The Acts and Martyrdom of the Holy Apostle Andrew

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Prologue

Est. Date. 260 ad.?

The best preserved manuscript we have of this text is from the Vatican 11th century ad. We

have no formal record of this book in length. This book is also known as the book of the acts of

Andrew and Matthias.

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What we have all, both presbyters and deacons of the churches of Achaia, beheld with our eyes,

we have written to all the churches established in the name of Christ Jesus, both in the east and

west, north and south. Peace to you, and to all who believe in one God, perfect Trinity, true

Father unbegotten, true Son only-begotten, true Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father, and

abiding in the Son, in order that there may be shown one Holy Spirit subsisting in the Father and

Son in precious Godhead. This faith we have learned from the blessed Andrew, the apostle of

oar Lord Jesus Christ, whose passion also we, having seen it set forth before our eyes, have not

hesitated to give an account of, according to the degree of ability we have.

Accordingly the proconsul Aegeates,1 having come into the city of Patras, began to compel

those believing in Christ to worship the idols; to whom the blessed Andrew, running up, said: It

behoved thee, being a judge of men, to acknowledge thy Judge who is in the heaven, and having

acknowledged Him, to worship Him; and worshipping Him who is the true God, to turn away thy

thoughts from those which are not true gods.

To whom Aegeates said: Art thou Andrew, who destroyest the temples of the gods, and

persuadest men about the religion which, having lately made its appearance, the emperors of

the Romans have given orders to suppress?

The blessed Andrew said: The emperors of the Romans have never recognised the truth. And

this the Son of God, who came on account of the salvation of men, manifestly teaches-that

these idols are not only not gods, but also most shameful demons,2 and hostile to the human

race, teaching men to offend God, so that, by being offended, He turns away and will not

hearken; that therefore, by His turning away and not hearkening, they may be held captive by

the devil; and that they might work them to such a degree, that when they go out of the body

they may be found deserted and naked, carrying nothing with them bat sins.

Aegeates said: These are superfluous and vain words: as for your Jesus, for proclaiming these

things to the Jews they nailed him to the tree of the cross.

The blessed Andrew answering, said: Oh, if thou wouldst recognise the mystery of the cross,

with what reasonable love the Author3 of the life of the human race for our restoration endured

this tree of the cross, not unwillingly, but willingly!

Aegeates said: Seeing that, betrayed by his own disciple, and seized by the Jews, he was brought

before the procurator, and according to their request was nailed up by the procurator's soldiers,

in what way dost thou say that he willingly endured the tree of the cross?

The holy Andrew said: For this reason I say willingly, since I was with Him when he was betrayed

by His disciple. For before He was betrayed, He spoke to us to the effect that He should be

betrayed and crucified for the salvation of men, and foretold that He should rise again on the

third day. To whom my brother Peter said,4 Far be it from thee, Lord; let this by no means be.


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And so, being angry, He said to Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou art not disposed to

the things of God. And in order that He might most fully explain that He willingly underwent the

passion, He said to us,5 I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again. And,

last of all, while He was supping with us, He said,6 One of you will betray me. At these words,

therefore, all becoming exceedingly grieved, in order that the surmise might be free from doubt,

He made it clear, saying, To whomsoever I shall give the piece of bread out of my hand, he it is

who betrays me. When, therefore, He gave it to one of our fellow-disciples, and gave an account

of things to come as if they were already present, He showed that He was to be willingly

betrayed. For neither did He run away, and leave His betrayer at fault; but remaining in the

place in

which He knew that he was, He awaited him

Aegeates said: I wonder that thou, being a sensible man, shouldst wish to uphold him on any

terms whatever; for, whether willingly or unwillingly, all the same, thou admittest that he was

fastened to the cross.

The blessed Andrew said: This is what I said, if now thou apprehendest, that great is the mystery

of the cross, which, if thou wishest, as is likely, to hear, attend to me.7

Aegeates said: A mystery it cannot be called, but a punishment.

The blessed Andrew said: This punishment is the mystery of man's restoration. If thou wilt listen

with any attention, thou wilt prove it.

Aegeates said: I indeed will hear patiently; but thou, unless thou submissively obey me, shalt

receive8 the mystery of the cross in thyself.

The blessed Andrew answered: If I had been afraid of the tree of the cross, I should not have

proclaimed the glory of the cross.

