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Readers of the New Testament may eventually find themselves wondering about the
fate of the many people that appear, especially the apostles who were so important to
Jesus and to whom he gave his commission to take the Gospel to the world. Little can
be gleaned from the New Testament, but other sources throw some light on what may
have happened to a few of these men (and women).
Of the twelve original apostles, Judas Iscariot died at the time Jesus was sentenced to
death. Of the remaining eleven, there is only a New Testament account of the death of
James the Greater, the son of Zebedee and brother of the apostle John some ten years
later. The fate of the remainder and where they preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ
comes from a variety of ancient traditions.
Such traditions also apply to Matthias who replaced Judas Iscariot, and to the death of
the apostle Paul.
Few, if any of the traditions can be proved, but for some, the circumstantial evidence
appears quite strong.
This part actually starts with John the Baptist whose fate, in contrast with most of the
apostles, is documented in three of the Gospels.
Map - Traditional Locations Where the Apostles Preached and Died
Key: + - the traditional place(s) of death of the Apostles and John the Baptist
Most of the locations where the Apostles preached and died come from various ancient
Paul's travels are recorded in Acts
(Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9)
Matthew 14:1-12 - "About this time (as Jesus was being rejected in Nazareth for the
second time) Herod, governor of the province (Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and
Perea), heard the reports about Jesus (healing and preaching) and said to his men,
"This must be John the Baptist: he has risen from the dead. That is why miraculous
powers are at work in him."
For previously Herod had arrested John and had him bound and put in prison (believed
to be the fortress of Machaerus in Perea), all on account of Herodias, the wife of his
brother Philip (not Philip the tetrarch of Iturea and Trachonitis). For John had said to
him, "It is not right for you to have this woman." Herod wanted to kill him for this, but he
was afraid of the people, since they all thought John was a prophet. But during Herod's
birthday celebrations Herodias' daughter (Salome, daughter of Philip and Herodias)
delighted him by dancing before his guests, so much so that he swore to giver her
anything she liked to ask. And she, prompted by her mother, said, "I want you to give
me, here and now, on a dish, the head of John the Baptist!" Herod was aghast at this,
but because he had sworn in front of his guests, he gave orders that she should be
given what she had asked. So he sent men and had John beheaded in the prison. Then
his head was carried in on a dish and presented to the young girl who handed it to her
Later John's disciples came, took his body and buried it. Then they went and told the
news to Jesus."
Mark 6:14-29 - "All this (preaching and healing of the twelve apostles) came to the ears
of king Herod, for Jesus' reputation was spreading, and people were saying that John
the Baptist had risen from the dead, and that was why he was showing such miraculous
powers. Others maintained that he was Elijah, and others that he was one of the
prophets of the old days come back again. But when Herod heard of all this, he said, "It
must be John whom I beheaded, risen from the dead!"
For Herod himself had sent and arrested John and had him bound in prison, all on
account of Herodias, wife of his brother Philip. He had married her, though John used to
say to Herod, "It is not right for you to possess your own brother’s wife." Herodias
herself was furious with him for this and wanted to have him executed, but she could not
do it, for Herod had a deep respect for John, knowing that he was a just and holy man,
and protected him. He used to listen to him and be profoundly disturbed, and yet he
enjoyed hearing him.
Then a good opportunity came, for Herod gave a birthday party for his courtiers and
army commanders and for the leading people in Galilee. Herodias' daughter came in
and danced, to the great delight of Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, "Ask
me anything you like and I will give it to you!" And he swore to her, "I will give you
whatever you ask me, up to half of my kingdom!"
And she went and spoke to her mother, "What shall I ask for?" And she said, "The head
of John the Baptist!"
The girl rushed back to the king's presence, and made her request. "I want you to give
me, this minute, the head of John the Baptist on a dish!" she said.
Herod was aghast, but because of his oath and the presence of his guests, he did not
like to refuse her. So he sent one of the palace guardsman straightaway to bring him
John's head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison, brought back his head on the
dish, and gave it to the girl who handed it to her mother. When his disciples heard what
had happened, they came and took away the body and put it in a tomb."
