that so great beauty should be devoured by seals. So, then, she cast herself into the water in the name of Jesus Christ; and the seals, seeing the light of a flash of fire, floated dead on the top of the water. And there was about her a cloud of fire, so that neither did the beasts touch her, nor was she seen to be naked.

35 Now the women, when other more fearful beasts were put in, shrieked aloud, and some cast leaves, and others nard, others cassia, and some balsam, so that there was a multitude of odours; and all the beasts that were struck thereby were held as it were in sleep and touched her not; so that Alexander said to the governor: I have some bulls exceeding fearful, let us bind the criminal to them. And the governor frowning, allowed it, saying: Do that thou wilt. And they bound her by the feet between the bulls, and put hot irons under their bellies that they might be the more enraged and kill her. They then leaped forward; but the flame that burned about her, burned through the ropes, and she was as one not bound.

36 But Tryphaena, standing by the arena, fainted at the entry, so that her handmaids said: The queen Tryphaena is dead! And the governor stopped the games and all the city was frightened, and Alexander falling at the governor's feet said: Have mercy on me and on the city, and let the condemned go, lest the city perish with her; for if Caesar hear this, perchance he will destroy us and the city, because his kinswoman the queen Tryphaena hath died at the entry.

37 And the governor called Thecla from among the beasts, and said to her: Who art thou? and what hast thou about thee that not one of the beasts hath touched thee? But she said: I am the handmaid of the living God; and what I have about me-it is that I have believed on that his Son in whom God is well pleased; for whose sake not one of the beasts hath touched me. For he alone is the goal (or way) of salvation and the substance of life immortal; for unto them that are tossed about he is a refuge, unto the oppressed relief, unto the despairing shelter, and in a word, whosoever believeth not on him, shall not live, but die everlastingly.

38 And when the governor heard this, he commanded garments to be brought and said: Put on these garments. And she said: He that clad me when I was naked among the beasts, the same in the day of judgement will clothe me with salvation. And she took the garments and put them on. And the governor forthwith issued out an act, saying: I release unto you Thecla the godly, the servant of God. And all the women cried out with a loud voice and as with one mouth gave praise to God, saying: One is the God who hath preserved Thecla: so that with their voice all the city shook.

39 And Tryphaena, when she was told the good tidings, met her with much people and embraced Thecla and said: Now do I believe that the dead are raised up: now do I believe that my child liveth: come within, and I will make thee heir of all my substance. Thecla therefore went in with her and rested in her house eight days, teaching her the word of God, so that the more part of the maid-servants also believed, and there was great joy in the house.

40 But Thecla yearned after Paul and sought him, sending about in all places; and it was told her that he was at Myra. And she took young men and maids, and girded herself, and sewed her mantle into a cloak after the fashion of a man, and departed into Myra, and found Paul speaking the word of God, and went to him. But he when he saw her and the people that were with her was amazed, thinking in himself: Hath some other temptation come upon her? But she perceived it, and said to him: I have received the washing, 0 Paul; for he that hath worked together with thee in the Gospel hath worked with me also unto my baptizing.

41 And Paul took her by the hand and brought her into the house of Hermias, and heard all things from her; so that Paul marvelled much, and they that heard were confirmed, and prayed for Tryphaena. And Thecla arose and said to Paul: I go unto Iconium. And Paul said: Go, and teach the word of God. Now Tryphaena had sent her much apparel and gold, so that she left of it with Paul for the ministry of the poor.

42 But she herself departed unto Iconium. And she entered into the house of Onesiphorus, and fell down upon the floor where Paul had sat and taught the oracles of God, and wept, saying: O God of me and of this house, where the light shone upon me, Jesu Christ the Son of God, my helper in prison, my helper before the governors, my helper in the fire, my helper among the beasts, thou art God, and unto thee be the glory for ever. Amen.

43 And she found Thamyris dead, but her mother living. And she saw her mother and said unto her: Theocleia my mother, canst thou believe that the Lord liveth in the heavens? for whether thou desirest money, the Lord will give it thee through me: or thy child, lo, I am here before thee. And when she had so testified, she departed unto Seleucia, and after she had enlightened many with the word of God, she slept a good sleep.

A good many manuscripts add that Theoeleia was not converted, but the Coptic does not support them: it ends the episode as above.

A long appendix is given by other Greek copies, telling how in Thecla's old age (she was ninety) she was living on Mount Calamon or Calameon, and some evil-disposed young men went up to ill-treat her: and she prayed, and the rock opened and she entered it, and it closed after her. Some add that she went underground to Rome: this, to account for the presence of her body there.

 

Copt., p.38 of the MS.

III

 

When he was departed from Antioch and taught in Myra (Myrrha).

 

When Paul was teaching the word of God in Myra, there was there a man, Hermoerates by name, who had the dropsy, and he put himself forward in the sight of all, and said to Paul: Nothing is impossible with God, but especially with him whom thou preachest; for when he came he healed many, even that God whose servant thou art. Lo, I and my wife and my children, we cast ourselves at thy feet: have pity on me that I also may believe as thou hast believed on the living God.

Paul said unto him: I will restore thee (thine health) not for reward, but through the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt bec

 

ACTS OF PETER

 

From "The Apocryphal New Testament"
M.R. James-Translation and Notes
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924

The Noncanonical Homepage


 

Written, probably by a resident in Asia Minor (he does not know much about Rome), not later than A. D. 200, in Greek. The author has read the Acts of John very carefully, and modelled his language upon them. However, he was not so unorthodox as Leucius, though his language about the Person of our Lord (ch. xx) has rather suspicious resemblances to that of the Acts of John.

The length of the book as given by the Stichometry of Nicephorus was 2,750 lines-fifty lines less than the canonical Acts. The portions we have may be about the length of St. Mark's Gospel; and about 1,000 lines may be wanting. Such is Zaha's estimate.

We have:

1. A short episode in Coptic.

2. A large portion in Latin preserved in a single manuscript of the seventh century at Vercelli: often called the Vercelli Acts. It includes the martyrdom.

3. The martyrdom, preserved separately, in two good Greek copies, in Latin, and in many versions-Coptic, Slavonic, Syriac, Armenian, Arabic, Ethiopic.

Also:

One or two important quotations from lost portions; a small fragment of the original in a papyrus; certain passages-speeches of Peter- transferred by an unscrupulous writer to the Life of St. Abercius of Hierapolis.

A Latin paraphrase of the martyrdom, attributed to Linus, Peter's successor in the bishopric of Rome, was made from the Greek, and is occasionally useful.

 


I

THE COPTIC FRAGMENT

 

This is preserved separately in an early papyrus manuscript (fourth-fifth century) now at Berlin; the other contents of it are Gnostic writings which have not yet been published. I follow C. Schmidt's rendering of it. It has a title at the end: The Act of Peter On the first day of the week, that is, on the Lord's day, a multitude gathered together, and they brought unto Peter many sick that he might heal them. And one of the multitude adventured to say unto Peter: Lo, Peter, in our presence thou hast made many blind to see and the deaf to hear and the lame to walk, and hast succoured the weak and given them strength: but wherefore hast thou not succoured thy daughter, the virgin, which grew up beautiful and hath believed in the name of God? For behold, her one side is wholly palsied, and she lieth there stretched out in the corner helpless. We see them that have been healed by thee: thine own daughter thou hast neglected.

But Peter smiled and said unto him: My son, it is manifest unto God alone wherefore her body is not whole. Know then that God is not weak nor powerless to grant his gift unto my daughter: but that thy soul may be convinced, and they that are here present may the more believe -then he looked unto his daughter and said to her: Raise thyself up from thy place, without any helping thee save Jesus only, and walk whole before all these, and come unto me. And she arose and came to him; and the multitude rejoiced at that which was come to pass. Then said Peter unto them: Behold, your heart is convinced that God is not without strength concerning all things that we ask of him. Then they rejoiced yet more and praised God. And Peter said to his daughter: Go unto thy place, and lay thee down and be again in thine infirmity, for this is expedient for me and for thee. And the maiden went back and lay down in her place and was as beforetime: and the whole multitude wept, and entreated Peter to make her whole.

But Peter said unto them: As the Lord liveth, this is expedient for her and for me. For on the day when she was born unto me I saw a vision, and the Lord said unto me: Peter, this day is a great temptation born unto thee, for this daughter will bring hurt unto many souls if her body continue whole. But I thought that the vision did mock me.

Now when the maiden was ten years old, a stumbling-block was prepared for many by reason of her. And an exceeding rich man, by name Ptolemaeus, when he had seen the maiden with her mother bathing, sent unto her to take her to wife; but her mother consented not. And he sent oft-times to her, and could not wait.

[Here a leaf is lost: the sense, however, is not hard to supply. Augustine speaks (quoting Apocryphal Acts) of a daughter of Peter struck with palsy at the prayer of her father.

Ptolemaeus, unable to win the maiden by fair means, comes and carries her off. Peter hears of it and prays God to protect her. His prayer is heard. She is struck with palsy on one side of her body. Then the text resumes.]

The servants of Ptolemaeus brought the maiden and laid her down before the door of the house and departed.

But when I perceived it, I and her mother, we went down and found the maiden, that one whole side of her body from her toes even to her head was palsied and withered: and we bore her away, praising the Lord which had preserved his handmaid from defilement and shame and (corruption?). This is the cause of the matter, why the maiden continueth so unto this day.

Now, then, it is fitting for you to know the end of Ptolemaeus. He went home and sorrowed night and day over that which had befallen him, and by reason of the many tears which he shed, he became blind. And when he had resolved to rise up and hang himself, lo, about the ninth hour of the day, he saw a great light which enlightened the whole house, and heard a voice saying unto him: Ptolemaeus, God hath not given thee the vessels for corruption and shame, and yet more doth it not become thee which hast believed in me to defile my virgin, whom thou shalt know as thy sister, even as if I were unto you both one spirit (sic). But rise up and go quickly unto the house of the apostle Peter, and thou shalt see my glory; he shall make known unto thee what thou must do.

But Ptolemaeus was not negligent, and bade his servants show him the way and bring him unto me. And when they were come to me, he told me all that had befallen him by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then did he see with the eyes of his flesh, and with the eyes of his soul, and much people believed (hoped) in Christ: and he did them good and gave them the gift of God.

Thereafter Ptolemaeus died, departing out of this life, and went unto his Lord: and when he made his will he bequeathed a piece of land in the name of my daughter, because through her he had believed in God and was made whole. But I unto whom the disposition thereof fell, exercised it with great carefulness: I sold the land, and God alone knoweth neither I nor my daughter (received the price). I sold the land and kept nought back of the price, but gave all the money unto the poor.

Know therefore, thou servant of Jesus Christ, that God directeth (?) them that are his, and prepareth good for every one of them, although we think that God hath forgotten us. Therefore now, brethren, let us be sorrowful and watch and pray, and so shall the goodness of God look upon us, whereon we wait.

And yet further discourse did Peter hold before them all, and glorified the name of Christ the Lord and gave them all of the bread: and when he had distributed it, he rose up and went unto his house.

 

The scene of this episode is probably Jerusalem. The subject of it was often used by later writers, most notably, perhaps, by the author of the late Acts of SS. Nereus and Achilleus (fifth or sixth century), who gives the daughter a name, Petronilla, which has passed into Kalendars, and as Perronelle, Pernel, or Parnell has become familiar.

A few critics have questioned whether this piece really belongs to the Acts of Peter: but the weight of probability and of opinion is against them. Nothing can be plainer than that it is an extract from a larger book, and that it is ancient (the manuscript may be of the fourth century). Moreover, Augustine, in dealing with apocryphal Acts, alludes to the story contained in it. What other large book of ancient date dealing with Peter's doings can we imagine save the Acts?

 

II

THE GARDENER'S DAUGHTER

 

Augustine (Against Adimantus, xvii. 5), says to his Manichaean opponent: the story of Peter killing Ananias and Sapphira by a word is very stupidly blamed by those who in the apocryphal Acts read and admire both the incident I mentioned about the apostle Thomas (the death of the cup-bearer at the feast in his Acts) 'and that the daughter of Peter himself was stricken with palsy at the prayer of her father, and that the daughter of a gardener died at the prayer of Peter. Their answer is that it was expedient for them, that the one should be disabled by palsy and the other should die: but they do not deny that it happened at the prayer of the apostle'.

 

This allusion to the gardener's daughter remained a puzzle until lately. But a passage in the Epistle of Titus (already quoted) tells us the substance of the story.

 

A certain gardener had a daughter, a virgin, her father's only child: he begged Peter to pray for her. Upon his request, the apostle answered him that the Lord would give her that which was useful for her soul. Immediately the girl fell dead.

O worthy gain and suitable to God, to escape the insolence of the flesh and mortify the boastfulness of the blood! But that old man, faithless, and not knowing the greatness of the heavenly favour, ignorant of the divine benefit, entreated Peter that his only daughter might be raised again. And when she was raised, not many days after, as it might be to-day, the slave of a believer who lodged in the house ran upon her and ruined the girl, and both of them disappeared.

 

This was evidently a contrast to the story of Peter's daughter, and probably followed immediately upon it in the Acts. There is another sentence appropriate to the situation, which Dom de Bruyne found in a Cambrai MS. of the thirteenth century -a collection of apophthegms- and printed with the extracts from the Epistle of Titus.

 

That the dead are not to be mourned overmuch, Peter, speaking to one who lamented without patience the loss of his daughter, said: So many assaults of the devil, so many warrings of the body, so many disasters of the world hath she escaped, and thou sheddest tears as if thou knewest not what thou sufferest in thyself (what good hath befallen thee).

 

This might very well be part of Peter's address to the bereaved gardener.

 

III

THE VERCELLI ACTS

 

I. At the time when Paul was sojourning in Rome and confirming many in the faith, it came also to pass that one by name Candida, the wife of Quartus that was over the prisons, heard Paul and paid heed to his words and believed. And when she had instructed her husband also and he believed, Quartus suffered Paul to go whither he would away from the city: to whom Paul said: If it be the will of God, he will reveal it unto me. And after Paul had fasted three days and asked of the Lord that which should be profitable for him, he saw a vision, even the Lord saying unto him: Arise, Paul, and become a physician in thy body (i.e. by going thither in person) to them that are in Spain.

He therefore, having related to the brethren what God had commanded, nothing doubting, prepared himself to set forth from the city. But when Paul was about to depart, there was great weeping throughout all the brotherhood, because they thought that they should see Paul no more, so that they even rent their clothes. For they had in mind also how that Paul had oftentimes contended with the doctors of the Jews and confuted them, saying: Christ, upon whom your fathers laid hands, abolished their sabbaths and fasts and holy-days and circumcision, and the doctrines of men and the rest of the traditions he did abolish. But the brethren lamented (and adjured) Paul by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he should not be absent above a year, saying: We know thy love for thy brethren; forget not us when thou art come thither, neither begin to forsake us, as little children without a mother. And when they besought him long with tears, there came a sound from heaven, and a great voice saying: Paul the servant of God is chosen to minister all the days of his life: by the hands of Nero the ungodly and wicked man shall he be perfected before your eyes. And a very great fear fell upon the brethren because of the voice which came from heaven: and they were confirmed yet more in the faith.

II. Now they brought unto Paul bread and water for the sacrifice, that he might make prayer and distribute it to every one. Among whom it befell that a woman named Rufina desired, she also, to receive the Eucharist at the hands of Paul: to whom Paul, filled with the spirit of God, said as she drew near: Rufina, thou comest not worthily unto the altar of God, arising from beside one that is not thine husband but an adulterer, and assayest to receive the Eucharist of God. For behold Satan shall trouble thine heart and cast thee down in the sight of all them that believe in the Lord, that they which see and believe may know that they have believed in the living God, the searcher of hearts. But if thou repent of thine act, he is faithful that is able to blot out thy sin and set thee free from this sin: but if thou repent not, while thou art yet in the body, devouring fire and outer darkness shall receive thee for ever. And immediately Rufina fell down, being stricken with palsy (?) from her head unto the nails of her feet, and she had no power to speak (given her) for her tongue was bound. And when both they that believed (in the faith) and the neophytes saw it, they beat their breasts, remembering their old sins, and mourned and said: We know not if God will forgive the former sins which we have committed. Then Paul called for silence and said: Men and brethren which now have begun to believe on Christ, if ye continue not in your former works of the tradition of your fathers, and keep yourselves from all guile and wrath and fierceness and adultery and defilement, and from pride and envy and contempt and enmity, Jesus the living God will forgive you that ye did in ignorance. Wherefore, ye servants of God, arm yourselves every one in your inner man with peace, patience, gentleness, faith, charity, knowledge, wisdom, love of the brethren, hospitality, mercy, abstinence, chastity, kindness, justice: then shall ye have for your guide everlastingly the first-begotten of all creation, and shall have strength in peace with our Lord. And when they had heard these things of Paul, they besought him to pray for them. And Paul lifted up his voice and said: O eternal God, God of the heavens, God of unspeakable majesty (divinity), who hast stablished all things by thy word, who hast bound upon all the world the chain of thy grace, Father of thine holy Son Jesus Christ, we together pray thee through thy Son Jesus Christ, strengthen the souls which were before unbelieving but now are faithful. Once I was a blasphemer, now I am blasphemed; once I was a persecutor, now do I suffer persecution of others; once I was the enemy of Christ, now I pray that I may be his friend: for I trust in his promise and in his mercy; I account myself faithful and that I have received forgiveness of my former sins. Wherefore I exhort you also, brethren, to believe in the Lord the Father Almighty, and to put all your trust in our Lord Jesus Christ his Son, believing in him, and no man shall be able to uproot you from his promise. Bow your knees therefore together and commend me unto the Lord, who am about to set forth unto another nation, that his grace may go before me and dispose my journey aright, that he may receive his vessels holy and believing, that they, giving thanks for my preaching of the word of the Lord, may be well grounded in the faith. But the brethren wept long and prayed unto the Lord with Paul, saying: Be thou, Lord Jesus Christ, with Paul and restore him unto us whole: for we know our weakness which is in us even to this day.

III. And a great multitude of women were kneeling and praying and beseeching Paul; and they kissed his feet and accompanied him unto the harbour. But Dionysius and Balbus, of Asia, knights of Rome, and illustrious men, and a senator by name Demetrius abode by Paul on his right hand and said: Paul, I would desire to leave the city if I were not a magistrate, that I might not depart from thee. Also from Caesar's house Cleobius and Iphitus and Lysimachus and Aristaeus and two matrons Berenice and Philostrate, with Narcissus the presbyter [after they had] accompanied him to the harbour: but whereas a storm of the sea came on, he (Narcissus?) sent the brethren back to Rome, that if any would, he might come down and hear Paul until he set sail: and hearing that, the brethren went up unto the city. And when they told the brethren that had remained in the city, and the report was spread abroad, some on beasts, and some on foot, and others by way of the Tiber came down to the harbour, and were confirmed in the faith for three days, and on the fourth day until the fifth hour, praying together with Paul, and making the offering: and they put all that was needful on the ship and delivered him two young men, believers, to sail with him, and bade him farewell in the Lord and returned to Rome.

 

There has been great dispute about these three chapters, whether they are not an excerpt from the Acts of Paul, or whether they are an addition made by the writer of the Greek original of the Vercelli Acts.

If they are from the Acts of Paul, it means that in those Acts Paul was represented as visiting Rome twice, and going to Spain between the visits. Evidently, if this was so, he did not return straight from Spain to Rome: at least the Coptic gives no indication that the prophecies of Cleobius and Myrte were uttered in Spain.

The question is a difficult one. All allow that the writer of the Acts of Peter knew and used the Acts of Paul: but there is strong opposition to the idea that Paul related two visits to Rome.

The writer of Paul obviously knew the canonical Acts very well and obviously took great liberties with them. Did he go so far, one wonders, as to suppress and ignore the whole story of the trial before Felix and the shipwreck? If he told of but one visit to Rome -the final one- it appears that he did: for the conditions described in the Martyrdom -Paul quite free and martyred very shortly after his arrival- are totally irreconcilable with Luke (Paul arriving in custody and living two years at least in the city).

 

IV. Now after a few days there was a great commotion in the midst of the church, for some said that they had seen wonderful works done by a certain man whose name was Simon, and that he was at Aricia, and they added further that he said he was a great power of God and without God he did nothing. Is not this the Christ? but we believe in him whom Paul preached unto us; for by him have we seen the dead raised, and men Delivered from divers infirmities: but this man seeketh contention, we know it (or, but what this contention is, we know not) for there is no small stir made among us. Perchance also he will now enter into Rome; for yesterday they besought him with great acclamations, saying unto him: Thou art God in Italy, thou art the saviour of the Romans: haste quickly unto Rome. But he spake to the people with a shrill voice, saying: Tomorrow about the seventh hour ye shall see me fly over the gate of the city in the form (habit) wherein ye now see me speaking unto you. Therefore, brethren, if it seem good unto you, let us go and await carefully the issue of the matter. They all therefore ran together and came unto the gate. And when it was the seventh hour, behold suddenly a dust was seen in the sky afar off, like a smoke shining with rays stretching far from it. And when he drew near to the gate, suddenly he was not seen: and thereafter he appeared, standing in the midst of the people; whom they all worshipped, and took knowledge that he was the same that was seen of them the day before.

And the brethren were not a little offended among themselves, seeing, moreover, that Paul was not at Rome, neither Timotheus nor Barnabas, for they had been sent into Macedonia by Paul, and that there was no man to comfort us, to speak nothing of them that had but just become catechumens. And as Simon exalted himself yet more by the works which he did, and many of them daily called Paul a sorcerer, and others a deceiver, of so great a multitude that had been stablished in the faith all fell away save Narcissus the presbyter and two women in the lodging of the Bithynians, and four that could no longer go out of their house, but were shut up (day and night): these gave themselves unto prayer (by day and night), beseeching the Lord that Paul might return quickly, or some other that should visit his servants, because the devil had made them fall by his wickedness.

V. And as they prayed and fasted, God was already teaching Peter at Jerusalem of that which should come to pass. For whereas the twelve years which the Lord Christ had enjoined upon him were fulfilled, he showed him a vision after this manner, saying unto him: Peter, that Simon the sorcerer whom thou didst cast out of Judaea, convicting him, hath again come before thee (prevented thee) at Rome. And that shalt thou know shortly (or, and that thou mayest know in few words): for all that did believe in me hath Satan made to fall by his craft and working: whose Power Simon approveth himself to be. But delay thee not: set forth on the morrow, and there shalt thou find a ship ready, setting sail for Italy, and within few days I will show thee my grace which hath in it no grudging. Peter then, admonished by the vision, related it unto the brethren without delay, saying: It is necessary for me to go up unto Rome to fight with the enemy and adversary of the Lord and of our brethren.

And he went down to Caesarea and embarked quickly in the ship, whereof the ladder was already drawn up, not taking any provision with him. But the governor of the ship whose name was Theon looked on Peter and said: Whatsoever we have, all is thine. For what thank have we, if we take in a man like unto ourselves who is in uncertain case (difficulty) and share not all that we have with thee? but only let us have a prosperous voyage. But Peter, giving him thanks for that which he offered, himself fasted while he was in the ship, sorrowful in mind and again consoling himself because God accounted him worthy to be a minister in his service.

And after a few days the governor of the ship rose up at the hour of his dinner and asked Peter to eat with him, and said to him: O thou, whoever thou art, I know thee not, but as I reckon, I take thee for a servant of God. For as I was steering my ship at midnight I perceived the voice of a man from heaven saying to me: Theon, Theon! And twice it called me by my name and said to me: Among them that sail with thee let Peter be greatly honoured by thee, for by him shalt thou and the rest be preserved safe without any hurt after such a course as thou hopest not for. And Peter believed that God would vouchsafe to show his providence upon the sea unto them that were in the ship, and thenceforth began Peter to declare unto Theon the mighty works of God, and how the Lord had chosen him from among the apostles, and for what business he sailed unto Italy: and daily he communicated unto him the word of God. And considering him he perceived by his walk that he was of one mind in the faith and a worthy minister (deacon).

Now when there was a calm upon the ship in Hadria (the Adriatic), Theon showed it to Peter, saying unto him: If thou wilt account me worthy, whom thou mayest baptize with the seal of the Lord thou hast an opportunity. For all that were in the ship had fallen asleep, being drunken. And Peter went down by a rope and baptized Theon in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost: and he came up out of the water rejoicing with great joy, and Peter also was glad because God had accounted Theon worthy of his name. Arid it came to pass when Theon was baptized, there appeared in the same place a youth shining and beautiful, saying unto them: Peace be unto you. And immediately Peter and Theon went up and entered into the cabin; and Peter took bread and gave thanks unto the Lord which had accounted him worthy of his holy ministry, and for that the youth had appeared unto them, saying: Peace be unto you. And he said: Thou best and alone holy one, it is thou that hast appeared unto us, O God Jesu Christ, and in thy name hath this man now been washed and sealed with thy holy seal. Therefore in thy name do I impart unto him thine eucharist, that he may be thy perfect servant without blame for ever.

And as they feasted and rejoiced in the Lord, suddenly there came a wind, not vehement but moderate, at the ship's prow, and ceased not for six days and as many nights, until they came unto Puteoli.

VI. And when they had touched at Puteoli, Theon leapt out of the ship and went unto the inn where he was wont to lodge, to prepare to receive Peter. Now he with whom he lodged was one by name Ariston, which alway feared the Lord, and because of the Name Theon entrusted himself with him (had dealings with him). And when he was come to the inn and saw Ariston, Theon said unto him: God who hath accounted thee worthy to serve him hath communicated his grace unto me also by his holy servant Peter, who hath now sailed with me from Judaea, being commanded by our Lord to come unto Italy. And when he heard that, Ariston fell upon Theon's neck and embraced him and besought him to bring him to the ship and show him Peter. For Ariston said that since Paul set forth unto Spain there was no man of the brethren with whom he could refresh himself, and, moreover, a certain Jew had broken into the city, named Simon, and with his charms of sorcery and his wickedness hath he made all the brotherhood fall away this way and that, so that I also fled from Rome, expecting the coming of Peter: for Paul had told us of him, and I also have seen many things in a vision. Now, therefore, I believe in my Lord that he will build up again his ministry, for all this deceit shall be rooted out from among his servants. For our Lord Jesus Christ is faithful, who is able to restore our minds. And when Theon heard these things from Ariston, who wept, his spirit was raised (increased) yet more and he was the more strengthened, because he perceived that he had believed on the living God.

But when they came together unto the ship, Peter looked upon them and smiled, being filled with the Spirit; so that Ariston falling on his face at Peter's feet, said thus: Brother and lord, that hast part in the holy mysteries and showest the right way which is in the Lord Jesus Christ our God, who by thee hath shown unto us his coming: we have lost all them whom Paul had delivered unto us, by the working of Satan; but now I trust in the Lord who hath commanded thee to come unto us, sending thee as his messenger, that he hath accounted us worthy to see his great and wonderful works by thy means. I pray thee therefore, make haste unto the city: for I left the brethren which have stumbled, whom I saw fall into the temptation of the devil, and fled hither, saying unto them: Brethren, stand fast in the faith, for it is of necessity that within these two months the mercy of our Lord bring his servant unto you. For I had seen a vision, even Paul, saying unto me: Ariston, flee thou out of the city. And when I heard it, I believed without delay and went forth in the Lord, although I had an infirmity in my flesh, and came hither; and day by day I stood upon the sea-shore asking the sailors: Hath Peter sailed with you? But now through the abundance of the grace of God I entreat thee, let us go up unto Rome without delay, lest the teaching of this wicked man prevail yet further. And as Ariston said this with tears, Peter gave him his hand and raised him up from the earth, and Peter also groaning, said with tears: He hath prevented us which tempteth all the world by his angels; but he that hath power to save his servants from all temptations shall quench his deceits and put him beneath the feet of them that have believed in Christ whom we preach.

And, as they entered in at the gate, Theon entreated Peter, saying: Thou didst not refresh thyself on any day in so great a voyage (sea): and now after (before) so hard a journey wilt thou set out forthwith from the ship? tarry and refresh thyself, and so shalt thou set forth: for from hence to Rome upon a pavement of flint I fear lest thou be hurt by the shaking. But Peter answered and said to them: What if it come to pass that a millstone were hung upon me, and likewise upon the enemy of our Lord, even as my Lord said unto us of any that offended one of the brethren, and I were drowned in the sea? but it might be not only a millstone, but that which is far worse, even that I which am the enemy of this persecutor of his servants should die afar off from them that have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ (so Ficker: the sentence is corrupt; the sense is that Peter must at all costs be with his fellow-Christians, or he will incur even worse punishment than that threatened by our Lord's words). And by no exhortation could Theon prevail to persuade him to tarry there even one day.

But Theon himself delivered all that was in the ship to be sold for the price which he thought good, and followed Peter unto Rome; whom Ariston brought unto the abode of Narcissus the presbyter.

