How Did the Apostles Die?

Here we look at the death of the apostles which is often asked by the question “How did the Apostles die?”. Research shows us that it is not always straightforward to answer the question correctly for the very simple reason that much of the knowledge is gone.

Although much of the lives of some of the Holy Apostles are unknown, we do know that several of the Apostles became martyrs but how did the apostles die?

We know of the original twelve disciples; the men who, during the three years of His ministry, walked with Jesus. In Scripture, we are given an introduction to the twelve when we are told how and when Jesus chose each man.

It follows that throughout the Gospels, many events are given which offer us insight into the apostles and their interaction with Our Lord.

We know more about some than others but do we know how the apostles died?

how did the apostles die?
the 12 Apostles

Go and Make Disciples of All Nations

Jesus’ last words to his disciples were,

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

And this is exactly what they did.

They went to different places in the world, teaching the “Good News.”

We are told some things about their lives after Pentecost but we know little about how the apostles died. Of the twelve, Scripture tells us of the deaths of only two of these men: James and Judas.

To start the list of the death of the Apostles with Judas the Traitor is more because we all know the story. Some might say that Judas was not an apostle, we do add him here because he was one of the orihinal na 12 alagad.

Judas, overtaken by guilt and without an understanding of Jesus’ forgiveness, committed suicide. (Matthew 27: 3-5).

Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying,

“I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”

They said,

“What is that to us? See to it yourself.”

And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.

The Death of the other Apostles

Bilang sagot sa tanong, Paano Namatay ang mga Apostol? pupunta tayo sa iba pang sampung orihinal na apostol na nagbibigay ng impormasyong nalaman natin tungkol sa kung paano sila namatay.

San Pedro

saint peter

Because Jesus said to Peter, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,”

the Catholic Church believes Peter to have been the first pope.

Church tradition tells us that Peter was killed by Emperor Nero in approximately 64 AD.

A second-century apocryphal text called Acts of Peter was the first account claiming Peter was crucified upside down, which was apparently because he didn’t consider himself worthy of dying the same death as Jesus.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus, although somewhat cryptically, tells Peter of this destiny when He says,

“Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (John 21:18)

Peter was martyred on a cross. He requested to be crucified head downward for he believed that he was not worthy to die in the same way as Jesus had died.

Peter was approximately 64 years old when he died.

His apostolic symbol is a cross upside down with crossed keys.

San James the Greater

saint james the greater

San James the Greater was the first apostle to be martyred for following Jesus. His death is one of the only two apostles’ death that is recorded in Scripture. In Acts 12: 1-2, it is written,

“It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.”

The Jews wanted to prevent Christianity from spreading and King Herod was eager to acquire popularity with them. He believed that persecuting Christians would help him accomplish this popularity. Scholars generally believe James was killed in Jerusalem in 44 AD.

In the fourth century, Eusebius of Caesarea quoted Clement of Alexandria about James’ death:

"Lumilitaw na ang guwardiya na nagdala sa kanya sa korte ay labis na naantig nang makita siyang tumestigo na inamin niya na siya rin ay isang Kristiyano. Kaya't pareho silang kinuha, at habang nasa daan, hiniling niya kay James na patawarin siya. Saglit na nag-isip si James, pagkatapos ay sinabi niyang 'I wish you peace,' at hinalikan siya. Kaya pareho silang pinugutan ng ulo." (Eusebius ng Caesarea, Kasaysayan ng Simbahan)

Saint James was approximately 40 years old when he was martyred.

His apostolic symbol is a sword.

San Andres

saint andrew

San Andres was Peter’s brother and it is believed that he, too, was crucified. An apocryphal book, The Acts of Andrew, tells of Andrew’s death. According to the account given, Andrew, like his brother, did not believe himself worthy to die in the same manner as Jesus and was also crucified. His crucifixion, however, was different in that he was bound, rather than nailed, to an X-shaped cross. He was martyred in the Greek city of Patras in 60 AD.

Sadly, the origin of this account is not dependable. The apocryphal book from which it comes also includes many accounts of miracles performed by Andrew. One, in particular, asserts that he preached non-stop for three days as he hung on the cross.

Andrew died at approximately 50 years old.

His apostolic symbol is an X-shaped cross.

San Felipe

saint philip

Because many Christians confused Philip the Apostle with Philip the Evangelist, an accurate account of Philip’s death is not certain. Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that stories are different and it is not clear which story refers to which Philip.

While it is not certain how the apostle, Philip, died, it is believed that he died around 80 AD in the ancient Greek city of Hierapolis. Polycrates of Ephesus.