Luke 9:7-9 - "All these things (the preaching and healing by the twelve apostles) came
to the ears of Herod the tetrarch and caused him acute anxiety, because some people
were saying that John had risen from the dead, some maintaining that the prophet Elijah
had appeared, and others that one of the old-time prophets had come back.
"I beheaded John," said Herod. "Who can this be that I hear all these things about?"
And he (Herod) tried to find a way of seeing Jesus."
The twelve original apostles follow in the same order as Matthew 10:2-4
Peter worked among the Jews before he eventually reached Rome, where he was
traditionally the first bishop. Along with the Apostle Paul, he may have been executed
around AD64 during the persecutions of Emperor Nero, or later in AD67. Apparently he
was crucified, head-down, at his own request. Later traditions claim that St. Peter's in
Rome was built over his grave.
Mark's Gospel is based on Peter's teaching, and Peter wrote The First Letter of Peter.
Scholars still question the authenticity of the Second Letter of Peter. Apocryphal works
associated with his name, but dating from the 2nd century and later include the Gospel
of St. Peter and the Apocalypse or Revelation of St. Peter.
Andrew was originally a disciple of John the Baptist. After the death and resurrection of
Jesus, claims are that Andrew preached in Achaia (southern Greece) and Scythia
(Ukraine and southern Russia - St. Andrew is the patron saint of Russia), and was
crucified at Patras in Achaia. A later tradition describes him as being crucified in a
spread-eagled position - hence the St. Andrew's cross of Scotland.
(Acts 12:1-2)
During the persecutions of Herod Agrippa I, King of the Jews, in c AD44, the apostle
James was beheaded - 'put to the sword' (Acts 12:1-2 following). Before his death,
James the Greater as he is known to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus,
preached in Jerusalem and Judea, modern Israel. A later Spanish tradition is that
James preached the Gospel there sometime before his death.
Acts 12:1-2 - "It was at this time (of great famine, possibly around AD44) that King
Herod laid violent hands on some of the Church members. James, John's brother, he
executed with the sword ....."
According to John's Gospel (19:26-27), it was probably John who took Mary, the mother
of Jesus as his adopted mother. He preached in Jerusalem, and later, as bishop of
Ephesus, south of Izmir in western Turkey, worked among the churches of Asia Minor.
During the reigns of either Emperor Nero (AD54-68) or Domitian (AD81-96), he was
banished to the nearby island of Patmos, now one of the Greek islands in the Aegean
Sea. He was subsequently freed and died a natural death at Ephesus c AD100.
After decades of debate, many scholars accept that the apostle John wrote the Book of
Revelation, perhaps as early as c AD68-70, and that he either wrote or provided the
material and theology for John's Gospel and the three Letters of John.
Philip preached the Gospel in Phrygia (west central Turkey) before dying or being
martyred there at Hieropolis.
The apostle should be distinguished from Philip the "deacon" or Evangelist, who
preached to the people of Samaria and baptised the Ethiopian eunuch, Acts 8:4-8,26-
The missionary work of Bartholomew is linked with Armenia (present day Armenia,
eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, north western Iran) and India. Other locations include
Egypt, Arabia, Ethiopia and Persia (Iran). Traditionally he met his death by being flayed
or skinned alive, and then beheaded. Derbent, north of present day Baku on the
Caspian Sea may have been his place of martyrdom. Alternatively he may have
suffered this cruel fate in what is now India.
Thomas may have laboured for the Gospel in Parthia (including modern Iraq and Iran),
but stronger traditions link him with southern India. Indian Christians from the west coast
Kerala area claim they were evangelized by Thomas, who was later speared to death
near Madras on the east coast. Mount St. Thomas, close to Madras is associated with
his name.
Apocryphal writings include the 3rd or 4th century Acts of Thomas, and the Gospel of
Nothing definite is known of Matthew's career. After preaching in Judea, different
traditions place his missionary work and possible martyrdom in Ethiopia or Persia.