VII. Now the report was noised through the city unto the brethren that were dispersed, because of Simon, that he might show him to be a deceiver and a persecutor of good men. All the multitude therefore ran together to see the apostle of the Lord stay (himself, or the brethren) on Christ. And on the first day of the week when the multitude was assembled to see Peter, Peter began to say with a loud voice: Ye men here present that trust in Christ, ye that for a little space have suffered temptation, learn for what cause God sent his Son into the world, and wherefore he made him to be born of the Virgin Mary; for would he so have done if not to procure us some grace or dispensation? even because he would take away all offence and all ignorance and all the contrivance of the devil, his attempts (beginnings) and his strength wherewith he prevailed aforetime, before our God shined forth in the world. And whereas men through ignorance fell into death by many and divers infirmities, Almighty God, moved with compassion, sent his Son into the world. With whom I was; and he (or I) walked upon the water, whereof I myself remain awitness, and do testify that he then worked in the world by signs and wonders, all of which he did.

I do confess, dearly-beloved brethren, that I was with him: yet I denied him, even our Lord Jesus Christ, and that not once only, but thrice; for there were evil dogs that were come about me as they did unto the Lord's prophets. And the Lord imputed it not unto me, but turned unto me and had compassion on the infirmity of my flesh, when (or so that) afterward I bitterly bewailed myself, and lamented the weakness of my faith, because I was befooled by the devil and kept not in mind the word of my Lord. And now I say unto you, O men and brethren, which are gathered together in the name of Jesus Christ: against you also hath the deceiver Satan aimed his arrows, that ye might depart out of the way. But faint not, brethren, neither let your spirit fall, but be strong and persevere and doubt not: for if Satan caused me to stumble, whom the Lord had in great honour, so that I denied the light of mine hope, and if he overthrew me and persuaded me to flee as if I had put my trust in a man, what think ye will he do unto you which are but young in the faith? Did ye suppose that he would not turn you away to make you enemies of the kingdom of God, and cast you down into perdition by a new (or the last) deceit? For whomsoever he casteth out from the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, he is a son of perdition for ever. Turn yourselves, therefore, brethren, chosen of the Lord, and be strong in God Almighty, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom no man hath seen at any time, neither can see, save he who hath believed in him. And be ye aware whence this temptation hath come upon you. For it is not only by words that I would convince you that this is Christ whom I preach, but also by deeds and exceeding great works of power do I exhort you by the faith that is in Christ Jesus, that none of you look for any other save him that was despised and mocked of the Jews, even this Nazarene which was crucified and died and the third day rose again.

VIII. And the brethren repented and entreated Peter to fight against Simon: (who said that he was the power of God, and lodged in the house of Marcellus a senator, whom he had convinced by his charms) saying: Believe us, brother Peter: there was no man among men so wise as this Marcellus. All the widows that trusted in Christ had recourse unto him; all the fatherless were fed by him; and what more, brother? all the poor called Marcellus their patron, and his house was called the house of the strangers and of the poor, and the emperor said unto him: I will keep thee out of every office, lest thou despoil the provinces to give gifts unto the Christians. And Marcellus answered: All my goods are also thine. And Caesar said to him: Mine they would be if thou keptest them for me; but now they are not mine, for thou givest them to whom thou wilt, and I know not to what vile persons. Having this, then, before our eyes, brother Peter, we report it to thee, how the great mercy of this man is turned unto blasphemy; for if he had not turned, neither should we have departed from the holy faith of God our Lord. And now doth this Marcellus in anger repent him of his good deeds, saying: All this substance have I spent in all this time, vainly believing that I gave it for the knowledge of God! So that if any stranger cometh to the door of his house, he smiteth him with a staff and biddeth him be beaten, saying: Would God I had not spent so much money upon these impostors: and yet more doth he say, blaspheming. But if there abide in thee any mercy of our Lord and aught of the goodness of his commandments, do thou succour the error of this man who hath done so many alms-deeds unto the servants of God.

And Peter, when he perceived this, was smitten with sharp affliction and said: O the divers arts and temptations of the devil! O the contrivances and devices of the wicked! he that nourisheth up for himself a mighty fire in the day of wrath, the destruction of simple men, the ravening wolf, the devourer and scatterer of eternal life! Thou didst enmesh the first man in concupiscence and bind him with thine old iniquity and with the chain of the flesh: thou art wholly the exceeding bitter fruit of the tree of bitterness, who sendest divers lusts upon men. Thou didst compel Judas my fellow-disciple and fellow-apostle to do wickedly and deliver up our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall punish thee therefor. Thou didst harden the heart of Herod and didst inflame Pharaoh and compel him to fight against Moses the holy servant of God; thou didst give boldness unto Caiaphas, that he should deliver our Lord Jesus Christ unto the unrighteous multitude; and even until now thou shootest at innocent souls with thy poisonous arrows. Thou wicked one, enemy of all men, be thou accursed from the Church of him the Son of the holy God ommpotent and as a brand cast out of the fire shalt thou be quenched by the servants of our Lord Jesus Christ. Upon thee let thy blackness be turned and upon thy children, an evil seed; upon thee be turned thy wickedness and thy threatenings; upon thee and thine angels be thy temptations, thou beginning of malice and bottomless pit of darkness! Let thy darkness that thou hast be with thee and with thy vessels which thou ownest! Depart from them that shall believe in God, depart from the servants of Christ and from them that desire to be his soldiers. Keep thou to thyself thy garments of darkness! Without cause knockest thou at other men's doors, which are not thine but of Christ Jesus that keepeth them. For thou, ravening wolf, wouldest carry off the sheep that are not thine but of Christ Jesus, who keepeth them with all care and diligence.

IX. As Peter spake thus with great sorrow of mind, many were added unto them that believed on the Lord. But the brethren besought Peter to join battle with Simon and not suffer him any longer to vex the people. And without delay Peter went quickly out of the synagogue (assembly) and went unto the house of Marcellus, where Simon lodged: and much people followed him. And when he came to the door, he called the porter and said to him: Go, say unto Simon: Peter because of whom thou fleddest out of Judaea waiteth for thee at the door. The porter answered and said to Peter: Sir, whether thou be Peter, I know not: but I have a command; for he had knowledge that yesterday thou didst enter into the city, and said unto me: Whether it be by day or by night, at whatsoever hour he cometh, say that I am not within. And Peter said to the young man: Thou hast well said in reporting that which he compelled thee to say. And Peter turned unto the people that followed him and said: Ye shall now see a great and marvellous wonder. And Peter seeing a great dog bound with a strong chain, went to him and loosed him, and when he was loosed the dog received a man's voice and said unto Peter: What dost thou bid me to do, thou servant of the unspeakable and living God? Peter said unto him: Go in and say unto Simon in the midst of his company: Peter saith unto thee, Come forth abroad, for thy sake am I come to Rome, thou wicked one and deceiver of simple souls. And immediately the dog ran and entered in, and rushed into the midst of them that were with Simon, and lifted up his forefeet and in a loud voice said: Thou Simon, Peter the servant of Christ who standeth at the door saith unto thee: Come forth abroad, for thy sake am I come to Rome, thou most wicked one and deceiver of simple souls. And when Simon heard it, and beheld the incredible sight, he lost the words wherewith he was deceiving them that stood by, and all of them were amazed.

X. But when Marcellus saw it he went out to the door and east himself at Peter's feet and said: Peter, I embrace thy feet, thou holy servant of the holy God; I have sinned greatly: but exact thou not my sins, if there be in thee the true faith of Christ, whom thou preachest, if thou remember his commandments, to hate no man, to be unkind to no man, as I learned from thy fellow apostle Paul; keep not in mind my faults, but pray for me unto the Lord, the holy Son of God whom I have provoked to wrath -for I have persecuted his servants- that I be not delivered with the sins of Simon unto eternal fire; who so persuaded me, that I set up a statue to him with this inscription: 'To Simon the new (young) God.' If I knew, O Peter, that thou couldest be won with money, I would give thee all my substance, yea I would give it and despise it, that I might gain my soul. If I had sons, I would account them as nothing, if only I might believe in the living God. But I confess that he would not have deceived me save that he said that he was the power of God; yet will I tell thee, O most gentle (sweet) Peter: I was not worthy to hear thee, thou servant of God, neither was I stablished in the faith of God which is in Christ; therefore was I made to stumble. I beseech thee, therefore, take not ill that which I am about to say, that Christ our Lord whom thou preachest in truth said unto thy fellow-apostles in thy presence: If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain: Remove thyself: and straightway it shall remove itself. But this Simon said that thou, Peter, wast without faith when thou didst doubt, in the waters. And I have heard that Christ said this also: They that are with me have not understood me. If, then, ye upon whom he laid his hands, whom also he chose, did doubt, I, therefore, having this witness, repent me, and take refuge in thy prayers. Receive my soul, who have fallen away from our Lord and from his promise. But I believe that he will have mercy upon me that repent. For the Almighty is faithful to forgive me my sins.

But Peter said with a loud voice: Unto thee, our Lord, be glory and splendour, O God Almighty, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unto thee be praise and glory and honour, world without end. Amen. Because thou hast now fully strengthened and stablished us in thee in the sight of all, holy Lord, confirm thou Marcellus, and send thy peace upon him and upon his house this day: and whatsoever is lost or out of the way, thou alone canst turn them all again; we beseech thee, Lord, shepherd of the sheep that once were scattered, but now shall be gathered in one by thee. So also receive thou Marcellus as one of thy lambs and suffer him no longer to go astray (revel) in error or ignorance. Yea, Lord, receive him that with anguish and tears entreateth thee.

XI. And as Peter spake thus and embraced Mareellus, Peter turned himself unto the multitude that stood by him and saw there one that laughed (smiled), in whom was a very evil spirit. And Peter said unto him: Whosoever thou art that didst laugh, show thyself openly unto all that are present. And hearing this the young man ran into the court of the house and cried out with a loud voice and dashed himself against the wall and said: Peter, there is a great contention between Simon and the dog whom thou sentest; for Simon saith to the dog: Say that I am not here. Unto whom the dog saith more than thou didst charge him; and when he hath accomplished the mystery which thou didst command him, he shall die at thy feet. But Peter said: And thou also, devil, whosoever thou art, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, go out of that young man and hurt him not at all: show thyself unto all that stand here. When the young man heard it, he ran forth and caught hold on a great statue of marble which was set in the court of the house, and brake it in pieces with his feet. Now it was a statue of Caesar. Which Marcellus beholding smote his forehead and said unto Peter: A great crime hath been committed; for if this be made known unto Caesar by some busybody, he will afflict us with sore punishments. And Peter said to him: I see thee not the same that thou wast a little while ago, for thou saidst that thou wast ready to spend all thy substance to save thy soul. But if thou indeed repentest, believing in Christ with thy whole heart, take in thine hands of the water that runneth down, and pray to the Lord, and in his name sprinkle it upon the broken pieces of the statue and it shall be whole as it was before. And Marcellus, nothing doubting, but believing with his whole heart, before he took the water lifted up his hands and said: I believe in thee, O Lord Jesu Christ: for I am now proved by thine apostle Peter, whether I believe aright in thine holy name. Therefore I take water

 

 

ACTS OF PHILIP

 

From "The Apocryphal New Testament"
M.R. James-Translation and Notes
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924

The Noncanonical Homepage


 

 

Introduction

No such suspicion of unorthodoxy as -rightly or wrongly- attaches to four out of the Five Acts, affects the Acts of Philip. If grotesque, it is yet a Catholic novel. In form it follows Thomas, for it is divided into separate Acts, of which the manuscripts mention fifteen: we have Acts i-ix and from xv to the end, including the Martyrdom, which last, as usual, was current separately and exists in many recessions.

One Act -the second- and the Martyrdom were first edited by Tischendorf. Batiffol printed the remainder in 1890, and Bonnet using more manuscripts, gives the final edition in his Acta Apost. Apocr. ii. 1. Besides the Greek text, there is a single Act extant only in Syriac, edited by Wright, which, so far as its general character goes, might well have formed part of the Greek Acts: but it is difficult to fit it into the framework.

An analysis, with translations of the more interesting passages, will suffice for these Acts, and for the rest of their class.

 


I. When he came out of Galilee and raised the dead man.

 

1 When he was come out of Galilee, a widow was carrying out her only son to burial. Philip asked her about her grief: I have spent in vain much money on the gods, Ares, Apollo, Hermes, Artemis, Zeus, Athena, the Sun and Moon, and I think they are asleep as far as I am concerned. And I consulted a diviner to no purpose.

2 The apostle said: Thou hast suffered nothing strange, mother, for thus doth the devil deceive men. Assuage thy grief and I will raise thy son in the name of Jesus.

3 She said: It seems it were better for me not to marry, and to eat nothing but bread and water. Philip: You are right. Chastity is especially dear to God.

4 She said: I believe in Jesus whom thou preachest. He raised her son, who sat up and said: Whence is this light? and how comes it that an angel came and opened the prison of judgement where I was shut up? where I saw such torments as the tongue of man cannot describe.

5 So all were baptized. And the youth followed the apostle.

 

II. When he went unto Greece of Athens (!)

 

6 When he entered into the city of Athens which is called Hellas, 300 philosophers gathered and said: Let us go and see what his wisdom is, for they say of the wise men of Asia that their wisdom is great. For they supposed Philip to be a philosopher: he travelled only in a cloak and an undergarment. So they assembled and looked into their books, lest he should get the better of them.

7 They said: If you have anything new to tell us, let us hear it, for we need nothing else but only to hear some new thing.

8 Philip: Then you must cast away the old man. The Lord said: Ye cannot put new wine into old bottles. I am glad to hear that you desire something new, for my Lord's teaching is new.

9 The philosophers: Who is thy Lord? Philip: Jesus Christ.

10 They: This is a new name to us. Give us three days to look into it.

11 They consulted, and said: Perhaps it will be best to send for the high priest of the Jews to discuss it with him.

12 So they wrote: The philosophers of Greece to Ananias the great high priest of the Jews at Jerusalem -and stated the case.

13 On reading the letter Ananias rent his clothes and said: Is that deceiver in Athens also? And Mansemat, that is, Satan entered into him. (This is another form of Mastema, the name of Satan in Jubilees and elsewhere.) And he consulted with the lawyers and Pharisees, and they said: Arm thyself and take 500 men and go and at all costs destroy Philip.

14 So he came in the high-priestly garments with great pomp and he and the philosophers went to Philip's lodging, and he came out, and Ananias said: Thou sorcerer and wizard, I know thee, that thy master the deceiver at Jerusalem called thee son of thunder; did not Judaea suffice you, but must you come here to deceive? Philip said: May the veil of unbelief be taken from thee, and thou learn who is the deceiver, thou or I.

15 Ananias' address: how Jesus destroyed the law and allowed all meats -was crucified, the disciples stole his body, and did many wonders, and were cast out of Jerusalem, and now go all about the world deceiving every one, like this Philip. But I will take him to Jerusalem, for the king Archelaus seeketh him to kill him.

16 The people were not moved. Philip said: I will appeal to my God.

17 Ananias ran at him to smite him, his hand withered and he was blinded, and so were his 500 men: they cursed him, and prayed Philip for help.

18 Philip's prayer: O weak nature . . . O bitter sea. Come, Jesu, the holy light -thou overlookest us not when we cry to thee....

19 Ananias to Philip: Thinkest thou to turn us from the traditions of our fathers, and the God of the manna in the wilderness, and Moses, to follow the Nazarene, Jesus? Philip: I will ask my God to manifest himself to thee and to these -perchance thou wilt believe: but if not, a wonder shall befall thee. And he prayed God to send his Son.

20 The heavens opened and Jesus appeared in glory, his face seven times brighter than the sun, and his raiment whiter than snow. All the idols of Athens fell, and the devils in them fled crying out. Philip said: Hearest thou not the devils, and believest thou not him that is here? Ananias: I have no God save him that gave the manna in the wilderness.

21 Jesus went up into heaven, and there was a great earthquake, and the people fled to the apostle, crying for mercy.

22 Philip: There is no envy in us, and the grace of Christ shall restore your sight, but first let the high priest see. A voice from heaven: Philip, once son of thunder but now of meekness whatsoever thou askest my Father he will do for thee. The people were afraid at the voice. In the name of Christ, Philip made Ananias see. He said: How great is the art magic of Jesus! this Philip in a moment (or for a little) hath blinded me and in a moment restored my sight! I cannot be convinced by witchcraft. The 500 asked Philip to give back their sight that they might slay the unbelieving Ananias.

23 Philip: Render not evil for evil. To Ananias: There shall be a great sign shown in thee. Ananias: I know that thou art a sorcerer and disciple of Jesus; thou canst not bewitch me. Philip to Jesus: Zabarthan, sabathabat, bramanouch, come quickly! The earth opened and swallowed Ananias to the knees. He cried: This is real magic, that the earth clave when Philip threatened it in Hebrew -and there are hooks below pulling at my legs to make me believe, but I will not, for I know his witchcraft from Jerusalem.

24 Philip, to the earth: Take him to the middle. And he sank further and said: One foot is frozen and the other hot -but I will not believe. The people wanted to stone him, but Philip checked them: This is for your salvation; if he repent, I will bring him up, but if not, he shall be swallowed into the deep.

25 He spread out his hand in the air over the 500, and their eyes were opened and they praised God. Philip, to Ananias: Confess now with a pure heart that Jesus is Lord, that thou mayest be saved like these. But he laughed at him.

26 Seeing him obstinate, Philip said to the earth: Open and swallow him to the neck. 27 And one of the first men of the city came and said: A devil has attacked my son, saying: As thou hast let a stranger come to the city, who destroys our idols what can I do but kill thine only son? and he has suffocated him help me, for I also believe.

28 Bring me thy son. And he ran, calling to his son, and bade the servants bring him: he was 23 years old. Philip seeing him grieved, and said to Ananias: This is through your folly: if I raise him will you believe? Ananias: I know you will raise him by your magic, but I will not believe. Philip was wroth and said: Catathema (cursed thing), go down into the abyss in the sight of all. And he was swallowed up: but the high-priestly robe flew away from him, and therefore no man knows where it is from that day.

Philip raised the lad and drove away the devil.

29 The people cried out, believing in God, and the 500 were baptized. And Philip stayed two years at Athens, and founded a church and ordained a bishop and a presbyter, and departed to Parthia to preach.

 

III. Done in Parthia by Philip.

 

80 When Philip came to Parthia he found in a city the apostle Peter with disciples, and said: I pray you strengthen me, that I may go and preach like you. 31 And they prayed for him.

32 And John was there also, and said to Philip: Andrew is gone to Achaia and Thrace, and Thomas to India and the wicked flesh-eaters, and Matthew to the savage troglodytes. And do thou not be slack, for Jesus is with thee. And they let him depart.

33 And he came to the sea in the borders of the Candaci and found a ship going to Azotus, and agreed with the sailors for four staters, and sailed. A great wind came, and they began to cast out the tackle and say farewell to each other and lament.

34 Philip consoled them: Not even the ship shall be lost. He went up on the prow and said: Sea, sea, Jesus Christ by me his servant bids thee still thy wrath. There was calm, and the sailors thanked him and asked to become servants of Jesus. 35 And he instructed them to forsake the cares of this life. 36 And they believed, and Philip landed and baptized them all.

 

IV. Of the daughter of Nicocleides, whom he healed at Azotus.

 

37 There was great commotion in Azotus because of Philip's miracles, and many came and were healed, and devils were cast out and cried out against him. And people said divers things of him, some that he was good, and others that he was a wizard, and separated husbands and wives and preached chastity.

38 Evening came on and all dispersed. Philip sought a lodging, and went to the warehouses of one Nicocleides, a recorder (registrar), friend of the king, where many strangers lodged.

39 He stood in a corner and prayed for blessing and healing on the house.

40 Charitine, daughter of Nicocleides, heard him and wept all night. She had a sore disease in her eye. In the morning she went to her father and said: I can no longer bear the taunts of my companions about my eye. He said: What can I do? have I not called in Leucius the king's physician and Elides the queen's eunuch and Solgia her attendant. She: I know it, but there is a strange physician come here last night: call him.

41 He went to the warehouses and found Philip: Art thou the physician lately come? Philip: Jesus is my physician. I will come with thee. They found the daughter weeping. 42 After reassuring words she fell at his feet: I sprinkle my chamber with pure water and lay my linen garments under thy feet, help me, for I know thou canst. To her father: Let us bring him in, and let him see my disease.

43 Philip comforted and instructed them, and bade her rise and put her right hand on her face and say: In the name of Jesus Christ let my eye be healed. And it was. 44 And both believed and were baptized, and a number of servants. And Charitine put on male attire and followed Philip.

 

V. Done in the city Nicatera; and of Ireus.

 

45 Philip had in mind to go to Nicatera, a city of Greece, and many disciples accompanied him, and he taught continually. 46 And when he arrived there was great stir: What shall we do for his teaching will prevail . . . he separates husbands and wives. Let us cast him out before he begins to preach and our wives are deceived.

17 There were Jews, too, who spoke against him; but a chief of them, Ireus, said: Do not use force; let us test his teaching.

48 Ireus was wealthy. He was a just man and desired quietly to foil their counsel. He went to Philip and greeted him. And Philip saw there was no guile in him, and promised him salvation, for having stood up for him.

49 Ireus was surprised at his knowing this. Philip exhorted him to faith and constancy. 50 Ireus: Lodge at my house. Philip: First cleanse it. Ireus: How? Philip: Do no wrong, and leave thy wife. And he went home.

51 His wife said: I hear you foiled the counsel of the Jews about a strange sorcerer. Ireus: Would that we might be worthy to have him lodge here. She: I will not have him here, for he separates husbands and wives. I will go home to my parents and take my dowry and servants; four years I have been your wife and never contradicted you.

52 Ireus mildly: Have patience, and you also will believe. She: Rise, eat, drink and be merry, for you cannot deceive me. Ireus: How can I eat while the man of God is hungry? Put away this folly: he is a man of God, of mildness and grace. 53 She: Is his God like those of this city, of gold, fixed in the temple? Ireus: No, but in heaven, almighty: the gods of this city are made by ungodly men. She: Bring him, that I may see the god in him. 54 He went to meet Philip, who told him what had passed, and Ireus was amazed at his knowledge, but asked him not to publish the reproach of his wife. 55 Philip's companions urged him to accept the refuge provided: and Ireus was glad. Philip consented to come, and followed Ireus. 56 The rulers and people saw it and determined not to allow it. Ireus arriving at his gate cried to the porter to open. Philip entered saying: Peace be to this house. Ireus found that his wife was in her chamber and went and asked her to come, and put off her gay robes. But she was angry and said: No one of the house has ever seen my face, and shall I show it to a stranger?

57 So he went out and set fine gilt chairs for Philip and the rest. But he said: Take them away. Ireus: Do not grieve me. Philip: I grieve no one, but I have no use for gold, which passes away, &c. 58 Ireus: Can I be saved? for my former sins trouble me Philip: Yes, Jesus is able to save you. And what of your wife who just now said to you: Depart from me, &c. ? Ireus, surprised went to his wife and said: Come and see a man who has told me what passed between you and me. She was scornful, and said: What is to become of our children if we have to give up all our worldly wealth? 59 Artemela his daughter was listening. and said: If my father and mother are to enter a new life, may I not share it? She was very beautiful. Her mother Nerkela told her to rise and put off her gold-woven dress. Ireus said to Nerkela: Let us go out and see Philip [it seems Nerkela was converted, but the text does not show this clearly]. 60 The women changed their attire for a sober one, and they all went out. And when they saw Philip, he shone with a great light, so that they were afraid. 61 But he saw it, and returned to his former likeness: and Nerkela asked pardon of him and made him welcome. 62, 63 And they professed belief and were instructed and baptized.

 

VI. In Nicatera, a city of Greece.

 

64 The Jews and heathens were displeased at Ireus' conversion, 65 and sent seven men to his house. A handmaid told him of them; he came out smiling and asked their errand. 'The whole city wishes to see you.' He followed them. 66 And the assembly were surprised at his modest garb. One Onesimus asked him to explain about the sorcerer Philip. 67 Ireus: Why am I examined thus? do not trouble Philip. 68 But they said: Away with him. And Ireus went home and met Philip, who said: Are you afraid? No, he said. 69 The people now came with staves, crying out: Give us the deceiver. 70 Philip came forth and they took him to the assembly to scourge him, and said: Bind him hand and foot. 71 Ireus ran up the steps and cried: You shall not. But they would not hear, and Ireus pulled Philip away from them. 72 Philip said: If I choose, I can blind you; Aristarchus, son of Plegenes, a chief of the Jews, said: Do not be in a hurry to blind us: I know you can; but let us discuss I am powerful, and if I let the people, they will stone you; 73 And he caught Philip by the beard; he was rather angry, because of the people, and said: Your hand and your ears and your right eye shall suffer for threatening me and insulting God. 74 His eye became hollow as if absent, his ears pained him, his right hand dangled useless. He cried out for mercy. 75 They all said: Heal our chief. 76 Philip told Ireus to go sign him with the cross and heal him in Jesus' name, which was done, and he asked pardon and indulgence and leave to discuss the matter. And the people said: We will judge of it. 77 Philip smiled and bade him speak first. He said: Do you receive the prophets or no? Philip: Because of your unbelief there is need of the prophets. Aristarchus: It is written: Who shall declare thy might, O God? and, No man can know thy glory; and, Thy glory hath filled the earth; and, The Lord is judge of quick and dead; and God is a consuming fire and shall burn up his enemies on every side; and, One God hath made all these things. How then say you that Mary bore Jesus? . . . But you will say that he is the power and wisdom of God who was with him when he made the world. I do not deny that the first Scripture says: Let us make man. 78 Philip smiled and said: Hearken all: Isaiah said, Behold my servant (child) whom I have chosen . . . . And of the cross: He was led as a sheep to the slaughter . . . . And again: I gave my back to the scourger . . . . And another: I spread out my hands to a disobedient people. And: I was found of them that sought me not . . . . And David saith: Thou art my son . . . . And of his resurrection and Judas: Lord, why are they increased that trouble me . . . . And again David: I foresaw the Lord always before me . . . . But David is dead. Take also of the twelve prophets: Say unto the daughter of Sion . . . . And: Out of Egypt have I called my son.

79 Aristarchus said: This Jesus is called Christ. Isaiah: Thus saith the Lord unto Christ my lord . . . . The Jews said: You are arguing for Christ. The people and rulers acclaimed Philip and said he should be received.

80 A bier was brought with a dead man, only son of a rich man: and with it ten slaves who were to be burnt with the corpse. The people said: Here is a great contest for the Christians. If theirs be God he will raise him and we will believe, and burn our idols. 81 Philip said to the parents: What will you do if I raise him? ' What you will.' The slaves made signs to him to remember them. There was this evil law of burning slaves, and sometimes even men's wives. 82 Philip said: Give me these slaves. Yes, and any more that you will.' He said to Aristarchus: Come, O Jew, raise him. And he touched his face and spat much on him and pulled his hand: in vain, and retired in confusion. 83 Nereus the father said: Raise my son and I will fight the Jews. Philip: If you will not promise not to hurt them, I will not raise him. Nerus: As you will. 84 Philip went to the bier and prayed, and breath entered into the lad Theophilus, and he opened his eyes and looked on Philip. A second time Philip said: Young man, in the name of Jesus Christ who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arise. And he leapt from the bier. All cried: One is the God of Philip . . . and the slaves were made free. All believed. 86 Philip taught, baptized, destroyed idols, ordained, gave canons and rules.

VII. Of Nerkela (and) Ireus at Nicatera.

 

87 Nerkela and Artemela were blessed by Philip. 88 Ireus and Nereus consulted about building a church, and agreed to build it on Nereus' land. 89 Only the Jews were discontented and decided to withdraw. 90 Philip came to the new building and addressed the people, 91 and made Ireus bishop and prayed over him, and announced that he was going away. 92 All wept, but he consoled them. 93 They loaded camels with provisions and accompanied him 20 stadia. He dismissed them and would only take five loaves. They all saluted him thrice, and fell on their faces and prayed for his blessing, and watched him out of sight, and returned to the city.

 

VIII. Wherein the kid and the leopard in the wilderness believed

 

94 It came to pass when the Saviour divided the apostles and each went forth according to his lot, that it fell to Philip to go to the country of the Greeks: and he thought it hard, and wept. And Mariamne his sister (it was she that made ready the bread and salt at the breaking of bread, but Martha was she that ministered to the multitudes and laboured much) seeing it, went to Jesus and said: Lord, seest thou not how my brother is vexed? 95 And he said: I know, thou chosen among women; but go with him and encourage him, for I know that he is a wrathful and rash man, and if we let him go alone he will bring many retributions on men. But lo, I will send Bartholomew and John to suffer hardships in the same city, because of the much wickedness of them that dwell there; for they worship the viper, the mother of snakes. And do thou change thy woman's aspect and go with Philip. And to Philip he said: Why art thou fearful? for I am always with thee.

