1. Andrew: Brother of Simon Peter (Mark 1:16). Thought to have been crucified at Patras, Greece, possibly under Nero on Nov. 30, 60 AD (Latin and Greek tradition) or later. A tradition states that after he was whipped severely by seven soldiers, they tied his body to an x-shaped saltire cross (St. Andrews 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 2-3 days until he died.
2. Bartholomew: Accounts vary but he was probably beaten severely, flayed alive and crucified, head downward, and finally beheaded at Albanopolis, Armenia and buried in Allanum, Armenia by order of King Astyages in 70 AD, for having converted his brother and family.
3. James the “Greater”: Older brother of John, son of Zebedee. Jesus called him and John the “Sons of Thunder”: First apostle martyred, was clearly by sword by direct order of King Herod Agrippa I in Jerusalem in 44 AD (Acts 12:2). According to a tradition, which, as we learn from Eusebius (Church History II.9.2-3), was received from Clement of Alexandria (in the seventh book of his lost "Hypotyposes"), the accuser who led the Apostle to judgment, moved by his confession, became himself a Christian, and they were beheaded together.
4. James the “Lesser” a.k.a. “James the just,” son of Alphaeus, probably brother of both Jesus and Matthew (according to Jerome/Catholic tradition). High Priest (Holy of Holies), one of the brothers of Jesus (Mark 6:3), wrote the book of James. Martyrdom by stoning ( Josephus, Antiquities 20.197–203; Hegesippus, Hypomnemata Book 5, as recorded in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 2.23; Clement of Alexandria, Hypotyposes Book 7, as recorded in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2.1.4– 5; Second Apocalypse of James 60.15–63.32) in 62/63 AD. He may have also been thrown down from a high structure at the Temple (Hegesippus, Hypomnemata Book 5, as recorded in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 2.23; Second Apocalypse of James 60.15–63.32; Clement of Alexandria, Hypotyposes Book 7, as recorded in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 2.1.4–5; Pseudo-Clementines 1.70.8; consistency with Josephus, Antiquities 20.197).
5. John: Brother of James, sent to Rome, according to Tertullian, John was cast into boiling oil at the Latin Gate (Rome). He was willing to die for his faith and was put to death as a martyr, but God supernaturally spared him. He survived and Domitian banished him to the Isle of Patmos in 95 AD, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Nerva, the successor of Domitian, recalled him 18 months later to Ephesus. John apparently died a natural death in Ephesus around AD 103.
6. Judas (Jude) (also called Thaddeus or Lebbaeus): Not the brother of Jesus who wrote Jude or Judas Iscariot. Several different accounts of martyrdom due to mix up but most likely killed by axe and buried in Berytus (modern Beirut) by pagan priests in 65 AD. His remains were brought from Beirut to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy.
7. Judas Iscariot: Hung himself, (Matthew 27:5) at Aceldama, on the southern slope of the valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, and in the act he fell down a precipice and was dashed into pieces.
8. Matthew (probably aka Levi): Brother of "James the Lesser." Tax collector. Surprisingly there is no clear indication of Matthew's death but he was probably martyred. It could have been natural (as suggested by Heracleon) but this is contradicted by a variety of independent theories. One such theory is that under King Hytacus, Matthew was apprehended when teaching, nailed to the ground, and beheaded in the city of Nadabah, Ethiopia in 66 AD.
9. Peter (Simon bar Jonah): Martyrdom predicted by Jesus (John 21:18-19), probably by crucifixion at Rome (1 Pet 5:13; 2 Pet 1:12–15; Apocalypse of Peter 14.4; Ascension of Isaiah 4:2–3; Ignatius, Letter to the Romans 4.3; Dionysius of Corinth, Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 2.25; Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.1.1; Acts of Peter; Tertullian, Scorpiace 15) with his head downwards (according to Eusebius) sometime between 64-67 AD under Nero (Ascension of Isaiah 4:2–3; Apocalypse of Peter 14.4; Tertullian, Scorpiace 15).
10. Philip: Early church fathers may have conflated traditions about Philip the evangelist with the apostle Philip so we aren't sure how he died. Early church fathers and the earliest text (Acts of Philip) have him martyred in Hierapolis. "On Wednesday, July 27, 2011, the Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that archaeologists had unearthed a tomb that the project leader claims to be the Tomb of Saint Philip during excavations in Hierapolis close to the Turkish city Denizli. The Italian archaeologist, Professor Francesco D'Andria stated that scientists had discovered the tomb within a newly revealed church. He stated that the design of the Tomb, and writings on its walls, definitively prove it belonged to the martyred Apostle of Jesus."
11. Simon the Zealot: Widely believed to have been crucified and sawn in two by idolatrous priests but locations vary. He either became bishop of Jerusalem after James the Just and was killed and buried there (Hippolytus and Foxe's Book of Martyrs) or the Martyrologies of St. Jerome, Bede, Ado, Lipsius and Usuard place his martyrdom in Persia, at a city called Suanir, possibly in the country of the Suani, a people in Colchis, or a little higher in Sarmatia, then allied with the Parthians in Persia; which may agree with a passage in the Acts of St. Andrew, that in the Cimmerian Bosphorus (modern-day Kerch Strait/Crimea) there was a tomb in a "grotto, with an inscription importing that Simon the Zealot was interred there." Foxe's Book of Martyrs says it was in Judea during the reign of Domitian from 81 AD to 96 AD. Movses Khorenatsi (ca. 410–490s AD) of Khoren/Choren wrote that that he was martyred at Weriosphora in Caucasian Iberia (present-day Eastern Georgia).
12. Thomas (Didymus): “Doubting Thomas.” Preached the Gospel to the Parthians (Iran), Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and Margians, where exciting the rage of the pagan priests in Calamina/Calamene (Dorotheas-Bishop of Tyre and Jerome) (possibly in India?), he was martyred by being thrust through with pine spears, tortured by red-hot plates and burned alive in 72 AD.
13. Matthias: Replaced Judas. Stoned at Colchis in Georgia while hanging on a cross in 70 AD and later in Jerusalem where he was also beheaded with an axe in 73 AD.Since we mentioned Peter, Matthew and John, are you curious about Mark, Luke, Paul and Timothy, the other writers of the New Testament?
Mark - April 21, 64 AD, after preaching to the church at Alexandria at the feast of the Passover, they placed hooks and ropes around him and dragged him through the streets. After dead, they wanted to burn him too but a storm prevented it.
Luke - Was hung on an olive tree in town of Thebes in Boeotia, Greece by the idolatrous priests of Greece in 93 AD under Domitian.
Paul - Beheaded under Nero on Ostian Way, near Rome, in 69 AD, then his friends in 70 AD
Timothy – Stoned to death in Ephesus in 98 AD
NOTE: Some individual accounts vary but secular and Jewish historians back in that time make it very clear that almost all of the disciples were tortured and killed (except John and possibly Matthew and Philip) for their faith while actively preaching Christ's message. I also recommend Sean McDowell's book, The Fate of the Apostles for a balanced analysis.FOOTNOTES:
1. "Tomb of Apostle Philip Found". biblicalarchaeology.org. 16 August 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
© Todd Tyszka
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