Aegeates said: Thy speech is foolish, because thou proclaimest that the cross is not a

punishment, and through thy foolhardiness thou art not afraid of the punishment of death.

The holy Andrew said: It is not through foolhardiness, but through faith, that I am not afraid of

the punishment of death; for the death of sins9 is hard. And on this account I wish thee to hear

the mystery of the cross, in order that thou perhaps, acknowledging it, mayst believe, and

believing, mayst come somehow or other to the renewing of thy soul.

Aegeates said: That which is shown to have perished is for renewing. Do you mean that my soul

has perished, that thou makest me come to the renewing of it through the faith, I know not

what, of which thou hast spoken?

The blessed Andrew answered: This it is which I desired time to learn, which also I shall teach

and make manifest, that though the souls of men are destroyed, they shall be renewed through

the mystery of the cross. For the first man through the tree of transgression brought in death;

and it was necessary for the human race, that through the suffering of the tree, death, which

had come into the world, should be driven out. And since the first man, who brought death into

the world through the transgression of the tree, had been produced from the spotless earth, it

was necessary that the Son of God should be begotten a perfect man from the spotless virgin,

that He should restore eternal life, which men had lost through Adam, and should cut off10 the

tree of carnal appetite through the tree of thecross. Hanging upon the cross, He stretched out

His blameless hands for the hands which had been incontinently stretched out; for the most

sweet food of the forbidden tree He received gall for food; and taking our mortality upon

Himself, He made a gift of His immortality to us.

Aegeates said: With these words thou shalt be able to lead away those who shall believe in thee;

but unless thou hast come to grant me this, that thou offer sacrifices to the almighty gods, I shall


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order thee, after having been scourged, to be fastened to that very cross which thou

commendest.

The blessed Andrew said: To God Almighty, who alone is true, I bring sacrifice day by day not the

smoke of incense, nor the flesh of bellowing bulls, nor the blood of goats, but sacrificing a

spotless lamb day by day on the altar of the cross; and though all the people of the I faithful

partake of His body and drink His blood, the Lamb that has been sacrificed remains after this

entire and alive. Truly, therefore, is He sacrificed, and truly is His body eaten by the people, and

His blood is likewise drunk; nevertheless, as I have said, He remains entire, and spotless, and

alive.

Aegeates said: How can this be?

The blessed Andrew said: If thou wouldest know, take the form of a disciple, that thou mayst

learn what thou art inquiring after.

Aegeates said: I will exact of thee through tortures the gift of this knowledge.

The blessed Andrew declared: I wonder that thou, being an intelligent man, shouldest fall into11

the folly of thinking that thou mayst be able to persuade me, through thy tortures, to disclose to

thee the sacred things of God. Thou hast heard the mystery of the cross, thou hast heard the

mystery of the sacrifice. If thou be lievest in Christ the Son of God, who was crucified, I shall

altogether disclose to thee in what manner the Lamb that has been slain may live, after having

been sacrificed and eaten, remaining in His kingdom entire and spotless.

Aegeates said: And by what means does the lamb remain in his kingdom after he has been slain

and eaten by all the people, as thou hast said?

The blessed Andrew said: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou shalt be able to learn: but if

thou believest not, thou shalt not by any means attain to the idea of such truth.

Then Aegeates, enraged, ordered him to be shut up in prison, where, when he was shut up, a

multitude of the people came together to him from almost all the province, so that they wished

to kill Aegeates, and by breaking down the doors of the prison to set free the blessed Andrew

the apostle.

Them the blessed Andrew admonished in these words, saying: Do not stir up the peace of our

Lord Jesus Christ into seditious and devilish uproar. For my Lord, when He was betrayed,

endured it with all patience; He did not strive, He did not cry out, nor in the streets did any one

hear Him crying out.12 Therefore do ye also keep silence, quietness, and peace; and hinder not

my martyrdom, but rather get yourselves also ready beforehand as athletes to the Lord, in order

that you may overcome threatenings by a soul that has no fear of man, and that you may get

the better of injuries through the endurance of the body. For this temporary fall is not to be

feared; but that should be feared which has no end. The fear of men, then, is like smoke which,

while it is raised and gathered together, disappears. And those torments ought to be feared

which never have an end. For these torments, which happen to be somewhat light, any one can

bear; but if they are heavy, they soon destroy life. But those torments are everlasting, where

there are daily weepings, and mournings, and lamentations, and never-ending torture, to which

the proconsul Aegeates is not afraid to go. Be ye therefore rather prepared for this, that through

temporary afflictions ye may attain to everlasting rest, and may flourish for ever, and reign with