96 So they all set out for the land of the Ophiani; and when they came to the wilderness of dragons, lo, a great leopard came out of a wood on the hill, and ran and cast himself at their feet and spoke with human voice: I worship you, servants of the divine greatness and apostles of the only-begotten Son of God; command me to speak perfectly. 97 And Philip said: In the name of Jesus Christ, speak. And the leopard took perfect speech and said: Hear me Philip, groomsman of the divine word. Last night I passed through the flocks of goats over against the mount of the she-dragon, the mother of snakes, and seized a kid, and when I went into the wood to eat, after I had wounded it, it took a human voice and wept like a little child, saying to me: O leopard, put off thy fierce heart and the beast like part of thy nature, and put on mildness, for the apostles of the divine greatness are about to pass through this desert, to accomplish perfectly the promise of the glory of the only-begotten Son of God. At these words of the kid I was perplexed, and gradually my heart was changed, and my fierceness turned to mildness, and I did not eat it. And as I listened to its words, I lifted up my eyes and saw you coming, and knew that ye were the servants of the good God. So I left the kid and came to worship you. And now I beseech thee to give me liberty to go with thee everywhere and put off my beastlike nature.

98 And Philip said: Where is the kid? And he said: It is cast down under the oak opposite. Philip said to Bartholomew: Let us go and see him that was smitten, healed, and healing the smiter. And at Pllilip's bidding the leopard guided them to where the kid lay. 99 Philip and Bartholomew said: Now know we of a truth that there is none that surpasseth thy compassion, O Jesu lover of man; for thou preventest us and dost convince us by these creatures to believe more and earnestly fulfil our trust. Now therefore, Lord Jesu Christ, come and grant life and breath and secure footing (existence ?) to these creatures, that they may forsake their nature of beast and cattle and come unto tameness, and no longer eat flesh, nor the kid the food of cattle; but that men's hearts may be given them, and they may follow us wherever we go, and eat what we eat, to thy glory, and speak after the manner of men, glorifying thy name.

100 And in that hour the leopard and kid rose up and lifted up their forefeet and said: We glorify and bless thee that hast visited and remembered us in this desert, and changed our beastlike and wild nature into tameness, and granted us the divine word, and put in us a tongue and sense to speak and praise thy name, for great is thy glory. 101 And they fell and worshipped Philip and Bartholomew and Mariamne; and all set out together praising God.

 

IX. Of the dragon that was slain.

 

102 They journeyed five days, and one morning after the midnight prayers a sudden wind arose, great and dark (misty), and out of it ran a great smoky (misty) dragon, with a black back, and a belly like coals of brass in sparkles of fire, and a body over 100 cubits long, and a multitude of snakes and their young followed it, and the desert quaked for a long distance. 103 And Philip said: Now is the time to remember the Lord's words: Fear nothing, neither persecution, nor the serpents of that land, nor the dark dragon. Let us stand fast and his power will fail; and pray and sprinkle the air from the cup and the smoke will scatter. 104 So they took the cup and prayed: Thou that sheddest dew on all pyres and bridlest darkness, putting a bit into the dragon's mouth, bringing to nought his anger, turning back the wickedness of the enemy and plunging him into his own fire, shutting his doors and stopping the exits and buffeting his pride: come and be with us in this desert, for we run by thy will and at thy bidding. 105 And he said: Now stand and raise your hands, with the cup you hold, and sprinkle the air in the form of the cross. 106 And there was as a flash of lightning which blinded the dragon and its brood; and they were withered up; and the rays of the sun entered the holes and broke the eggs. But the apostles closed their eyes, unable to face the lightning, and remained unhurt.

 

It does not seem as if much could have intervened between this Act and the Martyrdom, except perhaps the conversion of some people in the snake-city. However, the manuscripts give a title thus:

 

Out of the Travels of Philip the Apostle: from the fifteenth Act to the end, wherein is the Martyrdom.

 

107 (Introductory.) In the days of Trajan, after the Martyrdom of Simon, son of Clopas, bishop of Jerusalem, successor to James, Philip the apostle was preaching through all the cities of Lydia and Asia. 108 And he came to the city Ophioryme (Snake street), which is called Hierapolis of Asia, and was received by Stachys, a believer. And with him were Bartholomew, one of the Seventy, and his sister Mariamne, and their disciples. And they assembled at Stachys' house. 109 And Mariamne sat and listened to Philip discoursing. 110-112 He spoke of the snares of the dragon, who has 'no shape' in creation, and is recognized and shunned by beasts and birds. 113 For the men of the place worshipped the snake and had images of it, and called Hierapolis Ophioryme. And many were converted. 114 And Nicanora the proconsul's wife believed, she was diseased, especially in her eyes, and had been healed. She now came in a silver litter. 115 And Mariamne said in Hebrew: Alikaman, ikasame, marmari, iachaman, mastranan, achaman, which means: O daughter of the father, my lady, who wast given as a pledge to the serpent, Christ is come to thee (and much more). 116 And Nicanora said: I am a Hebrew, speak to me in my fathers' tongue. I heard of your preaching and was healed. 117 And they prayed for her. 118 But her tyrant husband came and said: How is this? who has healed you? 119 And she said: Depart from me, and lead a chaste and sober life. 120 And he dragged her by the hair and threatened to kill her. And the apostles were arrested, 121 and scourged and dragged to the temple, 122 and shut up in it (with the leopard and the kid. These are omitted in the principal text, but constantly occur in another recension: rightly, of course). 123 The people and priests came and demanded vengeance on the sorcerers. 124 The proconsul was afraid of his wife, for he had been almost blinded by a wonderful light when he looked through the window at her when praying. 125 They stripped and searched the apostles for charms, and pierced Philip's ankles and thighs and hung him head downward, and Bartholomew they hung naked by the hair. 126 And they smiled on each other, as not being tormented. But Mariamne on being stripped became like an ark of glass full of light and fire and every one ran away. 127 And Philip and Bartholomew talked in Hebrew, and Philip said: Shall we call down fire from heaven? 128 And now John arrived, and asked what was happening, and the people told him. 129 And he was taken to the place. Philip said to Bartholomew in Hebrew: Here is John the son of Barega (or, he that is in Barek), that is (or, where is) the living water. And John said: The mystery of him that hanged between the heaven and the earth be with you.

130 Then John addressed the people, warning them against the serpent. Inter alia: When all matter was wrought and spread out throughout the system of heaven, the works of God entreated God that they might see his glory: and when they saw it, their desire became gall and bitterness, and the earth became the storehouse of that which went astray, and the result and the superfluity of the creation was gathered together and became like an egg: and the serpent was born.

131 The people said: We took you for a fellow citizen, but you are in league with these men. The priests are going to wring out your blood and mix it with wine and give it to the Viper. When they came to take John their hands were paralysed. John said to Philip: Let us not render evil for evil. Philip said: I shall endure it no longer. 132 The three others dissuaded him; but he said: Abalo, arimouni, douthael, tharseleen, nachaoth, aeidounaph, teleteloein, which is (after many invocations descriptive of God): let the deep open and swallow these men: yea, Sabaoth. 133 It opened and the whole place was swallowed, about 7,000 men, save where the apostles were. And their voices came up, crying for mercy and saying: Lo, the cross enlighteneth us. And a voice was heard: I will have mercy on you in my cross of light. 134 But Stachys and his house, and Nicanora and 50 others, and 100 virgins remained safe. 135 Jesus appeared and rebuked Philip. 136 But he defended himself. 137 And the Lord said: Since you have been unforgiving and wrathful, you shall indeed die in glory and be taken by angels to paradise, but shall remain outside it forty days, in fear of the flaming sword, and then I will send Michael and he shall let you in. And Bartholomew shall go to Lycaonia and be crucified there, and Mariamne's body shall be laid up in the river Jordan. And I shall bring back those who have been swallowed up. 138 And he drew a cross in the air, reaching down into the abyss, and it was filled with light, and the cross was like a ladder. And Jesus called the people, and they all came up, save the proconsul and the Viper And seeing the apostles they mourned and repented. 139 And Philip, still hanging, spoke to them and told them of his offense 140 And some ran to take him down: but he refused and spoke to them . . . . " Be not grieved that I hang thus, for I bear the form (type) of the first man, who was brought upon earth head downwards, and again by the tree of the cross made alive from the death of his transgression. And now do I fulfil the precept. For the Lord said to me: Unless ye make that which is beneath to be above, and the left to be right (and the right left), ye shall not enter into my kingdom. Be like me in this: for all the world is turned the wrong way, and every soul that is in it." 141 Further he spoke to them of the incarnation, 142 and bade them loose Bartholomew, and told him and Mariamne of their destiny. Build a church in the place where I die, and let the leopard and kid be there, and let Nicanora look after them till they die, and then bury them at the church gate: and let your peace be in the house of Stachys: and he exhorted them to purity. "Therefore our brother Peter fled from every place where a woman was: and further, he had offense given by reason of his own daughter. And he prayed the Lord, and she had a palsy of the side that she might not be led astray." 143 Bury me not in linen like the Lord, but in papyrus, and pray for me forty days. Where my blood is dropping a vine will grow, and ye shall use the wine of it for the cup: and partake of it on the third day. 144 And he prayed the Lord to receive him, and protect him against all enemies. "Let not their dark air cover me, that I may pass the waters of fire and all the abyss. Clothe me in thy glorious robe and thy seal of light that ever shineth, until I have passed by all the rulers of the world and the evil dragon that opposeth us." 145 And he died. 146 And they buried him as he directed. And a heavenly voice said he had received the crown.

147 After three days the vine grew Up. And they made the offering daily for forty days, and built the church and made Stachys bishop. And all the city believed. 148 And at the end of forty days the Saviour appeared in the form of Philip and told Bartholomew and Mariamne that he had entered paradise, and bade them go their ways. And Bartholomew went to Lycaonia and Mariamne to Jordan, and Stachys and the brethren abode where they were.

 

The narrative of the Act preserved in Syriac is this.

 

Philip, at Jerusalem, had a vision of Jesus, who commanded him to go to the city of Carthage, ' which is in Azotus ', and drive out the ruler of Satan, and preach the kingdom. He said: I know not Latin or Greek, and the people there do not know Aramaic. Jesus said: Did I not create Adam and give him speech? Go, and I will be with thee.

He went to Samaria, thence to Caesarea, and to the harbour and found a ship waiting for a wind. Asked to take Philip to Carthage, the captain said: Do not annoy me, we have waited twenty days: fetch your baggage and perhaps we shall get a wind, for you look like a servant of God. Philip: I have none; tell the passengers to come on board . . . . Let us pray for a fair wind. Turning to the west he commanded the angel of peace who has charm of fair winds to send a wind to take him to Carthage in a single day.

On board was a Jew, Ananias, who blasphemed (sotto voce, it seems) and said: May Adonai recompense thee, and the Christ on whom thou callest, who is become dust and lies in Jerusalem, while thou livest and leadest ignorant men astray by his name.

A wind came and filled the sail. The Jew rose to help to hoist the sail, and an angel bound him by the great toes and hung him head down on the top of the sail. The ship flew onward and the Jew cried out. Philip said: You shall not come down till you confess. He confessed his secret blasphemy. Philip: Dost thou now believe? Ananias confessed belief in a speech in which he enumerated Christ's (God's) mighty acts from creation to the deliverance of Susanna. Philip asked that he might be pardoned, and the angel brought him down. And the 495 men on the ship feared.

They looked up and saw the pharos of Carthage, and said; Can this be true? O fools, said Ananias, did ye not see what befell me for unbelief? If he commands that city in Christ's name, it will take all its inhabitants and go and stop in Egypt. The ship came into harbour. Philip dismissed the passengers, and stayed on board to confirm the captain.

On the Sunday he went up to the city to drive out Satan, and as he entered the gates, signed himself with the cross. He saw a black man on a throne with two serpents about his loins, and eyes like coals of fire, and flame coming from his mouth, there was a smell of smoke, and black men in troops were on his right and left. When Philip crossed himself the ruler fell backward and all his troops. Philip said: Fall, and rise not . . . . The ruler said: Why curse me? I do not abide here, but my troops wander over the earth and come to me at the third hour of the day, but they do not touch a disciple of Jesus. Woe is me! whither can I go? In all the four quarters of the world his gospel is preached. I am completely overthrown.

The whole city heard him, but saw him not. Philip bade him go, and he took his throne and his troops and flew away bewailing till they came to Babel, and he settled there. The whole city was in fear and Philip bade them leave their idols and turn to God, They praised God, and Philip went back to the ship. On the Sabbath the Jews assembled in their synagogue and summoned Ananias, and asked if his adventures were true. He signed himself with the cross and said: It is true, and God forbid I should renounce Jesus the Christ. He then addressed them in a long and very abusive speech (modelled more or less on that of Stephen), enumerating all their wicked acts. Then arose Joshua, the son of Nun, and ye sought to kill him with deadly poison . . . . Isaiah the prophet, and ye sawed him with a saw of boxwood . . . Ezekiel, and ye dragged him by his feet until his brains were dashed out . . . . Habakkuk, and through your sins he went astray from his prophetic office.' His face was like an angel. A priest arose and kicked him, and he died, and they buried him in the synagogue.

Next day Philip in the ship prayed and asked that Ananias might be delivered from the Jews. God commanded the earth and it gave a passage like a water-pipe, and conveyed Ananias to the bottom of the sea, and a dolphin bore up the body. Philip saw it, and after reassuring the people, bade it take the body back till he should go and convict the murderers.

Next day Philip went to the governor and got him to assemble all the Jews, and sit in judgement. Philip, to the Jews: Where is Ananias? They: Are we his keeper? Philip: Well are you called children of Cain, for, &c. Tell me where he is, and I will ask pardon for you. Jews: We have said we do not know. Philip: Do not lie. Jews: If the spirit were in you, you would know that we do not lie. Philip: If he is found with you, what do you deserve? Jews: Death from God and Caesar. Philip: Swear to me. They swore they knew nothing.

He looked and saw a man leading a sick ox to sell. He said to it: I command thee, go to the synagogue and call Ananias to rise and come and put these men to shame. The ox dragged his owner along and ran and called Ananias. He rose and laid hold of the ox with his right hand, and they came to Philip and prostrated themselves. Philip said: Whence comest thou? Ananias said: From the synagogue of these Jews, who murdered me for confessing Jesus: do me justice. Philip: The Lord has commanded us not to render evil for evil. The ox said: Order me and I will kill these men with my horns. Philip: Hurt no man, but go and serve thy master, and the Lord will heal thee. They went home in peace.

The governor said: These Jews deserve death. Philip: I am not come to kill but to give life. The Jews' mouths were closed.

Ananias spoke to the Jews and Philip also: but they did not ask pardon, so they were cast out. Three thousand Gentiles and fifteen hundred Jews believed; the unbelievers left the city, and before sunset an angel slew forty of the Jewish priests for shedding innocent blood: and all who saw it confessed and worshipped.

 

It is not clear, in the present state of our texts, where this episode could be fitted in to the Greek Acts. The Third Act, which has a voyage to Azotus, seems a possible place. But a glance at the Greek Acts shows that in spite of the appearance of method imparted by a division into Acts, there is no coherence at all in them, until we get to the city of the snake.

The first Act cannot have begun so abruptly as it now does. The second is equally abrupt in its introduction. The third is linked to it by the mention of Parthia, but there is great inconsequence in it, for it presupposes that Philip has done nothing as yet. The fourth is linked to the third by the scene, Azotus. The fifth, sixth, and seventh, at Niatera, are wholly detached from what has gone before, and with the ninth we make a fresh start.

 


Scanned and Edited by
Joshua Williams
Northwest Nazarene College, 1995

 

 

ACTS OF PETER AND ANDREW

 

From "The Apocryphal New Testament"
M.R. James-Translation and Notes
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924

The Noncanonical Homepage


 

[A continuation of the Acts of Andrew and Matthias (Mathew)]

1 When Andrew left the city of the man-eaters, a cloud of light took him up and carried him to the mountain where Peter and Matthias and Alexander and Rufus were sitting. And Peter said: Have you prospered? Yes, he said, but they did me much hurt. Come then, said Peter, and rest awhile from your labours. 2 And Jesus appeared in the form of a little child and greeted them, and told them to go to the city of the barbarians, and prornised to be with them, and left them.

3 So the four set out. And when they were near the city Andrew asked Peter: Do many troubles await us here? 'I do not know, but here is an old man sowing. Let us ask him for bread; if he gives it us, we shall know that we are not to be troubled but if he says, I have none, troubles await us.' They greeted him and asked accordingly. He said: If you will look after my plough and oxen I will fetch you bread . . . . ' Are they your oxen?' 'No, I have hired them.' And he went off. 4 Peter took off his cloak and garment and said: It is no time for us to be idle, especially as the old man is working for us; and he took the plough and began to sow. Andrew protested and took it from him and sowed, and blessed the seed as he sowed. And Rufus and Alexander and Matthias, going on the right, said; Let the sweet dew and the fair wind come and rest on this field. And the seed sprang up and the corn ripened. 5 When the farmer returned with the bread and saw the ripe corn he worshipped them as gods. But they told him who they were, and Peter gave him the Commandments . . . . He said: I will leave all and follow you. ' Not so, but go to the city, return your oxen to the owner, and tell your wife and children and prepare us a lodging; 6 He took a sheaf, hung it on his staff. and went off. The people asked where he got the corn, for it was the time of sowing, but he hastened home. 7 The chief men of the city heard of it and sent for him and made him tell his story. 8 And the devil entered them and they said: Alas! these are of the twelve Galilaeans who go about separating men from their wives; What are we to do? 9 One of them said: I can keep them out of the city? 'How?' 'They hate all women, and specially unchaste ones: let us put a naked wanton in the gate, and they will see her and flee.' So they did. 10 The apostles perceived the snare by the spirit, and Andrew said: Bid me, and I will chastise her. Peter said: Do as you will. Andrew prayed, and Michael was sent to catch her up by the hair and suspend her till they had passed. 11 And she cried out, cursing the men of the city and praying for pardon. 12 And many believed at her word and worshipped the apostles, and they did many cures, and all praised God.

13 There was a rich man named Onesiphorus who said: If I believe, shall I be able to do wonders? Andrew said: Yes, if you forsake your wife and all your possessions. He was angry and put his garment about Andrew's neck and began to beat him, saying: You are a wizard, why should I do so? 14 Peter saw it and told him to leave off. He said: I see you are wiser than he. What do you say? Peter said: I tell you this: it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Onesiphorus was yet more angry and took his garment off Andrew's neck and cast it on Peter's and haled him along, saying: You are worse than the other. If you show me this sign, I and the whole city will believe but if not you shall be punished. 15 Peter was troubled and stood and prayed: Lord, help us at this hour, for thou hast entrapped us by thy words. 16 The Saviour appeared in the form of a boy of twelve years, wearing a linen garment 'smooth within and without', and said; Fear not: let the needle and the camel be brought. There was a huckster in the town who had been converted by Philip; and he heard of it, and looked for a needle with a large eye, but Peter said: Nothing is impossible with God rather bring a needle with a small eye. 17 When it was brought, Peter saw a camel coming and stuck the needle in the ground and cried: In the name of Jesus Christ crucified under Pontius Pilate I command thee, camel, to go through the eye of the needle. The eye opened like a gate and the camel passed through; and yet again, at Peter's bidding. 18 Onesiphorus said: You are a great sorcerer: but I shall not believe unless I may send for a needle and a camel. And he said secretly to a servant: Bring a camel and a needle, and find a defiled woman and some swine's flesh and bring them too. And Peter heard it in the spirit and said: O slow to believe, bring your camel and woman and needle and flesh. 19 When they were brought Peter stuck the needle in the ground, with the flesh, the woman was on the camel. He commanded it as before, and the camel went through, and back again. 20 Onesiphorus cried out, convinced and said: Listen. I have lands and vinevards and 27 litrae of gold and 50 of silver, and many slaves: I will give my goods to the poor and free my slaves if I may do a wonders like you. Peter said: If you believe, you shall. 21 Yet he was afraid he might not be able, because he was not baptized, but a voice came: Let him do what he will. So Onesiphorus stood before the needle and camel and commanded it to go through and it went as far as the neck and stopped. And he asked why. 'Because you are not yet baptized.' He was content, and the apostles went to his house, and 1,000 souls were baptized that night. 22 Next day the woman that was hung in the air said: Alas that I am not worthy to believe like the rest! I will give all my goods to the poor and my house for a monastery of virgins. Peter heard it and went out to her and at his word she was let down unhurt, and gave him for the poor 4 litrae of gold and much raiment and her house for a monastery of virgins. 23 And the apostles consecrated a church and ordained clergy and committed the people to God.

 


Scanned and Edited by
Joshua Williams
Northwest Nazarene College, 1995

 

 

Acts of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul

From The New Advent: Fathers of the Church
http://www.csn.net/advent/fathers/fathers.htm

 


IT came to pass, after Paul went out of the island Gaudomeleta, (1) that he came to Italy; and it was heard of by the Jews who were in Rome, the elder of the cities, that Paul demanded to come to Caesar. Having fallen, therefore, into great grief and much despondency, they said among themselves: It does not

please him that he alone has afflicted all our brethren and parents in Judaea

and Samaria, and in all Palestine; and he has not been pleased with these,

but, behold, he comes here also, having through imposition asked Caesar to

destroy us.

Having therefore made an assembly against Paul, and having considered many proposals, (2) it seemed good to them to go to Nero the emperor, to ask him not to allow Paul to come to Rome. Having therefore got in readiness not a few presents, and having carried them with them, with supplication they came before him, saying: We beseech thee, O good emperor, send orders into all the governments of your worship, to the effect that Paul is not to come near these parts; because this Paul, having afflicted all the nation of our fathers, has been seeking to come hither to destroy us also. And the affliction, O most worshipful emperor, which we have from Peter is enough for us.

And the Emperor Nero, having heard these things, answered them: It is (3) according to your wish. And we write to all our governments that he shall not on any account come to anchor in the parts of Italy. And they also informed Simon the magian, having sent for him, that, as has been said, he should not come into the parts of Italy.

And while they were thus doing, some of those that had repented out of the nations, and that had been baptized at the preaching of Peter, sent elders to Paul with a letter to the following effect: Paul, dear servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, and brother of Peter, the first of the apostles, we have heard from the rabbis of the Jews that are in this Rome, the greatest of the cities, that they have asked Caesar to send into all his governments, in order that, wherever thou mayst be found, thou mayst be put to death. But we have believed, and do believe, that as God does not separate the two great lights which He has made, so He is not to part you from each other, that is, neither Peter from Paul, nor Paul from Peter; but we positively believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, into whom we have been baptized, that we have become worthy also of your teaching.

And Paul, having received the two men sent with the letter on the twentieth of the month of May, became eager to go, and gave thanks to the Lord and Master Jesus Christ. And having sailed from Gaudomeleta, he did not now come through Africa to the parts of Italy, but ran to Sicily, until he came to the city of Syracuse with the two then who had been sent from Rome to him. And having sailed thence, he came to Rhegium of Calabria, and from Rhegium he crossed to Mesina, and there ordained a bishop, Bacchylus by name. And when he came out of Mesina he sailed to Didymus, and remained there one night. And having sailed thence, he came to Pontiole (4) on the second day.

And Dioscorus the shipmaster, who brought him to Syracuse, sympathizing with Paul because he had delivered his son from death, having left his own ship in Syracuse, accompanied him to Pontiole. And some of Peter's disciples having been found there, and having received Paul, exhorted him to stay with them. And he stayed a week, in hiding, because of the command of Caesar. And all the toparchs were watching to seize and kill him. But Dioscorus the shipmaster, being himself also bald, wearing his shipmaster's dress, and speaking boldly, on the first day went out into the city of Pontiole. Thinking therefore that he was Paul, they seized him, and beheaded him, and sent his head to Caesar.

Caesar therefore, having summoned the first men of the Jews, announced to them, saying: Rejoice with great joy, for Paul your enemy is dead. And he showed them the head. Hav-

478

ing therefore made great rejoicing on that day, which was the fourteenth of

the month of June, each of the Jews fully believed it.

And Paul, being in Pontiole, and having heard that Dioscorus had been beheaded, being grieved with great grief, gazing into the height of the heaven, said: O Lord Almighty in heaven, who hast appeared to me in every place whither I have gone on account of Thine only-begotten Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, punish this city, and bring out all who have believed in God and followed His word. He said to them therefore: Follow me: And going forth from Pontiole with those who Met believed in the word of God, they came to a place called Baias; (1) and looking up with their eyes, they all see that city called Pontiole sunk into the sea-shore about one fathom; and there it is until this day, for a remembrance, under the sea.

And having gone forth from Baias, they went to Gaitas, and there he taught tim word of God. And he stayed there three days in the house of Erasmus, whom Peter sent from Rome to teach the Gospel of God. And having come forth from Gaitas, he came to the castle called Taracinas, and stayed there seven days in the house of Caesarius the deacon, whom Peter had ordained by the laying on of hands. And sailing thence, be came by the river to a place called Tribus Tabernes.

And those who bad been saved out of the city of Pontiole that had been swallowed up, reported to Caesar in Rome that Pontiole had been swallowed up, with all its multitude. And the emperor, being in great grief on account of the city, having summoned the chief of the Jews, said to them: Behold, on account of what I heard from you, I have caused Paul to be beheaded, and on account of this the city has been swallowed up. And the chief of the Jews said to Caesar: Most worshipful emperor, did we not say to thee that he troubled all the country of the East, and perverted our fathers? It is better therefore, most worshipful emperor, that one city be destroyed, and not the seat of thine empire; for this had Rome to suffer. And the emperor, having heard their words, was appeased.

And Paul stayed in Tribus Tabernes four days. And departing thence, he came to Appii Forum, which is called Vicusarape; and having slept there that night, he saw one sitting on a golden chair, and a multitude of blacks standing beside him, saying: I have to-day made a son murder his father. Another said: And I have made a house fall, and kill parents with children. And they reported to him many evil deeds--some of one kind, some of another. And another coming, reported to him: I have managed that the bishop Juvenalius, whom Peter ordained, should sleep with the abbess Juliana. And having heard all these things when sleeping in that Appii Forum, near Vicusarape, straightway and immediately be sent to Rome one of those who had followed him from Pontiole to the bishop Juvenalius, telling him this same thing which had just been done. And on the following day, Juvenalius, running, threw himself at the feet of Peter, weeping and lamenting, and saying what had just befallen; and he recounted to him the matter, and said: I believe that this is the light which thou wast awaiting. And Peter said to him: How is it possible that it is he when he is dead? And Juvenalius the bishop took to Peter him that had been sent by Paul, and be reported to him that he was alive, and on his way, and that he was at Appii Forum. And Peter thanked and glorified the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Then having summoned his disciples that believed, he sent them to Paul as far as Tribus Tabernes. And the distance from Rome to Tribus Tabernes is thirty-eight miles. (2) And Paul seeing them, having given thanks to our Lord jesus Christ, took courage; and departing thence, they slept in the city

called Aricia.

And a report went about in the city of Rome that Paul the brother of Peter was coming. And those that believed in God rejoiced with great joy. And there was great consternation among the Jews; and having gone to Simon the magian, they entreated him, saying: Report to the emperor that Paul is not dead, but that he is alive, and has come. And Simon said to the Jews: What head is it, then, which came to Caesar from Pontiole? Was it not bald also?

And Paul having come to Rome, great fear fell upon the Jews. They came together therefore to him, and exhorted him, saying: Vindicate the faith in which thou wast born; for it is not right that thou, being a Hebrew, and of the Hebrews, shouldst call thyself teacher of Gentiles, and vindicator of the uncircumcised; and, being thyself circumcised, that thou shouldst bring to nought the faith of the circumcision. (3) And when thou seest Peter, contend

against his teaching, because be has destroyed all the bulwarks of our law;

for he has prevented the keeping of Sabbaths and new moons, and the holidays

appointed by the law. And Paul, answering, said to them: That I am a true Jew,

by this you can prove; because also you have been able to keep the Sabbath,

and to observe the true circumcision; for assuredly on the day of the Sabbath

God rested from all His works. We have fathers, and patriarchs, and the law.

What, then,

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does Peter preach in the kingdom of the Gentiles? But if he shall wish to bring in any new teaching, without any tumult, and envy, and trouble, send him word, that we may see, and in your presence I shall convict him. But if his teaching be true, supported by the book and testimony of the Hebrews, it becomes all of us to submit to him.

Paul saying these and such like things, the Jews went and said to Peter: Paul of the Hebrews has come, and entreats thee to come to him, since those who have brought him say that he cannot meet whomsoever he may wish until he appear before Caesar. And Peter having heard, rejoiced with great joy; and rising up, immediately went to him. And seeing each other, they wept for joy; and long embracing each other, they bedewed each other with tears.

