Do You Know How The Apostles Died?
Our Lord originally appointed twelve apostles as his initial Church community, commissioned with the task of
sharing the faith. As told in the Gospels, Judas Iscariot was originally one of them, but with his apostasy and
death, he was replaced with Matthias. Their collective feast day is June 30. The Apostles' names are listed
at Matthew 10:2,
Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.
Each one of these most holy and beneficial men ended their earthly life in the following manner:
He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it
was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had
Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely
by seven soldiers, they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers
reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: "I have long
desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on
it". He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.
||Saint James (Son of Zebedee)
Also known as James The Greater. James was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called
him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at
Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial.
Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his
new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.
||Saint John (The Theologian)
Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of
persecution in Rome. He was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on
the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was
later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only
apostle to die peacefully.
According to tradition he preached in Phrygia, and died at
Hierapolis while preaching in Hieropolis. Through prayer he killed a giant snake that the pagans
worshipped, which angered the unbaptized so much that they crucified him and St. Bartholomew upside-down.
Again, the earth opened and swallowed his judge along with many pagans, and being terribly afraid the
people rushed to bring the Apostles down from their torment. But St. Philip had already reposed.
||Saint Bartholomew (also called Nathaniel)
Crucified upside down in
Hierapolis with the Apostle Philip for causing the death of a great serpent the people worshiped and
healing people through prayer. He was removed from the cross during a great earthquake because the
people thought God was judging them; Saint Philip had already reposed.
Was pierced with a spear five spears in India during one
of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent. The earlier traditions, as believed
in the fourth century, say he preached in Parthia or Persia, and was finally buried at Edessa. The later
traditions carry him farther east. His martyrdom whether in Persia or India, is said to have been by a
spear, and is commemorated by the Greek Church on October 6, and by the Indians on July 1.
||Saint Matthew (The Evangelist)
He must have lived many years as an
apostle, since he was the author of the Gospel of Matthew which was written at least twenty years after
the death of Christ. There is reason to believe that he stayed for fifteen years at Jerusalem, after which
he went as missionary to the Persians, Parthians and Medes. Eventually Matthew went to Ethiopia to spread
the gospel. There he was martyred by Fulvian, the ruler of the region, by being set on fire.
||Saint James (Son of Alpheus)
Also known as James The Lesser. The
leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the
Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ (this was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken
Jesus during the Temptation). When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to
death with a fuller's club. We know he lived at least five years after the death of Christ because of mentions
in the Bible.
||Saint Jude (Brother of James)
Also known as Thaddeus. According to
tradition, Jude taught in Armenia, Syria and Persia where he was martyred. He was killed with arrows when
he refused to deny his faith in Christ. Tradition tells us he was buried in Kara Kalisa in what is now
||Saint Simon (The Zealot)
He ended his missionary work in Georgia. Saint
Simon was tortured and crucified by the pagans in Abkhazia.
The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas
Iscariot, was stoned and then was beheaded after death.
Saint Paul was tortured and then beheaded by the evil
Emperor Nero at Rome in A-D 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his
many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught
many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.
These are the names and the separate days of the celebrations of the Holy Twelve:
|Peter: June 29 and January 16|
|Andrew: November 30|
|James (Son of Zebedee): April 30|
|John (The Tehologian): September 26 and May 8|
|Philip: November 14|
|Bartholomew: June 11 and August 25|
|Thomas: October 6|
|Matthew (The Evangelist): November 16|
|James (Son of Alphaeus): October 9|
|Thaddeus or Jude (Brother of James): June 19|
|Simon (The Zealot): May 10|
|Matthias: August 9|
|Paul: June 29|