Christ.13

The holy Apostle Andrew having admonished the people with these and such like words through

the whole night, when the light of day dawned, Aegeates having sent for him, ordered the

blessed Andrew to be brought to him; and having sat down upon the tribunal, he said: I have

thought that thou, by thy reflection during the night, hast turned away thy thoughts from folly,

and given up thy commendation of Christ that thou mightst be able to be with us, and not throw


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away the pleasures of life; for it is folly to come for any purpose to the suffering of the cross,

and to give oneself up to most shameful punishments and burnings.

The holy Andrew answered: I shall be able to have joy with thee, if thou wilt believe in Christ,

and throw away the worship of idols; for Christ has sent me to this province, in which I have

acquired for Christ a people not the smallest.

Aegeates said: For this reason I compel thee to make a libation, that these people who have

been deceived by thee may forsake the vanity of thy teaching, and may themselves offer

grateful libations to the gods; for not even one city has remained in Achaia in which their

temples14 have not been forsaken and deserted. And now, through thee, let them be again

restored to the worship of the images, in order that the gods also, who have been enraged

against thee, being pleased by this, may bring it about that thou mayst return to their friendship

and ours. But if not, thou awaitest varied tortures, on account of the vengeance of the gods; and

after these, fastened to the tree of the cross which thou commendest, thou shall die.

The holy Andrew said: Listen, O son of death and chaff made ready for eternal burnings,15 to

me, the servant of God and apostle of Jesus Christ. Until now I have conversed with thee kindly

about the perfection of the faith, in order that thou, receiving the exposition of the truth, being

made perfect as its vindicator, mightst despise vain idols, and worship God, who is in the

heavens; but since thou remainest in the same shamelessness at last, and thinkest me to be

afraid because of thy threats, bring against me whatever may seem to thee greater in the way of

tortures. For the more shall I be well pleasing to my King, the more I shall endure in tortures for

the confession of His name.

Then the proconsul Aegeates, being enraged, ordered the apostle of Christ to be afflicted by

tortures. Being stretched out, therefore, by seven times three16 soldiers, and beaten with

violence, he was lifted up and brought before the impious Aegeates. And he spoke to him thus:

Listen to me, Andrew, and withdraw thy thoughts from the outpouring of thy blood; but if thou

wilt not hearken to me, I shall cause thee to perish on the tree of the cross.

The holy Andrew said: I am a slave of the cross of Christ, and I ought rather to pray to attain to

the trophy of the cross than to be afraid; but for thee is laid up eternal torment, which,

however, thou mayst escape after thou hast tested my endurance, if thou wilt believe in my

Christ. For I am afflicted about thy destruction, and I am not disturbed about my own suffering.

For my suffering takes up a space of one day, or two at most; but thy torment for endless ages

shall never come to a close. Wherefore henceforward cease from adding to thy miseries, and

lighting up everlasting fire for thyself.

Aegeates then being enraged, ordered the blessed Andrew to be fastened to the cross.17 And

he having left them all, goes up to the cross, and says to it with a clear voice: Rejoice, O cross,

which has been consecrated by the body of Christ, and adorned by His limbs as if with pearls.

Assuredly before my Lord went up on thee, thou hadst much earthly fear; but now invested with

heavenly longing, thou art fitted up18 according to my prayer. For I know, from those who

believe, how many graces thou hast in Him, how many gifts prepared beforehand. Free from

care, then, and with joy, I come to thee, that thou also exulting mayst receive me, the disciple of

Him that was hanged upon thee; because thou hast been always faithful to me, and I have

desired to embrace thee. O good cross, which hast received comeliness and beauty from the

limbs of the Lord; O much longed for, and earnestly desired, and fervently sought after, and

already prepared beforehand for my soul longing for thee, take me away from men, and restore

me to my Master, in order that through thee He may accept me who through thee has

redeemed me.