And when Paul had related to Peter the substance (1) of all his doings, and how, through the disasters of the ship, he had come, Peter also told him what he had suffered from Simon the magian, and all his plots. And having told these things, he went away towards evening.

And in the morning of the following day, at dawn, behold, Peter coming, finds a multitude of the Jews before Paul's door. And there was a great uproar between the Christian Jews and the Gentiles. For, on the one hand, the Jews said: We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, the friends of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, with whom God spake, to whom He showed His own mysteries and His great wonders. But you of the Gentiles are no great thing in your lineage; if otherwise, you have become polluted and abominable by idols and graven images.

While the Jews were saying such things, and such-like, those of the Gentiles answered, saying: We, when we heard the truth, straightway followed it, having abandoned our errors. But you, both knowing the mighty deeds of your fathers, and seeing the signs of the prophets, and having received the law, and gone through the sea with dry feet, and seen your enemies sunk in its depths, and the pillar of fire by night and of cloud by day shining upon you, and manna having been given to you out of heaven, and water flowing to you out of a rock,--after all these things you fashioned to yourselves the idol of a calf, and worshipped the graven image. But we, having seen none of the signs, believe to be a Saviour the God whom you have forsaken in unbelief.

While they were contending in these and such-like words, the Apostle Paul said that they ought not to make such attacks upon each other, but that they should rather give heed to this, that God had fulfilled His promises which He swore to Abraham our father, that in his seed he should inherit all the nations. (2) For there is no respect of persons with God. (3) As many as have sinned in law shall be judged according to law, and as many as have sinned without law shall perish without law. (4) But we, brethren, ought to thank God that, according to His mercy, He has chosen us to be a holy people to Himself: so that in this we ought to boast, whether Jews or Greeks; for you are all one in the belief of His name.

And Paul having thus spoken, both the Jews and they of the Gentiles were appeased. But the rulers of the Jews assailed Peter. And Peter, when they accused him of having renounced their synagogues, said: Hear, brethren, the holy Spirit about the patriarch David, promising, Of the fruit of thy womb shall He set upon thy throne. (5) Him therefore to whom the Father said, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee, the chief priests through envy crucified; but that He might accomplish the salvation of the world, it was allowed that He should suffer all these things. (6) Just as, therefore, from the side of Adam Eve was created, so also from the side of Christ was created the Church, which has no spot nor blemish. In Him, (7) therefore, God has opened an entrance to all the sons of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in order that they may be in the faith of profession towards Him, (8) and have life and salvation in His name. Turn, therefore, and enter into the joy of your father Abraham, because God hath fulfilled what He promised to him. Whence also the prophet says, The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedec. (9) For a priest He became upon the cross, when He offered the whole burnt-offering of His own body and blood as a sacrifice for all the world.

And Peter saying this and such-like, the most part of the people believed. And it happened also that Nero's wife Libia, and the yoke-fellow of Agrippa the prefect, Agrippina by name, thus believed, so that also they went away from beside their own husbands. And on account of the teaching of Paul, many, despising military life, clung to God; so that even from the emperor's

bed-chamber some came to him, and having become Christians, were no longer

willing to return to the army or the palace.

When, consequently, the people were making

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a seditious murmuring, Simon, moved with zeal, rouses himself, and began to say many evil things about Peter, saying that he was a wizard and a cheat. And they believed him, wondering at his miracles; for he made a brazen serpent move itself, and stone statues to laugh and move themselves, and himself to run and suddenly to be raised into the air. But as a set-off to these, Peter healed the sick by a word, by praying made the blind to see, put demons to flight by a command; sometimes he even raised the dead. And he said to the people that they should not only flee from Simon's deceit, but also that they should expose him, that they might not seem to be slaves to the devil.

And thus it happened that all pious men abhorred Simon the magian, and proclaimed him impious. But those who adhered to Simon strongly affirmed Peter to be a magian, bearing false witness as many of them as were with Simon the magian; so that the matter came even to the ears of Nero the Caesar, and he gave order to bring Simon the magian before him. And he, coming in, stood before him, and began suddenly to assume different forms, so that on a sudden he became a child, and after a little an old man, and at other times a young man; for he changed himself both in face and stature into different forms, and was in a frenzy, having the devil as his servant. And Nero beholding this, supposed him to be truly the son of God; but the Apostle Peter showed him to be both a liar and a wizard, base and impious and apostate, and in all things opposed to the truth of God, and that nothing yet remained except that his wickedness, being made apparent by the command of God, might be made manifest to them all.

Then Simon, having gone in to Nero, said: Hear, O good emperor: I am the son of God come down from heaven. Until now I have endured Peter only calling himself an apostle; but now he has doubled the evil: for Paul also himself teaches the same things, and having his mind turned against me, is said to preach along with him; in reference to whom, if thou shalt not contrive their destruction, it is very plain that thy kingdom cannot stand.

Then Nero, filled with concern, ordered to bring them speedily before him. And on the following day Simon the magian, and Peter and Paul the apostles of Christ, having come in to Nero, Simon said: These are the disciples of the Nazarene, and it is not at all well that they should be of the people of the Jews, Nero said: What is a Nazarene? Simon said: There is a city of Judah which has always been opposed to us, called Nazareth, and to it the teacher of these men belonged. Nero said: God commands us to love every man; why, then, dost thou persecute them? Simon said: This is a race of men who have turned aside all Judaea from believing in me. Nero said to Peter: Why are you thus unbelieving, according to your race? (1) Then Peter said to Simon: Thou hast been able to impose upon all, but upon me never; and those who have been deceived, God has through me recalled from their error. And since thou hast learned by experience that thou canst not get the better of me, I wonder with what face thou boastest thyself before the emperor, and supposest that through thy magic art thou shalt overcome the disciples of Christ. Nero said: Who is Christ? Peter said: He is what this Simon the magian affirms himself to be; but this is a most wicked man, and his works are of the devil. But if thou wishest to know, O good emperor, the things that have been done in Judaea about Christ, take the writings of Pontius Pilate sent to Claudius, and thus thou wilt know all. And Nero ordered them to be brought, and to he read in their presence; and they were to the following effect: (2)--

Pontius Pilate to Claudius, greeting. There has lately happened an event

which I myself was concerned in. For the Jews through envy have inflicted on

themselves, and those coming after them, dreadful judgments. Their fathers had

promises that their God would send them his holy one from heaven, who

according to reason should be called their king, and he had promised to send

him to the earth by means of a virgin. He, then, when I was procurator, came

into Judaea. And they saw (3) him enlightening the blind, cleansing lepers,

healing paralytics, expelling demons from men, raising the dead, subduing the

winds, walking upon the waves of the sea, and doing many other wonders, and

all the people of the Jews calling him Son of God. Then the chief priests,

moved with envy against him, seized him, and delivered him to me; and telling

one lie after another, they said that he was a wizard, and did contrary to

their law. And I, having believed that these things were so, gave him up,

after scourging him, to their will; (4) and they crucified him, and after he

was buried set guards over him. But he, while my soldiers were guarding him,

rose on the third day. And to such a degree was the wickedness of the Jews

inflamed against him, that they gave money to the soldiers, saying, Say his

disciples have stolen his body. But they, having taken the money, were not

able to keep silence as to what had happened; for they have testified that

they have seen him (after he was) risen, and that they

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have received money from the Jews. These things, therefore, have I reported, that no one should falsely speak otherwise, and that thou shouldest not suppose that the falsehoods of the Jews are to be believed.

And the letter having been read, Nero said: Tell me, Peter, were all these things thus done by him? Peter said: They were, with your permission, O good emperor. For this Simon is full of lies and deceit, even if it should seem that he is what he is not--a god. And in Christ there is all excellent victory through God and through man, (1) which that incomprehensible glory assumed which through man deigned to come to the assistance of men. But in this Simon there are two essences, of man and of devil, who through man endeavours to ensnare men.

Simon said: I wonder, O good emperor, that you reckon this man of any

consequence--a man uneducated, a fisherman of the poorest, and endowed with

power neither in word nor by rank. But, that I may not long endure him as an

enemy, I shall forthwith order my angels to come and avenge me upon him. Peter

said: I am not afraid of thy angels; but they shall be much more afraid of me

in the power and trust of my Lord Jesus Christ, whom thou falsely declarest

thyself to be.

Nero said: Art thou not afraid, Peter, of Simon, who confirms his godhead by deeds? Peter said: Godhead is in Him who searcheth the hidden things of the heart. (2) Now then, tell me what I am thinking about, or what I am doing. I disclose to thy servants who are here what my thought is, before he tells lies about it, in order that he may not dare to lie as to what I am thinking about. Nero said: Come hither, and tell me what thou art thinking about. Peter said: Order a barley loaf to be brought, and to be given to me secretly. And when he ordered it to be brought, and secretly given to Peter, Peter said: Now tell us, Simon, what has been thought about, or what said, or what done.

Nero said: Do you mean me to believe that Simon does not know these things, who both raised a dead man, and presented himself on the third day after he had been beheaded, and who has done whatever he said he would do? Peter said: But he did not do it before me, Nero said: But he did all these before me. For assuredly he ordered angels to come to him, and they came. Peter said: If he has done what is very great, why does he not do what is very small? Let him tell what I had in my mind, and what I have done. Nero said: Between you, I do not know myself. Simon said: Let Peter say what I am

thinking of, or what I am doing. Peter said: What Simon has in his

mind I shall show that I know, by my doing what he is thinking about. Simon said: Know this, O emperor, that no one knows the thoughts of men, but God alone. Is not, therefore, Peter lying? Peter said: Do thou, then, who sayest that thou art the Son of God, tell what I have in my mind; disclose, if thou canst, what I have just done in secret. For Peter, having blessed the barley loaf which he had received, and hawing broken it with his right hand and his left, had heaped it up in his sleeves. Then Simon, enraged that he was not able to tell the secret of the apostle, cried out, saying: Let great dogs come forth, and eat him up before Caesar. And suddenly there appeared great dogs, and rushed at Peter. But Peter, stretching forth his hands (3) to pray, showed to the dogs the loaf which he had blessed; which the dogs seeing, no longer appeared. Then Peter said to Nero: Behold, I have shown thee that I knew what Simon was thinking of, not by words, but by deeds; for he, having promised that he would bring angels against me, has brought dogs, in order that he might show that he had not god-like but dog-like angels.

Then Nero said to Simon: What is it, Simon? I think we have got the worst of it. Simon said: This man, both in Judaea and in all Palestine and Caesarea, has done the same to me; (4) and from very often striving with me, he has learned that this is adverse to them. This, then, he has learned how to escape from me; for the thoughts of men no one knows but God alone. And Peter said to Simon: Certainly thou feignest thyself to be a god; why, then, dost thou not reveal the thoughts of every man?

Then Nero, turning to Paul, said: Why dost thou say nothing, Paul? Paul answered and said: Know this, O emperor, that if thou permittest this magician to do such things, it will bring an access of the greatest mischief to thy country, and will bring down thine empire from its position. Nero said to Simon: What sayest thou? Simon said: If I do not manifestly hold myself out to be a god, no one will bestow upon me due reverence. Nero said: And now, why

dost thou delay, and not show thyself to be a god, in order that these men may

be punished? Simon said: Give orders to build for me a lofty tower of wood,

and I, going up upon it, will call my angels, and order them to take me, in

the sight of all, to my father in heaven; and these men, not being able to do

this, are put to shame as (5) uneducated men. And Nero said to Peter: Hast thou

heard, Peter, what has been said by Simon? From this will appear how much

power either he or thy god has. Peter said: O most

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mighty emperor, it thou wert willing, thou mightst perceive that he is full of demons. Nero said: Why do you make to me roundabouts of circumlocutions? To-morrow will prove you.

Simon said: Dost thou believe, O good emperor, that I who was dead, and rose again, am a magician? For it had been brought about by his own cleverness that the unbelieving Simon had said to Nero: Order me to be beheaded in a dark

place, and there to be left slain; and if I do not rise on the third day, know

that I am a magician; but if I rise again, know that I am the Son of God.

And Nero having ordered this, in the dark, by his magic art be managed that a ram should be beheaded. And for so long did the ram appear to be Simon until he was beheaded. And when he had been beheaded in the dark, he that had

beheaded him, taking the head, found it to be that of a ram; hut he would not

say anything to the emperor, lest be should scourge him, having ordered this

to be done in secret. Thereafter, accordingly. Simon said that he bad risen on

the third day, because he took away the head of the ram and the limbs--but the

blood had been there congealed--and on the third day he showed himself to

Nero, and said: Cause to be wiped away my blood that has been poured out; for,

behold, having been beheaded, as I promised, I have risen again on the third

day. And when Nero said, To-morrow will prove yon, turning to Paul, he says:

Thou Paul, why dost thou say nothing? Either who taught thee, or whom thou

hast for a master, or how thou hast taught in the cities, or what things have

happened through thy teaching? For I think that thou hast not any wisdom, and

art not able to accomplish any work of power. Paul answered: Dost thou suppose

that I ought to speak against a desperate man. a magician, who has given his

soul up to death, whose destruction and perdition will come speedily? For he

ought to speak who pretends to be what he is not, and deceives men by magic

art. If thou consentest to hear his words, and to shield him, thou shalt

destroy thy soul and thy kingdom, for he is a most base man. And as the

Egyptians Jannes and Jambres led Pharaoh and his army astray until they were

swallowed up in the sea, so also he, through the instruction of his father the

devil, persuades men to do many evils to themselves, and thus deceives many of

the innocent, to the peril of thy kingdom. But as for the word of the devil,

which I see has been poured out through this man, with groanings of my heart

am dealing with the Holy Spirit, that it may clearly shown what it is; for as

far as he seems to raise himself towards heaven, so far will he be sunk down

into the depth of Hades, where

there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. But about the teaching of my Master, of which thou didst ask me, none attain it except the pure, who allow faith to come into their heart. (1) For as many things as belong to peace and love, these have I taught. Round about from Jerusalem, and as far as Illyricum, (2) I have fulfilled the word of peace. For I have taught that in honour they should prefer one another; (3) I have taught those that are eminent and rich not to be lifted up, and hope in uncertainty of riches, but to place their hope in God; (4) I have taught those in a middle station to be content with food and covering; (5) I have taught the poor to rejoice in their own poverty; I have taught fathers to teach their children instruction in the fear of the Lord, children to obey their parents in wholesome admonition; (6) I have taught wives to love their own husbands, and to fear them as masters, and husbands to observe fidelity to their wives; I have taught masters to treat their slaves with clemency, and slaves to serve their own masters faithfully; (7) I have taught the churches of the believers to reverence one almighty, invisible, and incomprehensible God. And this teaching has been given me, not from men, nor through men, but through Jesus Christ, (8) who spoke to me out of heaven, who also has sent me to preach, saying to me, Go forth, for I will be with thee; and all things, as many as thou shalt say or do, I shall make just.

Nero said: What sayest thou, Peter? He answered and said: All that Paul has said is true. For when he was a persecutor of the faith of Christ, a voice called him out of heaven, and taught him the truth; for he was not an adversary of our faith from hatred, but from ignorance. For there were before us false Christs, like Simon, false apostles, and false prophets, who, contrary to the sacred writings, set themselves to make void the truth; and against these it was necessary to have in readiness this man, who from his youth up set himself to no other thing than to search out the mysteries of the divine law, by which (10) he might become a vindicator of truth and a persecutor of falsehood. Since, then, his persecution was not on account of hatred, but on account of the vindication of the law, the very truth out of heaven held intercourse with him, saying, I am the truth which you persecutest; cease perse-

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cuting me. When, therefore, he knew that this was so, leaving off that which he was vindicating, he began to vindicate this way of Christ which he was

persecuting.

Simon said: O good emperor, take notice that these two have conspired against me; for I am the truth, and they purpose evil against me. Peter said: There is no truth in thee; but all thou sayest is false.

Nero said: Paul, what sayest thou? Paul said: Those things which thou hast heard from Peter, believe to have been spoken by me also; for we purpose the same thing, for we have the same Lord Jesus the Christ. Simon said: Dost thou

expect me, O good emperor, to hold an argument with these men, who have come

to an agreement against me? And having turned to the apostles of Christ, he

said: Listen, Peter and Paul: if I can do nothing for you here, we are going

to the place where I must judge you. Paul said: O good emperor, see what

threats he holds out against us. Peter said: Why was it necessary to keep

from laughing outright at a foolish man, made the sport of demons, so as to

suppose that he cannot be made manifest?

Simon said: I spare you until I shall receive my power. Paul said: See if you will go out hence safe. Peter said: If thou do not see, Simon, the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, thou wilt not believe thyself not to be Christ. Simon said: Most sacred emperor, do not believe them, for they are circumcised knaves. Paul said: Before we knew the truth. we had the circumcision of the flesh; but when the truth appeared, in the circumcision of the heart we both are circumcised, and circumcise. Peter said: If circumcision be a disgrace, why hast thou been circumcised, Simon?

Nero said: Has, then, Simon also been circumcised? Peter said: For not

otherwise could he have deceived souls, unless he reigned himself to be a Jew,

and made a show of teaching the law of God. Nero said: Simon, thou, as I see,

being carried away with envy, persecutest these men. For, as it seems, there

is great hatred between thee anti their Christ; and I am afraid that thou wilt

be worsted by them, and involved in great evils. Simon said: Thou art led

astray, O emperor. Nero said: How am I led astray? What I see in thee, I say.

I see that thou art manifestly an enemy of Peter anti Paul and their master.

Simon said: Christ was not Paul's master. Paul said: Yes; through revelation He taught me also. But tell me what I asked thee--Why wast thou circumcised? Simon said: Why have you asked me this? Paul said: We have a reason for asking you this. Nero said: Why art thou afraid to answer them? Simon said: Listen, O emperor. At that time circumcision was

enjoined by God when I received it. For this reason was I circumcised.

Paul said: Hearest thou, O good emperor, what has been said by Simon? If, therefore, circumcision be a good thing, why hast thou, Simon, given up those who have been circumcised, and forced them, after being condemned, to be put to death? Nero said: Neither about you do I perceive anything good. Peter and Paul said: Whether this thought about us be good or evil has no reference to the matter; but to us it was necessary that what our Master promised should come to pass. Nero said: If I should not be willing? Peter said: Not as thou willest, but as He promised to us.

Simon said: O good emperor, these men have reckoned upon thy clemency, and have bound thee. Nero said: But neither hast thou yet made me sure about thyself. Simon said: Since so many excellent deeds and signs have been shown to thee by me, I wonder how thou shouldst be in doubt. Nero said: I neither doubt nor favour any of you; but answer me rather what I ask.

Simon said: Henceforward I answer thee nothing. Nero said: Seeing that thou liest, therefore thou sayest this. But if even I can do nothing to thee, God, who can, will do it. Simon said: I no longer answer thee. Nero said: Nor do I consider thee to be anything: for, as I perceive, thou art a liar in

everything. But why do I say so much? The three of you show that your

reasoning is uncertain; and thus in all things you have made me doubt, so that

I find that I can give credit to none of you. (1)

Peter said: We preach one God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that has made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that therein is, who is the true King; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. (2) Nero said: What king is lord? Paul said: The Saviour of all the nations. Simon said: l am he whom you speak of. Peter and Paul said: May it never be well with thee, Simon, magician, and full of bitterness.

Simon said: Listen, O Caesar Nero, that thou mayst know that these men are liars, and that I have been sent from the heavens: to-morrow I go up into the heavens, that I may make those who believe in me blessed, and show my wrath upon those who have denied me. Peter and Paul said: Us long ago God called to His own glory; but thou, called by the devil, hastenest to punishment. Simon said: Caesar Nero, listen to me. Separate these madmen from thee, in order that when I go into heaven to my father, I may be very merciful to thee. Nero said: And whence shall we prove this, that thou goest

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away into heaven? Simon said: Order a lofty tower to be made of wood, and of great beams, that I may go up upon it, and that my angels may find me in the air; for they cannot come to me upon earth among the sinners. Nero said: I will see whether thou wilt fulfil what thou sayest.

Then Nero ordered a lofty tower to be made in the Campus Martins, and all the people and the dignities to be present at the spectacle. And on the following day, all the multitude having come together, Nero ordered Peter and Paul to he present, to whom also he said: Now the truth has to be made manifest. Peter and Paul said: We do not expose him, but our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whom he has falsely declared himself to be.

And Paul, having turned to Peter, said: It is my part to bend the knee, and to pray to God; and thine to produce the effect, if thou shouldst see him attempting anything, because thou wast first taken in hand (1) by the Lord. And Paul, bending his knees, prayed. And Peter, looking stedfastly upon Simon, said: Accomplish what thou hast begun; for both thy exposure and our call is at hand: for I see my Christ calling both me and Paul. Nero said: And where will you go to against my will? Peter said: Whithersoever our Lord has called us. Nero said: And who is your lord? Peter said: Jesus the Christ, whom I see calling us to Himself. Nero said: Do you also then intend to go away to heaven? Peter said: If it shall seem good to Him that calls us. Simon said: In order that thou mayst know, O emperor, that these are deceivers, as soon as ever I ascend into heaven, I will send my angels to thee, and will make thee come to me. Nero said: Do at once what thou sayest.

Then Simon went up upon the tower in the face of all, and, crowned with laurels, he stretched forth his hands, and began to fly. And when Nero saw him flying, he said to Peter: This Simon is true; hut thou and Paul are deceivers. To whom Peter said: Immediately shalt thou know that we are true disciples of Christ; but that he is not Christ, but a magician, and a malefactor. Nero said: Do you still persist? Behold, you see him going up into heaven. Then Peter, looking stedfastly upon Paul, said: Paul, look up and see. And Paul, having looked up, full of tears, and seeing Simon flying, said: Peter, why art thou idle? finish what thou hast begun; for already our Lord Jesus Christ is calling us. And Nero hearing them, smiled a little, and said: These men see themselves worsted already, and are gone mad. Peter said: Now thou shalt know that we are not mad. Paul said to Peter: Do at once what thou doest.

And Peter, looking stedfastly against Simon, said: I adjure you, ye angels of Satan, who are carrying him into the air, to deceive the hearts of the unbelievers, by the God that created all things, and by Jesus Christ, whom on the third day He raised from the dead, no longer from this hour to keep him up, but to let him go. And immediately, being let go, he fell into a place called Sacra Via, that is, Holy Way, and was divided into four parts, having perished by an evil fate.

Then Nero ordered Peter and Paul to be put in irons, and the body of Simon to be carefully kept three days, thinking that he would rise on the third day. To whom Peter said: He will no longer rise, since he is truly dead, being condemned to everlasting punishment. And Nero said to him: Who commanded thee to do such a dreadful deed? Peter said: His reflections and blasphemy against my Lord Jesus Christ have brought him into this gulf of destruction. Nero said: I will destroy you by an evil taking off. Peter said: This is not in thy power, even if it should seem good to thee to destroy us; but it is necessary that what our Master promised to us should he fulfilled.

Then Nero, having summoned Agrippa the propraetor, said to him: It is necessary that men introducing mischievous religious observances should die. Wherefore I order them to take iron clubs, (2)and to be killed in the sea-fight. Agrippa the propraetor said: Most sacred emperor, what thou hast ordered is not fitting for these men,since Paul seems innocent beside Peter. Nero said: By what fate, then, shall they die? Agrippa answered and said: As seems to me, it is just that Paul's head should be cut off, and that Peter should be raised on a cross as the cause of the murder. Nero said: Thou hast most excellently judged.

Then both Peter and Paul were led away from the presence of Nero.And Paul was beheaded on the Ostesian road. (3)

And Peter, having come to the cross, said: Since my Lord Jesus Christ, who came down from the heaven upon the earth, was raised upon the cross upright, (4) and He has deigned to call to heaven me, who am of the earth, my cross ought to be fixed head downmost, so as to direct my feet towards heaven; for I am not worthy to be crucified like my Lord. Then, having reversed the cross, they nailed his feet up.

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And the multitude was assembled reviling Caesar, and wishing to kill him. But Peter restrained them, saying: (1) A few days ago, being exhorted by the brethren, I was going away; and my Lord Jesus Christ met me, and having adored Him, I said, Lord, whither art Thou going? And He said to me, I am going to Rome to be crucified. And I said to Him, Lord, wast Thou not crucified once for all? And the Lord answering, said, I saw thee fleeing from death, and I wish to be crucified instead of thee. And I said, Lord, I go; I fulfil Thy command. And He said to me, Fear not, for am with thee. (2) On this account, then, children, do not hinder my going; for already my feet are going on the road to heaven. Do not grieve, therefore, but rather rejoice with me, for to-day I receive the fruit of my labours. And thus: speaking, he said: I thank Thee, good Shepherd, that the sheep which Thou hast entrusted to me, sympathize with me; I ask, then, that with me they may have a part in Thy kingdom. (3) And having thus spoken, he gave up the ghost.

And immediately there appeared men glorious and strange in appearance; and they said: We are here, on account of the holy and chief apostles, from Jerusalem. And they, along with Marcellus, an illustrious man, who, having left Simon, had believed in Peter, took up his body secretly, and put it under the terebinth near the place for the exhibition of sea-fights in the place called the Vatican. (4)

And the men who had said that they came from Jerusalem said to the people: Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, because you have been deemed worthy to have great champions. And know that Nero himself, after these not many days, will be utterly destroyed, and his kingdom shall be given to another.

And after these things the people revolted against him; and when he knew of it, he fled into desert places, and through hunger and cold he gave up the ghost, and his body became food for the wild beasts.

And some devout men of the regions of the East wished to carry off the relics of the saints, and immediately there was a great earthquake in the city; (5) and those that dwelt in the city having become aware of it, ran and seized the men, but they fled. But the Romans having taken them, put them in a place three miles froth the city, and there they were guarded a year and seven months, until they had built the place in which they intended to put them. And after these things, all having assembled with glory and singing of praise, they put them in the place built for them.

And the consummation of the holy glorious Apostles Peter and Paul was on the 29th of the month of June--in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and

strength.

THE STORY OF PERPETUA.

AND as Paul was being led away to be beheaded at a place about three miles from the city, he was in irons. And there were three soldiers guarding him who were of a great family. And when they had gone out of the gate about the length of a bow-shot, there met them a God-fearing woman; and she, seeing Paul dragged along in irons, had compassion on him, and wept bitterly. And the name of the woman was called Perpetua; and she was one-eyed. And Paul, seeing her weeping, says to her: Give me thy handkerchief, and when I turn back I shall give it to thee. And she, having taken the handkerchief, gave it to him willingly. And the

soldiers laughed, and said to the woman: Why dost thou wish, woman, to lose thy handkerchief? Knowest thou not that he is going away to be beheaded? And Perpetua said to them: I adjure you by the health of Caesar to bind his eyes with this handkerchief when you cut off his head. Which also was done. And they beheaded him at the place called Aquae Salviae, near the pine tree. And as God had willed, before the soldiers came back, the handkerchief, having on it drops of blood, was restored to the woman. And as she was carrying it, straightway and immediately her eye was opened.

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CONTINUATION OF THE STORY OF PERPETUA.

And the three soldiers who had cut off the head of Saint Paul, when after

three hours they came on the same day with the BULLA bringing it to Nero,

having met Perpetua, they said to her: What is it, woman? Behold, by thy

confidence thou hast lost thy handkerchief. But she said to them: I have both

got my handkerchief, and my eye has recovered its sight. And as the Lord, the

God of Paul, liveth, I also have entreated him that I may be deemed worthy to

become the slave of his Lord. Then the soldiers who had the BULLA, recognising

the handkerchief, and seeing that her eye had been

opened, cried out with a loud voice, as if from one mouth, and said: We too are the slaves of Paul's master. Perpetua therefore having gone away, reported in the palace of the Emperor Nero that the soldiers who had beheaded Paul said: We shall no longer go into the city, for we believe in Christ whom Paul preached, and we are Christians. Then Nero, filled with rage, ordered Perpetua, who had informed him of the soldiers, to be kept fast in irons; and as to the soldiers, he ordered one to be beheaded outside of the gate about one mile from the city, another to be cut in two, and the third to be stoned. And Perpetua was in the prison; and in this prison there was kept Potentiana, a noble maiden, because she had said: I forsake my parents and all the substance of my father, and I wish to become a Christian. She therefore joined herself to Perpetua, and ascertained from her everything about Paul, and was in much anxiety about the faith in Christ. And the wife of Nero was Potentiana's sister; and she secretly informed her about Christ, that those who believe in Him see everlasting joy, and that everything here is temporary, but there eternal: so that also she fled out of the palace, and some of the senators' wives with her. Then Nero, having inflicted many tortures upon Perpetua, at last tied a great stone to her neck, and ordered her to be throw over a precipice. And her remains lie at the Momentan (1) gate. And Potentiana also underwent many torments; and at last, having made a furnace one day, they burned her.