The first Gospel of the New Testament has from the earliest times been attributed to
Matthew. This is now disputed by many scholars.
Known as James the Less, to distinguish him from James the Greater, son of Zebedee,
but more likely because of his smaller stature than his relative importance. He, and
Jude following, should not be confused with James and Jude (or Judas), the brothers of
Jesus. Most commentators treat them as separate sets of brothers.
Tradition claims he first worked in Palestine (Israel) before preaching and martyrdom in
Jude is also confused in some sources with Jude, one of the brothers of Jesus. He may
have preached in Assyria (eastern Iraq) and Persia (Iran), before joining with Simon the
Zealot and being killed with him in Persia.
Simon is referred to both as the "Cananaean" and the "Zealot". The titles may refer to
him being "zealous", or to his membership of one of the Jewish revolutionary
movements known as Zealots. Nothing else is known about him.
One tradition is that he first preached in Egypt, before joining Jude and travelling to
Persia, where both were martyred. Simon may have been crucified or hacked to death.
(Matthew 27:3-10; Acts 1:18-19)
Matthew 27:3-10 - "Then (as Jesus was being handed over to Pilate) Judas, who had
betrayed him, saw that he was condemned and in his remorse returned the thirty silver
coins to the chief priests and elders, with the words, "I was wrong - I have betrayed an
innocent man to death."
"And what has that got to do with us?" they replied. "That's your affair."
And Judas flung down the silver in the Temple and went outside and hanged himself.
But the chief priests picked up the money and said, "It is not legal to put this into the
Temple treasury. It is, after all, blood-money." So, after a further consultation, they
purchased with it the Potter's Field to be a burial-ground for foreigners, which is why it is
called "the Field of Blood" to this day. And so the words of Jeremiah the prophet came
'And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of him who was priced, whom they of
the children of Israel priced, and gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord directed
them' (Zechariah 11:12,13; Jeremiah 32:6-9)."
Acts 1:18-19 - "(After his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus ascends to heaven. The
disciples meet to choose a successor to Judas Iscariot, and his fate is briefly described
by Luke in his Acts of the Apostles ....) This man (Judas) had bought a piece of land
with the proceeds of his infamy, but his body swelled up and his intestines burst. This
fact became well known to all the residents of Jerusalem so that the piece of land came
to be called in their (Aramaic) language Akeldama, which means "the field of blood"."
As a disciple from the time of Jesus' baptism through to his death and resurrection, and
possibly one of the 72 sent out to preach and heal, Matthias was chosen by prayer and
the drawing of lots to replace Judas Iscariot as the twelfth apostle, Acts 1:15-26. No
more is heard of him in the New Testament, and the various traditions are made more
confusing because of the similarity of his name to Matthew's.
He may have preached and been martyred in Ethiopia, Other traditions place him in
Judea, and later Cappadocia (eastern Turkey) and the Caspian Sea area.
Paul travelled widely, made at least three major missionary journeys, wrote many letters
of which thirteen still exist (some scholars dispute three of them), and his life and work
is touched upon in a variety of ways in his letters. On returning to Jerusalem after his
third journey, he was arrested and during his subsequent trials, as a Roman citizen
"appealed to Caesar" for judgement - all covered by Acts 21-26. Chapters 27 and 28
then describe Paul's voyage and journey to Rome in fascinating nautical detail.
Thereafter his life, and death is a matter of conjecture and tradition.
For some two years after his arrival in Rome, he was under house-arrest, before
possibly being executed in the persecutions of Emperor Nero that followed the burning
of Rome in AD64. If so, Paul's authorship of the three "Pastoral Letters" - 1 and 2
Timothy, and Titus - can be open to doubt.
However, there are strong traditions that on appeal to the Emperor on what was a
Jewish religious charge, he was acquitted. He remained free for perhaps three years,
revisiting Ephesus and other churches, and even going as far as Spain, before being re-
arrested and sentenced to death. In his cell, he wrote his last letter - the Second Letter
to Timothy - before execution around the year AD67.