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And having thus spoken, the blessed Andrew, standing on the ground, and looking earnestly

upon the cross, stripped himself and gave his clothes to the executioners, having urged the

brethren that the executioners should come and do what had been commanded them; for they

were standing at some distance. And they having come up, lifted him on the cross; and having

stretched his body across with ropes, they only bound his feet, but did not sever his joints,19

having received this order from the proconsul: for he wished him to be in distress while hanging,

and in the night-time, as he was suspended, to be eaten up alive by dogs.20

And a great multitude of the brethren stood by, nearly twenty thousand; and having beheld the

executioners standing off, and that they had done to the blessed one nothing of what those who

were hanged up suffer, they thought that they would again hear something from him; for

assuredly, as he was hanging, he moved his head smiling. And Stratocles inquired of him: Why

art thou smiling, Andrew, servant of God? Thy laughter makes us mourn and weep, because we

are deprived of thee. And the blessed Andrew answered him: Shall I not laugh at all, my son

Stratocles, at the empty stratagem of Aegeates, through which he thinks to take vengeance

upon us? We have nothing to do with him and his plans. He cannot hear; for if he could, he

would be aware, having learned it by experience, that a man of Jesus is unpunished.21

And having thus spoken, he discoursed to them all in common, for the people ran together

enraged at the unjust judgment of Aegeates: Ye men standing by me, and women, and children,

and elders, bond and free, and as many as will hear; I beseech you, forsake all this life, ye who

have for my sake assembled here; and hasten to take upon you my life, which leads to heavenly

things, and once for all despise all temporary things, confirming the purposes of those who

believe in Christ. And he exhorted them all, teaching that the sufferings of this transitory life are

not worthy to be compared with the future recompense of the eternal life.

And the multitude hearing what was said by him, did not stand off from the place, and the

blessed Andrew continued the rather to say to them more than he had spoken. And so much

was said by him, that a space of three days and nights was taken up, and no one was tired and

went away from him. And when also on the fourth day they beheld his nobleness, and the

unweariedness of his intellect, and the multitude of his words, and the serviceableness of his

exhortations, and the stedfastness of his soul, and the sobriety of his spirit, and the fixedness of

his mind, and the perfection of his reason, they were enraged against Aegeates; and all with one

accord hastened to the tribunal, and cried out against Aegeates, who was sitting, saying: What is

thy judgment, O proconsul? Thou hast judged wickedly; thy awards are impious. In what has the

man done wrong; what evil has he done? The city has been put in an uproar; thou grievest us all;

do not betray Caesar's city. Grant willingly to the Achaians a just man; grant willingly to us a

God-fearing man; do not put to death a godly man. Four days he has been hanging, and is alive;

having eaten nothing, he has filled us all. Take down the man from the cross, and we shall all

seek after wisdom; release the man, and to all Achaia will mercy be shown. It is not necessary

that he should suffer this, because, though hanging, he does not cease proclaiming the truth.

And when the proconsul refused to listen to them, at first indeed signing with his hand to the

crowd to take themselves off, they began to be emboldened against him, being in number about

twenty thousand. And the proconsul having beheld that they had somehow become maddened,

afraid that something frightful would befall him, rose up from the tribunal and went away with

them, having promised to set free the blessed Andrew. And some went on before to tell the

apostle the cause for which they came to the place.

While all the crowd, therefore, was exulting that the blessed Andrew was going to be set free,

the proconsul having come up, and all the brethren rejoicing along with Maximilla,22 the

blessed Andrew, having heard this, said to the brethren standing by: What is it necessary for me


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to say to him, when I am departing to the Lord, that will I also say. For what reason hast thou

again come to us, Aegeates? On what account dost thou, being a stranger to us,23 come to us?

What wilt thou again dare to do, what to contrive? Tell us. Hast thou come to release us, as

having changed thy mind? I would not agree with thee that thou hadst really changed thy mind.

