May 1, 2015

From the Editor Emeritus / John F. Fink

Early Church: Where did the 12 Apostles go?

John F. Fink(Fourth in a series of columns)

After the first Christian Pentecost, where did the Apostles go in order to carry out Christ’s command to make disciples of all nations?

In the first column in this series, I wrote that James, the son of Zebedee, might have traveled to Spain, but then returned to Jerusalem, where he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa in the year 44, the first of the Apostles to be martyred.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about Peter, who was in Jerusalem in the year 50, embarked on a preaching tour in Asia Minor, and finally was crucified upside down in Rome in 64 or 67.

Last week, I wrote that James the Less might have been the leader of the community in Jerusalem. He was stoned to death in 62. But scholars are divided about that. The leader of the community in Jerusalem was a relative of Jesus, but he might not have been an Apostle. If he wasn’t James the Less, we don’t know what happened to that Apostle.

John apparently cared for the Blessed Virgin in Jerusalem until her death, probably around the year 50. Sometime after that he moved to Ephesus, where he died at an advanced age, around 100. He wrote his Gospel, with the help of others in the Johannine School who had learned the faith from him, and three letters in the New Testament. If he is the “John” who wrote the Book of Revelation, the man he dictated it to was not the same person who helped him write the Gospel.

Andrew, the first man called by Jesus, apparently left Jerusalem around 42. It’s believed that he preached around the Black Sea and in Asia Minor before arriving in Patrae, Greece. He was martyred there in 69 by crucifixion without nails.

Philip is not the Philip in Acts who baptized the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40) or the one who Paul visited in Caesarea (Acts 21:8). That Philip was one of the first seven deacons (Acts 6:5). It’s believed that Philip the Apostle preached in Asia Minor and, like Peter, was crucified upside down.

Bartholomew (or Nathaniel), who was invited by Philip to meet Jesus, apparently preached in present-day Turkey, Armenia and Persia in the 40s, but he was in India around the year 60. He was martyred there by being skinned alive and then beheaded.

Thomas also preached in Armenia, but he was in northern India by the early 60s. He settled in Mylapore, India. He was killed by Hindu priests near Madras on July 3, 72.

Matthew is called Levi, the son of Alphaeus, in Mark’s Gospel (Mk 2:14). James the Less is also called the son of Alphaeus (Mt 10:3), but there is doubt that they were brothers as Peter and Andrew, and James and John, were. Matthew seems to have ministered to the Jewish communities in Palestine, but some accounts say that he was martyred in Ethiopia.

Simon and Jude apparently died together after ministering in Persia (modern Iran). It’s said that they converted 60,000 people in Babylon before being martyred in 79.

Matthias, who replaced Judas, was stoned to death in Jerusalem in 51. †

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