 

Acts of the Holy Apostle Thaddaeus,
One of the Twelve

From The New Advent: Fathers of the Church
http://www.csn.net/advent/fathers/fathers.htm

 


LEBBAEUS, who also is Thaddaeus, was of the city of Edessa--and it is the metropolis of Osroene, in the interior of the Armenosyrians--an Hebrew by race, accomplished and most learned in the divine writings. He came to Jerusalem to worship in the days of John the Baptist; and having heard his preaching and seen his angelic life, he was baptized, and his name was called Thaddaeus. And having seen the appearing of Christ, and His teaching, and His wonderful works, he followed Him, and became His disciple; and He chose him as one of the twelve, the tenth apostle according to the Evangelists Matthew and Mark.

In those times there was a governor of the city of Edessa, Abgarus by name. And there having gone abroad the fame of Christ, of the wonders which He did, and of His teaching, Abgarus having heard of it, was astonished, and desired to see Christ, and could not leave his city and government. And about the days of the Passion and the plots of the Jews, Abgarus, being seized by an incurable disease, sent a letter to Christ by Ananias the courier, (2) to the following effect:--To Jesus (3) called Christ, Abgarus the governor of the country of the Edessenes, an unworthy slave. The multitude of the wonders done by thee has been heard of by me, that thou healest the blind, the lame, and the paralytic, and curest all the demoniacs; and on this account I entreat thy goodness to come even to us, and escape from the plottings of the wicked Jews, which through envy they set in motion against thee. My city is small, but large enough for both. Abgarus enjoined Ananias to take accurate account of Christ, of what appearance He was, and His stature, and His hair, and in a word everything.

And Ananias, having gone and given the letter, was carefully looking at Christ, but was unable to fix Him in his mind. And He knew as knowing the heart, and asked to wash Himself; and a towel (4) was given Him; and when He had washed Himself, He wiped His face with it. And His image having been imprinted upon the linen, He gave it to Ananias, saying: Give this, and take back this message, to him that sent thee: Peace to thee and thy city! For because of this I am come, to suffer for the world, and to rise again, and to raise up the forefathers. And after I have been taken up into the heavens I shall send thee my disciple Thaddaeus, who shall enlighten thee, and guide thee into all the truth, both thee and thy city.

And having received Ananias, and fallen down and adored the likeness, Abgarus was cured of his disease before Thaddaeus came.

And after the passion, and the resurrection, and the ascension, Thaddaeus went to Abgarus; and having found him in health, he gave him an account of the

incarnation of Christ, and baptized him, with all his house. And having

instructed great multitudes, both of Hebrews and Greeks. Syrians and

Armenians, he baptized them in the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy

Spirit, having anointed them with the holy perfume; and he communicated to

them of the undefiled mysteries of the sacred body and blood of our Lord Jesus

Christ, and delivered to them to keep and observe the law of Moses, and to

give close heed to the things that had been said by the apostles in Jerusalem.

For year by year they came together to the passover, and again he imparted to

them the Holy Spirit.

And Thaddaeus along with Abgarus destroyed idol-temples and built churches; ordained as bishop one of his disciples, and presbyters, and deacons, and gave them the rule of the psalmody and the holy liturgy. And having left them, he went to the city of Amis, great metropolis of the Mesechaldeans and Syrians, that is, of Mesopotamia-Syria, beside the river Tigris. And he having gone into the synagogue of the Jews along with his

disciples on the Sabbath-day, after the

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reading of the law the high priest said to Thaddaeus and his disciples: Men, whence are you? and why are you here?

And Thaddaeus said: No doubt you have heard of what has taken place in Jerusalem about Jesus Christ, and we are His disciples, and witnesses of the wonderful things which He did and taught, and how through hatred the chief

priests delivered Him to Pilate the procurator of Judaea. And Pilate, having

examined Him and found no case, (1) wished to let Him go; but they cried out, If thou let him go, thou art not Caesar's friend, because he proclaims himself king. And he being afraid, washed his hands in the sight of the multitude, and said, I am innocent of the blood of this man; see ye to it. And the chief priests answered and said, His blood be upon us and our children. And Pilate gave him up to them. And they took Him, and spit upon Him, with the soldiers, and made a great mock of Him, and crucified Him, and laid Him in the tomb, and secured it well, having also set guards upon Him. And on the third day before dawn He rose, leaving His burial-clothes in the tomb. And He was seen first by His mother and other women, and by Peter and John first of my fellow disciples, and thereafter to us the twelve, who ate and drank with Him after His resurrection for many days. And He sent us in His name to proclaim

repentance and remission of sins to all the nations, that those who were

baptized, having had the kingdom of the heavens preached to them, would rise

up incorruptible at the end of this age; and He gave us power to expel demons,

and heal every disease and every malady, and raise the dead.

And the multitudes having heard this, brought together their sick and demoniacs. And Thaddaeus, having gone forth along with his disciples, laid his hand upon each one of them, and healed them all by calling upon the name of Christ. And the demoniacs were healed before Thaddaeus came near them, the spirits going out of them. And for many days the people ran together from different places, and beheld what was done by Thaddaeus. And hearing his teaching, many believed, and were baptized, confessing their sins.

Having therefore remained with them for five years, he built a church; and having appointed as bishop one of his disciples, and presbyters, and deacons, and prayed for them, he went away, going round the cities of Syria, and teaching, and healing all the sick; whence he brought many cities and countries to Christ through His teaching. Teaching, therefore, and evangelizing along with the disciples, and healing the sick, he went to Berytus, a city of Phoenicia by the sea; (2) and there, having taught and enlightened many, he fell asleep on the twenty-first (3) of the month of August. And the disciples having come together, buried him with great honour; and many sick were healed, and they gave glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

Consummation of Thomas the Apostle

From The New Advent: Fathers of the Church
http://www.csn.net/advent/fathers/fathers.htm

 


AT the command of King Misdeus (2) the blessed Apostle Thomas was cast into prison; and he said: I glorify God, and I shall preach the word to the prisoners, so that all rejoiced at his presence. When, therefore, Juzanes the king's son, and Tertia his mother, and Mygdonia, and Markia, had become believers, but were not yet thought worthy of baptism, they took it exceedingly ill that the blessed one had been shut up. And having come to the prison, and given much money to the jailor, (3) they went in to him. And he, seeing them, was glad, and glorified the Lord, and blessed them. And they

entreated and begged the seal in the Lord, a beautiful young man having

appeared to them in a dream, and ordered the apostle into the house of

Juzanes.

And again the beautiful young man coming to them and Thomas, bade them do this on the coming night. And he ran before them, and gave them light on the way, and without noise opened the doors that had been secured, until all the mystery was completed. And having made them communicate in the Eucharist, and having talked much with them, and confirmed them in the faith, and commended them to the Lord, he went forth thence, leaving the women, and again went to be shut up. (4) And they grieved and wept because Misdeus the king was to kill him.

And Thomas went and found the jailors fighting, and saying: What wrong have we done to that sorcerer, that, availing himself of his magic art, he has opened the doors of the prison, and wishes to set all the prisoners free? But let us go and let the king know about his wife and his son. (5) And when he came they stripped him, and girded him with a girdle; and thus they stood before the king.

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And Misdeus said to him: Art thou a slave, or a freeman? And Thomas answered and said to him: I am not (1) a slave, and thou hast no power against me at all. And how, said Misdeus, hast thou run away and come to this country? And Thomas said: I came here that I might save many, and that I might by thy bands depart from this body. Misdeus says to him: Who is thy master? and what is his name? and of what country, and of whom is he? My Lord, says Thomas, is my Master and thine, being the Lord of heaven and earth. And Misdeus said: What is he called? And Thomas said: Thou canst not know His true name at this time; but I tell thee the name that has been given Him for a season--Jesus the Christ. And Misdeus said: I have not been in a hurry (2) to destroy thee, but have restrained myself; but thou hast made a display of works, so that thy sorceries have been heard of in all the country. But now this will I do, (3) that thy sorceries may also perish with thee, that our nation may be purified from them. And Thomas said: Dost thou call these things which will follow me sorceries? They shall never be removed from the people here.

And while these things were saying, Misdeus was considering in what manner he should put him to death; for he was afraid of the multitude

standing round, many, even some of the chief men, having believed in him. And he arose, I and took Thomas outside of the city; and a few soldiers accompanied him with their arms. And the rest of the multitude thought that the king was wishing to learn something from him; and they stood and observed him closely. And when they had gone forth three stadia, he delivered him to four soldiers, and to one of the chief officers, (4) and ordered them to take him up into the mountain and spear him; but he himself returned to the city.

And those present ran to Thomas, eager to rescue him; but he was led away by the soldiers who were with him. For there were two on each side having hold of him, because of sorcery, And the chief officer held him by the hand, and led him with honour. And at the same time the blessed apostle said: O the hidden mysteries of Thee, O Lord! for even to the close of life is fulfilled in us the riches of Thy grace, which does not allow us to be without feeling as to the body. For, behold, four have laid hold of me, and one leads me, since I belong to One, to whom I am going always invisibly. But now I learn that my Lord also, since He was a stranger, to whom I am going, who also is always present with me invisibly, was struck by one; but I am struck by four. (5)

And when they came to that place where they were to spear him, Thomas spoke thus to those spearing him: Hear me now, at least, when I am departing from my body; and let not your eyes be darkened in understanding, nor your ears shut up so as not to hear those things in which you have believed the God whom I preach, after being delivered in your souls from rashness; and behave in a manner becoming those who are free, being void of human glory, and live the life towards God. And he said to Juzanes: Son of an earthly king, but servant of Jesus Christ, give what is due to those who are to fulfil the command (6) of Misdeus, in order that I may go apart from them and pray. And Juzanes having paid the soldiers, the apostle betook himself to prayer; and it was as follows:--

My Lord, and my God, and hope, and leader, and guide in all countries, I follow Thee along with all that serve Thee, and do Thou guide me this day on my way to Thee. Let no one take my sold, which Thou hast given to me. Let not publicans and beggars look upon me, nor let serpents slander me, and let not the children of the dragon hiss at me. Behold, I have fulfilled Thy work, and accomplished what Thou gavest me to do. I have become a slave, that I might receive freedom from Thee; do then give it to me, and make me perfect. And this I say not wavering, but that they may hear who need to hear. I glorify Thee in all, Lord and Master; for to Thee is due glory for ever. Amen.

And when he had prayed, he said to the soldiers: Come and finish the work of him that sent you. And the four struck him at once, and killed him. And all the brethren wept, and wrapped him up in beautiful shawls, and many linen cloths, and laid him in the tomb in which of old the kings used to be buried.

And Syphor and Juzanes did not go to the city, but spent the whole day there, and waited during the night. And Thomas appeared to them, and said: I am not there; why do you sit watching? for I have gone up, and received the things I hoped for; but rise up and walk, and after no long time you shall be brought beside me. And Misdeus and Charisius (7) greatly afflicted Tertia and Mygdonia, but did not persuade them to abandon their opinions. And Thomas appeared, and said to them: Forget not the former things, for the holy and sanctifying Jesus Himself will aid you. And Misdeus and Charisius, when they could not persuade them not

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to be of this opinion, granted them their own will. And all the brethren

assembled together For the blessed one had made Syphorus (1) a presbyter in the mountain, and Juzanius (1) a deacon, when he was led away to die. And the Lord helped them, and increased the faith by means of them.

And after a long time, it happened that one of the sons of Misdeus was a demoniac; and the demon being stubborn, no one was able to heal him. And Misdeus considered, and said I shall go and open the tomb, and take a bone of the apostle's body, and touch my son with it, and I know that he will be healed. And he went to do what he had thought of. And the blessed apostle appeared to him, and said: Thou didst not believe in me when alive; how wilt thou believe in me when I am dead? Fear not. Jesus Christ is kindly disposed to thee, through His great clemency. And Misdeus, when he did not find the bones (for one of the brethren had taken them, and carried them into the regions of the West (2)), took some dust from where the bones had lain, and touched his son with it, and said: I believe in Thee, Jesus, now when he has left me who always afflicts men, that they may not look to Thy light which giveth understand ing, O Lord, kind to men. And his son being healed in this manner, he met with the rest of the brethren who were under the rule of Sypho-i rus, and entreated the brethren to pray for him, that he might obtain mercy from our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

The Book of John Concerning the Falling Asleep of Mary

From The New Advent: Fathers of the Church
http://www.csn.net/advent/fathers/fathers.htm

 


THE ACCOUNT OF ST. JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN
OF THE FALLING ASLEEP OF THE HOLY MOTHER OF GOD.

As the all-holy glorious mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, as was her wont, was going to the holy tomb of our Lord to burn incense, and bending her holy knees, she was importunate that Christ our God who had been born of her should return to her. And the Jews, seeing her lingering by the divine sepulchre, came to the chief priests, saying: Mary goes every day to the tomb. And the chief priests, having summoned the guards set by them not to allow any one to pray at the holy sepulchre, inquired about her, whether in truth it were so. And the guards answered and said that they had seen no such thing, God having not allowed them to see her when there. And on one of the days, it being the preparation, the holy Mary, as was her wont, came to the sepulchre; and while she was praying, it came to pass that the heavens were opened, and the archangel Gabriel came down to her and said: Hail, thou that didst bring forth Christ our God! Thy prayer having come through to the heavens to Him who was born of thee, has been accepted; and from this time, according to thy request, thou having left the world, shall go to the heavenly places to thy Son, into the true and everlasting life.

And having heard this from the holy archangel, she returned to holy Bethlehem, having along with her three virgins who ministered unto her. And after having rested a short time, she sat up and said to the virgins: Bring me a censer, that I may pray. And they brought it, as they had been commanded. And she prayed, saying: My Lord Jesus Christ, who didst deign through Thy supreme goodness to be born of me, hear my voice, and send me Thy apostle John, in order that, seeing him, I may partake of joy; and send me also the rest of Thy apostles, both those who have already gone to Thee, and those in the world that now is, in whatever country they may be, through Thy holy commandment, in order that, having beheld them, I may bless Thy name much to be praised; for I am confident that Thou hearest Thy servant in everything.

And while she was praying, I John came, the Holy Spirit having snatched me up by a cloud from Ephesus, and set me in the place where the mother of my Lord was lying. And having gone in beside her, and glorified Him who had been born of her, I said: Hail, mother of my Lord, who didst bring forth Christ our God, rejoice that in great glory thou art going out of this life. And the holy mother of God glorified God, because I John had come to her, remembering the voice of the Lord, saying: Behold thy mother, and, Behold thy son. (2) And the three virgins came and worshipped. And the holy mother of God says to me: Pray, and cast incense. And I prayed thus: Lord Jesus Christ, who hast done wonderful things, now also do wonderful things before her who brought Thee forth; and let Thy mother depart from this life; and let those who crucified Thee, and who have not believed in Thee, be confounded. And after I had ended the prayer, holy Mary said to me: Bring me the censer. And having cast incense, she said, Glory to Thee, my God and my Lord, because there has been fulfilled in me whatsoever Thou didst promise to me before thou didst ascend into the heavens, that when I should depart from this world Thou wouldst come to me, and the multitude of Thine angels, with glory. And I John say to her: Jesus Christ our Lord and our God is coming, and thou seest (3) Him, as He promised to thee. And the holy mother of God answered and said to me: The Jews have sworn that after I have died they will burn my body. And I answered and said to her: Thy holy and precious body will by no means

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see corruption. And she answered and said to me: Bring a censer, and cast incense, and pray. And there came a voice out of the heavens saying the Amen. And I John heard this voice; and the Holy Spirit said to me: John, hast thou heard this voice that spoke in the heaven after the prayer was ended? And I answered and said: Yes, I heard. And the Holy Spirit said to me: This voice which thou didst hear denotes that the appearance of thy brethren the apostles is at hand, and of the holy powers that they are coming hither to-day. And at this I John prayed.

And the Holy Spirit said to the apostles: Let all of you together, having come by the clouds from the ends of the world, be assembled to holy Bethlehem by a whirlwind, on account of the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ; Peter from Rome, Paul from Tiberia, (1) Thomas from Hither India, James from Jerusalem. Andrew, Peter's brother, and Philip, Luke, and Simon the Cananaean, and Thaddaeus who had fallen asleep, were raised by the Holy Spirit out of their tombs; to whom the Holy Spirit said: Do not think that it is now the resurrection; but on this account you have risen out of your tombs, that you may go to give greeting to the honour and wonder-working of the mother of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, because the day of her departure is at hand, of her going up into the heavens. And Mark likewise coming round, was present from Alexandria; he also with the rest, as has been said before, from each country. And Peter being lifted up by a cloud, stood between heaven and earth, the Holy Spirit keeping him steady. And at the same time, the rest of the apostles also, having been snatched up in clouds, were found along with Peter. And thus by the Holy Spirit, as has been said, they all came together.

And having gone in beside the mother of our Lord and God, and having adored, we said: Fear not, nor grieve; God the Lord, who was born of thee, will take thee out of this world with glory. And rejoicing in God her Saviour, she sat up in the bed, and says to the apostles: Now have I believed that our Master and God is coming from heaven, and I shall behold Him, and thus depart from this life, as I have seen that you have come. And I wish you to tell me how you knew that I was departing and came to me, and from what countries and through what distance you have come hither, that you have thus made haste to visit me. For neither has He who was born of me, our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of the universe, concealed it; for I am persuaded even now that He is the Son of the Most High.

And Peter answered and said to the apostles: Let us each, according to what the Holy Spirit announced and commanded us, give full information to the mother of our Lord. And I John answered and said: Just as I was going in to the holy altar in Ephesus to perform divine service, the Holy Spirit says to me, The time of the departure of the mother of thy Lord is at hand; go to Bethlehem to salute her. And a cloud of light snatched me up, and set me down in the door where thou art lying. Peter also answered: And I, living in Rome, about dawn heard a voice through the Holy Spirit saying to me, The mother of thy Lord is to depart, as the time is at hand; go to Bethlehem to salute her. And, behold, a cloud of light snatched me up; and I beheld also the other apostles coming to me on clouds, and a voice saying to me, Go all to Bethlehem. And Paul also answered and said: And I, living in a city at no great distance from Rome, called the country of Tiberia, heard the Holy Spirit saying to me, The mother of thy Lord, having left this world, is making her course to the celestial regions through her departure; (2) but go thou also to Bethlehem to salute her. And, behold, a cloud of light having snatched me up, set me down in the same place as you. And Thomas also answered and said: And I, traversing the country of the Indians, when the preaching was prevailing by the

grace of Christ, and the king's sister's son Labdanus by name, was about to be sealed by me in the palace, on a sudden the Holy Spirit says to me, Do thou also, Thomas, go to Bethlehem to salute the mother of thy Lord, because she is taking her departure to the heavens. And a cloud of light having snatched me up, set me down beside you. And Mark also answered and said: And when I was finishing the canon (3) of the third day in the city of Alexandria, just as I was praying, the Holy Spirit snatched me up, and brought me to you. And James also answered and said: While I was in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit commanded me, saying, Go to Bethlehem, because the mother of thy Lord is taking her departure. And, behold, a cloud of light having snatched me up, set me beside you. And Matthew also answered and said: I have glorified and do glorify God, because when I was in a boat and overtaken by a storm, the sea raging with its waves, on a sudden a cloud of light overshadowing the stormy billow, changed it to a calm, and having snatched me up, set me down beside you. And those who had come before likewise answered, and gave an account of how they had come. And Bartholomew said: I was in the Thebais proclaiming the word, and behold the Holy Spirit says

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to me, The mother of thy Lord is taking her departure; go, then, to salute her in Bethlehem. And, behold, a cloud of light having snatched me up, brought me to you.

The apostles said all these things to the holy mother of God, why they had come, and in what way; and she stretched her hands to heaven and prayed, saying: I adore, and praise, and glorify Thy much to he praised name, O Lord, because Thou hast looked upon the lowliness of Thine handmaiden, and because Thou that art mighty hast done great things for me; and, behold, all generations shall count me blessed. (1) And after the prayer she said to the apostles: Cast incense, and pray. And when they had prayed, there was thunder from heaven, and there came a fearful voice, as if of chariots; and, behold, a multitude of a host of angels and powers, and a voice, as if of the Son of man, was heard, and the seraphim in a circle round the house where the holy, spotless mother of God and virgin was lying, so that all who were in Bethlehem beheld all the wonderful things, and came to Jerusalem and reported all the wonderful things that had come to pass. And it came to pass, when the voice was heard, that the sun and the moon suddenly appeared about the house; and an assembly (2) of the first-born saints stood beside the house where the mother of the Lord was lying, for her honour and glory. And I beheld also that many signs came to pass, the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the lame walking, lepers cleansed, and those possessed by unclean spirits cured; and every one who was under disease and sickness, touching the outside of the wall of the house where she was lying, cried out: Holy Mary, who didst bring forth Christ our God, have mercy upon us. And they were straightway cured. And great multitudes out of every country living in Jerusalem for the sake of prayer, having heard of the signs that had come to pass in Bethlehem through the mother of the Lord, came to the place seeking the cure of various diseases, which also they obtained. And there was joy unspeakable on that day among the multitude of those who had been cured, as well as of those who looked on, glorifying Christ our God and His mother. And all Jerusalem from Bethlehem kept festival with psalms and spiritual songs.

And the priests of the Jews, along with their people, were astonished at the things which had come to pass; and being moved (3) with the heaviest hatred, and again with frivolous reasoning, having made an assembly, they determine to send against the holy mother of God and the holy apostles who were there in Bethlehem. And accordingly the multitude of the Jews, having directed their course to Bethlehem, when at the distance of one mile it came to pass that they beheld a frightful vision, and their feet were held fast; and after this they returned to their fellow-countrymen, and reported all the frightful vision to the chief priests. And they, still more boiling with rage, go to the procurator, crying out and saying: The nation of the Jews has been ruined by this woman; chase her from Bethlehem and the province of Jerusalem. And the procurator, astonished at the wonderful things, said to them: I will chase her neither from Bethlehem nor from any other place. And the Jews continued crying out, and adjuring him by the health of Tiberius Caesar to bring the apostles out of Bethlehem. And if you do not do so, we shall report it to the Caesar. Accordingly, being compelled, he sends a tribune of the soldiers (4) against the apostles to Bethlehem. And the Holy Spirit says to the apostles and the mother of the Lord: Behold, the procurator has sent a tribune against you, the Jews having made an uproar. Go forth therefore from Bethlehem, and fear not: for, behold, by a cloud I shall bring you to Jerusalem; for the power of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit is with you. The apostles therefore rose up immediately, and went forth from the house, carrying the bed of the Lady the mother of God, and directed their course to Jerusalem; and immediately, as the Holy Spirit had said, being lifted up by a cloud, they were found in Jerusalem in the horse of the Lady. And they stood up, and for five days made an unceasing singing of praise. And when the tribune came to Bethlehem, and found there neither the mother of the Lord nor the apostles, he laid hold of the Bethlehemites, saying to them: Did you not come telling the procurator and the priests all the signs and wonders that had come to pass, and how the apostles had come out of every country? Where are they, then? Come, go to the procurator at Jerusalem. For the tribune did not know of the departure of the apostles and the Lord's mother to Jerusalem. The tribune then, having taken the Bethlehemites, went in to the procurator, saying that he had found no one. And after five days it was known to the procurator, and the priests. and all the city, that the Lord's mother was in her own house in Jerusalem, along with the apostles, from the signs and wonders that came to pass there. And a multitude of men and women and virgins came together, and cried out: Holy virgin, that didst bring forth Christ our God, do not forget the generation of men. And when these things came to pass, the people

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of the Jews, with the priests also, being the more moved with hatred, took wood and fire, and came up, wishing to burn the house where the Lord's mother was living with the apostles. And the procurator stood looking at the sight from afar off. And when the people of the Jews came to the door of the house,

behold, suddenly a power of fire coming forth from within, by means of an

angel, burnt up a great multitude of the Jews. And there was great fear

throughout all the city; and they glorified God, who had been born of her. And

when the procurator saw what had come to pass, he cried out to all the people,

saying: Truly he who was born of the virgin, whom you have thought of driving

away, is the Son of God; for these signs are those of the true God. And there

was a division among the Jews; and many believed in the name of our Lord Jesus

Christ, in consequence of the signs that had come to pass.

And after all these wonderful things had come to pass through the mother of God, and ever-virgin Mary the mother of the Lord, while we the apostles were with her in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit said to us: You know that on the Lord's day the good news was brought to the Virgin Mary by the archangel Gabriel; and on the Lord's day the Saviour was born in Bethlehem; and on the Lord's day the children of Jerusalem came forth with palm branches to meet him, saying, Hosanna in the highest, blessed is (1) He that cometh in the name of the Lord; (2) and on the Lord's day He rose from the dead; and on the Lord's day He will come to judge the living and the dead; and on the Lord's day He will come out of heaven, to the glory and honour of the departure of the holy glorious virgin who brought Him forth. And on the same (3) Lord's day the mother of the Lord says to the apostles: Cast incense, because Christ is coming with a host of angels; and, behold, Christ is at hand, sitting on a throne of cherubim. And while we were all praying, there appeared innumerable multitudes of angels, and the Lord mounted upon cherubim in great power; and, behold, a stream of light (4) coming to the holy virgin, because of the presence of her only-begotten Son, and all the powers of the heavens fell down and adored Him. And the Lord, speaking to His mother, said: Mary. And she answered and said: Here am I, Lord. And the Lord said to her: Grieve not, but let thy heart rejoice and be glad; for thou hast found grace to behold the glory given to me by my Father. And the holy mother of God looked up, and saw in Him a glory which it is impossible for the mouth of man to speak of, or to apprehend. And the Lord remained beside her, saying: Behold, from the present time thy precious body will be transferred to paradise, and thy holy soul to the heavens to the treasures of my Father in exceeding brightness, where there is peace and joy of the holy angels,--and other things besides. (5) And the mother of the Lord answered and said to him: Lay Thy right hand upon me, O Lord, and bless me. And the Lord stretched forth His undefiled right hand, and blessed her. And she laid hold of His undefiled right hand, and kissed it, saying: I adore this right hand, which created the heaven and the earth; and I call upon Thy much to be praised name Christ, O God, the King of the ages, the

only-begotten of the Father, to receive Thine handmaid, Thou who didst deign

to be brought forth by me, in a low estate, to save the race of men through

Thine ineffable dispensation; do Thou bestow Thine aid upon every man calling

upon, or praying to, or naming the the name of, Thine handmaid. And while she

is saying this, the apostles, having gone up to her feet and adored, say: O

mother of the Lord, leave a blessing to the world, since thou art going away

from it. For thou hast blessed it, and raised it up when it was ruined, by

bringing forth the Light of the world. And the mother of the Lord prayed, and

in her prayer spoke thus: O God, who through Thy great goodness hast sent from

the heavens Thine only-begotten Son to dwell in my humble body, who hast

deigned to be born of me, humble as I am, have mercy upon the world, and every

soul that calls upon Thy name. And again she prayed, and said: O Lord, King of

the heavens, Son of the living God, accept every man who calls upon Thy name,

that Thy birth may be glorified. And again she prayed, and said: O Lord Jesus

Christ, who art all-powerful in heaven and on earth, in this appeal I implore

Thy holy name; in every time and place where there is made mention of my name,

make that place holy, and glorify those that glorify Thee through my name,

accepting of such persons all their offering, and all their supplication, and

all their prayer. And when she had thus prayed, the Lord said to His mother:

Let thy heart rejoice and be glad; for every favour (6) and every gift has been

given to thee from my Father in heaven, and from me, and from the Holy Spirit:

every soul that calls upon thy name shall not be ashamed, but shall find

mercy, and comfort, and support, and confidence, both in the world that now

is, and in that which is to come, in the presence of my Father in the heavens.

And the

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Lord turned and said to Peter: The time has come to begin the singing of the hymn. And Peter having begun the singing of the hymn, all the powers of the heavens responded with the Alleluiah. And then the face of the mother of the Lord shone brighter than the light, and she rose up and blessed each of the apostles with her own hand, and all gave glory to God; and the Lord stretched forth His undefiled hands, and received her holy and blameless soul. And with the departure of her blameless soul the place was filled with perfume and ineffable light; and, behold, a voice out of the heaven was heard, saying: Blessed art thou among women. And Peter, and I John, and Paul, and Thomas, ran and wrapped up her precious feet for the consecration; and the twelve apostles put her precious and holy body upon a couch, and carried it. And, behold, while they were carrying her, a certain well-born Hebrew, Jephonias by name, running against the body, put his hands upon the couch; and, behold, an angel of the Lord by invisible power, with a sword of fire, cut off his two hands from his shoulders, and made them hang about the couch, lifted up in the air. And at this miracle which had come to pass all the people of the Jews who beheld it cried out: Verily, He that was brought forth by thee is the true God, O mother of God, ever-virgin Mary. And Jephonias himself, when Peter ordered him, that the wonderful things of God might be showed forth, stood up behind the couch, and cried out: Holy Mary, who broughtest forth Christ who is God, have mercy upon me. And Peter turned and said to him: In the name of Him who was born of her, thy hands which have been taken away from thee, will be fixed on again. And immediately, at the word of Peter, the hands hanging by the couch of the Lady came, and were fixed on Jephonias. And he believed, and glorified Christ, God who had been born of her.