Tradition is he was beheaded at a place now called Tre Fontane in Rome, and that the
church of St. Paul stands over his grave.
The apocryphal "Acts of Paul" comes from the second century. They describe Paul as
"a man small of stature, with a bald head and crooked legs, in a good state of body, with
eyebrows meeting and nose somewhat hooked, full of friendliness; for now he appeared
like a man, and now he had the face of an angel!"
The Martyrdom of the Apostles
Preface:The following information can be gathered from a few sources. Most information comes
from the writings of Eusebius, who refers to the writings of Clement. It is from these sources that
most information on first century martyrs are collaborated. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs contains
information on the martyrdom of the disciples which contain references to Eusebius. A good,
reputable modern source (which uses Eusebius as the reference) is Twelve Ordinary Men by John
MacArthur. This book gives a thorough look at both the lives and deaths of all twelve disciples.
John 15:18-21
18 19
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. “If you were of
the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you
out of the world, because of this the world hates you. “Remember the word that I said to you,
‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if
they kept My word, they will keep yours also. “But all these things they will do to you for My
name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.
2 Timothy 3:12
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
John 16:33
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have
tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
1 Peter 5:10
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal
glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
Matthew 5:11-12
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil
against you because of Me. “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the
same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 10:28-29
“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is
able to destroy both soul and body in hell. “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not
one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
Matthew 24:9
“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations
because of My name.
Luke 14:27
“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
The Twelve
• Jesus spoke to Peter specifically about the way he would die in John 21:18-19: “Truly,
truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever
you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else
will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” Now this He said,
signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this,
He said* to him, “Follow Me!”
• It is written Peter was crucified head down by his own request, wanting to die in a
different way than his master.
• According to church history (Eusebius), Peter was forced to watch the crucifixion of his
wife before he himself was crucified.
• Reportedly took the gospel north towards Russia where he highly regarded to this day.
• There are reports that Andrew preached in Ethiopia until 80 A.D.
• Andrew was crucified in southern Greece after leading the wife of the governor to Christ.
Traditions state he hung on the cross for two days, telling passersby to turn to Christ for
salvation until he died.
• After being threatened with crucifixion, Andrew reportedly said, “I would not have
preached the honor and glory of the cross if I feared the death on a cross.”
James, son of Zebedee
• James was killed by Herod with a sword according to Acts 12:1-2:
Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in
order to mistreat them. 2And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword.
• James would be the first of the 12 disciples to be martyred, in around 36 A.D.
• According to history, the man who arrested James and brought him to the judgment seat
was moved at James’ testimony and confessed he was a Christian, asked James to forgive
him, and both were killed at the same time.
John, son of Zebedee
• John was exiled to the island of Patmos, but likely released before his death to his home
town of Ephesus.
• Most accounts have John living until 98 A.D.
• It was said he was so frail in his final days in Ephesus that John was carried into the
• Philip preached to the barbarous nations around Asia Minor and was stoned and crucified
around 44 A.D.
Bartholomew (also called Nathaniel)
• Bartholomew preached in India and was said to translate the gospel of Matthew into their
• Tradition says Bartholomew was beaten, crucified, and beheaded in Armenia
• After many conversions in Ethiopia and Egypt, traditions say Matthew was either killed
with a spear or burned at the stake.
• Thomas took the gospel all the way to India.
• Thomas was put to death with a spear and to this day there is a hill in India where it is
said that Thomas was buried
James, son of Alphaeus (also called James the Less)
• Church traditions say James was martyred but without full agreement on how.
• There is no record of anything said by James in Scripture. He only made it on the list of
the Twelve.
• The Greek word for “Less” is micros, meaning he was “Little James”; either smaller or
younger compared to James son of Zebedee.
Simon the Zealot
• After the destruction of Jerusalem, Simon took the gospel to Britain where he would be
Thaddeus (also called Judas, son of James)
• The name Judas has a great meaning: “Jehovah leads” but carries a pretty bad vibe
because of Judas Iscariot.