The Acts of Philip offers the most thorough account of his death.

This account tells that Philip converted the wife of an Official of Ancient Rome. The official became so angry at this that he had both Philip and Bartholomew crucified upside down. While hanging there, Philip preached. The crowd became encouraged by his preaching and asked that he be released. The Official released Bartholomew but not Philip.

One of the symbols of Saint Philip is a basket, because of his part in the feeding of the five thousand.

San Bartolomeo

saint bartholomew

There is more than one version of how the Apostle Bartholomew’s died. It is almost certain he was martyred but there are several ways his martyrdom occurred. San Bartolomeo was probably martyred—but like many of the apostles, there are several ways it may have happened. The most well-known account is that he was scourged and then beheaded.
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Another account is in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs which claims that in India,

“He was at length cruelly beaten and then crucified by the impatient idolaters.”

The Golden Legend (Lives of the Saints) notes several accounts:

"Mayroong magkakaibang mga opinyon sa paraan ng kanyang pagnanasa. Sapagkat ang pinagpalang Dorotheus ay nagsabi na siya ay ipinako sa krus, at sinabi rin: Si Bartholomew ay nangaral sa mga tao ng India at ibinigay sa kanila ang ebanghelyo pagkatapos ni Mateo sa kanilang wastong wika. Namatay siya sa Alban, isang lungsod ng dakilang Armenia, ipinako ang ulo pababa.

Sinabi ni San Theodorus na siya ay pinugutan, at ito ay nabasa sa maraming mga libro na siya ay pinugutan lamang ng ulo. At ang pagsalungat na ito ay maaaring isama sa ganitong paraan, na ang ilan ay nagsabi na siya ay ipinako sa krus at ibinaba bago siya namatay, at upang magkaroon ng mas malaking pahirap siya ay pinugutan at sa huling bahagi ay pinugutan ng ulo.”

Santo Tomas

saint thomas

There is little debate regarding the death of Santo Tomas. The Acts of Thomas tells us that he was martyred in Mylapore, India, where he was stabbed with spears. Syrian Christian tradition specifies Thomas was martyred in Mylapore on July 3, 72 AD, noting that he was killed with a spear.

Ang isang entry sa kalendaryo ng maagang simbahan ay nagbabasa ng:

"Hulyo 3, Saint Thomas na tinusok ng sibat sa 'India'."

Walang karagdagang impormasyon o tradisyon tungkol sa kanyang pagkamatay.

Si Thomas ay humigit-kumulang 61 taong gulang nang siya ay namatay.

Ang kanyang apostolikong simbolo ay isang sibat.

San Mateo

saint matthew

Like most of the other apostles, there are a few inconsistent accounts of Saint Matthew’s death. There are several differing accounts of how this apostle died. Clement of Alexandria quotes Heracleon, one of the earliest commentators on the New Testament, as saying that Matthew died naturally:

“Ngunit ang pananalitang ito ay hindi makikitang binibigkas sa pangkalahatan; sapagka't ang lahat ng naligtas ay nangumpisal sa pamamagitan ng pagpapahayag na ginawa ng tinig, at nagsialis. Sa kanino sina Mateo, Felipe, Tomas, Levi, at marami pang iba.” (Stromata)

However, most scholars don’t accept Heracleon’s account. Because they are closer to the time when the events actually happened, earlier records are considered to be more dependable. Earlier accounts agree that San Mateo was martyred. Disagreement is in that they do not agree on how or where this occurred. The choices are, burned, beheaded, stoned, or stabbed.

John Foxe’s famous Book of Martyr’s record of Matthew states:

“Ang pinangyarihan ng kanyang mga gawain ay ang Parthia, at Ethiopia, kung saan ang huling bansa ay nagdusa siya ng pagkamartir, na pinatay gamit ang isang talim sa lungsod ng Nadabah, AD 60.”

San James the Lesser

saint james the lesser

San James the Lesser was a significant leader in the Church, but James son of Alphaeus (James the lesser), was mentioned only twice in Scripture and is one of ang pinaka-hindi maliwanag na mga apostol. Gaya ng ilan sa iba pang mga apostol, may hindi pagkakasundo sa kung paano namatay si Santiago na anak ni Alfeo.

Sinasabi sa atin ng tradisyon na habang siya ay nangangaral, siya ay itinulak mula sa tuktok ng isang templo, binugbog ng isang pamalo, at pagkatapos ay binato hanggang mamatay. Ang isa pang tradisyon, gayunpaman, ay nagsasabi na siya ay nangaral sa Ehipto at ipinako doon, sa lungsod ng Ostrakine.