And when this miracle had been done, the apostles carried (1) the couch, and laid down her precious and holy body in Gethsemane in a new tomb. And, behold, a perfume of sweet savour came forth out of the holy sepulchre of our Lady the mother of God; and for three days the voices of invisible angels were heard glorifying Christ our God, who had been born of her. And when the third day was ended, the voices were no longer heard; and from that time forth all knew that her spotless and precious body had been transferred to paradise.

And after it had been transferred, behold, we see Elisabeth the mother of St. John the Baptist, and Anna the mother of the Lady, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and David, singing the Alleluiah, and all the choirs of the saints adoring the holy relics of the mother of the Lord, and the place full of light, than which light nothing could be more brilliant, and an abundance of perfume in that place to which her precious and holy body had been transferred in paradise, and the melody of those praising Him who had been born of her--sweet melody, of which there is no satiety, such as is given to virgins, and them only, to hear. We apostles, therefore, having beheld the sudden precious translation of her holy body, glorified God, who had shown us His wonders at the departure of the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose (2)

prayers and good offices may we all be deemed worthy to receive. (3) under her

shelter, and support, and protection, both in the world that now is and in

that which is to come, glorifying in every time and place her only-begotten

Son, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

The Death of Pilate, Who Condemned Jesus

From The New Advent: Fathers of the Church
http://www.csn.net/advent/fathers/fathers.htm

 


AND when Tiberius Caesar, the emperor of the Romans, was labouring under a grievous disease, and understanding that there was at Jerusalem a certain physician, Jesus by name, who by a single word cured all infirmities, he, not knowing that the Jews and Pilate had put Him to death, ordered a certain friend of his named Volusianus: Go as quickly as possible across the seas; and thou shalt tell Pilate, my servant and friend, to send me this physician, that he may restore me to my former health. And this Volusianus, having heard the

emperor's command, immediately departed, and came to Pilate, as he had been

commanded. And he related to the same Pilate what had been entrusted to him by

Tiberius Caesar, saying: Tiberius Caesar, the emperor of the Romans, thy

master, having heard that in this city there is a physician who by his word

alone heals infirmities, begs thee earnestly to send him to him for the curing

of his infirmity. Pilate, hearing this, was very much afraid, knowing that

through envy he had caused Him to be put to death. Pilate answered the same

messenger thus, saying: This man was a malefactor, and a man who drew to

himself all the people; so a council of the wise men of the city was held, and

I caused him to be crucified. And this messenger returning to his inn, met a

certain woman named Veronica, who had been a friend of Jesus; and he said: O

woman, a certain physician who was in this city, who cured the sick by a word

alone, why have the Jews put him to death? And she began to weep, saying: Ah

me! my lord, my God and my Lord, whom Pilate for envy delivered, condemned,

and ordered to be crucified. Then he, being exceedingly grieved, said: I am

vehemently grieved that I am unable to accomplish that for which my lord had

sent me. And Veronica said to him: When my Lord was going about preaching, and

I, much against my will, was deprived of His presence, I wished His picture to

be painted for me, in order that, while I was deprived of His presence, the

figure of His picture might at least afford me consolation. And when I was

carrying the canvas to the painter to be painted, my Lord met me, and asked

whither I was going. And when I had disclosed to Him the cause of my journey,

He asked of me the cloth, and gave it back to me impressed with the image of

His venerable face. Therefore, if thy lord will devoutly gaze upon His

face, (1) he shall obtain forthwith the benefit of health. And he said to her: Is a picture of such a sort procurable by gold or silver? She said to him: No; but by the pious influence of devotion. I shall therefore set out with thee, and shall carry the picture to be seen by Caesar, and shall come back again.

Volusianus therefore came with Veronica to Rome, and said to Tiberius the emperor: Jesus, whom thou hast been longing for, Pilate and the Jews have delivered to an unjust death, and have through envy affixed to the gibbet of the cross. There has therefore come with me a certain matron, bringing a picture of Jesus himself; and if thou wilt devoutly look upon it, thou shall immediately obtain the benefit of thy health. Caesar therefore ordered the way to be strewn with silk cloths, and the picture to be presented to him; and as soon as he had looked upon it, he regained his former health.

Pontius Pilate, therefore, by the command of Caesar, is taken and brought

through to Rome. Caesar. hearing that Pilate had arrived at Rome, was filled

with exceeding fury against him, and caused him to be brought to him. But

Pilate brought down with him the seamless tunic of Jesus; and he wore it on

him in presence of the emperor. And as soon as the emperor saw him, he laid

aside all his anger, and forthwith rose up to meet him. Nor was he able to

speak harshly to him in anything; and he who seemed so terrible and fierce in

his absence, now in his presence is somehow found to be mild. And when he had

sent him away, immediately he blazed out against him terribly, crying out that

he was a wretch, inasmuch as he had not at all shown him the fury of his

heart. And immediately he made him be called back, swearing and declaring that

he was the son of death, and that it was infamous that he should live upon the

earth. And as soon as he saw him, he forthwith saluted him,

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and threw away all the ferocity of his mind. All wondered; and he himself wondered that he should thus blaze out against Pilate when he was absent, and that while he was present he could say nothing to him roughly. Then, by a divine impulse, or perhaps by the advice of some Christian, (1) he caused him to be stripped of that tunic, and immediately resumed against him his former

ferocity of mind. And when at this the emperor wondered very much, it was told

him that that tunic had belonged to the Lord Jesus. Then the emperor ordered

him to be kept in prison, until he should deliberate in a council of the wise

men what ought to be done with him. And a few days after, sentence was

therefore passed upon Pilate, that he should be condemned to the most

disgraceful death. Pilate, hearing this, killed himself with his own knife,

and by such a death ended his life.

When Caesar knew of the death of Pilate, he said: Truly he has died by a most disgraceful death, whom his own hand has not spared. He is therefore bound to a great mass, and sunk into the river Tiber. But malignant and filthy spirits in his malignant and filthy body, all rejoicing together, kept moving themselves in the waters, and in a terrible manner brought lightnings and tempests, thunders and hail-storms, in the air, so that all men were kept in horrible fear. Wherefore the Romans, drawing him out of the river Tiber, in derision carried him down to Vienna, and sunk him in the river Rhone. For Vienna is called, as it were, Via Gehennoe, the way of Gehenna, because it was then a place of cursing. But there evil spirits were present, working the same things in the same place. Those men therefore, not enduring such a visitation of demons, removed froth themselves that vessel of malediction, and sent him to be buried in the territory of Losania. (2) And they, seeing that they were troubled by the aforesaid visitations, removed him from themselves, and sunk him in a certain pit surrounded by mountains, where to this day, according to the account of some, certain diabolical machinations are said to bubble up.

 

 

The Giving up of Pontius Pilate

From The New Advent: Fathers of the Church
http://www.csn.net/advent/fathers/fathers.htm

 


AND the writings having come to the city of the Romans, and having been read to the Caesar, with not a few standing by, all were astounded, because through the wickedness of Pilate the darkness and the earthquake had come over the whole world. And the Caesar, filled with rage, sent soldiers, and ordered them to bring Pilate a prisoner.

And when he was brought to the city of the Romans, the Caesar, hearing that Pilate had arrived, sat in the temple of the gods, in the presence of all the senate, and with all the army, and all the multitude of his power; and he

ordered Pilate to stand forward. (1) And the Caesar says to him: Why hast thou, O most impious, dared to do such things, having seen so great miracles in that man? By daring to do an evil deed, thou hast destroyed the whole world.

And Pilate said: O almighty (2) king, I am innocent of these things; but the multitude of the Jews are violent and guilty. And the Caesar said: And who are they? Pilate says: Herod, Archelaus, Philip, Annas and Caiaphas, and all the multitude of the Jews. The Caesar says: For what reason didst thou follow out their counsel? And Pilate says: Their nation is rebellious and insubmissive, not submitting themselves to thy power. And the Caesar said: When they delivered him to thee, thou oughtest to have made him secure, and to have sent him to me, and not to have obeyed them in crucifying such a man, righteous as he was, and one that did such good miracles, as thou hast said in thy report. For from such miracles Jesus was manifestly the Christ, the King of the Jews.

And as the Caesar was thus speaking, when he named the name of Christ, all the multitude of the gods fell down in a body, and became as dust, where the Caesar was sitting with the senate. And the people standing beside the Caesar all began to tremble, on account of the speaking of the word, and the fall of their gods; and being seized with terror, they all went away, each to his own house, wondering at what had happened. And the Caesar ordered Pilate to be kept in security, in order that he might know the truth about Jesus.

And on the following day, the Caesar, sitting in the Capitol with all the senate, tried again to question Pilate. And the Caesar says: Tell the truth, O most impious, because through thy impious action which thou hast perpetrated against Jesus, even here the doing of thy wicked deeds has been shown by the gods having been cast down. Say, then, who is he that has been crucified; because even his name has destroyed all the gods? Pilate said: And indeed the records of him are true; for assuredly I myself was persuaded from his works that he was greater than all the gods whom we worship. And the Caesar said: For what reason, then, didst thou bring against him such audacity and such doings, if thou wert not ignorant of him, and altogether devising mischief against my kingdom? Pilate said: On account of the wickedness and rebellion of the lawless and ungodly Jews, I did this.

And the Caesar, being filled with rage, held a council with all his senate and his power, and ordered a decree to be written against the Jews as follows:--To Licianus, the governor of the chief places of the East, greeting. The reckless deed which has been done at the present time by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the cities of the Jews round about, and their wicked action, has come to my knowledge, that they have forced Pilate to crucify a certain god named Jesus, and on account of this great fault of theirs the world has been darkened and dragged to destruction. Do thou then speedily, with a multitude of soldiers, go to them there, and make them prisoners, in accordance with this decree. Be obedient, and take action against them, and scatter them, and make them slaves among all the nations; and having driven them out of the whole of Judaea, make them the smallest of nations, so that it may not any longer be seen at all, because they are full of wickedness. (3)

And this decree having come into the region of the East, Licianus, obeying from fear of the decree, seized all the nation of the Jews; and those that were left in Judaea he scattered among the nations, and sold for slaves: (4) so that it was known to the Caesar that these things had been

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THE GIVING UP OF PONTIUS PILATE.

done by Licianus against the Jews in the region of the East; and it pleased him.

And again the Caesar set himself to question Pilate; and he orders a captain named Albius to cut off Pilate's head, saying: Just as he laid hands upon the just man named Christ, in like manner also shall he fall, and not find safety.

And Pilate, going away to the place, prayed. in silence, saying: Lord, do not destroy me along with the wicked Hebrews, because I would not have laid hands upon Thee, except for the nation of the lawless Jews, because they were exciting rebellion against me. But Thou knowest that I did it in ignorance. Do not then destroy me for this my sin; but remember not evil against me, O Lord, and against Thy servant Procla, who is standing with me in this the hour of my death, whom Thou didst appoint to prophesy that Thou shouldest be nailed to the cross. Do not condemn her also in my sin; but pardon us, and make us to be numbered in the portion of Thy righteous.

And, behold, when Pilate had finished his prayer, there came a voice out of the heaven, saying: All the generations and families of the nations shall count thee blessed, because under thee have been fulfilled all those things said about me by the prophets; and thou thyself shall be seen as my witness at my second appearing, when I shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel, and those that have not owned my name. And the prefect struck off the head of Pilate; and, behold, an angel of the Lord received it. And his wife Procla, seeing the angel coming and receiving his head, being filled with joy herself also, immediately gave up the ghost, and was buried along with her husband. (1)

 

 

The Martyrdom of the Holy and Glorious Apostle Bartholomew

From The New Advent: Fathers of the Church
http://www.csn.net/advent/fathers/fathers.htm

 


HISTORIANS declare that India is divided into three parts; and the first is said to end at Ethiopia, and the second at Media, and the third completes the country; and the one portion of it ends in the dark, and the other in the ocean. To this India, then, the holy Bartholomew the apostle of Christ went, and took up his quarters in the temple of Astaruth, and lived there as one of the pilgrims and the poor. In this temple, then, there was an idol called Astaruth, which was supposed to heal the infirm, but rather the more injured all. And the people were in entire ignorance of the true God; and from want of knowledge, but rather from the difficulty of going to any other, they all fled for refuge to the false god. And he brought upon them troubles, infirmities, damage, violence, and much affliction; and when any one sacrificed to him, the demon, retiring, appeared to give a cure to the person in trouble; and the foolish people, seeing this, believed in him. But the demons retired, not because they wished to cure men, but that they might the more assail them, and rather have them altogether in their power; and thinking that they were cured bodily, those that sacrificed to them were the more diseased in soul.

And it came to pass, that while the holy apostle of Christ, Bartholomew, stayed there, Astaruth gave no response, and was not able for curing. And when the temple was full of sick persons, who sacrificed to him daily, Astaruth could give no response; and sick persons who had come from far countries were lying there. When, therefore, in that temple not even one of the idols was able to give a response, and was of benefit neither to those that sacrificed to them nor to those who were in the agonies of death on their account, they were compelled to go to another city, where there was a temple of idols, where their great and most eminent god was called Becher. (1) And having there

sacrificed, they demanded, asking why their god Astaruth had not responded to

them. And the demon Becher answered and said to them: From the day and hour

that the true God, who dwelleth in the heavens, sent his apostle Bartholomew

into the regions here, your god Astaruth is held fast by chains of fire, and

can no longer either speak or breathe. They said to him: And who is this

Bartholomew? He answered: He is the friend of the Almighty God, and has just

come into these parts, that he may take away all the worship of the idols in

the name of his God. And the servants of the Greeks said to him: Tell us what

he is like, that we may be able to find him.

And the demon answered and said: He has black hair, a shaggy head, a fair skin, (2) large eyes, beautiful nostrils, his ears hidden by the hair of his head, with a yellow beard, a few grey hairs, of middle height, and neither tall nor stunted, but middling, clothed with a white undercloak bordered with purple, and upon his shoulders a very white cloak; and his clothes have been worn twenty-six years, but neither are they dirty, nor have they waxed old. Seven times (3) a day he bends the knee to the Lord, and seven times (3) a night does he pray to God. His voice is like the sonnet of a strong trumpet; there go along with him angels of God, who allow him neither to be weary, nor to hunger, nor to thirst; his face, and his soul, and his heart are always glad and rejoicing; he foresees everything, he knows and speaks every tongue of every nation. And behold now, as soon as you ask me, and I answer you about him, behold, he knows; for the angels of the Lord tell him; and if you wish to seek him, if he is willing he will appear to you; but if he shall not be willing, you will not be able to find him. I entreat you, therefore, if you shall find him, entreat him not to come here, lest his angels do to me as they have done to my brother Astaruth.

And when the demon had said this, he held his peace. And they returned, and

set to work to look into every face of the pilgrims and poor men, and for two

days they could find him no where. And it came to pass, that one who was

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a demoniac set to work to cry out: Apostle of the Lord, Bartholomew, thy

prayers are burning me up. Then said the apostle to him: Hold thy peace, and

come out of him. And that very hour, the man who had suffered from the demon

for many years was set free.

And Polymius, the king of that country, happened to be standing opposite the apostle; and he had a daughter a demoniac, that is to say, a lunatic. And he heard about the demoniac that had been healed, and sent messengers to the apostle, saying: My daughter is grievously torn; I implore thee, therefore, as thou hast delivered him (1) who suffered for many years, so also to order my daughter to be set free. And the apostle rose up, and went with them. And he sees the king's daughter bound with chains, for she used to tear in pieces all her limbs; and if any one came near her, she used to bite, and no one dared to come near her. The servants say to him: And who is it that dares to touch her? The apostle answered them: Loose her, and let her go. They say to him again: We have her in our power when she is bound with all our force, and dost thou bid us loose her? The apostle says to them: Behold, I keep her enemy bound, and are you even now afraid of her? Go and loose her; and when she has partaken of food, let her rest, and early to-morrow bring her to me. And they went and did as the apostle had commanded them; and thereafter the demon was not able to come near her.

Then the king loaded camels with gold and silver, precious stones, pearls, and clothing, and sought to see the apostle; and having made many efforts, and not found him, he brought everything back to his palace.

And it happened, when the night had passed, and the following day was dawning, the sun having risen, the apostle appeared alone with the king in his

bed-chamber, and said to him: Why didst thou seek me yesterday the whole day

with gold and silver, and precious stones, pearls, and raiment? For these

gifts those persons long for who seek earthly things; but I seek nothing

earthly, nothing carnal. Wherefore I wish to teach thee that the Son of God

deigned to be born as a man out of a virgin's womb. He was conceived in the

womb of the virgin; He took to Himself her who was always a virgin, having

within herself Him who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and all that

therein is. He, born of a virgin, like mankind, took to Himself a beginning in

time, He who has a beginning neither of times nor days; but He Himself made

every beginning, and everything created, whether in things visible or

invisible. And as this virgin did not know man, so she, preserving her

virginity, vowed a vow (2) to the Lord God. And she was the first who did so.

For, from the time that man existed from the beginning of the world, no woman

made a vow of this mode of life; but she, as she was the first among women who

loved this in her heart, said, I offer to Thee, O Lord, my virginity. And, as

I have said to thee, none of mankind dared to speak this word; but she being

called for the salvation of many, observed this--that she might remain a

virgin through the love of God, pure and undefiled. And suddenly, when she

was shut up in her chamber, the archangel Gabriel appeared, gleaming like the

sun; and when she was terrified at the sight, the angel said to her, Fear not,

Mary; for thou hast found favour in the sight of the Lord, and thou shall

conceive. And she cast off fear, and stood up, and said, How shall this be to

me, since I know not man? The angel answered her, The Holy Ghost shall come

upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; wherefore

also that holy thing which is born of thee shall be called Son of God. (3)

Thus, therefore, when the angel had departed from her, she escaped the

temptation of the devil, who deceived the first man when at rest. For, having

tasted of the tree of disobedience, when the woman said to him, Eat, he ate;

and thus the first man was cast out of paradise, and banished to this life.

From him have been horn the whole human race. Then the Son of God having been

born of the virgin, and having become perfect man, and having been baptized,

and after His baptism having fasted forty days, the tempter came and said to

Him: If thou art the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves. And He

answered: Not on bread alone shall man live, but by every word of God. (4) Thus

therefore the devil, who through eating bad conquered the first man, was

conquered through the fasting of the second man; and as he through want of

self-restraint had conquered the first man, the son of the virgin earth, so we

shall conquer through the fasting of the second Adam, the Son of the Virgin

Mary.

The king says to him: And how is it that thou saidst just now that she was the first virgin of whom was born God and man? And the apostle answered: I give thanks to the Lord that thou hearest me gladly. The first man, then, was called Adam; he was formed out of the earth. And the earth, his mother out of which he was, was virgin, because it had neither been polluted by the blood of man nor opened for the burial of any one. The earth, then, was like the virgin, in order that he who conquered the

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son of the virgin earth might be conquered by the Son of the Virgin Mary. And, behold, he did conquer; for his wicked craft, through the eating of the tree by which man, being deceived, came forth from paradise, kept paradise shut. Thereafter this Son of the virgin conquered all the craft of the devil. And his craft was such, that when he saw the Son of the virgin fasting forty days, he knew in truth that He was the true God. The true God and man, therefore, hath not given Himself out to be known, except to those who are pure in

heart, (1) and who serve Him by good works. The devil himself, therefore, when he saw that after the forty days He was again hungry, was deceived into thinking that He was not God, and said to Him, Why hast thou been hungry? tell these stones to become loaves, and eat. And the Lord answered him, Listen, devil; although thou mayst lord it over man, because he has not kept the commandment of God. I have fulfilled the righteousness of God in having fasted, and shall destroy thy power, so that thou shalt no longer lord it over man. And when he saw himself conquered, he again takes Jesus to an exceeding high mountain, and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world, and says, All these will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. The Lord says to him, Get thee behind me, Satan; for it is written, Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shall thou serve. And there was a third temptation for the Lord; for he takes Him up to the pinnacle of the temple, and says, If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down. The Lord says to him, Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God. And the devil disappeared. And he indeed that once conquered Adam, the son of the virgin earth, was thrice conquered by Christ, the Son of the Virgin Mary.

And when the Lord had conquered the tyrant, He sent His apostles into all the world, that He might redeem His people from the deception of the devil; and one of these I am, an apostle of Christ. On this account we seek not after gold and silver, but rather despise them, because we labour to be rich in that place where the kingdom of Him alone endureth (2) for ever, where neither trouble, nor grief, nor groaning, nor death, has place; where there is eternal blessedness, and ineffable joy, and everlasting exultation, and perpetual repose. Wherefore also the demon sitting in your temple, who makes responses to you, is kept in chains through the angel of the Lord who has sent me. Because if thou shall be baptized, and wishest thyself to be enlightened, I will make thee behold Him, and learn from how great evils thou hast been redeemed. At the same time hear also by what means he injures all those who are lying sick in the temple. The devil himself by his own art causes the men to be sick, and again to be healed, in order that they may the more believe in the idols, and in order that he may have place the more in their souls, in order that they may say to the stock and the stone, Thou art our God. (3) But that demon who dwells in the idol is held in subjection, conquered by me, and is able to give no response to those who sacrifice and pray there. And if thou wishest to prove that it is so, I order him to return into the idol, and I will make him confess with his own mouth that he is bound, and able to give no response.

The king says to him: To-morrow, at the first hour of the day, the priests are ready to sacrifice in the temple, and I shall come there, and shall be able to see this wonderful work.

And it came to pass on the following day, as they were sacrificing, the devil began to cry out: Refrain, ye wretched ones, from sacrificing to me, lest ye suffer worse for my sake; because I am bound in fiery chains, and kept in subjection by an angel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whom the Jews crucified: for, being afraid of him, they condemned him to death. And he put to death Death himself, our king, and he bound our prince in chains of fire; and on the third day, having conquered death and the devil, rose in glory, and gave the sign of the cross to his apostles, and sent them out into the four quarters of the world; and one of them is here just now, who has bound me, and keeps me in subjection. I implore you, therefore, supplicate him on my account, that he may set me free to go into other habitations.

Then the apostle answered: Confess, unclean demon, who is it that has injured all those that are lying here from heavy diseases? The demon answered: The devil, our ruler, he who is bound, he sends us against men, that, having first injured their bodies, we may thus also make an assault upon their souls when they sacrifice to us. For then we have complete power over them, when they believe in us and sacrifice to us. And when, on account of the mischief done to them, we retire, we appear curing them, and are worshipped by them as gods; but in truth we are demons, and the servants of him who was crucified, the Son of the virgin, have bound us. For from that day on which the Apostle Bartholomew came I am punished, kept hound in chains of fire. And for this reason I speak, because he has commanded me. At the same time, I dare not utter more when the apostle is present, neither I nor our rulers.

The apostle says to him: Why dost thou not

556

save all that have come to thee? The demon says to him: When we injure their bodies, unless we first injure their souls, we do not let their bodies go. The apostle says to him: And how do you injure their souls? The demon answered him: When they believe that we are gods, and sacrifice to us, God withdraws from those who sacrifice, and we do not take away the sufferings of their bodies, but retire into their souls.

Then the apostle says to the people: Behold, the god whom you thought to

cure you, does the more mischief to your souls and bodies. Hear even now your

Maker who dwells in the heavens, and do not believe in lifeless stones and

stocks. And if you wish that I should pray for you, and that all these may

receive health, take down this idol, and break it to pieces; and when you have

done this, I will sanctify this temple in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

and having baptized all of you who are in it in the baptism of the Lord, and

sanctified you, I will save all.

Then the king gave orders, and all the people brought ropes and crowbars, and were not at all aide to take down the idol. Then the apostle says to them: Unfasten the ropes. And when they had unfastened them, he said to the demon dwelling in it: In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, come out of this idol, and go into a desert place, where neither winged creature utters a cry, nor voice of man has ever been heard. And straightway he arose at the word of the apostle, and lifted it up from its foundations; and in that same hour all the idols that were in that place were broken to pieces.

Then all cried out with one voice, saying: He alone is God Almighty whom Bartholomew the apostle proclaims. Then the holy Bartholomew, having spread forth his hands to heaven, said: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, who for the salvation of men hast sent forth Thine only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in order that He might redeem by His own blood all of us enslaved by sin, and declare us to be Thy sons, that we may know Thee, the true God, that Thou existest always to eternity God without end: one God, the Father, acknowledged in Son and Holy Spirit; one God, the Son, glorified in Father and Holy Spirit; one God, the Holy Spirit, worshipped in Father and Son; and acknowledged to be truly one, (1) the Father unbegotten, the Son begotten, the Holy Spirit proceeding; and in Thee the Father, and in the Holy Spirit, Thine only begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ is, in whose name Thou hast given us power to heal the sick, to cure paralytics, to expel demons, and raise the dead: for He said to us, Verily I say unto you, that whatever ye shall ask in my name ye shall receive. (2) I entreat, then, that in His name all this multitude may be saved, that all may know that Thou alone art God in heaven, and in the earth, and in the sea, who seekest the salvation of men through that same Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom Thou livest and reignest in unity of the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

And when all responded to the Amen, suddenly there appeared an angel of the Lord, shining brighter than the sun, winged, and other four angels holding up the four corners of the temple; and with his finger the one sealed the temple and the people, and said: Thus saith the Lord who hath sent me, As you have all been purified from all your infirmity, so also this temple shall be

purified from all uncleanness, and from the demons dwelling in it, whom the

apostle of God has ordered to go into a desert place; for so hath God

commanded me, that I may manifest Him to you. And when ye behold Him, fear

nothing; but when I make the sign of the cross, so also do ye with your finger

seal your faces, and these evil things will flee from you. Then he showed them

the demon who dwelt in the temple, like an Ethiopian, black as soot; his face

sharp like a dog's, thin-cheeked, with hair down to his feet, eves like fire,

sparks coming out of his mouth; and out of his nostrils came forth smoke like

sulphur, with wings spined like a porcupine; and his hands were bound with

fiery chains, and he was firmly kept in. And the angel of the Lord said to

him: As also the apostle hath commanded, I let thee go; go where voice of man

is not heard, and be there until the great day of judgment. And when he let

him go, he flew away, groaning and weeping, and disappeared. And the angel of

the Lord went up into heaven in the sight of all.

Then the king, and also the queen, with their two sons, and with all his people, and with all the multitude of the city, and every city round about, and country, and whatever land his kingdom ruled over, were saved, and believed, and were baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And the king laid aside his diadem, and followed Bartholomew the apostle of Christ.

And after these things the unbelievers of the Greeks, having come together to Astreges (3) the king, who was the eider brother of the king who had been

baptized, say to him: O king, thy brother Polymius has become disciple to a

certain magician, who has taken down our temples, and broken our gods to

pieces. And while they were thus speaking and weeping, behold, again there

came also some others from the cities round about, both priests (4) and people;

and

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they set about weeping and making accusations (1) before the king. Then King Astreges in a rage sent a thousand armed men along with those priests, in order that, wherever they should find the apostle, they might bring him to him bound. And when they bad done so, and found him, and brought him, he says to him: Art thou he who has perverted my brother from the gods? To whom the apostle answered: I have not perverted him, but have converted him to God. The king says to him: Art thou he who caused our gods to be broken in pieces? The apostle says to him: I gave power to the demons who were in them, and they broke in pieces the dumb and senseless idols, that all men might believe in God Almighty, who dwelleth in the heavens. The king says to him: As thou hast made my brother deny his gods, and believe in thy God, so I also will make you reject thy God and believe in my gods. The apostle says to him: If I have bound and kept in subjection the god which thy brother worshipped, and at my order the idols were broken in pieces, if thou also art able to do the same to my God, thou canst persuade me also to sacrifice to thy gods; but if thou canst do nothing to my God, I will break all thy gods in pieces; but do thou believe in my God.

And when he had thus spoken, the king was informed that his god Baldad (2) and all the other idols had fallen down, and were broken in pieces. Then the king rent the purple in which he was clothed, and ordered the holy apostle Bartholomew to be beaten with rods; and after having been thus scourged, to be beheaded.

And innumerable multitudes came from all the cities, to the number of twelve thousand, who had believed in him along with the king; and they took up the remains of the apostle with singing of praise and with all glory, and they laid them in the royal tomb, and glorified God. And the king Astreges having heard of this, ordered him to be thrown into the sea; and his remains were carried into the island of Liparis.