• After Pentecost, Judas took the gospel to eastern Asia Minor where he was clubbed to
death for his faith
Judas Iscariot
• Hung himself
Other Apostles
James, brother of Jesus (author of the Epistle of James)
• James was thrown off the top of the temple but not killed by the fall. He was hit over the
head with a tool used to beat cloth and killed where he landed from the fall.
• Nero sent two people to pretend to desire to be saved and be baptized. The two men led
Paul out side the city where he would be beheaded.
• Christian Persecution: Dramatic Evidence Supporting the Early Church
Christian persecution started with Jesus himself. He was asked directly at trial,
“Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus left no room for
ambiguity – His first two words were “I am.” The religious elite in Jerusalem knew
what Jesus was saying – It was very clear to them that He was claiming to be
God. As such, Jesus was put to death on a Roman cross for the crime of
blasphemy, thus becoming the first martyr for what would become the Christian
• Christian Persecution: Many of the Early Disciples Died for their Faith
Christian persecution was a dramatic part of early church history. For anyone
who holds that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a man-made
hoax conspired by a group of disciples should check out the legacy of
martyrdom. Eleven of the 12 apostles, and many of the other early disciples, died
for their adherence to this story. This is dramatic, since they all witnessed the
alleged events of Jesus and still went to their deaths defending their faith. Why is
this dramatic, when many throughout history have died martyred deaths for a
religious belief? Because people don’t die for a lie. Look at human nature
throughout history. No conspiracy can be maintained when life or liberty is at
stake. Dying for a belief is one thing, but numerous eye-witnesses dying for a
known lie is quite another.
• Christian Persecution: A list of Early Martyrs Who Were Witnesses to the
Life of Jesus
Here is an account of early Christian persecution, as compiled from numerous
sources outside the Bible, the most-famous of which is Foxes’ Christian Martyrs
of the World:

Around 34 A.D., one year after the crucifixion of Jesus, Stephen was thrown out
of Jerusalem and stoned to death. Approximately 2,000 Christians suffered
martyrdom in Jerusalem during this period. About 10 years later, James, the son
of Zebedee and the elder brother of John, was killed when Herod Agrippa arrived
as governor of Judea. Agrippa detested the Christian sect of Jews, and many
early disciples were martyred under his rule, including Timon and Parmenas.
Around 54 A.D., Philip, a disciple from Bethsaida, in Galilee, suffered martyrdom
at Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards
crucified. About six years later, Matthew, the tax-collector from Nazareth who
wrote his gospel in Hebrew, was preaching in Ethiopia when he suffered
martyrdom by the sword. James, the brother of Jesus, administered the early
church in Jerusalem and was the author of an Epistle by his name. At age 94, he
was beat and stoned, and finally had his brains bashed out with a fuller's club.
Matthias was the apostle who filled the vacant place of Judas. He was stoned at
Jerusalem and then beheaded. Andrew was the brother of Peter who preached
the gospel throughout Asia. On his arrival at Edessa, he was arrested and
crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground
(this is where we get the term, St. Andrew's Cross). Mark was converted to
Christianity by Peter, and then transcribed Peter’s account of Jesus in his
Gospel. Mark was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria in front of
Serapis, their pagan idol. It appears Peter was condemned to death and crucified
at Rome. Jerome holds that Peter was crucified upside down, at his own request,
because he said he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his
Lord. Paul suffered in the first persecution under Nero. Paul’s faith was so
dramatic in the face of martyrdom, that the authorities removed him to a private
place for execution by the sword.

In about 72 A.D., Jude, the brother of James who was commonly called
Thaddeus, was crucified at Edessa. Bartholomew preached in several countries
and translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India. He was cruelly
beaten and then crucified by idolaters there. Thomas, called Didymus, preached
the Gospel in Parthia and India, where exciting the rage of the pagan priests, he
was martyred by being thrust through with a spear. Luke was the author of the
Gospel under his name. He traveled with Paul through various countries and is
supposed to have been hanged on an olive tree by idolatrous priests in Greece.