Si Hippolytus, isang teologo na nabuhay noong ikalawa at ikatlong siglo, ay nagtala diumano ng pagkamatay ni James sa On the Twelve Apostles of Christ: “At si Santiago na anak ni Alfeo, nang mangaral sa Jerusalem ay binato hanggang mamatay ng mga Judio, at doon inilibing. . Namatay siya noong 62 AD.

Ang apostolikong simbolo ni James the Lesser ay isang Carpenter's saw at isang fuller's club.

San Simon na Zealot

saint simon the zealot

San Simon na Zealot is one of the vaguest apostles. Although he was one of the 12 main disciples of Jesus, other than being named in the lists of the apostles, nothing more is told of him in the Gospels. There are many accounts of Simon’s death but since the earliest account did not come until centuries after his death, it is difficult to know which is reliable.

Noong ikalimang siglo, isinulat ni Moses of Chorene na si Simon the Zealot ay naging martir sa Kaharian ng Iberia.

Sinasabi ng Golden Legend na siya ay naging martir sa Persia noong 65 AD.

Naniniwala ang mga Kristiyanong Ethiopian na siya ay ipinako sa krus sa Samaria.

Noong ika-labing-anim na siglo, sinabi ni Justus Lipsius na siya ay nilagari sa kalahati.

Sinasabi ng tradisyon ng Silangan na siya ay namatay sa katandaan sa Edessa.

Kaya, sa katunayan, hindi alam kung paano siya namatay.

San Juan

saint john

San Juan is considered to be the only apostle to die of old age. As Jesus was dying, he commended His mother, Mary to His beloved disciple, John. After Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, John went to Ephesus. There he wrote his three epistles. From Ephesus, he was banished to the island of Patmos.

Doon, kung saan siya sumulat ay isinulat niya ang Aklat ng Pahayag. Sa kalaunan ay bumalik siya sa Efeso kung saan siya namatay sa natural na kamatayan.

Si Tertullian, isang Kristiyanong manunulat mula sa huling bahagi ng ikalawa at unang bahagi ng ikatlong siglo, ay sumulat na bago palayasin ng mga Romano si Juan, dinala nila siya sa isang coliseum at inilubog siya sa isang banga ng kumukulong mantika. Nang siya ay lumabas na walang pinsala, ang buong coliseum ay nagbalik-loob sa Kristiyanismo. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit ipinapakita ng ilang iconography si John sa isang vat ng kumukulong mantika.

San Jude

saint jude

It is customarily believed that San Jude was martyred in Syria when on his missionary journey with Simon the Zealot. Since this tradition comes from the account given in Acts of Simon and Jude, it is not considered absolute. In the story of Saint Jude, we read more about his background and life.

Sa Konklusyon, Paano Namatay ang mga Apostol?

Ang tanong na “Paano Namatay ang mga Apostol?” ay bilang mababasa mo hindi madaling sagutin. Ang mga ulat ng pagkamatay ng ilan sa mga apostol ay itinuturing na kasaysayan ng Simbahan at hindi pinagtatalunan. Ang mga ulat ng pagkamatay ng ibang mga apostol ay magkasalungat kaya't kung paano namatay ang mga apostol na ito ay maaaring kaduda-dudang. Ang hindi mapag-aalinlanganan ay ang pagmamahal ng mga lalaking ito para kay Jesus at ang kanilang dedikasyon pangangaral ng Kanyang salita.

FAQ How Did the Apostles Die?

Was Peter crucified upside down?

Yes, according to Catholic tradition, San Pedro was crucified upside down. The reason for this is that he requested to be crucified in this way, as he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This story is recounted in the apocryphal Acts of Peter, which records that when Peter was brought before Pontius Pilate to be condemned, he requested that he be crucified upside down. Pilate agreed to this request, so Peter was executed this way.

Who was the first apostle to die?

The first apostle to die was St. James, who was martyred by King Herod in 44 AD. According to Catholic tradition, he was beheaded with a sword.
Catholics believe that apostles are special witnesses of Christ and that they have a unique role in the Church. In addition to being the first apostle to die, St. James is also recognized as the patron saint of Spain and a missionary.

Who was the last apostle to die?

The last apostle to die was Saint John the Evangelist, who is said to have lived until he was nearly 100 years old. He died peacefully in Ephesus, surrounded by his disciples. Of course, there are some who would argue that Saint Paul was the last apostle to die, as he is believed to have been martyred around the same time as Saint Peter. But regardless of which apostle died last, they, the 12 Apostles, all truly were heroic figures whose legacies continue to inspire us today.

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