And it came to pass on the thirtieth day after the apostle was carried away, that the king Astreges was overpowered by a demon and miserably strangled; and all the priests were strangled by demons, and perished on account of their rising against (3) the apostle, and thus died by an evil fate.

And there was great fear and trembling, and all came to the Lord, and were baptized by the presbyters who had been ordained by the holy apostle Bartholomew. And according to the commandment of the apostle, all the clergy of the people made King Polymius bishop; and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ he received the grace of healing, and began to do signs. And he

remained in the bishopric twenty years; and having prospered in all things,

and governed the church well, and guided it in right opinions, (4) he fell

asleep in peace, and went to the Lord: to whom be glory and strength for ever

and ever. Amen.

 

 

THE MARTYRDOM OF MATTHEW

 

From "The Apocryphal New Testament"
M.R. James-Translation and Notes
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924

The Noncanonical Homepage


 

It is evidently pretty late, and it starts with a perversion of the Acts of Andrew and Matthias, for it assumes that Matthew and not Matthias was Andrew's colleague among the man-eaters; and it would seem that very little had been done in the way of converting them.

The beginning also seems to imply a previous story, a vision of the Innocents in Paradise.

 


1 The holy Matthew remained alone on the Mount praying, in the apostolic robe, barefoot, and Jesus appeared to him in the form of one of the children that were singing in Paradise. 2 A dialogue. 3 Matthew said: That I saw thee in paradise singing with the other children that were slain at Bethlehem I know; but how thou camest hither so quickly, I marvel. But tell me, where is that ungodly Herod?' He dwelleth in hell, and there is prepared for him fire unquenchable, unending gehenna, boiling mire, the worm that sleepeth not, because he killed 3,000 children. 4 Now take my Staff and go to Myrna the city of the man-eaters, and plant it at the gate of the church which you and Andrew founded. It will become a tree, and a spring will rise at its foot, and the man-eaters will eat of the tree and wash in the spring and their bodies will be changed and they will be ashamed of their nakedness, and use fire to cook their food, and learn to know me.' 5 At the city gate he was met by Phulbana the king's wife, Phulbanos his son and Erba his wife, all possessed by devils -and the devils cried out and threatened Matthew that they would rouse the king against him. He cast them out. 6 The bishop Plato heard and came out to meet him with the clergy. And Matthew preached to the people, 7 and planted the staff. And the people became humanized- 8 He baptized the queen and the rest. 9 At dawn the staff was become a tree. 10 Phulbanus the king was pleased with all this at first, but when they refused to quit Matthew he resolved to burn him. 11 Matthew had a consoling vision, and warned the people of his death. 12 The devil whom he had cast out disguised himself as a soldier and went to the king and advised him to seize Matthew. 13 He sent four soldiers, who could only hear two men talking (Matthew and Plato), and then ten who were routed by seeing a child with a torch. 14 The devil described to the king the difficulty of seizing Matthew and all that he could do. The king said: Take him yourself. l cannot, for he has destroyed all our race. 15 Who, then, are you? said the king. I am the demon Asmodaeus who was in your wife. The king adjured him to depart without harming any one, and he vanished as smoke. 16 That day the king remained quiet, but next day took two soldiers and went to the church and sent for Matthew. 17 He came out with Plato, but the king could not see him. Matthew opened his eyes. 18 The king treacherously led him to the palace. They pinned him hand and foot to the earth and covered him with papyrus soaked in dolphin oil, and poured brimstone, asphalt, and pitch on him, and heaped up tow and wood. 19 And the fire turned to dew, and all the people praised God. 20 Much charcoal from the royal baths was brought, and the twelve gods of gold and silver were set round the fire. 21 Matthew looking up to heaven, cried: Adonai Eloi Sabaoth marmari marmounth. The fire blazed up, and the king said: Where is now your magic? But all the fire blew out about the idols and melted them -whose weight was 1,000 talents of gold. And the king lamented that gods of stone and clay were superior. 22 The fire burnt up many soldiers, and then took the form of a dragon and chased the king to the palace, and curled round so that he could not go in and made him come back to Matthew, crying for help. Matthew rebuked the fire and prayed, and gave up the ghost.

23 The king had him borne in state to the palace. The body and robes were intact, and sometimes he was seen on the bier, sometimes following or preceding it, and laying his hand on Plato's head. And many sick were healed.

24 When they reached the palace Matthew was seen to rise from the bier and ascend to heaven, led by a beautiful child, and twelve men in crowns, and we saw the child crown him. The king had a coffin made of iron and sealed it with lead, and privately put it on a ship at midnight and sank it in the sea.

25 All night the brethren watched at the palace gate, and at dawn a voice came: Plato, take the gospel and the psalter and go to the east of the palace and sing Alleluia, and read the gospel, and offer of the bread and the vine, pressing three clusters into the cup, and communicate with me, as the Lord Jesus showed us the offering that is above, on the third day after he rose. So it was done, and the chanter went up on a great stone and sang: Precious in the sight of the Lord . . . . I slept and rose up again . . . And they answered: Shall not the sleeper awake? . . . Now will I arise, saith the Lord. Alleluia. They read the gospel and made the offering.

26 It was about the sixth hour, and Plato looked out to sea seven stadia away, and lo, Matthew standing on the sea between two men in bright apparel, and the beautiful child before them. And they said Amen, Alleluia. And the sea was to look upon like a crystal stone, and before the Child a cross came up out of the deep, and at the lower end of it the coffin of Matthew: and in a moment it was set on the land where they were.

27 The king beheld all from a window, and came down and fell at their feet and confessed his sin and his belief. He would give them the palace for a sanctuary, and the coffin should be laid on his golden couch in the great hall. Plato baptized and communicated him. 28 The apostle appeared and said: Thy name shall no more be Bulphamnus but Matthew; thy son not Bulphandrus but also Matthew; thy wife Ziphagia, Sophia; and his wife Orba, Synesis. He ordained the king a priest, being 37, his son a deacon, being 17: his wife a priestess (presbytis) and his son's wife a deaconess, being 17. [29 (in one recension only): The king destroyed his idols, and issued a decree establishing the new faith.] 30 Matthew bade them offer the offering daily for forty-nine days and repeat it yearly, and told Plato he should join him in three years, and be succeeded by the king, and he by his son. Then with two angels he departed to heaven. 31 And a voice came, promising peace and safety to the city.

His day is the 14th of Gorpiaeus (al. 16 November; Lat. 11 October).

The most effective part of these Acts is the vision after Matthew's death: the interest in liturgy is quite prominent here.

 


 

Scanned and Edited by
Joshua Williams
Northwest Nazarene College, 1995

 

 

 

Revelation of the Mystery of the Cross

 

from the Acts of John

 


After the Lord had danced with us, my beloved, he went out. And we were like men amazed or fast asleep, and we fled this way and that. And so I saw him suffer, and did not wait by his suffering , but fled to the Mount of Olives and wept at what had come to pass. And when he was hung upon the cross on Friday, at the sixth hour of the day there came a darkness over the whole earth. And my Lord stood in the middle of the cavve and gave light to it and said, "John, for the people below in Jerusalem. I am being crucified and pierced with lances and reeds and given vinegar and gall to drink. But to you am speaking, and listen to what i speak. I put into your mind to come up to this mountain so that you may hear what a disciple should learn from his teacher and a man of God." And when he had said this he showed me a cross of light firmly fixed , and around the cross a great crowd, which had no single form; and in the cross was another form and the same likeness. And I saw the Lord himself above the cross, having no shape but only a kind of voice; yet not that voice that we knew, but one that was sweet and gentle and truly the voice of God, which said to me: "John, there must be one man to hear these things from me: for I need one who is ready to hear. This cross of Light is sometimes called logos by me for your sakes, sometimes Mind, sometimes Jesus, Sometimes Christ, Sometimes a door, sometimes a way, sometimes bread, sometimes seed, sometimes ressurrection, sometimes Son, sometimes Father, sometimes Spirit, sometimes Life, sometimes Truth, Sometimes Pistis(Faith), sometimes Charis(grace); and so is it called for mans sake."

"But what it truly is, as known in itself and spoken to us, is this; It is the distinction of all things; and the strong uplifting of what is firmly fixed out of what is unstable, and the harmony of Wisdom, being Wisdom in harmony. But there are places on the right and on the left, Powers, Authorities, Principalities and demons, threatenings,passions,devils, Satan, and the inferior root from which the nature of transient things proceeded." "This cross then is that which has united all things by the word and which has seperated off what is transitory and inferior, which has also compacted things into one. But this is not that wooden cross which you shall see when you go down from here; nor am I the man who is upon that cross. I whom now you do not see but only hear my voice. I was taken to be what I am not, I who am not what for many others I was; but what they will say of me is mean and unworthy of me. Since then the place of my rest is neither to be seen nor told, much more shall I, the Lord of this place, be neither seen nor told." "The multitude around the cross that is not of one form is the inferior nature. And those whom you saw in the cross, even if they have not yet one form - not every member of him who has come down has yet been gathered together. But when human nature is taken up , and the race that comes to me and obeys my voice, then he who now hears me shall be united with this race and shall no longer be what he now is, but shall be above them as I am now. For so long as you do not call yourself mine, I am not what I am, but if you hear me, you also as hearer shall be what I was, when you are as I am with myself, ;for from me you are what I am. Therefore ignore the many and despise those who are outside of the mystery; for you must know that I am wholly with the Father, and the Father with me.".

"So then I have suffered none of those things which they will say of me; even that suffering which I showed you and the rest in my dance, I will that it be called a mystery. For what you are, that I have shown you, as you see; but what I am is known to me alone, and no one else. Let me have what is mine; what s yours you must see through me; but me you must see truly- not that which I am, as I said, but that which you, as my kinsman, are able to know. You hear that I suffered, yet I suffered not; and that I suffered not, yet did I suffer; annd that I was pierced , yet i was not wounded; that I was hanged, yet I was not hanged; that blood flowed from me; yet it did not flow, and, in a word, that what they say of me, I did not endure, but what they do not say, those things I did suffer. Now what these are, I secretly show you; for I know you will understand. You must know me, then, as a torment of the logos, the blood of the logos, the wounding of logos, the fastening of the logos, the death of the logos. And so I speak, discarding the manhood. The first then that you shall know is the Logos, then you shall know the Lord, and thirdly the man, and what he has suffered."

When he had said these things to me, and others which I know not how to say as he wills, he was taken up, without any of the multitude seeing him. And going down I laughed at them all, since he had told me what they said about him; and I held this one thing fast in my mind, that the Lord had performed everything as a symbol(sign) and a dispensation for the conversion and salvation of man.

 

 

The Passing of Mary

From The New Advent: Fathers of the Church
http://www.csn.net/advent/fathers/fathers.htm

 


FIRST LATIN FORM.

CONCERNING THE PASSING (1) OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY.

In that time before the Lord came to His passion, and among many words which the mother asked of the Son, she began to ask Him about her own departure, addressing Him as follows:--O most dear Son, I pray Thy holiness, that when my soul goes out of my body, Thou let me know on the third day before; and do Thou, beloved Son, with Thy angels, receive it. (2) Then He

received the prayer of His beloved mother, and said to her: O palace and

temple of the living God, O blessed mother, (3) O queen of all saints, and

blessed above all women, before thou carriedst me in thy womb, I always

guarded thee, and caused thee to be fed daily with my angelic food, (4) as thou

knowest: how can I desert thee, after thou hast carried me, and nourished me,

and brought me down in flight into Egypt, and endured many hardships for me?

Know, then, that my angels have always guarded thee, and will guard thee even

until thy departure. But after I undergo suffering for men, as it is written,

and rise again on the third day, and after forty days ascend into heaven, when

thou shall see me coming to thee (5) with angels and archangels, with saints

and with virgins, and with my disciples, know for certain that thy soul will

be separated from the body, and I shall carry it into heaven, where it shall

never at all have tribulation or anguish. Then she joyed and gloried, and

kissed the knees of her Son, and blessed the Creator of heaven and earth, who

gave her such a gift through Jesus Christ her Son.

In the second year, therefore, after the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, the most blessed Virgin Mary continued always in prayer day and night. And on the third day before she passed away, an angel of the Lord came to her, and saluted her, saying: Hail, Mary, full of grace! the Lord be with thee. And she answered, saying: Thanks to God. Again he said to her: Receive this palm which the Lord promised to thee. And she, giving thanks to God, with great joy received from the hand of the angel the palm sent to her. The angel of the Lord said to her: Thy assumption will be after three days. And she answered: Thanks to God. (6)

Then she called Joseph of the city of Arimathaea, and the other (7) disciples of the Lord; and when they, both relations and acquaintances, were assembled, she announced her departure to all standing there. Then the blessed Mary washed (8) herself, and dressed herself like a queen, and waited the advent of her Son, as He had promised to her. And she asked all her relations to keep beside (9) her, and give her comfort. And she had along with her three virgins, Sepphora, Abigea, and Zael; but the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ had been already dispersed throughout the whole world to preach to the people of God.

Then at the third hour (10) there were great thunders, and rains, and lightnings, and tribulation, and an earthquake, (11) while queen Mary was standing in her chamber. John the evangelist and apostle was suddenly brought from Ephesus, and entered the chamber of the blessed Mary, and saluted her, and said to her: Hail, Mary, full of grace! the Lord be with thee. And she answered: Thanks to God. And raising herself up, she kissed Saint John. And the blessed Mary said to him: O my dearest son, why hast

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thou left me at such a time, and hast not paid heed to the commands of thy

Master, to take care of me, as He commanded thee while He was hanging on the

cross? And he asked pardon with bended knee. Then the blessed Mary gave him

her benediction, and again kissed him. And when she meant to ask him whence he

came, and for what reason he had come to Jerusalem, behold, all the disciples

of the Lord, except Thomas who is called Didymus, were brought by a cloud to

the door of the chamber of the blessed Mary. They stood and went in, and

saluted the queen with the following words, and adored her: Hail, Mary, full

of grace! the Lord be with thee. And she eagerly rose quickly, and bowed

herself, and kissed them, and gave thanks to God. These are the names of the

disciples of the Lord who were brought thither in the cloud: John the

evangelist and James his brother, Peter and Paul, Andrew, Philip, Luke,

Barnabas, Bartholomew and Matthew, Matthias who is called Justus, (1) Simon the Chananaean, Judas and his brother, Nicodemus and Maximianus, and many others who cannot be numbered. Then the blessed Mary said to her brethren: What is this, that you have all come to Jerusalem? Peter, answering, said to her: We had need to ask this of thee, and dost thou question us? Certainly, as I think, none of us knows why we have come here to-day with such rapidity. I was at Antioch, and now I am here. All declared plainly the place where they had been that day. And they all wondered that they were there when they heard these things. The blessed Mary said to them: I asked my Son, before He endured the passion, that He and you should be at my death; and He granted me this gift. Whence you may know that my departure will be to-morrow. (2) Watch and pray with me, that when the Lord comes to receive my soul, He may find you watching. Then all promised that they would watch. And they watched and prayed the whole night, with psalms and chants, with great illuminations.

And when the Lord's day came, at the third hour, just as the Holy Spirit

descended upon the apostles in a cloud, (3) so Christ descended with a

multitude of angels, and received the soul of His beloved mother. For there

was such splendour and perfume of sweetness, and angels singing the songs of

songs, where the Lord says, As a lily among thorns, so is my love among the

daughters, (4) that all who were there present fell on their faces, as the

apostles fell when Christ transfigured Himself before them on Mount Thabor,

and for a whole hour and a half no one was able to rise. But when the light

went away, and at the same time with the light itself, the soul of the blessed

virgin Mary was taken up into heaven with psalms, and hymns, and songs of

songs. And as the cloud went up the whole earth shook, and in one moment all

the inhabitants of Jerusalem openly saw the departure of St. Mary.

And that same hour Satan entered into them, and they began to consider what they were to do with her body. And they took up weapons, that they might burn her body and kill the apostles, because from her had gone forth the dispersions of Israel, on account of their sins and the gathering together of the Gentiles. But they were struck with blindness, striking their heads against the walls, and striking each other. (5) Then the apostles, alarmed by so much brightness, arose, and with psalms carried the holy body down from Mount Zion to the valley of Jehoshaphat. But as they were going in the middle of the road, behold, a certain Jew, (6) Reuben by name, wishing to throw to the ground the holy bier with the body of the blessed Mary. But his hands dried up, even to the elbow; whether he would or not, he went down even to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, weeping and lamenting because his hands were raised to the bier, and he was not able to draw back his hands to himself. And he began to ask the apostles (7) that by their prayer he might be saved and made a Christian. Then the apostles, bending their knees, asked the Lord to let him loose. And he, being healed that same hour, giving thanks to God and kissing the feet of the queen of all the saints and apostles, was baptized in that same place, and began to preach the name of our God Jesus Christ.

Then the apostles with great honour laid the body in the tomb, weeping and singing through exceeding love and sweetness. And suddenly there shone round them a light from heaven, and they fell to the ground, and the holy body was taken up by angels into heaven.

Then the most blessed Thomas was suddenly brought to the Mount of Olivet, and saw the most blessed body going up to heaven, and began to cry out and say: O holy mother, blessed mother, spotless mother, if I have now found grace because I see thee, make thy servant joyful through thy compassion, because thou art going to heaven. Then the girdle with which the

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apostles had encircled the most holy body was thrown down from heaven to the blessed Thomas. And taking it, and kissing it, and giving thanks to God, he came again into the Valley of Jehoshaphat. He found all the apostles and another great crowd there beating their breasts on account of the brightness which they had seen. And seeing and kissing each other, the blessed Peter said to him: Truly thou hast always been obdurate and unbelieving, because for thine unbelief it was not pleasing to God that thou shouldst be along with us at the burial of the mother of the Saviour. And he, beating his breast, said: I know and firmly believe that I have always been a bad and an unbelieving man; therefore I ask pardon of all of you for my obduracy and unbelief. And they. all prayed for him. Then the blessed Thomas said: Where have you laid her body? And they pointed out the sepulchre with their finger. And he said: The body which is called most holy is not there. Then the blessed Peter said to him: Already on another occasion thou wouldst not believe the resurrection of our Master and Lord at our word, unless thou went to touch Him with thy fingers, and see Him; how wilt thou believe us that the holy body is here? Still he persists saying: It is not here. Then, as it were in a rage, they went to the sepulchre, which was a new one hollowed out in the rock, and took up the stone; but they did not find the body, not knowing what to say, because they had been convicted by the words of Thomas. Then the blessed Thomas told them how he was singing mass in India--he still had on his sacerdotal robes. He, not knowing the word of God, had been brought to the Mount of Olivet, and saw the most holy body of the blessed Mary going up into heaven, and prayed her to give him a blessing. She heard his prayer, and threw him her girdle which she had about her. And the apostles seeing the belt which they had put about her, glorifying God, all asked pardon of the blessed Thomas, on account of the benediction which the blessed Mary had given him, and because he had seen the most holy body going up into heaven. And the blessed Thomas gave them his benediction, and said: Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (1)

And the same cloud by which they had been brought carried them back each to his own place, just like Philip when he baptized the eunuch, as is read in the Acts of the Apostles; (2) and as Habakkuk the prophet carried food to Daniel, who was in the lions' den, and quickly returned to Judaea. (3) And so also the apostles quickly returned to where they had at first been, to preach to the people of God. Nor is it to be wondered at that He should do such things, who went into the virgin and came out of her though her womb was

closed; who, though the gates were shut, went in to His disciples; (4) who made

the deaf to hear, raised the dead, cleansed the lepers, gave sight to the

blind, (5) and did many other wonderful things. To believe this is no doubtful

matter.

I am Joseph who laid the Lord's body in my sepulchre, and saw Him rising again; and who, before the ascension and after the ascension of the Lord, always kept his most sacred temple the blessed ever-virgin Mary, and who have kept in writing and in my breast the things which came forth from the mouth of God, and how the things mentioned above were done by the judgment of God. And I have made known to all, Jews and Gentiles, those things which I saw with my eyes, and heard with my ears; and as long as I live I shall not cease to declare them. And her, whose assumption is at this day venerated and

worshipped throughout the whole world, let us assiduously entreat that she be

mindful of us in the presence of her most pious Son in heaven, to whom is

praise and glory through endless ages of ages. Amen. (6)

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SECOND LATIN FORM.

HERE BEGINNETH THE PASSING OF THE BLESSED MARY.

1. (1) THEREFORE, when the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was hanging on the tree fastened by the nails of the cross for the life of the whole world, He saw about the cross His mother standing, and John the evangelist, whom He

peculiarly loved above the rest of the apostles, because he alone of them was

a virgin in the body. He gave him, therefore, the charge of holy Mary, saying

to him: Behold thy mother! and saying, to her: Behold thy son! (2) From that

hour the! holy mother of God remained specially in the care of John, as long

as she had her habitation in this life. And when the apostles had divided the

world by lot for preaching, she settled in the house of his parents near Mount

Olivet.

2. In the second year, therefore, after Christ had vanquished death, and ascended up into heaven, on a certain day, Mary, burning with a longing for Christ, began to weep alone, within the shelter of her abode. And, behold, an angel, shining in a dress of great light, stood before her and gave utterance to (3) the words of salutation saying: Hail! thou blessed by the Lord, receive the salutation of Him who commanded safety to Jacob by His prophets. Behold, said He a palm branch--I have brought it to thee from the paradise of the Lord--which thou wilt cause to be carried before thy bier, when on the third day thou shalt be taken up from the body. For, lo, thy Son awaits thee with thrones and angels, and all the powers of heaven. Then Mary said to the angel: I beg that all the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ he assembled to me. To whom the angel said: Behold, to-day, by the power of my Lord Jesus Christ, all the apostles

will come to thee. And Mary says to him: I ask that thou send upon me thy blessing, that no power of the lower world may withstand me in that hour in which my soul shall go out of my body, and that I may not see the prince of darkness. And the angel said: No power indeed of the lower world will hurt thee; and thy Lord God, whose servant and messenger I am, hath given thee eternal blessing; but do not think that the privilege of not seeing the prince of darkness is to be given thee by me, but by Him whom thou hast carried in thy womb; for to Him belongeth power over all for ever and ever. Thus saying, the angel departed with great splendour. And that palm shone with exceeding great light. Then Mary, undressing herself, put on better garments. And, taking the palm which she had received from the hands of the angel, she went out to the mount of Olivet, and began to pray, and say: I had not been worthy, O Lord, to bear Thee, unless Thou hadst had compassion on me; but nevertheless I have kept the treasure which Thou entrustedst to me. Therefore I ask of Thee, O King of glory, that the power of Gehenna hurt me not. For if the heavens and the angels daily tremble before Thee, how much more man who is made from the ground, who possesses no good thing, except as much as he has received from Thy benignant bounty! Thou art, O Lord, God always blessed for ever. And thus saying, she went back to her dwelling.

3. And, behold, suddenly, while St. John was preaching in Ephesus, on the

Lord's day, at the third hour of the day, there was a great earthquake, and a

cloud raised him and took him up from the eyes of all, and brought him before

the door of the house where Mary was. And knocking at the door, he immediately

went in. And when Mary saw him, she exulted in joy, and said: I beg of thee,

my son John, be mindful of the words of my Lord Jesus Christ, in which He

entrusted me to thee. For, behold, on the third day, when I am to depart from

the body, (4) I have heard the plans of the Jews, saying, Let us wait for the

day when she who bore that seducer shall die, and let us burn her booty with

fire. She therefore called St. John, anti led him into the secret chamber of

the house, and showed him the robe of her burial, and that palm of light which

she had received from the

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angel, instructing him that he should cause it to be carried before her couch when she was going to her tomb.

4. And St. John said to her: How shall I alone perform thy funeral rites, unless my brethren and fellow-apostles of my Lord Jesus Christ come to pay h

 

 

ACTS OF PAUL AND THECLA

As Paul was going up to Iconium after the flight from Antioch, his fellow-travellers were Demas and Ermogenes, full of hypocrisy; and they were importunate with Paul, as if they loved him. But Paul, looking only to the goodness of Christ, did them no harm, but loved them exceedingly, so that he made the oracles of the Lord sweet to them in the teaching both of the birth and the resurrection of the Beloved; and he gave them an account, word for word, of the great things of Christ, how He had been revealed to him.

A certain man, by name Onesiphorus, hearing that Paul had come to Iconium, went out to meet him with his children Silas and Zeno, and his wife Lectra, in order that he might entertain him: for Titus had informed him what Paul was like in appearance: for he had not seen him in the flesh, but only in the spirit. He went along the road to Lystra, and stood waiting for him, and kept looking at the passers by according to the description of Titus. He saw Paul coming, a man small in size, bald-headed, bandy-legged, well-built, with eyebrows meeting, rather long-nosed, full of grace. For sometimes he seemed like a man, and sometimes he had the countenance of an angel. Paul, seeing Onesiphorus, smiled; and Onesiphorus said: Hail, O servant of the blessed God! He said: Grace be with thee and thy house. And Demas and Ermogenes were jealous, and showed greater hypocrisy; so that Demas said: Are not we of the blessed God, that thou hast not thus saluted us? And Onesiphorus said: I do not see in you the fruit of righteousness; but if such you be, come you also into my house and rest yourselves.

Paul having gone into the house of Onesiphorus, there was great joy, and bending of knees, and breaking of bread, and the word of God about self-control and the resurrection; Paul saying: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God: blessed are they that have kept the flesh chaste, for they shall become a temple of God: blessed are they that control themselves, for God shall speak with them: blessed are they that have kept aloof from this world, for they shall be called upright: blessed are they that have wives as not having them, for they shall receive God for their portion: blessed are they that have the fear of God, for they shall become angels of God: blessed are they that have kept the baptism, for they shall rest beside the Father and the Son: blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy, and shall not see the bitter day of judgment: blessed are the bodies of the virgins, for they shall be well pleasing to God, and shall not lose the reward of their chastity; for the word of the Father shall become to them a work of salvation against the day of His Son, and they shall have rest for ever and ever.

While Paul was thus speaking in the midst of the church in the house of Onesiphorus, a certain virgin Thecla, the daughter of Theocleia, betrothed to a man named Thamyris, sitting at the window close by, listened night and day to the discourse of virginity and prayer, and did not look away from the window, but paid earnest heed to the faith, rejoicing exceedingly. When she still saw many women going in beside Paul, she also had an eager desire to be deemed worthy to stand in the presence of Paul, and to hear the word of Christ; for never had she seen his figure, but heard his word only.

As she did not stand away from the window, her mother sends to Thamyris; and he comes gladly, as if already receiving her in marriage. Theocleia said: I have a strange story to tell thee, Thamyris; for assuredly for three days and three nights Thecla does not rise from the window, neither to eat nor to drink; but looking earnestly as if upon some pleasant sight, she is so devoted to a foreigner teaching deceitful and artful discourses, that I wonder how a virgin of such modesty is so painfully put about. Thamyris, this man will overturn the city of the Iconians, and thy Thecla too besides; for all the women and the young men go in beside him, being taught to fear God and to live in chastity. Moreover also my daughter, tied to the window like a spider, lays hold of what is said by Paul with a strange eagerness and awful emotion; for the virgin looks eagerly at what is said by him, and has been captivated. But do thou go near and speak to her, for she has been betrothed to thee.

Thamyris going near, and kissing her, but at the same time also being afraid of her overpowering emotion, said: Thecla, my betrothed, why dost thou sit thus? and what sort of feeling holds thee overpowered? Turn round to thy Thamyris, and be ashamed. Moreover also her mother said the same things: Why dost thou sit thus looking down, my child, and answering nothing, but like a mad woman? They wept fearfully, Thamyris indeed for the loss of a wife, and Theocleia of a child, and the maidservants of a mistress: there was accordingly much confusion in the house of mourning. While these things were thus going on, Thecla did not turn round, but kept attending earnestly to the word of Paul.

Thamyris starting up, went forth into the street, and kept watching those going in to him and coming out. And he saw two men bitterly contending with each other; and he said: Men, tell me who this is among you, leading astray the souls of young men, and deceiving virgins, so that they do not marry, but remain as they are. I promise, therefore, to give you money enough if you tell me about him; for I am the first man of the city. Demas and Ermogenes said to him: Who this is, indeed, we do not know; but he deprives young men of wives, and maidens of husbands, saying, There is for you a resurrection in no other way, unless you remain chaste, and pullute not the flesh, but keep it chaste. Thamyris said to them: Come into my house, and rest yourselves. They went to a sumptuous dinner, and much wine, and great wealth, and a splendid table; and Thamyris made them drink, from his love to Thecla, and his wish to get her as his wife. Thamyris said during the dinner: Ye men, what is his teaching, tell me, that I also may know; for I am no little distressed about Thecla, because she thus loves the stranger, and I am prevented from marrying.