Barnabas, of Cyprus, was killed without many known facts in about 73 A.D.
Simon, surnamed Zelotes, preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even
in Britain, where he was crucified in about 74 A.D. John, the "beloved disciple,"
was the brother of James. From Ephesus he was ordered to Rome, where it is
affirmed he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle,
without injury. Domitian afterwards banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he
wrote the Book of Revelation. He was the only apostle who escaped a violent
• Christian Persecution: The Church Grew Dramatically Despite the Horrible
Christian persecution didn’t slow the growth of the Christian faith during the first
few centuries after Christ. Even as its early leaders died horrible deaths,
Christianity flourished throughout the Roman Empire. How can this historical
record of martyrdom be viewed as anything but dramatic evidence for the
absolute truth of the Christian faith – a faith, unlike any other, founded on
historical events and eye-witness testimony.
• Living Sacrifice - A Biblical Truth
As Christians, we're called to give ourselves to God as a "living sacrifice." The
Apostle Paul helps us understand this truth in his letter to the believers in Rome:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your
bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable
service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and
perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
• Living Sacrifice - Dying to Self
So, how do we truly present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice? In a nutshell,
we must die to our prior selves. This concept is wonderfully presented in this
anonymous poem…

When you are forgotten, neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don't
sting or hurt with the oversight, but your heart is happy being counted worthy to
suffer for Christ;
• That is dying to self.
• When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice
disregarded, your opinion ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart
or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence;
• That is dying to self.
• When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any
annoyance; when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance,
spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus did;
• That is dying to self.
• When you are content with any food, and offering, any raiment, any climate, any
society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of God;
• That is dying to self.
• When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or record your own good
works or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown;
• That is dying to self.
• When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met, and can
honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your
own needs are far greater and you are in desperate circumstances;
• That is dying to self.
• When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than
yourself and can humbly submit, inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no
rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart;
• That is dying to self.

The Good Bible – in all its Goodly Versions
The "12 Apostles" – Thomas Sheehan, The First Coming (Crucible,
Fabricated followers of a 1986)
fabricated Saviour David Farmer, Oxford Dictionary of Saints
Bruce Metzger, Michael Coogan (Eds) The Oxford
Companion to the Bible (OUP, 1993)
Edward Gibbon, The Decline & Fall of the Roman
Empire (1799)
Michael Walsh, Roots of Christianity (Grafton,
Robin Lane Fox, The Unauthorized Version
(Penguin, 1991)
Helen Ellerbe, The Dark Side of Christian History
(Morningstar & Lark, 1995)
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Christianity's House of Cards
A silly story about garden dwellers and a snake,
fables about a bunch of fictitious Hebrew
patriarchs, unsustainable nonsense about
slavery in Egypt – and that's just for starters!
Prophecies wrenched from the tall tales of long
dead soothsayers, bits and pieces cribbed from
popular legends, numerous rewrites and
alternative scenarios plagiarized back and forth
and – lo and behold! – the priestly scribblers
arrive at a nebulous universal saviour.
Around this non-existent godman inventive
minds fabricate a gang of equally non-existent
disciples. These noble fellows are accorded a
Story Time colourful variety of fictitious deaths and their
"In the time of fanciful heroics are said to inspire generations of
Tertullian and loving Christians who cruelly suffer persecutions
Clemens of at the hands of dastardly Roman emperors.
Alexandria [late 2nd
But good triumphs over evil. Constantine seizes
- early 3rd centuries]
power and his ruthless ambition is finessed into
the glory of
a bogus sign of God's approval. The brutal
martyrdom was
elimination of dissent is transformed into an
confined to St Peter,
heroic struggle with diabolic forces and papal
St Paul and St
despotism is masqueraded as Christ's Loving
It was gradually
bestowed on the At length, pious minds tire of fabricated saints

rest of the apostles and Church venality. In the fragmented empire

by the more recent of Christ, priestly scribes return to the purity of

Greeks, who fable – and their own little piece of the sanctity