Nor would I believe thee, saying that thou art my friend. Dost thou, O proconsul, release him

that has been bound? By no means. For I have One with whom I shall be for ever; I have One

with whom I shall live to countless ages. To Him I go; to Him I hasten, who also having made

thee known to me, has said to me, Let not that fearful man terrify thee; do not think that he will

lay hold of thee, who art mine: for he is thine enemy. Therefore, having known thee through

him who has turned towards me, I am delivered from thee. But if thou wishest to believe in

Christ, there will be opened up for time, as I promised thee, a way of access; but if thou hast

come only to release me, I shall not be able after this to be brought down from this cross alive in

the body. For I and my kinsmen depart to our own, allowing thee to be what thou art, and what

thou dost not know about thyself. For already I see my King, already I worship Him, already I

stand before Him, where the fellowship24 of the angels is, where He reigns the only emperor,

where there is light without night, where the flowers never fade, where trouble is never known,

nor the name of grief heard, where there are cheerfulness and exultation that have no end. O

blessed cross! without the longing for thee, no one enters into that place. But I am distressed,

Aegeates, about thine own miseries, because eternal perdition is ready to receive thee. Run

then, for thine own sake, O pitiable one, while yet thou canst, lest perchance thou shouldst wish

then when thou canst not.

When, therefore, he attempted to come near the tree of the cross, so as to release the blessed

Andrew, with all the city applauding him, the holy Andrew said with a loud voice: Do not suffer

Andrew, bound upon Thy tree, to be released, O Lord; do not give me who am in Thy mystery to

the shameless devil. O Jesus Christ, let not Thine adversary release me, who have been hanged

by Thy favour; O Father, let this insignificant man no longer humble him who has known Thy

greatness. The executioners, therefore, putting out their hands, were not able at all to touch

him. Others, then, and others endeavoured to release him, and no one at all was able to come

near him; for their arms were benumbed.

Then the blessed Andrew, having adjured the people, said: I entreat you earnestly, brethren,

that I may first make one prayer to my Lord. So then set about releasing me. All the people

therefore kept quiet because of the adjuration. Then the blessed Andrew, with a loud cry, said:

Do not permit, O Lord, Thy servant at this time to be removed from Thee; for it is time that my

body be committed to the earth, and Thou shalt order me to come to Thee. Thou who givest

eternal life, my Teacher whom I have loved, whom on this cross I confess, whom I know, whom I

possess, receive me, O Lord; and as I have confessed Thee and obeyed Thee, so now in this word

hearken to me; and, before my body come down from the cross, receive me to Thyself, that

through my departure there may be access to Thee of many of my kindred, finding rest for

themselves in Thy majesty.

When, therefore, he had said this, he became in the sight of all glad and exulting; for an

exceeding splendour like lightning coming forth out of heaven shone down upon him, and so

encircled him, that in consequence of such brightness mortal eyes could not look upon him at

all. And the dazzling light remained about the space of half an hour. And when he had thus

spoken and glorified the Lord still more, the light withdrew itself, and he gave up the ghost, and

along with the brightness itself he departed to the Lord in giving Him thanks.

And after the decease of the most blessed Andrew the apostle, Maximilla being the most

powerful of the notable women,25 and continuing among those who had come, as soon as she


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learned that the apostle had departed to the Lord, came up and turned her attention to the

cross, along with Stratocles, taking no heed at all of those standing by, and with reverence took

down the body of the most blessed apostle from the cross. And when it was evening, bestowing

upon him the necessary care, she prepared the body for burial with costly spices, and aid it in

her own tomb. For she had been parted from Aegeates on account of his brutal disposition and

lawless conduct, having chosen for herself a holy and quiet life; and having been united to the

love of Christ, she spent her life blessedly along with the brethren.

Aegeates had been very importunate with her, and promised that he would make her mistress

of his wealth; but not having been able to persuade her, he was greatly enraged, and was

determined to make a public charge against all the people, and to send to Caesar an accusation

against both Maximilla and all the people. And while he was arranging these things in the

presence of his officers, at the dead of night he rose up, and unseen by all his people, having

been tormented by the devil, he fell down from a great height, and rolling into the midst of the

market-place of the city, breathed his last.

And this was reported to his brother Stratocles; and he sent his servants, having told them that

they should bury him among those who had died a violent death. But he sought nothing of his

substance, saying: Let not my Lord Jesus Christ, in whom I have believed, suffer me to touch

anything whatever of the goods of my brother, that the condemnation of him who dared to cut

off the apostle of the Lord may not disgrace me.

These things were done in the province of Achaia, in the city of Patras on the day before the

kalends of December,26 where his good deeds are kept in mind even to this day, to the glory

and praise of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.27


REFERENCES

James, The Apocryphal New Testament, 1924

Church History (Book III), and Eusebius