Demas and Ermogenes said: Bring him before the governor Castelios on the charge of persuading the multitudes to embrace the new teaching of the Christians, and he will speedily destroy him, and thou shalt have Thecla as thy wife. We shall teach thee that the resurrection of which this man speaks has taken place, because it has already taken place in the children which we have; we rose again when we came to the knowledge of the true God.

Thamyris, hearing these things, being filled with anger and rage, rising up early, went to the house of Onesiphorus with archons and public officers, and a great crowd with batons, saying: Thou hast corrupted the city of the Iconians, and her that was betrothed to me, so that she will pot have me: let us go to the governor Castelios. All the multitude said: Away with the magician; for he has corrupted all our wives, and the multitudes have been persuaded to change their opinions.

Thamyris, standing before the tribunal, said with a great shout: O proconsul, this man, who he is we know not, who makes virgins averse to marriage; let him say before thee on what account he teaches these things. Demas and Ermogenes said to Thamyris: Say that he is a Christian, and thus thou wilt do away with him. But the proconsul stayed his intention, and called Paul, saying: Who art thou, and what dost thou teach? for they bring no shall charges against thee. Paul lifted up his voice, saying: Since I am this day examined as to what I teach, listen, O proconsul: A living God, a God of retributions, a jealous God, a God in need of nothing, consulting for the salvation of men, has sent me that I may reclaim them from corruption and uncleanness, and from all pleasure, and from death, that they may not sin. Wherefore God sent His own Son, whom I preach, and in whom I teach men to rest their hope, who alone has had compassion upon a world led astray, that they may be no lover trader judgment, O proconsul, but may, have faith, and the fear of God, and the knowledge of holiness, and the love of truth. If, therefore, I teach what has been revealed to me by God, wherein do I do wrong? The proconsul having heard, ordered Paul to be bound, and sent to prison, until, said he, I, being at leisure, shall hear him more attentively.

Thecla by night having taken off her bracelets, gave them to the gatekeeper; and the door having been opened to her, she went into the prison; and having given the jailor a silver mirror, she went in beside Paul, and, sitting at his feet, she heard the great things of God. Paul was afraid of nothing, but ordered his life in the confidence of God. Her faith also was increased, and she kissed his bonds.

When Thecla was sought for by her friends, and Thamyris, as if she had been lost, was running up and down the streets, one of the gatekeeper's fellow-slaves informed him that she had gone out by night. Having gone out, they examined the gatekeeper; and he said to them: She has gone to the foreigner into the prison. Having gone, they found her, as it were, enchained by affection. Having gone forth thence, they drew the multitudes together, and informed the governor of the circumstance. He ordered Paul to be brought to the tribunal; but Thecla was wallowing on the ground in the place where he sat and taught her in the prison; and he ordered her too to be brought to the tribunal. She came, exulting with joy. The crowd, when Paul had been brought, vehemently cried out: He is a magician! away with him! But the proconsul gladly heard Paul upon the holy works of Christ. Having called a council, he summoned Thecla, and said to her: Why dost thou not obey Thamyris, according to the law of the Iconians? But she stood looking earnestly at Paul. When she gave no answer, her mother cried out, saying: Burn the wicked wretch; burn in the midst of the theatre her that will not marry, in order that all the women that have been taught by this man may be afraid.

The governor was greatly moved; and having scourged Paul, he cast him out of the city, and condemned Thecla to be burned. Immediately the governor went away to the theatre, and all the crowd went forth to the spectacle of Thecla. But as a lamb in the wilderness looks round for the shepherd, so she kept searching for Paul. Having looked upon the crowd, she saw the Lord sitting in the likeness of Paul, and said: As I am unable to endure my lot, Paul has come to see me. She gazed upon him with great earnestness, and he went up into heaven. But the maid-servants and virgins brought the faggots, in order that Thecla might be burned. When she came in naked, the governor wept, and wondered at the power that was in her. The public executioners arranged the faggots for her to go up on the pile. She, having made the sign of the cross, went up on the faggots; and they lighted them. Though a great fire was blazing, it did not touch her; for God, having compassion upon her, made an underground rumbling, and a cloud overshadowed them from above, full of water and hail; and all that was in the cavity of it was poured out, so that many were in danger of death. The fire was put out, and Thecla saved.

Paul was fasting with Onesiphorus and his wife, and his children, in a new tomb, as they were going from Iconium to Daphne. When many clays were past, the fasting children said to Paul: We are hungry, and we cannot buy loaves; for Onesiphorus had left the things of the world, and followed Paul, with all his house. Paul, having taken off his cloak, said: Go, my child, buy more loaves, and bring them. When the child was buying, he saw Thecla their neighbour, and was astonished, and said: Thecla, whither art thou going? She said: I have been saved from the fire, and am following Paul. The boy said: Come, I shall take thee to him; for he is distressed about thee, and is praying six days. She stood beside the tomb where Paul was with bended knees, and praying, and saying: O Saviour Christ, let not the fire touch Thecla, but stand by her, for she is Thine. She, standing behind him, cried out: O Father, who hast made the heaven and the earth, the Father of Thy holy Son, I bless Thee that Thou hast saved me that I may see Paul. Paul, rising up, saw her, and said: O God, that knowest the heart, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I bless Thee that Thou, having heard me, hast done quickly what I wished.

They had five loaves, and herbs, and water; and they rejoiced in the holy works of Christ. Thecla said to Paul: I shall cut my hair, and follow thee whithersoever thou mayst go. He said: It is a shameless age, and thou art beautiful. I am afraid lest another temptation come upon thee worse than the first, and that thou withstand it not, but be cowardly. Thecla said: Only give me the seal in Christ, and temptation shall not touch me. Paul said: Thecla, wait with patience, and thou shalt receive the water.

Paul sent away Onesiphorus and all his house to Iconium; and thus, having taken Thecla, he went into Antioch. As they were going in, a certain Syriarch, Alexander by name, seeing Thecla, became enamoured of her, and tried to gain over Paul by gifts and presents. But Paul said: I know not the woman whom thou speakest of, nor is she mine. But he, being of great power, himself embraced her in the street. But she would not endure it, but looked about for Paul. She cried out bitterly, saying: Do not force the stranger; do not force the servant of God. I am one of the chief persons of the Iconians; and because I would not have Thamyris, I have been cast out of the city. Taking hold of Alexander, she tore his cloak, and pulled off his crown, and made him a laughing-stock. He, at the same time loving her, and at the same time ashamed of what had happened, led her before the governor; and when she had confessed that she had done these things, he condemned her to the wild beasts. The women were struck with astonishment, and cried out beside the tribunal: Evil judgment! impious judgment! She asked the governor, that, said she, I may remain pure until I shall fight with the wild beasts. A certain Tryphaena, whose daughter was dead, took her into keeping, and had her for a consolation.

When the beasts were exhibited, they bound her to a fierce lioness; and Tryphaena accompanied her. But the lioness, with Thecla sitting upon her, licked her feet; and all the multitude was astonished. The charge on her inscription was: Sacrilegious. The women cried out from above: An impious sentence has been passed in this city! After the exhibition, Tryphaena again receives her. For her daughter Falconilla had died, and said to her in a dream: Mother, thou shaft have this stranger Thecla in my place, in order that she may pray concerning me, and that I may be transferred to the place of the just.

When, after the exhibition, Tryphaena received her, at the same time indeed she grieved that she had to fight with the wild beasts on the day following; and at the same time, loving her as much as her daughter Falconilla, she said: My, second child Thecla, come and pray for my child, that she may live for ever; for this I saw in my sleep. She, nothing hesitating, lifted up her voice, and said: God most high, grant to this woman according to bet wish, that her daughter Falconilla may live for ever. When Thecla had thus spoken, Tryphaena lamented, considering so much beauty thrown to the wild beasts.

When it was dawn, Alexander came to take her, for it was he that gave the hunt, saying: The governor is sitting, and the crowd is in uproar against us. Allow me to take away her that is to fight with the wild beasts. Tryphaena cried aloud, so that he even fled, saying: A second mourning for my Falconilla has come upon my house and there is no one to help; neither child, for she is dead, nor kinsman, for I am a widow. God of Thecla, help her!

Immediately the governor sends an order that Thecla should be brought. Tryphaena, taking her by the hand, said: My daughter Falconillia, indeed, I took away to the tomb; and thee, Thecla, I am taking to the wild-beast fight. Thecla wept bitterly, saying: O Lord, the God in whom I believe, to whom I have fled for refuge, who deliveredst me from the fire, do Thou grant a recompense to Tryphaena, who has had compassion on Thy servant, and because she has kept me pure. Then a tumult arose, and a cry of the people, and the women sitting together, the one saying: Away with the sacrilegious person! the others saying: Let the city be raised against this wickedness. Take off all of us, O proconsul! Cruel sight! evil sentence!

Thecla, having been taken out of the hand of Tryphaena, was stripped, and received a girdle, and was thrown into the arena, and lions and bears and a fierce lioness were let loose upon her; and the lioness having run up to her feet, lay down; and the multitude of the women cried aloud. A bear ran upon her; but the lioness, meeting the bear, tore her to pieces. Again a lion that had been trained against men, which belonged to Alexander, ran upon her; and she, the lioness, encountering the lion, was killed along with him. The women made great lamentation, since also the lioness, her protector, was dead.

Then they send in many wild beasts, she standing and stretching forth her hands, and praying. When she had finished her prayer, she turned and saw a ditch full of water, and said: Now it is time to wash myself. She threw herself in, saying: In the name of Jesus Christ I am baptized on my last day. The women seeing, and the multitude, wept, saying: Do not throw thyself into the water; so that also the governor shed tears, because the seals were going to devour such beauty. She then threw herself in the name of Jesus Christ; but the seals having seen the glare of the fire of lightning, floated about dead. There was round her, as she was naked, a cloud of fire; so that neither could the wild beasts touch her, nor could she be seen naked.

The women, when other wild beasts were being thrown in, wailed. Some threw sweet-smelling herbs, others nard, others cassia, others amomum, so that there was abundance of perfumes. All the wild beasts that had been thrown in, as if they had been withheld by sleep, did not touch her; so that Alexander said to the governor: I have bulls exceedingly terrible; let us bind to them her that is to fight with the beasts. The governor, looking gloomy, turned, and said: Do what thou wilt. They bound her by the feet between them, and put red-hot irons under the privy parts of the bulls, so that they, being rendered more furious, might kill her. They rushed about, therefore; but the burning flame consumed the ropes, and she was as if she had not been bound. But Tryphaena fainted standing beside the arena, so that the crowd said: Queen Tryphaena is dead. The governor put a stop to the games, and the city was in dismay. And Alexander entreated the governor, saying: Have mercy both on me and the city, and release this woman. For if Caesar hear of these things, he will speedily destroy the city also along with us, because his kinswoman Queen Tryphaena has died.

The governor summoned Thecla out of the midst of the wild beasts, and said to her: Who art thou? and what is there about thee, that not one of the wild beasts touches thee? She said: I indeed am a servant of the living God; and as to what there is about me, I have believed in the Son of God, in whom He is well pleased; wherefore not one of the beasts has touched me. For He alone is the end of salvation, and the basis of immortal life; for He is a refuge to the tempest-tossed, a solace to the afflicted, a shelter to the despairing; and, once for all, whoever shall not believe on Him, shall not live for ever.

The governor having heard this, ordered her garments to be brought, and to be put on. Thecla said: He that clothed me naked among the wild beasts, will in the day of judgment clothe thee with salvation. Taking the garments, she put them on. The governor therefore immediately issued an edict, saying: I release to you the God-fearing Thecla, the servant of God. The women shouted aloud, and with one mouth returned thanks to God, saying: There is one God, the God of Thecla; so that the foundations of the theatre were shaken by their voice. Tryphaena having received the good news, went to meet the holy Thecla, and said: Now I believe that the dead are raised: now I believe that my child lives. Come within, and I shall assign to thee all that is mine. She therefore went in along with her, and rested eight days, having instructed her in the word of God, so that most even of the maid-servants believed.There was great joy in the house.

Thecla kept seeking Paul; and it was told her that he was in Myra of Lycia. Taking young men and maidens, she girded herself; and having sewed the tunic so as to make a man's cloak, she came to Myra, and found Paul speaking the word of God. Paul was astonished at seeing her, and the crowd with her, thinking that some new trial was coming upon her. When she saw him, she said: I have received the baptism, Paul; for He that wrought along with thee for the Gospel has wrought in me also for baptism. Paul, taking her, led her to the house of Hermaeus, and hears everything from her, so that those that heard greatly wondered, and were comforted, and prayed over Tryphaena. She rose up, and said: I am going to Iconium. Paul said: Go, and teach the word of God. Tryphaena sent her much clothing and gold, so that she left to Paul many things for the service of the poor.

She went to Iconium. She goes into the house of Onesiphorus, and fell upon the pavement where Paul used to sit and teach her, and wept, saying: God of myself and of this house, where Thou didst make the light to shine upon me, O Christ Jesus, the Son of the living God, my help in the fire, my help among the wild beasts, Thou art glorified for ever. Amen. She found Thamyris dead, but her mother alive. Having sent for her mother, she said: Theocleia, my mother, canst thou believe that the Lord liveth in the heavens? For whether thou desirest wealth, God gives it to thee through me; or thy child, I am standing beside thee. Having thus testified, she departed to Seleucia, and dwelt in a cave seventy-two years, living upon herbs and water. She enlightened many by the word of God.

Certain men of the city, being Greeks by religion, and physicians by profession, sent to her insolent young men to destroy her. For they said: She is a virgin, and serves Artemis, and from this she has virtue in healing. And by the providence of God she entered into the rock alive, and went under ground. She departed to Rome to see Paul, and found that he had fallen asleep. After staying there no long time, she rested in a glorious sleep; and she is buried about two or three stadia from the tomb of her master Paul.

She was cast, then, into the fire when seventeen years old, and among the wild beasts when eighteen. She was an ascetic in the cave, as has been said, seventy-two years, so that all the years of her life were ninety. Having accomplished many cures, she rests in the place of the saints, having fallen asleep on the twenty-fourth of the month of September in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and strength for ever and ever. Amen.

Instead of the last two sections, the MS. which Dr. Grabe used has the following:--

A cloud of light guided her. Having come into Seleucia, she went forth outside of the city one stadium. She was afraid of them also, for they worshipped idiots. It guided her to the mountain called Calamon or Rhodeon; and having there found a cave, she went into it. She was there many years, and underwent many and grievous trials by the devil, and bore them nobly, being assisted by Christ. Some of the well-born women, having learned about the virgin Thecla went to her, and learned the oracles of God. And many of them bade adieu to the world, and lived an ascetic life with her. A good report was spread everywhere concerning her, and cures were done by her. All the city, therefore, and country round, having known this, brought their sick to the mountain; and before they came near the door they were speedily released from whatever disease they were afflicted by; and the unclean spirits went out shrieking, and all received their own in health, glorifying God, who had given such grace to the virgin Thecla. The physicians, therefore, of the city of the Seleucians were thought nothing of, having lost their trade, and no one any longer had regard to them; and being filled with envy and hatred, they plotted against the servant of Christ, what they should do to her. The devil then suggests to them a wicked device; and one day, being assembled, and having taken counsel, they consult with each other, saying: This virgin is a priestess of the great goddess Artemis; and if she ask anything of her, she hears her as being a virgin, and all the gods love her. Come, then, let us take men of disorderly lives, and make them drunk with much wine, and let us give them much gold, and say to them, If you can corrupt and defile her, we shall give you even more money. The physicians therefore said to themselves, that if they should be able to defile her, neither the gods nor Artemis would listen to her in the case of the sick. They therefore did so. The wicked men, having gone to the mountain, and rushed upon the cave like lions, knocked at the door. The holy martyr Thecla opened, emboldened By the God in whom she believed; for she knew of their plot beforehand. She says to them: What do you want, my children? They said: Is there one here called Thecla? She said: What do you want with her? They say to her: We want to sleep with her. The blessed Thecla says to them: I am a humble old woman, but the servant of my Lord Jesus Christ; and even though you want to do something to me out of place, you cannot. They say to her: It is impossible for us not to do to thee what we want. Having said this, they laid fast hold of her, and wished to insult her. She says to them with mildness: Wait, my children, that you may see the glory of the Lord. And being laid hold of by them, she looked up into heaven, and said: God, terrible and incomparable, and glorious to Thine adversaries, who didst deliver me out of the fire, who didst not give me up to Thamyris, who didst not give me up to Alexander, who didst deliver me from the wild beasts, who didst save me in the abyss, who hast everywhere worked with me, and glorified Thy name in me, now also deliver me from these lawless men, and let me not insult my virginity, which through Thy name I have preserved till now, because I love Thee, and desire Thee, and adore Thee, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen. There came a voice out of the heaven, saying: Fear not, Thecla, my true servant, for I am with thee. Look and see where an opening has been made before thee, for there shall be for thee an everlasting house, and there thou shalt obtain shelter. The blessed Thecla regarding it, saw the rock opened as far as to allow a man to enter, and did according to what had been said to her: and nobly fleeing from the lawless ones entered into the rock; and the rock was straightway shut together, so that not even a joining appeared. They, beholding the extraordinary wonder, became as it were distracted; and they were not able to detain the servant of God, but only caught hold of her veil, and were able to tear off a certain part; and that by the permission of God for the faith of those seeing the venerable place, and for a blessing in the generations afterwards to those that believe in our Lord Jesus Christ out of a pure heart.

Thus, then, suffered the first martyr of God, and apostle, and virgin, Thecla, who came from Iconium at eighteen years old; and with the journeying, and the going round, and the retirement in the mountain, she lived other seventy-two years. When the Lord took her, she was ninety years old. Thus is her consummation. Her holy commemoration is on the twenty-fourth of the month of September, to the glory of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to ages of ages.


Ante-Nicene Fathers to A.D. 325
Volume VIII
Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors
I have changed the original by eliminating its tendency to begin each sentence with the word 'and.'

 

 

The Book of Thomas the Contender.

translated by John D. Turner.

The secret words that the savior spoke to Judas Thomas which, I, even I, Mahaias, wrote down, while I was walking, listening to them speak with one another.

The savior said , "Brother Thomas while you have time in the world, listen to me, and I will reveal to you the things you have pondered in your mind," "Now since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself, and learn who you are, in what way you exist and how you will come to be. Since you will be called my brother, it is not fitting that you be ignorant of yourself. And I know that you have understood because you had already understood that I am the knowledge of the truth. So while you accompany me, although you are uncomprehending, you have in fact already come to know, and you will be called "the one who knows himself". For he who has not known himself has known nothing, but he who has known himself has at the same time already achieved knowledge about the depth of the all. So then, you, my brother Thomas, have beheld what is obscure to men, that is, whatb they ignorantly stumble against." Now Thomas said to the lord, "Therefore I beg you to tell me what I ask you before your ascension, and when I hear from you about the hidden things, then I can speak about them. And it is obvious to me that the truth is difficult to perform before men." The savior answered, saying, "If the things that are visible to you are obscure to you, how can you hear about the things that are not visible? If the deeds of the truth that are visible in the world are difficult to you to perform, how indeed, then, shall you perform those that pertain to the exalted height and to the pleroma which are not visible? And how shall you be called "laborers"? In this respect you are apprentices, and have not yet received the height of perfection."

Now Thomas answered and said to the savior, "Tell us about these things, that you say are not visible, but are hidden from us" The savior said, "All bodies [...] the beasts are begotten [...] it is evident like [...] [...] this, too, those that are above [...] things that are visible, but they are visible in their own root, and it is their fruit that nourishes them. But these visible bodies survive by devouring creatures similar to them with the result that the bodies change. Now that which changes will decay and perish, and has no hope of life from then on, since the body is bestial. So just as the body of the beasts perishes, so also will these formations perish. Do they not derive from intercourse like that of the beasts? If it, too derives from intercourse, how will it beget anything different from beasts? So, therefore, you are babes until you become perfect." And Thomas answered, "Therefore I say to you, lord, that those who speak about things that are invisible and difficult to explain are like those who shoot their arrows at a target at night. To be sure, they shoot arrows as anyone would - since they shoot at the target - but it is not visible. Yet when the light comes forth and hides the darkness, then the work of each will appear. And you, our light, enlighten, O lord." Jesus said, "It is in light that light exists." Thomas, spoke, saying, "Lord, why does this visible light that shines on behalf of men rise and set?" The savior said, "O blessed Thomas, of course this visible light shines on your behalf - not in order that you remain here, but rather that you might come forth - and whenever all the elect abandon bestiality , then this light will withdraw up to its essence, and its essence will welcome it, since it is a good servant." Then the savior continued and said, "O unsearchable love of the light! O bitterness of the fire that blazes in the bodies of men and in their marrow, kindling in them night and day , and the burning the limbs of men and making their minds become drunk and their souls become deranged [...] them within males and females ...[...] night and moving them , ..[...] .. secretly and visibly. For the males [move... upon the females] and the females upon [males. Therefore it is] said, "everyone who seeks truth from true wisdom will make himself wings so as to fly, fleeing the lust that scorches the spirits of men. And he will make himself wings to flee every visible spirit." And Thomas answered, saying, "Lord, this is exactly what I am asking you about, since I have understood that you are the one who is beneficial to us, as you say." Again the savior answered and said, "Therefore it is necessary for us to speak to you, since this is the doctrine of the perfect. If, now, you desire to become perfect, you shall observe these things ; if not , your names is "ignorant", since it is impossible for an intelligent man to dwell with a fool, for the intelligent man is perfect in all wisdom. To the fool, however, the good and bad are the same - indeed the wise man will be nourished by the truth and (Ps. 1:3) "will be like a tree growing by the meandring stream" - seeing that there are some who, although having wings, rush upon the visible things, things that are far from the truth. For that which guides them, the fire, will give them the illusion of truth, and will shine on them with a perishable beauty, and it will imprison them in a dark sweetness and captivate them with fragrant pleasure. And it will blind them with insatiable lust and burn their souls and become for them like a stake stuck in their heart which they can never dislodge. And like a bit in the mouth, leads them according to its own desire. And it has fettered them with its chains and bound all their limbs with bitterness of the bondage of lust for those visible things that will decay and change and swerve by impulse. They have alsways been attracted downwards ; as they are killed, they are assimilated to all the beasts of the perishable realm. Thomas answered and said, "It is obvious and has been said, [Many are ..... ... those who do not know [...] ... soul"] And the savior answered, saying, "Blessed is the wise man who sought after the truth, and when he found it, he rested upon it forever and was unafraid of those who wanted to disturb him." Thomas answered and said, "It is beneficial for us, lord, to rest among our own?" The savior said, "Yes, it is useful. And it is good for you since things visible among men will dissolve - for the vessel of their flesh will dissolve, and when it is brought to naught it will come to be among visible thinsg, among things that are seen. And then the fire which they see gives them pain on account of love for the faith they formerly possessed. They will be gathered back to that which is visible. Moreover, those who have sight among things are not visible, without the first love they will persih in the concern for this life and the scorching of the fire. Only a little while longer, and that which is visible will dissolve ; then shapeless shades will emerge and in the midst of tombs they will forever dwell upon the corpses in pain and corruption of soul." Thomas answered and said , "What have we to say in the face of these things? What shall we say to blind men? What doctrine should we express to these miserable mortals who say, "we came to do good and not curse." and yet claim, "had we not been begotten in the flesh, we would not have known iniquity." The savior said, "Truly, as for those, do not esteem them as men but regard them as beasts, for just as beasts devour one another, so also men of this sort devour one another. On the contrary, they are deprived of the kingdom since they love the sweetness of the fire and are the servants of death and rush to the works of corruption. They fulfill the lust of the fathers. They will be thrown down to the abyss and be afflicted by the torment of the bitterness of their evil nature. For they will be scourged so as to make them rush backwards, whither they do not know, and they will recede from their limbs not patiently, but with despair. And they rejoice over [...] [...] madness and derangement .. They pursue this derangement without realizing their madness, thinking that they are wise. [They....] ... their body [...] Their mind is directed to their own selves, for their thought is occupied with their deeds. But it is the fire that will burn them." And Thomas answered and said, "Lord, what will the one thrown down to them do? For I am most anxious about them ; many are those who fight them." The savior answered and said , "Listen to what I am going to tell you and believe in the truth. That which sows and that which is sown will dissolve in the fire - within the fire and the water - and they will hide in tombs of darkness. And after a long time they shall show forth the fruit of the evil trees, being punished, being slain in the mouth of beasts and men at the instigation of the rains and winds and air and the light that shines above." Thomas replied, "You have certainly persuaded us, lord. We realize in our heart, and it is obvious, that this is so, and that your word is sufficient. But these words that you speak to us are ridiculous and contemptible to the world since they are misunderstood. So how can we preach them, since we are not esteemed in the world?" The savior answered and said, "Truly I tell you that he who will listen to you r word and turn away his face or sneer at it or smirk at these things, truly I tell you that he will be handed over to the ruler above who rules over all the powers as their king, and he will turn that one around and cast him from heaven down to the abyss, and he will be imprisoned in a narrow dark place. Moreover, he can neither turn nor move on account of the great depth of Tartaros and the heavy bitterness of Hades that is steadfast [...] [...] them to it.... [...] they will not forgive .... [...] pursue you. They will hand [...] over [to...] angel Tartarouchos [...] fire pursuing them [...] fiert scourges that cast a shower of sparks into the face of the one who is pursued. If he flees westward, he finds the fire. If he turns southward, he finds it there as well. If he turns northward, the threat of seething fire meets him again. Nor does he find the way to the east so as to flee there and be saved, for he did not find it in the day he was in the body, so that he might find it in the day of judgment." Then the savior continued, saying, "Woe to you, godless ones, who have no hope, who rely on things that will not happen!" "Woe to you because of the whell that turns in your minds! Woe to you within the grip of the burning, that is in you, for it will devour your flesh openly and rend your souls secretly, and prepare you for your companions! Woe to you, captives, for you are bound in caverns! You laugh! In mad laughter you rejoice! You neither realize your perdition, nor do you reflect on your circumstances, nor have you understood that you dwell in darkness and death! On the contrary, you are drunk with the fire and full of bitterness. Your mind is deranged on account of the burning that is in you, and sweet to you are the poison and the blows of your enemies! And the darkness rose for you like the light, for you surrendered for your freedom for servitude! You darkened your hearts and surrendered your thoughts to folly , and you filled your thoughts with the smoke of the fire that is in you! And your light has hidden in the cloud [or....] and the garment that is put upon you, you [...] [...] And you were seized by the hope that does not exist. And whom is it you have believed? Do you not know that you all dwell among those who that [...] [...] you as though you [...]. You baptized your souls in the water of darkness ! You walked by your own whims! Woe to you who dwell in error, heedless that the light of the sun which judges and looks down upon the all will circle around all things so as to enslave the enemies. You do not even notice the moon, how by night and day it looks down, looking at the bodies of your slaughters! Woe to you who love intimacy with womankind and polluted intercourse with them! Woe to you in the grip of the powers of your body, for they will afflict you!. Woe to you in the grip of the forces of evil demons! Woe to you who beguile your limbs with fire! Who is it that will rain a refreshing dew on you to extinguish the mass of fire from you along with your burning? Who is it that will cause the sn to shine upon you to disperse the darkness in you and hide the darkness and polluted water?" "The sun and the moon will give a fragrance to you together with the air and the spirit and the earth and the water. For if the sun does not shine upon these bodies, they will wither and perish just like weeds of grass. If the sun shines on them, they prevail and choke the grapevine; but if the grapevine prevails and shades those weeds and all the other brush growing alongside and spreads and flourishes, it alone inherits the land in which it grows; and every place it has shaded it dominates. And when it grows up, it dominates all the land and is bountiful for its master, and it pleases him even more , for he would have suffered great paints on account of these plants until he uprooted them. But the grapevine alone removed them and choked them, and they died and became like soil" Then Jesus continued and said to them , "Woe to you , for you did not receive the doctrine, and those who are [...] will labor at preaching [...]. And you are rushing into ... [...] [...] will send them down .... [...] you kill them daily in order that they might rise from death. Blessed are you who have (foreknowledge) prior knowledge of the stumbling blocks and who flee alien things. Blessed are you who are reviled and not esteemed on account of the love their lord has over them. Blessed are you who weep and are oppressed by those without hope, for you will be released from every bondage. Watch and pray that you not come to be in the flesh, but rather that you come forth from the bondage of bitterness of this life. And as you pray, you will find rest, for you have left behind the suffering and the disgrace. For when you come forth from the sufferings and passions of the body, you will receive rest from the good one , and you will reign with the king, you joined with him and he with you, from now on, for ever and ever, Amen."

The Book of Thomas The Contender Writing To the Perfect .

Remember me also, my brethren, in your prayers, Peace to the saints and those who are spiritual.

 

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